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Partner Pulling Away? Here's 3 Things You Can Do

Healthy ways to respond to your partner's emotional and/or physical disconnect

One of the most challenging parts of any relationship is keeping a balance with your partner. Dealing with the ebb and flows of relationships can be taxing on an individual. Sometimes in relationships, we just “feel” the other person starting to pull away from us, starting to disconnect. Many people feel out of control on how to get their partner back and re-ignite that flame that once was. It’s easy for us to start freaking out about the normal fear of losing your significant other and engaging in behaviors that often damage the relationship even more. Here are three things you can do to help create a healthy response to your partner’s emotional and/or physical disconnect.

  1. Give Your Partner The Space That They Desire

    Couples often become stuck in negative cycles that perpetuate unhealthy relationships. One person pulls aways, while the other person pushes more to connect, triggering the other person to pull away more. To put a wrench in this taxing dynamic, listen to the needs of your partner. Your partner may need individual time to process through their own thoughts and feelings before coming together to discuss these with you. It can be hard at times to not bug our partners to “open up” or spend time with us when we feel this rejection. While your feelings are valid, your partner’s feelings are also valid as well. Become mindful of their needs in the relationship and respect their desire for space.

  2. Identify Your Own Needs and Wants in The Relationship

    Take this time not only for your partner, but for you to discover your own needs and wants in the relationship. What are some things that you feel like you need in the relationship that may sometimes be missing? What are some individual goals in which you wish to achieve? This is valuable time for you to identify areas in your relationship and individual life that may need further nurturance. Take this time to develop your own voice and learn how to express your thoughts and feelings clearly. Perhaps this part is difficult for you. Perhaps fear and anxiety of losing your partner continues to plague your mind. Make this time to dedicate to your own self-exploration. Part of that exploration may be seeking your own individual therapy to process through these thoughts and feelings.  Is your partner’s constant distance something that you can work through, or does it continually tear you up? You deserve to give yourself time as well to organize your thoughts and feelings.

  3. Invite Your Partner Back In a Welcoming Manner.

    You’ve given your partner the space that they need, you’ve done some self-exploration and are ready to reconnect with your spouse again. During this phase, create and environment in which is allows your partner to reconnect at their own pace. Become attuned to your partner’s reactions. Are they beginning to feel overwhelmed again? Soften your startup. Express your feelings in a way that your partner can hear you. A partner who has disconnected from the relationship often feels personally attacked. Start off slowly  by using “I” statements regarding how you feel and inquire on ways in which you can can support your partner during this time. They may not give you the answer that you’ve been wanting to hear. Be mindful of where your partner is at in their own journey. Keep that in mind as you gently let them know that you love and support them and are ready to take things at their own pace.

    Keeping the balance of the relationship can be difficult to manage as the stress of life gets in the way. Being able to express yourself in a healthy, non-threatening manner can help create emotional safety in your relationship. Work with your partner on creating an environment in which thoughts and feelings are not attacked, but met with kindness, compassion, and space.

Need more relationship advice? Join our relationship support forum, talk to a free, trained Listener, or reach out to an online therapist today.

Posted: 08 February 2017
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Brittany Malak, LMFT

Brittany is a licensed marriage and family therapist focusing on bringing couples together.

Other Articles Articles by Brittany Malak, LMFT

Partner Pulling Away? Here's 3 Things You Can Do

Healthy ways to respond to your partner's emotional and/or physical disconnect
Posted 08 February 2017

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