Relationships are not for sissies. Understanding the nature and the dynamics of relationships, and learning how to negotiate them requires a proficiency that is not easily acquired. I must be introspective and self-aware, and also receptive to and perceptive of the other. When problems arise either outside of a relationship or in the context of a relationship (and they always do), we tend to develop habitual patterns of responding to the uncomfortable feelings. One of these patterns is called pursuing and distancing. When the anxiety or stress level goes up, some people feel better with more companionship, more closeness, and a solution-based approach to the issue. They figure, if there’s a problem, let’s talk so we can resolve it. For other people, when the stress level goes up, more intimacy is the last thing they want. They are more comfortable with more distance, not more closeness. At this point, they want their space, and would prefer time with a hobby, TV, or the like. What results is an unholy yin/yang of approach and withdrawal, to where the doomed efforts to solve the problem become the problem. Whether or not we are a pursuer or a distancer is influenced by factors such as ethnicity, family history, gender, and past relationships. Neither one is evidence of an emotional deficit. Within all of us resides a pursuer and a distancer, because all of us, to a greater or lesser extent, fear abandonment and fear intimacy – it’s part of being human. The trick is to notice the patterns and, with wonderful irony, for us to learn to imitate our partners. When pursuers practice distance and when distancers practice pursuit, communication can improve dramatically.