The Rubber Band Man Defined
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|Mon, 08-30-2004 - 1:02pm|
Over on the Online Dating board (where I'm a CL) some posters were talking about the rubber band effect that sometimes occurs while dating. I posted a definition of the Rubber Band Man over there but thought I'd post it here too and see what you all think.
The Rubber Band Man defined by John Gray author of Men are from Mars Women are from Venus:
Just days ago your favorite Martian was holding you in his arms telling you how special you are and how much he loves you and now three days have gone by and he hasn’t even called! You may even share the same bed and yet you feel like he doesn’t even know you’re there! Why does it seem like he’s got you up on a pedestal one moment and other times you feel like you’re last on his list? Sometimes it feels like feast or famine when it comes to getting his attention… Is this some version of male PMS?
Absolutely not; although it really can feel like it! This is actually a very normal process that most men go through in intimate relationships. Called the “rubber band” or the male intimacy cycle, it’s when a man vacillates between being close to his partner and then pulling away. Men do this for many reasons, the least of which is to connect with their more masculine side and focus on the activities that make them a good provider and partner. And while this is a normal, and natural part of all healthy relationships, it is also very confusing to women. In fact, according to the women who visit MarsVenus.com, it is the biggest source of frustration and pain in their relationships.
Why do men need to pull away?
After experiencing the closeness and intimacy of a partnership—the “we” state, men need to regain their sense of self with the “me” state. Then they are again ready to experience more intimacy. For most men, intimacy is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. They experience it, enjoy it and then become full. They need time and space to feel hungry again.
In healthy relationships, men do not pull away out of anger or frustration about their relationship. If your partner is pulling away out of anger, or is simply avoiding you, there is likely something else going on. Also, rubber banding does not happen when a couple is newly in a relationship. This cycle evolves over time. If he is pulling away early on in the relationship, there are likely other issues affecting his interest that may or may not be related to you.
Reactions by women that may push men away further:
Unfortunately, this cycle can be quite upsetting to a Venusian. They wonder, “Is it me? Did I do something wrong? Does he still love me?” These painful thoughts often cause women to chase their partner demanding an explanation. “Why haven’t you called me?” Or “What’s wrong?” When a woman reacts to the rubber band by chasing, it can cause a Martian to pull away even more—perhaps stretching until the rubber band breaks. He may feel pressured, that his partner doesn’t trust him, or even that he is incapable of making her happy.
Other times Venusians convince themselves that it’s “wrong” to contact their partner; that they must refrain from even talking- and that whoever talks first loses. Of course while they are determined not to fold, they are also waiting by the phone, checking their voice mail, checking their e-mail or checking that lump in bed lying beside them for signs of life.
There are so many confusing messages out there to women. If you find yourself in this situation here are a few things to remember:
1. This cycle is a normal pattern for men- he’s not playing with you. Every woman knows how wonderful it is to see your sweetie after some time apart. His heart feels that for you whenever he pulls away and it’s a positive experience. Let him go… and trust that he will come back.
2. While he’s regaining his sense of self, maybe this would be a good time to regain yours as well. Instead of waiting and worrying, why not visit with some girlfriends? Catch up on your reading. Garden. Meditate. Get a pedicure. Enjoy your life.
3. You are allowed to make contact but try to speak his language when you do. One idea is to ask him for information. Something like, “Remember that movie you were telling me about? What was the name of that again? I was thinking of renting it.” Appeal to his sense of being the expert by asking for his help, or advice.
So...what do you really think of the "rubber band man"? I noticed that John Gray points out that pulling away because of anger or frustration about the relationship is not rubber banding. Nor is pulling away during the early stages of a relationship rubber banding.
Do you really think that it's common for men who have reached a certain level of intimacy (emotional and physical, I imagine) to feel the need to pull away so that he can regain his sense of "self"? Has anyone actually experienced this?