He Is Interested In the Chase But Not the Catch: What Should You Do? - How To Win a Man's Heart

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January 29, 2015

He Is Interested In the Chase But Not the Catch: What Should You Do?

# 1. The best defense against the “non-committer man” is a solid sense of self-worth

Kristen Brown

Without getting too deep, there are a plethora of reasons why a man will come on strong in the beginning and then slowly (or abruptly) exit. However, most often these exits are due to (a) a deep seated fear within themselves that we are not yet privy to or (b) your energy is to needy or smothering (disempowered).

This is a phenomenon I see very often in my coaching practice and the question is always the same:

What is it about you that keeps attracting the same type of scenario over and over again?

Most likely there is an unworthiness wound inside of you that desperately needs your love, attention and healing pronto!

Energy attracts like energy. Whatever you are exuding is exactly what you will attract to you. Unhealed energy will attract unhealed energy. Healed energy will attract healed energy. Every time.

The best defense against the “non-committer man” is a solid sense of self-worth. It is not that we will immediately quit attracting them into our lives; it is that when one begins to present himself, we will recognize the physical and non-physical signs more quickly and be able to respond with courage, dignity and a solid sense of self-worth. An empowered individual naturally shows up in the world in a way that will recognize (and act) when things are awry. The empowered person does not use excuses to stay in a relationship where the other person’s behavior is lacking respect, commitment (even in the early stages) and value. She foremost knows her value and will only accept a partner who honors it equally.

If you are seeing a pattern in your life and you do nothing about it, the Universe will continue to serve you up the same situation until you “get it”.

When we do the work first to heal the reasons behind the cause of our neediness (unworthiness), we diminish the chances that his untimely exit is about us. It is paramount, upon entering the dating world, to have your self-worth and confidence in place. When you enter a new relationship fully empowered (and not faking it), you will automatically exude energy that potential partners will feel. If your energies don’t align immediately, one or the other will back away. If your energies do align, the relationship will begin to take hold and there won’t be a lot of guesswork involved. Instead, there will be a natural flow and grace to the union.

So often in life we want to blame the man. I get it. I used to do that too. However, no great change has ever come from blame – not for them and not for us. Great change comes when we take full responsibility for our lives and clean up our own act. This is how we attract the partner we have been dreaming of!

Kristen Brown, Author of From Doormat To Sweet Empowerment – www.sweetempowerment.com

# 2. Honestly assess why you are involved with a man who comes on that strong to begin with

Dr. Randi Gunther

The real question is what motivates a woman to get involved with a man who comes on that strong to begin with? Urgent, pushy, over-devoted, immediately involved, gushy, or instantly available guys are pretty easy to spot.

Yet, many valuable women fall. Perhaps it is this revolving door world of sequential, intense relationships that makes both men and women too quickly fall in love and, just as quickly, realize that their too-instant partners aren’t what they thought they were. Maybe women still can be seduced by a charming man who makes them feel as if they are the center of the universe even though his past history shows that there have been many universes. After all, she may be the one that he’s been looking for all his life. Now, that’s not terrifically common.

So women often ask me: Are men just commitment phobic? Do they truly love and then their fear of entrapment undoes what they thought they wanted? Or, conversely, do they set out from the beginning out to seduce and abandon, fully aware of the havoc they will wreak? Perhaps they have an ideal fantasy woman in mind, project it on to each woman, and then feel disillusioned that she doesn’t turn out to be who he thought she was. With testosterone driving them, can any man be satisfied forever with just one woman?

None of the answers are true for all men. They run the gamut, as do women, from those who desire to find a partner and raise a family to those who don’t want the responsibilities and obligations that every long-term relationship requires. When women were more dependent on men for protection and support, they were conditioned from early childhood to find a mate. In many countries that is still true. But in more liberal environments now, women are taking a long and hard look at options that never existed before. What about having children before they decide to marry? Then, if a partner strays, he cannot take the children with him into a new relationship. Does she have to be loyal to just one man or can she date more than one at a time? Is it more interesting and exciting to enjoy the early months of sequential relationships where love and lust are usually guaranteed, and not expect or desire those partnerships to continue beyond the honeymoon phase? Maybe she decides to be the one who leaves first because discovery is no longer happening and her partner is becoming too boring. Or his early protestations of love aren’t just not doing it anymore.

