Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt you were doing all the work? Many people can relate to this at some point. It's frustrating.
Recently someone mentioned, "I have been putting so much effort into this amazing girl that I met. When we're together she says she wants the same things as I do. I see so much of a future. But lately I've noticed less interest on her part. I call her and she takes a day to call back. To top it off, she's not out to her family, so when they come to spend time with her I basically get dumped, not hearing anything all week. What's up with that?"
How would you deal with this situation???
The problem here is the concept of 'turning toward'. Each time you call her you're making a bid for her attention. Each time she acknowledges it, the relationship is strengthened. Each time she bids for your attention, even in the smallest way, and you acknowledge it, the relationship is strengthened. It's like a tennis match; it takes two people to keep the ball going.
The research has shown that couples who have long successful relationships acknowledge each others bids 87% of the time! That's a lot! Realistically, it's probably asking too much that someone you just met turn toward you 87% of the time, but over time it should grow to that level.
John Gottman wrote a great book about this, The Relationship Cure. Couples tend toward breakup or divorce once the bids are acknowledged (turned toward) less that 50% of the time.
Think of a tennis match where one player returns the ball half the time; it gets pretty boring. No wonder it's so frustrating when your boyfriend doesn't call you back.
- The Gay Couples Institute Research Team