The Game of Dating

By Sarah Patriarca  

Last week the topic of dating and the came up in my creative writing class. Many people had their opinions about dating and the way things pan out based on first impressions. After having this discussion, I thought about my life and how dating had gone for me in the past. To me, the dating world is all a game, each move calculated by the last. When one person moves, the next moves, and so on. Dating is kind of like a complex game of chess.

In chess, when your opponent makes a move, you have to figure out the next best move in order to win. So is that what we’re doing in dating? Trying to be the person that “wins”? That gets the best outcome, that gets the last word? When I started dating my current boyfriend, I don’t think I felt this way. I don’t think I was trying to win - win him over, yes, but not trying to be better than him at it. However, I was very cautious about what I said. I think this is because we are all trying to make the best of ourselves be shown at first glance because that first impression is so important. I remember sitting there looking over his replies and trying to find a witty comeback or asking my friends what I should say, constantly doubting my ability to converse with another human being. I thought that it was tricky, I thought that it was complicated, however, I didn’t realize how much more complicated it got in this day and age. I started dating in high school, and it seems as though the games of dating have gotten more troubling.  

(JESWIN THOMAS/UNSPLASH)

One of my classmates said that he would purposely come off as disinterested because acting interested made him feel vulnerable towards the man he was texting. Another one of my friends had said that each text message was calculated by the second. If he waited 3 minutes to answer her back she would answer within the same amount of time, because it would come off too desperate if she responded immediately. I’ll be honest, I found it so funny, this concept of playing cat and mouse just to gain the object of someone else’s affection. But why do we go to such great lengths? The end result is just the same, either you end up together or not, either you hook up or not. Eventually, as time goes on, wouldn’t that person just see your true colours anyway? Doesn’t the game eventually come to an end?  

The answer is sadly, no. Rather, I think that eventually this game becomes so routine and such a part of the beginnings of the relationship, that although we complain about unread messages or late replied calls, we love the attention. It’s the thought that someone out their cares enough to give you the attention no matter the motives behind it. Many people like being chased; it is a part of who we are as individuals, and without it the commencement of a relationship would be so boring. At the end of the day, we love the chase, we can’t escape it-- and why would we ever want to?