Sadly, two people can have a marvelous beginning to a relationship that also has great long-term potential and one or the other just stops feeling the desire to continue. Those emotional and physical reactions don’t come out of nowhere. But it is easy for the one who continues to be in love to ignore the signals that his or her attachment is no longer reciprocated in the same way. When I am called in to facilitate those unequal and terribly sad partings, the partners who are left often tell me that they didn’t see it coming. Yet, the signs were everywhere but just too painful to heed. They sensed something might not be totally okay, but used that information to try harder. The partner wanting to disconnect, often then puts out perfunctory appeasements, fearful of causing pain or too guilty to say anything.

When starting any new relationship, it is important to ask the other what their concepts of great relationships are, what they are looking for in life, and what they’ve learned do far. Then, of course, to be willing to share the same information. It is not a pushy or inappropriate question when it is asked in a genuinely curious and interested way. Once a relationship is established and the partners appear to be heading towards deeper commitment, it is crucial that they continuously check in with each other to see whether or not they feel the same way and still have the same goals. All relationships can get into slumps at times. But a slump feels very different from a connection that keeps losing steam over a long period of time.

If you’re still willing to be seduced by an intense courtship and you’re content to love what is happening, pay close attention to simple clues as the relationship progresses. Who finishes a kiss first? Who seems to be more into other priorities than the relationship? Who starts to pick, correct, and criticize? Who stops talking about the future? If you are on the other end of a guy who starts to fit into those categories, giving him room to go before he takes it can sometimes get him to think again that maybe he’s with someone who doesn’t need him that much, and he isn’t as trapped as he thought he was. Check out, in your own psyche, whether you are into possession and ownership, or can truly want someone to be where he or she is the most fulfilled, even if it’s not with you.

Yes, Virginia, there are Santa Clauses. There are also cads. If you aren’t into your own fantasy, both are pretty easy to spot.

Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com

# 3. Follow the 3 tips below

Amy Sherman

It’s always nice when you meet someone special and his goal is the same as yours – to have an honest, long-term, intimate, committed relationship. However, all too often, people’s intentions are not the same and someone usually gets hurt.

How do you deal with a guy who may be a commitment-phobe, a player or just changes his mind mid-stream?

You won’t know in the beginning of your relationship if the guy you are dating is in it for long or short term, but as you get to know him and your conversation becomes more intimate and personal, the question should come up. Naturally, the sooner you know his intention, the better it is for you. You do not want to waste your time with someone whose long-term goal is out of sync with yours. At some point, you need to stop second-guessing the relationship and find out what your partner truly wants. Don’t assume anything, so try these techniques:

1. When you feel comfortable openly discuss long-term expectations before you become too emotionally involved in the relationship. Opposites don’t really attract if your value systems are not in sync. For example, are you a homebody, satisfied to stay inside to read or watch TV while he is the social butterfly, always looking for friendly get-togethers? Are you attached to frequently spending time with your family, while he has little interest in promoting family outings? These can become major issues if not addressed early on or they can be deal breakers in terms of how long a relationship will last.

2. Get used to discussing your expectations to be sure you both have the same intent, values and goals. When you know where someone is coming from, you will be less likely to misinterpret their actions or behaviors and, therefore, not be disappointed. Although, sometimes guys will hide their true feelings, be on guard for men who don’t appear authentic in their behavior. In other words, say one thing, but do something else.

3. If you hear him say, “What should we do this weekend?” you know he is considering you to be part of a couple. You are both sharing a common and unified direction socially and maybe even spiritually. If he continues to voice suggestions about how you both can be part of each other’s lives , yet understands your individuality, you may have found a keeper, who is sincere and committed.

