Once upon a time, I dated someone who confessed to me that they were disappointed I didn’t play hard to get. That I’d just told them I liked them back and we started dating.
“Why’s that?” I said.
“Because the chase is the fun part, and we didn’t get to do that,” they said.
I shrugged. “Well, I don’t do it.”
I had never heard that before, that the chase was the fun part of any relationship. I hadn’t personally found that to be the case. I loved the part when you got done with all that silly back and forth, when you really got to know someone, and you built something together.
But they were sad about it. And for a while, I thought they might even leave me over it.
But they didn’t. And a few months later, when we were settling down into a place together, they actually took back what they said before. “This is better, going deep,” they said. They hadn’t had much of a dating history (I’d had more relationships than them), and they hadn’t experienced the “next level” stuff. Where you really start trusting each other and knowing each other deeply.
But once they did, they knew what I meant.
When People Need Disruption to Stay Interested
It doesn’t always work out as tidily as that. I’ve known other people who never stopped wishing for the chase. And who frankly would get bored and leave a situation if there wasn’t a certain amount of disruption, of instability to it.
I’ve suffered in relationships like those, where someone I loved seemed addicted to disruption to the point where they needed to either provoke it from me or seek it elsewhere. And I’ve watched other friends suffer in those same relationships. Especially in polyamorous relationship systems, things can get ugly and messy. One close friend divulged to me that it was a kind of never-ending hell for her, watching her partner always hunting for unstable dynamics in his dating life, that she could see he was addicted to the chase.
“On one hand,” she said, “doing this with other people does allow him to stay with me happily. Because he isn’t picking those fights with me or leaving me to pursue those unstable relationships.” But on the other hand, she continued, she was constantly dealing with metamour-based disruption by proxy — and her partner’s pursuit of it.
And in that case, she did come to a crisis point and finally leave.
One Person’s “Boring” Is Another’s “Reliable”
I’ve come to peace with the fact that I’m kind of boring. I am. I’m not going to play hard to get. If I like you, I tell you. And that will disappoint some people. It just will.
But look, some people find my “boring” tendencies to be “consistent” and “reliable” — and they love that about me.
Those are my people.
Maybe it sounds kind of cutthroat, but you can waste your whole life trying to impress people who don’t want to stick around. And I’m done with it.