Breaking up is hard to do.
You never want a relationship with someone more than when they act like they don’t want one with you. Most single men and women don’t want to admit that they want a relationship at all. Others just don’t know what they want. If you date and you don’t know what you want then being dumped is inevitable. This isn’t to say that your heart will be broken but you will face disappointments, and rejection.
Playing to win and playing not to lose are very different. If you want to avoid ever being dumped then you have to learn how to play to win in the dating game.
1. Understand The Objective
Why are you even dating? Most single people don’t know why they date. It’s really just something to do. If you aren’t clear about your objective then a few things will happen. You’ll get caught up with someone else’s objective without even knowing. You’ll get easily swept up in someone else’s flow, and before you realize it, you will become attached, exposing yourself to heartache. Plans aren’t sexy but the only way to get what you want in dating is to know what you want, and then make a plan to get it.
What is the goal? When you swipe, when you flirt, when you accept a date – what are you really saying yes to?
Dating is a game, and you have to decide what you want before you start to play. If you have a clear objective, it’s easy to spot when you don’t have the right play called, or you aren’t playing with the right people. Some reasonable objectives are to have fun, get to know someone, get into a relationship, or have sex. Some bad objectives are to feel wanted, for attention, to avoid being lonely, or to avoid boredom.
2. Pay Attention
Everyone wants to be seduced at some point in their lives. It’s like watching a magic trick. You’re being told exactly what to do and then you are surprised and delighted by the outcome. The beauty of magic is that you give up control and you follow the instructions. You don’t think for yourself, argue with the magician, or make your own rules. You want to be delighted so you suspend disbelief and follow along. Seduction works this way. When in the presence of someone seductive and attractive it’s easy to want to give up control but you can’t. The key to never being dumped is to pay attention. Just like sitting at the poker table with skilled opponents, every player has a tell.
When you pay attention not only to the objective but to the subtleties around you, any signs of disinterest or game playing are caught early. This isn’t the same as being guarded. Some people just aren’t available but will still try to date you. Up to the point where their insecurity kicks in, they will seem completely interested but once you begin to bond, they will pull away. Paying attention means seeing all the signs of unavailability early, and not falling for the slight of hand.
3. Know The Other Players
The person you’re dating is a mystery at first but they are also a cast in the play called; your life. They have the freedom to do what they want, but you can gain insight on their behavior by getting to know them a little better. This is done by asking questions and labeling. In the book ‘Questions Are the Answer,’ the idea is to ask wild questions that make you think outside the box, or creatively about the answer. First, you have to know what you are solving for. What do you want to know about this person?
The key is to ask creative questions that they can’t lie their way out of or mislead you about. Such as: have you ever made a fool of yourself, or completely embarrassed yourself at work? It’s the kind of question that throws someone off their game. Labeling is a technique often used in negotiation. You chose any label that you want, and the other person will either confirm or deny it. Say something like: you never lose at games do you?
They will be quick to proudly proclaim themselves a winner, or eagerly insist they lose half the time. The key to getting to know the person you’re dating is to also know how to interpret what they are telling you. Decide how the information works in your favor then act accordingly.
4. Be On The Offensive
Too often singles are in defense mode. They want to be known but they don’t want to be exposed. They want to get close but they don’t want to get hurt. It’s hard to bond when you are guarded but the dilemma of opening up to connection and hurt is a real one. The way to be on the offensive is to think and assume the best in someone. Everything that happens is just information that allows you to make better decisions. When you’re asking key questions, think optimistically. By taking in information, you become someone who can strategically plan how you want to behave.
In dating, this doesn’t sound romantic but the key is to avoid falling into bad habits and patterns.
Back to the magic trick, you don’t want to be fooled by what you see. You want to think logically despite the excitement. Being on offense is knowing that you have some control of the outcome by thinking positively and operating from a place of confidence. In every sport, the team with the ball in their hands, in the last few minutes of a close game, control their destiny. While everyone in the game can impact the outcome, the team on offense has the best chance of winning.
5. Be Patient
On the TV show Wheel of Fortune, you don’t solve for the puzzle until you’ve put a few letters on the board. Even when a contestant knows the answer, to play the game strategically, you might want to delay solving the puzzle until you’ve earned the most money. In dating, even when you are certain of the outcome, it doesn’t hurt to be patient and let the puzzle unfold. You can’t expect you from other people. Just because the scenario seems clear in your mind, and the next step in the relationship seems obvious, that doesn’t mean that you should head straight to ‘Go’ and collect your $200. Sometimes the fun is letting the scene unfold. Being impatient comes across as desperate. Even though you can’t wait for dessert, a mature person still enjoys the meal in front of them.
Assuming that people should solve for the puzzle just because the message is clear takes the fun out of the way the game is played. The idea that you should get to the point in dating, as if the next step is the only step that matters, is the fastest way for the relationship to end.
The faster you advance a relationship, the closer you are to it being over. Having patience allows all of the warning signs to reveal themselves. It gives you the critical information that you need to make an advised choice. It’s easy to be dumped when you jump into a situation without taking all of the clues into account.