Does the Attraction Method or “The Game”, which is popularized by pick up artists and some relationship coaches, work long term in relationships?
When the attraction method is used in the “dating game” it can do two things for us. Initially, it quickly builds an undeniable attraction in a new partner through strategies meant to take over that persons thoughts. Later on down the relationship road however, it can lead to an inauthentic connection between two people and completely backfire on you.
The question I’d like you to ask yourself is “Do I want this person I barely know to fall so deeply into infatuation with me that I am not seeing them for who they really are but rather a person reacting to their default attachment style?”
Last week, we shared how you can best make your partner feel heard in a relationship and today, we are going to expand by diving into staying present and conscious with your partner. If you missed reading that article, click here to catch up!
Today, read all the way until the end because I will share with you the three things you can take away from studying the attraction method that you can apply to your own life to build a healthy relationship.
In the initial stages of a relationship, dating, or casual hookup, a natural chemistry occurs based on psychobiological principles. Recently, we have been diving into on some of these principles on our popular podcast episodes. The attraction method taught by popular coaches is loosely and erroneously based off of these researched psychological principles. The major difference I’d like to point out today is the lack of authenticity in the way “the game” is played and removes the true bond that can be formed between two people.
Have you encountered any of the 8 guys you don’t want to date from our blog post last week? Today, we are going to focus on three of them that will make our conversation more clear; they are the Player, the Too Busy Guy, and the Mixed Signals guy.
Each of these three guys WILL use the attraction method to their advantage without an authentic intention. The Player will use the method to meet, date, or sleep with multiple women at the same time. The Too Busy Guy will commonly cancel, reschedule, or be late to dates to drive up your attraction to him by recognizing how strong of a pull “you want what you can’t have” can be! The Mixed Signals guy utilizes the attraction method to drive up cognitive dissonance in your heart, head, and your gut which creates an attachment so deep that you can think of nothing else.
Cognitive dissonance is defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. We will go more in depth into that as it comes into dating with mixed signals from your partner.
With each of these guys using the attraction method to play “the game”, the attraction to him will be extremely high but the confidence in a future or a trust level with him will be very low. Can you relate to that because of a previous experience you’ve had?
When we begin to think of new crush or partner all the time, we slide into that stage of cognitive dissonance and confuse it for lust, love, or butterflies in our stomach. This is the time to check in with your intuition. What does your gut instinct tell you about this person?
My gut instinct has gotten stronger over the past two years when I began to prioritize my needs along with my mental and emotional health. What I have discovered is that intuitive feeling is right the majority of the time and I have begun to trust it implicitly. Does your intuition tell you that this new person that came into your life is genuine and authentic or are you leaning towards they are activating a core attachment style inside of you?
Attachment theory, popularized by Amir Levine’s book Attached are important to bring up at this point because an anxious attachment style can experience what feels a lot like cognitive dissonance. The anxious attachment style will begin to chase or cling to their new partner as their only option and be intensely afraid that they will leave them at any moment.
Levine describes it succinctly in his best selling book, ““If you have an anxious attachment style, you tend to get attached very quickly, even just on the basis of physical attraction. One night of sex or even just a passionate kiss and, boom, you already can’t get that person out of your mind.”
Here’s where the attraction method can get us into hot water. When the player, the too busy guy, or the mixed signals guy meet an anxiously attached person, they are likely to use the tools they were taught to drive this new person absolutely mad with desire and attraction. As one of our listeners described it as “living in purgatory” for two weeks.
So, how does that tell us that the attraction method doesn’t work in authentic or conscious dating? Let’s catch up with Mark and Jane, our new couple we discussed last week, to see where they are at in their dating journey.
After Mark and Jane defined the relationship in last week’s example, Mark was telling an old college buddy Chad about his new girlfriend. Mark’s buddy was grilling him, wanting all the details, and trying to show “how boring” it sounded. Mark is a confident guy but has always put his career first and is unsure if he has created the heat of the fire with Jane as Chad describes in his wild flings.
