Tuesday July 22nd 2014

Does Acting Aloof Make You More Attractive?

Question: I’ve been involved with a guy for a year and a few months. He’s very physically attractive, charming, witty and shares my interests and values. He’s also one of the few people not afraid to point out my mistakes, which I really do value. But the relationship has its problems. I don’t want to call it toxic but there is definitely something unhealthy going on in that when one gets closer the other tends to move away and vice versa. I’m not as bad at this as he is. He can be so cold and distant to a point where I resent him because then I want him so bad. This is when I do everything I know how to draw him closer but when he responds, I lose interest and start acting cold and aloof. He then becomes more interested in me but when I show interest, he breaks up with me. Right now, we’re not together and I know he expects me to make the first move. I’m trying to understand why people find those who act aloof and distant more attractive. And how can we have a normal relationship?

The Love Doctor’s Answer:  Not everyone finds people who act aloof and distant more attractive. For some people it makes them want someone more, and for others it’s an instant total turn off.

You see, when someone is intentionally making him or herself inaccessible physically or emotionally, he or she is trying to trigger the “fear of rejection” or “fear of abandonment” in another person. If you have this fear inside of you  – due to insecurities, low self-esteem, jealousy, controlling personality, co-dependency issues etc – you’ll respond from that place of fear. You’ll try to “stop” the rejection or abandonment by drawing closer to the person who is triggering this fears inside of you.

Your words/language and actions will (sub-consciously) reflect that fear. E.g. over-declarations of love, doing too much to please and all the things that look like you’re becoming “more attracted’ to the other person but which in reality are your fears being acted out.

The sad part is that most people who use “Acting Aloof and Distant” strategy to make someone attracted to them are people who have “issues’ themselves (insecurities, low self-esteem, jealousy, controlling personality, co-dependency issues etc.) Very often, the very person who triggered the abandonment fear inside of you, may either take advantage of it to manipulate you or reject you because your fear triggers their own fear of “fear of rejection” or “fear of abandonment” or being “asked to give” what they are either not prepared to, don’t want to, or simply unable to.

This is why it’s important to be aware of what’s happening when someone is trying to draw you closer by acting aloof and distant. Some people have likened it to emotional abuse where someone repeatedly withdraws physical and emotional access and attention just to make you feel unwanted and/or undesirable. It’s like someone hitting you on the head several times and you can’t figure out who is hitting you and why.

Can you have a normal relationship in this dynamic?

If you’re looking for hook-ups or one night-stands, this may work with certain men and women (insecure, low self-esteem, jealous, controlling personality, co-dependent etc.). But if you’re looking for a long term relationship, this strategy doesn’t stand a chance.

To make this work, one (or both of you) has to quit playing “the game” and create a different dynamic where you draw closer to each other at the same time. Problem is, for most people acting a loof and distant is the only way they know how to get someone’s attention or interest (a carry-over from childhood), and so are just not willing or ready to give it up.

Sometimes what is best is to let go the person who thinks the only way to get you to be attracted/fall in love with him or her is to make you feel unwanted and/or undesirable. It’ll hurt now, but it’s better than hurting over and over every time they feel they want to draw you closer.

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

27 Responses to “Does Acting Aloof Make You More Attractive?”

  1. Remus says:

    My ex is into this game. She broke up with me three months ago but every once in a while she calls me, tells me how much she loves me, misses me and acts like she wants to get back together. She asks me if I still love her and miss her and then when I say yes, she says she thinks we’re better off with other people. When I say I’m not sure, she breaks down into tears and says she can’t love someone who doesn’t love her back. Does she really want something again with me or is she just trying to see if I am over her or not?

  2. I think she calls to get you emotionally hooked again because it gives her an emotional high. And as long as she keeps you as her emotional hostage, she’ll keep calling. Next time she pulls this, don’t get drawn into chit-chatty conversations that go nowhere. When she brings up the “love you, miss you” stuff, just tell her “I know you love and miss me,” but don’t say anything about yourself. “If she asks if you still love and miss her, ask her what your answer means to her. If she says it means a lot, then tell her, if it did, she’d be wanting to work on getting back together and not just asking for asking’s sake. My guess is she’ll do the tears thing, but by now you know that means nothing. It’s just a game.

    The point is to let her know she can’t play the emotional hostage game anymore.

  3. Jay says:

    I am in the EXACT same situation with my ex. One draws closer and the other pulls away. This time I’ve broken all ties and asked her not to call or write. I’ve vanished completely from her life. She’s texted and emailed me asking why I’m ignoring her but I’ve not responded. I’m trying to just trust the no contact rule and refrain from contacting her until she is begging me to take her back.

