“I’ve texted you five times in the last hour! Where have you been?”

"Short-line" Bob LaPoint by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

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

Read “Control Kills Passion.”

Read “Don’t you love me?”

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3 thoughts on ““I’ve texted you five times in the last hour! Where have you been?”

  1. Brianna

    Hi my name is Brianna I’ve been with my fiance for almost 6 months now, its getting to the point where he think I am smothering hin., so I offered to give him his space he said that its not space that he needs its that I have let him breathe a little after he gets off work, I do run to him as soon as he gets home all I want to do is to be in his arms because sometimes I think k about loosing him, never cheating even though I’ve been cheated on before but it seems as though the more I try to pull I’ll just continue to push him away more and more so I can basically say that I’m the persuer and he’s the distancer. It hurts and I don’t know what to do I’m scared that I’m going to loose my wonderful finance for ever if u don’t get my act together. I see my flaws and I know that I’m needy and or clingy maybe its my insecurities or something I don’t know but I want to get better with this issue that I have.

    1. Alison Post author

      Hi Brianna,

      Well you seem to understand your situation. I think you are right. You will scare him away by smothering him if you continue to run to him when he comes home. That is for sure. It’s a matter of self-discipline. You don’t need to ask him how much space he needs. You can sense it.

      It would be helpful if you were busier with some of your own pursuits, friends, sports, work, etc. Instead of always being home and waiting for your fiance, could you engage in a sport or other activity? As you know, when you are waiting for someone, your desire for that person increases. It would be more balanced if he were sometimes waiting for you while you were working or at a class, or learning a language or on a walk or at the gym, etc,–something that interests you. Moreover, if you took on some more interesting pursuits, you would feel more whole yourself and not yearn for him. Loving someone out of fullness is more sustainable than loving someone out of need. Fullness comes from leading a more full, balanced life with ongoing growth. Believe me your long-term relationship will definitely be more sustainable if you start doing more on your own.

      This dynamic of pursuer/distancer will only get more exaggerated once you are married if you don’t start balancing it out now.

      Let me know how it goes.

  2. Pingback: Punishing Partners: “I can’t stand going home after a trip because my partner punishes me for ‘abandoning’ him.” | Healthy Relationships and Solutions to Happiness and Love

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