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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What is the rubberband theory

"Rubberband theory is a way of thinking about relationships that has been around for as old as time. If your mother recommended that you play hard to get, she has an intuitive understanding of the psychological process inherent in the theory, a part of it.

Relationships aren't games, however, and there is no need to play games with people. Intimacy can be fun, but frankly, it is psychological work. Just try to make it a game of it. Go for it..

Rubberband theory is discussed in books (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus for one) and on blogs, but is much older than we are, for I learned it at the Center for Family Studies/Family Institute of Chicago a decade before John Gray's publication made all the noise, and we're grateful that he did, by the way. Do read his book about planets.

The theory here, the one that I learned, is that

(a) people need people, most of us do

(b) we also need individual space, uninterrupted psychological space in which to think, to live our lives; time to be creative, to work and to relax, all by ourselves

(c) most relationships start somehow and succeed when the needs of two people for psychological space match.

This often explains why parents tend to suffocate teenagers when they breathe within close proximity. A physics major might explain it better, but the needs just don't match......

We start out as people attracted to one another and subtly negotiate how often we'll talk, get together in vivo, in person. Maybe it's a first date and one of us can't wait for the other to call, to initiate time together. When I met FD (a random meeting at a student union) he asked me for my phone number, but I wouldn't give it to him until he confirmed that he would call, not crumble it up and throw it away. My need for space at the time wasn't sufficiently broad enough to allow, say, a week to go by without hearing from him. He called within forty seconds, not a dumb guy....

You have to know yourself and your needs and be true to them....

And it's going well until one of you needs more space. The one who needs more space will just take it, usually, for there are no real chains, no leashes in relationships. No one can force anyone else to be with them, to communicate, make love, or even play. And when the person who needs space is gone too long, other songs, angry or sad songs become the songs of the day....

So surely distance can be frustrating if you're in a relationship that you see as primary, loving, and committed, even if that commitment is sealed with only a handshake and a kiss. It is frustrating for both because one distances, the other chases, then the first has to distance even farther, which is more work for him/her, and the needier partner has to chase again, and this goes on and on and on, and it's exhausting, frankly, psychologically.

A younger, less seasoned therapydoc will suggest what the therapydoc in the video below suggests, that the person who is chasing, who is begging for more time, more attention, should back off already. Give the space.

Be generous with time and space. This is the gift worth giving and is so appreciated that it truly buys love and gratitude from a psychological-space- craving partner.

See the entire article @ Everyone needs therapy