When people say that they’re tired of people playing games, what they mean is that the dating game (at least in the western world) is about one person playing hard to get and the other person doing any gesture they can think of to garner their attention.
But you probably knew that.
What you may not know is that as much as people complain about the games other people play, the truth is that we all play games.
But we don’t play the same game.
For example, you could meet someone who loves sex. Sexual gratification is the main focus of their romantic relationships.
If you were to get with this person, they may cheat because getting sex from anywhere that is offering it may take precedent over maintaining their promise to be monogamous.
Another example is the person who plays the polyamorous game. They want to love and have sexual relationships with more than one person and they’re up-front and honest about it.
Yet another example is the person who unconsciously likes someone (or a certain type of person) and everyone can see it but them.
They will talk about what they want and may even try to date the people they say they want, but ultimately they are compulsively drawn to a different type of person.
They will deny it but the evidence is there for everyone to see. They may even try to stay away from this type of person but they will eventually find an excuse to come around.
You might ask, if they’re unconsciously doing this, is it really a game? I would say yes because with the types of games I’ve listed so far, no one is playing these games consciously anyway. We’re all just doing what we feel like doing.
There’s also the game of the finish line. What I mean by this is that there are some of us who just want to get married and will do whatever it takes to get the label of husband, wife or life partner. Their criteria for a partner is whoever will marry them and won’t leave.
Once that’s obtained, they revert to who they really are and their partner is stunned because they have no idea who this person is anymore.
And then there are the players who play the game where they are committed until someone better comes along. This new object of desire is younger, richer or somehow an improvement over their current partner.
You may not like that I’m calling these things games. Call it whatever you like. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that we tend to have a default code of conduct when it comes to relationships.
When people play “games” as we colloquially understand it where one person chases and the other person plays hard to get, that is a code of conduct just as much as unconsciously liking someone and denying that you do. We’re not consciously aware of what we’re doing.
But if you want a relationship that stands the test of time, there’s only one game in town.
You have to be someone who wants to serve your partner and takes genuine interest in who they are and in their growth.
However, a funny thing happens when you take this route. They are going to do something that you won’t like. And you’re going to do something that they won’t like too. It is inevitable.
This egregious thing is going to test your commitment.
How do you win this game?
You have to do the opposite of what you’re doing when you come face to face with this trait that you can’t stand.
First, you will have to stop hating and instead fully accept their trait or behavior that is bugging you. You cannot fake this. Secondly, gauge whether or not this trait was a risk to the relationship. It probably won’t be if you are both playing the same game.
Whenever I’ve done this, the depth of my connection to my girlfriend at the time increased. Incredible things happen when you take someone else as a part of yourself. Infatuation makes way for true love.
You could also do this in reverse. Gauge if what they’re doing is a threat to the relationship or if it’s just something you didn’t want them to do.
If the answer is that what they’re doing isn’t a threat to the relationship, embrace them fully. That is the game, after all. And it’s easier to do when you know that you both are playing the same game.
I cannot stress that last part enough. If you are playing the serving your partner game and they are playing the same game, they are committed to serving you too and in understanding you as a person just as you are.
However, if you are playing the serving your partner game and they are playing the game of serving themselves, you might decide to stay but do not expect that the treatment you give to them is what you will be getting in return. Because you won’t.
Imagine playing Uno and you play with the rule that says that players can play a bunch of +2s and +4s on top of one another but your partner plays by the rule that says you can’t stack +2s and +4s.
Until you agree on the rules, no one’s playing anything.
But what tends to happen in many relationships is that we all assume we’re playing by the same rules and then when someone drops a +2 and then you play a +2, they get upset because that’s not how they play and then you get upset because that’s how you play.
An argument ensues and the game is abandoned. Or in this case, the relationship is abandoned.
So if you are someone who is looking for true commitment, it is in your best interest to choose someone who is also looking for true commitment. You need to be talking to people who play by the same rules as you.
This seems so obvious and yet we fail to do this simple task because we fail to realize that we are not playing the same games; we do not conduct ourselves in the same way when it comes to romance.
But by gauging how someone approaches relationships, whether with a sexual urgency, obliviousness, commitment or self-gratification, you’ll know whether or not the relationship has a chance of survival.
Because the thing about these games is that they never end. Not unless you make the conscious decision to end it.
Once a cheater, always a cheater is only true if the cheater never decides to stop cheating. The selfish person can’t stop being selfish until they find no purpose in self-gratification anymore. The oblivious person will continue to be oblivious until it is no longer serving them. The commitment person is going to have to re-commit time and time again because they will be given reasons to leave as their partner continues to do things they don’t expect as the years go by.
So I suggest you know yourself and know the game(s) you’re playing. It’ll save you a lot of heartache in the long run.