The Dating Games
Women take the majority of the blame for playing games. I see many male online profiles that claim they don’t want women who play games. I am always puzzled what games they are talking about. I have a feeling it isn’t Monopoly or Scrabble. What I really want to know is: which are the games men dislike so much? So I asked, reasonably discreetly.
A wealth of information came from asking about bad first dates, dates and relationships in general. A guy can figure out his date isn’t interested in him, but more interested being seen on a date when he sees that her head keeps swiveling. The kicker is when an enraged boyfriend or husband shows up to threaten bodily harm. The man figures he gets off easy if the angry boyfriend just drags the game-playing woman home. This is the jealousy game and any sucker will do. Don’t make the mistake thinking that guys don’t indulge in this game too. They do.
If your new honey keeps taking you out of way places, insists he doesn’t like to date in the city because of too many work related acquaintances, or he prefers to dine at your place, then he’s a cheater! He may be cheating on a wife, or a girlfriend, or maybe both.
The second game is a variation on a common theme of buying affection. The date might suggest pricey restaurants or theatre shows she might want to see. If a man didn’t spend enough money on a date the woman might act miffed or even complain about what was spent. This type of date would be offended if her date used a gift certificate to pay. After all, how can she measure her date’s financial output if he cheats and uses a gift certificate? If the relationship progresses, the woman will suggest expensive gifts or trips she would like. This same woman would have no problem refusing to see a man who didn’t throw around enough money to suit her.
A co-worker plays a condensed version of this game. She calls it “I want to go out to eat and I’m too poor.” As a beautiful woman, she has several men dangling after her. She calls one and suggests she'd like to go out tonight. The excited man willingly agrees. The problem with this (she explains to me) is the man thinks it is a date since he pays. When I point out it is a date, she jokes she would never consider him as boyfriend material in a million years, but he will serve as a meal ticket. She makes sure not to call the same guy for a couple of weeks so he won’t assume they’re dating. I'm willing to bet good money that he thinks they are.
The third game women play is a common one. A woman will trade sex for hopefully love and a committed relationship. The woman who offers sex early on usually has the opportunity of watching a man walk out of the door or suggesting the position of friend with benefits. Sometimes the women will assume the position of friend with benefits without even realizing it. Men will usually take what is offered, but do not feel the same bond as the female. In fact, many men will resent women who try to manipulate them with sex…even though it does take two to tango. Unfortunately, this type of game playing doesn’t result in an exclusive relationship. It is a hookup. According to October edition of Cosmo, less than 5% of hookups end in a committed relationship.
The fourth game is a variation on the sex for love game. In this one, the woman is constantly promising sex by word, actions and clothing, but never delivers. This woman is a tease. She sends mixed messages and strings a man along with the possibility of having sex. It is a possibility that never materializes. This aggravates the average man, but it usually takes him at least seven plus dates to figure out he’s being played. He usually excuses his date’s hands off policy to being old fashioned until he finds out she wasn’t so standoffish with other men. A played man may be suspicious of all women for a while.
The fifth game is a common one both men and women are guilty of playing. I call it the filler date. This is someone you date until someone better comes along. In truth, we are all a little guilty of this until we find that special one. The filler date is forgotten when a more promising prospect comes along. The hopeful date stays at home waiting for a call from her beloved. Clearer communication could have avoided this scenario. If a man or woman wants to play the field, then he or she should be honest about it. This allows the other person to know where he or she stands.
The soft landing game often occurs when a woman is between relationships. She picks an accommodating man who for some bizarre reason wants to fulfill her every wish. He mistakenly thinks he has a prize. While he meets her financial and physical needs, she decides what her next step will be…and it definitely won’t be with him. Often these women will move in with the man creating the illusion that there is a relationship. Once she moves in she isn’t as loving as she used to be since she now has what she wanted, a soft landing spot between relationships. Women who are not in the habit of standing on their own feet, but simply drift through life using men, usually play this game.
Then there is the Drama Queen. Most of us went to high school with her. Everything has to be about her all the time 24/7. The drama queen is high maintenance with a capital M. This woman appears to be more sophisticated and colorful than ordinary women. The attention must always be on her, thus the drama. Often she’ll pick public fights to draw attention to herself. In turn, she’ll be rude to service people for the same reason. Because she believes the world revolves around her she is often in a snit when others don’t realize this. The queen never thinks of her man because all her time and energy is on her. She may also have children and this is where the soft landing guy comes in big time because he gets to take care of the children. Children tend to eat up a great deal of time that could be spent on meeting her wants. Often she will use her children to get what she wants while the man thinks he is helping the kids. Intelligent men drop the drama queen immediately, but less secure men hang on until they are old news.
It is no wonder men specify they don’t want women who play games. When you’re in a relationship, you don’t recognize the games until you’re just about ready to exit or have exited the relationship. Occasionally, you have friends who insist you're an enabler, but you manage to rationalize why you aren’t. As for the game players, a man stating he doesn’t want to play games doesn’t scare them off. Instead, the man that inadvertently reveals he's been in a game before will end up in the game again. It is the equivalent of waving a steak in front of a dog.
One dating book I read revealed when we show our fears to a potential date or even relationship wounds, we endanger ourselves. A man who confesses several women have used him financially signals to his date that she can shake him down for money. A woman who complains that her last two boyfriends cheated on her suggests she will tolerate cheating. (This is one reason not to share past relationships info early on, if at all.) We all like to think a good person wouldn’t treat us like that, but often you never know if your date is a good person or not. In the beginning, they are who you think they are…and sometimes they are a game player even if you don’t think they are. Good game players never show their hand.
Keep in mind, men expect you to be a game player even when you aren't. Innocent remarks often sound gamey even when they aren't. Be clear; explain if you think he's unsure. You would appreciate it if he did the same for you. Men can be guilty of playing the same games as women.
Update: It is obvious I received most of my games from men who’d been played. The two types of games played by men in my experience was where you tended to take on the role of a combination of secretary and mother; handling everything from cooking dinner to social engagements. Many women would think this is being traditional. It’s not. My deceased aunt who was in her late eighties expected her husband to help with the housework, child rearing, even cooking. There’s nothing traditional about being used.
Another game is a bit of the friends with benefits game where you never seem to do anything interesting or go anywhere nice. The man is saving his best efforts for someone he believes his worthy while you manage on pizzas and video rentals.
Third game is the vanishing boyfriend who is afraid of commitment; he tends to disappear after three dates. He returns in a couple of months with excuses. Don’t buy into them. Either he is phobic about looking like he cares or that another woman caught his eye when he left you high and dry.