I Hate Dating Games But I’m Beginning To Think You Have To Play Them

Dating used to be simple. A guy was either into you or he wasn’t. Men didn’t fake an interest to get you into bed, and technology didn’t rule your love life. That’s all changed though. Modern dating has turned into some sick and twisted game with every player out for themselves. Love should be taken more seriously than it is, but this is why I’ll play along if it means finding something real:

  1. At some point, we all agreed to this. I don’t know who came up with all the concepts that plague modern dating, but a lot of it is just BS. Whether or not we like it, we all have to deal with things like ghosting, benching, and almost-relationships. Unfortunately, if I want to find love, I have to play the game no matter how reluctant I may be.
  2. A relationship is a team. If love is a game, then I guess it makes sense that your relationship is a team. It’s just you and your partner fighting for forever. That part of the game actually sounds nice — that is, if I’m lucky enough to find a good partner. Finding the right teammate is going to be rewarding when it happens, but the process of getting there is going to be tough.
  3. I’ve mastered the art of watching my back. Every man is looking out for himself, which means every woman should be doing the same. That’s certainly what I’m going to do. No one is trying to protect me. If I’m going to play this game, then I can’t play dumb. I have to read between the lines, spot the red flags, and stop BS in its tracks.
  4. If I’m going to play, then I’m playing hard to get. If you want to win my heart, it’s not going to be easy. I have to be careful with something so fragile. I’m not going to go giving away pieces of myself to any man who asks. I’m going to be picky; if I want a good man, I have to be selective enough to find him amidst all the jerks out there.
  5. I’m going to take down as many opponents as I can.  I refuse to let the players take advantage of me. I’m determined to be one woman who won’t let herself get walked all over, and I’m going to stick up for the other women who are facing the same dating struggles as I am. Any man who tries to beat us isn’t going to make it very far.
  6. I’m choosing to make my own rules. I can’t control everything about the dating game, but you can be sure I’m going to direct everything I can. I refuse to let any man push and pull me in whatever direction he wants. If I have a piece in this game, I’m going to be the only one who decides where it moves.
  7. The only way I’ll lose is if I give up. No matter how many times I get my heart broken, I haven’t lost. As long as I keep playing, I’m still in the game, and I refuse to surrender. I want true love, and if that means participating in this mess, then I’ll fight to the bitter end.
  8. The stakes are high, but it’s a risk I have to take. What’s the cost of trying and failing? Heartbreak. Is that really fair? Well, no, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to bow out any time soon. I want something real, and if that means putting my heart on the line, then so be it.
  9. I refuse to be pitted against other women. Others might think competition is a necessary part of the game, but I refuse to play dirty. I don’t want to have to bring others down to build myself up. If a man is taken, then he’s taken. End of story. I’m not going to stomp on someone else’s love story just to finish writing my own. Guys will break my heart, but it’s girls who will pick me back up, and I choose to fight with them rather than against them.
  10. Despite all the BS, I still want to find love. Is that crazy? No matter how many times my heart gets chewed up and spit out, I just keep coming back for more. No matter what, I still want to find love. The risk is high, but the reward is priceless. I shouldn’t have to play games to get there, but if I have no choice, I’m going to do everything I can to win.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.