Way back in the day, this was said of me (although she didn't know of whom she spoke):
Of course, I am not. And if Erik was in to playing games, you can bet I wouldn't have so much as read his blog after the first visit, much less let things get to where they are now. I am fiercely allergic to game-playing, especially after the Charlie Foxtrot my first marriage turned into.
I seem to be in the minority of that, though. As a single mom, I hang around other single moms, and, well, perhaps you'd expect a certain level of maturity from grown women with kids, but not so much so.
When Erik was here last week, I was catching up on one of the message boards I belong to, reading someone's dating saga. Erik read along with me, the expression on his face getting progressively more aghast, and eventually I said to him "Aren't you glad I don't play games like that?"
"YES!" Said without a second's hesitation.
So, what is the game? It's advice that goes like this:
-You need to always have a second serious option, so that you can use one man to make the other jealous.
-Because men like the chase, you are better off in a relationship where he likes you more than you do him, so that you have the power.
-Establish clear rules and boundaries just like you do with your children. (OK, I'll agree that clear boundaries are the way to go, but likening men to children is sexist and insulting.)
-Never break it off with one man until you have another waiting in the wings.
-Keep a guy on the side for sex, so you can hold out with the guy you actually want to be with.
Now, I'll admit, a large part of me is thinking Well damn, NO WONDER you're still a single mother! But that is a little on the catty side, even for me. To be fair, not all single mothers want to ever again be married mothers. But a lot do, and I can't help but think this isnt' the way to go about it. Me, I got burned by the last relationship to go down in flames, and that made me pretty damn careful going forward.
Once again, let me be very clear: If you start out dysfunctionally, you will never, ever, function properly. You've heard the saying "begin as you mean to go on"? It's spot-on. Most men don't like games. My experience--as an outside observer, generally, since most of my friends are guys--is that men actually tend to be very straightforward creatures. We just misinterpret them because we look for hidden meanings that aren't there, and they have problems with us because they expect what's on the surface to be what's there, and frankly that's the way it SHOULD be.
Do you always get what you want by being straightforward and honest? Of course not. But you are exponentially less likely to wind up with what you want if you approach it elliptically. Assuming, of course, that what you want is a healthy, equal partnership. Which is, last I checked, the ideal we all hold for ourselves.
Honesty is a fine standard to hold yourself to.
Kant, whom y'all know by now is my favorite philosopher, said that you can make no moral law to which you would except yourself. I shall apply that to dating: Don't do anything to him that you wouldn't want him doing to you. Easy enough, yes?