“Let’s face it. I f**ked them all. That’s what I do. That’s why I went to beauty school…I go into that shop and they’re so great-looking. I do their hair. They feel and smell great. I’d be on the street…at a stoplight, or go into an elevator. There’s…a beautiful girl. That’s it. It makes my day. Ifeel like I’m gonna live forever.” — Warren Beatty in “Shampoo” Warren Beatty’s character in the classic 70s film “Shampoo” is the quintessential seduction addict. The dialogue above is from the movie’s finale, when George (Beatty) comes clean to his girlfriend Jill and admits that he became a hairdresser so that he would have easy access to gorgeous women, all of whom he has bedded. His words take us into the psyche of a serial seducer: His interest ultimately isn’t women — it’s the lofty rush of feeling invincible. George is addicted to womanizing to shore up his sense of inadequacy. Instead of facing his disappointment in what he’s accomplished in his life, he distracts himself with a succession of women. Unlike sex addicts, however, who are primarily after the act of sex, seduction addicts are after the experience of making women fall for them. Serial seducers are masters of illusion. They create an emotional intensity that feels personal, although it’s anything but. (Women can also be seduction addicts, although for the purpose of consistency, the pronoun “he” is used here). The following are five signs that your new guy loves seduction, not you: 1. It’s a grand romance. Whirlwind trips. Fancy dinners. Expensive gifts. All of these gestures make sense in the context of a committed relationship, in which two people have taken time actually to get to know each other. But they’re usually inappropriate when you’ve just met the person. Seduction addicts dazzle you with the trappings of a relationship. Once you’re under their spell, it’s easy to get so swept away by the feelings of limerence (an overwhelming romantic attraction) that you misplace your common sense. 2. He has a way with words. Seduction addicts are like salesmen. They will say almost anything to close the deal, and they’re so persuasive they’ll have you falling for their audacious spin. Professing love and talking about your future together are topics that should not be trotted out within the first few dates. It’s irresponsible for someone to lead you to believe that he wants a commitment when he barely knows you. The words “I love you” mean nothing without action – and time — to back them up. 3. He’s a master of manipulation. Seduction addicts get you to into bed by creating the illusion of a relationship. One woman reported that an online date convinced her to drive 200 miles to spend the weekend with him before they’d even met. He did this by texting and e-mailing her for a week so that a false intimacy was established. When she agreed to meet him, he told her the hotel only had one room available. Because she felt that she knew him better than she did, she accepted his dubious statement and joined him in bed just hours after meeting. Guess what? After a weekend of passionate sex and promises to get together soon, she never heard from him again. 4. He keeps you at arm’s length. Seduction addicts keep you on the hook with their push-pull technique. When they want you, they are free as a bird and frantic to spend time with you. Yet when you press for a date, their open calendar suddenly fills up and they appear irritated that you keep bugging them to get together. They are simply too busy and important to make a date. The shift in their desire is confusing. But one thing is clear: if a man wants to be with you, he’ll make it happen. 5. He pulls the “disappearing act.” Once a seduction addict realizes you have expectations of him, he gets the hell out of Dodge. Despite the tall tales he’s been giving you, the last thing he wants is a commitment. Unless he gets treatment, he simply doesn’t have what it takes to show up for anything besides sex and romance. In a minority of cases, a whirlwind romance and early admissions of love do evolve into a long-term relationship. But those are situations in which words are backed up by consistent actions that involve the intermingling of lives, and both people are equally committed. If you’re being wooed by someone who offers little more than hot sex and big talk, you are likely with someone whose addiction to seduction will always be more important than a single person could ever be. By Virginia Gilbert, MFT Follow Virginia on Twitter at @VGilbertMFT
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