I’ve recently been reading books on seduction and dating from the perspective of both genders. The basic premise I’ve been encountering — regardless of which camp you belong to — is that we are attracted to people who are not too available. When someone is 100% open to you, there’s no challenge, and you get bored. “Cat string theory” (a term I encountered in Neil Strauss’ The Game) states that when you stop dangling string in front of a cat and just let it sit there, the cat gets bored and walks away. You have to keep on dangling to keep its interest.
This of course is Mars in action. Mars wants a challenge, a fight. A guy wants to work hard to win over a girl, and a girl wants a guy who’s not all needy and desperate. According to Darwinism 101 (aka evolutionary psychology), a man is naturally competitive and wants the woman with the greatest hip-to-waist ratio to bear his child. Conversely, a woman wants an alpha-male to ensure that she and her child will be protected. One pickup artist named Mystery (mentioned in The Game) states that despite cultural and technological advances, we’re still slaves to our biological drives that worked for us tens of thousands of years ago, when we lived in small tribes.
A friend of mine mentioned that her office colleague comes in with new ideas to snag a boyfriend. One tip — called “doing a coyote” — involves a woman going to a guy’s house for the first time after dating for a while, having sex, and then leaving in the middle of the night while he’s sleeping. Presumably the intended effect is to make the man feel insecure so that he’ll work harder to keep the woman, as well as make him feel more attracted to her because she’s not 100% available to him. He was probably looking forward to cooking breakfast for her — he’s not just into the sex, you know!
Manipulative tactics such as this are under the domain of Scorpio, which is traditionally ruled by Mars. Are we to assume that — to succeed in the dating world — we must resort to competition and mind-games?
Yet it is true that without distance from a perceived goal or outcome, Mars has nothing to do. We get angry when somebody blocks us from something we desire. We strive towards a goal that we have not yet attained. Some couples fight just so they can have make-up sex — they use Mars to create some space between themselves, presumably because emotional enmeshment is not a turn-on.
There is some wisdom to Mars. Members of couples who have enough separation are healthier than those who are codependent. If both people in a partnership have their own hobbies, friends they go out with, and so on, then they develop their own distinct identities, they are not just one-half of a relationship unit. They continue to feel attracted to each other because there is a gap to bridge.
Mars gives us the drive to go out into the world, initially impelling us to separate from our mothers. Then the Moon impels us to come back for security and nurturing. In developmental psychology, this is called rapprochement.
In the dating world, it is the Moon in people that is apparently a turn-off. Neediness, clinginess, waiting by the phone, “I need you” … it is these behaviors that often drive someone away. It is one thing to flirt and send flowers (Venus), it is another to call someone up and say, “I can’t live without you.”
Perhaps it is the child in us that sabotages dating success. Our first template for relationships is the mother-child bond. As adults, we have unfulfilled needs, and we expect that our infantile fantasies — we will be taken care of, all of our emotional needs will be met, we will be enveloped in love and warmth — will be met by a man or woman. However, most adults don’t want to be parents to a partner. Parenting implies being with someone 24/7, having no space or time to develop one’s own interests. That’s what it’s like raising an infant.
There is a healthy medium between Cancerian neediness and Scorpionic manipulation in dating. You can be confident and independent (Aries). You don’t have to play mind-games, trap someone with an unexpected pregnancy or play the helpless waif who needs a strong protector.