Let me start this by saying there’s a difference between playing hard to get and actually being hard to get.
When you are hard to get, it means you have a lot going on in your life and a relationship is not taking priority. You are juggling a healthy mix of work, your social life, personal interests, and family. Until this person proves their worthy of your time, they are on the back burner. When you play hard to get, it stems from the desire to manipulate because you want somebody at your every beckoned call. You’re insecurities cause you to fear that somebody might put you on their back burner, so you try to “put them in their place” before they ever get the upper-hand (make sure you know the difference. It will be on the exam).
This difference got me to thinking about relationships and modern dating. We may be trying to play hard to get these days, but it’s stemming from manipulation and insecurity. Nobody wants to send out that text on a Saturday night, see the little dots, watch them disappear, and then spend the rest of the night wondering why they won’t text back.
This is how we date now:
A friend of mine got into a relationship recently. One night, he went out to a bar with a group of friends, had 5 shots of tequila, and hooked up with a long-time patron of the group. They began sleeping together sporadically, then began to sleep together regularly. They weren’t exclusive for a while, but finally committed to a closed relationship. They met each other’s parents, and the rest as they say, is history…until three months later, she got bored, he got clingy, they broke up, and both moved on to new partners.
This example could accurately describe anybody in their 20’s these days. The details vary, but so often, this is how relationships begin. Where’s the fun in that?
Our dating habits are causing us to miss out on the best part of sex: sexual tension.
Another friend of mine recently met a guy through school. They had a psychology class together and since they were both very interested in the topic, they found themselves discussing it after class quite frequently. One day, he asked her out to coffee and they sat and discussed psychology, life, and yadda yadda for an hour. A week later, they went out to dinner and after she tried to bring him back to her place. He declined, bid her goodnight, and went home. She couldn’t figure out what had happened. What turned him off? Was it something she said?
A few more days later, he asked her if she wanted to accompany him to a street fair and carnival. They had a really good time, but again, he didn’t want to go home with her. Convinced she was a revolting beast (or he just wanted to cheat on her answers for the psych final) she asked him, “what gives?”
“Nothing,” was his answer. “I just like letting sexual tension build. It makes it more fun when it’s finally released,” he said with a wink. “Have fun thinking about me later.”
He then kissed her goodnight and drove off. Intrigued, she let things continue for another week. They flirted after class, drank coffee together, and went out a few more times. She never went into detail about what happened next, but the look on her face said it all (they’re still dating, by the way).
Never underestimate the beauty of a challenge:
The difference between the two examples is that one presented a challenge, and everybody likes having to work for something (the $100 billion industry of video gaming clearly demonstrates that we enjoy a challenging game). That being said, there’s nothing wrong with sleeping with somebody on the first date. There’s nothing wrong with hooking up in a bar and then dating that person. There’s nothing wrong with sleeping your way through an entire sorority in three months (if that’s how you enjoy spending your free time). However, society teaches us to demand instant gratification and fails to instruct us on the benefits of denial. We want food delivery in thirty minutes or less, next day shipping, immediate communication, and instant sex. Hasn’t anybody told us good things come to those who wait? Denial increases desire. Why are we collectively gypping ourselves by failing to be patient?
[Featured Image Credit: Sergio Fabara Muñoz via Flickr]