“I don’t want to convince you to be with me. I don’t want to sell myself to you over and over,” he told her. If he has to convince her, it is insulting. He has presented his case, put his best foot forward and if she wants him, she needs to just come forward and say so and act like it, he told me.
“We are not equals when she does that. I told her, ‘You allow me to love you and I don’t feel very loved in return’” he said to me.
What is the impact on this relationship? Is his perception correct? He is acting on his perception regardless of accuracy.
I keep going back to Gottman on these very common complaints. One partner makes bid after bid to connect and the other picks and chooses which bids to accept. That is okay and yet it has a deleterious effect. If you accept about 33% of the bids of your partner, you are at very high risk of divorce or breakup. The couples that stayed together had accepted each other’s attempts to connect at roughly 86%. Somewhere between 33% and 86% is the danger zone. It is where people feel loosely attached but not securely attached to their partner. They try to feel closer and they gauge whether their partner wants to connect and is able to connect. The closer it gets to 33%, the more desperate the person attempting to connect feels.
Imagine how horrible it feels when you are that lonely and the one who is supposed to love you won’t even attempt to connect, so you reach out and they won’t even accept your attempt. No matter how you feel about that person, the connection is broken at that point.