Proximity and distance | What makes a healthy relationship?

Have you ever thought about what the secret of many happy relationships is? Mostly the partners manage to create a special balance in being close, but also to leave room for autonomy and to respect the individual need for distance and closeness.

In doing so, they consciously change their respective places and roles in relation to each other, which more than pleases the dynamics in the relationship. Below we introduce you to further aspects of the topic and show you:

  1. why closeness is so important to love happiness,
  2. but also distance should have a place alike.


Proximity and distance in your relationship – the balance makes it!

Two pillars of love

In love relationships many factors and inner needs play a role. You want to feel safe, secure, desired, respected, and accepted as you are. Likewise, you want to covet your counterpart, to feel erotically attracted, to be surprised more often, and to constantly get to know new facets of the partner.

Many demands we make on relationships with couples contradict each other. This creates the feeling of being arrived at through habit, closeness and a secure routine in dealing with each other.

On the other hand, erotic attraction always requires an unknown and new element, even when staying together for a long time. Only if you succeed in establishing harmony between proximity needs and a certain lasting independence between the two of you will the erotic tension be maintained for as long as possible.

And this is not to be underestimated for lasting happiness in the partnership as a success factor.

The couple dynamics and their meaning

In many cases, people are very different in their proximity needs. For example, you may need more positive feedback and more affirmation than your loved one. He or she may be more self-sufficient and seemingly very self-confident in your relationship to each other.

Often, the needs of the individual change depending on different life situations and current sensitivities. It is an interesting phenomenon that most couples develop their own dynamics in this respect, in which the participants show a contrary behavior to each other.

If you have a great need for closeness and are aggressively pushing for more attention in your relationship, your loved one will rather retire and vice versa. From a psychological point of view, there are two very similar fears behind marked attachment behavior on the one hand and avoidance tactics on the other: attachment and loss anxiety .

Both fears are based on a weakened sense of self-esteem, which can be of a fundamental nature or even occurs only temporarily in a specific situation. Most of the reasons for weak self-esteem are previous violations of self-esteem and possibly also basic behavioral tendencies, such as rather anxious behavior (bracing tendency) and defensive behavior (avoidance tendency) .

Out of the different behavioral tendencies you as individuals have developed different patterns to deal with pressure and stress from within and without. One of you wants in stressful situations reinforced the confirmation of the other and attacks, the other wants to make the stress on his own, feels quickly overwhelmed, when the other now seems too close to him. Consequently he flees.

Often you change the roles unconsciously, which constantly activates attack and flight activities. That does not do your relationship unreflectively well. So take the time to consciously perceive this dynamic.

Step back and re-examine the whole thing

When lovers do not become aware of the different strategies for coping with stress and their own tendencies in attachment behavior, a persistent conflict often develops at this point, which sometimes leads to a separation with the proviso that one simply does not fit together.

If you look closely, you even fit together very well, because you each reflect in your attachment behavior. That is the prerequisite for meeting the other person with the utmost understanding and for meeting you. So you can build real close to each other in the end.

Namely, your partner can feel the inner feeling behind the behavior particularly well – especially from the emotional side, which can even somatic, so physically express.

But in order to approach each other, it actually helps build a certain distance. You have to get away from an automated escape or attack behavior and look at the whole thing once without activated emotion from a bird’s eye view. Then you could begin to renegotiate closeness and distance between you.

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Acting consciously instead of just reacting

Your different attachment and stress behaviors will always create a conflict between you as you automatically remain in your roles and act accordingly. Have you recognized the underlying mechanisms against it, you can also put yourself well in the situation of the other. As a result, rigid, automated attack and escape processes deliberately replaced by compromise approach to the other.

Try to take the high emotional part out of the whole and set about satisfying the needs of the other to a certain degree without losing yourself. You become more agile in your behavior and less rigorous in your actions .

There are always many more options than escape or attack available. But you can only recognize that if you detach yourself from the ” tunnel vision ” of an almost ritualized behavior pattern in specific situations.


Nothing works without communication

If you want to achieve a balance between closeness and distance as a couple, there are four essential requirements:

  1. You take the spatial and temporal distance to recognize your each activated binding behavior and analyze.
  2. You talk to each other about what bothers you when it comes to closeness and distance.
  3. Your love for each other is strong enough to accommodate the other, and you develop a more conscious attitude in dealing with stress – both inside and out. In doing so you abandon familiar patterns of behavior and develop new, less rigid and less automatic coping strategies.
  4. You can negotiate openly about closeness and distance .

If you really want to be close to each other, it is worthwhile to work intensively on the topic. Do not get frustrated if it is difficult in the beginning. Here you meet patterns of behavior that sometimes go back to the time of your childhood. These can not be changed from one day to another.

See it all as an exciting trip for two , where you can also learn a lot about yourself and make your life easier. For who wants to remain a slave to feelings and patterns all his life that have long been obsolete? As long as you master these, you can not really come close.

As a couple, give yourself the opportunity to step out of the routine and the established rituals. Analyze how much closeness and distance really does you good in the relationship.

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