The old line “Anything an alcoholic has ever let go of has claw marks all over it” applies double for addicts. Especially love addicts. We not only won’t let go of the actual person, we won’t even let go of the fantasy of what the relationship should be, could be, or might have been.
Love addicts spend an inordinate amount of time rescripting the past, perseverating (I just learned that word. Cool word!) on things like ”If I hadn’t slept with him on the first date, things would have worked out. I should have done X, then he would have done Y, then I would have done X, and he would have fallen in love with me.” Or, “I should have turned down that expensive dessert at dinner. I could have said X, and he would have said Y, and I would have blushed X, and he would have said ‘Where have you been all my life?’” Or “I wish I had appreciated Johnny in high school. We would have gone to X, and I would have told him Y, and he would have said X, and we’d be married today.”
Love addicts also squander a lot of brainpower trying to read minds. “Does he think I’m too needy/too independent?” “Did I scare him away when I said I liked big families/hated children?” “Does he think my ass is too fat?” The most common one, the one women ask me all the time — as if I’m somehow a better mindreader than they are — is simple: “Why doesn’t he call?”
I say “he” because a woman will call you to tell you why she’s not calling ;-)
“Why doesn’t he call?” I’ve asked it myself. Some guy will go to heroic lengths to get my phone number… and then not use it. Another will barrage me with IM’s and, as soon as I agree to a cup of coffee, disappear from the face of Facebook. Why do they do that?
If it makes you feel better, my studies have revealed two possible reasons why they do that. One is anthropological, the other neurological. I would love to include the experiential and hear from some men on the topic but, A, half the time they don’t know the answer themselves and, B, who knows any men who will call and tell you anything?
Anthropologically, men are conditioned to hunt and conquer. Much of this still lingers in mating behavior. Getting the phone number is itself a victory; they don’t need to follow up on it with an actual call or, riskier still, an actual date. Quit while you’re ahead, Oh Great Warrior. Getting the consent for an encounter is as satisfying as the encounter itself.
There’s hard evidence that the latter is physiologically true, as well. Recent brain studies on gamblers showed that, particularly among compulsive gamblers, almost getting a slot machine jackpot lit up the dopamine receptors every bit as much as actually getting a jackpot. (Dopamine is part of the brain’s reward system; addicts never have enough of it.) So if the gentleman caller you’re concerned with has some addict tendencies — and, knowing you, he probably does — just knowing that he can call you is as satisfying as making the call.
More study needed, and I really would like to hear from some men on the topic. But right now, I’m playing with the concept of wanting a cigarette after fantasizing about sex….