The pursuer-distancer dynamic within a relationship is a game of cat and mouse where one partner becomes overly dependent while the other retreats into isolation. According to research by John Gottman, this cycle can become destructive leaving more than 80% of these couples to fall apart with 5 years. Official is here to help break the cycle. This new app is designed to revitalize established relationships and help new ones mature. Daily check-ins, curated dates, and a safe space to express your feelings will help build a healthy foundation so your relationship can thrive.
The Cycle Begins…
At the beginning of a relationship, partners quickly want to get to know each other. Together they are living in solitude within the bliss of infatuation. Sometimes there comes a peak when one partner believes there is too much togetherness and pulls back. They often seek comfort in the familiar such as friends, hobbies, or just being alone again. Their partner feels the tug and seeks reassurance while spiraling into insecurity.
Marriages are not immune to falling victim to this cycle, either. With other responsibilities like work and raising children, sometimes intimacy is not prioritized. When one feels insecure in the relationship or their needs are not being met, it is easy to blame their partner. The distancer retreats, refusing attempts to communicate to resolve issues. This causes the couple to have the same fight repeatedly. As the cycle persists, the pursuer continues to make their needs known and the distancer continues to retreat as the space between them continues to grow. Eventually, the couple becomes complacent with that distance and their once tight-knit relationship completely unravels.
Which one sounds familiar?
Pursuers are open, honest, and great communicators and desire the same from their partners. Speaking in love languages, these partners need words of affirmation and physical touch that must be clearly communicated so they understand that you are both on the same page. They need reassurance that the relationship is secure and usually want to solve problems as soon as they arise. If this does not happen, they become anxious that something is wrong with them or the relationship itself. Partners may describe them as clingy or overly critical, with most arguments starting because they take the distancer’s need for space personally. . Most arguments they start is because they take their partner’s need for space personally.
Distancers are independent and find comfort being by themselves, either to sort out feelings or just to recharge after a long day. They tend to be reserved with their emotions and have a difficult time being vulnerable. They feel nagged by their partner’s constant need for reassurance and retreat because they feel backed into a corner. Distancers tend to show their love by acts of service, which is ill-received by their pursuer partner who doesn’t need their car washed but craves that kiss before work or that spontaneous “I Love You” text. Because of their different communication styles, their partner may describe them as being emotionally unavailable, cold, or even defensive.
The difficult part of this dynamic is these counterparts actively seek each other out in relationships. Pursuers seek intimacy ignoring their need for independence and distancers take solace in their independence overlooking their need for intimacy. For this to work, both partners must reach a compromise and take on a little of each other’s qualities to bring balance to their relationship.
Stuck in the Cycle? Official is Here to Help.
All relationships have their rough patches. If you are stuck in the pursuer-distancer cycle, our app can help you communicate even when tensions are high. Sometimes when emotions are involved, it may be difficult to express yourself in a constructive way or talk calmly without arguing. Grab your phone and write it down. Remember, the key to healthy communication with a partner is voicing what you need, instead of what they are not providing.
Going forward, daily check-ins are essential for the pursuer’s security, but using Official will allow space, the distancer needs. Every day couples can prompt deeper discussions beyond day-to-day responsibilities, allowing for more emotional intimacy within the relationship. The game-like format takes all the pressure off too, making the distancer more comfortable and willing to open up. The pursuer will gain the confidence to call off the chase and give the distancer a chance to switch roles and pursue them.
Carefully curated dates will bring a new spontaneity to your relationship, reigniting the fireworks felt at the beginning. Official will breathe new life into your relationship. Imagine holding hands under the table while dining on new cuisine. Putting your arm around her shoulder while seeing new breathtaking sights. Even kissing while enjoying a helicopter ride over the city. So go ahead, download the Official app, and start strengthening your relationship today!
To read more about my personal experience with pursuer-distancer, please check out Finding Me, Keeping Us .