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You Chase, but do You Want to Catch?

As you get to know someone, they may seem like the one, until they admit to liking you back.

Woman rejecting a bouquet of roses, directly rejecting the catch after the chase
Credit: Shutterstock/Farknot Architect

Relationships can be a complicated concept, but it becomes much more difficult when you don’t even want to be with the person you’re crushing on.

The chase is something a lot of us prefer. Once our crush likes us back, we tend to pull away.

There is a significant amount of people who prefer pining over someone, rather than aiming to be in a relationship. That’s when you ask yourself the question; do you really like them?

Defining the chase and the catch

The chase refers to the excitement and initial attraction you feel towards someone. You develop a crush on that person, and speculating whether they like you or not fuels the fire of the chase.

The catch is once your crush admits they have mutual feelings towards you, and the prospect of a relationship is in the air.

It’s usually the catch that is deemed as unappealing for the people who want the chase. Pining over the other person is so enticing, that when they like you back, the excitement vanishes.

Is it crazy to enjoy chasing?

There is no shame in enjoying the chase rather than the catch. There is a surprising amount of individuals who prefer it over the actual commitment portion of a relationship.

Although, it may not be the most ideal scenario to be in, it is the most normalized, especially with Gen-Z.

I, myself, have been guilty of enjoying the initial attraction, but quickly diminishing the other person because the chase is over.

Psychological reasoning

There is a perfectly logical, and biological explanation as to why people love to chase and not to catch.

An article by Dr. Shahram Heshmat on Psychology Today chalks it up to the dopamine signals in the brain. A human’s dopamine system is stimulated more by the anticipation that comes from the chase rather than the reward from the catch.

The dopamine rush from anticipating the outcome of the chase is why humans find significantly more satisfaction from unpredictable anticipation. In other words, humans love going after something they want, but they might not get.

The underlying reasons for the chase

Although it is normal for someone to prefer the thrill of the chase, it can be a sign of avoidance of commitment or a fear of vulnerability. Being in a relationship can feel suffocating to them, hence why some love the temporary nature of the chase.

Opening up to someone romantically is something terrifying, and people who chase but don’t seek commitment may be scared of actually going through the process of a relationship.

Another factor that makes people want to chase is the variety that comes with it. There is a very minimal chance that someone will only aim to chase after one person. Some may enjoy being able to pursue more than one person at a time. They might also enjoy the simplicity of getting to know someone new each time they chase.

There are people who value the independence that comes with being single. This category of people prefers pining for someone rather than being in a committed relationship.

The normalization of the chase

The entire concept of chasing after someone is one that is very present in social media. The chase is also heavily associated with commitment issues.


if its too east ion wan it 😂🤥 #fyp #hustle #love

♬ original sound – Real!

There are numerous videos on TikTok of people admitting to enjoying the chase, but once the other person shows interest in them, they are repulsed by them. They may even get the ick.

Shit just got real, things are gettin’ intense now
I hear you talkin’ ’bout “We” a lot, oh, you speak French now?

Come And See Me – Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR

Songs like ‘Come and See me’ by Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR normalize not looking for an emotional relationship. They are seeking a sexual relationship, further proving that some people don’t look for commitment when chasing after someone.

Social media plays a large role in making this whole process simple. It’s much easier to hit someone up and talk to them for two weeks, then ghost them and move on to the next.

Romanticizing your crush

Oftentimes, when you have a crush on someone, you tend to curate a romanticized version of them in your head. Especially when you are chasing them, you still haven’t gotten to know them yet. They can be your absolute perfect person; your type to a T. Once you finally catch them, they might end up being the worst person you’ve ever met.

The emotions you feel when chasing can be mistaken for passionate love. In reality, it is infatuation or desire. Causing an emotional rollercoaster, this emotion heightens the romantic appeal of the chase.

Seeing movies where the main characters don’t want each other, but eventually make their way to them feeds into the delusions of people on the receiving end of the chase and catch. Movies like 10 Things I Hate About You, are every delusional person’s dream. Despite the never-ending pining, Cat and Patrick still ended up together.

Watching movies like that feeds into the romanticization of the chase. It leads more people to get hurt.

Final thoughts

Everyone has been guilty at least once of enjoying the chase and quickly dismissing the catch. It is an unfortunate scenario to be in, but it is very prevalent within our society today.

The best thing to do if you catch yourself enjoying the chase is to take a step back and leave the people you’re leading on alone, or make your intentions clear.

If you’re looking to settle a debate on whether or not liking another person’s post is considered cheating, check out this article.

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English literature student, lover of books and writing, and an avid Formula 1 fan.

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