We all want who we can't have. But when we really, really can't have them, we pretend they're dead.
As I wrote about last week, there's something fundamentally attractive about the so-called chase. If someone seems unattainable, our desire for them goes into overdrive. And now this fact is scientifically proven, thanks to new research from Psychological Science.
According to the research, when we're presented with a restriction that appears to be absolute in our ability to have it (no, you can't marry George Clooney), we "find ways to rationalize it and tell ourselves it's an OK situation." But when there is even an inkling of a chance to get something we really, really want (you talked to George Clooney briefly at a party and got his number, but he's still... George Clooney), humans go all crazy and try to reach the unattainable.
The researchers put this theory to the test by telling drivers the speed limit in their area has been lowered. When the study participants were told that the speed-limit law had already been enacted, the response was one of acceptance; they even agreed it would be a good idea for safety's sake. However, when they were told that the law hadn't been passed yet, they made a fuss, condemning the law and low speed limits in general. This "psychological quirk" is steeped in evolution and prepares us to "fight against injustice," but also keeps us in check when it comes to things that pretty much out of our control — like death. Angry Single Blogger: Why I'll Always Want The Men I Can't Have
We can of course easily apply this study to the dating world. If we think the "bad boy" can be changed, we'll want him more than ever. But if our love interest is a definite no-no, as in they've been kidnapped by aliens or sold to a Russian mobster, then it's easier for us to convince ourselves "we just weren't that into them." Denial is fun.
But how often do aliens kidnap people? Not too often, so the challenge in many cases remains.
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I guess this means that if I am to procure the object of my affection, I need to reject him first. I need to turn the chase around and make myself the hard one to get in the equation. And then when I get him, I can go back to the annoying "what now?" stage. Honestly, it all seems like a vicious circle to me. If only I could be the one sold to the Russian mob, then I could avoid all this nonsense and probably sleep better at night. Perhaps.