Tag Archives: playing games

When texting is no longer reciprocal.
“Does she still like me?”

“Duet” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

It would be a miracle to find another person to whom you’re attracted and who shares the same expectations and attitude toward relationships that you do. One person may feel hurt when his texts aren’t responded to often enough. The other person may feel dejected when she doesn’t get a gift for her birthday. The list of small frustrations that can cause disappointment is endless.

To have a great relationship, these differences are of minor significance. Partners can and should differ as to their preferences in how much to text, as they do in every other aspect of life. Relationships succeed best when both sides accept many of the harmless differences. What is important is communicating your more important desires and wishes in a way that avoids the following:

1. Attacking the other person, which puts him or her on the defensive and closes off productive and meaningful conversation. “You’re so rude! Why do you wait so long to text me back?”

2. Controlling the other person, which is belittling and demeaning and ignores the other person’s point of view. “When I text you, I want you to get right back to me. Do you understand?”

3. Whining about the situation — a childish and needy attitude — , which is used as a means to manipulate the other. “I miss hearing from you. Are you too busy for me?”

4. Silently holding a grudge, which builds up resentment and resolves nothing.

You can manipulate or badger someone into a desired behavior. But when someone’s actions are emotionally coerced, the strength and autonomy of the individual is undermined. The result is resentment in lieu of passion.

It’s much better to entice the other person with your independence and full life. If necessary, express your desires honestly while being mindful of the other person’s feelings and autonomy.

When addressing your frustrations, start the conversation with a sense of self-respect as well as consideration for the other person. Most important are a tone of voice and body language that embody your respect for the other person’s autonomy as well as your own desires.

In summary,

1. Respect yourself and the fact that you have personal needs and desires.

2. Respect the other person’s autonomy and right to have different attitudes and freely make decisions.

3. Express your desires with a positive specific request.

4. Ask the other person what he or she thinks about your request.

For example, “Hey, I really enjoy hearing back from you when I text you. Lately, you haven’t responded very much. Am I texting you too much?”

Or “It seems as though you’ve been pretty busy lately. What’s going on?”

Some people think they need to be aloof and hard-to-get to be attractive. Others wear their emotions on their sleeve. Both can be off-putting. What matters is how you manifest your feelings for someone. You can express your desire as long as you aren’t desperate and needy, on the one hand, or controlling and manipulative, on the other. There is nothing more attractive than someone who can express desire or love while still maintaining a sense of self and having the self-discipline to resist engaging in a mediocre relationship.

“I really think you’re special and enjoy spending time with you. Lately, I get the sense that you are backing off, and would like to know if that’s right.”

Whether this relationship works out or not, it’s important to start relationships with clear and positive communication to to be able to figure out how to reconcile your different expectations. Whether you’ve just been dating for a month or married for 25 years, communicating openly with respect is the way to keep the relationship improving.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

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.”