Playing the game, coz gamers gon’ game

Have you ever told someone that you like them, and it marks the death knell of the relationship? It’s a cruel counter-intuitive outcome of the dating game. You would think that if two people are dating it means they like each other to some degree regardless, so what is the problem with verbalising it?

The problem is that it signifies the end of the chase, and some people are at a point in their life where the chase is giving them something of value, above and beyond a committed relationship. Maybe they’re chasing the dopamine and adrenalin that they feel when they use their charms to attract someone seemingly unattainable. Maybe they’re satisfying some sort of narcissistic craving that’s only satiated when their date starts to fall in love with them, and that’s all they really want. People are at different stages of their dating cycle, and sometimes ‘the chase’ is about gaining self esteem, feeling desired, and getting back into the game. It can be a result of being hurt in a previous relationship. We are often quick to judge these people, as they disappoint others in their quest for validation, but sometimes it’s just a symptom of their self worth, at a particular point in their dating cycle.

So it begs the question, if you really like someone who you think is in it for the chase, is there any way of actually ‘getting them’? The problem is, you sometimes can’t tell if they’re being genuine. You need to look for the red flags during the journey. The biggest red flag is the speed at which they race toward a physical connection. If you feel like they’re pushing the pace, it’s not a great sign. Some people also push the pace of verbal adoration. I once had a person tell me they were madly in love with me on the third date, which was one of many red flags, but I admit, I liked this person, so I rolled with it (I didn’t reciprocate the words), but we slept together, it was really good, they re-affirmed their love for me, and I never saw that person again! I mean, what the hell?!

Other red flags are related to consistency of behaviour. Are they super keen one day and then standoffish the next? Do they take forever to respond to texts, or avoid phone calls and only text? In my experience you can feel it in your gut. You just know when something isn’t right, and if you really like the person you usually persevere despite the warning signs. So what’s the tactic if you are in this situation? I’ll tell you, but it’s matching ‘game playing’ with ‘game playing’, and that’s not really a healthy way to start the relationship. So I’m sure all the self-help books out there will advise you to move on and save your emotional energy, because playing this game is an awful match of emotional chess. But if you feel like having a punt, and you’re sure your heart can take it regardless of the outcome, channel your inner aloofness. Here’s some tips:

  • Keep your texts light and short.
  • After they ask a question (by text) stop texting back and leave them hanging. Offer a flimsy apology if they follow up.
  • Cancel a date! Show them they’re not a priority.
  • Post strategically on socials (don’t over do the party pics, it’s too obvious).
  • Mix up your dating demeanour. Make sure that every second encounter you’re aloof and reserved.

Ok so this is tongue in cheek, and is actually what you will probably get from someone who isn’t serious about dating YOU. So try to get in early and beat them to the punch. Otherwise you are really just the subject of a chase, and it’s just a matter of time before the spark is unceremoniously extinguished.

In the wrap up, ‘gamers gon be gamers’, and there’s probably not much you can do to woo them. Just try to see it coming, protect your emotions when you see the red flags, and if you’re sure you have a live one, maybe fight flame with flame.

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