I attended a pamper party recently, and as we all lay sprawled on sofas, faces caked in mud masks, a woman called Sophie relayed how she had gone on a date with Peter, a guy she met online. At the start of the conversation, she stated how she hadn’t been interested in him. I expected the discussion to end there, but no. She then went on to relay how post the date Peter had text her to say, “I really enjoyed meeting you, but unfortunately I don’t think we’re suitable for a relationship”. This attracted responses ranging from “How arrogant” to “How honest”, but the most surprising reaction came from Sophie herself. She asked whether she should call him to try and talk it out, or text a cheeky, game changing response, or more cringingly, request they give it another chance. The conversation started when I arrived and a facial, pedicure, manicure, eyebrow dyeing, highlight applying, haircut and blowdry later, Sophie was still talking about Peter. Hang on. Let’s rewind. Didn’t this discussion start with the words “I wasn’t really interested in him. He smelt like old fruit, looked like Dr Spock and spent too long talking about the Paeleolithic era?” If this was the case, why was she getting so hung up about Peter’s text? Had his rejection inspired a dormant interest in her?
This led me to wonder how resigned we are to hanker after what we can’t have. Does the allure of the forbidden fruit cloud our judgement and inspire attraction where there would ordinarily be none? Moreover, is this attraction, or are we mistaking The Ouch Factor for love?
Psychotherapist and writer for Psychology Today Ken Page, writes about attractions of inspiration versus attractions of deprivation.
“Attractions of deprivation draw us in like an undertow and almost always get us hurt. We keep feeling like we have to win our partner’s love, approval or care.”
He goes on to state that the key to avoiding these ego dementors is all in learning to distinguish between the attractions that make you feel inspired, accepted and that give you an all round ‘Yay, I rock!” feeling, versus the ones that make us feel like we have to launch an all out operation to validate ourselves through someone else’s green light in a bid to prove to ourselves we are in fact worth more than the dirt under their shoe.
Sounds simple enough, but when you’re peeling a messy concoction of mud mask and tears off a woman’s face, is it a tad easier said than done?