One of the most common dynamics that I see in relationships is what is called a pursue/withdraw. I believe that if you slow down and unpack everything here, you’ll find the “why” to this. But, today, I really want to focus on helping you find peace in your relationship no matter which role you may be holding.
In the role of the pursuer a person usually feels that their relationship wants aren’t being met. In an attempt to meet them they get upset, critical, attack, point out, or in other ways begin to instruct their significant other on what they should change or how they can fix it.
The withdrawer, meanwhile, will often feel that they can’t keep their partner happy. They get defensive, try to explain themselves or begin to believe that if they just stay quiet at least they won’t make anything worse. They begin to shut down because they believe they can’t fix it or it’s just too painful to face.
Ultimately, you are both trying to understand your importance to each other. Sit down with some melty ice cream cones or simply snuggle up on the couch together, gazing out at the sunset. Whatever it is you love to do. Then have a conversation around this. Do you worry sometimes that your spouse isn’t on your team? Is your own belief that you don’t matter and your own reaction to it possibly hurting your love? Are you both wanting to matter to the other?
A conversation like this can reestablish a united front by regulating our pursuing or withdrawing behaviors. The pursuer softens and the withdrawer re-engages, leaving us with more peace.