There is a well-known negative relationship pattern found in couples called the pursuer-distancer pattern wherein it is mostly women who pursue their male partners while searching for a deeper emotional connection. However, in this situation, men become polarized and distance themselves from their women.
This pattern often causes a deep crack in the relationship and can easily lead to long-term unhappiness or even separation.
Some people are of the mind that gender differences in this pattern are attributable to individual differences between the sexes. Females generally are more prone to form bonds while men tend to be more independent and self-reliant, and thus they are more likely to withdraw. Men are also more reactive to stress, so when there is rising conflict in the relationship they may withdraw to take a psychological break.
Another way this could be explained is that these roles are more attributable to the social structure of traditional marriage.
It is known that females seek faster change and development in their marriages than males do. Meanwhile, men are less likely to seek change as they see their wives ‘ requests for change as threatening to the preservation of the status quo.
But regardless of which explanation is right, it is undeniable that this is a pattern that escalates between couples and it causes deep distress to the relationship. Due to the fact that women seek stronger emotional connections with their partners, they might be at a disadvantage because they rely heavily on their men for what they need in a relationship.
Due to the fact that men are less dependent by nature, they are also less dependent on their partners because they can achieve what they want by withdrawing in the relationship.
As a consequence, no matter what deal the two make, the outcome will favor the man because he is less dependant on his partner. In turn, this leaves the woman to crave for attention even more, but with little result as the man sees this as intrusive and withdraws even more.
Women can counter this pattern by lowering their hopes and expectations for the relationship, but this also will inevitably lead to an increasing emotional distance in the couple.
But hopefully, the man can see what is happening and start working on making things better.
Men can also try to be more sensitive and understanding to the fact that even though it may seem like they’ve made peace with their wives after a heated argument, their wives will often be left less satisfied with the outcome than them.
Hence, men must be more proactive and willing to make sacrifices in order to meed their wives somewhere in the middle and sustain a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.
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