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Are You the Glommer or the Splitter?

There's an invisible tug-of-war happening in your relationship.

It's not about who does the dishes.

It's not about who tucks in the kids at bedtime.

It's about connection.

And in just about every couple we've encountered, partners unconsciously take on one of two roles.

First there's The Glommer. This is the partner who most craves connection. They just can't get enough quality time and deep conversation. They're always craving more of their partner.

Then there's The Splitter. This partner unconsciously leans out every time the other partner leans in. They need more space and more time apart. And when the glommer really gets revved up, they feel smothered, trapped even.

At this point, it's worth asking: "Am I the glommer or the splitter in my relationship? Am I the one usually wanting more or less time together?"

There's no right answer to this question. It's not better or worse to be a glommer or a splitter.

But bringing this dynamic out of the shadows and into consciousness might just change your relationship.

Because now, this unconscious dance no longer has to happen in the dark. Now, you can see it, talk about it, and turn it into an opportunity to grow.

But how do you do that? Try these tools.




1. Advice for glommers.

So you're the glommer in your relationship. Amazing! You're the superglue. Without you, things might just fall apart.

But here's the thing, glommer. As you may have noticed, sometimes your well-intentioned attempts to connect more with your partner -- well, let's just say that they backfire.

Each time you ask for more, you make your partner feel unappreciated -- like it's never enough -- and sometimes even a little bit claustrophobic. And that makes them do exactly the opposite of what you want them to do -- they split. 

How can you interrupt the pattern? One word: appreciation. 

After a great date night, conversation, or sex, notice the part of you that still wants more. Notice the part of you that wants to say, "This was so great. We need more of this."

We get that this statement makes total sense in your head. But when you say it out loud to your partner, they hear, "I'm never satisfied. No matter how much time we spend together, I need more. More. More."


2. Advice for splitters.

So you are the splitter. That's great too! You're the one who keeps the two of you active in the world, not just spending all day, everyday in a love-cuddle on the couch. Your relationship needs you as well. 

But sometimes you may also fall into the habit of over-doing splitting. You pull away in big ways -- trips, social outings, or work. Or you pull away in little ways -- emails, texts, and digital distraction. 

We know that you're just trying to get some space. But that's not your partner's experience. What they hear each time you pull away is, "I don't want to be with you. You're too intense, too much." 

To interrupt this pattern, all you've got to do is to lean in -- to glom, if you will -- a little bit.

Even though it might feel uncomfortable, give your partner more of your attention in these moments. Listen to them.

Say "yes" to their literal or metaphorical offer to dance.


3. Become a glitter.

There's nothing wrong with hanging out in this splitter/glommer polarity. In fact, it's as natural to relationships as the tide rolling in and out is to the ocean, part of the energetic magic that makes relationships so exciting, interesting, and meaningful.

And yet, as we all know, too much glomming and too much splitting creates conflict and tension.

But as glommers play more on the splitting side of the polarity and splitters play more on the glomming side of the polarity, it's possible that something new emerges.

You may both become what Gay and Katie Hendricks call Glitters: partners who become bilingual, speaking both the language of glomming and splitting.

Glitters gain something amazing: freedom. Now, you get to wander outside the lines of the old pattern where one of you plays all-time glommer and one of you plays all-time splitter.

You now have the freedom exchange roles -- to both want your partner and be wanted by them.

And that might go a long way toward dissolving all that conflict, tension, and stress.

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