Study: Romance fueled by uncertainty of relationship

Laura Donovan Contributor
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We want what we can’t have, and this reality comes through in a new study that found women are more attracted to men when they can’t tell how much the males like them.

Though the study, titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not … Uncertainty Can Increase Romantic Attraction”, was conducted on female undergraduates, one of the researchers said she believes the findings would also be true for males. But how did this phenomenon come about? Are we just bored by guys who are clearly into us, or do we simply enjoy torturing ourselves by being infatuated with people we can’t read?

“Uncertainty affects our thoughts in general,” Erin R. Whitchurch, one of the researchers, told ABC News.

Whitchurch said advanced technology messes with our minds because we now have a million different ways to be contacted (texting, emailing, Facebook messaging, etc). With so many means of communication available to us, it’s a blow to one’s ego to be ignored. We’re no longer worrying “Did he get my text yet” but, “Why hasn’t he responded?”, Whitchurch said.

“If you can get a person to think about you, you can make that person think they’re attracted to you. Uncertainty is one way to get them to think about you…You’re going to think a lot about the uncertainty of that situation,” she said, noting that your brain subsequently misinterprets its own thoughts (which can result in obsessing) as attraction.

Brandon Aki, a world renowned dating consultant who refers to himself as the “real life ‘Hitch'”, told The Daily Caller that uncertainty sparks curiosity but can have detrimental effects on the unsure individual.

“[M]en play the waiting game (waiting a few days to call a woman after he gets her number),” Aki told TheDC. “Eventually we get stuck in this ugly cycle of the man trying to act like he’s ‘not that into her’ and the woman wondering, ‘Why?’ But let’s be honest, the entire ‘cat and mouse’ game we play can be very exciting, however it can also create a myriad of bad habits if left unchecked.”

Aki added that a “bad boy” appeals more to a woman because she desperately wants to alter his ways and be the one female in history who has successfully tamed him.

“The bad boy doesn’t care about anyone, or anything and somehow if you can create a plan to get him to like you, you validate yourself and prove that you could do something other women couldn’t,” Aki said.

Aki encourages women not to chase men, but to go for the ones who are worthy.

“Never try to win the hearts of every man. Instead, seek to win the heart of the one worth falling for,” Aki said.

Bad boys aren’t the only males to keep women up at night. Francesca, a 30-year-old art history and archaeology professor, confessed to ABC News that she’s often doubtful and obsessive about her rocky romances.

“I obsess. I use the quantity of contact with my partner as an index of my self-esteem for the day,” Francesca said, requesting the network not to share her last name. “It is rather creepy, now that I think about it, but I’ll look to see where someone checked in on [the social network site] Foursquare to find a justification for their silence.”

Francesca, who had a long distance relationship, often settled for and expected to have minimal communication with her last boyfriend.

“He would go five days without responding to an email or a text,” Francesca said. “I felt it lowered my expectations of what the level of communications should be. If I got a text that just said, ‘Hi,’ that would be fine.”

Laura Donovan