Most of the fatal dynamics in relationships involve negative tailspins. These are dynamics where a pattern in the first partner causes a pattern in the second partner which exacerbates the pattern of the first partner, which exacerbates the pattern in the second partner and so on and so forth until the relationship in and of itself disintegrates.
There is a common tailspin that occurs in partnerships. You see it occur most often between women and men. However it is a pattern that can occur in same sex partnerships as well. For the sake of this video, I am going to use the most common example of this dynamic, which involves a woman and a man.
To begin with, a man is interested in a woman. He goes into ‘pursuit mode’. He essentially becomes the embodiment of his best self and highest potential. He is super attuned to the woman he wants to secure as a mate. He is goal oriented. The woman is his new end goal and so she becomes his number one priority. He is focused and attentive to her need and wants. He is connected and gives her undivided attention and presence and simply wants to BE with her.
The woman feels as if she has found her soul mate. She has the connection she has always wanted. She feels like she has a partner. And so she commits 100% to the man. She is now attached. When the man feels that commitment, he pulls what is called a bait and switch.
The man has achieved his goal. He has actualized his conquest. It is at this point that he relaxes. He stops his pursuit. He goes back to just being himself and focusing on the next goal and now expects the woman to love him for who he really is. But that is not who she fell for. So there is a withdrawal of his attentive focused energy, which at first was coming towards her and towards connection. And seemingly overnight, he turns back into who he really is when pursuing her is not a goal, which sometimes entails exhibiting the exact opposite personality traits that he demonstrated during the pursuit phase.
I must mention that another potential for a bait and switch on behalf of the man is that the feeling of her committing is actually threatening to him. He now becomes terrified of intimacy. Intimacy in this sense means deep mental and emotional connection, not physical sex. A person can still have sex physically without being intimate. For the man, this fear of intimacy can happen for several reasons. For example, he may fear the closeness of intimacy because he fears that he is going to lose her. Or he may fear the closeness of intimacy because he fears that she is going to become engulfed in the relationship and by the woman and lose himself or of being controlled.
Either way, the man diverts his attention to other things. The man stops the ‘game’ of securing his mate. Now his attention goes somewhere else… Towards his other needs in life. He wants to keep her but seeing as how she is no longer the end goal, he wants to keep her by doing things that do not require that focus of pursuit or deep, intimate connection. He focuses on providing other things for her. In a typical modern male female relationship, this is money. All his attention goes towards things that he believes she needs that do not threaten him or distract him from his new goals. He is no longer attentive to her actual needs and wants. He is no longer seeing her, feeling her, understanding her or connecting with her.
Slowly, she begins to feel duped. She feels like the man she committed to is not the man she is now with. She begins to starve emotionally. She is lonely. She cannot beg him for attention because by begging him for attention, she doesn’t get what she wants, which is to be with a man who wants to be with her. She does not want to feel like he is giving her attention for her sake. Just imagine a man coming onto a woman from the beginning that way. Hey baby, I can’t focus on what I really want to be focused on unless you get off my case, so I’ll focus on you totally for your sake, so you can get off my case and I can focus on what I really want to focus on. That man wouldn’t get a single date. Because of this, she becomes resentful of the man and that resentment makes her angry towards him ALL the time.
This anger and resentment that he feels coming from her towards him makes him start to withdraw. He does not recognize the fact that he pulled a bait and switch. He does not realize that he got her to commit to him by exhibiting totally different behaviors towards her than he is exhibiting now. Essentially, he sold himself as something other than what he actually is. He does not understand that he is giving her no presence, no real intimacy, no connection. He thinks that being on the computer in the same room is being with her or that working on making money is working for her. So he interprets the things he DOES while being disconnected from her as being connected to her. There is always a higher priority in his life than just being with her. And so he feels like he is doing everything he can to try to make her happy and it’s never enough. It isn’t enough because it isn’t what she is actually asking for. What she is asking for is a non-doing. It is a being present with her, like she had with him in the beginning when all he wanted was to be with her.
Because of this, he feels powerless to make her happy. This decreases his self-esteem. He retreats so he can feel good. And now, the couple enters a tailspin. This makes the already depleted and desperate woman even more desperate, needy and unhappy and angry, which makes him retreat and close off to her more, which makes him even less connected and therefore less attuned to her, so he continually demonstrates through his actions that he does not see her, feel her or understand her. This makes her lose trust in him because if he is not connected enough with her to see her and feel her and understand her, he stops acting in her best interests. This in turn makes her more desperate, needy and unhappy, which makes him retreat and close off to her more. Which makes her more desperate, needy and unhappy. Which makes him retreat and close off to her more. Which makes her more desperate, needy and unhappy, and this tailspin goes on until the relationship is beyond repair and it dissolves.
The only way to pull a couple out of this tailspin is by adding back the thing that was withdrawn during the bait and switch… INTIMACY. The man and the woman need time (I recommend four hours a day, every single day) where they STOP doing things that have to be done and just connect completely with each other. See into each other, feel into each other, understand each other, give each other undivided attention. Learn everything they can learn about each other on that specific day.
People are in a constant state of flux. Each person is like a universe that you could never fully explore in a lifetime. There is always more to see and feel and learn and know about a person. In relationships we tend to get lazy and think we know each other after months or years. This is a complete illusion, especially given that emotions and experiences and thoughts belonging to a person fluctuate every single day. This couple is only allowed to DO something together, like hiking or a project or sex IF they remain in a state of emotional and mental and physical connection while they are doing the task.
If the concept of doing something while remaining in connection confuses you, think back to when you were first dating each other. If you did an activity, like watching a movie or playing billiards or going to a party, you stayed connected to them the entire time. You didn’t spend your time with them outside on the phone with someone else. You didn’t spend your time engulfed in the movie; you followed the story line while watching her watch the movie and feeling her next to you. You didn’t spend dinner thinking about something that needed to be done at work. You were 100% with her. She was your #1 priority.
If the man struggles with presence to the degree that he is severely goal oriented, he needs to make a different end goal that involves the woman, a goal that he can’t ever fully achieve or a goal that is renewed every day. Another way of approaching this is that you need to make the hunt of securing a woman something you do even after she commits. And as a couple, you need to begin the art of connecting with each other. If you want to learn about how to connect with someone, watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Connect With Someone.
In a committed relationship that is close and intimate, the things that have to be done (including new goals) have to go in a “box or a container” mentally. Scheduling is sometimes the best way to create this container. Do this so that doing does not contaminate the ‘relationship time’. But the minute this becomes a chore or something that needs to be done begrudgingly is the minute you’ve lost connection in the relationship and you need to address why you do not want to connect with your partner.
If I had my way, the dating game would not occur. Women and men would not act any differently towards one another in the beginning than they would once the relationship was fully established. Or the dating behaviors would continue throughout the entire relationship. We really need to begin relationships as we intend to continue. But nothing is more important to continue than focused and undecided attention, attunement and presence… To simply BE with your partner.