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Active Questions

Pursuer or distancer?
Married Life / 12:01 AM - Thursday March 27, 2008

pursuer or distancer?

Are you an emotional pursuer or an emotional distancer during times of anxiety?

(the emotional pursuer seeks close contact and loves to share feelings, while the distancer prefers to withdraw and think).

I wonder if this is a personality thing or a gender thing?

Update: March 28, 2008.
Thank you for the many honest responses. I'm characterized by being an emotional pursuer during the rough waters of r'ships. If I'm experiencing emotional pain I want a HUG, and some encouraging words, I want to talk. I've learned that sometimes I need to back off and put my energy into my own life if the other person keeps withdrawing from me.

- Asked by gettingstronger, A Cool Mom, Female, 46-55, Teaching

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hmmm.... as ALWAYS you have a very thought provoking question, and I am curious about your personal answer!

I am an "emoional pursuer" once I have had time to be an "emotional distancer", that is, once I have had time to reflect about why I feel what I am feeling and whether or not it is rational, THEN and only then am I really ready to talk about it.

That being said, my initial response is usually spot on.. what about you, I wonder... ?

- Response by mspragmatic, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 66 or older, Who Cares?

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Definitely a distancer, I don't like to bother anyone and I don't want them to bother me. It stems from a need to be in control, if you let others know you are struggling, you lose a bit of the facade of being in control all the time. Probably not healthy.

- Response by 2butterfly, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Self-Employed

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emotional pursuer unless Im completely overwhelmed then I want to be alone.

- Response by 1sassychic, A Married Girl, Female, 46-55, Student

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i'm just like i am any other time; i like to be left alone.

- Response by orosganos, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Student

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I personally like to distance myself and just think to myself. I'm not a big fan of sharing my emotions. I try to keep them to myself as much as I can, in rare ocassions I tell my s/o or cousin(my bestfriend) about how i'm feeling.

- Response by flgchick, A Trendsetter, Female, Who Cares?, Other Profession

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it depends on when u talk to me and about what....

its a human thing. combo genes and environment.

- Response by meowbaby559, A Trendsetter, Female, Who Cares?, Celebrity

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I think this is both manifested in a behavior. It depends on the situation and what my state of mind is. All things are never equal.

- Response by citizensoldier, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, San Diego, Military

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I think it's a personality thing. I was mentally comparing how my kids handle anxiety, and some are snugglers and some are hibernators.

- Response by buffalothighs88, A Hippie Chick, Female, 56-65, Other Profession

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I am an emotional distancer as I thikk most men are. I just want to be left alone to sort things out by myself.

- Response by trhjr1, A Guy Critical, Male, 66 or older, Retired

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I do both at different times depending on the problems.

- Response by barbb, An Alternative Girl, Female, Who Cares?, Other Profession

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I distance myself, and I am a woman. So I don't think that theory of "gender" has anything really to do with how people handle their stress and anxiety. I don't want to talk about it. That isn't going to help fix the problem. I use my energy to come up with solutions, then I get busy putting the solution I decided on into action. Once I'm doing that, I may mention the problem, but you will also hear (1) what I am doing to fix it and (2) the anticipated outcome, as well as (3) my Plan B in case Plan A doesn't work as expected.

I never understood the crying and whining that some women like to do when they have a problem or stressed about something. QUITYERBYTCHIN and get off your butt! Get busy doing something to make the problem go away! Whining about it endlessly is not going to help and all you are doing is making everyone sick of you. lol!!

- Response by msheartbeat, A Trendsetter, Female, 46-55, San Francisco, Self-Employed

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I am a gemini, so i am both at different times

- Response by frycook, A Career Man, Male, 46-55, Food Service

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I am not so sure if this is a male or female thing.

I have noticed that people in genral will turn to there close friends and share their feelings. but withdraw and distance themself from the person that has caused them pain.

