Is Dating a Game in 2024? (Solved & Explained)

Sometimes dating seems more like a game that you play than a relationship that you build with someone new.

Is dating a game in 2022?

Dating is not a game, even though some people approach dating as one. Games imply that you don’t take dating seriously and that there will be winners and losers. Dating is much more than a game because it involves real people with real emotions.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about dating and games.

Is Dating a Game? (Fully Answered)

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my disclosure)
A man and a woman on a date—is dating a game
Image by Author via Canva—Is Dating a Game?

We started this article by answering the question, “Is dating a game?” The answer is, “no” and there are several good reasons why.

Dating is not a game because it is not a win-or-lose situation. There is no right and wrong in dating. Dating is a process where two people meet to learn more about each other while taking the time to decide if they want to continue seeing one another.

I’ve found that many people playing the dating game are not willing to see the potential of the person in front of them.

They get distracted by so many options. They expect perfection and seem to always be looking to “upgrade” to a better dating prospect.

I find it easier to just date someone without worrying about what is going to happen next.

There’s really no point in trying to constantly see if the grass is greener somewhere else. I’d rather just enjoy being with whomever I’m with at the time.

Dating should be fun and exciting for both people involved.

Here are some other reasons that dating is not a game:

  • Dating involves real people
  • Treating dating as a game dehumanizes the relationship
  • Dating is about knowing yourself better
  • Dating is about finding your lifetime soulmate

Dating is also not a game because dating is about real people with real emotions. Treating dating like a game downgrades dating from human interaction to the level of a virtual video game where nothing really matters.

It minimizes the meaning of dating.

I’m not saying that you need to be overly serious but I am suggesting that you treat dating as something significant.

It doesn’t matter if you just want to date around or if you are looking for a committed relationship. Either way, dating is much more than just a game.

It’s about finding someone with whom you have fun and can share meaningful time together.

Why Is Dating Seen as a Game?

There are many reasons dating is sometimes seen as a game.

Here are some of the most significant reasons:

  • Dating involves features of gaming (Like competition)
  • Some people play games when dating (Men and women)
  • Our dating vocabulary is confusing

Dating is seen as a game because it includes many aspects that are like games, such as competition and goals.

People are constantly trying to “compete” for attention. Many guys and girls date more than one person at a time. I’m talking here about non-committed relationships. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I point it out simply to show how it can feed into the game analogy of dating.

Some people consider dating an ongoing competition for attention from one person and a game of skill against other “players”.

People also play games when dating.

They use tactics like no contact and “negging” to mess with your emotions. They might not take dating seriously at all. The more you date, the more you will notice that some people play these kinds of games.

The games might be simple or complex. Regardless, you will likely encounter some manipulative games along the way.

I’ll add one last thought about why people might view dating as a game. I think it might be a matter of semantics. We might be talking about social dynamics or social fitness but call it “game-playing.”

On that note, here is an interesting video that talks about dating as a game.

I think the YouTubers in this video make valid points even if we disagree a bit on the actual words we use when talking about dating:

Video by Aba and Preach via YouTube—Is Dating a Game?

When Did Dating Become a Game?

Dating is not a game, but some people have treated dating like a game since the beginning of time.

As technology connected the world, men and women started having more options for dating partners. Cars allowed us to date people farther from our homes. Smartphones and dating apps gave us an unlimited amount of choices—sometimes so many we can hardly settle on one person.

Back in the day, people went on dates with just a few potential matches.

In today’s dating world, we can swipe left and right until our fingers fall off. If you’re not careful, it is easy to get lost in this game of swiping for hours without even realizing what happened.

In most cases, when someone is “playing the game,” it is just for fun.

To them, dating is a chance to play and explore their options without any real commitment or responsibility.

There are people who take this idea of “the game” too far by playing in unhealthy ways that end up hurting others.

Does Dating Have To Be a Game?

No, dating does not need to be a game.

Dating doesn’t have to be a game if:

  • You don’t approach dating as a game.
  • You don’t play games.
  • You don’t tolerate other people playing games with you.

Don’t Treat Dating Like a Game

Dating doesn’t have to be a game if you don’t approach it as a game.

