7 tips can help you to reconnect with your partner
Khaled: "How many times have you told me that we're going to talk and we didn't?"
Raya: "Talk about what?"
Khaled: "About what? About us! About you ignoring me all the time!"
Raya: "That's not true, we're doing okay and there is nothing we need to talk about."
Khaled: "Bravo! This is what you do.. you run away! Let me tell you dear.. No! We are not okay and our relationship is not the same anymore."
Raya: "I don't want to talk about this right now! I need to go shopping, I need some clothes... Bye."
In the previous article, I discussed how pursuers experience more distress about distance in relationships and feel more compelled to change the patterns to attain closeness. I also outlined the ways to connect with a distancing partner without aggressively pursuing.
But what about the distancer?
As discussed previously, even if the distancer is unhappy with how the relationship is going, they will not make a move towards a pursuer and would prefer to maintain the status quo.
The distancer usually handles conflict by shutting out others, pushing feelings down below the surface, withdrawing from conversations and avoiding discussions about feelings and thoughts by saying something like, “I don’t know how I feel,” “I don’t want to talk,” or “Everything is fine. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Therefore, the distancer usually holds power in the relationship and builds fear and weakness in their partners by choosing whether or not they want to connect with the pursuer.
Moreover, distancers have very closed personal boundaries, share feelings with a tight circle of people, prefer alone time and may find face-to-face contact draining. When they express their feelings, they seem uncontrollable.
Distancers are generally cautious, cool, rational, steady and calm and prefer efficiency over relationship quality. However, fundamentally, they need acceptance and approval and they lose the opportunity to experience fulfilling and rewarding relationships.
A distancer can foster healthier relationships by:
Building trust.While it may be understandable that distancers protect themselves by holding back, however, they can miss out on having loving and thriving relationships.
Distancers need to learn to trust their partners and treat them with compassion when mistakes come up.
Learning to deal with disappointments.Not everything has to be perfect, pain is part of life. So, if a relationship doesn’t work out as desired, it's ok, and it’s all part of our learning experience as humans.
Sharing your feelings and putting yourself out there.Take a risk and be vulnerable by taking baby steps to turn toward your partner.
Gradually reveal more about who you are so your partner gets to know you better and be able to support you. Self-disclosure helps to build closeness and intimacy.
Expressing affection openly.Provide verbal affirmations by letting your partner know that you love and appreciate them. Hug your partner when they come home. Maintain eye contact when talking to them, listen attentively and ask questions to express interest in what they are thinking about and feeling.
By being more expressive, your partner will feel more secure, confident, relaxed and less inclined to be pushy, clingy, desperate or intrusive.
Setting aside time for them.Spend quality time doing activities you both enjoy. Have a romantic dinner without technological devices, go on a holiday together if possible, take walks or cook together. Make sure the activity is something you both like doing.
Communicating more openly so you can both enjoy more love in your relationship.Reflect on yourself and your behaviour and hold yourself accountable for your mistakes or your part in the dynamic rather than constantly blaming your partner. Be responsible for your half share of the relationship.
Asking for space when needed before talking about a subject by saying “I need some time to collect my thoughts. Let’s talk tonight after seven.”The distancer should take time away to plan what they want to say and have some time alone. Moreover, the distancer is responsible for purposely and deliberately approaching the pursuer and initiating contact rather than waiting for the pursuer to connect.
Scheduling a specific time to communicate is a critical commitment because the pursuer would back off and refrain from pressuring them for more attention knowing that connection will happen at an agreed-upon time. This may help balance the relationship where both partners are responsible for the relationship and resolving any conflict that arises.
When breaking habitual patterns and relational styles, one should treat themselves and their partners with love, compassion, respect and appreciation. Neither pattern is wrong, and sometimes we take tend to adopt one role or the other.
Change your style of relating to balance your needs for autonomy and intimacy and give your relationship a fighting chance. Start with yourself.
Do not wait or expect your partner to do their work at the same time to escape the pattern, as this will hurt your ability to start making your own changes.
Be the best partner you can be instead of focusing on getting immediate results. Let go of any expectations or stubbornness, when you consistently commit to change your approach and response, your relationship will ultimately change.