Let the games begin

As I respond to an interesting potential suitor’s email today, I hear myself saying the command heard at the start of the Olympics. I’m don’t like to think of dating as a game — although there are gamelike parts. I work hard to not play games in dating, even though there are plenty of those who do.

Let the games beginWhat I mean by the line is that once you respond positively to someone’s initial inquiry (or he to yours), it sets off a series of emails, often fun and flirty. If you pass muster with each other, you progress to a phone call, then if that is acceptable, a meeting. In each interaction, you want to display your personality, while simultaneously working to be on your best behavior (if you’re at all conscious).

Responding positively sets the dating “game” in motion. I wish there were a better metaphor, as the word game used in reference to dating is so negative. But you know what I mean — a loosely prescribed set of actions.

But in this game, the rules are not agreed to by all the players. Which leads to assumptions, frustration and disappointments. Sometimes the players appear to be playing very different games, but they’re doing it on the same field. And one can’t understand why the other is doing X because it makes no sense in the rules they are playing by.

Since the rules are nebulous, it is unclear when one is winning. In dating, ideally you both win. But some have agendas like, “If I can get him to buy me a drink, I win,” “If I can get her number, I win, “If he takes me to a nice restaurant, I win,” “If I can get her to kiss me, I win,” “If he buys me jewelry, I win,” or “If I can get her in bed, I win.”

And any player can leave the game at any time, and they do, often without informing the other player. One declares, “Game over,” but only in his/her head.

So it is hard to allow the games to begin when you don’t want to play any manipulative mind games. The best you can do is try to adapt to the situation as you experience it with the other, so you are co-creating the rules of the game for the two of you.

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2 responses to “Let the games begin”

  1. Gatti Avatar

    People sometimes give me an odd look when I say I figured out how to “play” the dating site I used. I didn’t mean that I was a player or playing games, simply that I worked out how to use the site to my advantage: how to search to find the maximum number of guys I might be interested in, even if their criteria didn’t quite match up to me, the right way to respond to messages and which ones not to respond to and how to figure out which of my dates were right for me.

    One fellow I dated didn’t even know that you could search by age and location! He just looked at the new faces for the day and wasted time looking at unsuitable people simply because their info wasn’t on the listing page.

    I’ve heard women say there is “no one” good on a site and I had a look and found some interesting profiles.

    It’s all in how you play the game…

  2. Lulu Avatar

    According to the book on how women can win at the game of love, The Rules, evertything is set down like a gameplan. But that makes players of us all. If I was a man dating a woman playing by the rules, I’d be very resentful. However, if you look at men’s sites giving advise on how to get a woman into bed, it shows that men have their own agenda. All this goes to prove that the sexes are objectifying each other, instead of relating sincerely, one authentic human being to another. I think authenticity is the key.