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For as much as we tell one another not to play games when it comes to dating, there are still a lot of lingering “rules” that exist. And when you break them down, they’re nothing more than game playing.

Today, the women of “The Real” spoke about one rule in particular, maintaining the mystery. If you ask me, I think it’s misnamed. It should really be called “Leave him wanting more.” But you can listen to Adrienne Bailon explain:

Adrienne Houghton: I do think it is important to keep some mystery. I don’t know if any of you guys have ever heard the book… read the book, The Rules?

Loni Love: Yeah.

Adrienne: Okay, so there’s this book called The Rules. I read it back in the day, and it actually says that you should keep some mystery. Like for instance, they have some things in there that say you should treat yourself or act like a creature like none other. Which means that you should hold yourself to a certain status. But more importantly, like if you’re on a phone conversation, as a woman you should always be the first to hang up

Jeannie Mai: Yes, leave them…

Adrienne: Like so that you’re — leave them hanging for more…

Loni: Yeah, I remember all of that.

Adrienne: And the other thing is to keep the mystery.

Loni: Nah. 

Adrienne: I think this is kind of true you guys, that if you keep a little bit of mystery there, you should never be there so long that he’s looking at you like he wants you to leave. 

Tamera Mowry-Housley: That’s so much work.

Jeannie: Yes. No, no, no, no. But she’s…

Adrienne: Leave before he wants you to leave. 

Tamera: That is so much work.

Jeannie: [Motions to audience member] Look at this, look at this fine dressed gentleman, I feel like…

Audience Member: He’ll always come back.

[The Real audience applauds. 

Jeannie: Wait, wait, wait. What did he say? What did you say sir? 

Tamera: What did you say?

Audience Member: I said, “if you leave him wanting more…”

Tamera: Yeah.

Adrienne: Yes.

Audience Member: “He’ll always come back.”

Adrienne: Exactly.

[The Real audience applauds] 

Adrienne: Leave. 

Jeannie: [Motions to audience member] I knew it. I saw you. I saw you.

Loni: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I ain’t thinking about him, I’m thinking about me. See that’s why yall— yall thinking about it in the wrong manner. What is it that you want, okay. That… it ain’t about him. It’s about me.

Jeannie: No, but that’s…

Loni: I don’t care… no, no, no, no, no. We got to change this thinking ladies, okay. You are in control of what you want, you ain’t got to sit up here and play these games with these men.

Tamera: That’s what I’m saying. That’s way too much work.

Jeannie: No. I agree with her.

Loni: Don’t do that. You say what you want and how you want it, and make it.

Adrienne: Keep the mystery.


See what I mean about the misidentification. I get how hanging up and leaving before you’re ready could be interpreted as keeping the mystery. But it seems to be more like hiding your true intentions and feelings.

I’m with Loni Love on this one. Pretending like you want to get off the phone or leave the house when you really don’t is not only a game, it’s beginning a relationship on inauthenticity. Still, I would be lying if I said a part of me couldn’t relate to the sentiment.

My first love and I were involved in a weird, long-distance, on-again/off-again situationship type thing for years. So needless to say, since we were rarely in the same place at the same time most of our communication happened over the phone, texting and talking. Looking back at it now, it was a lot. Like calls 5-10 times a day a lot, even though the conversations weren’t usually long and very rarely substantive.

If we had 1000 conversations, 990 of them he ended first. And it bugged me to no end. I always felt like I was the one being left. Truth be told, the phone conversations weren’t the only reason I felt like that. But that’s beside the point. In his defense, he was the one who made most of the calls but the fact that he was always hanging up, bugged me. And when I let the annoyance get the best of me, I would try my best to hang up before he could. I don’t recall it working all that much. And even when it did, I felt satisfied for just a second, before missing him or realizing there was something else I had to say. I was playing a game I never won.

After it was done, I would see the different levels of issues in that relationship. But I learned so much from it, the biggest thing being honest and expressing my feelings. And if my feelings were telling me to spend more time, or talk more, then I followed those. I just believe that in healthy relationships, the goal should be to show the person who you are. Hopefully, that, your authentic self, will keep them coming back for more, not your strategies.

What do you think about the idea of maintaining mystery or leaving before you’re ready?

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.
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