As a couples therapist in Oakland, CA I often find my clients stuck in a pursuer-withdrawer dynamic. In this common relationship pattern, one partner (the pursuer) tends to seek emotional connection and wants to discuss issues in the relationship, while the other partner (the withdrawer) tends to withdraw or avoid these conversations.
The pursuer often feels frustrated and alone in the relationship, while the withdrawer feels overwhelmed and needs space to process their thoughts and emotions. This can create a cycle where the pursuer becomes more demanding or critical, which causes the withdrawer to withdraw even further, which then causes the pursuer to become even more demanding.
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pursuers and withdrawers in relationships
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Stephanie Bain, LMFT
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.