Question: My girlfriend says she still loves me but is not in love with me. She says when we first met we clicked in every way; we talked all the time, conversation flowed with ease and she loved being with me. Now everything is just so boring and I’ve become too clingy and needy. I personally don’t think I’ve changed from the person she first met but I’ve noticed that we don’t spend that much time together anymore and when we do, she’s emotionally detached. I feel like she’s pushing me away but keeping me close at the same time. This is driving me crazy and makes me try to constantly figure out how to please her but it’s like I can never successfully do it. What does she mean by still she loves me but is not in love with me? Can playing hard to get reverse her being in control and increase her attraction to me? I want her to find me interesting once again because I’m not ready to give this one up without giving it my best and my all.
The Love Doctor’s Answer: I like your attitude. Most people give up on relationships too easily. There is plenty of fish in the sea, they say but many years later, these same people are still trying to catch just one fish in a sea with plenty of fish. Sad!
What she means is that she still finds you likeable and attractive in many ways but just doesn’t feel that emotional buzz anymore because things have become overwhelmingly familiar, predictable and repetitive. Reacting to her emotional distancing with clinginess and needy behaviour is just making things worse.
Can playing hard to get reverse her being in control and increase her attraction to you?
Playing hard to get does not cure clinginess and neediness. I’m fully aware that there is a school of thought out there that says that to get and maintain a woman’s (or man’s) interest one needs to create an impression of “unavailability”; create maximal distance, and withhold attention and affections. Such tactics may temporarily make you feel like you’re in “control” because you’re “playing her”; and it may (I say “may”) work on someone who is insecure or has a fear of rejection or abandonment. But “mind games” get old too fast and before you know it, you’re back to clinging and acting needy. Much worse, you may have tried the “scarcity game” on someone who has zero tolerance for mind games and she walked off or, you find that to stop herself from reacting with clinginess and neediness the other person has also started playing mind games. Now you have a polarized standoff!
Playing hard to get can inspire her to want more of you if used to create a flow of positive emotions that add value to the other person’s life (as opposed to trying to make the person feel anxious, insecure, confused, jealous, rejected, emotionally and physically starved and unloved).
Before you start inspiring her to want more of you, you must emotionally reconnect so that you’re enjoying talking to each other again. You need this “connection” because playing hard with someone who is emotionally detached or loosely attached is like trying to bleed a rock.
One way I’ve found helpful for couples in similar situations is to encourage disclosure of personal information with “emotional depth”; personal stuff that tends to focus on unfilled dreams, desires, hopes, etc. For example, rather than talking about things you both like or activities you both enjoy, ask her to tell you something she’s always wanted to do and then ask her to explain why she has not done it yet. Disclosing intimate information one normally keeps to oneself can quickly lead to feelings of closeness — a sense of “knowing” the other person as an individual, a human being unfilled dreams, desires, hopes, etc.
Once you start feeling like you can tell each other “deeper stuff” again, add playfulness, unpredictability and fun to the “sharing moments”.
Every man or woman has something — new information, something that happened to someone, etc — that gets him/her animated and excited. Instead of just blurting it all out in totally boring and unpredictable bare essentials of conversation, deliver it in little dozes – like a preacher on a pulpit. And just when she is deep into it – transfigured countenance, upturned face, parted lips – play hard to get with the information. Say something like “I’ve said too much already” or playfully ask something in exchange for “more information.” Make sure your tone of voice is playful so she knows you’re just “playing hard to get”.
Keep on creating that very-close-yet-far fascination with every word you say and every minute you spend with her. When you keep a man or woman looking forward to something new or different, you engage his or her mind and emotions in a pleasant playful guessing game, especially when s/he had no idea what, when and how it it’s going to be different.
That’s what emotional appeal FEELS like. The little moments of “emotional intensity” leave a lasting imprints in her heart and make her want more of the experience – and more of you.
These are just a couple of tips to get you started. Relationships are more than just “interesting conversations”, you need to bring this sense of emotional intensity and excitement into every aspect of the relationship – physical, mental, emotional, sexual and social. Good luck!