Relationships can be extremely confusing and challenging. Especially, when the man you are interested in pulls away just as things seem to be going smoothly. Women are often left wondering “what should I do now?” To avoid this type of outcome in your relationship, I recommend you evaluate the type and amount of effort you want your partner to put into you. In addition, decide the type and amount of effort you are willing to put into the relationship.
To understand this concept better, let me use an analogy. When a physical therapist treats a patient, the physical therapist puts in a lot of time and effort in helping the patient . However, as soon as the appointment is over, the patient leaves and could disregard everything the physical therapist suggested. Between appointments, the physical therapist believes the patient will follow through and work on physical therapy at home and hopes their patient is doing better.. Then at the next appointment, the physical therapist is let down due to the lack of progress and effort by the patient. Unfortunately, the physical therapist will have to come to terms that their patient can only exert a small amount of effort while the physical therapist was hoping for their patient to put in more effort.
From the physical therapist analogy, there are two takeaways to address: assessing effort and open communication. First, are you working harder than the man in the situation? If so, how does that make you feel and is it harmful to your feelings? These feelings may mean it is time to reevaluate your amount of effort in the relationship. The second takeaway is to establish open communication. Some possible topics of conversation could be discussing how each person is feeling in the relationship and what each person’s expectations are for the relationship. By having open communication, you can share directly how you are feeling and assess why he is pulling away. It can be easy to personalize that “you are at fault” when in reality it could be a huge variety of reasons why he is pulling away. When approaching these discussions, it is important to be direct and to use “I feel” statements such as, “I feel sad when you (example)” Sometimes as women we may want to assume a man knows how we feel but it is important to share directly how you are feeling versus assuming a person may know.
Relationships are based on both parties feeling desired. When that isn’t happening, a relationship needs to be reevaluated. To address this situation, you should analyze the level of effort from each party and expectations. Then establish open communication to understand how and why the partner is acting in the relationship and to express your feelings.
Sarah Richards, MA is a registered psychotherapist working towards becoming a licensed professional counselor in Colorado. She studied international disaster psychology at the University of Denver and holds a master’s degree. Sarah’s clinical training has primarily been with children who have experienced trauma and childhood adversity. Much of her work has focused on childhood bereavement and how to support grieving children. She uses a trauma-informed care lens to support her clients and meets them where they are. She has experience working with children as young as three years old through young adulthood. She utilizes individual therapy, play therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.