How do I stop liking the chase?

city-person-relaxing-sittingDecodelol asks:

Hi everyone, I’ve been lurking for a while now, but this issue is starting to get out of hand and I would like some advice on how to change this.

I’ve been on a few dates with various people and it always starts the same we hit it off talking with each other via online or texting, but once we set a date and meet each other, I lose interest very quickly (sometimes right when I meet them). Most of the time, the date feels like a chore and I usually don’t end up contacting them afterwards or I cut it off after the first date. The people I’ve dated are attractive to me, but once I feel that reciprocation, I lose interest. I feel really bad for the people I’ve seen so far, because I know it’s not them, but it’s me. Is this something that I can change, or will it be something that I will simply have to grow out of?

Demetrius says:

One of my answers you might like, but the other not so much. That one is, spoiler alert, that you should see a therapist. I’ll get back to that later of course, and as always I don’t want you to think it’s an insult. Nothing wrong with seeing a therapist. But I’m skipping ahead a bit.

I think for the most part that loving the chase is a common feeling that many single people feel. So much of the success of dating relies on people, usually men being able to pursue until they find a good match. We’re often told, even on my own blog, that rejection should be overcome and that you should just push forward past feelings of rejection to find success in dating. Push forward, push through, meet someone great, don’t settle, etc. But what happens when you find success in meeting people, but no success in keeping them, or having the desire to keep them. Sorry, this might be a bit too deep for a Monday, it’s just something I’ve considered before and I’ve given a lot of thought into.

What you’re experiencing is normal. Men in modern society are taught to love the chase and that’s not going to change anytime soon. When you think about it, the act of courting, going back as far as courting has existed, has  always been  a game. There are rules, gambits, strategies, people give advice on how to play, and so on. I’m not saying that viewing dating as a game is a modern invention or anything, just that this is the world we live in. The fact that so many men have a chase mindset about dating, and can’t seem to give up the chase isn’t surprising when you consider how modern dating works. Straight men are expected to initiate the first contact, to plan the first date, to pay for the first date, to make the first move for the kiss, to call after the date if it went well, and so on. Men are told “chase, chase, chase” so it’s not surprising that so many men fall in love with the part of dating that they do the most often.

Now, how do you get rid of the mindset? Well, I mentioned before, you might need therapy. Again, more on that later. Now, if it’s just a function of you becoming accustomed to chasing romantic prospects, you just need to learn to enjoy serious dating part as well. Figuring out what you like about chasing is a great first step. Is it the pursuit, proving to yourself how charming you can be, the joy of building a connection, or is it the sex? Bear in mind, it could be something else entirely. Just be honest with yourself here, and remember that it’s okay if it your reason for enjoying the chase is purely superficial or about physical pleasure. Now, what you do with that information is important. For a guy like me, it took me several years to learn to love serious dating as opposed to the constant chase and what helped was realizing that my favorite part of dating was impressing people. I know it sounds weird, but I realized that my favorite part of the chase was planning great dates that impressed the women I went on dates with. Nothing felt as good as hearing “I had a great time tonight” . Once I realized this, changing from a chase mentality to a relationship-minded mentality was a whole lot easier. If I enjoy planning awesome first dates, how great will it feel to plan an amazing 10th date? My situation was very specific and changing from a chase mindset to a date mindset was easy once I realized why I enjoyed the chase. Of course, most issues related to intimacy and relationships aren’t easy to resolve with simple introspection. That’s where the therapy comes into play.

Now for most people I’d just say “evaluate why you think that way and realign how you approach dating” but in your case, I think you should seek out professional help. The reason I say this is because there seem to be some signs that this issue is bigger than just “I like the chase more than anything else”. For starters, you mentioned that you lose interest very quickly, often right when you meet someone. That tells me it has nothing to do with a preoccupation with sex, and is probably deeper than that. If it was just about sex, which is fairly common, you’d lose interest after sex. The fact that you’re losing interest before a kiss means it probably has nothing to do with sex. Maybe it’s a subconscious insecurity, maybe it’s a fear of intimacy, or who knows what else it could be. The fact that you lose interest before you’re even on a date seems pretty serious. I don’t know why you have excitement up until when meeting someone, and that’s a bit concerning to me. I wont sit here and try to guess what your issue(s) might be, because I’m not a licensed mental health professional, but I would encourage you to seek one out. I could be wrong, and maybe you’ll take my advice above and figure things out, but I would still encourage you to seek out some form of therapy. Also, I just want to say I’m not trying to insinuate that you have a debilitating mental illness. Think of this as me saying that you have the equivalent of a “sniffle“. It could be something major like the flu, or I could be wrong, but it’s better to just go see a professional just in case.

Ultimately, a chase mentality can be overcome but it takes work. Whether it’s as simple as introspection and realignment of your thoughts on dating, or if it requires some professional help is entirely up to you.

Good Luck Out There.

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