Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chasing Down Love

I’m having trouble deciphering whether a woman is generally interested in me, it she’s being nice. First date seemed to go well, and throughout the next week we exchanged fun and somewhat flirty (more on my end) texts. When I asked her out for a second time she said she should be available. The day of the date, she asked for a raincheck, that she couldn’t make it out because she was tired and she was going on vacation. Since she didn’t follow that up with any indication that she wanted to get together when she got back, I just wrote her off as not that interested in me, and moved on. But she continued to text me (unsolicited) everyday she was on vacation. I would think if she definitely wasn’t interested, she wouldn’t text me while she was on vacation. So I’m wondering: should I bother asking her out again? Are women still in that ‘the man must make EVERY move mode’ or am I overthinking?

The above is a letter from a reader of the blog And that's why you're single. It's something I, too, have experienced. Perhaps other readers out there have also been through this.

In February and March, I had three dates with a woman who's company I enjoyed, and with whom I felt a decent amount of attraction. We shared a lot of common interests, had similar attitudes about values, and generally seemed to live our lives in a similar way. The conversations we had flowed well, and things seemed to be moving in a positive direction. And then she pulled the "I'm really busy" card. Which she was. But which I also figured was a sign that she wasn't interested. However, I then would receive e-mails from her asking me how I was, what I was up to, and saying she was hoping to get her classwork and some other things finished in a week or two, and then we could get together again. The first two times, I responded back with some details about how I was, and asking her to let me know when she has some time, so we could schedule another date. Then, a week went by, and then another one, before I got a short message that sounded exactly like the previous ones. At this point, I'm thinking "she's not really interested. She's probably just hoping to keep me around as a hang out option." So, I just let it go without response.

Here is the first paragraph of blogger Moxie's response to the letter writer above:

She’s waiting for you to ask her out. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think there are a lot of people out there – men and women – who do something similar. They go out with someone once or twice, then cancel the second or third date. Then they sit back and wait for the other person to follow up with them and ask them out. Often times, but not always, it’s a test. They want to see how interested the other person really is. They cancel plans, truly believing their ill or sleepy or busy but actually could go meet the person. They’re waiting for the other person to chase them to some degree.

I have to say the whole "chasing thing" rather ticks me off. I'm not into games, and I'm not going to play the mind-reader either. In fact, when I get the vibe from a woman that she wants me to chase, I'm much more likely to walk away than anything else.

The way I see it, there's a difference between making an effort to demonstrate your interest and chasing. Chasing is always a one way street. One person is expected to prove something to the other person before anything will go further. Which is very different from a mutual effort where both parties do something, say something, or otherwise express something that shows an interest in the other.

Although Moxie writes that both men and women do this, I feel it's more common amongst women because of the old socialization we're all muddling through around gender roles. There's still a sense that it's sexy for a man to keep calling, keep writing, keep pressing for dates, all the while tossing sweet comments in the woman's directions. It's tied in with the whole financial set of expectations around men paying for dates to express their interest and level of potential commitment.

However, some of this is changing, and for men, employing THE CHASE is a mixed bag tactic. When I was younger, I employed a level of chasing towards a few women I was interested in. And honestly, it was mostly a flop. In fact, one got downright irritated at the extra attention I was offering, and basically stopped talking to me. It's really difficult to not look like a stalker in such cases, if someone either isn't sure they are interested in you, or doesn't like to be pressured.

And that gets to another point: I don't like to be pressured, and I don't like it when someone seems to be trying to sell me something. And that's what chasing feels like. You're upping the attention towards someone to sell them YOU as a partner.

Once I realized that, I simply stopped. No more chasing. If I show some interest, and put in my share of effort and there's no response from the woman in question, I move on. End of story. If someone is naturally shy, I might put a little more time and effort in, but at some point, there has to be some kind of positive response. And frankly, if someone wants to run me through a bunch of hoops, she's probably not right for me anyway.

That's my take. What about you?


  1. I'm with you on the games, chasing, & "tests" - all so juvenile and seldom result in good relationships anyway.

    I don't think the woman who went on vacation is doing that to you though Nathan. If she wasn't interested, I doubt she'd text you everyday while on vacation - more likely she was interested and didn't want you forget to about her so she was "staying in touch".

    If you liked her, why not ask her out again? If she blows you off, then you'll know she was playing games and not worth your time. You might be surprised though that she was hoping you'd ask her again.

    I know you want to change the dating "narrative" as you call it, but most women still expect men to do the asking and conclude a guy who doesn't ask isn't interested. By expecting her to call and ask YOU out you are also playing a game because she didn't know you had those "rules". See what I mean?

    1. Yes, it's childish, but most women will test men on this and will give them a hard time!!

    2. If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

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      Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

      It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

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      Thanks again.


  2. Sorry Nathan I thought the above was about you. Then I read the other blog.

    "Screw chase. Screw Woo." Okay, but the second paragraph I wrote above still applies: if you want women to play by "Nathan's Narrative" you're going to have to explain it to them first.

