Ending the push pull cycle

What is Push-Pull Relationship Cycle & How to Break It

In This Article

Pushing and pulling as a couple is almost like gameplay. In many cases, one or both participants are afraid of intimacy.

Unfortunately, someone might not have a sense of love for themselves, so they’re challenged to become involved in a structured, secure relationship, often pushing the other person away after pulling them in.

The push-pull relationships are sustainable for a substantial period since there are moments of joy and satisfaction to make each person want to hold on.

There is, though, no possibility for a genuine attachment, nor is fulfillment attainable. More so, each feels a lack of control and no stability, leaving everyone vulnerable to hurt.

This kind of pairing is fruitless in helping to heal old wounds. Instead, it adds another layer by disallowing oneself to enjoy a union that might otherwise make them happy if they allow themselves to experience joy, instead choosing defeat when it seems to be going well.

At this point, you need to consider if it isn’t wise to pursue self-love before attempting to get involved in any relationship. There has to be self-love before a healthy bond can develop in a partnership.

What is a push-pull relationship?

A push-pull relationship cycle is a clear-cut example of “playing games,” but it’s a dynamic that’s not uncommon.

One person will generally play the role of the pusher showering the other person with their interest. The other individual wallows in the “gushing,” developing a misplaced sense of security.

The puller believes there is a bond developing, so they begin to enjoy the attention and feel value in the pairing. Still, the pusher starts to pull away gradually and becomes disinterested. The puller’s immediate thought is wondering what they had done to cause the reaction.

It’s a classic push-pull relationship strategy leaving in its tracks a feeling of instability and bouts of stress and tension for at least one partner. Some people thrive on the push-pull relationship dynamic.

These emotional highs and lows are not something anyone can endure for an eternity. Eventually, innate insecurity and intermittent high-pressure situations become unbearable.

Everyone enjoys somewhat of a challenge, but emotional turbulence is exhausting.

Believing that you have love, value, and acceptance plus the beginnings of a special bond and then having your world turned upside down creates doubt in your judgment causing you to question your ability to make accurate perceptions.

A healthy person, generally stable and balanced, finds push and pull in a relationship confusing, causing them to second-guess what they believed and deal with rejection, creating a wound for the one simply looking for a loving mate.

What type of people end up in a push-pull relationship?

Ideally, for this type of relationship to work, someone with a healthy, balanced ideology towards dating and relationships is ineligible.

The people who involve themselves in the push-pull relationship theory have typically unhealed wounds from previous experiences or have been exposed to unhealthy relationships causing them to develop unhealthy attitudes about partnerships.

Each individual will lack self-confidence or have lower self-esteem than most. One will have abandonment issues while the other will have a problem with intimacy, and these fears will create the push-pull mechanics.

One will initiate the relationship as the pusher. The other will avoid it for fear of being vulnerable to abandonment, and this sets the tone for the varied stages that comprise the cycling that the pair will endure throughout their partnership.

Explaining fundamentals of push-pull cycle in 7 stages

Navigating through the push-pull theory for any length of time takes two distinct individuals to carry the dynamic. These people will consciously fear abandonment or intimacy or do so unconsciously.

Each has low self-esteem. Therefore, one seeks romantic partners to feel valued, and one enjoys someone chasing them to feel that value. One won’t want to be suffocated by a mate, and the other will avoid insecurity in a relationship.

If there is only one of these kinds in a matchup, while the other comes from a healthy balanced relationship style, the pairing won’t last.

Most often, if these two people come together, the push-pull dynamic is there from the start. The cycles can be drawn out at first and then become less so throughout the relationship.

There are roughly seven stages, and they work like this.

1. The pursuit   

In this stage, there are two people with lower self-esteem. Someone needs to make the first move.

Generally, it’s the one with the fear of intimacy who pursues someone they’re drawn to, while the individual with the abandonment fear plays hard to get at first.

This person is reluctant to be vulnerable by exposing themselves to a new relationship. Ultimately the attention paid is enough to make it worthwhile for the boost to self-esteem.

2. The bliss

In the beginning, each partner has a good time finding the experience exciting, with more time spent together, ultimately culminating in a physical attachment.

