Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Are You Pushing Your Partner Away?

If you feel you are not getting the love you want in your relationship, it is possible that you are pushing your partner away. Often, when we feel hurt, disappointed and upset, our choices and behavior rather than helping us get our needs met, actually push us further away from the very things we need and want. For example consider the husband or wife who is hurt and disappointed because their partner comes home late. They had been hoping to spend time with their partner and feel neglected and hurt that their partner was not there, so they are angry and punishing when their partner returns, giving them the cold shoulder for the evening or longer. What they crave and need is closeness with their partner, however shutting their partner out makes that closeness impossible and creates the opposite of what they need, more distance between them.

Take a few moments to consider whether you are building connections with your partner or pushing them away. Here are some attitudes and behaviors that may be pushing your partner away:

  • Pretending that you are fine, when you obviously are not;
  • Refusing to tell or show your partner that you love him/her;
  • Not asking for what you want;
  • Not making time with your partner a priority;
  • Brushing off or ignoring compliments from your partner;
  • Stopping yourself from reaching out in loving ways toward your partner;
  • Not sharing the real you with your partner;
  • Wondering what your partner really wants when they behave lovingly.

  • If you recognize yourself having or doing one or more of these distancing attitudes or behaviors, you have the opportunity to change course. Awareness that you may be pushing your partner away, gives you an opportunity to begin moving toward, rather than away from your partner. Choosing to move toward your partner increases the chances that you will get your needs met.

    Ways to allow your partner into your life:

  • Be open and honest about your feelings (be tactful);
  • Say I love you often;
  • Frequently demonstrate your love for your partner;
  • Ask for what you want and need;
  • Make spending time together a top priority;
  • Graciously accept compliments from your partner (smile, say thank you and allow it to sink in);
  • Choose to be loving, especially when you least feel like it;
  • Talk and share with your partner;
  • Listen to your partner;
  • Expect and look for positive motives when your partner is loving.

  • If you want to feel truly loved in your relationship there are steps that you can take to accomplish this. The worst thing that you can do is work hard to prove that your partner does not love you. Instead, begin by considering if you truly love and accept yourself. If the answer is no, then this is the place to start. The more you love and accept yourself, the easier it is to feel love from your partner. Next choose to stop pushing your partner away and allow them into your life.
    Being in a loving relationship means being vulnerable. When we stop being vulnerable in our relationship, we may be protecting ourselves from hurt, but we are also shutting the love that we desperately want and need out of our life. Fortify yourself instead by loving yourself so much that you are willing and able to choose to be vulnerable, knowing that you may get hurt. But also knowing that choosing to love is worth that possibility and that even if you do get hurt at your core you will always love you and you be fine.

    Susan Derry, B.Ed., M.S.Psy., R.P.C., C.P.C.
    Professional Counselor & Life Coach
    Co-author of Marriage Prep: Beginnings a downloadable marriage preparation course 
    Offers a free Nurturing Marriage Ezine
    Co-author of Intimate Sex: Manual for Lovemaking, a sex manual for couples 

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