The pursue-withdraw pattern is an extremely common cause of divorce. If left unresolved, it will continue into a second marriage and subsequent intimate relationships. As Dr. Gottman explains in Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, “This classical marital impasse is all too common—a wife seeking emotional connection from a withdrawn husband.”
How do couples fall into a pursue-withdraw pattern, and why are men usually the ones that withdraw? How can couples break this destructive pattern for good?
To find out, we spoke to Scott R. Woolley, Ph.D., a professor at Alliant International University in San Diego, California. He is a Founder and Director of the San Diego Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Training and Research Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy at Alliant.