I just finished reading the book Gone Girl and it got me thinking about the games we play with each other in the game of love. I should say that I’m talking much smaller scale ‘games’. Games that do not involve murder and a criminal investigation, affairs and Amazing Amy books, but games nontheless. It’s a curious period of courtship that we find ourselves in, where people in their 20s are pitted against each other in the area of dating, each one with the mentality that they’ll be chucked out as quickly as they were tossed in, the only goal being to come out as unscathed as possible, to be the winner.
In the swipe to like generation I would say that people have a generally warped view of relationships. I can’t count the amount of times friends of mine and myself have pined over complete assholes that ignore us, but threw us a bone every now and then, and then completely turncoat at the ‘really nice but boring guy’ that comes along afterward. It’s almost like it’s not real unless you’re being put through a little bit (a lot) of emotional stress. Love isn’t easy, or so we’ve been told, so we’ve come to associate the hard bits with genuine feeling.
I have a few friends who have told me stories about guys that they have been ‘seeing’, ‘chilling’, ‘hanging out with’ or any other of the non-comittal terms that means ‘we’re fucking but keeping options open’. The story is always the same. They have genuine good times with someone but just can’t seem to get the person to see them as genuine partner material. They can’t understand why, they’re doing everything that would make a good boyfriend/girlfriend but the person will continually avoid the subject, or just give non-comittal/outright rebuffing answers.
The only problem is that some of us have trouble separating sex and emotion. Not in a ‘omg if our genitals touch, it’s luv’ kind of separation, but more of a ‘hey, it’s not unreasonable to assume if we are consistently touching genitals feelings may develop’. This unfortunately leads to them mistaking the constant sex with intimacy, and fairly so, sex is rather intimate. For some people, sex can just be sex, in it’s most vulgar basic functions, nothing more than masturbation with another human being.
Even my friends are not so silly to keep themselves deluded for too long. You can only convince yourself so long that a ‘let’s see how this goes’ means wedding bells down the line. It dawns on them that people very quickly categorize you into ‘no’, ‘yes’ and ‘no, but I’d still sleep with them’ (rumor has it Tinder will implement this feature in it’s next update, not really but you can imagine right?). If it’s the last option, we sometimes get really angry about it. We’re all partner material, how dare this person assume otherwise?
It becomes less about wanting to be with the person and more about getting that person to want to be with you so that you can walk away victorious. Or at least that’s what you tell other people. The truth of the matter is, and will be most of the time in life, your ego is bruised by someone who passed you over like you were a stale hot cross bun (Hi Easter appropriate metaphor!) and while making them like you would technically be possible, it’s not the most healthy of endeavours, and while love does take work, it’s more of a ‘let’s compromise and work on our mutual endeavours that conflict together’ kind of work as opposed to the ‘why don’t you fucking like me’ kind of mind renovation we’re talking about.
Clawing your way to winning is the oldest defense mechanism we have to be able to pull up our socks after we’ve been knocked down yet again. We hate that we’ve made ourselves vulnerable and been punished for it, again. The best thing to do however is just to reflect and realise that just because this other human being, who is not indebted to like me in any way, has factors in their life that mean that they don’t see me as an option at the moment, and that’s fine. I’m not dying. You’ll end up wasting a lot less time and energy on a project that was never going to get finished anyway, I guarantee it.