Last night after watching The Bachelorette, I had a conversation with my mom about relationships.
She said something she has said many times, and something I’ve heard too many times to count. She said something we have all said. Something we have all heard.
She said, “It’s all about the chase.”
And I got pissed.
Something about this concept burns me up. While I get it, I don’t understand it entirely.
I understand its fun to chase after things we want. It’s called having goals and drive and purpose. But what I do not understand is the concept of chasing after something you supposedly want simply to chase after it, and then after finally holding in your hands the very thing you’ve run after for so long, throwing it back down just to start all over; or in some cases, actively running away from it.
Chasing after the things we want is a concept widely known to our society. We chase our dreams. Our passions. Our goals. We are basically always running after something in this life. Whether it is our children, time, career, relationships, or goals, we are always chasing and running.
That’s a good thing in many ways. Motion is a sign of progress and being alive. I’m not a fan of standing still. I like to always be moving, especially when that direction is forward. And yet I find myself increasingly frustrated when the concept of “the thrill of the chase” comes up in terms of dating and relationships.
Again, I get it. I understand men are hard wired to chase things and there’s an instinctual drive in us to want the thing we have to work a little harder for. What I don’t get is the concept of finally getting it and then losing interest because it’s no longer as exciting as it was when you didn’t really have it, but rather the idea of it.
To me, it’s strange to listen to people accept this methodology; and to be honest, I really don’t accept it.
I don’t know where my strong, almost visceral reaction to it came from last night but when my mom, who has been married for 34 years, said for the thousandth time, “It’s all about the chase,” I just couldn’t hold in my anger about it.
I ranted for a while about how much bullshit that is and how ridiculous it is and how while I’m sure my dad enjoyed pursuing my mom, and in many ways still does, he was not only in it for the chase. He chased her because ultimately he wanted her. He chased her because his goal was to have and keep her. Not because it was fun to chase her and once he got her, he thought, “Well crap! This is boring. Onto the next thrill.”
To me, the thrill of the chase is a pretty weak, cowardly, lazy way out.
It requires nothing of substance.
Pursuit is fun. Being pursued is fun. Chasing after the things we want is exciting.
But you know what else is exciting? Getting the thing we’ve chased after! Holding onto the thing we have pursued.
For me, there is no point in pursuing something I don’t actually want. That requires too much time and energy for absolutely no payoff. I’m not into wasting my time on empty pursuits.
As I continue my own pursuit for lasting, forever love, I repeatedly see this divide between men and women in the dating world.
Men want to pursue. Women want to be pursued.
That’s a win.
But then some men don’t want to have to continue the work once they’ve gotten the thing they supposedly wanted; and women just want to finally feel safe and secure in something they can rely on and hold onto.
So we end up with another loss.
We circle around each other because of fear.
I have learned that men are every bit as afraid of love, loss, commitment and failure as women are; they just express it and deal with it differently.
Men’s fear is often expressed through the never-ending chase. If they never commit to anything, they never have to lose it. If they never try to keep the woman they’ve chased after, they’ll never have to worry about letting her down or losing her. If they just keep chasing things but never hold onto them, they get to stay on the safe side of failure. The side where it feels like a choice they’re in control of instead of a risk they’re powerless over.
Women do this too, but it looks different. Sometimes we take ourselves out of the game altogether because we’ve just been burned too many times and the risk no longer feels worth the reward. Sometimes we chase too hard after what we want and then hold on too tight for fear of losing it again; and as we all know by now, that’s the best way to lose it all because no man wants to be gripped that tight. Sometimes we test the waters and then jump back out the second anything reminds us of a past failure or wound; forever punishing the next guy for what the last one did.
Whichever way we go with this fear driven dance, we all end up hurt in the end. We all end up alone and continually circling around the very thing we want most in life.
So how do some people get it and some people just never seem to? How does anyone stay married longer than 6 months if it’s really all about the chase?
I think it boils down to a few things.
First we have to stop chasing our own selves. Or running away from our own selves.
We have to face the truth of who we are, our choices, our behaviors, our relationships, our failures, and even our successes. We have to have the courage to work on the weak spots while building up the strong ones. We have to learn what’s in our core and what we ultimately want. We have to decide what we are worth and what we are willing to deal with in order to have what we deserve. And, we have to become the person someone else deserves.
Once we have done those things and learn to overcome the fear that drives so much of what we do, in and out of relationships, then I believe we begin attracting the kinds of people we ultimately want. When we stop playing games with our own hearts is when other people will stop doing it too.
People treat us how we teach them to treat us. We get back what we put out. So if fear, insecurity and pain are still driving your train, you’ll be met with experiences that compound that fear, insecurity and pain. But when you stop accepting that same story for yourself; when you begin believing what you’re worth and chasing after what you truly deserve, you’ll begin to notice the bullshit falls away. Or when bullshit presents itself, you’ll know how to walk away.
You’ll no longer accept less. You’ll no longer be chased by guys whose only goal is to chase after you but never hold onto you. You’ll stop playing games, and you’ll stop being played.
While there is an element of tension and effort that must weave together the fabric of every great relationship, the right one won’t chase you just to let you go. The right one will chase you to keep you, and then he will pursue you for the rest of your life because he will know that he caught the best thing there is and he will want nothing more than to hold onto it. And you’ll do the same.
This of course is purely my own opinion based on some experiences I have had and experiences many women I know have had. I am not bashing men or blaming men for all the dating problems of the world. So please, before your panties or boxers get all twisty, just take it all for what it is and add your own experiences to the discussion if they might be useful. 🙂
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