Deceptive Dating

Have you ever been in a relationship that started off so great in the beginning,  but took an unexpected turn down a different path? Or how about a guy approaches you for your number, telling you that he wants to take you out sometime. However when he reaches out it's only for chit chat and not to schedule dates…

Welcome to the realm of the bait and switch method in the context of relationships – a psychological twist that can leave us questioning the authenticity of the our love interest. In this blog post, we'll delve into what the bait and switch method looks like in the dating world, how it unfolds, and why our hearts sometimes fall prey to this emotional trickery.

What is Bait and Switch?

Psychological Definition: to make an enticing offer (the "bait") to capture someone's attention or interest. Once the person is engaged or committed, the original offer is replaced and offered with something less desirable (the “switch"). This method exploits cognitive biases, such as anchoring (where the initial offer sets a reference point for comparison) and commitment consistency (where individuals tend to stick to choices they have already made.) We often see this in retail sales ads and marketing where this misleading tactic is often used to get you to spend more money!

Real-World Shopping Scenario: Imagine seeing a flashy advertisement for a heavily discounted item in a store window. Excited, you rush inside, only to find out that the item is out of stock, and the salesperson directs you to a pricier alternative.

Understanding the Bait and Switch in Relationships:
At its core, the bait and switch method in relationships involves presenting an attractive and appealing version of oneself initially (the "bait") and later revealing a different, less desirable side (the "switch"). This method exploits our desire for connection, trust, and intimacy.

How It Works:

The Bait: The process begins with a charming and attentive partner who showers you with affection, communication, and thoughtful gestures. This initial stage creates a positive impression, fostering a sense of excitement and connection.Building Expectations: As the relationship progresses, expectations naturally form. You envision a future based on the positive qualities and behaviors displayed during the initial stages – frequent communication, thoughtful gestures, and shared experiences.
The Switch: Just when you're fully invested emotionally, the switch occurs. The partner who was once attentive and communicative may start to withdraw, becoming less available, less communicative, or even exhibiting behaviors that were not evident in the beginning.

Real-World Dating Scenario:
Initial Phase: Your partner is attentive, initiates communication, plans thoughtful dates, and covers the expenses. This creates a positive and exciting dynamic.
Switching It Up: As the relationship progresses, your partner begins to show less interest. The frequent texts and calls dwindle, and paying for dates seem to suddenly be a problem for him. The switch introduces a less appealing version of the partner you thought you knew.
Why We Fall for It:
Several psychological factors contribute to our vulnerability to the bait and switch method in relationships:
Idealization: During the initial stages, we often idealize our partners, focusing on their positive qualities while overlooking potential red flags. This idealization sets the stage for disappointment when the switch occurs-

Sunk Cost Fallacy: The time and emotional energy invested in the relationship create a sense of commitment. We may be reluctant to acknowledge the switch and invest even more to maintain a sense of consistency.
Navigating the complexities of relationships requires awareness of the bait and switch method. By understanding the dynamics at play, we can approach dating with a more discerning eye, recognizing that initial charm may not always be a true reflection of long-term compatibility. This can help alleviate dating disappointments. Remember, relationships are a journey, and being mindful of the potential for unexpected twists can help us make more informed decisions about who deserves our time. Self Love is being aware that a person is playing with you, and setting boundaries to avoid unnecessary disappointments.