Here s a most excellent letter about a question that every woman has asked at some point in her life: “Why is it that a guy fiercely pursues a woman at first, and then when he finds out she is actually interested he is not so sure if he is interested anymore? And then his interest wanes and he starts treating her like an option instead of a priority? When can you let a guy know you are interested! At what stage? Is dating just one big game? How do you get a guy to treat you like priority instead of an option? For background, I’m 79, live in Australia, and I’ve been on 5 dates with this guy so far but we haven’t kissed yet.
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” SheilaWell well. An excellent question that has been posed by women since time immemorial. There he was, totally interested, looking dapper in his buffalo skin while nonchalantly swinging his club at the cave entrance, offering you some freshly killed mastodon meat. There he was, showing up outside your castle window every day in his mostly shiny but frankly also a little rusty armor, strumming his lute and warbling his troubadour songs. ” There he was, texting you right back when you texted him, even asking you out on actual grown-up dates to actual grown-up places like concerts and lectures, and then… poof. What is up with that? ! Why do men lose interest? What, if anything, could you have done differently? Now, I don’t know exactly what was going on in your particular situation, Sheila, since I wasn’t there. However, I do know that I have been that man many, many times. Heck, I’m probably losing interest in someone right now, completely unbeknownst to myself but setting the mind of the poor lass on fire, and not necessarily in a good way. One saving grace is that most people, male or female, usually aren’t doing this stuff deliberately. It’s more accurate to attribute this kind of behavior to cluelessness rather than malice, with also makes it easier on you. In the meantime, it still sucks to be on the receiving end. So let’s go through some scenarios to make sense of this and maybe give you some tools for handling it in the future. There are forces that strengthen the bond between two people, and forces that weaken it. For example, seeing a lot of each other generally strengthens the bond. Living far apart weakens the bond. Kissing and sex create bonding, since you’re producing bonding chemicals like oxytocin, which is why they re called bonding chemicals. Shared values bond their violation separates. If the net forces bonding a couple are greater than those separating them, they tend to stay together. Otherwise, they come apart. So far, so obvious. Two strangers are gambling on each other, hoping something may come of it. As a result, nobody’s willing to invest a whole hell of a lot of themselves in anything.
Why waste time when a better match is around the corner? You support the wrong candidate? Forget about it. You own a yappy purse dog? Or a cat that sheds? What, you’re a lawyer? You’re part of that religion? Eww yuck blech. Early on, people will eliminate a perfectly decent human from contention as Mr or Ms Right based on the most trivial and even spurious data that has little bearing on how well they’ll get along as a couple. If you think this is lame and stupid, I wholeheartedly agree. I also urge you to stop doing it yourself, so at the very least you’re part of the solution, not the problem. In every interaction, whether on phone, online or in person, keep in mind, “There’s a real human being on the other end, and a small but nonzero chance this guy/girl could be my future ex-spouse. ” So be nice now, and pay attention. Relatives and pets die. People get fired. Divorces don’t get finalized. Tax season hits. Oh no, final exams! People get sued, sick, or sick of getting sued. As a result, the stress levels of your paramour go through the roof, and your budding romance goes from Priority #6 to #78, right between “start watercolor lessons” and “re-string ukelele. ”Here, let me share a story with you: some time ago, over the course of one week I had two first dates that I thought went reasonably well, concluding in semi-torrid makeout sessions. In my naïveté, I even considered one of the ladies to be marriage material. In the space of one week, one’s aunt died, and the other one’s father committed suicide by drinking Drano. Never saw either of them again. Now, if you’re already pretty well-bonded, these catastrophic events may even make you seek solace and support in one another, strengthening your bond.
