Why Holding Back in a Relationship Has Its Advantages

single woman

I read an article recently that described how we value commodities within society, the focus being the concept ‘More Work = More Value’. A fairly simple idea that I have to say I do agree with. Imagine that pair of jeans in the shop window that you have been dying to strut your stuff in for weeks. They always feel sooooo much better when you have had to earn them. That glass of wine in the evening tastes much sweeter after a hard days work. Well this got me thinking… Does the same idea apply when we talk about dating? Maybe sometimes it is worth not being an open book and holding back in a relationship?

I took this notion, along with a few cocktails to the girls and many giggles later the opinion was unanimous. After looking back through our awkward, embarrassing dating debacles, it was clear that the ones that stood out most in our memories were those that, for want of a better phrase we had to put the most leg work into. The ones with carefully scheduled “completely accidental” encounters, with weeks of rehearsing clever lines and maintaining perfect appearances. The more work we had to put in, the more we valued the end result.

With this in mind looking back at my own failed experiences, I have come to realise that yes, I can reminisce fondly and remember working Damn Hard to get the guy, but not too many recollections spring to mind of it being the other way around. I am guilty, as I am sure many others are, of not making a man work hard enough for me. One particular past relationship jumps out at me. For the purpose of privacy I shall call him ‘John’. I remember I was young and in love. Or at least at the time I thought I was. Soon I became head over heels, giddy schoolgirl hopelessly devoted to him. You get the picture. I grew emotionally attached very quickly. I went out of my way to be with him whenever I could, I made myself available all hours of the day, would cancel plans with friends at the click of his fingers, and the time spent away from him was consumed by endlessly waiting for my mobile to ring.

Suffice to say it didn’t work out. I was heartbroken and for a long time could not understand how my behaviour played a part in the break up. Yes, John may have been responsible for taking advantage of my naive eagerness. But I am guilty of allowing him to do so. If it is true that the more you labour for something the more merit it holds, then it can be said that the less work you carry out the more disposable something becomes.

By being so obtainable I made myself something that John did not have to work for at all. Now it is a well-known fact that men enjoy the chase. Admittedly I am not very good at this at all! I am too much of an open book so to speak. But over time as I have learnt more about myself (which I still continue to do every day) I have discovered the value in holding back in a relationship. Truthfully. This is very difficult for me as I have a tendency to blurt out every random bit of nonsense that pops into my head. If you do not divulge every thought and feeling to your new potential partner, you naturally create an air of mystery that not only makes you appear to be good at said ‘chase’, but also means that he has to work that little bit harder to get to know you on a deeper level.

Perhaps the most important thing that my experiences have taught me is that there is nothing more valuable than your own self-regard. Once you are confident in your own worth you will never again readily compromise that for someone else. So put in some effort into the relationship, but don’t be afraid to withhold a little. If someone truly desires you and values you, your refrain will only serve to increase their infatuation.

Photo: flickr

Rebecca is a young mother and aspiring writer with a keen interest in fashion, dating, relationships and film criticism. In her spare time she enjoys white water rafting and graphic novels.


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