Playing mind games might have (and we stress might) been acceptable behavior in our teenage years, but we’re grownups now. Time to act as such.
“I text a girl, she texts me back. I text a girl, she texts me back. I text a girl, asking her if she wants to go get pizza, she doesn’t text me back!”
Does Aziz Ansari’s experience sound familiar? Has this happened to you before? Frustrating, right? Have you ever been the person not texting back? These mind games have turned dating—something that should be enjoyable—into a minefield full of frustrations.
Why do we play these types of mind games? Part may stem from personal insecurities accompanied with a fear of committing, or it might be a natural habit. When we started dating as teens, these games were normal practice because we were all unsure how to date. Yet, as we mature, we outgrow these games and learn to date without them. Remember, you’re dating to find somebody special, and that shouldn’t require manipulation or following some sort of playbook.
Some examples of mind games people play are:
- Not texting or calling back in a reasonable amount of time
- Playing hard to get
- Making someone jealous
- Being vague about where the relationship is going
- Silent treatment
Do you use mind games when dating? If so, you are making dating much harder for yourself and others, and it might be ruining your chances for finding somebody special.
1. It Drives People Away
Playing games with somebody who likes you, loves you, or just met you five minutes ago, only leads to one emotion. Frustration. For them.
Most people don’t want a complicated relationship. They want a partner who is interesting, challenging, exciting, and fun, but that doesn’t mean the relationship has to be difficult. Some people may confuse these two ideas and think an interesting person automatically equals a more challenging relationship. Others think that being an independent person means relationships can’t be easy because they are used to not depending on another.
Playing mind games and making a relationship difficult doesn’t make you more interesting, it just drives people away. You miss out on meaningful and beautiful relationships because people don’t want complications. People starting thinking that maybe you aren’t emotionally ready for a relationship. Relationship already have hurdles; mind games just add extra frustrations that push people away.
2. It’s Self Sabotage
Playing relationship games may be a sign of personal insecurities and that you feel like you don’t deserve a normal relationship. Just know that you deserve love and a healthy, supportive, relationship.
If you are having a hard time not sabotaging your relationships, you need to work on yourself and figure out why you’re doing it. Are you still getting over a previous relationship? Did you get out of an abusive relationship and still carrying the wounds? Find what’s hurting you mentally so you can get into a healthy relationship. Going into a relationship still carrying those wounds puts extra weight on you and your partner—weight that neither of you need.
Getting mentally healthy will not only show you the error of playing mind games, but you’ll also feel more confident and physically healthy, as evidence indicates that there is a direct relationship between mental and physical well-being. That in turn means you’ll have more fun on dates and be more likely to finding the right person. The first step to finding love is loving who you are first, so take whatever steps necessary to like who you are.
3. Leads to Unhealthy Relationships
If you start a relationship with something toxic, the relationship will be toxic. It sets a poor precedent for being together and can only lead to worse situations.
If playing a game works and you enter into a relationship, both you and your partner will think acting this way works. The farther into a toxic relationship like this, the more miserable both of you will be. You’ll play games to get your way, push your partner to “prove their love,” and other unhealthy practices. Not only will you have to break away from this relationship, but it will make getting into a new, healthy, relationship more difficult.
The first week of impressions sets up how the rest of the relationship will go. If you act friendly, honest, open, and supportive, that’s how the relationship will be. If you act aloof, prideful, manipulative, and insensitive, guess how your relationship will be?
4. You Get Played Back
Do you remember your parents telling you “Treat people how you want to be treated?” At first it just sounds like good advice, but it’s also a warning. You act nice to people, they’ll be nice back. If you play inconsiderate mind games, they’ll start playing back. Then, either the two of you will continue to drive each other up the wall, or you’ll drift away and pursue other people.
Is that really what you want in your dating experience? Dating should be fun and exciting, not stressful and hurtful. Playing mind games leads to a dislike of dating because of all the drama, which isn’t doesn’t have to be the case at all. Dating can be drama free and enjoyable if both people are kind and mature. Even if two people are completely incompatible, a date can be fun if each person treats each other with kindness and respect.
5. Limits Your Options
The people around you are taking note of how you act while dating. Your friends, coworkers, and family might want to set you up with somebody, but if they see you playing mind games, they won’t. You might think no one is paying attention to your relationship, but they are. This includes how you interact with dates and what you say about them when they are away.
This also includes how you look and act online. Social media has added another layer of confusion with mind games and dating. If you’re making vague rants about your dating experience and how dating sucks, people may not want to introduce you to someone who just may be perfect.
About the Author
Ben Allen believes that everybody deserves love and a healthy relationship. He currently lives with his wife of four years and their one-year old daughter. When not spoiling his family, he spends his free time writing, playing video games, and snowmobiling. To read more of his writing, follow him on Twitter.