  4. I don’t know how else to say this, no contact is a great strategy for healing after a break-up and for moving on, not for getting an ex back – re my post: My Ex Came Back Using No Contact – I’m Sticking to No Contact.

    I personally believe that if someone is employing NO CONTACT with you, it’s not because he or she loves you. Would you “fall in love” with someone you know is intentionally trying to starve you by refusing to give you food because he/she wants you to beg for it? And every time you beg for it, you’re either completely denied or given just enough to give you more strength to be able to beg again?

    You may become “dependant” on that person if you have no other food source, but don’t call it love.

    Just be careful that when she “comes begging”, it’s not because she wants you back, but because it’s pay back time! It happens a lot!

  5. Jay says:

    I’m using contact to heal and to stop myself from acting clingy desperate, begging, and calling her constantly. Of course, I’m holding out hope that we could be together again but right now I’m the one calling the shots and it feels good.

  6. I hear you! As long as you are aware that just because you’ve broken all ties and asked her not to call or write, doesn’t mean she’s going to come begging you to take her back. Some people after faithfully implementing no contact for months are rudely woken up when no contact doesn’t bring back an ex.

    Enjoy the feeling of empowering yourself!

  7. Lou says:

    Acting aloof and distant to get someone interested is childish and immature. I learned that the hard way when trying to get my ex back. She said I needed to grow up and stop acting like a child every time I didn’t get my way – and she was right. Now I look at people who do that kind of stuff and see just how really emotionally immature it is.

  8. People who use this strategy are consciously or unconsciously sabotaging their love relationships by engaging in behaviours that could potentially drive their partners away. Most get their hearts broken because they’re always drawn to others who are like them. The people who aren’t like them just walk away the instant they realize what’s happening.

  9. Fiona says:

    This post is so true. My boyfriend is more affectionate and very loving towards me when I tell him we’re breaking up and I’ve purposely always created some kind of drama to bring back the romance and passion into our relationships. I realize I do this because I’m very insecure and I think he knows it too.

  10. Laura Alexander says:

    My ex of three years broke up with me over a month ago and has been deliberately going out of his way to avoid seeing or talking to me. I read on many forums that this is a sign that he is not over me. I want him back but I don’t want to be the one to contact him first. How can I make him come to me?

  11. Ogle says:

    Yangki is right: No Contact is rubbish. It’s a silly manipulative game that may, but most likely may not get back your Ex. I entertained the idea of NC for a while, having read other so-called relationship gurus. But deep in my heart I felt it to be regressive, and wrong. Your Ex will likely spurn you if she knows this game and how it’s played. But why would you want to jeopardize getting your Ex back using NC, knowing its inherent risks? Limited Contact is better than no contact, especially if you are like me and need the time and space to heal from a relationship break-up. But at least keep in touch with your Ex even if she or he broke up with you. You leave the door to your Ex open, however ajar. And you may not be the only one who’s hurting; she or he could be hurting too. Keeping in touch is a way of helping one another heal in your own spaces and in your own time, but at least you’d both know you’re more or less on the same path, if not the same page, and surely that ought to be hopeful of reconciliation some time in the near future. Right?

  12. MissyXOXO says:

    You’re right Doc. Most people act aloof so that you don’t think they care, but it comes off as mean, immature and small. I personally find it annoying.There are far more fascinating things on the earth than people who try to con people with an act. Pathetic and childish!

  13. Jimmy says:

    I think most people who act aloof and distant do so out of fear of rejection, at least I know I do. When I feel that I might get hurt I close off emotionally and sometimes cut of all contact. That way I don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable emotions.

  14. Good self-awareness there! Fear is a strong emotion that can make people act against their own best interest. In trying to avoid the uncomfortable emotions, you are at the same time keeping away the very love and intimacy you’re trying to bring into your life. But when you accept that in order to experience and feel love in it’s fullness, you might also have to feel those uncomfortable emotions, the fear disappears. You open yourself to what it is you really want – love and intimacy!

  15. sponias says:

    If you want to know the signs that a man is in love with you, even though he is trying to hide his feelings, pay attention to the following characteristics in his behavior:

    1. He is indifferent to your presence, to a degree that makes you feel as insignificant as if you were non existent.

    2. He starts provoking you problems, in a camouflaged form, in order to have the chance to approach you without revealing his feelings.

    3. He is too enigmatic, distant, unpredictable, strange, and never says anything about himself or his life.

    These are the real signs of his interest.

  16. You’re not serious, are you? LOL

    Anyone who thinks these are signs of interest has dysfunctional “attachment” issues and most likely has had and will continue have very “painful” experiences when it comes to relationships

    I don’t want to get too much into it because you may be just having fun with it…

  17. shakti says:

    I am the aloof type through and through. I know this about myself, but then I don’t see it as some sort of game.. I truly just enjoy my ‘me’ time and have become quite a bit more introverted as I’ve aged. Some people cannot handle that and attempt to cling or get jealous of such things as my wanting to stay in and read a book.

