“Oh! He wants me
But only part of the time
He wants me
If he can keep me in line…”
– “Voices Carry” by ‘Til Tuesday
It’s really incredible…These past few weeks have just been inundated with calls regarding the same issue so I figured I may as well just discuss this in the open. It’s almost creepy how over 50 readings in two weeks, nearly all of them started the same way: “Every time we get close, he/she pulls back. But, when I start to back away, he/she gets closer, but he/she won’t give me a commitment . What’s going on?”
What’s usually going on is what I like to call “Maneuvering.” It is a merciless act of cowardice and selfishness of one lover towards another, beyond teasing. It’s basically keeping your partner at “arm’s length” – just far enough where you don’t have to have the responsibilities to meet the other’s expectations, but close enough to enjoy the benefits.
Here are some samples of the mentality behind the Maneuvering act:
1 – “I only like/love bits and pieces of you, so if I don’t get to close I don’t have to deal with anything I don’t like.”
2 – “I’m not totally sure about what I want, so I want you to just stay available to me and put your needs on hold until I make up my mind.”
3 – “I know you want a commitment, but I don’t. I figure if I keep you at just a distance, you’ll be satisfied with the little bit of me I’m willing to give you instead of losing me altogether.”
4 – “It turns me on to see you beg and cry over me.” (I kid you not).
5 – “I’ve got a couple of other people I like to keep handy. I don’t want to settle down until I see who wants me the most.”
The list can go on but if you notice, none of those reasons have any consideration for the other person. It’s all “me me me.” (Or as my friend calls it, “Swimming in the Great Big Lake of Me.”) It’s nothing new. Maneuvering is not some trend that’s going to go away any time soon and I can almost guarantee if this sounds familiar to you, then you are not the first to have suffered by the hands of your maneuvering lover, nor would you be the last.
To me, personally, I consider this behavior emotionally abusive. Love and emotions have nothing to do with the offender’s actions — it’s all about control, like any other type of abuse. What makes it so extra wretched is that it’s subtle, like a poisonous gas rather than a flamethrower in your face. There’s usually no violence involved or anything that can be covered on your insurance policy. But, the results of being on the end of that “I want you, go away, don’t leave me” game for too long, thinking there’s no alternative, no one better for us, and we have to settle for what we’re given “or else,” can be incredibly damaging.
In all fairness, there are times when people Maneuver the ones they love and don’t realize it. They don’t think that blowing someone off for three days after a powerfully intimate weekend of passion or a mutual proclamation of love is hurtful to the other person. Sometimes they get themselves caught up in the mundane – either work or other obligations and just don’t think about it. But, whether or not they are aware, it is what it is, which is emotional sabotage and a power play, and it’s important to never lose sight of that.
Of course, we have to ask why anyone would allow themselves to be put in such a horrendous emotional condition in the first place. Again, there are a plethora of reasons, but, the first and foremost is good ol’ fashioned Addiction and Fear. Addiction; when the high points are so high with that person they make you feel divine and that’s all you can think about. Fear; that if we let this person go completely we’ll be alone for the rest of our lives or just be alone – and there are way too many of us that think of that prospect worse than a death sentence, especially with women, with much thanks to mass media and sex culture.
Nine times out of 10, the next question I always get after my client understands that they are being maneuvered is, “Is there anyone else coming into my life?”
Sometimes, I just wanna scream, “Does it really frickin’ matter? Grow a spine! Learn to love yourself better and enjoy some independence for a while, fa gawd’s saykes!” But, alas, I cannot. Besides, if someone had said that to me when I personally went through this nonsense myself, I would’ve just been like, “What do you mean love myself better? I love myself just fine! Screw you!”
Psht…yeah. Denial gives the lovely illusion that we really have our shit together, doesn’t it?
Now, I can give you some general guidelines on how to get out of a situation like this, but I’m aware every situation, though fundamentally the same, is unique. It’s not going to be so easy if you’re dealing with a co-worker or someone you see on a daily basis. Besides, those who maneuver usually have a sense of irresistible charm or can be intimidating, which is how we get into their clutches in the first place. But, before you take any steps to change the dynamic, you just have to realize one very universal, hard-core law:
You will never change them. Period. This is who they are.
So, with that, the ball’s in your court. Ask and answer yourself with perfect honesty:
Is this enough for me?
Let’s face it: There’s no point in trying to break something off if you really, in your heart, truly do not want to! So, live your truth. If you’re willing to take what little your lover’s willing to give, then accept it. But, if you do that, then you no longer have any grounds to complain.
However, if you do find that this situation is toxic and you wish to change, I do recommend seeking professional or helpline trained advice. But, here’s what I’ve found helpful:
1 – Stand your ground. Do not allow yourself to be sweet-talked, cajoled, or convinced that you’re “making too much of this.” The reason why he/she keeps coming back to you is because you keep giving him/her what they want. Stop giving the naughty kid dessert if they’re not going to finish their dinner!
2 – Let them yell. If their way of keeping you around is to go completely off the wall and yell, well let them. Watch the show and see how stupid they’re acting. Don’t answer back. When they’re calmed down, simply ask in a very level cool tone, “Are you finished? Because so are we.”
3 – STOP WITH THE MICRO-MEMORIES! You know: “Well, right before he/she was about to leave, he/she stopped by and sniffed my hair and touched my face, which they never ever do, and there was a little smile at the corner of his/her mouth and I just knew somehow that he/she really loved me by the little twinkle and then so and so said…” Just…stop it. When we are obsessively focused on these tiny, tiny, minute little bitty details of what he/she said or did or wore, whatever, we are keeping ourselves from looking at the big picture. “He said I was special, but started dating someone else.” Period. Bottom line: You’re not that special. If you were, he/she’d be with you and he/she’s not. “He/She said he/she doesn’t know what he/she wants.” But, he/she knows enough that they want some of you some of the time, not all the time. This is the stuff you should be paying attention to. The obvious!
4 – Don’t take it personal. Seriously. Do not for one minute think you are being treated like dirt because you deserve it. No one deserves it, ever. If you give someone your heart, your time, and your consideration, you’re giving them real beauty. Sucks for them that they can’t appreciate it. These people would treat anyone this way. Unfortunately, in this particular circumstance it just happens to be you. But, it’s never ever your fault!
5 – Come to the realization that you’re not really in love. Face it: Real love is mutual. Real love is fulfilling and doesn’t need anything. Real love has trust and respect. You are not respected. You do not trust this other person because you question what he/she is doing or where they are when they’re not with you. You ask when you’ll hear from them again! Love doesn’t ask why or when.
Real love doesn’t call a psychic what his/her love is doing and when or if they’ll be together again!
You are willing to take bits and pieces of attention and affection as they’re thrown at you. This is not the act of someone in love. This is an act of an addict. And the object of your affection knows they can get away with just throwing you scraps and leftovers of their adoration, so they see no reason to change.
Give them a reason to change. Give yourself the chance to get what you really, really want. People don’t come in bits and pieces, but whole packages…just like you.
And you deserve a whole package!
As for those who Maneuver? I kinda feel sorry for them. They’ll never know the true majick of Love. Pity. What a loss…
“Voices Carry” info: http://www.allmusic.com/album/voices-carry-r20216/credits