Unfortunately, push-pull syndrome relationships like these are relatively superficial, with couples not involving themselves in intimate, deep conversations.

3. The Withdrawal

After some time, the person that initiated the union chooses to push away the mate because they become overwhelmed due to the fear of intimacy.

When intimacy begins to develop, it causes the person to consider either cooling things down or running. In most cases, this person withdraws from their mate both emotionally and physically.

4. Repel

The pair experiencing this dynamic switch places to the point because of the abandonment fear; that person now becomes the “puller” or the pursuer to avoid being left.

They will do what they deem necessary to get the attention they were once receiving. The original puller, now the pusher, being afraid of intimacy, is experiencing cold feet.

They want to be alone, finding the situation suffocating and choosing to withdraw increasingly the more the partner attempts to get close. The one feeling abandoned is appearing needy and as though they are nagging or possibly being critical.

5. Becoming distant

Fearing abandonment, ultimately, the person will pull back, acting out of self-protection in case of the union dissolving, so the hurt is less intense.

6. Reconcile

Now the intimacy is significantly decreased. The mate, afraid of intimacy, starts to see their mate in a favorable light again instead of like a threat.

The relationship is a much better option than being alone, so the pursuit begins again. Apologies, attention, and gifts begin as an extension of remorse for the unpleasant behavior to win back the mate’s affection.

There is some reluctance, but the attention is still good for the ego and having a partner is better than the abandonment that was initially the focus.

7. Peace and harmony

A sense of happiness and peace return to a degree with the one person content that nothing became too intimate. The other is merely satisfied that the pair didn’t end the relationship entirely.

Stages six and seven are like one and two beginning all over again – it’s a cycle, and this can continue as many times as the two will allow. It works because, in essence, no one wants the pairing to progress too seriously, nor do they wish for the union to end.

In some cases, couples can go for years in these cycles. In some instances, the emotional upheaval becomes too much for one or both.

Why do the partners subject themselves to the cycle?

The cycle continues because these two individuals who suffered wounds from past experiences satisfy a necessity for the other. It’s not fulfilling, not healthy, not stable, but it’s better than what they see as the alternative, which they believe is being alone.

Each wants nothing deep or intimate, but they want to be sustainable. The stages create a cycle or develop a routine to maintain a partnership without meaning or substance but can last as long as they want to continue with the pattern.

Can a push-pull relationship work?

These relationships can go on for years or even for the couple’s lifespan if they can develop an “armor” to the emotional rollercoaster they’ll experience.

There’s always that not knowing period for the one afraid of abandonment where you have to wonder if that might be the ultimate end. If you experience many cycles that can either get genuinely painful or become comfortable in the fact it’s just part of the “game.”

The one with the intimacy fears has less to lose in the deal due to not wanting anything serious anyway. It’s unlikely this person will be left alone unless the abandonment-fearing mate grows tired of the emotional turmoil and walks away.

Can members of the push-pull game alter their behavior?

For the pair involved in pulling back in a relationship and pushing someone away in a relationship, things can change if someone realizes that the cycle they’re experiencing is not healthy for either of them.

Ultimately someone will grow weary of the extreme emotional toll that a union like this takes and want better, even if that means becoming okay with the concept of being alone and healthy, instead of with someone but continually traumatized.

How to fix a push and pull relationship?

Doing a relationship dance of hot and cold or becoming close and then going distant can emotionally drain the pair enduring the toxicity of this match.

The sad part is that the push and pull are cyclic, meaning there’s not a break from the turmoil; the conflict, uncertainty, and pressure continue until someone finally sees that it’s unhealthy – if that happens.

Sometimes these partnerships go on for years and beyond. How can these partners avoid the addiction and save themselves from the push-pull cycle?

Here are some tips:

1. Identify the problem

Ideally, you want to recognize the dynamics of push-pull relationships

so that you’re each in a better position to resolve the problems instead of labeling one or the other as single-handedly creating the pushing and pulling behavior.

Each is contributing to the cycle equally.

