Reversing Poor Past Precedent with Girls You Like
Alex writes in with a question about a follow-up article to the one on precedent: “Dating and Relationship Precedent: Why It’s So Very Important.” Here's his email:
“Hi Chase and friends at girlschase.com
Your articles are amazing! I found Chase's article on precedent to be thought-provoking:
I was wondering if you guys think writing a secondary article on how to recover after precedent has been set poorly would be a good follow-up idea.
For example: Say with this particular girl, I've moved too slowly with her, been overly helpful, white-knighted her, and acted overly insecure. As a result, I ended up losing her. But what if I want a second chance? Do you have any suggestions on bouncing back after setting poor precedent?
I know it would be best to move on, and I wish I knew about setting good precedent back when I was inexperienced, but sometimes I just want a second shot. I think it would be excellent to have an article on bouncing back after poor precedent, if possible.
Let me know if you guys think this would be a good suggestion!
This is a sticky issue, and it's not one with an easy fix... not even a remotely easy fix. It's also a totally irrational problem to have, in the grand scheme of things, and it's one that's rooted firmly into a scarcity mentality of some sort or another - it may be that you don't feel you can ever meet another girl as amazing as this one (you lack absolute abundance), or it may be that you don't know if you're ever going to find another girl at ALL (just a complete lack of abundance mentality) - or, at the very least, you've just plunged so much time and emotional investment into this girl that your psyche won't let you let go.
The rational option is always, "Go out, forget about the girl you've dug yourself into a deep pit of despair with, get more skilled with women, upgrade your game and your fundamentals, and go date and sleep with 10 more women hotter, cooler, and more interesting than this one."
Yet, it's a question that comes up SO MUCH from guys, that it's probably worth addressing on its own: how do you change a girl's perception of you when it's already pretty low?
It will require you to move mountains and pull off feats that few
men ever have, but if you're willing to give it your all, I may as well
lay out the tools for you. So, by popular request...
First, before we start talking technique, we need a few disclaimers.
Because, you see, you can NEVER reverse precedent. Not completely. You don't get to clean the slate and start completely fresh with someone you've already established past precedent with, unless you're going to hypnotize her and do a mind-wipe on her... and even then, there are going to be subconscious emotions lingering in the background (but, seriously: don't hypnotize and mind-wipe anybody... not cool).
You're best off thinking about your relationship with someone like a
large home. Here, we're talking about all kinds of relationships -
sexual and romantic relationships, yes, but also female friends and girls you've
entered into extended non-sexual courtship periods with (e.g., you've
been friend zoned or became an early boyfriend).
Just like homes, you can grab a young and inexperienced girl,
and that's like buying a new home. No effects of past owners to worry
about, and basically the only thing influencing your future
relationship at that point is the quality of construction: was she put
together carefully with high quality materials, sound architecture, and
careful planning, or was she slapped together with shoddy workmanship,
materials, or both? This is the difference between a girl of good
breeding, and one who's grown up abused, in a broken home, or crazy / cluster B.
Or you can grab a more experienced girl - that's like buying a home
that's had a few or even many owners before. If the home's had great
owners, it may be almost as good as new, and probably is an even more
interesting, expanded, improved version of its original self. Or, if
it's had especially bad owners (abusive and neglectful lovers,
partners, and friends), it's in disrepair, falling apart, and is
Once you've got your new
home, you can either maintain it and keep it in great shape and maybe
even make some additions to it (pool, Jacuzzi, garden, more trees,
- that's setting great precedent. Or, you can do all kinds of things
wrong - neglect it; throw wild parties; punch holes in the wall and
throw baseballs through the windows; let the foundation sag; let cracks
set in and water damage occur; let termites invade; or even set fire to
the home. Do enough damage, over a
long enough period of time, and even if you get wise later and start to
try to repair that damage later on, there will always be underlying
The Way Doubt Works
Let's say you manage to turn it around with a girl you really messed up on before. That could be because you were:
- A pushover nice guy
- A gallant white knight riding to her rescue
- Weak in handling relationship drama, and folded or apologized weakly
- Negligent in maintaining trust and security, and committed a serious trust breach
- An early boyfriend who gave far too much too soon and made her undervalue him
Now, you patch things up, and everything seems fine - you've effected a turnaround.
