Being in love shouldn’t mean dropping everything else.
Have you ever heard a guy at a bar say that “all the girls get prettier at closing time”? As incredibly insulting and sexist as this is, a group of Australian researchers actually tested this theory in a 2010 study published in the journal Social Influence – and believe it or not, they found that it’s true.
It’s not that an influx of hot girls rush the bar at closing time – and it’s not even based on the amount of alcohol consumed. Rather, the researchers found, it’s that there are simply fewer people left at the bar at the end of the night. Even when study participants weren’t drinking, they rated members of the opposite sex as more attractive when there were fewer of them left. The study’s authors chalked it up to the ‘scarcity principle,’ which says we place higher value on things that are less available.
If you’re in a relationship, particularly a brand new one, there’s a lesson here. Tempting as it can be to make someone the center of your world when you’re falling for them, it’s not a good idea to be too available. Psychologist and author of Cultivating Confidence, Christoper Knippers warns people against potentially suffocating their partners.
“When two people assume all their needs are going to be fulfilled through each other, the relationship is set up for disappointment, and ultimately failure,” he explains.
Being a little elusive can make you more attractive to the person you’ve set your sights on – or even to your long-term partner. So if you’re doing any of the following things, you might want to back off a bit…
1. You always text back right away
It’s not game-playing to take a breath and wait before responding to a text; it’s just smart. Vary your response time, and you’re more likely to keep him on the hook – science says it works.
2. You always have time to chat
Do you never miss a call from him? Do you pick up the phone when he rings, even if you’re in the middle of something else? Stop. Live your life, and don’t answer every call.
3. You accept last-minute invitations
Once in a while this might be okay, if there are extenuating circumstances. But in general, it’s just disrespectful for anyone to expect you to be free at the last minute. If you accept, you’re teaching him that this is an okay way to behave – and he won’t feel the need to go to the effort of advance-planning dates anymore.
4. You stop dating other people before you’re really exclusive
If he hasn’t asked to be exclusive, you can go ahead and assume he’s dating other people. And you should, too. Keep your options open until you’re sure you both want to get serious. It’ll make you feel way less needy for his attention, and subtly put the message out there that if he wants you, he’ll have to work for you.
5. You let him dictate the timetable of your relationship
I’m not suggesting you demand to know the status of your relationship right away, or expect him to fall into line with your idea of when you should hit certain relationship milestones. But if you feel strongly about being exclusive once you’ve started sleeping together, you should let him know. Don’t let him call all the shots.
6. You initiate contact most of the time
Are you always the one calling, texting, and asking him out? Hang back and let him start making an effort. It’s actually okay to never be the one who calls him. Let him chase you a little bit.
7. You feel guilty when you’re busy
If he asks you to do something and you already have plans, you should never feel like you have to say you’re sorry. It’s healthy to have your own life, and guys actually find it really attractive, so don’t feel bad about it!
8. Your friendships are suffering
Bailing on plans with your other friends because you’re dating someone isn’t just rude and destructive to your friendships, it’s a terrible precedent to set for your relationship. Your BFFs should be just as important, whether or not you’re coupled up, or you’ll risk falling into the trap of losing your identity to the relationship.
9. You schedule your life around potential plans
Do you hesitate to make plans with other friends, sign up for a class, or go out of town because you think your sweetie might ask you to do something? What if he doesn’t? Go ahead and make your plans. Busy people are more attractive.
10. You never get mad when they cancel on you
If he cancels or wants to reschedule at the last minute, it’s okay to be pissed (unless it’s truly for a good reason, and doesn’t happen often). Don’t swallow your irritation and smile. Tell him it’s not okay – or it’ll keep happening.
11. You’re always happy to come to them
If you live in different areas, make him come to your end of town at least half the time. Don’t make it too easy for him; he can make an effort to see you. You’re worth it.
12. You’ll drop everything for them
The person you’re dating shouldn’t come before everything else in your life. If you need to clean your house, study for exams, help our your parents, or anything else, do it. Don’t forget about the rest of your life when he asks you to do something.
13. You’re an open book
Have you told him every one of your childhood stories, what happened with every one of your exes, and taken him on an exhaustive tour of your psyche? There’s something to be said for holding back and keeping a little mystery. Save some of that for your therapist.
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Comment: Do you think there’s such a thing as being ‘too available’ to your someone?
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