The Oscillating Syndrome

A post dating syndrome

Any casual observer will recognise this syndrome. It is one of the most common of the courting scene. It occurs in many affairs, and some elements of it are observed in most affairs when the man gives the girl up.

The man may have got quite bored, and gives the girl up. He may not mind initially. But if the affair lasted for a significant time, especially if he meets her regularly (say through work or social activities), then he is likely to want he again. As time goes on this will increase.

Assuming that the girl did not want to break up, she will subtly use these contacts to try and get him back. She may not directly ask him as such. But she will talk to him, agree to have drinks or accept lifts; she is likely to dress and make-up more provocatively than she normally does; remind him of things they have done together. In some cases, if the couple have started to drift around together, she may just act as if the affair is still on - including sexual contact - which is very difficult for the man to resist.

The man will find a greater twist is she starts going out with someone else. Then his feelings for her may escalate to an extent which he never experienced before. He may be able to think of little else. A resumption of the affair is the result.

However, once reconciliation has occurred, the original bored partner becomes bored again at once. He wishes it was over, but he now finds it more difficult to break. Most men find some difficulty in ending an affair once it has gone beyond the point where he must ask the girl for a date. If the girl is keen, she will insure that further meetings are arranged, and will just turn up at his place if the affair is mature. Some excuse is needed.

Initially this excuse may be trivial. But if there has been a break-up, and reconciliation, most men find the next excuse must be a bigger one - and the girl is likely to be on her guard not to provide it. The man being off-hand with her doesn't normally work.

It is not that he won't find an excuse - eventually he will, though this phase may have lasted longer than the first one. But when this second break-up occurs, not only will he find the same thing hapening to his feelings, but also the intensity will be greater. He may want her back at once, separation over a distance may have less effect (see below), and overtures from the girl are much more difficult to resist. The girl may act in the same way as before, but her approaches are likely to be much more direct. So there is another reconciliation. But the bored partner at once feels as he did before.

One sees many couples going through this oscillation of breaking up and reconciliation. The man may not intend to marry her, but with each oscillation the difficulty of breaking up increases. The forces pulling him back increases. The man may be bored, but his affection for her strengthens, the two come to rely on each other more; they become an institution with common friends; pick-up techniques become rusty.

The second break-up is likely to be 'hell', the third may be very difficult or impossible. After the third it may prove very difficult to break the relationship. Unless the man understands what is going on he becomes so miserable in the break-up phases that marriage or the growing living together become inevitable. We would hate to estimate the number which result from this Syndrome, but it is likely to form a substantial proportion.

If the couple are going in different directions - such as the man moving to another job in another part of the country - the intensity is likely to be less. It also provides the necessary 'excuse'. If the couple don't meet up, especially after the first break-up, the forces on the man will be less. This will not stop the girl writing to him (especially if it is the second or third oscillation), carefully pointing out she has another man, suggesting he drops in if he's in her area. If he does the chances are high that they'll be back together again.

There is an extreme version of this Syndrome, especially if there has been talk of sexual intercourse during the affair, but the girl has refused. She now feels that perhaps sex would get him back. She engineers a return to the man's home, perhaps on the pretext of passing, or returning or picking up belongings. Once there she initiates sexual contact (which the man generally finds he can't resist), which proceeds through all its stages to bed. The man may entertain thoughts that she's only doing it for old times sake, and not to commit him. But he now finds its not quite so easy to get rid of her - while the sex act in many cases will not improve but may reduce his feelings for her.

Most men will encounter the Oscillating Syndrome in some form. Shy men who find it more difficult to pick up girls probably find it more difficult to break-up. They stay longer with partners, and are more prone to delaying the break.

The best advice is to recognise that it is clearly easier to break-up sooner than later. It is easiest while the dating initiative remains with the man - this is the best time to stop if one is bored. However if it has proceeded beyond this point, then the first break is the time to be resolute. Recognise that the Oscillating Syndrome may well operate; avoid contact with the girl as much as possible (much better none at all); the strong feelings won't last long if there is little contact - while if you go back the relationship will be as boring as before. Once boredom sets in it virtually never improves. Instead channel ones energies into finding someone else (see Alternative Syndrome).

Does the Oscillating Syndrome operate on girls as it does on men? I am not sure. It may do to some extent. But the evidence is that girls are more efficient at ending affairs with men they are bored with, even if the man is keen. Many will line someone else up first.

If one encounters a girl in the field who is the subject of an Oscillating Syndrome for a former man, then there will be problems - partly because one does not know what is going on. She may go out with you but most of her thoughts are for her former man; and her sexual advances may be much lower than usual, or in extreme cases non-existent (see Clare Syndrome). Or she may enjoy your company, but her thoughts return to her former man when you are gone. One doesn't know what drama is being played out between them - a reconciliation may suddenly occur - and you find you are ditched in favour of an ex-boyfriend. You may also have been the stimulus to the reconciliation (see above).

If you do understand that Oscillating Syndrome may be operating the best advice is to the patient, see or contact her several times a week, so she has the best chance of gradually seeing you as an alternative. Avoid the possibility of any misunderstandings (see State of Mind). She'll get to know you, build up confidences, so you'll begin to supplant him in her thoughts.

If she goes back to him, one might try keeping in touch with a view to getting her next time round - though most men will go off in a huff. Though it must be said that if a girl goes out with someone she could fall for - and there have been no misunderstandings - that she will make efforts, possibly very considerable efforts, to make a go of it.

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