Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Rubber Band Effect: Getting Him to Want to Spend Time with You

**NOTE: I would like to thank you all for your constant feedback and to those who can relate to the things I have posted here. All of my content is the same but my blog has moved please visit www.say-waugh.com.

I was reading the May issue of Cosmopolitan magazine and they had an article called “Your Secret Love Weapon” by Robin Hilmantel. The article speaks about the moment in a relationship where the guy starts to back away.

This was the first Cosmo article that I ever pulled out a highlighter to take note of certain points because this pattern has been a needle in my side when it comes to relationships. I understand that eventually people run out of things to talk about so frequently but it bothers me that the desire to spend time talking to and hanging out with someone we really like or love decreases. For me, communication is comparable to the spark in the relationship. If we stop talking or seeing each other then I see it as a direct reflection of how much a person actually wants to be in a relationship with me.

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I’m the type of person who is able to text a guy I’m seeing all day back and forth. This is not because I’m clingy but because I enjoy communicating with someone who is always on my mind. If they reciprocate with a text or phone call, then a conversation for however long will occur. What I find is that in the beginning of my relationships the constant desire for conversation and contact is shared. I’ll wake up everyday to a “good morning sunshine” text, and go to bed with a promise to talk again tomorrow. The conversation is usually only ending because one of us is beyond exhausted due to the day we each had at work. Eventually, the “good morning” texts stop coming or are very few and far between. The daily conversations turn into a check in periodically throughout the day. Lastly, the face to face interactions also decrease and become a non-confirmed “maybe date” on the weekends.

In my experience every time the communication began to disappear the relationship eventually did as well. From the outside looking in it seems to be common sense. Every one who has a successful relationship always gives credit to communication. I know that most of what they are referring to has to do with sharing their wants and needs with their partner. For me in addition to sharing the emotional stuff, it boils down to quality time.

In the article the author refers to a moment all women can relate to. The moment when a woman is texting a guy who has been MIA and still gets no response. Then when she decides to not text him for a night she’ll end up with more than one message from that guy before the night is over. The Rubber Band Effect as described in the article is imagining that: “there’s a giant rubber band around you and your guy. Anytime he seems to be getting distant, the best counteractive tactic is to pull away yourself. When you do so, you cause that virtual elastic to stretch… and suddenly, he feels the urge to spring back to you.”

The author suggests that when a guy starts to back away then you should do the same. Not as a way to play a game of cat and mouse but to restore balance and desire in a relationship by reading the signs that he needs space. The article breaks down the three stages of relationships where a guy could lose interest if you appear to be too available. These stages are the initial meeting, when you have been dating for a few months, and when you are in a mutual long term commitment. As I usually make it through the first five minutes I focused on the advice from the second and third stages. Here are some gems of advice the author quoted from psychologists and experts that made me understand my behavior/ the error of my ways and gave me insight on how to change the pattern:

In the first few months:

"Guys need time apart to test and whether being with a particular woman is really what they want they want, whereas women try to spend even more time as a couple to figure out if they’re compatible with that guy." - Denise Budden Potts, PhD ( Psychologist)
“It’s called mate-value economic…Women who are too easy to attract are perceived as less desirable” – David Buss, PhD (Evolutionary psychology researcher and professor at University of Texas at Austin
(After spending time apart) “…When he initiates coupley one-on-one time, you know for sure it’s because he’s ready, not because he feels obligated.” – Daniel Ellensberg, PhD (Relationship Expert)
In a long term commitment:
“When it comes to couple time, you want quality, not quantity… If you have been happily occupied and he’s had a chance to miss you, being together will feel as exciting and fulfilling as when you first met.” - Denise Budden Potts, PhD ( Psychologist)
What a lot of the advice in this article boils down to is getting your own life. Though I have my own hobbies I’ll admit to becoming wrapped up in my relationship enough to spend more time on him, and us, rather than on myself. Eventually, my hobbies are his hobbies or our hobbies. When he needs space and I’m not engaging in his or our hobbies because he’s not there, then I don’t know what to do with myself, and the gaps in between communication might as well be gaping holes because I’m not filling them with me time.

So I have resolved to get a life, enjoy hobbies that allow me to step away from the computer and my writing to explore new things or delve further into the things I enjoy like art and music as well as meet some new and interesting people. I talked about this a little bit in a post I did a while ago but now I’m taking it to the next level.

