This post references the Acting Metaphors: The Stickshift post.
„Downshifting“ is what I call the process of going from a highly personal and deeply behavioral repetition, to one that is more on the surface. If you are going to downshift, which is certainly something that can happen, then know that it generally means that you are losing the inherent meaning in the words („you’re scratching your face“ being less inherently meaningful than „you’re lonely“, for example). Downshifting can be a result of the actor needing to create space to let off steam or to give their partner a break (both of these are not necessary and don’t lead towards the partner). If it happens, then one way to keep the energy level of the repetition at a consistent level would be to increase how personally you take whatever the behavior that you’re downshifting to: if the face scratching in the previous example is in response to the partner being lonely, then it might take on extra meaning.
If you’re downshifting to give everyone a break from the intensity, then I recommend acknowledging that truth somehow in the repetition. Get that need to cool off out on the table and then start again moving towards the partner. It could be that by recognizing the need to cool off, you learn something personal about your partner that will lead you closer together.