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19 Ways to Pull Back in a Relationship When You’re Giving Too Much

Romance isn’t always easy, and sometimes you don’t get what you need from your partner. So, you might need to learn how to pull back in a relationship.

how to pull back in a relationship

So, of all the studies that they have done about the success, or lack thereof, of relationships, one proven favorite is the theory of equity. In essence, it is that a relationship is most successful if each partner feels as if they receive their fair share. If you find you give more than receive, you might be wondering how to pull back in a relationship.

There are all sorts of reasons, in addition to the theory of equity, why you would want to take a step back to give you both air to breathe. But, ignoring what your heart tells you by pulling your emotions back is usually easier said than done.

The problem is that if you feel inequity, they probably do too. The last thing you want to do is to either invest way more than you should or overwhelm them to the point where you lose them.

[Read: Putting too much effort into a relationship – Where to draw the line]

Reasons you should pull back in a relationship

It may seem strange to pull back when you are in a relationship and in love with someone, because you should be coming together, right? That’s true. A relationship should be two people who are constantly trying new ways to bond with one another. But that doesn’t always happen.

When that’s the case, it would not only be appropriate, but healthy, to pull back in a relationship. Here are some reasons you should pull back in a relationship. [Read: How to stop fighting in a relationship & 16 steps to really talk]

1. They are not treating you with respect

Every human being on the planet deserves to be treated with respect. And if your partner is calling you bad names, yelling, fighting, gaslighting, or physically abusing you, then you are definitely not being treated with respect!

If this is the case, you should really just end the relationship. But if you’re not ready to do that just yet, you should at least pull back.

You should love yourself enough to say “NO!” to your partner. Stand your ground and demand to be treated with respect. And if that can’t be accomplished by talking it through calmly, then it might be time to pull back. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted]

2. They are being selfish

Some people are just naturally selfish, but that doesn’t mean you need to put up with their selfishness. Some people are too selfless, and that shouldn’t be you! [Read: How to stop being codependent: 17 steps to finding yourself again]

Ideally, there should be a balance of selfishness and selflessness in BOTH people. You shouldn’t ONLY care about yourself and your needs. But you also shouldn’t ONLY care about your partner and their needs while sacrificing your own. There needs to be a balance.

So, if you find that you are too selfless, and that your partner is too selfish, then it is time to pull back. Teach them a lesson – that you will not put up with it anymore. When it is unbalanced like this, it is time to pull back in a relationship to see if balance can be restored. [Read: 15 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or a taker?]

3. They don’t appreciate you

Sadly, most people don’t express appreciation to their partner very often. In fact, some don’t even do it at all. This can be toxic. It is important that both people in a relationship show the other their appreciation on a regular basis.

Think about it – if you do something nice for someone and don’t even get a simple “thank you,” then doesn’t it make you feel resentful? If you cook dinner every night, but never, ever get any appreciation, then you are being used. You should be appreciated even for the “little things” you do all the time.

So, if your partner is taking you for granted and thinks you should just cater to their every need, then it is time to pull back in the relationship. [Read: Healthy relationship boundaries – how to talk about them and set them]

4. They are neglecting you

Many people associate abuse with a negative or toxic relationship. But being neglected by your partner can also be a reason you should sit back and re-think everything your partner is doing to you.

If they are not communicating with you, avoiding you, playing video games 24/7, only hanging out with their friends *and not you*, or not giving you love and affection, then this is considered neglect.

Neglect isn’t as bad as physical abuse necessarily, but it is a form of emotional abuse. Neglecting your partner is withholding the very needs and desires that they have – to be in a loving relationship. And neglect is not part of a loving relationship. [Read: 18 foundations of a relationship that separate the good and the bad]

How to pull back in a relationship and create some distance

If you want to know how to pull back in a relationship, it is all about finding the inner you. After all, a relationship is an addition to YOU, not the definition of you.

So, when in one, always maintain a good sense of self and not get lost in the mix. Distancing yourself, although sounding hard and somewhat foreign, can sometimes be the catalyst not only to save your relationship, but also to save you. [Read: 17 most important things in a relationship that hold it together]

1. Think with your head, not your heart

One of the hardest things to do is to take the emotion out of something. But, if you want to pull back in a relationship, then separate your emotions and think about each situation rationally. Instead of chasing them when they blow you off, blow them off right back.

If you stop reaching out to them with desperation and put things into practical terms, then you make a lot better decisions. Before you take action, ask yourself what you want to happen and how you would handle someone else who treated you the way your partner does.

If there wasn’t so much emotion and history wrapped up, would you behave the same way? Talk through your actions in your head and ask your heart to take a back seat for a while.[Read: The most common relationship problems and quick ways to fix them]

2. Do what you love often

If you want to back off in a relationship, then find the things that you love to do and let them distract you. If you are too wound up in a union, it is easy to make it the center point of your life.

It creates a whole lot of drama that doesn’t need to be. Just for one day, do what you love and don’t give any thought to your significant other.

If you make it through one day, then try for two. You will be amazed at how happy you make yourself when you stop trying to make someone else responsible for your happiness. [Read: How to be emotionally independent and stop relying on others for your happiness]

3. Call your partner in crime

If you want to pull back, then call your partner in crime to take some time off. We all have that one friend who never gets tired of hearing us bitch and also gets us out of bitch mode to have some fun.

