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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
I’ve known Candace for about eight years. Over all those years we’ve dated off and on. Every time we get together, things are fantastic for a month or two and then Candace shuts down emotionally and becomes very closed. Our conversations then tend to become very shallow and don’t go much beyond what happened at work that day, and then they disappear altogether. As you might imagine, this is enormously frustrating. Eventually, this leads to our breaking up. I simply can’t communicate with the girl.
Before we got back together the last time, Candace spent some time thinking things over to avoid past mistakes that led to our breaking up. However, after about four months we ended up breaking up again. This time, I was the one who initiated it. At this point I was beyond frustrated and tired of pretending that we had a real relationship.
Doc, to put it bluntly, I’m too old for this. However, there has always been some sort of deep emotional connection between Candace and me that brings us back together, but it seems like she gets afraid when things are good and then she shuts down and things go bad. At least that’s how I see it from where I stand.
Now I’m wondering if I did the right thing. I waited three weeks to contact Candace, apologized for my stupidity and tried to get her to talk to me. So far she has not responded. At this point I don’t know if this is the same cycle playing itself out and our deep connection is still there, or if it’s really over this time and I should just let her go and try to get on with my life once and for all.
What do you think, Doc? Any insight whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.
Riles - who wonders if his time has finally run out
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Candace doesn’t really shut down emotionally after she’s been around you for a while. You’re rationalizing her odd behavior, which as you’d know if you’d studied my material is a major no-no. The truth of the matter is that this girl does a perfect imitation of a clam because she just gets tired of faking high Interest Level.
Know why you can’t talk to Candace? Because it takes two people to have a conversation and you have her mixed up with somebody who wants to communicate. It’s really a very simple matter, pal.
Candace’s true past mistake was that she spent time with a guy who she had only 45% Interest Level in. Remember what I’ve told you guys over and over again – when her Interest Level is in the 40s, she’ll hang around with you, but don’t make the mistake of believing that you have any kind of legitimate hold on her, because you don’t. If you’d pored over my material – and it’s my bet that after spending eight years as a human yo-yo for this girl you’ve definitely not memorized it! – you’d know that a crucial mistake men make is OVERESTIMATING the female’s Interest Level. Go back to my book and check out the section called “Interest Level” again. Those three pages alone will save you years of torture.
What’s interesting is that you apparently haven’t learned anything whatsoever from all the previous times in those eight long years when you and Candace rode your break-up-and-get-together-again merry-go-round. How many times are you two going to split – 87? And the question isn’t why you get back together again and again when your relationship is so lousy. (And believe me, when you’re not talking to your partner, it can’t be anything but lousy.) The real question is why did she unload you the first time?
Candace doesn’t get back together with you for any other reason than she feels a need to have a little party with you for three to six weeks (or take a break from the other turkeys she’s stringing along!) and then hit the bricks again. After all, Riles, she’s knows you’ll be back. You came back all the other 86 times, didn’t you? I don’t mean to bash your head in here, guy (Candace does a good enough job of that as it is), but you’re being a stooge.
It’s too bad you only waited three weeks to contact Candace, dude. The way things are going, you should have waited 30 years! The type of stupidity you’re referring to is a different one than I’m referring to, which is not going by the principles of “The System.” Remember the chapter entitled “Begging?” I suggest you take a look at that one again.
Why should Candace respond to you now, man? You’re out. Don’t you get that? She doesn’t like you. She never thinks about you. She’s making out with somebody new right now. Hel-lo? Didn’t you ever hear of the Reality Factor? It says, “When she keeps running away from you, she doesn’t want to be with you.” Du-uh.
Your Interest Level is 88% and hers is 45%. Those numbers don’t match. And that’s your problem in a nutshell.
Up until now Candace liked to go back and forth with you, Riles. But when she’s back with you for a while, she inevitably comes to the same conclusion. “Oh, what the heck was I thinking? He’s still the same old shmuck,” and then she leaves again.
Of course, she’s not too swift either for endlessly going back to a guy that she already dumped 86 times!
Finally, you can’t let Candace go, Riles – she’s already gone! That’s what you can’t seem to get through your thick head. Like the great Doctor Freud once said, “If I could somehow exterminate the male ego, we could cut the divorce rate by 90%.”
Remember, guys: when you’re out, you were really out a long time earlier.
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