I’m Too Old To Play Games — Are We Going To Have A Real Relationship Or Not?

I’m all for being free-spirited and I don’t judge people who have casual sex, but I’m actually looking for a real relationship — no more flings and no more toxic guys who don’t know what they want. I’m not going to play games with you. I’m going to do my best to be honest, open, excited, and kind — and I expect the same in return. Is this really too much to ask for? If we’re hitting it off, let’s pursue a relationship. If not, bye!

  1. Give me what I want or be honest that you can’t. Part of not playing games is accurately assessing if we’re a match or not. If you have a feeling that you can’t meet my wants and needs, I expect you to say it. If you can give me what I want, which is a healthy, emotionally available, and compatible partner, let’s do this!
  2. Excuses are unacceptable and just show me you’re not serious. Fine, everyone is late once in a while. I’m not going to be on your case for leaving me waiting once or twice. However, if me waiting for you or wondering why the hell you canceled again becomes a habit, though, I’m out. I’m all set with excuses. You either make me a priority or you don’t.
  3. You need to either have your act together or working on making it happen. I’m not expecting you to own a house and have a perfect career, but I want a partner who cares about their long-term life. In whatever way it looks like for you, I expect you to be working towards your dreams and financially stable in doing so. Maybe this means you’re in school or you’re a barista while you’re pursuing art. I don’t care. Just don’t live with your mama while working at a permanent dead-end job and playing video games every day. I’ve got too much to offer in a relationship to settle.
  4. I’m super interesting (and awesome) as it is; having game-like mystery is unnecessary. In the wise words of Mila Kunis, “I think playing coy is silly. Speak your mind. If a man gets turned off, he’s the wrong man.” I’m not the type of gal who will withhold parts of myself to try to be more interesting to you. I’ll show up as I am because I’m already awesome. I don’t need to pretend to be anything more or less. I expect the same from you.
  5. I expect you to be direct and clear. While we’re still getting to know each other, it’s quite possible that it won’t work out, but there’s a better chance if we’re both communicating our wants and feelings. If you aren’t looking for a relationship because you’re planning on moving out of the country next year, say that from the start. It’s okay if you’re uncertain, just be sure to communicate clearly with me.
  6. You need to be willing to have the “what are we doing” talk. If we’re dating and it’s going well, I’m going to bring up the “what are we doing” talk. I sometimes even like to bring it up on first dates and frame it more as asking what you’re looking for in dating. If you aren’t seeking a relationship, I’m not wasting my time.
  7. My player meter is honed. Smooth talkers used to really throw me off. I’d swoon over a guy who was saying the right things at the right time. As I’ve grown older and more experienced, though, I’ve learned to cut through the BS. Fine, got it — you think I’m a babe and a sweetheart, but what are your intentions? I’m not going to jump into bed with you, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be disappointed. I’m learning to identify the losers early on.
  8. I have friends who will help me see if you’re playing games when I don’t want to see it. Okay, so my player meter isn’t perfectly honed. I’m an imperfect human who wants to see the best in people and is sometimes swept up by a charming jerk. Fortunately, I have an incredible support network that is willing to call out the truth when I don’t want to see it. I will talk to my friends about you and if they smell BS, they’ll call it and help me to see when you’re playing games.
  9. You have to have some amount of self-awareness. A real relationship is composed of two people who are dedicated to self-growth and to growing together. In order for all of the growth and communication to happen, you need to know yourself. You need to have done the deep emotional digging that allows you to be honest with yourself and another person. I’ll bring the same thing to the table.
  10. There’s enough pain in the world and in dating — let’s not add on extra hurt, okay? Dating, relationships, and sex are totally imperfect and messy even in the best of cases. We humans are great at making a muck of things with our insecurities, fears, and habitual patterns. Let’s not make the inevitable worse by adding unnecessary games into the mix. Please be clear, honest, kind, and open from the start.
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.