Most people have been there at one point or another. You've been dating someone for a month or so, and things seem to be going well. The two of you have a blast while you're together, and she or he has even told you that they really see a future with you. You feel the same way, but there's one problem: You barely hear from them between dates, and it's making you absolutely crazy.
This erratic contact is called intermittent reinforcement, and it can trick you into feeling completely obsessed with someone. "People are more responsive to intermittent reinforcement (someone who is available, then not) than they are to continuous reinforcement," writes Jennifer Taitz, certified clinical psychologist in her new book, How to Be Single and Happy. "There's something about not knowing when we'll receive the next reward (or text) that makes us stay focused and excited. Inconsistency keeps us trying and hopeful."
So, how can you distinguish whether you're actually into someone, versus simply being a victim of intermittent reinforcement—and what can you do about it? Here's what the experts think.