- Response by dana1148, A Player, Female, 36-45, Philadelphia, Who Cares?

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distancer...big time ! to the point of seeming cold but i like to deal with MY issues in MY own way. seems most women are pursuers so maybe it is not gender related cause i'm a female & the exact opposite...

- Response by virgomama, A Creative, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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I want to be a pursuer, but in times of stress there is no one for me to pursue in that way, so I keep it to myself. That's partially a male thing, but it's also because I have no one in my life with whom I can be completely honest. People depend on me too much and if I were to be critical in any way they would be really hurt. Also, if I were to show weakness in any way, they would lose faith. Just the way it is for me.

- Response by strongnrelaxed, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, New York, Executive

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I'm more of a distancer, but I often get irritable because I wish I could have close contact, but I don't out of my own choice :-/ yeah I know I'm a little crazy.. I think it's more of a personality thing, I know some men who are distancers and those who are pursuers.

- Response by pearlndew, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Who Cares?

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i would like to think somewhat of both embrace my personality.

peace. kitkat

- Response by kitkat19, A Thinker, Female, 56-65

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im personally am a emotionally distancer

- Response by red8, A Player, Female, 46-55, Charlotte, Transportation

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at times i am both....

- Response by arewethereyet, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Political / Government

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It could as well be an environmental thing. I am a distancer in terms of feelings and a pursuer about solving the problem that is causing the anxiety. It wasn't always so.


- Response by rekkonball, A Guy Critical, Male, 66 or older, Retired

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I think it's more of a gender thing.

Personally, I am an emotional pursuer

- Response by ashton05, An Engaged Girl, Female, 29-35, Teaching

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I'm a distancer.

- Response by cher101, A Sweet Sarah, Female, 56-65, Self-Employed

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Well, while I'm actually crying or freaking out I usually prefer to be alone because I find it humiliating. If I'm upset but under control I like to talk it out with people, it helps me out a lot to be able to talk to someone.

- Response by xxpandoraxx, An Alternative Girl, Female, 26-28

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I am an emtotional distancer at first because I would like to think about what it is that has 'bothered' me, how I could handle it and whether I should talk about it with whomever it was that 'hurt/angered/bothered' me...then I will usually discuss what I am going to do with people I feel I can trust...I've done a bit of research on personality and have found that emotionality is something that becomes a part of our personality(although some people believe it's a gender thing) through the things we experience, the people who help to 'teach' us to deal with things and the way we are brought up(if we were allowed to show emotion or not)...some men are actually emotional pursuers, according to some research, and yet, many will not go against 'society's beliefs' because they do not want to seem too 'feminine' so they will usually struggle with the emotions they have...:D

- Response by fastball, A Cool Mom, Female, 36-45, Edmonton, Self-Employed

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I'm a distancer even when I talk to my friends about an anxiety I go through. Because in that case I want them to advice me what to do, not feeling sorry for me.

- Response by troublemaker, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 29-35, Managerial

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It's definitely a personality thing--as you can tell from the answers.

I'm pretty much an emotional distancer--when I'm under a lot of stress I tend to withdraw from people until I've gotten myself through the stressful situation.

There are limits, of course--if the stressful situation necessarily involves someone else, I have to include the people it involves, but usually it just involves me (my career is in academia).

- Response by electragold21, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, New York, Teaching

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I'm an emotional distancer during times of anxiety, because I do prefer to withdraw & think...That's probably not the best
thing for everybody to do during anxious times, but it seems to work for me...I'm a woman, so for me, I think it's a personality thing...but in general most men are usually more likely to do this..:)

- Response by linne, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Artist / Musician / Writer

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I'm a emotional pursuer. I do not appreciate when people I cared about shut me out. In a great relationship, beside other attributes, going through thick and thin and never let go is a must, I would join them and want to help when rough time is coming. On the other hand, if thing didn't work out after many chances, I would distance myself and withdraw at once when I'm ready.