Any time you assume something you are setting yourself up for misunderstandings and miscommunication. Just by asking the right kind of questions and being clear on your intent, you can avoid the confusion, hurt and conflict associated with guessing what he is thinking. These kinds of conversations early on can keep the relationship moving in a harmonious direction and also lay the foundation for a long-term commitment.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

# 4. When you sense a man pulling a way, my best advice is to draw your focus back to enriching your own life

Hadley-Hill

When men who have shown warmth, affection, and strong interest in a future together suddenly withdraw and act distant, it is often women’s reaction to rush forward toward him and quickly occupy that space he has tried to create for himself. This is an understandable reaction, given that women tend to crave connection and assurance when we are feeling hurt or abandoned. However, women need to understand that men process emotions differently, and often the way they seek solace during times of uncertainty or discomfort is by retreating into themselves to sort things out on their own. If we don’t respect this need for space and instead keep moving closer whenever he takes a step back, it will likely only drive him further away. Trying to force him into a heartfelt conversation during times like this also will probably backfire, since chances are he is acting this way because he does not feel clear yet about his feelings, and therefore will not be able to express them clearly.

When you sense a man pulling a way, my best advice is to draw your focus back to enriching your own life – focus on the things maybe you were neglecting while in the honeymoon phase of the relationship – friendships, work, self-care, etc – and rediscover/renew all those other sources of happiness and strength in your life. This not only combats the hurt you may feel, but it also reminds you that you are ok, with or without him. It keeps you from putting your life on hold while he tries to sort himself out. In addition, focusing back on your own busy life gives him a chance to miss you, and also gives you a lot more to talk about when he reaches out again besides just flooding him with questions about the relationship and statements about how much you missed him – it reminds both him, and you, that you are independent and not solely relying on your relationship for your happiness and self worth.

Giving him his sacred space is especially important early on in the relationship. As you both move forward it will be important to have ongoing dialog – acknowledging that you both have different needs and different ways of processing, and figuring out how to compromise so that you’re not dealing with this get-close-then-withdraw pattern again and again. Hopefully, affording him this space and carrying on with your own life will be all he needs to clarify his feelings, realize he misses you and that he truly does want to move forward with the relationship. If, however, his withdrawing becomes a regular occurrence, it is probably time to move on with your life, because let’s face it – ain’t nobody got time for that.

Hadley Hill, MA, LPC-Intern – www.hadleyhilltherapy.com

# 5. Vulnerability on both parts is a necessity in this pattern of dating

Amanda Patterson

When men love the chase but not the catch, it can signal several behavioral patterns, including emotional unavailability, being an island, being impulsive or just plain playing the field. It is up to you to decide which of these behaviors you are willing to deal with. It is about you setting up perimeters in your life as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. In the beginning of a relationship the chase can be fun. It is sending you sweet text messages and pursuing you for upcoming dates. Once you have had a couple of dates, he cools off. What does that signal? As stated above, it can signal many things and you have to be willing to be patient to see what it really means or already have a strong definition of what you want in a relationship. Are you willing to explore what you want out of a relationship?

If you talk to your friends and family, there are probably cases for both sides. You probably have that one friend who is now happily married with her husband, who was once unwilling to commit and just needed time to figure out that the woman he had was who he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. On the other hand, you probably have another friend who waited for her boyfriend to catch up and finally settle down once the chase was done and it never happened. Are you willing to give something time to see what it develops into?

If a man becomes distant once the chase is done, allowing him that space to explore his feelings can be beneficial to you. It can allow both of you to grow into something special, especially if you continue to focus on your growth and well-being. It allows for you both to make the decision to become emotionally vulnerable in the relationship. It takes a lot of vulnerability on the woman’s part to give the man space to figure out what he wants. It takes a lot of vulnerability on the man’s part to not allow his fear to overcome him when things shift in a relationship.

If you find yourself continually in this pattern, it is important to explore ways you have not been vulnerable in dating. What does it mean to you to be vulnerable in a relationship?

Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com

# 6. Try to calm your emotions and listen to the logic provided by your wonderful frontal cortex

Sally Leboy

There can be so many reasons why a person might cool towards a relationship. However, there are a couple of real red flags in this scenario.

