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Mon, Nov 20, 2006 | 1:04 PM New York News



Dating Life

Don't wanna date me? Now I'm hooked

Special to amNewYork

November 13, 2006

A few weeks ago, a guy who had once eagerly asked me out sent me an e-mail with a shockingly straightforward missive: "I'm just not that into you."

In the three months since I've been single, I've gotten several rejections, all for disparate reasons. Oddly, my response to each of them has been identical -- previously uninterested, I was hooked. I wanted them all to fall madly in love with me and propose in Vegas, preferably next week.

Which of course makes no sense. I'd much rather go to the Caribbean.

But the more I thought about it, the more confused I became. Why was I once again susceptible to the irritating and completely masochistic "If He Doesn't Like Me, I Like Him Even More" syndrome? Why did my retarded brain fan the flames of desire every time a guy shot me down? What evolutionary or practical purpose does that serve, if any?

I put those questions to several experts, who at the very least made me feel normal, if still rejected.

"People are naturally drawn to similar levels of attractiveness," Brown University professor and psychologist Dr. Scott Halzman wrote in an e-mail response. "We assume the person who doesn't seem attracted to you must be at a higher level of desirability themselves."

"If we can get them to become attracted to us, they seem more precious, and we, by extension, also feel worth more," Halzman said.

Ah-ha. That makes sense.

Apparently, most of us (myself definitely included) have an overabundant need for approval. Who knew?? Consequently, we look towards others to validate our perceived level of self-esteem, and if we don't find what we're looking for (ie, they don't like us), we try even harder.

**Debbie Mandel Qoute**"We want to be liked," author Debbie Mandel said. "So, if 50 people in the room adore us and greet us, it's the one person who doesn't that gets our attention. This undermines our self-confidence, and we need to restore it with a win."

The idea of needing to "win" touches upon the maddeningly persistent game-like element to dating. Loving 'the chase' may be a giant cliché, but as any bachelor can tell you, it's alive and well--and thriving--in Manhattan.

"It's human nature that we don't like what comes easily," says Ronnie Ann Ryan, an author and dating coach. "We want what we can't have."

"So when a potential romantic partner is not interested or shows resistance, the pursuer comes alive and the chase begins."

How very ... zoological.

Or you could look at it the way my friend's husband did, who told her that the French have a saying about these relationships: "One lover offers the lips and the other, the cheek."

Can I just air-kiss?

Email Julia@JuliaAllison.com

Slide Show

Photos: Julia Allison Photos: Julia Allison

Talkback: Discuss Julia's column

What are you thankful to your ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends for?

I'm thankful of getting out the horse and carriage ride in Central Park in 2001 and running away from that foolish man who said he wanted me to spring for a lavish dinner at Four Seasons.

Submitted by: Amanda

8:14 AM EST, Nov 20, 2006

Letting me go so she could start a career and family

Submitted by: Tim

6:45 AM EST, Nov 20, 2006

Read more comments or post your own

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