What happens in times of duress?
All those old wounds, doubts about your trustworthiness and masculinity, and lack of respect for you come pouring back into the fore. Again and again and again, any time you have a shred of tension in the relationship.
Why? Well, imagine a house with significant foundation damage: termites sawed their way through the interior, or water damage weakened the foundation, or a big blaze created a number of structural defects, warping metal and cracking cement. You can patch all this up the best you can, and in good times everything will be fine.
But, with time and stress on the house - during a big storm, for instance, or a flood - all those old problems come roaring right back again, the home still weakened, its foundation still never what it originally was, or what a house of similar quality and workmanship and age that's been maintained properly from Day 1 still is.
Screwing things up in a big way at ANY stage of a relationship does PERMANENT damage. You can patch up the drywall and caulk up the cracks; you can replace wooden beams termites drilled through, and sand away and paint over fire damage and replace melted appliances and put down new carpets.
But the damage is done, and it is not going away, and you will see it again as if you'd never made any repairs the moment things get hard at home again.
Your Emotions are Short-Term Friends - Not Long-Term Ones
What we just talked about - that long-term foundation rot that cannot be reversed - is not something your emotions believe in or care about.
That's because emotions are focused on maximizing your short-term: they want you to feel good NOW.
It's important to understand this when you're looking at doing things you know are irrational. Chasing down one special girl that you've messed things up in a big way with is one of these things.
Why? Because she's replaceable. I know it doesn't feel that way; you may even be insulted, or want to strike back at me for saying so - how cold and mechanistic your thinking! How dispassionate your mind, and loveless your heart!
But I've been there. I've spent a decade there. If you haven't read it yet, you need to read this immediately:
If you've read that and you're still here, either the message didn't sink in... or you're as stubborn as a mule (or maybe you're really legitimately living out in the middle of nowhere, and there ARE no other options, and you're taking care of a sick parent and just can't leave your small town to move somewhere with other women you can meet - aside from that, I can't think of any excuse that's valid enough to justify continuing to live a punishing, miserable existence of chasing after someone who doesn't want you, when there are cities full of women you'll find just as captivating when you get to know them, rather than thinking about them as one-dimensional abstract strangers, waiting for you to relocate and start building some skill with them).
Either way, we've already covered some precedent-challenging situations in some previous articles, and I'd recommend you refer to these before you go on with this one:
The Ultimate Guide on How to Get a Girl Back: if you liked a girl, but haven't slept with or dated her yet, and she's now suddenly gone, this is the article for you
How to Get Your Girlfriend Back: if you're endeavoring to get back your ex-girlfriend, read this article to find out first where you stand, and then what your options are
Making a Girl Jealous: Dos and Don'ts: if there's a girl you like but she's losing interest, and you don't have terrible precedent with her, sometimes this is all you need
3 Second Date Strategies to Make Her Flirt and Swoon: in this article, I discuss a turnaround strategy for those unfortunate scenarios when you've tried to sleep with a girl, but it didn't happen - and now she has as much interest in you as she does a chunk of reed bed
How Preselection Works to Get You Girls: virtually all turnaround strategies tie back to this - whether it's implying that you're now far more scarce because you have a lot more women in your life, or it's directly showing her this by letting her see you with sexier, hotter women than she is, preselection is the only surefire way of taking a girl who thought you were a lifeless meatloaf and making her burn with interest in and desire for you again
Why to Use Scarcity with Girls You Meet: this is the other big piece of the puzzle, which again ties back to preselection - if you're scarce and no longer devoting time to her, she's usually going to assume that another woman (or women) may very probably be the reason why
Read these, know them, internalize them; and, you can see that this girl's emotions are just as much short-term friends as yours are. People want what they cannot have; you can't have her, so you go crazy wanting her. You then show her that she cannot have you (and that you are something she WANTS to have), and then she goes crazy wanting you.
