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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently started seeing a therapist to get an outside perspective on some things. Today she told me that according to experts, every romantic relationship has one person that fulfills the role of "pursuer" and the other that of "the pursued." (She says she doesn't like to use the word "every," but that experts say "every" relationship, so she will too.)

I think the idea here is that in general there's one person that pushes for more communication, union, connection and another that does less of it and receives the advances of the other one. I don't think this pattern has to be in any extreme fashion, and indeed at times the roles may be reversed, but nonetheless this imbalance is generally present in most relationships, even if at times it changes.

This makes sense to me and is probably accurate, although haven't ever thought of it this way before. What do you think? Anyone have any thoughts or wisdom to share on this? In what ways do you find this to be true or not true in your own relationship experience?
 

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It doesn't make sense to me.

I think maybe if you have an extreme attachment style--like one partner is avoidant and the other is anxious.

Did she give any citation of what experts say "every" relationship has a pursuer and pursued? I can see it in the beginning, but after people decide to commit, I feel like that dynamic should fall away for most people, or it just goes back and forth and becomes more reciprocal.
 

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I think it's true to a fairly strong extent.

In almost all my relationships I have been the 'pursuer' and I prefer it that way. It's not predatory thing for me (i.e. the classic horny male who pursues anything with a heartbeat), I'm actually VERY reserved and spend more time feeling no romantic interest at all. But then someone comes along and hits me like a ton of bricks and I go into pursuit mode, trying to spend time with them, increase communication, etc.

I've had one relationship where I was the pursued. It was my first time in such a situation and I decided to try it out because "hey she likes me and there's nothing wrong with her so this could be great". Sadly I just didn't feel any spark and ended up very unhappy for about two years.

So I prefer being the pursuer, because at least it means I'm ready and willing to absorb all the feelings of love and connection that I am pursuing in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
In almost all my relationships I have been the 'pursuer' and I prefer it that way. It's not predatory thing for me (i.e. the classic horny male who pursues anything with a heartbeat), I'm actually VERY reserved and spend more time feeling no romantic interest at all. But then someone comes along and hits me like a ton of bricks and I go into pursuit mode, trying to spend time with them, increase communication, etc.
I see. Can you see yourself identifying as the pursuer even, say, 4 years into a relationship, or do you think these roles would even out once the relationship was more firmly established (that could be a few months to a year or whatever)?

Did she give any citation of what experts say "every" relationship has a pursuer and pursued? I can see it in the beginning, but after people decide to commit, I feel like that dynamic should fall away for most people, or it just goes back and forth and becomes more reciprocal.
No she didn't but I'm curious for more info and maybe will ask her next week. Someone I just met the other day mentioned this as well. They said that relationships are always a triangle, and a(n abstract) third always plays a role, and that between two people it's never perfectly balanced. This dude had been married for awhile and then divorced. So this is not the first I've heard of it.
 

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Not necessarily in relationships but yeah, I don't disagree when it comes to the initial dating/getting to know each other phase. By the time it hits the relationship phase, you're usually sufficiently in sync that both assume and know when you'll be spending time together. In relationships it's more along the lines that you discuss when you have other plans with school, work, friends or family, than discuss when you'll be together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've been with my boyfriend for 4+ years and my therapist is here telling me that all relationships have these roles. So it's interesting. She definitely meant that it applies to long-term relationships, and not just one's that are just getting off the ground.
 

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No she didn't but I'm curious for more info and maybe will ask her next week. Someone I just met the other day mentioned this as well. They said that relationships are always a triangle, and a(n abstract) third always plays a role, and that between two people it's never perfectly balanced. This dude had been married for awhile and then divorced. So this is not the first I've heard of it.
An abstract third party in a relationship? Someone told me in France it's common to have relationships with three partners but idk.

I can't imagine it'd ever be perfectly balanced. If your partner's strength is communication and they also need more communication to feel satisfied, they might pursue it more than the other, but I assume they might pursue something else less than the other partner.

Idk sounds weird but I am no authority on relationships.

I do think it's unwise to expect perfect balance or perfect reciprocity, because it might encourage score-keeping which can make doing nice things tedious and increase resentment.
 

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Can you see yourself identifying as the pursuer even, say, 4 years into a relationship, or do you think these roles would even out once the relationship was more firmly established (that could be a few months to a year or whatever)?
Yeah, my aim would be for it to even out and be mutual, i.e. we develop a real connection such that she feels the same way I do.

If it's one-sided it ain't a relationship.
 

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I wouldn't go so far as persuer and persued. But I would definately say there is one person who tends to take the lead. Things don't "Just Happen".
I’d want to clarify to see if this is what the therapist meant. Sometimes you do get relationships where one person initiates activity more than the other, but that difference might only be slight. Relationships tend to flounder if neither initiates, though. :whistle:
 

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I recently started seeing a therapist to get an outside perspective on some things. Today she told me that according to experts, every romantic relationship has one person that fulfills the role of "pursuer" and the other that of "the pursued." (She says she doesn't like to use the word "every," but that experts say "every" relationship, so she will too.)

