The Push And Pull Dynamic
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The Push and Pull Dynamic
In the push-pull cycle, one person craves intimacy, and another actively avoids it. Essentially, one is a chaser, and one is a runner. At first, both partners are connected, then suddenly, a fear-based shift occurs within the avoider. The avoider begins cooling off, shutting down. The motivation that was once there begins to fade as the partner’s effort begins to decrease incrementally over time, or suddenly the avoider may just ghost, break up, or disappear. This sudden change in behavior can be shocking, thus leaving the person who had their heart open and vulnerable confused. The emotional exit of their avoidant partner leaves the other feeling abandoned, like the rug was pulled from under them. The panic of their avoidant partner leaving may cause the chaser to try harder to put more effort in. It might activate abandonment trauma that they experienced as a child. “Come back to me. Please don’t leave.” Unfortunately, the runner views this as more pressure and more demands. The chaser could begin nagging or saying things repeatedly, such as, “I miss you. I wish we could spend more time together. You haven’t been very present lately. Let’s plan a date. You’re working again? You’re playing video games again? You’re hanging out with your friends again. You’re going out again?” The chaser will run circles around similar phrases or topics to try to get the runner to wake up again and love them like they did not so long ago. The chaser may feel helpless, sad, and anxious as their energy becomes drained from ruminating on the fact their partner isn’t the same as they used to be. It’s important to note the power dynamic of the runner and chaser. The runner has most of the power because they become a rare resource because they are scarce. Scarcity has a way of breeding more desire. As the chaser runs after their partner, they put themselves in a weaker position energetically. However, everybody has a breaking point, even the chaser. At some point, they will come to the conclusion that it’s not worth chasing anymore. They will become fed up, and they will regain their strength. Their self-esteem and self-worth will begin to awaken within them as they say to themselves, “That’s enough. I’m worth more than this. I’m done chasing you. If you want to go, then go.” This gradual change within the chaser is noticed by the runner. Suddenly the view of the relationship feels like less pressure, fewer demands, less scary, and more exciting. The runner stops in their tracks and turns around to see a partner that is once again desirable. Unfortunately, the person who was chasing isn’t as motivated to love the runner in the same way as they did before. They may have garnished resentment and distrust for having been put through such a grueling process. Thus the chaser and the runner switch positions. The power imbalance shifts.
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