Keeping your partner on a short rope often results from fear of loss or abandonment. However, the shorter the rope, the more trouble you’ll have. Having a tight grip is a fast way to lose your handle on the relationship, or worse, live in a state of paranoid obsessive possessiveness that inevitably causes a painful crash.
Checking in to say “hello” or make plans is a nice show of warmth and affection. But incessant calling or texting can spiral into an emotionally-fused relationship.
When inordinate energy is focused on a relationship, and hardly any energy is directed toward your own functioning, you can develop a need to be in constant contact to feel balanced.
After the initial flattery of being pursued wears off, a person under constant surveillance might start hiding innocent behavior. He or she may become annoyed and evasive, arousing further suspicion and monitoring in the text addict’s behavior. The relationship becomes inflexible and constrained, a true example of “the short-rope syndrome.”
The better you learn to be patient and live with your insecurity about the relationship without knee-jerk texting or calling, the more emotionally-whole and grounded you will be, and the healthier the relationship. When you are more whole as an individual, you’re able to give your partner freedom without keeping constant tabs on him or her. Freedom and time apart are essential ingredients for a relationship based on desire and free choice.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD