But love won’t obey our expectations. Its mystery is pure and absolute.
What Robert and I had, could not continue if we were together. What Richard and I shared would vanish if we were apart.
But how I wanted to share this. How would our lives have changed if I had? Could anyone else have seen the beauty of it?
-Francesca, Bridges of Madison County
A male friend of mine suggested I write a blog about why women say no when they mean yes. It was a little bit of a passive-aggressive request because I’d just changed my mind on him and changed a no to a yes. After giving him a few choice words, I got to thinking about the topic because that’s what this blog-writing mind does….thinks ad nauseum about stuff that saner people choose to ignore. I asked him was he just talking about sex, and he said, no (I don’t believe him). He said when he was a kid, he’d send a note asking a girl if she liked him, and she checked no. Then he’d find out a year later that she really meant yes. By then, he’d already moved on, and it was too late.
We all complain about the games people play in dating. But, we all do it. The no/yes game is the one we’re talking about. If you’re married, you have may have forgotten what this is like, but, if you’re single, you know what I’m talking about. As soon as energy starts to play between a man and a woman, the energy starts circulating. It’s not a circular motion, though – it’s a push/pull. To start that initial attraction, there has to be a mutual yes. Eventually, someone starts – usually the woman – with a no. Because if it’s all yes, the energy is going in one direction at the pursuit of the male, and the interaction will be over as soon as the sex is done. That’s the problem with sleeping around too soon. The thrill is in the chase. And, if the chase is done too soon, there is no thrill. When there is no more thrill, there is nothing to keep people interacting in order to form a real connection.
There was a guy that I dated when I was 35. He was crazy about me. Honestly, I was scared. I was recently divorced, and I was afraid of getting caught up in another marriage or serious relationship too soon. So, I said no. I kept saying no. He kept pursuing me. I actually really liked him, but I was scared of where this would lead if I said yes and he was saying yes. And, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about letting my heart get involved. I’m talking about saying yes to a relationship. I also had my own intimacy issues that I hadn’t worked through, so there was a lot going on inside me that I didn’t quite understand. No felt safe. And, so I said no. A year or so later, I regretted it. Because, once he moved on – and the pressure was off – I felt more comfortable saying yes. But it was too late.
I googled the energy of saying no on the internet. Apparently, saying no and even taking it as far as instituting a No Contact rule is a dating tactic. Read this article for more information on when to use the No Contact Rule. I know that when a man becomes uninterested, my interest often peaks. Now, I’m well aware of my propensity to be attracted to unavailable men. It’s like a drug. The thrill of the chase is crack cocaine. I’ve never done crack cocaine. I don’t need to. I can get it easily enough by getting into a relationship with an unavailable man. Unavailable can mean all sorts of things …in a relationship, addicted to some substance, emotionally unavailable, addicted to work, etc. It’s the ultimate no/yes game. Yes, I’m available when we’re together. No, I’m not available because my heart is attached elsewhere. The thrill of the chase intensifies when the no/yes dynamic is embedded in the relationship. It’s not a game – it is the nature of the relationship. It’s why I had such a hard time letting go of my ex. The intensity of that no/yes dynamic is extremely intoxicating.
The ultimate no/yes game is an affair. I listen to a Christian counseling talk show called New Life Live on the radio. They specialize in treating sex addiction but also treat other kinds of addictions as well. A woman called in one day saying that she was having an affair, and she felt like she was on crack. The counselor laughed and said, “That’s a great description because it is just like crack.” Anytime we get into a situation with all of this no/yes energy coupled with natural sexual energy, we get high. This is over-simplified to make a point, but dopamine is released in the brain when we do drugs or drink alcohol. Dopamine is the hormone that creates pleasure. What do you think is released when we get into these interactions with each other? And, what increases the impact? By increasing the intensity, I increase the drug. And, one way to increase the intensity is to say no…but mean yes….or to say yes…but mean no. We know this instinctively.
One of my favorite all time movies is the Bridges of Madison County. She says yes to him but she actually means no. She can’t leave the life she has even though she says yes during the few days she has with this interesting stranger. Her heart says yes but her mind says no…her mind says yes but her heart says no. The obsession lasts forever for her. It is ultimately very painful for them both. And, yet, somehow you feel that it was worth every minute.
The problem with this game-playing is that the feelings are not real. They are manufactured by the actions that we take. The energy between a man and a woman is real. But, to intensify it artificially by intentionally ramping it up with games crushes the spirit of the relationship. A spiritual connection between two people that grows with time gives a more sustaining high that is ultimately more satisfying and less painful. I’d also add that the lack of consequences makes life much more sane.
A girlfriend of mine texted me yesterday to tell me that she was reading my blogs. She was getting so sick of all the texting. We talked about how sexy it is to hear a man’s voice, and it is especially sweet when they ask you out on the phone. You know they had to think it out and get up the nerve to do it. It is an awesome feeling. Even via phone, the energy created by the interaction between the sexes is intoxicating. Just to feel that someone is saying yes to you feels so good. I’ve learned that when they say yes but then say no, that’s a red flag. I don’t always heed it because sometimes I want to feel that drug coursing through my brain. But, in my saner moments, I know that what I want is a resounding yes. Otherwise, it’s just an addiction. Eric Clapton can tell you what I’m talking about…