Friday, January 11, 2013

Dating Difficulties Part 4: THE GAME

Well it has been awhile since my last post. One of the main reasons was I became involved in a relationship and my focus turned from sharing my view points on dating to focusing on the relationship of which I was involved. Although the relationship did ultimately come to an end I considered the experience rewarding and she and I ended the relationship on good terms.

Now I am back in dating mode and have once again been inspired to share my thoughts and experiences with all who have the patience to read a blog! So here we go with Part 4!!

In regards to dating so many talk about "the game" or game playing. I often hear men and women alike say things like, "I hate playing games," or "I hate it when girls (or guys) play games!" I am quite certain I have expressed a similar frustration on many occasions. But what is "the game" in regards to dating, and if so many people hate it why is there so much of it going on!?

To me game playing is when someone behaves in a manner that falsifies or disguises their true intentions or their true character and personality. For example a man may behave in a manner that would suggest to a woman that he is interested in a long-term relationship, when in reality he is only interested in a quick fling; or a woman may be ambiguous with her true feelings toward a man who she knows is interested in her, because she likes the attention, free dates and flattery but she knows deep down that she has no real feelings for him. This is not to suggest that all game playing is of malicious intent, but I'll discuss that in the context of why is there so much game playing going on, if so many people hate it!?

I figure there are two types of "game players" in the dating world that I have experienced. The first type is those who play games with the intent to take something from the person they are playing such as, affection, gifts, time and/or adoration. The second type is those who play games as way to protect themselves from getting hurt or taken advantage of...and most likely from other game players. Fight fire with fire! I have felt in the past when girls (and guys do it too, myself included) would be ambiguous and dishonest with their true feelings, inconsistent with their behavior, interested one day and disinterested another day, would make plans and then cancel them with shallow excuses and in some cases with excuses that turned out to be completely false. I used to shake my fist of fury at all this "game playing" going on and couldn't figure out why this would happen so much!!

Although I have experienced these types of behaviors many times with women I learned that not all of them were behaving in this manner for the same reason. Most of the time such inconsistent behavior was a girl communicating to me that she was just not really interested but didn't quite have the heart and courage to just tell me straight up to leave her the heck alone, and hopes that if she cancels enough times I'll get the hint and go away. However, there are times when I realized that the girl had been hurt in the past, and the notion of being interested and allowing another relationship to grow was scary and uncomfortable, as it can be for all of us. "Game playing" for those individuals is not a way for them to take advantage of others, but a way to hopefully protect themselves from men who might indeed be game players themselves, trying to take advantage. And I apologize if it sounds like I'm only approaching this from the women's perspective, because men definitely do this as well. No one wants to get hurt and everyone wants to try and prevent the replication of prior hurtful experiences.

The only solution as I see it is a reiteration of my previous blog post. We have to be willing to give each new possible dating relationship an honest and open chance. Just because a certain type of person has hurt is in the past does not mean that every other person who has a similar description will do the same.

For those of us who are trying to find that great relationship and who truly want to find love and give love, we can all try to not be guilty of the very game playing we so despise. We can be honest in our intentions, and clear in our communications. We can mean what we say and say what we mean. If we know we're not interested in someone who is interested in us, we can kindly, clearly and appropriately express to them that the feelings are unfortunately not reciprocated. It's hard and hurtful enough to get rejected, but so much more painful when that rejection has been coupled with "games" and has been dragged out over a long period of time.

We can all change our own behavior and commit to not playing games, for as the lyric in one of the first songs I ever wrote says, "the thing about games is someone always gets played..."