The first red flag is how quickly the man seems to attach to you. Let’s face it. It takes a long time to really get to know somebody. While an attraction can be strong, if he is “that much into you”, you might consider that he loves the chase and loves the whirlwind romance, but he can’t possibly yet love you. This focus on the chase and the romance is a sign of emotional immaturity. It’s also a sign of narcissism. This man isn’t considering the impact of his actions on you. He’s only concerned about enjoying himself. Once the fun fades or you begin to appropriately ask for more commitment, he cools off, withdraws and probably exits the relationship all together.

The second red flag is the abrupt withdrawal. If there is a relationship problem he should be talking to you about it. He should be showing some signs that he’s unhappy about something so that you also can address it. Big problems don’t generally come out of nowhere. His lack of communication again indicates immaturity and narcissism.

This man is bad news and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s flattering to feel so wanted, and romance is always hard to resist. Try to calm your emotions and listen to the logic provided by your wonderful frontal cortex. You know that true intimacy is a process that takes time. All of the flowers, gifts, dinners and even hot sex will not create a lasting bond. Unless you’re just out for a good time, steer clear.

Sally Leboy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

# 7. When this happens, you need to treat yourself with reverence and care

Deborah Cox

We all do a version of Runaway Bride at some point in our lives. We enjoy the buildup of romantic energy and then suddenly feel smothered and nauseous when the relationship becomes fact. But The Chaser repeats this pattern continually. He never settles in to stay. As his partner, you detect the seismic shifting immediately as the relationship solidifies into something real. As soon as you express your intent to be with him, it’s like a switch is thrown and he jerks away. You see his eyes roam over your shoulder as he scans the room for potential better offers. You’re mystified and hurt, even though you had a hunch he would do this. You recall the cards he sent, the flowers and songs and pledges of devotion. You think, How could he do this?!!! And you have every right to be angry.

When this happens, you need to treat yourself with reverence and care. Lavish yourself with generous time, rest, and gifts. Treat yourself to all the beauty you can find. Call a friend who loves you. Make plans to dine out. Eat fine chocolate. Have your clothes laundered and pressed and folded for you. Sleep ten hours at night. Listen to soothing music. Take a day off and pamper yourself with a manicure and massage. Take a long, hot bath with lavender oil. Remind yourself of compliments you received in the past. Look back at greeting cards you saved, pictures with friends, awards you won in high school. See yourself through the eyes of someone who loves and admires you.

Why bother with all this? By giving yourself all the attention you received from The Chaser, you send a strong signal to your inner self that you deserve that love. Whether he can give it or not.

His anxiety kept him moving long before he met you . . . And will continue to make him restless. You, meanwhile, have new wisdom and experience. It hurts horribly, but know this: You deserve dignity, calm, and lasting connection. Your love is a precious gift.

Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com

# 8. Shift your focus from short term gratification to long term fulfillment

Brett-McDonald

Most people enjoy immediate gratification over more proximal satisfactions. We want what we want when we want it, which is usually NOW. The ability to hold off and have patience for the payoff that comes with the investment of time is lacking in some people, particularly when it comes to relationships. It is much harder to stay married for 50 years than it is to fall in love and be infatuated with someone for 6 weeks.

Our culture does a lot to reinforce the drive for immediate satisfaction, leaving some of us with the perception that love is some kind of fantasy filled with dramatic passion and constant romance. Men as well as women fall prey to the appeal of this illusion, but a long-term relationship involves perseverance, patience and hard work. If you find men who are interested in the chase but not the enduring connection, you can work to make the longer-term commitment more appealing by showing him the reasons to stick it out even past the fiery first weeks.

Emphasize the value of understanding each other and the improved nurturing that someone who really knows you can provide. Even though this may not be as much of a thrill, it is ultimately more need-fulfilling and meaningful over the course of our lives. Have a discussion about how to switch from high gear into a lower, more sustainable gear that will generate longevity. Be patient with your man when he wants to hold onto the thrill of new love, and help him make the leap to love that lasts. Also, remember to interject some of the habits of new love and be proactive in keeping the fire burning between the two of you.