The best way to pull back and discover if your relationship is really what you want is to remember what it is like to have fun without the person who makes your life so complex right now. [Read: Partner in crime – 31 signs you have this friend in your life]

4. Stay busy

The best way to stop obsessing about a relationship that isn’t going exactly as you want is to find something else to occupy your time. Move over thoughts and anxiety surrounding your relationship.

If you find yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, worrying too much about where you stand, where you are going, or what is going on, distract yourself by finding something to do to take your mind off of it.

Distraction is the best medicine. Get lost in a book, hit the gym, or just catch dinner with a friend. There is always safety in numbers when you look to find some distance in a relationship.

5. Focus on you by making a goal

If you want to know how to pull back in a relationship and create distance, then find a goal to focus on. Instead of focusing on a relationship that creates anxiety for you, find something else to throw all that wasted energy into.

If you have a goal in mind and are determined to meet it, then whatever goes on in your relationship seems minuscule and a huge waste of time.

Keep your eyes on the prize and let your relationship issues work themselves through instead of trying to control them yourself. [Read: How to focus on yourself and 27 ways to create your own sunshine]

6. Sit back and let them come to you

If you are always the one looking for answers, chasing them, or wanting more, then it is time to take a back seat. Sometimes the hardest thing is drawing a line in the sand and keeping it.

We always find reasons to cross back over and let them take control. But, if you really want to pull back and create distance, then set boundaries for yourself and for them. Let them pursue you for once while you focus on staying strong. [Read: 20 hints to make your partner realize they’re losing you]

7. Set up obstacles to obsession

If you know you have a hard time with self-control, then make sure to set up obstacles that prevent you from putting too much of yourself or your angst into your communication with them.

Blocking them on your cell phone when highly emotional or out drinking is a great way to ensure that you don’t overreact and end up undoing any distance that you put between the two of you when you had your rational mind and head on straight.

There are going to be times when knowing how to pull back in a relationship will be easy, like when you aren’t upset. But, other times when you are lonely or missing them, it will be much tougher, which is why a safety net is an excellent insurance policy. [Read: Why you feel lonely in a relationship and what to do about it]

8. Stay off their social media

Stop stalking their social media. If you want to pull back in your relationship, the first place to start is to disconnect from their social media plug.

9. Have a “safe” friend to guide you

If you know that you have moments of weakness where you will run back, even when trying to pull back, have that one friend who talks some sense into you before you make the mistake of undoing all the progress you achieved.

10. Talk about them with someone you love instead of badgering them to talk to you

If they are unwilling to talk about what is going on, stop trying to insert yourself into their drama and talk it through with someone else that you love and trust. If you need to pull back, you also don’t have to explain why.

A friend is going to be your best ally and your partner your worst enemy when you feel the need to explain your need to pull back. You don’t owe your partner an explanation, and that energy is much better spent talking it over with someone who is on your side. [Read: 16 signs it’s time to move on and end the relationship]

11. Go back to the person you were before you met them

We have a tendency to lose ourselves in relationships that either overwhelm or hurt us or are just too intense. Try to remember the person you were before the relationship.

If finding the strength is difficult, find the inner you before they entered the scene. And, what you will find is that you had a life before. If you choose, you can have a life after, but you need to pull back to get your answers. [Read: How to be independent even when you’re in a relationship]

12. Kind of make it a shit test

A shit test is something that you put someone through to see how much they will do for you.

If you want to know how to pull back in a relationship, and find out how much someone cares for you then, really pulling back, is the only way to make them truly think about how much you mean to them and what they need. [Read: What is a shit test, and how people use them]

13. Figure out if you are better off with them or without them

Convince yourself that pulling back to take some time is the only way that you’ll find if they are the one for you, or if they are the one making you unhappy.

If you don’t take the time now to pull back and find out what is going on, you can easily get swept up. Convince yourself that it is only a break and for a while. Most importantly, convince yourself that it is a necessary thing to do for your own emotional wellbeing. [Read: Relationship break – 17 rules to taking a break and how to plan for it]

14. Stop letting them control your feelings and emotions

If you have a hard time pulling away but know that you should, then it might be the case that your partner controls you with their behavior.

If you know in your heart that something isn’t right and you need to pull back to gain some perspective, don’t let them emotionally blackmail you or use other forms of abuse to keep you in close when it hurts you. [Read: How to know if your relationship is toxic so you can get out fast]

15. Find out what you need to make yourself secure and do it

The only way that someone pulls back is if they have the security and the self-esteem to know that if they pull back and lose the relationship, it wasn’t right from the start.

Find the strength within yourself to know that you can stand on your own two feet if you lose them. After all, if you don’t pull back, then you just might end up in a relationship that isn’t healthy, or on the other end, losing someone you held onto too tightly.

Whether you want to distance yourself in your relationship because you think you are more into it than they are, or just because you generally have a feeling that something isn’t right and they are using you, it is time to take the time to figure things out.

Sometimes we get so deep into our relationships and obsessed with making it work that we can’t see that they aren’t working for us.

[Read: How to know if you should break up – 22 signs that can clearly guide you]

The only way to truly figure out if your current relationship is what you want or what you need, requires taking a step back and distance yourself. Follow these steps for how to pull back in a relationship and help both you and your partner.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...