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#005: What To Do With Withdrawn Partners

Idit Sharoni

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I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in Miami, a relationship podcast host, and an educator. I help couples transform their patterns of communication and heal after infidelity. 


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Feels like you’re in a vicious cycle: the more you try – the more your partner withdraws. Sounds familiar? Withdrawn partners often give us the feeling that they just don’t care. Usually, as a result, we become frustrated thinking we can’t get through to our partners.

If you’re stuck in this frustrating cycle AKA The Pursuer-Distancer Dance, it must feel like you can’t get to your withdrawn partner anymore. Or, you still try to get to them but in different ways that are basically a louder version of the previous ones. It usually goes like this:

  1. Partner A, the pursuer, attempts to make a connection with his or her partner.  Partner B turns away and partner A doesn’t get the response he/she hoped for.
  2. As a result, the pursuer continues attempting by making more gestures towards their distant partner. These gestures are usually more focused in getting their attention.
  3. This usually ends up with the pursued partner withdrawing even more. They become the distancer which makes them seem like they don’t care.
  4. This vicious cycle leaves the pursuing partner feeling powerless and defeated, while the distancing partner feels upset and harassed.

Since I’m here to help and not just tell you more about how frustrated you must be, I came up along with my lovely co-host with this episode. We dedicate it specifically to spouses who are experiencing this annoying type of communication with their withdrawn partners.

By the way, we tend to think that men are more of the withdrawn partners type, but I have seen the opposite as well. Yes, there are many women out there who are the withdrawn partners. So, this episode is suitable for men and women in all types of long-term relationships.

If you feel frustrated and somewhat defeated by this crazy-making exchange in your relationship – stay tuned – and get ready for some life changing strategies that may reverse the whole thing in your favor!

Links mentioned in this episode:

RLT (Relational Life Therapy) founded by Terry Real



The Relationships Uncomplicated Podcast by Idit Sharoni

I'm Idit Sharoni, your podcast host.

I'm an expert on relationships and infidelity recovery. I'm a licensed marriage & family therapist, a podcast host, and the founder of Relationship Experts  - a Couples Therapy & Coaching private practice.

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