Does it seem like your partner has been pulling away from you recently?
Sometimes you want space from your partner. You need it. Maybe life’s gotten busy and you need “me” time. Or perhaps they’re getting on your last nerve.
Sometimes your partner needs and wants space away from you too.
The desire to want some time and space occasionally is normal and healthy in a relationship. After all, you are two individuals with different personalities and desires. Spend ALL your time together and you risk falling into codependent ways of relating.
Other times, you feel your partner pulling away and it doesn’t feel good.
You may feel like the two of you are growing apart and that can cause feelings of depression, fear, and more. You feel them pull away and then you try to reel them back in. They may come a bit closer and then pull away again. You do whatever it is you do to try to bring them back.
This “push and pull” type of behavior can become repetitive and typically doesn’t serve the relationship well.
The reality is that there could be many reasons your partner is pulling away. They could be dealing with significant stress, feel depleted emotionally or physically, be struggling with existential angst, or a host of other things.
Studies are showing that some couples pull apart because they don’t know how to effectively resolve conflicts.
Their relationship may be struggling, but rather than sit and talk about it, they sweep it under the carpet. They think this will resolve it, but it typically just causes them to start disengaging with each other, pulling apart.
Is your partner really pulling away or is this something you’re sort of making up in your head? Has something happened in your life to cause you to feel insecure? If so, you may be projecting you’re your partner.
You feel that they are pulling away, but they’re simply acting like they always do. It’s your fears that are causing you to view your relationship from a skewed lens.
Are they really disconnected and pulling away?
Take a few minutes and think about it. Perhaps you can make a list as to why you think this. Then, go over the list from a healthy space to determine if the pulling away is really happening.
If it is, then you can get down to business trying to get to the bottom of it.
Sometimes the reason your partner is pulling away from you is that you’re going too fast for them. If not you, the relationship in general.
Maybe it’s a fairly new relationship and you’ve been spending a lot of time together. You’re having many sleepovers, texting all day and evening, and so on.
At some point, they may want to step back and gauge the relationship. They may want to determine if it’s going the way they want it to go. Or, they want to just take a breather so they don’t lose themselves in the relationship.
You can probably relate if you’ve ever lost yourself in a relationship.
So, they may be pulling back just to breathe and think about how it’s really going beyond the “romance chemicals”. Allow them that space to practice self-care and you do the same. If the backing off continues, then you know you’ll probably have to sit and have a conversation about it.
Whether you’ve been together for weeks, months, or longer, talking about moving in together, marriage, and children may cause some anxiety and fear for some people. Just the word “commitment” alone may cause some to think they should run to the hills for safety.
This can be solved by having an honest and open conversation.
If things are moving too fast for them, and that’s why they are pulling back, talk about ways you both can get on the same page. You may find out that you both have far different wants and needs regarding the future. It’s best to find that out now.
Another reason your partner may be pulling away is that they might not be ready for to be tied down. They may be battling with wanting to be single. Sure, they care for you and don’t want to hurt you, but they may also miss their freedom.
The harder you try to keep them close to you, the more they get the feeling that you are clamping a ball and chain around their ankle. This feeling of being tied down can cause them to pull away.
Sometimes people pull away because they're struggling with something in their own lives. It doesn’t always mean that there is something wrong in the relationship. Maybe they are having problems at work and need more solitude to deal with it.
Or perhaps they are struggling with emotional issues like shame, anxiety, or depression. This causes them to disengage with others, including you. Sometimes a bit of space can help them sort things out.
Maybe they feel like they are not your equal. If you’re prone to shell out insults or complain about how your partner does something, they may feel inadequate and pull away. No one wants to be disrespected or under a microscope in a relationship.
If you’ve been dishing out an attitude or words that disempower, put a stop to it. It’s quite likely your partner will feel safer to spend more time with you when they feel supported.
The love you share should be incorporated with equal measures of respect and thoughtfulness, and this should be a two-way street. Be open, listen to each other, and voice what you feel with respect and love.
Some people pull away because the relationship has become boring. It’s not easy to hear that, but it could be true. It’s normal for relationships to wane over time. It happens as real life shows up in a hundred different ways.
However, you can keep it from becoming super lame by taking time to invest in each other and the relationship.
Want to bring in more closeness and excitement? Discuss ways in which you both can take your relationship from boring to more exciting. Plan date nights. Go on a get-away. Spice up the romance. Try new things. Hang out with other exciting couples. Be spontaneous!
Underneath the aloofness and distance, they may be afraid of getting hurt. They think that if they allow deep intimacy to occur, they’ll end up being abandoned or rejected down the road. This feels scary to them.
If you want to know why your partner is pulling away, the best thing to do is sit down with them and have a conversation.
This is best done face to face, rather than texting or a phone call.
Many people simply let the mental battle begin and keep wondering why their partner is pulling away, rather than just come out and talk about it.
Maybe they don’t even realize they’ve pulled away. Or they may not really know the reason (or tell you the truth). However, you have every right to sit and let them know how you’re feeling.
This is also a good time to talk about what you want and need in this relationship. After all, maybe they won’t be able to meet you where you want them to meet you. Or perhaps they don’t want to.
Better to know now than struggle for months or years. You may be tempted to take their disconnecting personally, but try not to. Not every couple is a match or wants the same things, and that’s alright.
Communication is huge when it comes to fostering a healthy and strong relationship. Sometimes saving your relationship when it comes to you pulling away from each other just takes one or two genuine conversations to figure out a solution to the issues.
If you’ve already had multiple conversations and still feel they are distant and pulling away further, you may benefit from seeking a therapist to explore this further.
Having that professional support can help you determine how to best handle the situation and how you’re feeling about it. If this has been an ongoing issue in the relationship, couples counseling is also a great option.
You deserve to enjoy a mutually satisfying relationship. I’m rooting for you to experience this!