Monday, April 12, 2010

Post Hook-Up Stress Disorder (Or PHSD)

Dating is hard enough without factoring in the ever grueling weeding out process. You know what I'm talking about -- eliminating people because they don't offer some of the core traits that makes them viable dating options. And, after playing the field several times over, it's often natural to "shift directions" if you will, choosing to approach dating differently until something better comes along. A couple of very common by-products of unsuccessful dating includes:

* Very jaded daters always expecting the worst
* Daters looking to fall in love too quickly (concerned their time will run out)
* People who decide they're going to enjoy flings to "tide them over" until they find "the one"
* Daters who project their own philosophies onto other people to cloak their own insecurities
    While it's not a guarantee that these things will happen (I will personally profess to having all three happen to me at some point), in dating, you often find that the way you respond to the next person has a lot to do with your previous experiences. 

    Anyway, the reason I provide this context is because it's along a similar path that one of my close friends, Veronica (a.k.a "Sassy") is following for herself. A smart, intelligent woman, she's always been certain of who she is, despite all the dating hurdles in her life. So, for the moment, the ability to be non-committal was a way to enjoy herself while not being bogged down by the ongoing quest to find a mate. To be honest, I respect this approach, which I would argue that a lot of people seem to do -- have some fun until they're ready to retire the proverbial Black Book.

    And, that's exactly what she was doing when she met a younger, attractive male recently (about 8 years her junior). So she ran with the momentary chemistry they had, which is why when the situation escalated into a physical one on the first date, she didn't seem to mind. It's not like she was invested in having this move beyond anything casual.

    But, after she seemed to treat him with great indifference the following morning, preferring to sleep than to indulge in any post hook-up activity, his interest in her turned to judgment about her lifestyle, telling her later that because he cared about her, he felt it important that she know how he felt about her behavior in their situation: How can a woman have sex with someone knowing it won't go anywhere? Did she think a man wanted to marry a woman that's had that much sex? Suddenly, a woman that had been certain about who she was and her actions was suddenly questioning them. All because a young man felt that he needed to salvage his pride. 

    Now, since this encounter, he's proceeded to call her twice and send her multiple texts, apologizing for what he said and wanting to talk to her in the hopes to salvage their "friendship."

    Honestly, this story almost reminds me of the confidence thing that happened a little while back. However, this one is a case of its own, and to understand it, I've given it a name: a case of PHSD -- or post hook-up stress disorder. This is when a person, not knowing what to do after being intimate with someone else, proceeds to take some type of drastic, negative action. Acts include but are not limited to: rudeness, insulting their hook-up partner, disappearing, indifference, smothering, overanalyzing or some other form of anxious behavior. While this is something that many women have been accused of being, men have been known to display said symptoms. 

    Of course, none of this has been scientifically proven. But, I would be in full support of a study that will support my analysis of this kind of behavior... 

    Photo Credit: leafy/PhotoXpress


    1. I don't think this is just a guy thing, I just don't think that we're often ready for it. While they had great chemistry, on the first date he's jumping way too ahead of himself, and when the realization came about him that it was just a lay and she didn't want anything else it confused him.

      There is a point to me made here, it should have been said what she was looking for, or she should have expressed that she just wanted to get some. But, they really didn't have anything to begin with - if I'm reading things right here.

      In some sense, she lead him on without knowing it. It happens to women often time, they get led on by men, when all they want is something right now. it usually boils down to miscommunication and perceptions.

    2. Well, I definitely have to agree with Mr. Single City Man on the communication tip. It could be easy to see why this guy would be confused or even a bit upset...

      That said, when you assume what does that do? (I don't need to finish that sentence do I?) He assumed there was something more there and, really, that's his bad; having false expectations that are just too high is a sure way to torpedo any kind of relationship.

      I've been this guy before. Not lashing out, per se, but I've been all hurt because some gal I really liked just treated me like yesterday's news. Not her problem, it was mine. On that point, the most liberating thing, for me, was to drop any expectations I had whatsoever. I mean, yeah, there's always SOME sort of expectation, like I'm not going to get stabbed in the face. When I stopped expecting things of the women i dated, my dating life became a lot easier. I'm just sayin'

    3. @Single City Guy -- You know, you do make a valid observation about being honest on the upfront. However, can't you argue that a person is only led on if they want to be? It's like a mirage... We see what we want to, or something.

      @Alex -- I completely agree on dropping expectations. We're all guilty of imposing them on people. But, once we roll with the punches, we enjoy ourselves when we least expect it.

      Any tips on how to "train" yourself not have expectations are welcome. Think it's a good exercise for all of us!

    4. Child, seems like he's a big baby and showed his age. Tell sister girl to keep it moving and enjoy Cougar-dom, cause honey, it's a crazysexycool world out there and the boys are getting younger! Roar, roar, roar!

    5. @nandoism -- I couldn't agree more! And he's been calling her ever since, telling her -- get this -- that he has feelings for her. Crazy way to let them know?

      Essentially, I think our reactions AFTER hook-ups speak volumes. Overall, we try hard to play a game, ultimately hiding a deeper truth... That we care about what happens next when it comes to the hook-up game.

      Of course, our reactions are governed by our feelings. But keeping them in check is the true test of our strength... And gives us the chance to gain some control in an otherwise "chance-filled" situation.

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