The Approach-Avoidance Cycle (AAC) – also known as the Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic, Push-Pull Relationship, or Engulfment vs. Abandonment – is a pattern that emerges in relationships where one individual wants more of something (or wants the other person to change in some way) – this is the pursuer– and the other individual resists or withdraws – this is the distancer. It has been often described as two people “attached by a 10 foot pole”. When the pursuer moves forward, the distancer is pushed back. When the distancer withdraws, the pursuer is pulled forward.
Pursuer – wants something from the other person
Distancer – resists or withdraws from the pursuer