7 Reasons People Withdraw In Relationships

reason people withdraw in relationships

Sometimes, people withdraw in relationships, and the reasons behind them might surprise you.

It’s not your imagination – that sudden, inexplicable distance between you and your partner.

We’ve all felt it.

That certain chill in the air. The posture slightly too rigid and closed off. The tone that is just a little too clipped. The words may be right, but something is off.

A disconnection. It’s like the plug that charges the relationship is only partly plugged in.

It happens in every relationship. It can be as minor as one partner withdrawing for a few moments or hours. Or, it can also prove fatal to the marriage when withdrawal becomes the default position.

So why do people withdraw from their partners? What makes the connection faulty and the charge intermittent?

Here Are 7 Reasons People Withdraw In Relationships

1. Fear of Intimacy

It’s scary to allow someone into your innermost thoughts, dreams, and fears. As relationships progress into ever-deepening levels, it’s common to pause and even retreat for a bit to acclimate to the new level of connection just like a deep-sea diver has to take breaks on the return to the surface. 

This type of withdrawal, when short-lived, is nothing to worry about. It’s simply time spent adjusting and processing before the next level is reached.

If, however, the retreat from intimacy occurs early and often, it may be a sign that someone is not yet ready to be vulnerable and open.

Withdraw in Relationships
Lack of intimacy can cause people to withdraw in relationships

2. Fear of Rejection

This withdrawal-type can lead to a sad self-feeding loop. One partner is afraid of rejection and decides that he or she would rather retreat than risk approach. The other partner can then easily feel rejected by their partner pulling back. You can have a situation where both people crave connection yet are too afraid to risk asking for it.

If you find that you are afraid of rejection, work to address your own needs that allow this worry to grow. If your partner makes a bid for attention, work to respond in a way that is accepting rather than rejecting.

Related: The 7 Steps To Separation: Factors That Contribute To The Dissolution Of A Marriage

3. Flooding

Some people are more sensitive than others; an amount of emotion that may feel perfectly tepid to one person may be scalding to another. When somebody floods, their emotions are overwhelming them. And even though their surface may remain placid, inside they are a tantruming toddler.

When someone is flooded, they are unable to respond rationally and struggle to normalize their emotional balance. When something is too intense, it’s natural to retreat for a time.

Flooding is often a sign of some unresolved trauma, the emotions triggered having more to do with the past than the present.  If your partner is easily triggered, work to be supportive and patient while encouraging him or her to address the underlying issues. If you find that you are easily overwhelmed, make resolving your trauma a priority.

4. Anger

Some people wear their anger on their sleeves, leaving no doubt as to the emotion at the helm. Others are more covert, either because they have been trained to hide anger or because they are afraid of addressing the underlying problem face on.

And furtive anger can often lead to withdrawal when one partner steams in silence. When anger is at a peak, it is often advisable to retreat for a time to calm down and think more rationally. That respite should be followed by an approach, communicating the anger and working together to resolve the broken boundaries. If one (or both) partners consistently fume from afar, the anger will only mutate into resentment, causing a more permanent rift in the relationship.

7 Reasons People Withdraw In Relationships
Pages: 1 2
nv-author-image

The Good Men Project

The Good Men Project is the only large scale, open and inclusive conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join the conversation at goodmenproject.comView Author posts