Are You in a Distancer-Pursuer Relationship? 8 Ways to Get Out

Are You in a Distancer-Pursuer Relationship? 8 Ways to Get Out

How we communicate with others begins with our family of origin – our first family. They provide a template that becomes our foundation. Although our template is a foundation, its one that changes over time and influenced by our interactions with others and the relationships we create.


The ways in which two people communicate says a lot about their own family of origin, their communication style, and because of those two factors how they attempt to resolve conflict. These communication patterns become a ‘dance’ between two people. Sometimes the dance moves slowly and effortlessly; other times it leaves couples stuck. They find it difficult to change the pattern they have created or extricate themselves from them.

These patterns of interaction are fostered due to one or both partners' limitations in effective communication skills, as well as not being able to understand, identify, own, and express their feelings of fear and vulnerability. Often times each person has fears that the relationship will not work out (even if expressed differently), that their partner will not have their back and be available, that they will not feel safe in their relationship and that their safe haven is being jeopardized. These all make people feel equally vulnerable.

How do all these factors get played out? In one of the most common communication patterns: the Distancer-Pursuer relationship.


According to John Gottman, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus and chief psychology 'guru', the tendency of men to withdraw and women to pursue is wired into our physiological makeup and reflects a basic gender difference. Women tend to be the Pursuer – wanting to engage in communication and continue to try and talk it out – despite the futility at the time. They will do this until their needs are met. Men, on the other hand, tend to be the Distancer – they want to flee the argument and run to their man cave. They run (often for the hills!) when they feel pursued. They want to avoid conflict. They also need space and time, a cooling off, time to focus and process. The Pursuer doesn’t see it that way. They certainly don’t feel it that way. They want to connect now and figure it out now. They often become increasingly critical. 

As you can imagine, this sets up a dynamic that, if not recognized, can get couples stuck in a pattern with little chance of resolving the conflict to a degree that is agreeable to both parties,

Every time there is a conflict or a disagreement, they each play out their role, with increased frustration. One partner who is seeking security as a way to assuage their anxiety reaches for the other in their attempt to want more contact. Their partner may feel overwhelmed by this and actually does the opposite of what the other needs – they create space and withdraw to relieve their anxiety.

As a result, a pattern of relating is established. And you can imagine, this type of communication style is a major contributor to a marital and relationship breakdown. Unfortunately, many couples who fall into this pattern early in marriage do not make it to their fifth anniversary – while others are wired in it indefinitely! Eeekk....

Take an example of this common situation – Stacy and Ron.


In the early stages of their relationship, Stacy and Ron spent a lot of time together. However, as time progressed and they moved out of the honeymoon stage, Stacy started spending more time with friends as she had done before her relationship with Ron. He, in turn, started to feel insecure and demanded more time and attention from her. Stacy felt pressured and started to withdraw and spend more time with her friends. Ron felt the distance and because he was insecurely attached became more aggressive in his attempts to connect and started to text and call her more. Without taking a break or hitting the pause button, this type of dance continued for a long time until they were able to gain a better understanding and insight into each other’s communication patterns and underlying attachment needs. They were able to break their cycle.

8 Ways to Resolve this pattern and create a healthier relationship
 

  1. Know your communication style. Have a conversation about your own first family and how your parents and other family members communicated with one another. This is key. Look for differences and similarities. Have that conversation. 
  2. Create greater safety and trust. Build a foundation. Begin with a soft start up (Is this a good time to talk?) and create dialogue about how you both want to create greater safety and trust in the relationship. This means honoring how each person feels even if you disagree. This allows each person to feel 'safe' that they can share how they feel. 
  3. Recognize patterns. Are there certain trigger words? Are there certain times that you feel more overwhelmed or need to continue to have the conversation. Observe the process of communication within the relationship - not the content or the topic. The goal is not to figure out how to manage every topic or discussion, but to create a different process - or dance- that will allow each of you the opportunity to change how you communicate with one another. 
  4. Have a plan. Recognize and examine when moments of disconnection occur. Start to slow down the "spin cycle" so you can give it closer examination. For example, make a plan to take a timeout. When both people are flooded with emotions your brain is literally on overdrive. By taking a timeout – say 30 minutes or so – couples can decrease their anxiety and start to talk about the issue at hand again. However, come up a plan before you start to argue or when there are moments of calm when cooler heads prevail and they are at a good place.
  5. Alternative communication. For example, I am not a huge fan of texting - especially something serious and in depth - however, if people limit themselves to only talking to one another in person, they may feel very frustrated, especially in the beginning. Some people do better at email (which gives them the time to share feelings). You can use this a springboard to deeper conversations. Some couples start a journal together as they learn how to communicate in more effective and healthy ways.
  6. Have a 'we' attitude. Nothing creates greater intimacy and a stronger relationship when both people feel and say they are on board. They also recognize they may have many 'fits and starts' and that’s ok - but if they both feel they are in this together and want to find a way out of their unhealthy 'dance' they have created, that speaks volumes!
  7. Manage your own emotions. In times of stress, we are flooded with emotions. Each person needs to have the emotional bandwidth. It's not your partners/spouse job to manage your emotions.
  8. Stay on topic. Nothing says let's fight more by bringing up all the issues that you feel are still unresolved. When you are in the midst of a discussion - stay on topic. By choosing one thing to discuss and leaving the other issues to another time, will help each person stay on task. And by the way, this can also be part of your plan! (see # 4)
     

Eventually, you will both get to a better place – one in which you can stay in the conversation, recognize your triggers, and make a plan to stay connected! (Yes, this can happen) By doing that, you will ultimately create a stronger relationship, one that you both believe will stand the test of time, with both people feeling better about they communicate with one another.

Carry on!

Dr. Kristin Davin
Relationships
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Kristin M. Davin, Psy.D. has been in private practice since 2005. She specializes in pre-marital relationships, marriage/relationship counseling, separation and divorce, and d ... Click for full bio

Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI

Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI

Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US

It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.

Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.

Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.

From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.

Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.

How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?


One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.

When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.

To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.


The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
ROBO Global
Robotics and AI
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ROBO Global LLC is the creator of the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index series, which provides comprehensive, transparent and diversified benchmarks representing the ... Click for full bio