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He Loves Me? He Loves Me Not? Why Women are Suckers for Mixed Messages

It’s official: Women have a thing for Mr. Mysterious.

He Loves Me Not by Roxanne-Jasmine

To be exact, women like a man more if they’re unsure about whether he’s interested in them or not. They thrive on it, in fact.

A recent study, titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…” and using only women as the test subjects, had two findings.

First, they confirmed the already-existing principle of reciprocity – we tend to like men if we know they like us too – moreso than if we know the same men think we’re average, anyway. Not much of a surprise there.

The twist came with the third control group of women, who were not set up at all by the researchers to think these men either liked or disliked them. These women were told the men they were ranking could have either “liked them” or thought they were “average”.

When the women were uncertain about how they were graded by these men, the response scale went through the roof. We respond much better to uncertainty and mystery.

We’ve all observed it firsthand in the dating world. Girlfriends of mine are known to obsess over the men that give mixed messages, and quickly dispose of the ones that are clearly into them.

And we say we hate it when people play games. Pfffft. Seems like games are necessary, ladies, if a man is to get anywhere with you.

One character featured heavily in pick-up manual The Game is onto it – so much so that he even resorts to calling himself Mystery (a little screamingly obvious if you ask me, but hey. Each to their own.)

Mystery notes that what women say and how they actually react are often two different things entirely. We may say we would prefer it if we knew a man liked us, but judging by this new study, we’d be lying.

So strong is this hardwired urge, that cult dating book The Rules has to spell it out for us in no uncertain terms: You want him to like you, ladies. If he’s paying you attention, if he’s obviously into you, then don’t let it put you off.

That’s half the battle – finding another person that actually likes you.

Don’t throw it away in favour of chasing a little excitement. I wonder why we’d prefer to play roulette with our hearts than go for a sure bet.

You may have noticed that certain type of girl who obsesses over a man when she’s not sure how he feels about her – and then, once it’s clear he’s into her, she reassesses and decides she doesn’t like him so much after all.

Be clear about what you want, and be careful that you don’t overlook the nice guys, because despite hardwired attraction, almost every single female I’ve ever asked says she wants the nice guy.

Mr. Mysterious may turn out to genuinely like you in the end, or he may just lead you down the garden path and then disappear to Wonderland, never to be seen again.

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Author |

Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.


5 comments for “He Loves Me? He Loves Me Not? Why Women are Suckers for Mixed Messages”

  1. Posted by Earl Oakson | November 6, 2011, 2:42 pm

    This is a very silly argument which is naturally happening in our society. It is quite childish but it seems to be very romantic.

  2. Posted by Paul Shall | December 14, 2011, 4:40 am

    “They thrive on it”.

    Exactly. Some women will continually harp on finding The One, Mr. Right, or Mr. Perfect, but what they need to realize that he doesn’t exist. Reminds me of the movie She’s Just Not That Into You and Ginnifer Goodwin’s leech-like and horrible, guy-obsessed behavior. Some call the turn-out of events in her character’s life as romantic, but really?

    It’s the thrill and the chase, and the element of curiosity and surprise. Let’s find other ways to make our relationships thrilling, yes?

  3. Posted by Budva Na Pjenu Od Mora | January 31, 2012, 3:18 am

    it would be boring if all was clear, right? love this period of yes-no-is he the one…?

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