When your partner is withdrawing, what does it mean, and what do you do?
I’m going to break down the good news and the bad news about your partner’s withdrawal in your relationship and what to do about it.
When your partner is withdrawing, it can feel like they go numb on you, you question whether they have emotions at all, you wonder if they care and you sometimes feel invisible.
Withdrawal is the first step toward leaving, so it’s no wonder that your partner’s withdrawal might be unnerving. In some cases, some people might be checked out because, well, they’re checked out! And before long, if they aren’t already, they may be checked IN somewhere else.
That can be heartbreaking.
Your partner’s withdrawal does NOT necessarily mean they’re planning to head out the door.
This post is for those with someone who is perpetually withdrawing, and maybe you’re starting to feel that if this person doesn’t check back in with you, you’ll be out the door as well.
Truth is, they’re NOT leaving, it just doesn’t feel like they’re actually here. And clearly they need to be present in order to have a relationship with them.
Most often, your partner’s withdrawal does NOT signify that they are ice on the inside even if they look stone cold on the outside. It does NOT mean they don’t care. And it does NOT mean that they want to be far away from you, even if they seem to leave the room whenever you enter it.
Numbing out or shutting down is often a result of feeling helpless.
Your partner simply doesn’t know what to do.
They feel like no matter what they do, they can’t make you happy.
I don’t know much about physics, but Newton’s 3rd Law came to me as I was writing this:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
You and your partner’s relationship is a system. A separate entity unto itself. It’s not you, it’s not your partner, but it’s something you have created and are constantly creating together. You can’t NOT have a role in it.
Your worst nightmare may be that your partner is withdrawing because of YOU.
You’re worst nightmare may be TRUE.
But it’s not nearly as bad as you think — in fact, it’s actually good news.
You are having a big impact on your partner because you matter to them.
Your partner is not withdrawing because of WHO YOU ARE, but because of the nightmare scenario that you’ve come to believe and how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and what you’re doing as a result.
Remember, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It’s not because of YOU at your core that your partner is withdrawing, but it’s because of the action / emotion / frequency / vibration whatever you want to call it – that you’re emitting that is causing this opposite reaction.
In other words:
You keep on pushing towards?
They’re gonna pull away.
The problem is that when you feel invisible, your natural inclination might be to make yourself look bigger, louder.
“YOU WILL HEAR ME AND SEE ME, DAMMIT!” you might shout.
And the louder you shout, the bigger you get, the more you push…
The more your partner pulls away and withdraws.
The more invisible you feel.
Around and around you go.
This can be over something as trivial as taking the trash out.
Your partner forgets to take the trash out and you’re reminded (you believe) about how much your partner doesn’t care about you.
So you unleash on your partner and they run for the hills, at least mentally, and you can tell.
What are you to do?
You can’t control someone else, you know that, right?
But you CAN control what action you are extending.
You CAN pay attention to the vibe that you’re putting out and what you’re responding to just before putting it out there.
Pay attention to this:
If you are in the relationship with the fear that your partner is checked out or doesn’t care, the first thing to do would be to find out if that is true, from a vulnerable place, before letting it mischievously turn into an assumption that you then operate from.
Once it turns into an assumption you may or may not be aware of, it can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The best thing you can do is to fearlessly look your fears in the face.
Stare them down.
And realize, if whatever you are afraid of is true?
You are strong enough to handle it.
But most often, your fear is just TRYING to keep you safe.
Safe isn’t fun, it isn’t fulfilling, and EVEN THOUGH it is the RESULT of your best relationship, it NEVER leads you there.
Once you get there in love, you’ll have a solid foundation from which you can take even bigger risks and do so much more.