2. Empathize to avoid an ultimate ending

Those who want to sustain the relationship and attempt to remove the toxicity of the push-pull dynamic need empathy. Owning the fact that you play an active role in the unhealthy dynamic helps you understand your partner and the triggers for their vulnerability and fear.

Showing empathy can open up a line of communication between each of you that will ultimately relieve fears and insecurities and help develop healthier attachment habits.

Related Reading: How to Build Empathy in Relationships

3. Recognize how costly these dynamics can be

Couples can become addicted to the dynamics of a push-pull pairing. But the turmoil placed on emotions costs the individuals exceptionally as each person experiences fear, anxiety, stress, frustration, confusion, alienation, plus anger, all of which are wearing and unhealthy.

When you recognize the cost to your emotional health, you can then start to make necessary changes. It’s not impossible to fix this dynamic.

4. Respect the other person as they are

Each person has distinct needs and attachment styles responsible for creating the push-pull basis. In some cases, the one pulling might want to have a lengthy discussion concerning partnership issues to feel security and stability so the abandonment fear can become satisfied.

A pusher, however, will begin to feel suffocated and overwhelmed by these conversations, ultimately withdrawing from their partner.

When, instead, mutual respect develops concerning the other’s unique way of viewing the match, each might accommodate these differences instead of pushing against them.

5. Distance can be refreshing

Pushers need distance to reassure their sense of individuality instead of feeling that developing a partnership might cost their sense of self.

If the puller accepts a pusher’s need to invigorate without becoming anxious, nervous, or critical of that time away, the pusher can enjoy self-soothing without the need to withdraw or repel. Likely the pusher will come back fully attentive and affectionate.

6. Do the work

Instead of focusing on trying to fix the other person, it’s essential to work on healing some of your wounds so that you can develop into a healthy version of yourself. It can contribute to ending the push-pull cycle.

Healing some self-esteem problems until you have more self-confidence helps fight some of the insecurity and fear giving you a better perspective, ultimately creating a healthier atmosphere.

7. Allow vulnerability

When the pusher requests the puller to allow some distance periodically without feeling threatened, the pusher should give something to the relationship.

The pusher can perhaps show some emotional vulnerability. That will equate to becoming intimate at some point.

There are probably wounds creating the need to develop walls around this aspect of the pusher’s heart, but using baby steps, thoughts, previous experiences, apprehensions, and fears will slowly come to light.

For the pusher to be successful, the partner needs to meet their vulnerability with compassion, support, and understanding. If there is any judgment, the withdrawal will be imminent, and the fear compounds.

Related Reading: Powerful Benefits of Vulnerability in Relationships

8. Don’t allow a power play

Typically, the power with this theory goes to the person playing hard to get or distancing themselves while the one chasing is left vulnerable.

It will take a conscious effort to ensure that each person plays a part in making decisions in the partnership, even with small things. All things that affect the union should be shared choices.

9. Assumptions are better out of the mix

It’s vital to avoid developing your version of mates or partnerships in your mind and then finding a way to support the imagery. That will cause a reaction towards your significant other based on your perception instead of what might be a point of genuineness.

By doing this, your partner might make a statement that you completely take out of context because you have created a negative spin on sincere traits.

10. Remember, healthy relationships are not impossible

Regardless of what you might have experienced or witnessed in your history, healthy relationships are possible. The push-pull cycle you’re in is correctable, and you have the opportunity to develop a deeper connection if you each own your feelings and choose to express these openly.

That means without pointing fingers or holding anyone accountable for creating the issues or fixing them but instead working together to change the dynamics.

If you want to understand more about how to break the push-pull relationship cycle, watch this video.

Final thoughts

Push-pull relationships can grow to a toxic level, or two people can recognize what’s happening and work together to alter the course of the partnership.

It takes work, compromise, and exposing a level of vulnerability that might make you uncomfortable. Still, if you believe the other person is right for you, there’s no better place to start healing old wounds.

7 Ways to Overcome a Push-Pull Dynamic in Your Relationship

Intimate relationships can go south when partners get stuck in a pursue-withdraw cycle.In this push-pull dance, one partner seeks greater connection but grows increasingly critical when connection is elusive. The other partner seeks greater autonomy and increasingly withdraws in the face of complaints and pressure.

