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JLeslie's avatar

When someone you care about is pulling away, do you just let them go?

Asked by JLeslie (55382points) December 24th, 2010

Someone very close to you. Sibling, child, spouse, close friend for many years. When they have decided they just don’t want to spend time with you, do you just let them dissappear? Or, do you try to recapture fun times and get back what used to be there? It seems to me once they have mentally begun to distance themselves it is impossible. Everything you might try backfires and they find fault with everything. And they want to reinforce their decision to pull away. If you let them drift away, then bye bye, the relationship ends also.

I am not really asking for advice, but more what you do in the situation, and how it has worked for you.

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25 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I let them go and it works out just fine because you are not jumping through hoops to try to change them or change for them.Life is too short to waste time doing that. :)

marinelife's avatar

When someone is pulling away, you can’t change things so you let them go with joy and love.

Then whenever they work out what they are working out by pulling away, they may decide to come back. Or not.

Look elsewhere for fulfillment.

chyna's avatar

Depends on the situation. I have had guys that I was dating pull away and it makes me more clingy. Some I have let get away. In both situations, they went on with their lives. It worked out as it was supposed to. I had a close friend pull away from me and I didn’t know what I had done, so I just let it go. We are still friends, but there’s a distance between us.

SuperMouse's avatar

I tend to just let them go.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I give them their space. As much as we’d like to think we can understand others’ motivations and affect them somehow, we can’t really. People not wanting to be in relationship with us is something we can’t control at all and we have no choice but to accept that.

I had two former friends on separate occasions that I thought were happy being friends with me grow distant. The only thing that bothers me about how those friendships ended is when I asked if there’d been something I’d done to hurt them, they both said no. So I didn’t understand why they wanted to stop speaking to me. But that’s their choice. I’ll never know what odious personality trait of mine it was that they’d had enough of, but that was that. What choice did I have?

Kayak8's avatar

For me, it really depends on how the person is related to me. If it is a friend, I will likely let them pull away (as I find they frequently return when ready). If it is a sibling, I give them space. At this time in my life, if a parent pulls away (my 72 year old mom), then I will be concerned. If it is a spouse/partner—we are going to have a few conversations!

JLeslie's avatar

@marinelife @aprilsimnel Would it anger you if they basically were giving you the silent treatment? You have to figure out they are pulling away because you used to talk almost every day for over 20 years, and then suddenly they stop communication with little explanation? What I mean to ask is would that disrespect (I find it disrespectful) for the relationship cause you to be angry enough that you might not take them back? Or, that you cannot forget what they did, and the relationship is permanently altered? Even if the other person wants to put things back together?

marinelife's avatar

I would be angry at the silent treatment. I would express my feelings that the silent treatment is not productive and is disrespectful and hurtful.

Then I would leave them alone.

As to whether i would take them back, it would depend on what they said and did, how I was feeling at the time, etc.

The thing is that trying to hold on to a relationship when the other person is pulling away never works so it is a useless path.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Would it anger you if they basically were giving you the silent treatment? I think I would have been more angry about something like that a few years ago, but now I’d be more sad, actually.

You have to figure out they are pulling away because you used to talk almost every day for over 20 years, and then suddenly they stop communication with little explanation? That would certainly bother me and I’d probably try to get at an explanation at least a few times, and offer it as them being heard about anything they wanted to get off their chest.

What I mean to ask is would that disrespect (I find it disrespectful) for the relationship cause you to be angry enough that you might not take them back? If that’s their MO going forward, in that they seem to try to get what they want through the silent treatment, then, no, I’m not putting up with that. But we never really know what’s going on in another person’s head, and I weigh it in terms of how I feel. Usually, I know if I’ve done something to really hurt someone and will want to fix it; if that’s not the case, I don’t lose any sleep and they can go on their way. If they can’t be arsed to communicate with me about issues they’re having with me, then, hey. Life’s short.

