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He's Just Not That Into You!

Harsh words from the new movie may set single women free.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

If Jennifer Aniston can't get her guy to commit, is there hope for the rest of us?

Men who won't commit. Men who won't call. They'll all be players in He's Just Not That Into You, a star-studded new movie based on the popular book of the same name. The movie, which features Aniston, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, and Scarlett Johansson, opens nationally on Feb. 6 and will likely spur a revival of the catchphrase made popular by an episode of Sex and the City, as well as promote discussion on the self-protecting myths that women create about men and dating.

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Co-author and former Sex and the City writer Greg Behrendt is also spreading his wisdom on Greg Behrendt's Wake-up Call, a new series on the Soapnet network, in which he tackles relationship issues one couple at a time.

The bottom line: Men are not complicated and there are no mixed messages. If he doesn't ask you out, call you soon after a date, or want to come inside with you after a date, then he's just not that into you.

The Truth Shall Set You Free?

"Coming up with reasons that he might not have called that are not critical of you is a natural defense mechanism," says New York City psychoanalyst Gail Saltz, MD, author of Becoming Real: Defeating the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back. "Hearing the words 'he's not that into you' are painful because it's like 'what's wrong with me?'" she says. But, Saltz notes, it's not always that simple.

"Sometimes there is something going on that is not about you," she says. "The possibilities are endless and this book is popular because usually we don't like to talk about the possibility that you are not the one."

Such excuses and defenses serve a positive and a negative function, says Saltz. "They can keep us from being overwhelmed by negative emotions, but if you are always in denial and your head is in the sand, that's not useful either because it keeps you holding onto a relationship where there is none," she tells WebMD.

The growth and popularity of Internet dating and social networking services may have fueled the need for such advice even more. Several scenes in the new movie discuss how new modes of communication such as texting, emailing, and social networking sites create even more venues for false hope, rejection, and booty calls.

What's more, "the Internet and the emailing that goes on before the first date creates the illusion that you know the person, and when they don't call you back, it seems more mystifying, but you really don't know each other at all," Saltz says.

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