Underneath this frustrating cycle lies the differing attachment styles of partners. Its estimated that half of all adults have an insecure attachment style that can lead to either a pursuing or distancing stance in relationships.

Pursuing partners fear rejection or abandonment, and seek reassurance from their partners through closeness and connection.

Withdrawing partners fear being controlled or crowded, and seek relief through independence and autonomy.

Here is an online quiz to help you identify if you have a pursuer-withdrawer relationship.

On some level, pursuers know that chasing a withdrawer is counterproductive. But pursuers fear that if they dont try to increase connection it will never happen. This leaves pursuers feeling trapped in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-dont dynamic which can lead them to criticize their partners.

Withdrawers know on some level that the pursuer wants closeness but it can feel overwhelming or frightening to provide it. Withdrawers fear that giving in to demands for more connection will lead to losing themselves in the relationship. The withdrawer, too, feels caught in a damned-either-way dynamic: Give in and feel trapped, or resist and receive mounting criticism.

The result can be frequent conflict, a cold-war atmosphere, chaos or drama. In time, this weakens the bonds of a relationship so much that the relationship may end.

Here are seven effective ways to deal with a pursuing-withdrawing dynamic in your relationship:

1) Recognize That the Problem is the Cycle, Not Your Partner

Withdrawers tend to deny, ignore or distance from relationship problems. Pursuers tend to magnify the focus on problems. Together, they create a push-pull dance that alienates both.

To improve your relationship it helps to recognize that this cycle, not your partner, is the enemy of your relationship.

Focus on changing the dance, not on changing your partner. It helps to view problems as happening to the relationship, not to your personally. This promotes a we mindset rather than a you vs. me mindset.

2) Reckon With the Costs of the Dance

A pursuer-withdrawer cycle is costly. It leads to stress, strain, alienation, conflict, frustration and a lack of intimacy.

Few withdrawers come closer when they feel pressured or chased. By the same token, few pursuers say positive things to a partner who they feel is depriving or rejecting them. Both stances create a self-reinforcing cycle.

While it takes time and work, you can break this costly cycle. Withdrawers need to soothe their fears of engulfment, communicate and participate more with their partner, and be more transparent. Pursuers need to soothe their fears of abandonment, reality test their worst-case scenarios, and be more self-reliant.

Both individuals need to stop seeing their partners as either the problem or potential solution.

3) Honor Each Others Differences and Needs

Pursuers and withdrawers in the same situation can have vastly different experiences of time. For a pursuer who is desperate to discuss relationship issues, an hour talking about a relationship may provide just a taste. But to a withdrawer, an hour may feel endless and overwhelming.

By the same token, for a withdrawer, a day without contact may feel like a breath of fresh air, while to the pursuer it may feel like torture.

It helps if withdrawers reassure pursuers that there will be time to talk and spend time together. That can allow a pursuer to self-soothe.

It helps if pursuers reassure withdrawers that they can have their space, that they wont be criticized for it, and will be welcomed when they return. This can allow a withdrawer to feel free to move closer without fearing they will lose themselves.

4) Anxiety Is the Problem, So Managing Anxiety Is the Solution

Both pursuers and withdrawers are anxious. Pursuers fear being alone and tend to believe that if only their partner would stop distancing, their anxiety would go away. Withdrawers fear being overwhelmed and tend to believe that if only their partner would stop pressuring them, their anxiety would disappear.

Deep down, both want connection, love, and to be seen and accepted for who they are.

Anxiety can bring out the worst in us, triggering primal fears and primitive coping behaviors. In believing that the solution to the problem lies with the other persons actions, both partners give up their power.

In truth, pursuers need to calm their anxiety by coming to know they are sufficient and okay on their own. Withdrawers need to calm their anxiety by learning that they can get close without being destroyed. These realizations give both partners the power to manage their anxiety.

5) Share Power

One helpful exercise is to agree to take turns calling the shots. For example, a couple can designate an hour, an afternoon, or a day in which one person gets to decide what they do and whether they do it together. The next hour, afternoon or day, switch roles. This way each partner can experience knowing their time will come to have their needs met.

