The How-Not-To Guides: The Chase

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This was the day JJ and I were going to get married on the playground. He just didn’t know that yet.

My heart pounded in my tiny chest. My pale-pink tutu that Mom had sewn for last Halloween’s ballerina costume, a makeshift veil, flopped precariously atop my head.

This was not going at all as I’d planned.

It was first-grade morning recess, and my friends and I had pulled out all the stops. I even brought a cache of my prized dress-up clothes from home. This was the day JJ and I were going to get married on the playground. He just didn’t know that yet.

I’m sure I’d gotten the idea in a book somewhere. I was always escaping into the nearest book. I think that, in the book, the girls caught the boy, he played along, and the play-wedding went off relatively smoothly. But the boy in the book didn’t run fast. JJ was a regular little speed-demon. We ran and we ran. We tried cornering him, we tried trickery, and we tried just plain begging. All was to no avail. JJ was having none of it. Eventually, we wore ourselves out and just collapsed into a giggling heap of girls.

I don’t think anyone was necessarily bothered by his response – it was all in good fun! And it was definitely the talk of the class for a little while. None of the other kids brought toys from home and immersed themselves in play to quite this scale. I was an oddball, and at the time, I liked it that way.

Based off thousands of hours of observation, experience, research out the ying-yang, and HEAPS of therapy, I’ve come to know I’m far from alone in this personal history of chasing less-than-interested men.

The problem is that this pattern of behavior toward the objects of my desire continued for over 20 years after this day. Based off thousands of hours of observation, experience, research out the ying-yang, and HEAPS of therapy, I’ve come to know I’m far from alone in this personal history of chasing less-than-interested men.

The fact of the matter is, it SHOULD be obvious. Just think about how much of a turn-off it is when you can smell desperation coming off someone who’s pursuing you as a romantic interest. When someone chases too hard, you’re repelled.

I had a pursuer in high school who, every day for months, would give me a rose. He would go to the nearby gas station, and carefully select a rose in a color he hadn’t given me before. The kicker? I was already dating his best friend. But this dude kept at it with the roses. He followed me around like a puppy, and occasionally he’d verbally remind me that he was interested. Sometimes, he’d pass me notes. I’m actually a bit glad this went on pre-social media, because whew. It was exhausting. It looked, to me, every bit as bonkers as that chase-scene probably did to JJ back in the first grade. I was very, very uncomfortable with the whole thing. And that’s how it looks when we stalk our interest or partner’s Facebook or Pinterest, send them endless strings of texts (and then get left on Seen, ugh!) show up unannounced, and so on. You’d think that if we smell desperation on others, we’d be better at detecting and avoiding it in ourselves.

But it isn’t really our fault, most of the time. What do we get trained on from the days we’re barely old enough to walk? The princess, getting her prince. The happily-ever-after. All those Disney movies, the bride Barbie, and so on. It’s worse if you were raised in a devout church, like so many of us. I often make the joke that there are two kinds of women: the ones who have a wedding Pinterest, and the ones who have one a secret wedding Pinterest and lie about it. I know so many women who think they’ve failed because they weren’t successfully married by the age of 25. Or, they married young, but divorced. If you don’t have the house and the spouse before you hit your 30’s, boy, does that pressure ratchet up!

And that’s such a messed-up thing. Sure, some people know themselves enough to do OK partnering up that young, but in this day and age, that’s almost certainly the exception, not the rule. And it’s not like men are subjected to the same pressure! We’ve been done a real disservice by society, and to be honest, most of us don’t even start un-learning that until the late 20’s. If you’re not in that age bracket yet, and you’re figuring that out sooner, good for you! If you’re closer to my age, or older, y’know what? Good for you too! We aren’t a gallon of milk! We’re nowhere near expiring – we can do better, and we deserve to!

So, how do we break the cycle of chasing? I’ll definitely dig more into that in the months to come, but the short version is confidence. There’s nothing more sexy than knowing who you are, what you want, and that you absolutely can afford to hold out for it. I’m gonna suggest a book right now, that completely changed my life. I read this not too long before I met my very own charming partner. I read this book, and almost immediately leveled up in the paradigm shift I needed. Here it is:

This was, to be honest, the first major step on a long overdue journey. I’d recommend this book to anyone. My friends are probably sick of me pushing it on them. It changed my freakin’ life. I can’t understate it. I wish to God I’d read it ten years earlier!

Start here if you want to start learning how to stop chasing, stop reeking of desperation, and actually rest confidently in your ability to attract, not just partner prospects in general, but quality people. To have your choice of a person who will appreciate you, pursue you, and feel like they’re the lucky one if they catch you. I couldn’t believe it either. But isn’t it worth a shot?

Thanks for joining me today. We’ll definitely have more to discuss very soon! Oh yeah, this is not even the tip of the iceberg on fail-stories I could tell on myself. For now, though, here’s to your being more confident than I was.