A client recently asked me why his son, who had been incredibly excited about an upcoming father/son fishing trip, suddenly was saying he didn’t want to go. We got into a discussion about pursuit.
We are so often told to “go and get what you want.” But most, if not all, of us have been on the other side. Sometimes we want someone else to “come and get us.” We want to be pursued instead of doing the pursuing. We want to feel wanted.
No matter what type of relationship – romantic, parent/child, friends – we want to know that the other person wants us and our relationship. When we feel a little insecure in our relationship, like when a son has gone through a rocky period with his father, we sometimes pull back just a little. We are saying “come and get me.” Show me you want this relationship.
This doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic, conscious maneuver but can be more instinctual. We need to be reassured that our relationship is secure. The problem comes when the other person misinterprets this or reacts badly. Feeling another person pull away can feel hurtful or disappointing.
There are really two choices we have when another person pulls away from us. We can choose to not pursue, which can range from doing nothing to lashing out and trying to hurt them because we are hurt. Or, we can pursue them. We can reach out, let them know that they are important, that the relationship is important.
The next time you feel that pulling away in any of your relationships try to remember – it may feel like rejection but it may actually be an invitation. That person may just be saying “I’m in a vulnerable spot right now. I need some reassurance.” In other words, he or she may be saying “come and get me!”