The Dating Game.

The “Game.” Isn’t it funny that you can use that phrase and automatically everyone knows what you’re talking about? “It’s the game.” “I don’t like playing the game.” “He/She is just playing the game.” What is the “Game” anyway???

For a second I thought it could be avoided. The truth? It can’t. I wonder, how many people truly play “the game” with people they really feel strongly about? My thought it is, that these games are reserved for people we’re only half-interested in. You all know what I’m talking about. Single people are by definition unattached. Let’s assume that most single people would like to meet “the right person.” Fair enough right?

But what happens in the interim? How are we spending our time during the “in between” period where we aren’t committed to someone. So you’re searching for the right person, and you haven’t found them. And now, you’re really “just having fun.” It seems that people who are “just having fun” are trying to entertain themselves, amuse themselves, finding ways to enjoy the company of the opposite sex without getting “too attached” or “sending the wrong signals” or “leading a person on”…Isn’t it interesting that we’ve developed catch phrases to the notion of remaining unattached from the people we somewhat like, but just not enough to commit? This is where the game really gets intense.

I, for one, think the games disappear when you meet the right person. When you find someone you connect with it should be effortless, natural, easy…there should be no need to manage impressions and perceptions or tease someone’s emotions. Why? It’s too risky. You wouldn’t want that person to think you’re playing “the game”, because that in and of itself sends a message.

The chances are, if you’re not getting the attention you want from someone its because they aren’t really interested in pursuing anything substantial Bottom line. So, then the question becomes, can you really escape the game and be single? Maybe, but only if your taking a time out from dating all together. I sort of see the whole game strategy as somewhat unavoidable because it’s all too often that you meet someone and in the beginning everything is great, easy, fun and then should you decide that maybe you’re not that interested? Well, then you get to be a bit reckless because you’re no longer invested in the outcome. That’s where things get dangerous; that’s when people get “played.” But that line is evasive, often far from static and it might just be that what started out as a legitimate interest between two people somehow evolved into ridiculous antics when one party checked out emotionally.

I actually read a study today (yes, I researched a study) and it describes the different characteristics that people seek out in a “long-term” versus “short-term” relationship. Yes, in fact, people actually seek out a different kind of person to manipulate and play with in the short-term as opposed to setting more stringent standards for someone they would actually visualize as their future spouse. So, it’s not that surprising to see men or women dabbling in relationships that are less fulfilling because truly, they “aren’t looking for something serious.” It seems that the only time anyone could honestly say they were acting completely on the level would be when interacting with someone they’ve truly committed to investing in…a task that is becoming increasingly arduous as we get older and heighten our standards…Because let’s face it? How would a person react if you told them they were “fun for now” but not “marriage material”?

The game is so prevalent because its human nature…and we’re all guilty of self-indulgence to a certain extent. Its impossible to guess from the outset what your facing on the other side of any relationship and so they all involve a certain amount of risk. The real empowerment comes from: 1) acknowledging that these games exist and accepting it; 2) finding a way to live your life in a way that remains true to your values 3) treating people in way that doesn’t put them in harm’s way.

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