Sometimes, you spend so much time and effort into making a relationship work that you don't realize you're actually doing yourself a disservice — and that your actions aren't having the desired effect. It's a complicated truth, and when you try to hold someone very close, you may end up pushing your partner away.
"Often people don’t mean to push people away at all, in fact what they want is the exact opposite!" Melanie Shapiro, LICSW, who specializes in traumatic experiences, tells Bustle. "However, sometimes the exact actions that one takes to get closer does the opposite of what they want them to mean. This happens mostly because they fear their partner will leave and abandon them — and they are insecure about the relationship, their commitment, and their partner's reliability and interest in them."
When this happens, you can become more and more demanding of your partner without even meaning it. You may constantly text or call them, tell them how much you care, try to do things together but, really, what you're looking for, is for them to validate you and make you feel more secure in the relationship. Unintentionally, you may be draining your partner's emotional resources until they end up pulling back from you.
"Often my clients have described it as an 'empty well'," Shapiro says. A lot of the time, if we notice our partner taking a step back, it may be because they feel like they're at the end of their tether.
But that desire to pull your partner in — which ultimately ends up pushing them away — can be a difficult one to control. You may do it without even realizing it, it may feel like a compulsion, or maybe you know that you're going too far but you can't stop yourself. If this is the case, Shapiro suggests four steps to stop pushing your partner away.