I think the idea here is that in general there's one person that pushes for more communication, union, connection and another that does less of it and receives the advances of the other one. I don't think this pattern has to be in any extreme fashion, and indeed at times the roles may be reversed, but nonetheless this imbalance is generally present in most relationships, even if at times it changes.

This makes sense to me and is probably accurate, although haven't ever thought of it this way before. What do you think? Anyone have any thoughts or wisdom to share on this? In what ways do you find this to be true or not true in your own relationship experience?
I mean obviously there is a pursuer and a pursued. Unless of course you are already friends and the sexual tension just kind of builds into a fun night and than it turns super awkward. In most cases its one party seeing something to pursue and going for it. I tend to be the person who is pursued and 90 percent of the time I am not interested. Most of the time I am trying to be in the freindzone and keep getting dragged out as I am deemed "Partner material" and I absolutly hate it sometimes.
 

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I have never had that dynamic during dating days. I was easily attracted to women and I was also reclusive to approach them. After marriage I thought I am the pursuer and my wife was the pursued but she has had the same complaint from me. She thought she was the pursuer and I was the pursued. Eventually we hit a dynamic, opened our minds a lit more and saw the world of possibilities that exists once one steps beyond the pursued-pursuer dynamic. I think it takes a level of mutual understanding and the element of fun in a relationship cannot be emphasized enough. If you don't enjoy, the seriousness, the silliness, the responsibilities and the freaking out, :LOL:, then maybe you are not game for it. I do not mean you in particular. I mean you as a general pronoun. A lot of people are not cool about that kind of a relationship, which should be fine too. But as a person happy in a relationship, I want to mention that the pursued-persuer thing goes on as long as both parties have performance anxieties related to relationships. And everyone goes through it. But then you grow beyond it and that I think is what you call "falling in love". I can say romantic metaphors here. But I understand, as an INFP, I need to put a leash on that temptation. 😋😂

I believe every relationship can work out (given compatible sexual orientation) if both partners are willing to work on it. What matters, at least in my eyes, is what your hopes for your relationship are. Every one has a different set - our precious hopes that we would share with only that special one, hopefully before it's too late.
 

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An abstract third party in a relationship? Someone told me in France it's common to have relationships with three partners but idk.
This particular bit was interesting to me. I am trying to write a story with one girl in two relationships at once, one with a boy and one with a girl. All three live together in the same apartment. The boy looks up to the girl she loves and the girl looks up to the other girl she is in relationship with. I haven't named them yet. Let's call them girl(1), the girl is the center, and girl(2) the lesbian. The boy and girl(1) are very imaginative while girl(2) is incredibly disciplined. The boy wants to pull girl(1) towards her and maybe keep her for himself alone. Girl(2) finds her relationship with girl(1) just casual but fun. Girl(1) enjoys the relationship with them both. However, the boy's attempts to pull girl(1) are annoying. These attempts are sometimes lame and very much on the face while other times they are intricately plotted to create drama with specific results.

What I want to ask you is where did you find that people live in relationships like three people? I would be very much interested to know more about this.
 
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This particular bit was interesting to me. I am trying to write a story with one girl in two relationships at once, one with a boy and one with a girl. All three live together in the same apartment. The boy looks up to the girl she loves and the girl looks up to the other girl she is in relationship with. I haven't named them yet. Let's call them girl(1), the girl is the center, and girl(2) the lesbian. The boy and girl(1) are very imaginative while girl(2) is incredibly disciplined. The boy wants to pull girl(1) towards her and maybe keep her for himself alone. Girl(2) finds her relationship with girl(1) just casual but fun. Girl(1) enjoys the relationship with them both. However, the boy's attempts to pull girl(1) are annoying. These attempts are sometimes lame and very much on the face while other times they are intricately plotted to create drama with specific results.

What I want to ask you is where did you find that people live in relationships like three people? I would be very much interested to know more about this.
A member on PerC said that it is called a "throuple" and that it's more common in France. Here in the US, polygamy happens but I don't think it's as acceptable.
 

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I've been with my boyfriend for 4+ years and my therapist is here telling me that all relationships have these roles. So it's interesting. She definitely meant that it applies to long-term relationships, and not just one's that are just getting off the ground.
Then she's applying inaccurate terms. Moreso, initiator vs consentor. Notice how it balances out, in that the initiator has the freedom to suggest what they want and the consentor is limited by the initiator's chosen options? On the other hand, the consentor has veto power.
 

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I prefer 'The Chooser' and 'One to be chosen', and it's that 'things just fell into place' relationship style.

