Discuss the rubber band theory.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In order to discuss the rubber band theory, we must first set out what that theory is.  This is a theory that was first articulated by the self-help author John Gray in his book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.  This theory has to do with how men relate to the women in their lives.  It holds that men’s relationships are something like rubber bands.  If there is some amount of tension and distance between the man and the woman (with the “rubber band” of their relationship connecting them), the man is going to be pulled back towards the woman.  However, if the man is too close to the woman, there is not tension in the band.  The man is then no longer pulled toward her and their relationship becomes weaker.  Thus, the rubber band theory holds that there needs to be distance and tension between a man and a woman so as to keep pulling the man back towards her.  Of course, there will be times when the man and the woman are close, but these cannot last forever.  The man needs to pull away again in order to be pulled back.

In my view, this is a very stereotyped view of what men feel.  However, as I am only one man and as I do not have conversations about this sort of thing with other men, I do not know that I have actual evidence on which to base my view of this theory.  I know that the theory is, for me at least, not very accurate.  I have been married for over 23 years and have not felt any need to pull away from my wife and be less close to her.  It is possible, however, that I am not typical of American males, that she is not typical of American females, or both.

I would also speculate that this theory might be more applicable to younger men, earlier in a relationship with a woman.  Younger men who are early in a relationship might feel the need to prove that they are not “whipped” or controlled by their significant others.  They might feel more of a need to retain what they see as their independence and their masculinity.  This would mean that the applicability of the rubber band theory would be greater for younger men and/or for men in the early stages of a relationship.

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