Is Dating a Game? (The Complete Answer)

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Sometimes it seems like dating is just a game.

Is dating a game?

Dating is many things but it 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.

Is Dating a Game? (Fully Answered)

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 with 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.

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?

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, you 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 int he 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.

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, to feel respected, and to 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 an 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 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. Why? 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 finness and relational intelligence.

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