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G. After first date), it just blows things apart like a roadside improvised explosive device. Usually permanently. Time to move on. ANTIDOTE: This is not the kind of thing you can prevent or control. Shit happens. The key take-away from this is that you should not take such vanishings personally. Even when you’re 655% sure it’s about you, it’s almost never about you. If you were to remember one of the from Don Miguel Ruiz’s Toltec wisdom, let it be #7: don’t take anything personally. Even if it is about you, thinking that it’s not about you keeps you saner in the long run. Or, 95. 9% of the time, he’s just thinking, hey, there’s an outside chance I could get laid here. Do men really have all these thoughts? Well, this man has. And I bet many other men have, too. So you need to know what you’re getting yourself into, and to compare that with what you would like to get yourself into. If you want fling and he’s thinking ring, there’s no ka-ching. If you want steady boyfriend leading to marriage and 7. 8 kids and he wants Wednesday Arm Candy #8, we have a mismatch. And if his interest in you is limited from the start, then things can only go so far. ANTIDOTE: Know what you’re getting yourself into. ”Imagine you’re a lion on the African savanna, stalking a gazelle. You’re thinking, “Aw man, this is going to be great.
This is going to be tasty. I’m dying to dig into this gazelle. Munchtime! ” Your senses are on high alert, and you just can’t wait to pounce. Then, suddenly, the gazelle sees you from the corner of its eye, turns around, and starts galloping towards you at full speed. Whaaat? This is not how things are supposed to go — I’m supposed to be the one chasing! What’s wrong with this gazelle? And it kinda does have pointy long horns… Ahh, do I really want to do this? Now, I’ve never been a lion or gazelle, but I can imagine that the chief emotion that the lion was feeling at that moment was confusion. Now he has to rethink the whole situation, perhaps totally losing interest in this particular gazelle. Gazelle run. This one has happened to me a lot, and it operates at such a primal, unconscious level that even I myself marvel at the speed and vehemence with which I lose interest when she starts chasing me more than I’m chasing her. There was the girl who invited me to her senior year final dance in college who was all over me much more than I was all over her. There was the super sweet, cute Midwestern girl in med school whom I tried so hard to charm. And then I didn’t know what to do with her when she made those doe eyes at me and said she was really, really, really looking forward to hanging out again. Gaaaah. I can’t feel great about these stories since the experience for these ladies was probably not hugely validating. And hey, maybe I was just flattering myself and they weren’t that into me either. But somehow, for some bizarre, primal reason, once they started chasing me I just couldn’t be interested anymore. Keep in mind that there’s also a positive motive here. Most non-sociopathic men aren’t out to deliberately hurt women. We’re all interconnected at some level, and causing distress in another person causes distress in ourselves. So if I’m interested in just a fling and she’s making Scarlett O’Hara eyes at me, then I don’t feel like it’s right for me to lead her on. Also, after you’ve pined for so long for a woman, any woman to like you, having one pop up who actually does can be a terrifying experience. The gazelle’s charging me — now what?
There has to be a catch. Much safer to bail than to deal. And at a very primitive level, remember that men enjoy the chase. That’s why the word chase is so often preceded by thrill of the. Why should he be thrilled about your taking away his thrill? ANTIDOTE: Once again, more cluelessness than malice operating here. Best not to take it personally. The antidote to this is the “one step forward, two steps back” protocol, as I describe it in, Ch. 66, p 796. Sometimes you have to prime the pump to get things going again. So you give him a call, send him a message, tease him a little, and make it playfully but clearly known that his company would be welcome: “So. When were you planning on taking me out again, big boy? ” Then step back, and wait for him to do something. If he takes the bait, game on. If he doesn’t, give it a couple of days, then try again. If he’s tone deaf after three tries, move on. Once upon a time, I was dating three lovely women. Then I met this really cute, supersmart adventurous grad student at a party. We hit it off, the sex was amazing, and now there were four. And she was perfectly okay with my other liaisons. Jackpot! Until she wasn’t. So if you’d like to keep seeing the other women, that’s fine, and I’ll miss you a lot, but I’ll have to bow out. But if you would like to choose to continue with just me and get deeper, I would really welcome that.
”Within the hour, I had called it off with the other three. And, thinking about them now, they were great women. Now from their vantage point, there was no harbinger of doom, no sign, no celestial omen of nine ravens circling overhead skywriting “you’re about to get played” in Latin. To them, it was deus ex machina, an abrupt end without explanation.