Often what ends up happening by that point though, is that now that she wants you so desperately, you're too busy dating these other women you've met... whom you've realized you like way better than this old girl, and with whom you don't have all that terrible past precedent that's going to muck things up for you in the future.
Nevertheless, that probably sounds like an impossible scenario to you right now, when emotions are firing like pistons from hell: of course you will love this girl forever and never value her any less than you do right now! You know it.
So, I'm going to give you an overview of and some details about the tools that you can use to reverse some of the poor precedent you've set with women before - at least enough to get them chasing after you again.
There are five (5) methods you can use for reversing poor past precedent:
- "Whoops... that wasn't me"
- "I just realized you're not who I thought"
- Preselection explosion
- Other value explosion
- The life-altering experience
Again though, none of these are shortcuts. Why? Because you must change SIGNIFICANTLY
between whom you were before and whom you are now.
That means if you're reading this article thinking you're going to go say a magical set of words or tweak a few minor behaviors and months or years of poor past precedent will go away, you're in for a rude awakening.
You must be different. And she will probe and pull apart and test you harder than you have ever been tested in your entire life to find out whether that difference is real, or merely a mirage.
You can't fake this one until you make it. You either are it, or you aren't.
Let's look at the ways you do that.
#1: “Whoops... That Wasn’t Me”
If you acted weak around a woman because you went through an emotionally draining period the likes of which you'd never experienced before, but now it's over, you've figured it out, and it's never going to happen again, you can use this one.
This is, in effect, the "temporary insanity" defense.
I used this one myself after an emotionally draining breakup - the first one I'd gone through, and while I'd been logically prepared for it, I hadn't been ready to deal with the emotions. So, it did a number on me. Both the ex-girlfriend I broke up with and the girl I courted for a relationship after (whom I'd known before) lost a ton of respect for me over a period of a few months. Both of them treated me with a kind of, "Uh... what happened to you?" vibe, and the ex even asked me what happened to the Chase who was always in control of everything.
And then I snapped out of it. I promptly apologized for my simpering to both women; I told both that I'd gone through a new emotional experience I wasn't fully prepared for, and I confessed that I handled it poorly; and then I dropped most contact with both and started sleeping with a lot more women, and in short order scooped up a girlfriend who was taller, more beautiful, and more accomplished in her career than both.
The result was that both the ex and the girl I'd been chasing both started chasing after me, hard. Both tried repeatedly to invite themselves to my place, to sleep in my bed, or to get me to come over to theirs and get me to sleep in their beds.
By that point though, I was over both of them - and I just declined,
declined, declined. That was just a messy part of my life I had no
interest in reopening, with all kinds of bad precedent I had no
interest in having come revisit me with either woman.
It's been many years since that, but they both still ping me, ask me to meet up, or send me pictures of themselves.
The key to this one is, your weak, crummy behavior must legitimately NOT have been the real you, and it MUST be gone the moment you say it is. If you're going to revert back to being a pushover again, telling her it was temporary insanity is only going to make you look even weaker, because she now won't believe any of your future attempts to paint yourself strong - you've already shown her this one was just a ploy (and that's true for any of these; if you go from weak to strong and stay strong, she'll always be skeptical, but at least part of her will believe that's the real you; if you go from weak to strong, then back to weak, she'll never believe you're legitimately strong no matter WHAT you do, and you will forever be relegated to paper tiger in her mind).
#2: “I Just Realized You’re Not Who I Thought”
This is one I used way back when I was first starting out with women, and I chased a girl too much. One night, I almost had her... and then she ditched me for some other guy, and left me to pay the tab.
Man, that knocked me for a loop.
I blew up at her and excoriated her over email, then thought better of it the next day and realized I was being a giant pussy. I got back in touch, apologized for using her as my emotional tampon, told her I think I had the wrong idea about her, and that we'd be better off not being friends anymore so that neither of us was giving the other the wrong impression.
Then, I cut contact with her.
