We are often mystified as to why we chase someone who doesn’t seem to care too much about us and who doesn’t put in much effort in return.
Why we are magnetically attracted to people who, if we are honest with ourselves, seem repelled by how attractive we find him or her?
What is it about this certain person that keeps us running back for more despite the fact that we are not being treated with respect, consideration, or care?
Although it may seem complicated, there is one word that can describe this dynamic:
When we have to work hard for something, we may consider it to be more valuable. When something comes easily, sadly, we may attach a false belief that if it is so easily obtainable, it can’t be worth a great deal, therefore it won’t be difficult to replace if we lose it.
If it appears someone isn’t interested in us, we may desperately try to prove our worth by pursuing that person in the hope they will change their view, see our endearing qualities, and want us too. Sadly, though, we end up doing the opposite and, through their eyes, our value diminishes.
Usually, we become involved in this unhealthy dynamic simply because we crave this person’s approval. In gaining it, we feel better about ourselves and ultimately our insecurities are silenced and soothed.
The moment someone rejects us, it can be tempting to turn our minds inside out and frantically tear ourselves to pieces wondering which of our flaws or faults they have noticed and what we could have done differently to make them stay.
If we can just convince them to want us, then we will instantly feel better about ourselves and cease thinking about all the things that we perceive are wrong with us.
We may also not realize that we are actually enjoying the thrill of the chase, even though that theory may be difficult to accept, as usually the reality doesn’t feel enjoyable at all.
There is no denying that it hurts when the one we want doesn’t want us too. Chasing someone brings more pain than pleasure—ironically though, this is part of the reason we remain hooked.
If I said that we inadvertently crave rejection because we become addicted to it, it might sound like a crazy explanation that many would automatically reject.
Rejection feels terrible, so why would we seemingly long for it?
Unfortunately, despite how bizarre it sounds, many people are in this exact holding pattern without fully realizing it.
Often the reason we are so magnetically attracted to someone who rejects us is because they seem mysterious, and we want to be the one who can tame them. When they pull away, it can feel like a challenge to try to convince them to come closer so they can get to know us better and see we actually are “good enough” for them.
When people distance themselves, they can seem alluring to our ego because our ego won’t find it acceptable if someone isn’t falling for us—so it will try every trick to prove we are worthy of their attention.
If we take a moment to think about it, we will probably notice that the person we are chasing has possibly closed off emotionally. We are likely being rejected by someone who isn’t even looking for love or any of the same qualities we want in a relationship.
We also may subconsciously recreate stories from our past and replay them in our current relationships. For example, if we were consistently rejected as a child, we may then set up similar scenarios that reflect those dynamics. In many ways, we use our current circumstances to reaffirm the pain we have felt previously and, in doing so, we subconsciously hope to heal those open wounds.
We might then attract and remain in relationships that we know aren’t healthy or ones that go against our ethics and morals while convincing ourselves that it must be “right” due to the thrills, highs, and extreme emotional reactions we feel when around a particular person. When realistically we are replaying these scenarios in the hope that this time we will be valued, accepted, wanted, and, most of all, loved.
Reliving our past without understanding what is occurring subconsciously could inadvertently lead us to being repeatedly pushed, pulled, wanted, rejected, and spun in circles in similar ways to the highs, lows, and twists experienced when using certain drugs.
Falling in love can make us feel high, as, in the beginning of a relationship, we can immerse in the feel-good chemicals released when in the throes of new “love.”
However, it isn’t really “love,” as such. The emotions we experience are caused by serotonin and oxytocin flushing through our system during the infatuating first stages of a relationship.
Quite simply, the saying “love is a drug” is often true due to the amount of dopamine being released.
When there is chemistry between two people, the pleasure centers within the brain engage, sending out overwhelming feel-good emotions, and this delivers a craving sensation that we can rapidly become addicted to. Every time the person we are addicted to returns to us, our craving is soothed.
This can cause us to become irrational just to get this hit, so we make decisions we’d steer away from if we had a clear mind. When we become aware that this is essentially a game that we are determined to win to heal our wounds from the past with, we will realize that our desire to win someone over and gain validation has become stronger than our desire to remain balanced, rational, and in control of our emotions.
When we have chemistry with someone, many things fade that would normally be in place, such as sound judgment, trust, compatibility, and physical attraction.
We can find ourselves instantly and deeply entwined with someone whom we might normally have consciously chosen to avoid.
It can become a personal challenge in which we alter ourselves and try a variety of tactics just to win someone’s attention and affection.
Truthfully though, it is unlikely that there are going to be any “winners.” Not only that, all we are doing is hurting ourselves, and our self-esteem is taking a battering due to us putting our entire self-worth in the hands of one other human being.
Every time we are rejected, we receive confirmation of the misinformed belief that we are unworthy and of no value. Our critical inner voice is cruelly telling us, “I told you no one would want you.”
The rejection will continue until we choose to stop rejecting ourselves and remember that no one else gets to judge our value. This starts by cherishing ourselves and affirming our positive traits in our minds and the reasons we are lovable and valuable. No one thoroughly knows us, therefore no other person has the ability to accurately judge—positively or negatively.
The moment we accept ourselves and refuse to look for approval in others, we will immediately alleviate the suffering we feel due to other people not recognizing our worth.
Plus, there is a far higher chance of someone seeing our worth when we are expressing ourselves in ways that are a true reflection of who we are, rather than changing at chameleon-esque speed to try to convince other people we are someone we are not!
The most ironic thing about all of this is that often the ones who reject people who chase them usually also feel unworthy themselves. They aren’t valuing themselves highly enough, therefore, when someone else values them highly and actually puts in effort to be with them, instead of feeling flattered, they think there must be something wrong with the other person and that they are clingy, needy, or desperate.
The key here is to stop chasing after people who don’t feel comfortable being adored and chased and instead focus that energy on loving and adoring ourselves more.
Otherwise, this continues in a runner/chaser, push/pull dynamic with two people who feel insecure and of little value. There is a certain safety to be found in not fully committing to someone, which is why many of us subconsciously choose to either be the rejected or the one who rejects, because in continuing this way we don’t have to risk being vulnerable and opening ourselves up to genuine love.
Basically, it’s a way of pretending to love without actually loving.
This is why it is vital to pay attention whenever we engage with someone we feel addicted to, so that our unhealed wounds don’t make our decisions and take control.
It is essential to stay consciously aware and present at the beginning of any new friendship, meeting, or relationship, so that we are aware that the person we are letting into our lives may not be ready for love, and may not have our best interests at heart. This is where the saying “love is blind” comes into play—chemicals cause our emotions to run wild and the imbalance results in us losing perspective.
Depending on the other person’s agenda, we could be opening a gateway for someone to use every trick in the book to cast us under their spell, or to keep us on the other end of their fishing line; however, it is always our choice whether we remain hooked.
If a relationship is bringing unhappiness, disharmony, and pain, then it’s a sure sign that it is a karmic relationship and quite possibly not the one for us.
Writing: Alex Myles
Image Unsplash: Kleiton Silva