As my Facebook status flashes my single status to the world I’m cashing in on the me time I have until someone decides to “put a ring on it”. I started a new section on the blog called Every “Single” Weekend highlighting all of the date nights where I’m dating myself. I think it's important to mention that I'm not getting a life so that I can get any man to miss me. Part of the motivation does have to do with getting into the habit of treating myself and getting out more, so that if I am in a committed relationship again he does not  get bored because I'm always at his disposal. The other part is learning how to have fun on my own, and cherishing that time a much as I do the company of whatever man I'm seeing.

Check out my last two weekends here at  http://everysingleweekend.blogspot.com/ or click on the link in the tab bar located at the top of the page. Let me know what you think, suggest places I should go, let me know if you want to tag along, and leave lots of comments.

**NOTE: I would like to thank you all for your constant feedback and to those who can relate to the things I have posted here. All of my content is the same but my blog has moved please visit www.say-waugh.com.


Katrice Jimerson said...

I am starting to appreciate separation in my home and outside my home. Sometimes you just need a break from the constant presence! And when you are comfortable in your own space... they eventually DO miss you (if he gives a damn) and will come around. Men are weird creatures.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to this topic as I just experienced it this past weekend. My friends and I refer to it as the guys get the feeling that you've become interested in another person or other things, that's the moment they want to come around and tell you how much they missed you. My issue was that my boyfriend would decide at the last minute when he wanted to spend time with me. It irked me to no end. Because I found myself waiting around for him. Then one weekend he decided to do stuff without me and I got the hint. I spent the whole weekend miserable and lonely. So now before the end of my week I have weekend plans...with or without him. Even my week days are filled with studying, working out, dinners, blogging etc. My next two weekends are booked because he still hasn't quite caught on that I am not at his disposal. He's getting the hint though and has recently begun trying to plan QT time.

Enjoyed browsing your blog, please stop by my page to check out my blog, She's No Spring Chicken.


irma Fernandez said...

Amazing, and how true it is that one have to have her own plans and live to let the other person breath, but it seems quite difficult at first specially when you think that the longer he spends away from you the least he will want to return.

Butterfly said...

I agree with your article. I have been single for two years because I really wanted to focus on other things in life that are much more important, at the same time take a break from ass holes. I met someone who was great with all the qualities that a woman desires, and it seemed that it was going well, until few months later I asked him if we dating exclusively or still looking into dating other people his reply was "I don't know" his regular upbeat tone had turned cold conversation went down hill His regular text messages stopped together with his phone calls. ( he did call once to say hi soon after)but not more than that. The rubber band effect might work but then I think to myself is he really worth my time? he cant even communicate with me to tell hey right now Im not ready lets see where is it going yes/no Im dating someone or whatever other BS that comes to his mind at that point Rather than distance him self in that manner. I'm always very upfront and honest with my thoughts why men cant be the same.

Anonymous said...

This rubber band theory thaught me a lot about my current relationship. My bf didn't talk to me for a couple of days and I started to really freak out cuz I had no idea what waa going on. He also ran away from my attempts to meet him and talk about it...
After a while I just waited outside his work place so we could have a chat.. He said me 'chasing after him' only made things worse ans that he needs 'time to think what he wants..' but he has no intentions to break up whatsoever.

I seriously miss talking to him :(
Do u know how long men need to be pulled back by the rubber band effect?
Haven't spoken to him in 1 week and it's killing me!

Anonymous said...

Must say I'm also one of those people that equate constant communication and time together to a good relationship and having spent 7years in a previous relationship I just got out of has not helped me deal at all with rubber band effect and I'm going through it now I think.
I met a guy we've been seeing each other for a month and its been loads of fun when I'm with him there no doubt in my mind he looks at me as if I'm the only thing he can see he's sweet and opinionated refreshing basically and just what I need now FUN,thing is though the smses are still coming its making time for us that's getting to me he says our time will come guess he can see it in my face coz I haven't said anything yet so today I decided to test out the rubber band effect by not texting or calling as usual and exactly at 5:30 the time I knocked off work he called just to say hi asking why I haven't said anything today and he's been smsing all the way home talking about everything...guess its true then

Anonymous said...

Thank you. As a male myself, I couldn't figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I know for a fact that I love my girlfriend, but the desire to spend time with her has diminished over the past year we've been living together. She doesn't have her own friends, and when I'm making music or hanging out with my friends doing my own thing, to her I am using it to ignore her which is far from the truth. I like being by myself or with others I haven't interacted with in a while. It gives me time to think and regroup. As a result of living with each other, the only "me" time I get is when I'm in the bathroom. Everything else is a team effort. That's okay, except for the fact that we're butting heads day in and day out. I try to take alone time for myself, but it ends up being days spent ignoring her because she tries to force it upon me and I feel obligated to spend time with her rather than wanting to.