The idea is that both parties are interested, but then express this interest in different ways. The Chooser will peacock while making opportunities to flirt/show interest, and the 'One to be chosen' fluffs themselves to be worth choosing and flirts back. This is consenting from both parties in a rather natural way.

I got this from when I recently talked to an ex I'm still close to, when I was spiraling from my life crashing down. I hadn't forgiven myself for Kelsey yet, so I really needed a perspective from before I got as good as I am. She's an INFP, and she told me she wanted to be chosen. That she intuitively knew that she had to have an active role for it to happen.

The biggest sign of someone who 'wants to be chosen' is the 'fluff'ing of one's hair, clothes, whatever. But the internet has already talked those subjects to death.
 
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I prefer 'The Chooser' and 'One to be chosen', and it's that 'things just fell into place' relationship style.

The idea is that both parties are interested, but then express this interest in different ways. The Chooser will peacock while making opportunities to flirt/show interest, and the 'One to be chosen' fluffs themselves to be worth choosing and flirts back. This is consenting from both parties in a rather natural way.

I got this from when I recently talked to an ex I'm still close to, when I was spiraling from my life crashing down. I hadn't forgiven myself for Kelsey yet, so I really needed a perspective from before I got as good as I am. She's an INFP, and she told me she wanted to be chosen. That she intuitively knew that she had to have an active role for it to happen.

The biggest sign of someone who 'wants to be chosen' is the 'fluff'ing of one's hair, clothes, whatever. But the internet has already talked those subjects to death.

It sounds like both of them are choosing each other, and consequently being chosen then though.

Peacocking is literally fluffing of one's feathers.

Idk--I can see how one might take the active role, but it still seems like both people would want to be chosen by each other?

When I think of my ex...I probably initiated (my ESFJ ex) but just enough to let him respond and decide if he was going to pursue me, and back and forth. Our relationship didn't work out, but there wasn't anything extreme in how it started.

I think it's more natural and consensual when it's sort of a stop and go--like ping pong. You know, you leave the ball in their court and if they return it then great. If not, fine. And if they leave the ball in your court, you return it if you are interested, and if not--maybe later or not (of course if you are interested you shouldn't just wait too long because things can change--but to me it's natural to just let it go back and forth in a reciprocal manner.

I'm probably more of a chooser though, by your definition--I'd never just let myself be chosen by someone. That's leaving way too much to chance, and I like to be able to strongly reciprocate feelings for someone...to me it's also a way of giving back to be with someone I really want to and am one hundred percent in with. Because that's what I'd like as well.

So maybe I can relate to that. I just wouldn't want to snatch some passive person up. Someone who has lukewarm feelings or doesn't feel they have a choice isn't attractive as a partner, though they might still be a great person to know.

I guess to me it seems more like a game of ping pong or tennis though--like maybe one person is better at serving, but both people end up knocking the ball back and forth.
 

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Then she's applying inaccurate terms. Moreso, initiator vs consentor.
I prefer 'The Chooser' and 'One to be chosen', and it's that 'things just fell into place' relationship style.

Nah, more accurate terms would be "cheetah" and "gazelle". You wanna be cheetah, or gazelle?

I'll be platypus.
 

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I guess I'm kinda stupid when it comes to this. Pursuer and pursuit makes no sense to me. When I was dating I recall two incidents. First date. We talked late into the night. I couldn't make the first move. Went home. Called her the next day and she turned down a second date. Other girl. This one was attractive but only physically. Sat real close to her outside in a romantic setting. She talked about herself but gave no signal of interest in me. I couldn't kiss her. I could have first touched her but the conversation didn't seem to merit that transition. I didn't call her for a second date. She was a math major. I often wonder if I had been more bold if things would have taken a different turn.

Here is another one. Girl came home, lay down on the bed. Insisted lights out. Somehow her clothes were gone. But she just lay there. I wasn't about to jump on dead meat. She went home. Later she sent me a note apologizing. I never received a note like that. Anyway I didn't call her back.

In every case where I had a relationship there was initial reciprocity. Then it escalated but always gradually. Never a pursuer or pursuit. Any girl who wanted a fella to take command, this was not me. I had to make sure she was interested in me as I was before I made a 2nd or 3rd move. This always resulted in a longer term relationship.

I remember another girl. We were in the elevator to my place. She leaned over and sucked my ear. Inside she got real aggressive. Asked for a commitment before I got to know her. Ugh. As sexy as she was she was not for me. Forget it.

I have more stories but I never wanted any relationship unless it was mutual. When they ended it was pretty clear why.
 

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Nah, more accurate terms would be "cheetah" and "gazelle". You wanna be cheetah, or gazelle?

I'll be platypus.
Yikes. Sounds like a toxic relationship since it either ends in tragedy for the gazelle or the cheetah's left standing, panting its heart out from a lack of oxygen.

Platypus courting entails the male chasing the female in circles. Sounds like a game of who gets nauseous first.
 
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