    I have become painfully aware of my penchant for becoming involved in push-pull relationship dynamics. I desire that closer intimacy, but can never quite reach it. And I know I do this to myself by choosing the relationships that I choose. I even know that this stems from not feeling worthy and.. fear of that intimacy I desire. I’ve read the books, taken the classes, etc.. but it hasn’t changed a whole lot. Sure, I like me a lot more and that is good, but the pattern seems to always creep back in there.

    Its actually made me feel that maybe I should simply remain romantically alone. Which is what I have done for the vast majority of my life. So anyway, I’ve written this to simply ask, what in your opinion is the best way to break this pattern?

  18. Good question. I made the response a separate post because I think there are many people out there who are going through what you’re going through and might benefit from your asking the question. Please read the response to your comment/question here – Is Your Aloof Type Demeanor Preventing You From Experiencing The Intimacy You Desire?

  19. priyanka says:

    its realy very nice…its excellent

  20. Yeah says:

    I played hard-to-get in a relationship and it killed the relationship. I played too aloof and she basically pulled the plug. I feel so stupid about it and I really want to make it up to her. I gave her (and myself) some time and now I am slowly starting to contact her again. I hope I can show her that I have changed, for I feel she is worth the risk (my pain).

  21. I hope so too… it takes time but it’s possible. All the best!

  22. Viv says:

    I enjoyed reading this. When I was in my 20s, men who were indifferent and aloof were most attractive. By then I was depressed and came from a dysfunctional home with lots of anger, drugs, emotional and sex abuse issues. As I grew up and also worked on my issues steming from my upbringing, I’ve found myself turned off by surly men that act as if they don’t care. It’s so tempermentally adolescent. Give me a guy with a broad smile that says he’s something to be happy about anytime!

  23. You said it!

    I think that when we’re young, we confuse having a deep-thought expression (a look of a sense of purpose, focus and responsibility) as indifferent and aloof. The former implies maturity, the later is… (I like your wording better)…(:

    Thankfully SOME of us grow up!

  24. Chance says:

    Love Doctor Yangki- You are a COMPLETE idiot. You seem to think your opinions are the only right ones around here- WRONG. I think Sponias is right one spot actually. I am experiencing this with a g guy right now he’s already showed the 3 signs that user listed. It’s amusing the ways in which people like you think you think love is simple and normal. When really it comes in all shapes and sizes. Not all men think the same sometimes love is just twisted. A man might show how his “hidden” feelings for someone in the most unusual way and it’s like the person he’s doing this for is the only person that sees and feels him doing this. As I am. And in my situation and I’m flattered that he’s showing Sponias’s (three signs) towards me. I like the challenge it gives me because it’s shows he’s not Mr. Normal where you can just read off his signals so easily things are more of a riddle with him and I like figuring him out. By the way I like that you said people who believe that have attachment issues Bwaha! OF COURSE! As does the man I’m dealing with. I mean really who wants a normal relationship without dysfunction and pain once in awhile? or to have it not be twisted? It feels good to go through ANYTHING with a lover bad or good- so I don’t mind he’s showing these strange signs.

  25. I’ve been called many things — some worse… (:

    This might surprise you… I COMPLETELY agree with you that normal is what normal is to different people. HAPPY, HEALTHY and FUNCTIONAL is the normal here — painful, bad and twisted is NOT!

    I set up this blog so that people who want my opinion and advice on how to have HAPPY, HEALTHY and FUNCTIONAL relationships can ask me questions, get advice (at NO charge), and engage me in productive discussions. The fact that this is MY BLOG might explain why around here, my opinion seems to matter more than anyone’s else’s. These are my views and the basis for my advice. Some people will not agree with the things I say, I totally understand that. We’re all different…

    Forgive me, for not being that knowledgeable on the normal-ness of dysfunction, pain, bad and twisted relationships… I’m sure there are other blogs that cater to that specific kind of normal. Personally, I have no problem with that… each to their own!

  26. Chucky says:

    You say people are different and pain, bad and twisted is not the normal here. I’m interested to know if you are open minded enough to have a discussion on a kind of normal other than your interpretation.

  27. Yes, I am. I’m open to learning as much as I can in this lifetime. But that kind of discussion will have to be in my spare time. This is my “office” so to speak… when I’m here I’m at work helping those who need my help.

    Of course not everyone who visits my blog needs my help… there people like you who need to have a discussion… may be debate. If you have a blog, send me a link by email and when I have some time to spare, I’ll drop by and chat — or debate — in your turf.

    Yes… I’m very protective of the energy around here… or less it’ll become twisted and dysfunctional.

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