But now it’s noon. You still haven’t heard from him.
He should be off on his lunch break. Even if he was super-busy all morning, he always checks his phone at lunch.
So you send another text: “You OK?”
You dash off another text: “You still alive?”
Now you’re mad. And kind of freaked out.
Is he okay? Did something happen to him? Is he in the hospital somewhere, unable to speak?
You can’t focus on work. You keep glancing over at your phone. No messages.
You’re itching to call him, but he hates it when you call him at work. He always lets it go to voicemail anyway.
You make a mistake with the document you’re working on, and your boss calls you out on it. Now you’re really mad. Not only did your guy abandon you, but he’s messed up your concentration and got you in trouble. He’d better have a good explanation.
At 6pm, you’re sitting on the sofa stewing when he breezes in, juggling a bag of groceries and looking like he doesn’t have a care in the world.
What do you do?
- Pretend like nothing happened and ask in a fake polite voice, “How was your day, honey?”
- Ignore him. Hey, if he ignored you all day…
- Treat him like the jerk he is without explaining why … until he figures out you’re angry with him and asks what’s wrong.
- Come out straight and ask him what he thinks he was doing. He wrecked your day, all because he couldn’t bother to let you know he’d got your texts.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
NONE of those options sound very good.
They all sound like arguments waiting to happen.
There’s a better way…
And it starts with realizing why you felt so anxious in the first place.
It’s Okay to Want to Feel Close
When you start to feel like your partner is pulling away from you, you feel anxious.
That isn’t because you’re a needy person.
It’s because you’re highly attuned to how close you and your guy are at any given moment.
When he pulls back, even if it’s imperceptible to anyone else, you notice. The warmth you normally feel when you’re with him is gone. You’re cold, and you want that warmth back.
Not everyone is as sensitive as you are to the shifting levels of intimacy within their relationship. Some people notice the lack of closeness, but it doesn’t bother them. They assume that the feeling of distance is a temporary state and nothing to worry about.
You may wish you could feel like that!
You may feel embarrassed that it bothers you so much when he’s distant. You may even try to pretend that you’re okay with more distance than you’re really comfortable with.
But that doesn’t serve you or him.
If you want a close, connected relationship, then it’s okay to ask for closeness and connection.
Having a future with someone requires feeling secure with each other. You can’t feel secure if your intimacy needs are a mismatch, leaving you longing for closeness you’ll never have.
The Wrong Way to Get Close
When you feel anxious, you try to get your partner’s attention. You want reassurance that he hasn’t forgotten you.
But the way you go about it can backfire.
Have you ever tried to get a man to fight for you by making him jealous, pretending you have other plans, refusing to answer his texts, or threatening to leave?
These are called protest behaviors.
What we want is reassurance that our partner still cares. What we settle for is conflict.
When you pick a fight with your partner, or you pretend he doesn’t matter to you anymore, you get his attention—but in a negative way.
He feels criticized or manipulated. He pulls back even more.
Protest behaviors don’t work. What does work is asking for the reassurance you need.
In healthy relationships, boundaries help us feel secure but not suffocated. You can negotiate those together.
For example, you might say:
“It seems like such a small thing to ask you to message me back when I text you, but it would mean the world to me. Can we make an agreement that we’ll do our best to text each other back within an hour, even if it’s just to say, ‘Love you, can’t chat now’?”
You’re not a needy woman to ask for that.
You’re a brave woman who isn’t afraid to ask for her emotional needs to be met.
And that’s the kind of woman who won’t settle for anything other than a healthy, mutual, satisfying relationship with a man who can love her the way she deserves.