Yes, I think it's a personal things depends on how intense your heart and how strong your desire are. Men is the same when it comes to personal I suppose.

- Response by azianchemistry, A Player, Female, 46-55, San Francisco, Who Cares?

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a distancer, I prefer withdrawing and avoid closeness.

- Response by shalimar, A Thinker, Female, 46-55

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distancer for Life

- Response by A Creative, Male, 29-35, Johannesburg, Internet / New Media

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Surprise a distancer. I prefer being alone and keep a lot of things to myself.

- Response by atticus, A Guy Critical, Male, 46-55, Atlanta, Managerial

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I withdraw so I can think about my problem.

- Response by seductivepisces9, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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Emotiona pursuer. If I am really comfortable with someone, I love to share my feelings and have close contact. I only distance myself a little when I am torn about something and don't want to really talk to anyone and that happens rarely and only for a day or two. Usually I will just turn my cell phone off and not answer home phone if its the weekend and not answer nor write emails.

- Response by jpm51, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Baltimore, Administrative

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I am a definite emotional distancer but I as I mature I learn to reach out more.

- Response by kcsmom, A Thinker, Female, 46-55

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I'm an emotional pursuer. My only problem is I am pursuing the emotional distancer.

- Response by suess, An Alternative Girl, Female, 46-55

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Distancer. It allows me to think logically and not be influenced by the emotions of others. I have a few friends who are great in tight situations and would seek their advice. But not emotions

- Response by smartblond, A Sweet Sarah, Female, Who Cares?, Charlotte, Self-Employed

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You probably know me better than anyone else on AO. I'm like most men on here, and overall, I see. We really need our space during emotional conflicts. Whether it's being in touch with our testosterone levels or aggression reaction, we know it's best to pull back or we'll do or say something that we'll regret. Usually the first thoughts are to retaliate and defend. But learning to be better communicators, we know that we need to get that kind of thinking out of the way in order to better say what we mean instead of defending ourselves.

My initial thought on emotional pursurers is that they want to make things right right away, when we "distancers" need our space to assemble what just went wrong. We love you just the same, but the term "breathing room" is right on the money, because without it, we feel suffocated. Sometimes the best thing you can do for most men is to lock them in their room for a few hours. Then without saying a word, give them a big hug. They will make it up in spades.

- Response by rhunt0210, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 46-55, Other Profession

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I believe that I am a typical scorpio person who periodically withdraws from the world to mull things over, when times are tough. Then I become more of a pursuer and seek out advice from trusted friends and family..........I think it is personality and not a gender issue....Great question....Cindy

- Response by 1pghpafemale, A Sweet Sarah, Female, 46-55, Pittsburgh, Artist / Musician / Writer

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All things in the universe are relative.

There are time when you want to reach out and just hug some one... but you know that you cant. There are times that you hug someone, and you know that you shouldnt... and, there are times when you hug someone and it means no more then a glance in a crowd at someone that you will never see again.

The ones that count are most are often the one ones that you never really get... you know that they are there... you know that you could call for and get them if you had to... BUT, you can close your eyes and feel them... they are always there, they are always there and they are the ones that really count the most.

I'm more of a "dont push the issue" kind of person. Everyone has to do what they have to do. If someone needs someone solid to cling to in rough waters... I can be that person; they just have to grab on. If someone is the kind of person that needs to swim to the shore on there own, I will wait and just make sure that they dont go down for the last time...

To answer your question, I'm more of a dad... like when your father followed beside you the first time you took your training wheels off your bike... I'll make sure that you dont fall; but I'll give you every opportunity to do it youeself... if thats what you want and need.

- Response by leewiser, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, St.Louis

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I am a pursuer I try to open up but someone I was involved with shut down and now I have become distant. I am afraid to open up with anyone at all now because of how he done with me...

- Response by mysteriousheart, A Trendsetter, Female, 46-55, Medical / Dental

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