Chad begins to share the attraction method techniques he’s used to get women to pursue him relentlessly, often times more than one “on the hook” at the same time. One of these techniques Chad shares is that he will make plans with someone who is chasing him and then cancel at the last minute, saying that something had come up with work. Seems pretty slimy right?
The attraction method I’ve learned, dissected, and am now intent on difusing preaches this technique to drive attraction through the roof! You always want what you can’t have, right?
That’s what the attraction method is all about at its core principle; making someone chase you or think of you constantly with psychological ploys. Its intent is to make our new interest, partner, or crush feel so uncertain that all they do is think about you.
Now imagine that Mark behaved this way all the time. Putting Jane’s feelings on the back burner, sending her mixed signals, and making it all about him by canceling plans last minute. What this does is activate an anxious attachment style that was formed early on in childhood or the teen years.
But in the mind of an anxiously attached partner, that’s not the way the story goes. They will spend hours doubting themselves and allowing the victim role to surface, asking themselves all kinds of questions. Such as, “what if I had said something else?” or possibly, “I wish I could have” and maybe, “if only Mark had…”. This is essentially the ruminating brain which winds around in circles trying to connect the dots of their partners behaviors.
Even if Jane has done her best to work toward a secure place through coaching or counseling, she will still wonder about the place she holds in Mark’s life.
What if Mark had not used the attraction method and behaved in a more conscious manner? Here’s a different ending to our story using a famous quote as the framework.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
One of my favorite quotes from Viktor E. Frankl, a 20th century Austrina psychologist who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. We will round out today’s blog post with a connection between this quote and our couple who has been dating just a couple months.
We shared with you that Mark created a space for Jane to feel heard and secure in their relationship in last week’s blog post. He remained present as an active listener and by asking curious questions, Mark was able to build a bridge to connection with Jane and now they are happily exclusive.
After a few more weeks of seeing each other once per week, Mark and Jane both traveled for work for the work week. As they have both focused on their careers for many years, they set the intention that they would check in via text each day and call the other at least every other day. I really respect this part of their relationship agreement because they both prioritize their careers but also are ready for a partner to share their life together.
Mark’s week of travel included evening dinners with clients that included after dinner drinks to close some big deals he had been working on for the past six months. He remembered the agreement he made with Jane until mid week when a dinner ran longer than expected and he closed the deal around midnight in San Fransisco. Jane’s travel plans took her to Chicago so Mark decided not to risk waking her up even though it was his “turn” to call that night.
Jane tried her best to respect Mark’s professional space all evening and not jump to conclusions about why he hadn’t called by midnight Chicago time. But her normally secure attachment style began to swing towards anxious for only the second time in their new relationship. Jane tossed and turned thinking of all the possibilites why he didn’t call until about 2 am before she finally drifted off to sleep.
We know that Mark had good intentions by not at least texting Jane so late and we shouldn’t assume this will end their relationship. However, Jane is beginning to feel some of that cognitive dissonance and her brain is ruminating on all options, trying to connect the dots like a master detective.
We also haven’t seen Mark show any other signs that he is a player, too busy, or sending mixed signals. This is an isolated incident where Mark was being respectful and unintentionally left Jane feeling insecure. This describes a healthy dynamic between two adults that are about two months in.
Boundaries are incredibly important to establish at this time so that you can pace yourself getting to know your new partner! Jane’s attachment style may lead her towards reaching out first thing the next morning but she is self-aware enough to prioritize herself and focus on her career while she travels. In the back of her mind, she thinks that testing Mark’s behavior is the best choice and decides to wait for him to reach out first to initiate the next conversation.
Mark makes a very conscious choice the next morning and shoots over a text “Good morning hon! My event last night ended really late and instead of waking you up I wanted to let you know you were on my mind the whole time and I’ll call you tonight!” How would this message make you feel
Mark is doing his best to let Jane know that he was aware of missing the chance to speak to her the night before without apologizing needlessly or acting out of obligation. Mark consciously takes the chance to show Jane that she is a priority even though she may not have felt it the night before.
