Monday, September 11, 2006

Playing hard to get?

I did a post on psychological space and intimacy back in May that basically tells you that some people need more psychological space than others. But if one partner, the one who wants more closeness is unhappy, then the couple needs to close that space, just a little (at first).

The idea is that although there's usually one of the two who will need more space in couple-hood, we value intimacy. This means, ironically, that it is psychologically more healthier to get used to sharing time than to self-actualize sometimes.

Not that one shouldn't always strive to learn new skills, challenge the mind, and become involved in a community. Family therapists believe there is time in the day for both. We can talk about the value of sleep another day.

So what was I talking about when I said that pulling the rubber band, consciously stretching the psychological space between two people is a good thing?

When one of the two feels crowded, suffocated, and unable to concentrate or get things done, the person who is chasing after that person's time has to pull away, make the space even greater.

A very seriously stretched rubber band still will not break. It represents the relationship, here, and the boundaries a a relationship are always in the head. Relationships are not tangible things.

So when you give someone who needs space the space that he or she needs, the person who needs space is exceedingly grateful. Being grateful, that person will naturally initiate intimacy.

That's why the relationship pundits are coaching everyone (women) to play hard to get It's not playing hard to get. It's playing, Appreciate me, blank it.

In marital therapy, however, a couple commits to making their relationship better, more rich, more fulfilling. Sexier in the metaphorical sense of the word. So we push for intimacy whenever we can.

Copyright 2006, Therapy Doc

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