Push pull relationships can be addictive


Have you ever experienced being attracted to someone and then repelled when then liked you back?

Somehow the attraction is in the magic pull of the unknown and the uncertainty. As soon as the possibility of a relationship or a steady connection lurks we lose interest. 

If the other person rejects us or sends mixed signals we magnetically attracted to them. 

This is a complicated dynamic indeed because of a series of beliefs we hold.

One is that you have to work hard to get something. If something is really valuable it does not come easy.

Another is that we crave the unavailable person’s love and approval because we doubt our own lovability. We believe that if we can get the love of the person it will prove we are worth something and we feel better about ourselves. As long as our love and attention is not reciprocated we feel insecure, anxious and powerless. Fighting for love we believe we can ‘win’ the person over and all will be good. We will have proven to ourselves that we are worth it and good enough. 

Another attractive element of chasing someone who makes us feel insecure and who rejects us is that we get addicted to feeling pain. We get hooked on the thrill and excitement of not knowing. This can be quite stressful with a mix of pain and pleasure, like riding a roller coaster. 

The problem with the push pull dynamic is that often the person we are attracted to is not available to us and never will be. They keep a distance because they are not really interested in us or are not ready for a relationship. They might enjoy the attention they are getting from us, but are not ready to be involved with us. We end up getting rejected. 

Rejection and abandonment may be issues from our past and thus we recreate the pain of the past. Unconsciously longing to resolve the issue we end up reenacting it. When we feel the pain of not being loved and being rejected we feel familiar feelings that often stem from childhood. We want to heal the wounds, but going for the push pull connection we only get disappointed and hurt yet again.

Some couples manage to actually get together with the push pull dynamic being enacted between them. They go through ups and downs and on and off times. One partner pursues the other while the other runs away. Sometimes the roles will switch so there is always a certain balance and distance. This is often a highly emotional couple and the relationship has many addictive elements. Both are looking for love and connection and running away from intimacy at the same time. 

The high we experience in the beginning of a relationship or when we are in love at first is similar to being on drugs. The love chemical oxytocin reaches high levels when we first get together with someone and the oxytocin keeps us ‘hooked’. This is beneficial as it keeps partners together long enough to develop a bond of love. 

However if the partners continue to be in a push pull dance they become addicted to the oxytocin but there is no bonding or security being established. The oxytocin is released and they are soothed when they meet for a brief moment only to be pulled apart again. Often both partners are afraid of love and intimacy. They do not feel love for themselves, so they either long for it in the other or push the other away. 

This sort of push pull attraction can last for a long time and the partners experience glimpses of satisfaction and happiness, but there is no security or real bonding. So the relationship feels out of control and dangerous. Usually it doe not develop into a stable and nourishing partnership. In the end we hurt ourselves and our past wounds remain unhealed. Only true love and commitment might heal some of our wounds.

So if you find yourself in a push pull relationship or attracted to an unavailable person you might ask yourself if you might begin to cultivate self love rather than looking outside for someone else to love you.

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