The thrill of chase—we've all been there at one point. He's intoxicating, infuriating, and more than anything seems impossible to get. He becomes your drug. You pursue him, forgetting how calm, cool, and collected you normally are: You're driving yourself crazy. Why do women with so much to offer torture themselves with men who will not give back? We asked relationship guru Eric Charles, founder of A New Mode, to break it down once and for all.
Marie Claire: Chasing men is more than a behavioral pattern – it's a mindset. Why do so many smart, successful women pursue men they know don't want the same things?
Eric Charles: Let's zoom out and look at society as a whole: "Chasers" believe happiness lies somewhere in the future – the payoff for getting whatever circumstance or person they're chasing. Once they decide on a fantasy, they hold their breath until they get it.
MC: What do you mean by "hold their breath"?
EC: Chasers believe happiness is trapped in a box and only one circumstance can unlock it. They suffocate any possibility of being happy in the present, because they're convinced happiness lies outside themselves. It's completely insane and ineffective for getting the love you want. You'll resent the man for not giving you the key to your happiness – as if it's his fault. You are not relating to him in the moment but rather treating him as an objective.
MC: How does being chased make men feel?
EC: I understand the chase can feel like a sincere and genuine pursuit of love. I know all sorts of chasers who say, "I just want him to love me! This is so unfair; I can't believe men are like this." Meanwhile, from the guy's perspective, she transforms from the fun-loving, easy-to-be-around woman into Gollum from "The Lord of the Rings." I'll tie it all up: When people chase, they drain the color and joy from their lives. They suffocate happiness in pursuit of a fictitious happiness they think lies in the future, outside of themselves. As a result, they are hollow and starving for connection and relief.
MC: But what if you do get what you were chasing?
EC: The temporary sugar-high isn't pure, true happiness. When you think things are going right you're filled with joy, and it's not from the experience itself. All those positive feelings are actually a very obvious feeling in disguise: tremendous (but temporary) relief.
MC: Does the "thrill of the chase" apply to women the same way it does to men?
EC: It's a totally flawed idea. Men don't love the chase. "The chase" is typically a woman withholding parts of herself from the guy – as if somehow being inauthentic will lead to a good relationship. Men want to be around women who are happy and fun. It really is that simple. We don't think about relationships as something to plan and analyze, and we don't believe a relationship means anything about us as people. Instead, men pay attention to one thing: Does this feel good right now? If he feels good in the moments he's with you, he's going to want to be around you more. If being around you doesn't feel good, he's going to want to be around you less.
MC: Just telling yourself you're doing it wrong isn't enough. What advice do you have to change "chasing" behavior?
EC: All you have to do is realize your happiness is the most important factor in reaching his heart. Once you realize that, all the nonsense, drama, and fantasies fall away because they simply don't work. If we're talking about men and long-term relationships, I can tell you on behalf of all men: We want to be with a woman who brings happiness to the table instead of looking to the outside world to make her happy.