When couples are experiencing a lot of conflict or disconnection, however, frequently the problem is that the pursuer-distancer dynamic has become too much. They are comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings and asking questions of their partner to get him or her to similarly share.When they sense distance, or their partner wants space, they often perceive that as rejection and try harder to get a reaction, even if that starts an argument.I’m not an especially religious person (“faithful,” might be a better description) and I’m not one to go around calling ministers when I have problems.But when I knew I needed to talk to someone wise and thoughtful, her image came to the forefront of my mind. I don’t read many self-help books or psychology books.By Marilee Feldman, LCPC, CADC Have you noticed in your relationship that you have pursuer-distancer dynamics, that is, one person typically pursues connection, and the other distances, or move away from that?
Debra is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and, as such, she works with a lot of individuals and couples on answering “the big questions” of life.
In general, men and women both pursue and distance, but they do so in opposite manners.
In MLC you are mainly dealing with emotional pursuing.
The goal of their reactive behaviors is the same; each seeks to preserve Self, but through opposite processes; the Distancer seeks Self through solitude and autonomy and the Pursuer seeks Self through relationships and intimacy.
Pursuit and distance is an unspoken agreement to dance; each needs the other since without someone to chase and someone to run there is no dance.
The “distancer” is the one who needs space and maybe puts a wall up to keep themselves cocooned, while the “pursuer” is the one who tries to move closer and enmesh.