Women: Being Unavailable Vs. Playing a Game
by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Copyright © Susan J. Elliott All Rights Reserved
Is it a game or just a good idea?
Backstory to this post:
I wrote this article as a chapter for Getting Back Out There and my editor at Da Capo (now Hachette Books) refused to include it in the book. I was REALLY upset that she rejected this chapter. Based on the responses I always get to this article, she was wrong.
It is one of the most popular posts on here and was VERY popular when it ran on Psychology Today. Not only that, but I had a client who seemed to be lost in the morass of on-line dating. When she read this article as a draft of that chapter, she said a light bulb went on and she changed DRAMATICALLY. She never stopped referencing this article as making ALL the difference. When it was on PT and on the blog, I got a TON of mail from women thanking me for this. If you disagree, let me know, but so far – except for that editor (and her assistant who weighed in – not sure why) – every other woman loves it.
I don’t know why my editor did not want this as part of the book and I disagree with that decision (and other ones that were made about that book.) So I run this every few months. It has had a VERY positive response from women. My apologies that it was not in the book. It should have been. Anyone who knows me for longer than 5 minutes knows I’m a feminist and would never put women-only tripe out to the world if it were not true and solid advice to HELP women, not to hurt them. And this information – to a woman who has contacted me after using these strategies in her own life – HELPS.
If I hadn’t received such a positive response to this, I wouldn’t keep re-running it. But I have and I do. This is not the full chapter that I wrote for the book, but is more than the article I wrote for Psychology Today. I hope you enjoy it!
Women: Being Unavailable
Playing a Game
10 11! Reasons Why Living Your Life
Makes You More Attractive to Healthy Men!
My books are gender and sexual orientation neutral. I rarely write posts for just one gender, but this one is mostly for women dating men but portions of it apply to everyone.
I’ve been a practicing therapist for over 25 years. When I am working with women moving on from a relationship and getting ready to date again, I encourage them to be a little less available than they had been in their last relationship. Women, inevitably, will say to me, “I don’t want to play games. I want to be who I am.”
Okay, well why are you an always available person? Why would anyone in his or her right mind find that attractive? (Women, believe it or not, tend to be more forgiving of no-life men even though they shouldn’t be…everyone should have a life…if you are looking for a no-life person, it’s insecurity on your part).
BUT more importantly, in pursuing this person or making sure this person likes/is attracted to YOU, you are missing all the signs that he might be a problem later on.
To break that down:
Having your own life and your own interests makes you an attractive person. This is true when you’re dating or when you’re married 10 years. You do not want to advertise a person with a great life who isn’t ever going to be a burden or a weepy “you never pay attention to me” girlfriend and then give it all up for a relationship. That’s bait and switch and not fair to the relationship or to you.
I am telling you that a man will hardly ever say, “What happened to the vibrant, interesting woman I met?” but he’s thinking it. Even if he seems to WANT you around all the time, the bottom line is that he really doesn’t. No healthy person wants their partner around all the time. No one. If you do, guess what that means? It means you have no life and your emotional health is in question.
If a man is going to be there for you when you really need him, you have to choose your needing him times. Do you need him when you broke a nail? When your mother said something nasty to you? When you perceived that he gave you “a look”? If you are going to your guy with all these little niggling things, what do you do when you have an actual crisis like losing your job? If he’s been putting out all the small fires, he’s going to bolt when the big inferno comes along. And you’ll be sitting there, thinking, “He left me when I needed him most!” No, he left you when you wore him out with stupid little things that didn’t need to be shared.
Also, it is in YOUR best interest to not go to him with all these little annoyances. It will be hard, if not impossible, to figure out if someone is going to be a good and solid partner if you’re always going on about something. You need to be in OBSERVATION mode as the GPYB and GBOT books tell you to be. Observe, observe, observe.
If you are not observing because you’re in “reacting to every little thing” mode, a new boyfriend might be understanding (just BECAUSE he’s a new boyfriend), but a healthy guy is going to move along as soon as he can. If you start with the drama and waterworks right away, over practically nothing, he might say “there there” but he’s thinking “not here, not here.” Healthy men do not want emotionally fragile women. Unhealthy men don’t either but you’re not giving him the chance to “show his face” as one or the other if you’re always going on about something. You’ll never know whether he was healthy or unhealthy because, either way, he’s running down the street.
If it doesn’t work out, whether next week, next year or 5 years from now, you have a life and friends and good things to go back to. So many women are left at the end of a relationship wondering what the HELL to do with herself. “I gave up my friends, my family, my classes, my hobbies to nest with Mr. Wonderful. Now Mr. Wonderful is gone and my nest is empty and so is my life.”