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We sat in a window box of the cafe. Warming sunlight marched through and glittered off her black hair. As I spoke absent-mindedly about a girl I loved whom I recently lost, barely comprehending in my stream of consciousness that I was airing my inner thoughts, a sunshaft grazed her cheek and I saw that she was silently crying. Two soft tears traced slowly downward, framed within an expressionless face. The effect hit me hard, not because it was the first time I made a woman cry from sheer carelessness, but because her tears were so incongruent with her personality. She was an Ivy-educated business consultant, easily turning six figures, ambitious, sure of herself in ways she thought mattered, and to the undiscerning eye cold and opaque.

She was also pretty, but the timing of our fling threw her orbit away from mine. Pleasing enough, she regrettably didn’t press my buttons like my recent ex-girlfriend had. And so, when she earnestly pried for my truest feelings, she received in return the fate of suffering reckless confessions she didn’t want to hear. My emotions were raw, and I unloaded on her callously as she took my strafe on every flank. Not meaning to hurt her, I had, and every time we had sex since then, over the following weeks, it ended with her tucking her knees under her chin naked on the bed to quietly cry into the wrapped bubble of her body.

When my one-sided conversation with the cosmos had finished, and her tears had shocked me back to empathy and guilt, she choked out a tiny utterance that I’ll never forget. A simple, endearing question: “So you really liked this girl?” Imagine for a moment the excruciating hollowness of unreciprocated longing that the friendzoned beta male feels as he patiently abides his love’s encomiums to another man. Women can feel this way, too.

I crashed back into her presence. Now all I could think was making amends and, truthfully, a part of me wanted to preserve for a while longer the usefulness of her distractive adoration in my time of need.

“Yes.”

I surprised myself at the forthrightness of my answer. Quickly recalibrating, “…but I could see it coming, so maybe it’s all for the best.”

She coaxed a crooked smile, but I had sunk her. She knew in that bright cafe that we would never be more together than a pleasurable temporary escape. Already approaching thirty, the weight of it landed in the breadbasket of her soul.

These stories locked in time offer lessons for times yet to come. What I had unknowingly, accidentally, obliviously, and with quite sincere effort done to this woman was run an extreme version of Disqualification Game on her. That confessional about my recent ex, the sincerity with which I expressed my confusion and unresolved desire, the indifference to how it might be received by present company, sent my replacement lover into a tailspin. She felt stronger love for me at the same time she felt the sadness of our inevitable, arriving end. Thus, our sex life carried on while her tears flowed heavier with accumulating grief.

What was accidental can be made intentional for one’s personal advantage. “I’ll always have this thing for my ex” Extreme Disqualification Game can, if delivered without a hint of manipulative urgency (almost as an afterthought), greatly increase a woman’s attraction to you. She’ll see herself as the one who can make it better, or steal your heart away, if you’re careful to stop just short of killing her hope outright. You’ll be a challenge too irresistible to some women, especially women with options, and if you parcel your redirected romance into hamster-sized pellets that make her feel as if she’s slowly winning you over, you’ll have from her a love that can transcend all other arid considerations women tend to autonomically jot down on dating profiles or personal ads.

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