The age-old game of Push and Pull. Except, is it really a game? Who invented the rules for this weird, twisted way of interacting with someone we’re interested in? This is also commonly known as one person chasing and the other running. Then after that phase is over, they switch places. You can never expect to be on the same page in this kind of cycle, in any relationship or situationship (which I’m currently experiencing).
Person A wants person B. Then when person A loses interest and essentially ‘pushes’ person B away, Person B gains interest and attempts to ‘pull’ them back in. I guess it’s only natural that we, as humans, go through phases of being interested and then not, especially when life gets in the way and we cannot expect to have the same mentality at all times. However, when this is a cycle that repeats itself over and over again, when is it time to call it quits? How can you ever be on the same page when each person is at a different phase in the cycle, and they can’t seem to get the timing right so they’re both in sync?
This is something I’ve been thinking about for the last few months. I’ve been talking to someone who blows hot and cold faster than a faulty tap. Last night I took a moment to consider the last few months and pinpoint when they were ‘hot’ vs ‘cold’ with me (the words ‘push’ and ‘pull’ can also be used here interchangeably). It seemed that each of the two phases, for this particular person, lasted an average of four to five weeks before they would typically switch to the other.
For example, they would be in a hot phase in which they would pull me in, showing a great deal of interest, and then after a month or so they would enter a cold phase, where they would continuously push me away and shut down my attempts at communication or anything beyond this, all the while seeming totally disinterested and disengaged.
While I was considering this last night, I recounted the last four months and noticed that it was one phase per month on average (hot in November, cold in December, hot in January, cold in February to currently – you get the point). It was then I realised that it changes faster than I can keep up with, faster than I can understand.
Even so, I also have to admit that I have been doing this as well (hot when he’s cold, cold when he’s hot), but not quite to the same extent as him. His phases seem to be more on the extreme side, and once he’s in each phase it’s almost impossible for him to switch or ‘snap out of it’ before the needed amount of time is up. In other words, nothing I say or do can change his mind or even makes a difference to him when he’s entered this phase. To make it even more confusing, I could say the same thing to him at different points in the cycle and receive a completely different reaction, depending on if he’s hot or cold at that point in time.
I’ve never come across someone who flips between the two in such an extreme way, and pretty much every month like clockwork. Personally, I’m able to switch between the two even if I haven’t reached the end of the current phase yet, so I guess you could say that my interest and attention is easily won back. This is not the case for the person I’ve been talking to, though, and it’s proving to be very difficult indeed.
I understand that he may not even realise he’s doing it. I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t realise sudden changes in their behaviour or the fact that they’re stuck in an endless cycle of push and pull. However, the main thing that bothers me in this particular situation with this person is how their cold phase makes me feel. Because it’s someone I’ve known for a long time, it does feel very personal when they are constantly pushing me away and shutting down my attempts to talk to them, due to being in a cold phase.
This kind of behaviour may be subconscious, but it can still definitely be hurtful to the person on the receiving end. Because this phase typically lasts for a month to five weeks, that’s also a long time to be on the receiving end, even if you know it’s going to be followed by five weeks of being pulled close and feeling wanted by that person. All the times when you genuinely feel wanted essentially makes those times when you feel unwanted all the more worse and harder to get through. This is especially true when you know that the person needs to get to the end of the phase before you can expect to see a significant change in their behaviour.
Because this has been on my mind lately, for the first time I decided to tell him how I was feeling (although please note that he’s currently in a cold phase right now). I told him that I feel like nothing I do is ever enough for him, because he pushes me away every time I try. I then asked him why what I was doing wasn’t enough. He didn’t give me an answer for this, but I genuinely believe it’s because he doesn’t even know. Even he, himself, doesn’t understand why it’s not enough or why he’s so disinterested in anything to do with me right now. I doubt he understands his own behaviour, to be honest, as it’s how he’s been for as long as I’ve known him.
Even so, I wanted to raise it because it was bothering me and something which I struggle to not take personally, even though deep down I know it’s got nothing to do with me and it’s all in his mentality. But even my attempts to raise it was shut down and he ultimately refused to engage in the conversation (or confrontation). I’ve come to the conclusion that I just can’t talk to him when he’s like this…there’s literally no way to make him listen or to get through to him. There’s no way to talk to him and you’re not going to get anything back. It’s like he completely shuts down and checks out, and you really can’t expect anything from him. It’s like I have to have absolutely no expectations after accepting that he goes through phases like this, for whatever reason. But because after a month or so he’ll bounce back and be pulling me close again, it makes it all the more hard to adapt to the kind of behaviour that makes me feel unwanted and, to an extent, rejected.
I don’t expect anything to change on his end. I know that people are often stuck in their ways, especially if their subconscious is telling them to behave a certain way. I’m still trying to decide if all the bad times makes the good times worth staying for. It’s hard when you care about the person and genuinely enjoying talking to them when things are good and they are there. It’s a good feeling when what you’re giving to them is being reciprocated and coming back to you, but truly awful when it’s not.
Lucy Rebecca x