"Relationships are all about strategy. If you want to win, you gotta play to win." I recently overheard a married woman say this. She dated her husband for ten years and they've been married for eighteen. This was not the wisdom I expected to hear from an experienced dater. I was hoping that at some point, as we get older and become mature, the game-playing stops. Turns out that was wishful thinking.
I may have to take a seat on the bench. I'm only twenty-five and I'm already exhausted from having men run laps back and forth across my heart. There was my first heartbreak at 18. Then there was the breakup that nearly wiped me out at age 21. Next a string of ambiguous, awkward three-month-long courtships. Oh, and all the smaller mishaps in between.
Reverse psychology seems to be a thing while dating. The less attention you pay, the more attention you receive. This can be especially confusing to those who wear their heart on their sleeve and expect the same in return. Whenever I'm involved with a guy I struggle to decide whether or not to play games. Some friends encourage me not to text back right away, and others promote transparency. My preference is to be as straight-forward as possible.
Does being upfront about our feelings and intentions create a boring and predictable dynamic? Some say yes. I say it makes for security and assurance. We should be able to find a balance between playing "Cat & Mouse" and expressing our true feelings. If not, we'll be dodging bruised egos and broken hearts forever and a day. That's no fun.
Personally, I'm sick of decoding cryptic messages from men I'm dating in group chats with my friends. I'm ready to build an alliance with someone who I have no doubt is in my corner. After all, dating is not a spectator sport.