Jane did her best not to jump to any conclusions or reach out to accuse Mark of ignoring her. They both played their part in acknowledging and consciously supporting one another as a healthy couple would want to aspire to do. That being said, I would like to wrap up our little story and tie in how the attraction method teaches us to be more conscious of our partners communication, comprehension, and compassion when we put the relationship first, above our own past experiences.
There is a positive thing that come out of digging deep into “the game” that is being played and for that I am very grateful to have discovered. When the game is being played on you in the future, you will be able to identify it and respond as Viktor Frankly suggested. Take a moment to create space between stimulus and response, and in that space is where we create trust, respect, and freedom with our partners. Reacting too quickly to the stimulus may cause defensiveness in our partners or ourselves so that the conflict resolution may never come.
My three big takeaways to consider when in comes to the attraction method being taught to modern daters are as follows:
- When you meet someone new and you’re interested in getting to know them better, anticipation is a key component of building attraction between you. Dr. Robert Glover, author of Dating Essentials for Men, suggests that when you make first date plans with a woman you will want to resist the urge to keep the conversation going by text, email, or phone calls. To keep the mystery alive, the MOST you will want to do to reach out is to confirm your date the day before. This builds authentic and natural anticipation on a psychobiological level plus it will give you both more to talk about on your date!
- When you set and hold healthy boundaries early on in a relationship, you authentically determine who is for you and who is not. For example, a client reached out last night to ask my opinion if her new interest was pulling away from her. Through their text communication, I could see that he wasn’t but her concern was more about asking him for exclusivity too soon after only a couple weeks of dating. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, this conversation will come up earlier than usual because of our justifiable concerns for our health. First, you will need to know that her date asked her to go to a public museum to view his cousin’s art. Here’s what I recommended she say to set healthy boundaries around the virus AND her desire to be exclusive. “I’m excited to see you Thursdaybut if I could be completely honest with you, I’m a little anxious about being in a public place like that because I care about my health. Would you understand if we reschedule that tour of your cousins artwork when the worst of this is over?” Sounds reasonable considering the circumstances, right? Pandemic or not, this confident was to respectfully set a boundary applies to many situations that come up early in a relationship. Now, to follow up that request, I recommended she bring up the exclusivity issue in a similar way. “I’d like to share some more of my concerns for our health right now while we are seeing each other in person. Can I talk to you about them? I’ve noticed that you really enjoy golfing with your buddies but I’d feel more comfortable having quality time with you if I knew where we stand seeing other people during shelter in place. How do you feel about setting some boundaries for our health and safety?” Hopefully, that gives you a script to initiate the conversation to set healthy boundaries for yourself and if the date in this example isn’t willing to honor those boundaries, he isn’t the right fit for you right now.
- When you stand up for yourself, you aren’t standing for low accountability behavior. Let’s talk about Mark’s friend Chad for a moment because he’s a good example to use. Chad meets a new girl out one night and gets her number quickly before he leaves to meet up with his buddies. After heading home for the night, Chad texts the girl to see if she’s awake and interested in hanging out even though it’s really late. She can respond that night and set a boundary, which subconsciously tells Chad she is available to text that late and encourages that low accountability behavior(ie. booty call). Or, she can respond the next day and thank him for his interest but politely decline and either ask him not to contact her again or another firm boundary of her choice. If she were to allow him to see her again for any reason, she would be encouraging his low accountability behavior and Chad would likely push the boundaries over and over again in the future.
I hope you got as much out of this expansion on a serious topic in modern dating as I have! If you’d like to learn more about authentic dating in a swipe right culture, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or YouTube now!
Do you have a more pressing question for Dave Glaser, Enneagram relationship coach? Connect with him via his online calendar for a free 30 minute get-to-know you call! Just click here now to schedule.