Stop Playing Games When Dating

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When I was 22-years-old, I found myself involved with Larry, a handsome engineer, who won me over when he insisted on running to the store to pick up a thermometer, because he thought I had a fever (after making me a bowl of instant Lipton soup). I was charmed by his sweetness and his willingness to laugh at my corner jokes (not to mention he looked like an Abercrombie model). When he would call on a Friday or Saturday night, if we weren’t out together, I’d blast the radio in the background and shout into the receiver, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now. I’m out dancing!” because I wanted to paint a picture a picture of myself as the woman who had an exciting life, who wasn’t home in her bathrobe, eating cookies, and making vision boards. I wanted Larry to think that I was in a hip club in Manhattan, where I was liable to get hit on by other men, and so he better step up his game and make plans with me the following weekend, or else who knew which handsome bachelor could come and steal my heart while Larry was having a guy’s night.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I was the worst.

When did dating start to feel like a game of chess? When did it become more about staying one move ahead of your opponent, calculating how to respond to a text message, the timing as to when it’s acceptable to introduce new partners to your friends, parents, and further still, when to take the leap from casual dating to monogamous couple. The ever-changing rules and etiquette concerning timing, money, and sex can give anyone a headache, not to mention that love feels like a farther and father end goal, as the main focus becomes a long list of finer details, like what to wear, what to say, and when. 

Who can keep up with this stuff? That being said, you’re probably used to playing games, as you’ve been doing it your whole life, and it’s going to take a shift in mindset to step out of that paradigm; it will require some effort on your part, but it’s well worth it. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t play games when dating. Here are just a few:

1.The idea that there are universal rules to dating is preposterous. 

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Be sure not to kiss on a first date, but it’s okay to have sex by the fourth date. Let the man pay in the beginning, but then offer to pay later. Don’t use the words boyfriend or girlfriend until the other person does so first. Don’t say I love you. The list of rules is endless, and they seem to be in a state of perpetual flux, so that you never really know what they are. 

The truth is, it’s illogical to believe that there are set rules you should follow, and dating coaches and teachers who suggest that you should do x, y, and z on date number one, two, or three, are full of crap. Sure, you’d like to believe that if you follow set guidelines, you’ll be guaranteed a successful, happy relationship, but that’s not the way life works. How often do you see happy couples who did the exact opposite of what most people would suggest, moving in together after date six, or embarking on a long-distance relationship for three years, only to make it work. 

Here’s the truth: There’s no singular answer you can find. You have to trust your intuition and follow your heart. Abandon all rules. Be willing to set yourself free. If you do, you’ll find that dating is a lot more fun, and you won’t have to figure anything out anymore. You’ll be liberated.

2.Games are away of avoiding a real relationship.

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Real intimacy is about being honest, communicative, and opening up. If you are concerned with playing hard to get, or if you are trying to paint a picture of yourself as perfect, cool, or desirable, you’re not allowing a potential partner to see your authentic self. The more games you’re caught up in, the less vulnerable you’re allowing yourself to be. Instead of putting your energy into games, choose to focus on opening up more, being honest (even when it’s uncomfortable), and allowing your potential partner to see the real you, not the perfect you, but the flawed, messy, and nonetheless lovable you. 

3.You cannot make someone fall in love with you.

Much of dating is about putting on a charade. You shave, put on your best outfit, whiten your teeth, clean your apartment, and try to present some ideal version of yourself. You say, “Sure, I cook!” when your date asks, because you want to impress him, and really, because you’re afraid that if you don’t lie, he won’t fall for you. If you get caught up in putting on a show, it’s from a place of insecurity, and it will never result in a lasting relationship. The more confident you become, the less games you’ll need to play. Your energy will convey a quiet surety that says, Yes, I’m awesome. My hair might be a mess, and I might text you back too soon, or not soon enough, or whatever the rule is, but none of that matters, because I trust that I am an amazing catch. I might have a crazy roommate and a tendency to snore, and still, I’m awesome.

4.If you are truly surrendered to the will of the Universe, there’s no need to play games.

Surrendering to the divine means that you have faith that you cannot miss what’s meant for you. Your soulmate is not going to run the other way, because your text isn’t coy, or cute. He’s not going to decide he doesn’t want to be with you if you don’t wait the appropriate amount of time before calling. These arbitrary rules that people follow when dating and the shows they put on to masquerade their true feelings are a result of a thought system that says, I can control external circumstances and people.

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The truth is: Divine order and timing are at play. If you are meant to meet your soulmate in 2020, all the game playing in the world isn’t going to help him come any quicker. It’s easy to want to feel like you have control over your love life, but life is going to unfold as it will.

Yes, you can take responsibility for your love life by deciding to show up as your authentic self and choose love over fear in every moment, but you cannot control your love life. Whether another person loves you or hates you isn’t going to be because you read a book on “how to get the guy.” There are more powerful forces at play, and it’s about learning how to listen to your Spirit and show up as the best version of yourself, regardless of who you’re dating in the moment.

4.You manifest love and relationships from your Spirit, not from your ego.

You will manifest a soul connection when you are willing to tune into your heart and embrace your vulnerability. Playing games doesn’t lead to an honest, fulfilling relationship; it leads to more charades and dishonesty. If you really like someone, don’t be afraid to say it. If you want to text someone, send the text! Be your authentic self and you will attract your perfect partner. If you engage in games, you’re going to attract a partner who plays games, and the two of you will create a sense of separation in the relationship. Instead, you want to create a deep connection. You want to foster closeness. To do this, be willing to be honest, communicate, and let your guards down to let a partner in.

It can be tempting to play games, as it’s the go-to dating strategy for most people, but the more willing you become to abandon that paradigm and choose authenticity and honesty instead, the deeper your connection will be to your partner. It starts with a declaration to yourself and the Universe that you are ready for an emotionally mature relationship, and if that means you have to  show up in ways you never have before, even if it feels uncomfortable, then you will. Make a choice to show up from a place of authenticity and watch the quality of your dates (and relationships) change. When you’re willing to be honest and authentic, you’ll attract a partner who’s equally as genuine, and the only games you two will need to play is jenga.