6) Question Your Assumptions

Over time we create a narrative about our partners and relationships and tend to gather evidence to support our viewpoint.

If we see our partner as uncaring, we may grow self-protective, critical or dismissive. But what we view as uncaring behavior may simply be our partners style.

For example, if a withdrawer wears a new shirt and the partner asks, When did you buy that? the withdrawer, who may be used to feeling criticized or interrogated, may assume judgment rather than curiosity.

Instead, a pursuer could say, I like that shirt, is that new? The withdrawer then knows there is positive intent in the question and can relax.

By the same token, when a pursuer hears their partner say, I am going for a run, they may feel rejected or unwanted. But if a withdrawing partner says, I love you. I am going for a run now. I look forward to our evening plans, the pursuer can feel reassured.

7) Dont Forget the Magic of Relationships

An intimate relationship is an opportunity to share your needs, fears and longings. Sharing your vulnerabilities is one of the key reasons we seek a primary partner. Dont let the pursuer-withdrawer dance get in the way of this.

If you were raised in a dysfunctional family with insecure attachment styles, you may have inherited a win-lose, top-bottom, zero-sum-game worldview of people and relationships.

This may feel so familiar that you know no other model. However, the template for living that you inherited is not one that you must endlessly carry out.

Magic can happen when pursuers can tell their partners: “I feel vulnerable, lonely, and afraid but I know you are not the source of those feelings.”

Magic can also happen when withdrawers can say: “I feel irritable, trapped, and smothered but I know you are not the source of those feelings.”

Your relationship can achieve a much deeper level if you own and express your feelings without making your partner responsible for causing or fixing them.

Copyright Dan Neuharth PhD MFT

Two-stroke carbureted engine duty cycle

Construction Machinery Handbook

Two-stroke carbureted engine duty cycle

In a two-stroke engine, the duty cycle is completed in two strokes of the piston or in one revolution of the crankshaft. A two-stroke engine differs from a four-stroke engine in a gas distribution mechanism.

The function of the gas distribution mechanism is performed by the piston, which closes the exhaust, intake and purge windows during its movement.

The engine cylinder is connected to a hermetically sealed crankcase, which is used to suck and pre-compress the combustible mixture.

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The duty cycle in a two-stroke engine is as follows. At the end of the compression stroke, when the piston is near TDC, an electric spark jumps between the electrodes of the spark plug, igniting the working mixture in the combustion chamber. The rapid combustion of the working mixture is accompanied by a sharp increase in gas pressure and temperature in the cylinder. Under the influence of gas pressure, the piston moves down to the BDC, making the expansion stroke. At the end of the expansion stroke, the piston opens the exhaust port and the exhaust gases, whose pressure is higher than atmospheric pressure, exit the cylinder at high speed - exhaust occurs. With further movement of the piston to the BDC, a purge window opens and, under the influence of a pressure difference, the combustible mixture from the crankcase enters the cylinder, displacing exhaust gases from it. Thus, when the piston moves from TDC to BDC, the following processes occur in the cylinder: the end of the combustion of the working mixture, the expansion of the combustion products, the beginning of the exhaust gases and the purge (inlet) of the fresh combustible mixture coming from the crankcase.

Fig. 1. Duty cycle of

two-stroke carbureted engine

During the second half-turn of the crankshaft, the piston moves to TDC and the cylinder first ends purge and the purge windows close, then the exhaust windows close and the exhaust ends. With further movement of the piston, the working mixture is compressed. At the same time, a fresh combustible mixture from the carburetor enters the engine crankcase through the inlet window (under the action of the vacuum that forms when the piston moves up).

Thus, when the piston moves from BDC to TDC, the following processes occur: in the cylinder - the end of purge and exhaust, compression of the working mixture, and when the piston approaches TDC, the combustion process begins; in the crankcase - the inlet of the combustible mixture. Then the workflow is repeated.

The pressure and temperature in the cylinder during various processes are about the same as those of a four-stroke carbureted engine.

The working cycle of a two-stroke diesel engine is similar to that described and differs only in that not a combustible mixture enters the cylinder of a diesel engine, but clean air. As a result of a number of shortcomings, two-stroke diesel engines have been discontinued and are not installed on cars and tractors.