Brett McDonald, M.S., LMHC – www.thedragonflyretreat.com

# 9. Know the difference between intention and attention

Amanda-McPherson

Ugh. Unfortunately, I hear about this happening a lot in the dating world. A few years ago, I came up with a little catch phrase that touches on this issue: “Know the difference between Attention and Intention”. You see, attention can be somewhat easy to dole out—especially in this modern era of texting, Facebook etc. A man can blow up your phone with texts without inconveniencing himself very much, can’t he? I hear these kinds of complaints often … “he texts me all the time, but never asks me out”… “we had a great date and he said all of these really sweet things to me, but I haven’t heard from him in a week”. It can be so darn confusing!

Some men (and women) are guilty of loving the high that comes with getting attention, so they casually dish it out because they get a positive response and it makes them feel good about themselves. But, intention takes much more effort. Intention means that someone has decided to prioritize you. Intention is consistent. Intention is someone getting to know you in a meaningful way. Intention may move more slowly and cautiously because it is from a place of sincerity and vulnerability.

It might take a little while to figure out if a man is approaching you with intention or just attention. But, intention will feel more comfortable and safe. Intention won’t keep you guessing about what they think about you.

Of course flowers are nice. And those smooth talkers sure can make us feel good in the moment. But, make sure you are also feeling intention coming your direction—that’s the kind of stuff that makes for a great relationship.

Amanda McPherson, LPC Intern – www.girlgetyourrootsdone.com

# 10. Set your boundaries and if someone cannot respect them, then that is a huge red flag

Ileana-Hinojosa

It is important to ask yourself why someone is in such a hurry. Additionally, it is important to honor the way that you feel and take it slow. Set your boundaries and if someone cannot respect them, then that is a huge red flag. When someone imposes their will on you and you are just starting to date, imagine what it will be like once you are in a fully committed relationship with this person. If the person cannot hear your requests for slowing down, that person is not listening and has their own agenda that they are following. A courtship is just that; a time to get to know each and take things slow. Know who you are getting involved with. People with poor boundaries are more likely to rush and hurry into a relationship with someone that they really do not know. Some people who are unhealthy want to move quickly so that it is harder for you to leave the relationship once you see their true colors.

If a man is going too fast and crossing boundaries by buying you expensive gifts and spending hours on the phone, or talking about the future early on, it is time to question the health of his boundaries. Yes, he seemed interested but when he did not get what he wanted he pulled away. This is manipulative behavior and he is saying I want what I want when I want it with no regard for what you want to what you need. He is in a hurry because he wants a committed relationship on his terms. Giving in to this type of behavior early on means you are setting the tone for future interactions with this person. So in pulling away, he may have done you a favor. Don’t get frustrated and be thankful that you caught the behavior early on and decided to be mindful in honoring your needs in the relationship and maintaining healthy boundaries.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net

# 11. A man who suddenly shows lack of interest is probably just creating more space than he intended to

Judith Fujimura

Before doing or saying anything, take care of yourself and your emotions first. Rest assured that he really was interested in you, and is almost certainly still interested in you. This isn’t a litmus test, or a rejection for something that you did wrong. He’s also probably not wining and dining other people. This is hard for the person waiting, and unfortunately, there’s no way to speed up the other person’s timing.

All couples need to have a balance of connection, separation, and reconnection that is satisfying to both of them. What’s happening here is that, while established couples have already worked out a satisfying rhythm around their need for connection, separation, and reconnection, newer couples have not. So it’s normal for new couples to go through a phase where their rhythm is way off.

A man who suddenly shows lack of interest is probably just creating more space than he intended to. His next challenge is figuring out how and when you would like him to reconnect. Your challenge, as the person waiting, is to give him the time and space he needs to try and get it right. While you’re waiting, it’s Okay to reach out in a text or private email, maybe once every five days or so, to thank him for a nice date recently, or to invite him to do something together, or comment on a shared interest, such as a sports team. This lets him know that when he does reach out to connect with you again, that his reach­out will be well­ received. Then when he finally tries to reconnect, respond positively and with a smile. You deserve to be happy that he’s contacting you again!

If you’re right for each other, you and he will eventually get better at managing the rhythm of connection and separation.

Judith Fujimura, MA, LMFT – www.judycares.com

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