Give Her Space and Attention
Don't assume that your girlfriend or wife is emotionally distant because she doesn't want to be with you. Although this may be the case, it's also possible that she's covering up vulnerable feelings. When a woman feels vulnerable or has feelings she finds difficult to handle, she may substitute distance for her true emotions, according to clinical and health psychologist Melanie Greenberg on the Psychology Today website. Giving her the attention she needs to confide in you can help her express her feelings to you, which will help close the emotional distance.
Ghosts From the Past
Emotional distance isn't a problem solely in the present. A woman's previous relationships may cause her to create a negative spin on her current relationship. If your girlfriend or wife is putting up a wall, it might be her romantic baggage that’s influencing how she interacts with you. She may worry that you'll hurt her or she may not have let go of her ex -- making her keep you at arm's length. If her last boyfriend cheated on her after they finally got close, she might worry that you'll do the same. When it comes to holding on to the past, a study on remarriages and ex-spouses in the "Journal of Social Service Research" shows that past relationships may cause friction in new marriages, unless the couple seeks professional intervention or counseling.
The stereotypical view of men as stoic and afraid to express their feelings isn't always true. Often, women often have a difficult time, too when it comes to expressing their emotions. Your new girlfriend may feel anxious about telling or showing you how she feels. This situation often creates an emotional distance. This doesn't mean, however, that she has no feelings toward you, doesn't like you or doesn't care; instead, it shows that she's afraid. Although you might want to press her to let go of her fear, it is better to wait until she's ready to tell you how she feels.
If your relationship is taking a turn for the worse -- and she isn't ready to come out and say it -- she may act distant instead of breaking up with you. Gradually pulling away is her way of ending things mentally. However, distancing is often a tactic that leads to more dissatisfaction, rather than less, and may make the eventual break-up more hurtful for both of you. To clear the air, sit down together and have an honest discussion about where your relationship is heading.
- Psychology Today: Healing the Cycles That Tear Couples Apart
- Psychology Today: The Effects of a Bad Previous Relationship
- PsychCentral: 5 Things Not to Do in Your New Relationship
- University of West Florida: Ending of a Relationship
- Taylor Francis Online: Journal of Social Service Research, Former Spouse Ties and Postdivorce Relationship Quality: Relationship Effort as a Mediator
- APA PsycNET: Journal of Family Psychology: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: The Impact of Unmarried Relationship Dissolution on Mental Health and Life Satisfaction