/, marriage counseling, relationships/Marriage Counseling: Crying with One Foot Out the Door

There’s a phrase that I hear often from couples in crisis. “My partner is pulling away.” Not just emotionally, but physically too. It seems that when things are not going well or a couple gets into a repetitive negative cycle that one or both of the partners starts pulling away. They withdraw their presence from their partner, and they withdraw their emotional support.  They spend more time on their own, less time together. It’s a situation I refer to as “One foot out the door”.

When things are not going well, the feeling is, “Why should I even try?” This mindset is what causes the isolation and loneliness of unhappy couples. They figure that if their partner isn’t happy, they’re not happy, why should they bother to even try to make things better. After all, one person cannot fix things, and pulling away becomes a protection from being further injured, or disappointed. Then it becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophesy and leads them further down the path to disrepair and separation.

The worst part of this is that it’s entirely unnecessary. Pulling away is a symptom of the problems that exist in the relationship. When one partner begins pulling away that is a red flag warning that something needs to change. If you know this ahead of time you can be proactive from the start and never have to feel this isolation and worry.  If this is happening in your relationship now, it can be fixed and it doesn’t need to be the end of everything for your relationship. You can recognize that pulling away means that there’s been a disconnection between you and your partner. It’s time to reconnect and repair that rift before pulling away becomes going away.

Making that commitment to another person to be there for them, to be a wife, or a husband, or be a part of a couple means going “all in”. You must fully invest yourself in the other person, in the relationship, the family and your life together. You have to know that life is a series of phases or seasons and it’s not always going to be easy. When the times get rough or life becomes challenging is when pulling away should never be an option for either of you. Those are the times in life that are transitory and temporary. You should pull together not apart. All the pain, tears and anguish you’re suffering are unnecessary. You can be stronger together. These times when things are not going well is when you both have to try harder, not less. You remember the love you have and the commitment you made to one another and you work harder on your emotional connection. You make those efforts large and small to let your partner know that you’re in this together and you want and need them by your side to get through this rough time.

If one of you is feeling lonely or isolated, chances are the other one is too.  Don’t make that mistake of pulling away. Pull together.  If you think of the horse and buggy days when a horse had to pull a heavy wagon; if one horse couldn’t pull it, they would hitch up a second horse and they would pull together. Their combined strength made it easier to move that immovable object.

You and your partner pulling together can do more than one person ever could.

It takes your combined strength, the strength of two loving and committed people, to getting through the rough times and staying connected. Make that your renewed commitment to each other today, to stick together and never to begin pulling away.


Subscribe to My YouTube Channel

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought, or concern, feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Facebook Comments


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. His weekend workshop, Two Days: Seven Conversations has become a popular venue for many to set off on their journey of connectedness. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channeland by subscription in Stuart’s Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. He lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona.