First the good news: If you are the only one that is willing to work on improving your relationship, or you want your partner more than he or she wants you, your relationship still has a fairly good chance of making it, eventually becoming truly satisfying for both of you.
The bad news: How most men and women go about working on their “lopsided” relationship, where they care about the relationship more or want the relationship more than their partner, is exactly the opposite of how a positive relationship outcome can be accomplished.
Most men and women in a lopsided relationship will try to connect more with their partner. They will try to talk more. They will give more. They will try to spend more time together. They will get upset as a tactic to try to force their partner into working on the relationship. They will show up unexpectedly to try to corner their partner. All of this behavior can be labeled chasing and none of it works.
In fact, the more chasing you do, the less your partner will want to engage, connect, and be with you. The more your partner will pull away. The more your partner will think the relationship is not a good place to invest time and energy.
Instead of chasing you need to have an authentic, natural response to the lopsided, distancing behavior, even if it does not feel natural to you. Let’s find out what your authentic and natural response should be.
What would happen to you if a friend you thought cared about you told you they didn’t think you were so great, or just needed some space from you? Would you not be hurt and offended?
Hopefully – if you have good self-esteem – that is exactly how you would feel. Mildly hurt and offended. You might also listen to what this person had to say and see if any of the reasons they want distance are valid. If valid, you would apologize and work on those. Yet you would know full well that you are still a worthy person to be with. And then you would back away from the relationship a bit.
Because why would you want to be close to someone who does not want to be close to you? Why would you want to pursue someone who does not want you? Why would you give to someone who does not give to you?
The answer to these “whys” in a romantic relationship is that you love the person, are invested in him or her and probably think that it would be nearly impossible to meet another partner like this one. That is why you would put up with behavior in a romantic relationship that you would never put up with in a friendship.
Yet, when you put up with distancing behavior in a relationship and chase your partner, you push him or her into even more distancing behavior.
The right response to distancing behavior is distance. When your partner pulls back or goes away all together, you need to allow as much space as he or she has created, plus more. It is only when your partner pulls away and you don’t chase that he or she has a chance to realize what will be missing if the relationship with you is lost.
Sure, by allowing the distance and adding even more of it, you are taking a chance that your partner will go away all together. If that happens it means that your partner would be gone anyway, no matter what you did. But in many cases enough distance actually does the opposite and brings your partner back. Especially important, because your partner comes back of his or her own will, he or she will be much more invested in you and the relationship, valuing both significantly more.
This distance in response to distance is a very difficult relationship move to implement. It brings up a lot of anxiety and hopelessness, and usually feels like the end of the relationship. Yet it is often necessary in order to right a lopsided relationship.
I at times work with clients on putting distance in place, while making it as comfortable as possible for them, as a way of healing their ailing relationship. It often works beautifully, with the relationship equaling out and working much better for both partners!
If you are in a “lopsided” relationship where you care about or want the relationship more than your partner, let’s talk. I can show you how to straighten your relationship out and how one of you can bring the two of you together. Get started working on your relationship now by setting up your 30-minute Get Clarity Coaching Session!