I'd run into her every so often in the nightclub, and she was always a mixture of regretful / reaching out toward me. After a month or so, she approached me to tell me she was "single now." I just told her that was nice, wished her a good night, and then went about my business meeting new women.
I didn't handle that one exactly perfectly - I'm on the fence about whether the emotional blow-up was a good thing (making her feel strong emotions, before manning up, apologizing, and then cutting her off - emotional roller coaster effect), or a bad one (I just looked like an emotionally out-of-control weakling). But, I'm pretty sure that had I had better fundamentals and better game at the time, and had I had a calmer, more explanatory ending discussion with her, rather than just sending her a couple of email blasts (much weaker than talking to someone in person), she would've chased harder than she did.
I also used a bit of this with that girl I'd been courting for a relationship that I mentioned in #1: I told her if we weren't going to date, I needed to go hit the dating pool, and that I wouldn't be able to spend as much time on her. She protested; I said I could still see her a little bit, but I needed to put my time into dating and not hanging with platonic friends... and then didn't even talk to her again until I had a new girlfriend. The implied message there was, "I thought we were going to be something else, but now I realize my mistake, and can no longer devote any real time to this relationship, which isn't providing for me what I need it to."
The key to this one is, you've got to cut contact by 90%+ after letting her know she isn't who you thought she was... and you've got to go focus on YOURSELF after this (not HER). If you do it in a high strength, respectable "I thought you were one thing, but I think I just misread the situation" way, she's likely to realize that she was misleading you, and she's also going to realize she valued you all wrong - you're not a guy who's going to hang around forever, and your value to her is only available as a mate.
Many times guys just disappear from girls' lives when they give up, and the girl never knows why or what happened. This way, you're giving her an explanation: it's a nicer way of saying, "Your value to me was as a prospective partner, but I no longer believe in those prospects. Thus, my value to you is no longer available - I need to go make it available to other, more reliable prospects instead."
#3: Preselection Explosion
This one's simple enough (if not necessarily easy when you're just getting your feet under you with this whole "getting women" thing): you just go out, meet a lot more women, get them chasing after you or get a new girlfriend, and make sure the girl you're trying to turn around some bad prior precedent with sees it.
The only challenge here is technical: can you pull it off? This one's going to take some time and some reinvention of yourself if you aren't already there (if you are though, it's somewhat of a cinch).
If you roll in the same social circles with the girl you're trying to make jealous, your best bet is usually bringing new girls along with you - for a few reasons, it's typically a lot harder to run jealousy plotlines in social circles with other women in those social circles - including:
Once one girl's rejected you, it makes the others more likely to
Once one girl's rejected you, you'll have a harder time with every girl at or above her level of social status, leaving only the girls beneath her unlocked
Dating or having lower social status girls chase after you will not bolster your attractiveness in this other girl's eyes one bit - those girls are beneath her, and if you're dating them so are you
Therefore, it's usually better to just meet girls from outside the social circle, and bring them to events - the more of them and the hotter and more charismatic they are, the better. If you've got one really hot girlfriend to replace her with, she'll go out of her mind second-guessing herself and kicking herself in the shin wondering how she missed the chance to be with you the first time around; if you've got a constantly rotating series of gorgeous, magnetic women spending time with you, she's just going to assume she missed out on a good thing (and will usually to try to jump back on the bandwagon).
Either way, be prepared to watch her go from "indifferent" to "I must get him!"
If you're not in her social circles, you can use social media for
this - if the girls themselves are posting pictures and status updates
and commenting to you publicly, this is more effective than if you're
doing it yourself, which can look tryhard to any socially sensitive
individual - or you can find an excuse to have her call you, only to
let her know, as I did with that girl I courted for too long in an
emotional moment, that you have to get off the phone in a minute
because your girlfriend's almost here.
A note of caution, however: if you enlist female friends, wingwomen, or other women you have platonic relationships with to try to create jealousy, this will almost always backfire, from every guy I've seen try doing this. The reason why is that you will not behave congruent with the behavior of a man who legitimately has other attractive, desirable women in his life; instead, you will leap at any chances she gives you to turn things around, and break form and start chasing her again the instant you see an opening - which will turn her right back off again and convince her it was all just an illusion.
