I'm going to start by saying this is not my favorite post.
I am not an advice person because girl if you're looking to me for advice--God I'm so sorry for you.
In the most recent incarnation of my 'dating' life I've relearned something I'd hoped to never have to remember.
The push/pull rule.
I'm sharing this with any single girls out there and praying you read this before it's too late.
Whatever you choose to call this thing, the push/pull rule is the most ridiculous thing and i'd completely forgotten about it. You see as a married person or a person in a relationship, this is the very first thing you forget. The games. That's what it really is at the end of the day, a game but it is the norm and therefore unavoidable unfortunately.
What it is in a nutshell: He gives you attention and you ignore him which makes him want to give you more attention, you give him attention back and he backs off.
This is totally normal. It's not something to freak out about but that's easier said than done. At this point you need reassurance his feelings are real and he needs space to realize that his feelings for you are real. His needs freak you out, and yours freak him out. The push/pull dynamic strikes again.
Deep breath. You're going to be just fine. I got ya and we are going to get through this.
Ok maybe it's not a game, maybe it's a fairly important relationship dynamic we all should know about--I don't know for sure but it's definitely something we should discuss, so here goes...
Men have a need to pursue, this is just a fact. It's part of some sort of ingrained hunter thing buried in a man's psyche and it's important to know if you plan on dating. For you, it's great when it is going on and even if you don't respond for years and years, that desire to pursue you is still there. It's never been satiated so it's been smoldering for all that time. Other women, men, jobs, miles, age...none of those things matter to a man who is in pursuit.
Women sometimes pursue as well, there's nothing wrong with this, we just do it at a different stage. Sometimes, women do pursue initially as well. I've never known this to go well but it might work for you so get it girl if you're prepared to deal with the aftermath. In my experience though it sort of immasculates most men and makes them think we are doormats that they can get away with treating however they want rather than making them work for you and treat you well because they had to work to get you. Totally varies person to person certainly.
Once a man has gotten your attention, then for a while at least while he's trying to convince you. At this stage he's the most dynamic that he ever is his life--charming, funny, kind, complimentary, silly, happy, smiling, fun. Every moment is electric for him and hopefully you. He's trying to make you see he's the best choice, the only choice. Enjoy the heck out of this stage, it's the most fun...hopefully you'll be lucky and this stage will last forever, maybe he'll be able to hide his upcoming freak out and you'll never experience it.
Yes, he's been telling you you're beautiful for so long. Sure he's driven hundreds of miles in a raging storm just to be with you. Absolutely those flowers were sent with the sincerest intentions and the fun you had with him the times you went out mattered to him...but right now he's thinking that you put way too much into the things he said, and misread the things he did, and now he's stuck with you and not going to be able to date any of the other girls he flirts with, he feels like he's in prison all of the sudden and the walls are closing in.
All of the sudden, everything has changed. Something you did or said got him wise to the fact that you have the feels for him...whether it was mentioning a future with him or telling him about your feelings or mentioning you're free for the upcoming weekend...something made him think you fell for him and he's freaking the eff out.
Even if you are loads better than every single woman he's ever been with, no matter what--you are being severely judged sister, hardcore straight up judged.
Held up against every single girl in his repertoire and measured in every single possible way.
So you my dear are going to do something few if any girls have done before...I'll get to that later.
It varies from person to person how long this lasts. For you it's going to feel like an eternity. In reality it can be minutes, hours, days, even weeks sometimes. However long it takes him to realize that you really are great and he wants to be with you all other women be damned. If you play your cards right this is exactly what will happen. If you freak out, like we all want to and are instinctually programmed to do things aren't going to turn out so well.
This is when you need to try really hard to remember the things he's said about the women he's dated.
Ever hear him call them psychos? Stalkers?
Ever hear him say they're depressed or crazy or cheaters or stupid....?
Girl, you're about to earn your label right here because he's about to pop smoke and bail on you.
How you react to this space is going to be your label...maybe forever. Call and you're crazy, text him before he texts you and you're desperate, go by his house and you're psycho, decide 'eff this dude' and go out with anyone else and you're a cheater, hole up in your house and don't do anything and you're depressed, finish that pint of icecream and gain one pound and you're fat, talk to anyone that will tell him and you're pathetic...this goes on and on and on.
No, it's not fair. After all he texted/called/facebook stalked/dropped by your office for years/months/weeks and you never labeled him.
You are being tested babe.
Right now, you don't even realize it. To you, he's just off the radar for a bit, maybe he's busy, maybe he's tired or sick or hanging out with his mom. You don't know. Your instinct is to fix it, to ask him if he's ok, to give him more so that he knows you're there for him. This is sane, any kind person would do this but honey, it's not time to be kind, it's time to be aloof.
