Opinion: Dating Is A Rigged Game No One Actually Wins

When I walked away from dating once and for all and entered a marriage pact with my best friend, my happiness improved greatly, which basically confirmed for me that dating is a rigged game. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, either—here’s why I’m certain no one wins in love.

  1. The double standards when it comes to looks ruined it for me. I’ll admit it, something inside me broke when I gained over 50 pounds due to illness and saw the way men treated me. I was no longer even a person to them; they didn’t even want me as a friend half the time. When I lost the weight, the very same people who ignored me started to come around, saying how awesome my personality is. WTF?
  2. Everyone in the dating scene is wearing a mask. By mask, I mean a fake persona. Everyone’s on their best behavior in the first couple of months or years. This is why so many girls start gushing about a boyfriend, only to wind up bruised and battered months or years down the line. This is why guys marry girls, only to have the girls take their cash and bail. It’s SO hard to just parse out someone’s true colors when it comes to dating; everyone’s acting nice because they have ulterior motives in mind.
  3. For women especially, it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” world. If we put out too early, we’re whores and not marriage-material. If we put out too late, we’re prudes. If we don’t dress the right way, we’re not dating material. If we don’t do this or do that… See what I mean? No matter what you do, you’ll end up being in the wrong. Why? Because we live in a society that can’t stop judging people regardless of what they do.
  4. Dating is expensive AF and not at all worth it. All those coffees, dinners, and hotel room stays add up, guys. They add up big time. Oh, and ladies? All those date outfits, dinner tabs, and makeup looks add up too. If you want to see how much it costs to try to find True Love (TM), add up all the costs of dating over a year and you’ll likely find a good nest egg.
  5. Basically, it’s a terrible investment. Most of the time, dating is a financially poor investment. I’ve dated for over 10 damned years and it’s only via a marriage pact that I found my spouse-to-be. All the others? Not in my life anymore. Sadly, the same can be said of all the money and presents I lavished on them. If I could, I’d turn back time, hoard my cash, and make a pact with my spouse beforehand.
  6. It’s one big waste of time. The average person will be in 10 relationships before they marry. That means you have a 90% loss rate, on average. All those years wasted with the wrong guy who you thought you’d be with forever? Yeah, imagine if you spent that climbing the corporate ladder or investing your time to help stray animals survive.
  7. Too many people don’t know what they have or are just plain cruel in the dating scene. We all know couples where the girl’s doing everything for the guy and the guy constantly berates her. We all know of girls who would do anything for their guy but he won’t even commit to her. We also know of stories with roles reversed too. At one point or another, we have to wonder whether it’s worth trying so hard to get a partner. After all, those relationships didn’t start bad, did they?
  8. Emotionally and mentally, it also takes a massive toll on you. Dating is you constantly selling yourself to a person, and what’s messed up about that is that the other person often uses that as a way to get things they want. It leaves the person who actually wants a relationship feeling hurt, inadequate, and more. Personally, I know a lot of women and men who’ve just thrown in the towel because they could no longer put themselves through it anymore. I honestly think they have the right idea.
  9. Dating’s also a potentially lethal game. We’ve have heard of people who went on dates and didn’t come back alive. We see it on the news every night. Who wants to risk that? It seems like a silly thing to let deter you, but when you consider it along with everything else, it makes sense.
  10. Despite the uphill battle and the low return percentage, society just expects us to be OK with it. Love is a drug in a lot of ways. A lot of people get “addicted” to a person or get totally consumed chasing a ring (guilty). Some always want more, more, more and will do anything to get their attention fix. To me, that sounds like drug addiction. Could you imagine if society treated heroin use the same way? Could you hear a mom chiding her daughter, “Oh yeah, you might die, but if you’re careful you won’t get hurt and you’ll feel better all the time. Don’t give up your dope!”
  11. Standards have never been higher but the high standards are in all the worst places. The dating scene’s denizens are all expecting supermodels and “happy all the time” relationships. We all expect to be treated like kings and queens without putting any work in to deserve it. So, even if some folks do have a good relationship, they probably will still feel disappointed and take them for granted. Why? Because society sends out this message that it’s all supposed to be perfect despite everyone having flaws.
  12. It’s just not worth it. Look, I’m not saying love isn’t real. I do believe there are happy couples out there who will be married for 90 years. What I’m saying is that the way people are approaching dating and the way people think dating should work is horrible. Not only is it horrible, it’s an unhealthy, toxic, and absurdly loss-filled game. The only way to really win in the modernized dating scene is to refuse to play by society’s expectations.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.