I don't know if this making sense. What I think I'm getting at here is that having your partner's attention is key, if not the key to making a relationship work. Its the kind of thing that we don't really consciously notice or cherish, until we no longer have it. And the scary part is that when that happens, and we finally do realize just how much we like and need it, we'll pretty much do whatever it takes to get it back again. Inside of the relationship, and probably eventually outside of it if that doesn't work.
And that is the point where everything that was, is lost.
When you start pushing against relationship boundaries that you wouldn't otherwise push against just to get a reaction. Like the class bully, any attention is better than none at all.