Why We’re Addicted to the Chase

“Let me guess, he’s too nice or too available.” Such was the response of a trusted girlfriend to our unenthused recount of the second date we had the evening prior (clearly we ignored the irking voice telling us he wasn’t the one after the first date). We admit, in what would historically be referred to as a “courtship,” we like a good chase. Most young professionals (YPs) do. We like to know that we’ve worked for it, that it wasn’t handed to us (or thrown at us) and that we won’t be smothered in the event of a relationship. Meaning, if he or she is already calling off the hook, emailing just to say ‘hi’ throughout the day and wearing their affections for you on their sleeve or their keypad (after meeting last week)…the solution is simple. When you are chased, you run. Why, then, are we addicted to the chase ourselves?

The Insta-Relationship Rarely Lasts
We all have those friends (or perhaps have even been those friends ourselves) who show up at events, and boldly and proudly introduce someone as his or her new “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” only to be met with confused glances and awkward handshakes as your friends think he/she was definitely single last month at X’s wedding, and wow, now he/she is in a full force relationship? Insta-relationships are usually bred out of lust and passion and are thus usually short-lived once the shine wears off. After all, anything that starts on such a high can only go down from there. Those YPs who have experienced the insta-relationship know better than to repeat that mistake again with an overly eager new mate. Although we are firm believers in that instant “click,” chemistry, and subsequent passion, the most sustainable relationships develop slowly, steadily and honestly. 

We’re Wiser
By this age, are wiser in general when it comes to romance and thus take more time in making up our mind. Say we decide we like someone after a first date, and the feeling is mutual, and we proceed to get together every day remaining in the week, and almost every night of the following week. In this case, we have zero time to sit back and reflect as to whether we think the person is really right for us. We may be initially enamoured (AKA fooled) by his or her sex appeal, worldliness, stories or smile, but we all know that true colours are not revealed right away. The bad, ugly and crazy may take months to make an appearance. We are smart and seasoned enough at this point in our dating lives to know that we need to take our time to really get to know someone – otherwise the fling will come crumbling apart as quickly as it was created. In short, the chase gives us more time to miss them, reflect on the situation and take our time with our feelings for the other person and the situation. And we need that.

We Won’t Settle
“Settle” is not part of the vocabulary for savvy, connected and driven YPs. We don’t want to settle in our careers, with subpar workouts at the gym, in our choice of summer vacation, or (especially) in our selection of potential significant others. We want exceptional, to know that he or she is worth giving up the wild Vegas trips for, the makeouts with sexy new strangers, and other compromises and sacrifices that comes with a relationship (in addition to all the good, of course). Not wanting to settle involves the desire for a healthy challenge once the relationship materializes; you must challenge your partner as much as he or she challenges you in a relationship to avoid one party from trampling all over the other. If there is no chase at the beginning, you may only naturally envision a life of complacency on the part of the other…and boredom on yours. 

Maybe We’re Not Ready Yet
Maybe the reason why we (and other YPs) run for the hills from the guy or girl who makes his or her immediate desire for marriage, kids and your kiss evident from the start is because we secretly aren’t ready for the marriage, little people and white picket fence (or at least fancy elevator) quite yet. We all want to meet that girl or guy of our dreams, embark on a strong, loving and Notebook-esque relationship and live happily ever after. With that notion, however, comes the expectation that the two of you fall deeply and naturally in love; not that one party feels the other is only looking to get married and have babies with just about anyone who will, that they have gone from single to suffocated, or that they are pressured to have the relationship lead to marriage. Some guys and girls want it on their own time, or at least like to think the whole thing was their idea. A constant chase, degree of mystery and a desire to remain “on our toes” keeps us interested, intrigued and suggests a slow and steady reveal rather than the instant story book ending.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and when it comes to dating in our overly stimulated, always connected and often almost incestuous lives (our YP circles are small, after all) who even knows what’s going on anymore? We do have a few case-in-point examples of couples that jumped headfirst after the first date and are still going strong. And others who are now enemies. Be smart.