All of the sudden, gone are the days of him chasing you and trying to win you and if you ever want to have a chance of getting some of those things back...you need to be very careful of every step right now.
So the trick to winning at the push/pull dynamic is...give him space to choose you.
This is the time for you to have space too--after all you truly need it as well. If he's thinking things over you really should too but as women we are pretty much incapable at this stage. He's all you think about, you are freaking out that he's not calling and doesn't want to spend every single minute with you. So if we can't go for space, let's go for distraction and get you through this.
Here's what we aren't going to do: There will be no driving by his house twenty times a day, calling him, crying, facebook stalking, emailing, stealing his dog, calling his office, friending his friends, social media anything with him for that matter. Just take a social media hiatus because right now you're being mind effed and it's easy to do something crazy on social media. When you do, everyone knows about it and you look terrible. Do not let him make you look bad. Just hold off on changing your profile pic. Hold off on updating your status to the lyrics of that song that says exactly what you're feeling. Stop. All of those things are just going to make you look and feel terrible later I promise.
I can't tell you what's going to make you feel better. I can just tell you about some of the things that have made me feel better during this stage:
Hands down number one best thing for me is working out. I get tired, it keeps me busy so I don't hyperfixate on the situation and there are people around so I feel compelled to keep my sh*t together. Then there are the endorphins which never suck and of course the fact that you'll look better which is kind of a passive agressive' eff you' to him for putting you through this without actually saying or doing anything to jeopardize things if it does work out. Hey, before you judge me for saying that, he IS completely judging you, thinking about all the other women in his life that dating you might scare off...he deserves it. Unfortunately this is pretty much universal. Even if your guy says this will never happen or that he doesn't do this...just nod your head, reassure him that you believe him and know that they all do it.
Girlfriends--if you have them go for spending time with them. Just know that girlfriends tend to rally for you when you're hurting. If they perceive you to be hurting, they'll jump in and tell you what an a##hole he is, possibly swaying their opinion forever and also perhaps talking you out of something that still has the possibility to be great. After all, this is totally normal for him to back off right now, it means nothing but that he's normal. You've got to just give him the space he needs to realize he wants you. Support at this point should look like neutrality, someone to take your mind off of him and put it on you because that's what really matters right now. You.
Meditation. This is just a wonderful thing to do right now but I suggest guided meditation because the last thing you should do right now is spend half an hour in quiet focusing on why he's not calling and what's wrong with you and did he find someone hotter and how much you wish you'd gotten botox before you finally responded to his incessant pursuit of you. Guided meditations can be found on you tube and the subject matter of them ranges greatly. I suggest finding a confidence building version because who couldn't use more confidence? Especially when you're dating.
Retail therapy. Hey, don't judge. I don't know why this works for me but it does. I guess it's a little 'when he sees me again, he's going to feel like such a fool for second guessing me' and 'I'm way too hot to worry about one guy'. Also, I just like shopping.
Outside, anything outside because distraction and sunshine are your friends. If all else fails, a copy of Cosmo and the nearest body of water if it's sunny. If it's not, Cosmo and that hipster coffee shop you've been avoiding because there are like 342 different coffee options, just walk yourself in--tell the beared barista to give you coffee like six times til he just gives you coffee and sit down and chill. Being around people, caffeine and checking out the hipsters in their overly tight pants and man buns are going to lift your mood. You're too badass to be twisted up right now.
Yes, I know what I'm going to say next is going to be controversial. Sure, I get that it might earn you a label but the best way to unfocus on a guy is to focus on another. I saw this meme a while back, while trying to get over a particularly terrible break up. It said 'Never use one man to get over another when you can use three'. I have to say, without fear of being slut shamed that it worked like a damn charm. I didn't have sex with them, I just enjoyed their pursuit. It made me feel wanted again and right now, especially if you're particularly hooked and contemplating dipping a toe in the psycho pool...girl get someone else to tell you how hot you are and take your mind out of his mind effing game for a minute.
When he does call or text...it's going to continue to be a dance for a while. Avoid your instinct to be or do whatever he wants because it will please him and you care if he's pleased. Be nice, be sane but also you should be vetting him too. That's the point of dating after all.
The moral of the story is that, love is a battlefield. Madonna had it right when she said it, I should've believed it then. It's just when you're happy in a relationship you feel like you are victorious and impervious to the games, then all of a sudden there you are right back in the fray and you've forgotten the rules because they were super dumb to begin with. We all need help from time to time and I hope if you're going through this, my words helped.
The push pull rule, this is a normal, natural thing for men to do and what it does to women truly isn't fair. It makes us doubt ourselves, wonder what we did, what we said, that we're hot, that we are worthy when that's the very last thing we should be doing.
We should be reinforcing to ourselves that we are the best person we can be and with or without him we are going to be great.
Best of luck.