Playing hard to get is definitely NOT a good relationship ploy

Good morning Doctor. I was getting some advice from a friend but felt it best to take it to the expert than have a case of the blind leading the blind. In my 6 month relationship with my boyfriend, he seems to be running out of steam as in his frequency and intensity of contact is diminishing slowly. I felt that I should at least not mirror this behavior or soon there will be no relationship left to communicate in; and hence make it a point to be in touch at the same time respecting his other commitments and space as well. But my friend feels ( who is a psychiatrist – I don’t know how good he is) that I need not run after him and should have him run after me. Though this sounds motivating and snappy, 1stly how do I do that – not take his call? 2ndly is it desirable; will it pay off or have me lose the guy? Am I being too caring (read available pushover), should I be less available? My friend tells me I should let him yearn for me a little. I would like that, but how do I do that without becoming rejecting, and importantly, do I need to make him yearn for me? What are your views and advice please doctor?


I certainly do not think you should “play it cool” by not being available or seeming not to be interested. There are, indeed, a few men who show more interest in women who are unavailable; but they should be avoided as soon as you recognize how they feel. Sooner or later you will be available–what then? Most men (like most women) respond to encouragement. Having said that, though, it would seem to me that after a relationship has gone on as long as yours, he probably knows how you feel. If he is drawing away, anyway, it may not make much difference what you do. Relationships are unpredictable. Just as he felt differently, apparently, a few months ago, he may feel differently again a few months, or years, from now. But if, for whatever reason, he is drawing back now, there is not much you can do except accept it gracefully. If you feel bad about it, tell him. But also tell him it is okay if he wants to take a break. There is no point in coming across as clinging and desperate.

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Fred Neuman, M.D. is the Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center. After serving as Associate Director for 21 years, Dr. Neuman assumed the directorship in 1994. Educated at Princeton University and the NYU College of Medicine, Dr. Neuman specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. He is the author of the following books: Caring: Home Treatment for the Emotionally Disturbed, Fighting Fear: An Eight Week Guide to Treating Your Own Phobias, Worried Sick?: The Exaggerated Fear of Physical Illness, and Worried Sick? The Workbook. Dr. Neuman is also the author of numerous magazine and newspaper articles on the efficacy of Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Dr. Neuman is a member of the American Psychiatric Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Science. Dr. Neuman is also the author of the following novels: "The Seclusion Room," Viking Press. "Maneuvers" Dial Press "Come One, Come All," "The Wicked Son," "Detroit Tom and His Gang" "Superpowers." All these books are available from Amazon.