Or, that you cannot forget what they did, and the relationship is permanently altered? Even if the other person wants to put things back together? If they want to put forth the olive branch, before reconciliation, I daresay I am like Missouri. You’re going to have to show me, a “trial period”, as it were.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Sometimes as people change, you can figure out why they’re changing and if you can adapt yourself to the new direction they’re heading. Often we se those that we’re close to only in one way, but that may not be the person they are in all facets of their life. Not everyone remains unchanged their whole lives.

Cruiser's avatar

Life is transitory and people change….sometimes gradually….sometimes suddenly. IMO, the last thing you do is try and change yourself to manipulate the change that inevitable occurs. Be yourself, stay the course life has laid out for you and enjoy your own life you have to the fullest. If that person was meant to be in your life….they will.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I mean, if someone wants to go, I know that I can’t really stop them. I don’t try to get in their way, either. I give them their space and let them make their own decisions. However, I don’t think that is quite the same as throwing in the towel. That doesn’t mean that I won’t make sporadic attempts to reconnect, or to throw out a feeler to see if that person is really seeing this as a permanent departure. I have had an excessive number of losses in my life, so the connections that I do have are invaluable to me. I don’t like to give them up too easily, but I also recognize that it isn’t right, it isn’t sensible, and it isn’t worth the energy to attempt to hold on to someone that doesn’t want to be held onto.

FutureMemory's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie Well said, and agree 100%.

janbb's avatar

Two friends have dropped with very little explanation in the past year, both quite categorically. It is very painful. With one, I asked for an explanation but never got one. I find that only the passage of time (and talking with still existing friends) begins to heal the wound.

BoBo1946's avatar

If they feel that way, I wish them the best. When I see them again, i’ll be positive toward them and whatever they do, is fine with me. not everyone is going to like me….lesson learned through hard knocks!

If it’s someone I’m dating, not a problem… give them all the room they desire. If it works, good… if not, good.

Bottomline, the things you cannot change, you walk on. That does not mean that I give up easily, but it’s a call that, at some point, a person has to make.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I ask them to tell me what’s going on with them to affect the change, I give them a chance to confide in me or accept I’ll leave off of them and that my track record is, “done is done”. So far is works pretty well to weed out the people who are invested from those passing through.

john65pennington's avatar

I was once engaged to a girl. we planned on marrying each other. she wore my engagement ring for several months. all a sudden, the whole marriage atmosphere changed. she called me over and called off the marriage. why did she do this? to this day, i do not have clue. she would not tell me. i honored her wish. trying to foget her was very difficult.

I later discovered that she had a twin sister in a mental institution. maybe, her doctor told her that her children would also be mentally challenged and thats why she did what she did. i will never know.

CaptainHarley's avatar

There is no way you can make someone like you. It’s like trying to make people vote… it makes no sense.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, surrender to what is and realize the ‘reasons & seasons’ of all relationship.

You cannot force or control another to want what you want, and, if the situation is becoming destructive or painful and no resolution is possible, yes…time to let go.

I recently let go of a 15 yr. friendship/biz. partnership after really waking up to the nature of this persons emotional unwellness.

While wishing her the best I could no longer overlook her behaviors.

A good indication of your emotional ‘health’ is how you are reacting to this withdrawl.

A healthier person may feel sadness and disappointment but will not react with a sense of ‘abandonment’ and extreme fear or anger.

Give them plenty of space and do not attempt to ‘force’ an outcome.

All will be revealed in it’s own time. ;-)

pearls's avatar

@BoBo1946 That is the way I tend to handle it.

stardust's avatar

I find it quite a sad and disappointing thing to go through, but I know that relationships change over time and trying to control the situation makes things so much harder for me. Now I prefer to accept whatever comes my way; feel and then move on.

josie's avatar

People do what they are inclined to do.
It may or may not be what you like.
You can always coerce people into doing what you want them to do (parents and the government do it all the time) but this merely creates a reckoning in the future that has an unpleasant resolution.
So, let them go, but let them know that if they change their mind, you will be available.
It is not that complicated

perspicacious's avatar

You can’t stop that process.

whatthefuzz's avatar

As someone once said “If you love someone, let them go. If they love you too, they will come back.”

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