The video requires a post in and of itself, so you'll have to wait a bit for more about the casual relationship and the inherent problems of these dyads. First, a foundation.
Rubberband theory is a way of thinking about relationships that has been around for as old as time. If your mother recommended that you play hard to get, she has an intuitive understanding of the psychological process inherent in the theory, a part of it.
Relationships aren't games, however, and there is no need to play games with people. Intimacy can be fun, but frankly, it is psychological work. Just try to make it a game of it. Go for it..
Rubberband theory is discussed in books (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus for one) and on blogs, but is much older than we are, for I learned it at the Center for Family Studies/Family Institute of Chicago a decade before John Gray's publication made all the noise, and we're grateful that he did, by the way. Do read his book about planets.
The theory here, the one that I learned, is that
(a) people need people, most of us do
(b) we also need individual space, uninterrupted psychological space in which to think, to live our lives; time to be creative, to work and to relax, all by ourselves
(c) most relationships start somehow and succeed when the needs of two people for psychological space match.
This often explains why parents tend to suffocate teenagers when they breathe within close proximity. A physics major might explain it better, but the needs just don't match.
But let's talk about love and being in a "relationship" that is intimate, although the theory underlies all relationships, parent-child, employer-employee, teacher-student, brother-sister, etc.
We start out as people attracted to one another and subtly negotiate how often we'll talk, get together in vivo, in person. Maybe it's a first date and one of us can't wait for the other to call, to initiate time together. When I met FD (a random meeting at a student union) he asked me for my phone number, but I wouldn't give it to him until he confirmed that he would call, not crumble it up and throw it away. My need for space at the time wasn't sufficiently broad enough to allow, say, a week to go by without hearing from him. He called within forty seconds, not a dumb guy.
You have to know yourself and your needs and be true to them.
So here you are, knowing you need someone in your life and somehow someone pops up, seems to be interested in playing this role. I've Finally Found Someone is in your head, and Bryan Adams, for whatever reason, is singing with Barbara Streisand.
And it's going well until one of you needs more space. The one who needs more space will just take it, usually, for there are no real chains, no leashes in relationships. No one can force anyone else to be with them, to communicate, make love, or even play. And when the person who needs space is gone too long, other songs, angry or sad songs become the songs of the day.
But not necessarily. Emotionally mature people realize that the center of life, the focus of a partner, a significant other, even a friend, cannot be, should not be, themselves. Life is about living, doing, giving, creating, learning, working, that sort of thing. This is not to say that a person shouldn't have a primary relationship, a Number One "go to" person. Having one a relationship like that is very nice if you can get it. Not everyone can get it, however, and we don't roll over and die because we are alone.
Or lonely. We shouldn't, at least.
So surely distance can be frustrating if you're in a relationship that you see as primary, loving, and committed, even if that commitment is sealed with only a handshake and a kiss. It is frustrating for both because
one distances, the other chases, then the first has to distance even farther, which is more work for him/her, and the needier partner has to chase again, and this goes on and on and on, and it's exhausting, frankly, psychologically.
A younger, less seasoned therapydoc will suggest what the therapydoc in the video below suggests, that the person who is chasing, who is begging for more time, more attention, should back off already. Give the space.
Be generous with time and space. This is the gift worth giving and is so appreciated that it truly buys love and gratitude from a psychological-space- craving partner.
The seasoned therapydoc, however, will get a couple like this into therapy and the subtext is different. Sure, we all need space, but the ideal, the most satisfying dynamic in relationships, really is intimacy. Although our hobbies, our jobs, our friends and our other needs for self-actualization are elemental to feeling good about life, it is intimacy with another that becomes a foundation, ultimately, for psychological security and serenity.
Humans are a lot like ducks.
We all need our support system at the end of the day, or maybe the end of life. Thus the therapeutic mission is about getting happy inside the smaller rubberband, not the other way around, and adapting to different sizes. Over time both of us are going to change. And both of us will need to accommodate to it.
This is the best reason, by the way, this theory, for tying the knot, being committed body and soul to one person, one person who will be around when you need someone to bring you tea. Your will need tea.
With sincere, non-accusatory, empathetic communication, all of this adapting business becomes less hard. It is what relationship therapy is all about.
Now, the video. The video is insufficient, of course, because it panders to the intuition and advice of less-than-seasoned therapists who recommend that if you give enough space to your partner that you will live happily ever after. Surely you know that not everyone lives happily ever after.
Not every relationship problem is even about psychological space.
You might say that one of the on-going jobs of relationships is finding the right amount of space, preferably the kind we experience when we first fall in love, the boing-y kind with the right amount of intimacy, the right amount of tension. But when in doubt, shoot for cozying up in a smaller, not a bigger rubberband.
Okay, here you go.