The whole point of dating is to get to know someone and see if there is a potential for a relationship. If you’re approaching it as a game, then you’re not really interested in a deep and authentic relationship.

Don’t Play Games

Games are for kids.

If you’re an adult, then act like one. There’s no need to try to manipulate the person you’re dating or play mind games. Just be honest and upfront about what you’re looking for.

Don’t Allow Other People To Play Games With You

Don’t tolerate other people playing games with you.

If someone is playing games with you, then they’re not really interested in you as a person. They’re just interested in manipulation and feeding their own ego.

So don’t tolerate it.

Move on and find someone who is interested in getting to know you for who you are.

What Are Games in Dating? (10 Games Exposed)

There are all sorts of games that people play, from waiting a certain amount of time to text back to pretending they want a relationship when all they really want is something casual.

And then, of course, there’s always the possibility of being ghosted.

For those who don’t know, ghosting is when someone suddenly cuts off all communication with you without any explanation. It’s happened to all of us at one point or another, and it’s definitely one of the most frustrating games that people play in dating.

So, what are some of the other games that people play in dating?

Here’s a list of 1-10 games:

  1. The waiting game. This is when someone makes you wait for their attention or affection. They might make you wait days or even weeks to return your texts or call you back after a date.
  2. Playing hard to get. This is when someone pretends they’re not interested in you even though they really are. They do this in order to try and make you chase them more.
  3. Ghosting. As mentioned before, this is when someone suddenly cuts off all communication with you without any explanation. It’s hurtful and confusing.
  4. Leading you on. This is when someone gives you mixed signals or leads you to believe that they’re interested in you when they’re actually not. This can be really confusing and upsetting.
  5. Playing mind games. This is when someone tries to manipulate or control you through their words or actions. They might say things to try and make you feel guilty or insecure, or they might do something nice for you and then use it against you later. Mind games are never okay in a relationship.
  6. The silent treatment. This is when someone withdraws from communication as a way to punish or control you. They might give you the silent treatment after an argument, or they might refuse to talk to you altogether if they’re unhappy with something you’ve done. Either way, it’s not healthy or constructive communication.
  7. Love bombing. Love bombing is when someone showers their partner with affection, gifts, and compliments at the beginning of a relationship in order to create an intense feeling of love and attachment.
  8. Lying. This is when someone deliberately tells falsehoods in order to gain an advantage over you or others around them. They might lie about their feelings for you, their intentions, their past experiences, etc., and this can obviously lead to a lot of hurt and betrayal down the line if everything comes out eventually (which it usually does).
  9. Catfishing. Catfishing is a term used to describe a romance scam in which someone uses a fake online persona to trick another person into a relationship. Catfishers will often create detailed fake profiles and spend weeks or months cultivating a relationship with their victim. They may also use false photos or videos to further their deception.
  10. Breadcrumbing. “Breadcrumbing” is when someone leads you on by sending sporadic (but often flattering) text messages, social media messages, or even real-life gifts, without ever making any real commitment or plans. It’s a way of keeping you interested without actually having to do any real work. And it’s totally unfair.

Should You Play Games When Dating?

No, because games can hurt other people.

You can have fun without approaching dating as a game. When you “play games,” you put less effort into the relationship or person you are with and it’s usually not helping your connection grow stronger.

Instead of playing games, you should approach dating with authenticity, honesty, and positive intent.

Focus on having fun, being yourself, and opening the other person up with flirty conversation, fun topics, and unique experiences.

This allows for both of you to enjoy the date, feel respected, and figure out if the two of you are a good match. Ultimately, isn’t that the purpose of dating?

This is not to say that dating tips, advice, and techniques don’t work.

Having a good strategy makes sense when dating. Just don’t be inauthentic or manipulative.

Why Do Men Play Games in Dating?

Is Dating a game? No, but both men and women sometimes still play games.

Men play games in dating for lots of reasons.

Here is a list of common reasons that men play games:

  • He doesn’t know any better
  • He wants to manipulate you
  • He’s been hurt in the past
  • He hates women
  • He likes being chased
  • He wants to be the alpha

Let’s look a bit deeper into each of these reasons.

Some men are insecure and play games because they don’t know any better. Others may be playing games to manipulate you into doing something that is not in your best interest, or to get revenge for what happened to them in a past relationship.