This engine does not have a special timing mechanism. Instead, the cylinder has windows: an inlet port connecting the cylinder to the carburetor, an exhaust port and a bypass port connecting the cylinder to the sealed crankcase using a channel. The piston moving inside the cylinder in a certain sequence opens and closes the windows, performing the functions of a gas distribution mechanism. The combustible mixture from the carburetor enters the cylinder of a two-stroke engine with a crank-chamber purge through the crankcase. To prepare the engine for operation, it is necessary to make two preparatory moves: the first move is the intake of a combustible mixture into the crankcase; the second move is bypassing the combustible mixture from the crankcase to the cylinder.

First cycle. The piston moves from bottom to top and the side surface first closes the bypass window, and then the outlet. The working mixture is compressed in the cylinder, and the combustible mixture enters the crankcase as a result of rarefaction from the carburetor. When the piston approaches c. m. t. an electric spark appears between the electrodes of the spark plug, the mixture in the cylinder ignites and burns out.

Second cycle. The resulting hot gases expand, put pressure on the piston, it goes down, making a working stroke. At the end of the stroke, the piston first opens the exhaust port, and the exhaust gases exit through the muffler to the atmosphere. Falling lower, the piston opens the bypass window, and the combustible mixture enters the cylinder through the channel, fills it and displaces the exhaust gases. An insignificant part of the combustible mixture, together with the exhaust gases, escapes into the atmosphere and does not take part in the working cycle.

To improve the working cycle of a two-stroke carbureted engine, two holes are usually made in the cylinder for the inlet of the combustible mixture, the exhaust gas outlet and the mixture bypass. The crankcase of such an engine is dry, i.e., oil is not poured into it. The oil necessary for lubricating the engine is added to the fuel in a certain proportion (1:15 or 1:20), mixed thoroughly, and then the oil-fuel mixture is poured into the fuel tank. The combustible mixture from the carburetor to the crankcase and then to the cylinder consists of finely atomized fuel, oil and clean air.

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Two-stroke engine or four-stroke engine?

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Two-stroke engine


Four-stroke engine


  • Two-stroke engine


  • Four-stroke engine


Two-stroke engine or four-stroke engine, which is better?

Engines are classified according to the way the working cycle is carried out, two-stroke and four-stroke, let's consider them.
Two-stroke engine
The working cycle occurs during one revolution of the crankshaft, only compression and expansion work. Instead of intake and exhaust, scavenging takes place near the piston, while fresh mixture forces the exhaust gases out of the cylinder
The piston goes up, the working mixture is compressed in the cylinder, the intake manifold valve opens and a fresh portion of the working mixture is sucked into the crank chamber.
Compared to a four-stroke engine, a two-stroke engine has almost twice the power for the same volume. But the power is not fully realized, due to insufficient purge.
Also, a two-stroke engine has such an advantage as the absence of a bulky valve system and camshaft, as a result, equipment with a 2-stroke engine is cheaper.
Other two-stroke benefits:
The absence of bulky lubrication and gas distribution systems for gasoline options.
Higher power in terms of 1 liter of working volume.
Easier and cheaper to manufacture and maintain.

Four-stroke engine
The working cycle of the engine consists of 4 stages (strokes):
a) Intake, the piston descends to bottom dead center, at which time a fresh air-fuel mixture enters the cylinder.
b) Compression, the piston rises to top dead center, compressing the working mixture.
c) Combustion and expansion, piston stroke Shortly before the end of the compression cycle, the air-fuel mixture is ignited by a spark from a spark plug. During the journey of the piston from TDC to BDC, the fuel burns out, and under the influence of the heat of the burnt fuel, the working mixture expands, pushing the piston. The degree of “underturning” of the engine crankshaft to TDC when the mixture is ignited is called the ignition timing. The ignition advance is necessary so that the combustion of the fuel has time to completely end by the time the piston reaches bottom dead center.
d) Exhaust, after the bottom dead center of the working cycle, the exhaust valve opens, and the upward moving piston displaces the exhaust gases from the engine cylinder.

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