  3. You know, I though I wrote that there's a difference between chasing and demonstrating interest. I never said anything about not doing my share. In fact, I still do most of the asking out anyway.

    You're point Selena really is responding to the other guy's letter. I don't see how it applies to what I wrote above.

  4. Hmm. I suppose I thought you printed the letter as an example of a woman wanting a man to chase her. Though I interpreted it as her showing interest, possibly hoping they would get together when she returned. This was also Moxie's 1) theory that you chose not to include when you reprinted part of her reply.

    I agree with you though, that if a woman isn't showing much in the way of response...move on.

  5. I will say that I'm not really sure what to make of the woman's intentions in that letter. I think I did initially read it as her having a chasing expectation, which is why I reacted as strongly as I did in the beginning.

    Now, I don't know. Sending text messages without mentioning getting together again feels a bit confusing to me. But it certainly could be that the vacation made things a little confusing, and that she was doing her best to show interest while being away.

  6. The only way for the poster to find out for sure, would be to text her (or call her, what a concept!) and ask her if she'd like to get together again - pick a date.

    Maybe his reluctance to do that is because he's had experiences like yours where the woman seemed interested, but wasn't all that much? I don't know, but both genders run into people like this and it is confusing.

  7. I agree. He might have had similar experiences to me and others. Someone needs to make a move in any case.

    The thing is, he's already asked her out again, and she said she wanted a rain check. Which to me puts the ball in her court to some degree. That's the confusing part. If it were me, I would want to respect her time, and her schedule. I already demonstrated interest by setting up the last date, which she cancelled (for fair reasons, it seems). Asking again, while she is still on vacation, could be just as easily perceived as over-eagerness or desperation as it could a sign of continued interest.

    If I were in that situation, I probably would call or e-mail her again. But you know, it just seems to me that she could easily say something in one of those texts like "hey, about that rain check." Because again, she was the one that cancelled the original date, which he wanted to go on.

    Which is why when I originally read the letter, I felt that old game playing flag rise. Texting the guy everyday, but not mentioning once the date she cancelled is kind of muddled at best if you ask me.

  8. Someone women always want the onus to be on the man to ask for dates, at least for the first few dates. If she's one of those women, she probably believes that she is showing him interest, but she's wondering why he isn't asking her out again. I'm not one of those women, so I find her behavior a little baffling and stupid, but I know women who do this, and to them, it seems logical. It's very driven by a male-dominated view of dating (men are the hunters, women respond to being hunted).

  9. If someone canceled a second date on me, particularly on the day thought would be, "okay, he isn't that interested". But I can also understand being tired, having to organize and pack for a trip - and I don't see that as a really lame excuse to not want to go out that night. And I can see if you blew someone off this way, that you WERE intersted in -how you would want to let them know you actually were interested by communicating with then while you were away.

    So, to me, her texting him every day was her way of getting across that even though she canceled, she was still interested. I might be wrong, but I would give the benefit of the doubt if I were a guy interested in seeing her again.

    SHE ofcourse, could come right out and say, "I'd like us to get together when I get back." But since she was the one who cancelled the last date, she might be afraid to do that. Hense, the friendly texting every day on vacation, hoping (guessing) that he will ask her out again.

    Games. Whew. Exhausting. It feels so much better when you say what you mean, and mean what you say.

    Nathan, since women don't usually do the asking out

  10. Anon - yes, that's what I find so fascinating. How male dominated the whole pursuer-pursue desire is, and yet there are plenty of women who still love that kind of thing, even as they fight for gender equality in the rest of their lives.


    It's exhausting, no doubt. I didn't think her excuse was a problem at all. It makes sense to rest before leaving for a vacation.

    But they already went out once. The guy has asked her on a second date. And yet, somehow he needs to again do the asking? Do you see why this can get old for guys quickly, especially if it leads to dead ends a fair amount of the time?

    I think your point about fears around having cancelled the last date are valid, but at some point, you have to risk some rejection.

    Men are constantly risking rejection because we do most of the asking out in the first place. I have been turned down online. In coffee shops. In classes where I have had an interest in someone. I'm probably in the middle on the shy/outgoing scale, and yet couldn't tell you how many times women have decided they didn't want to take up an offer to go on a date.

    So, while the guy from the post could definitely ask her out again, it's also the case that women in that situation need to step up at some point and say what they want.

  11. Yeah Nathan, I'm seeing your POV on this. Since she was the one who canceled, why shouldn't she be the one to ask for a re-schedule? I get it.

    Lot's of "conditioning" might factor into why she just doesn't come right out try that though.

  12. Knowing how common at least some of that social conditioning is, I have been more likely to do things like making the first move in the beginning, even though I aim for a more equal approach, where it doesn't matter as much who asks whom out, and whatnot.

    You might say it's being strong in words and intention, but being measured in steps towards those words and intentions in reality.

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