THE OLD BOYFRIEND IN THE BACKGROUND SYNDROME
Women Don't Lie - Men Don't Listen
Success Coach - Doc Love
I'm 24. I met a young lady running (she's 21). We somehow finished our run at the same
time, and a conversation sprang up. I asked her if she'd like to maybe run together again
sometime. She said, "Yes, let me give you my number." (Right away I'm thinking
high Interest Level).
We talked on the phone the next night (probably too soon, but I maintained a confident
attitude) and in that phone call she said, "For some reason I'm so attracted to your
We met to run together that weekend. It was one of the best dates I've ever had. We ran in
the rain, then we both ate apples (that I brought) under a picnic area. At this point
everything was just totally flowing. So we walked back to our cars, we kind of stood there
(still raining), I said "Do you want to sit in my car and listen to some music?"
She said, "Yeah, I was hoping you would ask." We sat there and talked and looked
at each other very lovingly and kissed for a long time. Also, she told me how she felt as
if she was 10 years old again.
We went out the next night. Everything continued to be cool until she told me that she had
just recently broken it off with some guy. She basically told me if we are going to get
into anything that I need to approach it very slowly because she's emotionally fragile
right now. This new twist was something that I wasn't sure how to handle.
We made a date to run again on Thursday. I called her that morning at 11:00 and woke her
up. She said that she needed to cancel our running date because her girlfriend was in the
hospital and she wanted to bring her dinner. She also said that she only had had a few
hours of sleep the night before.
I told her, "When we make a date, if you are going to break it, please give me a call
before hand." I also told her that she could have run with me and also have taken her
girlfriend dinner. She responded to that with, "Is that the only reason you called,
to give me a hard time?"
I left a message the next day but no return message. I went to her house two days later
hoping that she had been gone all weekend and never got the message, but it turns out that
she had been there the whole time. She told me that she didn't call me back because when I
corrected her about breaking the date, she felt really bad and with what she's going
through she can't afford to get into an emotional situation right now.
So, Doc, that was that. I walked away from her door two weeks ago and have not made
contact since. No calls, no emails. I would like to be the best man I can be in this
situation. I don't need her to love me. If the best thing for me to do would be to be her
friend until she feels stable, then so be it. But I would like to see her again in some
capacity. And I don't want it to be some big drama on my part. It was so light and great
at first. Where do I go from here?
Collins - who wants to bridge the gap
You want to bridge the gap? Bridge the Grand Canyon is more like it! I'll bet if I went
over to my bookshelf and pulled out my big fat Webster's dictionary and I looked up the
definition for "naïve," I'd find your photo there, Collins. This girl's been
jerkin' your chain, dude, and unfortunately you're totally clueless.
What's even sadder is that I get several e-mails similar to yours every day! There are
tens of thousands of good guys out there with good jobs and good intentions who sincerely
want to have a good woman in their lives. But they just don't get there because they don't
have the awareness and skills that they need to win the dating game. They're naïve just
like you, Collins.
Obviously, you've begun to study my "System" because you have SOME awareness of
the concept of Interest Level. But you've got a whole heck of a lot more studying to do.
You've made so many blunders with this chick that there are almost too many to list.
Nevertheless, I'm going to quickly review the biggies.
Your approach with this gal was weak from the get go. Never say something like,
"Would you like to MAYBE run together again sometime?" Instead you should have
merely said: "What's your home phone number?" When she volunteered her phone
number you should have asked her "When's the best time to call you?" Then you
could have called her at a completely different time, which would have made you more of a
You knew that it was a mistake to call her the next night, but you rationalized your
decision with the idea that you were maintaining a "confident attitude." Like
most men in that kind of situation you allowed your own impatience and neediness to
dictate your actions. You were chompin' at the bit. You were jonesin' like a junkie for
instant gratification. You were saying to yourself, "Her Interest Level is so high
that I can get away with this." But the Reality Factor says that you didn't.
And it's one thing to make a blunder like that out of ignorance. But since you had already
begun to study "The System", you knew it was wrong to call so soon but you did
it anyway! Why bother to learn success strategies if you're going to trash them at the
times you need them most?
In spite of your self-sabotaging behavior, Collins, you DID wind up making out with her in
the car, and that was the last time you ever will. Remember that you can have a
deliriously delightful smooch fest with a girl and it can easily turn out that it meant
nothing to her. Why? Because you haven't gotten past sixty days. To you Psych majors, you
gotta get your time in.
When she told you that she had just "broken it off" with some guy and that she
was emotionally fragile, that was Womanese for: "He dumped me and I'm still strung
out on him." I call it "The Boyfriend in the Background Syndrome." A woman
with the Boyfriend in the Background Syndrome will do things like have a heavy make-out
session with a guy, just for entertainment to momentarily distract her from her painful
longing for Mr. Jerk.
When she broke the date at the last minute, she was rude and disrespectful. Her story was
a bunch of malarkey. When you busted her on her B.S., she threw another insult at you. And
you want to be friends with this girl! I'd take a personal check from Don King first.
You totally lost it when you went over to her house to see why she hadn't returned your
call. Remember, Collins, stalking is illegal plus, it's anti-Challenge. The ONE thing you
did right, Collins, was to walk away and stop all contact with her when you started to get
it that it had become a no-win situation for you.
If you had been a super Challenge from the start, you might have gotten a whole lot more
respect and authentic interest from this girl. Yes, the power of Challenge can even
overcome The Boyfriend in the Background Syndrome.
But it's too late now, guy. If you want to wind up being her butler and therapist, then go
ahead and follow through with your idea to be "friends" with her. But I say
you'd be better off using the time you'd waste doing that to seriously study what it means
to be a Challenge.
Remember, guys, in the Jungle of Love, there's nothing more dangerous than your own high
To send me your love questions or to find out more about The "System," visit me
at http://www.doclove.com or call (800)
Doc Love is a talk show host and entertainment speaker who coaches men in his seminars.
For the past 30 years he has asked thousands of women, "Why do you stay with
one man versus another?"
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