You can't fake this. You must DO it.
And the good news is, usually in the process of doing it, you'll realize you like the women you're dating now WAY more than that girl you were chasing after before.
#4: Other Value Explosion
This one generally takes a fair bit (years) longer than exploding your preselection, but it can also be very effective. Essentially, all you do with this one is select an area of your social value, and just grow the heck out of it.
I won't bother delving much into it, since it's the longest time horizon of any of these, the most work, and the least likely to pay off with the specific outcome you want (reversing bad precedent and making this girl chase after you), simply because you may fail to achieve noteworthy success, or you may take so long to do it that by the time you're there, Dream Girl is already married with children.
But, for the sake of understanding this one as an option, just think of greatly increasing your social prestige by getting 15 minutes of fame for something, or become financially successful. I've heard lots of wealthy people - everyone from celebrities I've seen interviews with, to friends who've struck it big - talk about how the moment their success starts getting around, old girlfriends start crawling out of the woodwork, testing to see if they can get back together and "give it another shot."
Even preselection isn't that effective. Get rich or get famous or rack up prestige (of a sort appealing to women), and you'll find you have little trouble attracting old flames, no matter how bad you messed things up with them before.
For practical purposes, however, this one is usually not worth much
#5: The Life-Altering Experience
This is the one where something crazy and completely life-changing and perspective-altering occurs in your life, that dramatically shifts the way you conduct yourself, and the way other people see you.
That's something like:
- Going away to join a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas for 6 months
- Travelling the world and seeing 6 continents over the course of a year
- Working to help starving African children for half a year
- Joining the military and going on a long tour abroad
Basically, anything where you go somewhere far away, stay there for an extended period of time, and have experiences unlike what most people in your (and her) neck of the woods experience.
Things that don't count (usually):
Attending a class or a seminar (e.g., Landmark Forum)
"Realizing" something via introspection or talking to your grandfather
Almost dying (e.g., in a traffic accident, heart palpitations because you ate too much candy, etc.)
Coming to your senses in some other quick / expedient way
I say usually because if you have an especially dramatic experience (like, you almost got killed mountain climbing, and realized while out there and alone and thinking you without doubt were going to die of exposure that you've been living life with your priorities all scrambled, and now it's time for you to just do and stop wasting time twiddling your thumbs with people and hesitation and not chasing down your dreams), this can work.
The caveat with this one is, again, you must literally dramatically be PERMANENTLY different. If you tell her you're a changed man because you spent a year living in a rural Indian village without electricity, running water, or frozen pizzas, and then you begin chasing after her all over again or acting weak or needy, guess what - no change is registered.
This one is about having a REASON for change, and tying it in together with ACTUAL change. You don't get to just say you're different and have her accept it without you backing it up with actually being different - as I said, no shortcuts.
Reversing Bad Past Precedent
And those are our five (5) different ways of turning around bad precedent.
After reading this list (assuming you have some bad past precedent you want to wipe away as much of as possible), you're going to have one of two reactions:
Excitement - if you're now ready to go out and genuinely reinvent yourself, and are using changing what this girl thinks about you as your motivator; or
Disappointment - if you were hoping for a magic pill solution ("Just tell her THIS, and the past two years of horrible precedent will disappear as if they NEVER happened!")
You can't do away with precedent. The only thing you can do is reframe it ("That wasn't me, because I was emotional and weak - here's the real me") or bury it ("I may have chased you then, but women much more desirable than you chase me now, and if you want me you're going to have to chase me even harder than they do").
And either of those requires you to make a dramatic, permanent shift in how you deal with women, and how you deal with this woman in particular.
Because if you revert to the old version of you, who did things all wrong, you'd better believe you're going to meet the same end with her that old you met - there's no tricking a woman into being with you and staying with you... not gonna happen.
Thus, the key to reversing old bad precedent is to dramatically changing you - and once you do that, everything else kind of just falls into place.
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