Why do we sometimes hold on so tightly to something that isn’t working for us? To someone that isn’t treating us the way we deserve to be treated? Isn’t loving us the way we were meant to be loved? You know the scenario – it starts off with fireworks, an amazing connection, you just can’t get enough of each other. Then suddenly, he’s not calling as much, he’s out with his buddies more than he’s out with you, or you just have some gut feeling that something has changed for him; he seems distant.
Any time a relationship I was in started taking this kind of turn for the worse – I started hanging on tighter. Yep. Break out the stranglehold. I would get scared, and instead of taking a step back and reassessing the relationship, I just held on tighter. I’d feel like I had to do something – anything - quickly to turn it around because he had so much potential; because WE had so much potential. After all, it had started off so well – it had to be worth saving, no matter what it took. So I’d decide to show him that much more just what I had to offer. I’d try sexier. Prettier. Funnier. More hip. Whatever he clearly wasn’t seeing, I was going to show him. You get the picture.
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It was, of course, the worst thing I could have done in this situation. This type of behavior is not healthy, not honoring of ourselves, our own worth. And unfortunately, this type of reaction is all too common. Because when he starts pulling away from us, it brings out every abandonment issue we’ve ever had, and leaves us desperately trying to turn things around by pulling out all the stops and becoming everything we think he wants us to be. Everything, that is, except ourselves.
So why do we continue to do this to ourselves? Why do we hang in there, remaining silent on what we’re observing, while we’re pretzeling ourselves around to be whatever we think we need to be to get him, and the relationship, back the way it was? And the worst part is, in reality, it only has the opposite effect – it brings the relationship crashing down even faster than before.
The good news is that we can look at this as a gift. It’s the gift of a clear message that things aren’t quite right. It’s like getting sick – when our bodies are telling us that something’s wrong; we’re working too much, we’re too stressed, or maybe we’re not eating well. And we can then take steps to correct the imbalance. The message here is similar – you’re both on different pages, and there’s an imbalance that needs to be corrected. And whether we like it or not, what we’re seeing is who he is and where he’s at right now. And that’s the point. The present. Right now. That ideal we have in our mind, those dreams we’ve got – they’re all ours, not his. And whether he’d be the perfect guy for us if he’d just be more attentive isn’t the point. He’s showing us what he’s capable of right now. And that is the point.
So what do we do in this situation? Well, contrary to what we might think, we have more control over this scenario than it may seem. There are basically three avenues we can take.
1. Be Direct and Ask Him
If you’re feeling like he’s distancing himself and the two of you are losing the connection you once had, well, you’re most likely right. Our instincts are usually spot-on in this regard. So we know he’s not where we are, not on that same page as us right now, and he’s not quite sure how to let us know except by putting some distance between us. The reason for this is because he’s insecure, too! He afraid to tell us how he’s feeling directly; he’s not a guy who’s in touch with his feelings and can say what’s going on. So go ahead and tell him how you’re feeling, and ask him why things have changed. If you take this route, be prepared and open to hear the truth. He may say that he’s having second thoughts about the relationship. He may be feeling like the relationship is moving too quickly, and he wants to slow things down a little. He may be afraid he’s losing his freedom. Maybe an ex has re-entered the picture. If the answer is any of these, just know that knowing the truth earlier is always better, and it will save you a lot of anxiety and even more heartbreak down the road. Even if it feels like it would be better to just wait it out. There's nothing worse than finding out things like this after the fact; after you've invested that much more of yourself in him.
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