Men play games because they’ve been burned in previous situations for being “too nice” or coming on too strong.

So, they switched tactics to avoid being hurt again. In my opinion and experience, this is the number one reason men play games.

Another possible reason why men play games is that they secretly hate women and want to hurt them. These are men who might be “red pill.” They don’t see women as a human so they don’t care if they hurt them emotionally or psychologically.

Who doesn’t like to be chased? Pretty much every dating coach (for both men and women) encourages their followers to not chase people. Yet, someone has to make the first move. Someone has to chase.

Finally, some men want to be seen as the alpha in the relationship.

They may mistakingly believe that “being alpha” means playing mind games. Usually, these are men with good intentions who are at the beginning stages of a journey to enhance their dating lives.

With time and experience, a percentage of these men learn to demonstrate strength and masculinity without games.

Why Do Women Play Games in Dating?

In short, a woman may play games in dating just to find out if you are interested enough in her.

The longer answer is more complicated.

Women play many of the same games as men:

  • Games to get attention
  • Games to make you like them
  • Games to find out if you are strong and secure
  • Games to learn more about you
  • Games to manipulate
  • Games to control
  • Games to get you to invest time and energy
  • Games to get you to commit

Some women play games because they are still looking for love and they want to make sure this other person is a good match before really getting involved in them. Other women might play games because they feel lonely and don’t know how else to attract a quality man without some game-playing.

Just as with men, learning and using some dating techniques is not bad. It’s how you use them.

What Is Game in a Relationship?

Game is social intelligence – the ability to read and understand other people, and to know how to respond in order to achieve the desired result.

It’s also the ability to build attraction with other people.

So, having game means being skilled at social interactions and knowing how to generate attraction.

Some people are born with natural game – they just seem to “get it” when it comes to interacting with others. For the rest of us, however, social intelligence can be learned.

There are plenty of books and online resources out there that can teach you the skills you need to be a smooth (and ethical) operator.

What Does It Mean To Have Game as a Guy?

When it comes to having “game,” this usually refers to a guy’s ability to successfully pursue and/or attract women.

This often includes being able to confidently approach women, start conversations, and create a spark of attraction. Of course, not all guys are the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all definition of what it means to have game.

What Does It Mean To Have Game as a Woman?

When it comes to women, the term “game” can have a few different meanings.

In some cases, it may refer to a woman’s ability to flirt and/or attract men. This might include everything from the way she dresses and styles her hair to the way she talks and carries herself.

In other cases, game may simply refer to a woman’s confidence and self-assurance.

Women are often said to have game if they’re good at playing hard to get. This might involve being elusive and mysterious or playing coy instead of jumping into things too quickly.

What Is the Long Game in Dating?

People talk about the “long game” in dating. But what is the long game? The long game in dating is the ultimate goal for why you are dating. It is the opposite of short-term, temporary dating.

In essence, you avoid trading long-term results for short-term wins.

That brings me to the next point. There is no right or wrong long-term goal. But it is important to know your goal.


Because your goal is going to determine the exact nature of your long game.

If your goal is to find a committed relationship that might lead to marriage, then the long game is the process of getting to know the other person in order to build a good foundation for your future relationship.

If your long game is marriage, then only go on dates with people who meet your standards for a marriage partner. Let the other person know your long-term expectations early in the dating relationship.

If your goal is to meet lots of people and have a lot of fun, then your long game is going to be different.

Here are the two simple steps:

  • Know your long-term goal
  • Date according to your long-game goal

Following these two steps helps you date better and avoid confusing someone you date.

Final Thoughts on “Is Dating a Game?”

Dating is not a game, but you can still have a ton of fun.

Dating SHOULD be fun. If you’re not having a blast, you’re probably doing it wrong and might benefit from relaxing a bit.

This entire website is built to help you create the best relationships of your life.

Instead of calling dating a game and calling being good at dating “having game,” I’d rather talk about social finesse and relational intelligence.

Dating SitePrice Range (Free-$$$)Learn More
eHarmony$$Learn more
ChristianMingle$$Learn more
TinderFreeLearn more
Dating Sites

What to read next: