In most romantic relationships, there are two roles: the pursuer and the pursued. When these roles are out of balance, the relationship suffers.
The pursuer wants more togetherness. She wants more quality time with her partner, more communication, more physical and emotional closeness. She wants more commitment, and often feels she isn’t the main priority in her partner’s life. She feels she spends a lot of time “chasing” her partner.
The pursued wants more independence. He wants more space, more private time, more clearly defined boundaries. His work commitments, his hobbies, his relationships with friends and family, often take precedent over his romantic relationship. He frequently feels “smothered” by his partner.
The more urgently the pursuer chases, the faster the pursued runs. The faster the pursued runs, the more urgently the pursuer chases. Neither gets what she/he wants from the relationship, and deep-seated resentments form over time.
Balancing Your Relationship
Being the pursuer doesn’t necessarily mean you have more love to give. Being the pursued doesn’t necessarily mean you value the relationship less. Pursuer/pursued are more like hard-wired personality traits than they are intentional responses to the relationship. So how do you achieve balance?
The pursuer needs to learn to take a step back. This isn’t a step away from your partner so much as a step toward greater self-reliance and independence. Rather than always wanting more from your partner, you focus on better defining your identity outside the relationship. The pursued needs to learn to take a step forward. This isn’t giving up your independence so much as opening yourself to greater possibilities of closeness. You learn to prioritize your relationship in new and intentional ways, embracing the greater stability that comes from meeting your partner halfway. Relationship balance means you focus less on changing your partner. You begin to appreciate how the push/pull in your relationship is there for a reason, requiring you to become a more mindful, flexible, well-rounded person.