The decisive moment arrives after a few dates when it’s time to adjust your strategy. Depending on how much you like the person, you should pursue, trail slightly, or lay way back. Be careful though as you can scare away your prey if you’re reckless. Then again, if it is your intention to ditch the datee, your actions could inadvertently create a love leech.

For example, if you are frightened and falling for this person, your tendency to overdo it could leave you sobbing. Therefore, men, if this is you, don’t:

  • Buy her jewelry.
  • Say those three words.
  • Book any fancy vacations for two.
  • Tell her or any of your male friends.
  • Buy her a puppy.
  • Introduce her to a work function as your girlfriend.
  • Ask her father anything other than which scotch he prefers.
  • Send flowers to her workplace.
  • Tell her she’s the best lover you ever had.
  • Over-call or text her.

Ladies can play this game poorly as well. It’s OK to tell your mom, sister, and best friends “he might be the one,” but for fuck’s sake, don’t tell him. Also, don’t:

  • Leave anything at his house other than a hair pull. That means no underwear, toothbrushes, or lotions.
  • Show up unannounced at one of his boys’ nights out.
  • Discuss finances.
  • Forget to take your pill.
  • Touch his penis while he’s driving. Wait. OK, scratch that one.
  • Ask strangers to take pictures of the happy couple, and if you already did that, never freaking ever make said picture your mobile phone wallpaper or profile picture.
  • Book a couples massage.
  • Rearrange his stuff or clean anything.
  • Ask how many lovers he has had. You don’t want to know and he’d lie anyway.
  • Email him love quotes.

Trailing the object of your desire is the most successful method. It keeps the other person engaged without feeling pestered. Do this by:

  • Not sending more than two unanswered texts or anything over 140 characters.
  • Maintaining nights where you are unavailable.
  • Leaving before breakfast.
  • Resisting the urge to check his or her cell phone and keeping yours inaccessible.
  • Leaving your online dating profiles visible, but inactive … for now.
  • Using the “I was drunk” excuse to cover your ass when doing or saying something stupid in the heat of the moment.
  • Suggesting you each do your own thing and maybe meet up later.
  • Maintaining radio silence while attending a bachelor/bachelorette party.
  • Insisting there is a separation of lovers and relatives.
  • Leaving some of the ex’s belongings around the house to be discovered.

Chasing the next ex away is simple. Be sure to add a sprinkle of meanness into the breakup so the person doesn’t become that stray animal that follows you everywhere. Here’s a great line you can borrow:

  • “There’s no chemistry so if your phone doesn’t ring, it’s probably me.”

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

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