This Is Why You’re Wrong About Playing Hard To Get

The men who end up committing intensely are the ones who see the woman as their partner, the woman who “gets” them, the woman who’s on their side, the woman they escape to, the woman they love being around, the woman who lights up their world …

This doesn’t happen if he feels like he doesn’t have her. That “chasing” dynamic requires her to keep up her guard and objectifies every interaction in the relationship. It also kills any chance for true love to develop.

Girls think that playing hard to get will make a guy like them, and being too available will turn him off. This isn’t true. Waiting a certain amount of time before texting him back and pretending to be busy when you’re not doesn’t get a guy to like you, it gets a guy to chase you.

Does it work? Maybe a little, in that it activates his competitive drive, but that isn’t the recipe for lasting love. You can’t manipulate someone into feeling something for you … I mean you can, but your true self will emerge eventually … and then what?

In situations where you felt you were chasing a guy, you might have desperately wanted him, but did you feel like you could trust him? Depend on him? Did you feel loved?

The problem with the chase is that it creates the illusion of having chemistry.

Whoever is doing the chasing never knows what to expect, and it stirs up feelings inside that can be mistaken for an intense desire to be with the other person, when really it’s just a desire to get validation by making the other person want to be with you.

I have a friend who always winds up in relationships with guys who won’t commit to her in a real way. She has let a few of these situations drag on for years! Every one of the guys would manage to keep her on the hook by telling her he loved her, he cared about her, he really wished he could commit to her … but he just couldn’t for whatever reason. After finally cutting it off with yet another guy who strung her along for over a year, she started dating a guy who was different from the rest. He liked her a lot (and it was obvious!), he expressed a desire to have a committed relationship, he asked to be exclusive after almost a month, he introduced her to his mom soon after. It was a drama-free, effortless, easy relationship.

The catch? She came to me and said “I just don’t feel the same chemistry with him as I did with the other guys!” When we talked it out, it became clear that the “chemistry” she thought she had with the others was really just her not fully having them. In those “chase” relationships, you get lost in someone else’s drama, and drama can be exciting. You don’t stand on solid ground and never know what’s going to happen next.

Healthy relationships aren’t like this. There is no guesswork and no chasing and no trying to figure out what everything means. Healthy relationships are calm and pleasant. If you’ve never had a healthy relationship, this can feel really weird at first! Once you realize what’s at play and settle into the stability and comfort of a relationship in which your interest is reciprocated, you will realize that it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

Unfortunately, the reason a lot of women can’t get a guy to commit is because they discard the ones who are able to give them commitment, and are drawn to the ones that won’t or can’t.

A lot of women also lose out on the chance to have a meaningful relationship because they try to play the game, making a guy “chase,” rather than trying to connect in a real way.

He’s Smarter Than He Looks

Here is something I’m sure many of you don’t realize. Guys know when you’re doing things to make them chase you! In order to write about men effectively, I spend a lot of time around men. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my guy friends texting with some girl and then jokingly say, “Now I won’t hear back for another two hours, this chick waits at least two hours before answering, I think she sets a timer or something.” At first they’ll put up with it, but it gets very annoying very fast.

One of my guy friends recently went on two great dates with an awesome girl and in between they’ve been engaged in the texting dance. She texted him while we were hanging out and he looked at it but didn’t respond. I asked him why and he said he couldn’t respond right away because the girl never ever does, she always waits a few hours, and he reasoned he would look pathetic if he answered right away. “She’s probably just trying to make me want her more,” he told me plainly. I asked if it was working and he said not really, it was mostly a nuisance, but he was putting up with it for now because he did genuinely like her. It didn’t last long—he gave up on the relationship soon after.

Being too obvious about interest isn’t a problem, yet this seems to be what we’re all afraid of.

We think if we text back right away he’ll think we’re too eager and he’ll be put off. Confident women aren’t concerned with this. Think about it, if a woman is secure and confident, she’ll see her attraction to a guy as a good thing, something he’ll find desirable. But if a woman is insecure, she’ll see her attraction as something that will turn the guy off, something that needs to be “not obvious” or hidden …

Maybe right now you’re thinking: “That can’t be right! The chase is important and it’s the only way!” Fair enough—there’s an element of truth to that. But here’s what’s really at play. The reason the chase is effective to a certain degree is that it creates a situation where a guy has to work to win you over. Whenever we work for something, we become more invested in it; this is just human nature.

However, the work does not need to come through playing a game of cat and mouse. Relationships all come with varying degrees of difficulty, even the best ones. When you can face the challenges head on and overcome them together, you put in the kind of work that gets you to a place of greater connection and a place of deep love and appreciation for one another.

You can find countless books that claim not wanting a guy is what gets you the guy, then tells you how to pretend you don’t want him. Pretending you don’t want someone is not the same as not wanting something from them and it doesn’t matter how clever you think you are, if you’re doing something to get what you want, you are in agenda mode, it’s obvious, and we’ve seen how damaging this can be.

I think friendships are a good model of a natural way of relating to someone. When you meet someone new you click with, you don’t try to force it to be something; either it develops or it doesn’t. If someone comes at you forcefully and is desperate to be your friend, you feel put off by it. And if someone is shady with you, you just don’t want to deal with it. When you meet someone new you hit it off with, you don’t have a goal in mind; you just let things happen.

Try to compare the way you make friends with the way you approach relationships, and see if you spot the differences.

While we’re on the subject of chasing, I want to mention that you should never, ever, chase after a guy. If he isn’t asking you out, just let it go. If he says he doesn’t want a relationship, take what he says at face value and move on. As soon as a guy drops the “I don’t want a relationship” card, instead of his value instantly going down, which would make sense, his value instantly goes up in a woman’s eyes.

Now he is a challenge, he is the ultimate judge of her worth. If she can prove that she’s good enough to be his girlfriend, she will be worthy. If she can’t, then she’ll have to keep trying until she’s finally good enough. The more insecure a girl is, the more entangled she will become in this toxic web. Think of this guy as a drug, and just say no. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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