Whenever a new romance blossoms in my life, I can only enjoy it for so long before I start to fear the inevitable. Sure everything is rainbows and snuggles now, but what happens when you reach that certain point? You know the point I’m talking about; when things are more than casual, but neither of you are ready to discuss delving into a relationship quite yet. Most people would say, “talk about it, you idiot!” But you know (and they know) that’s never as easy as it seems, and sometimes it’s too soon to lay all the cards out on the table.
So instead, I opt for the harder path.
All of my gut instincts (and any dating book ever) tell me to pull back a little, don’t seem too attached too soon, don’t scare him off. Play it cool and he’ll come running because guys love the chase (or so I hear). I want so badly to be in control of the relationship, to have our future planned out on my terms, to have him want me more than I want him.
To hold all the cards.
And so ensues the inevitable power struggle.
I honestly believe that at the core of every relationship, at least in the beginning stages, is a battle for power. Sure there are feelings and snuggles and witty texts back and forth, but what really drives the relationship train is the quest to have the upper hand. We want the security of knowing we are in control of our own destiny with this other person that somehow has gotten a stronghold on our heart. And the other person is doing the exact same thing.
So if someone has to hold the power in the relationship, it sure as hell better be me. Right?
The power position seems to be the answer to so many of the natural fears the come along with opening ourselves up to another person. The fear of rejection, the fear of them finding someone else, the fear of ending up broken-hearted – all of these worries can be settled by knowing you have his heart (and balls) on a string. And how do we do this? We play games.
I’ve flirted with other guys in front of him. I’ve waited 24 hours before returning a call or answering a text. I’ve even gone as far as to mention going out to dinner with a “new friend.” And he reciprocates the same mind games with me. All of these tactics are just sick and twisted methods of testing our feelings for each other, without having to put ourselves out on the line or wear our hearts on our sleeves. Instead, we’d rather take stabs at each other until one of us cracks. Mature.
Having the power in the relationship is like some sort of super-drug, one that you don’t ever want to run out of. But we have to remember what we all learned in D.A.R.E: drugs are bad. You can spend an entire lifetime trying to figure out the best way to play it cool, to be mysterious, to be the bad girl that you think he wants. But when all the games are over, and you’ve tried and failed to reach whatever future you envisioned for the relationship, everything always boils down to communication. Honest communication.
Hopefully one day I’ll get there. Hopefully I’ll eventually stop purposely not answering my phone to make him squirm, or putting up vague Away Messages to make him think about me. Hopefully one day I’ll back down from my quest for total relationship domination.
But when your heart is in the mix, it’s hard to let just anyone get their hands on it.