Is “playing hard to get” just a game?

"I'll Give You the Moon and the Stars" by Mimi Stuart ©

“I’ll Give You the Moon and the Stars”
by Mimi Stuart ©

If you find yourself frequently pursuing intimacy and wondering why the person you’re pursuing seems to back away, your friends may give you advice to “play hard to get.” But perhaps you don’t want to play games and be inauthentic within your relationship. You would rather be honest about your strong feelings, even though you are pushing the other person away.

Is “playing hard to get” inauthentic?

Life is a series of adventures, misadventures, and adjustments. One of the adjustments a pursuer needs to make is to resist the conspicuous chase that too frequently ends in disappointment.

At first it may feel like a pretense to try changing your inclination to pursue. It may feel inauthentic to pursue other interests and have fun with other friends when all you want to do is spend every minute with the person you’re pursuing. Yet ultimately you may find the distractions and separation rewarding. In the end it will make YOU more interesting to the target of your affection.

It can be difficult to develop a new quality and try a new approach. It is normal to feel awkward and fake. For instance, saying “no” feels inauthentic when you are just learning to set boundaries. Similarly, not always saying “yes” to the person you’re pursuing may feel inauthentic while you are learning to seek balance in your relationship. Yet eventually this approach will feel natural and will serve to make you more desirable.

“Playing hard to get” may feel inauthentic. Becoming more independent may also feel awkward but it is not a game.

Fostering desire

Desire only flourishes when people maintain their own independent life, spark, and activities. When one person waits slavishly for the other’s attention, the other person loses interest because there’s no more challenge in the relationship.

Ideally you should engage in the relationship enough so that your partner will want to engage with you but remain occupied and independent enough so that he or she will want to KEEP pursuing you. This balance will enhance his or her appreciation for you and the desire to continue the pursuit of you.

So focus on your goal and not your immediate impulse. Your goal is to be in a relationship with someone who respects and desires you. By learning to allow for a little separateness and mystery you can create the groundwork for mutual desire, romance and intimacy.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Read “I always fall madly in love; we do everything together; and then, out of the blue, I get dumped.”

Read “I often feel depressed, anxious and desperate when my girlfriend is not giving me enough attention. For example, if she takes too long to reply to my text messages or is not very affectionate.”

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