Play the game


“You have to play the game”, I’ve been told.  What game you ask?  Well, apparently there is a notion out there that in this whole realm of dating thing that when you initially pique someone’s interest you should tone down your personality if you have a strong one.  Admittedly, I have a strong personality, which I do for the most part keep in check, but if I’m asked a question I respond with honesty; I’m told when people meet me they either love me or hate me, and there’s really no in between.  I’m not sure if I’m to be happy or sad about this.

I was brought up in a household where women were not the weaker sex, in fact, my father had a hand in raising me in such a way where I was taught to be independent and shouldn’t fit into gender roles that required the need for a man; I was taught about tools, minor renos, home repair, and automotive repair.  Having a man in my life is a want, not a requirement being raised in such a way.  Therefore, I’ve always had a strong independent streak.  Don’t get me wrong, I was also taught about equality, and partnership, etc. But, I’m wondering if this independent streak has perhaps carried a bit too far and put up a barrier to finding a partner? I’m not a super powered feminist in-your-face personality either.  I’m me, I’m comfortable with me, and I’m self aware; I never imagined these traits as obstacles.

 I was told recently that when I meet a man, I have to “play the game”, not be so forward in my wants and what I was looking for, and to make him think that he was needed.  Is this really what men want?  I always thought ideally that a partnership should be wanted, not needed.  I realized long ago that codependency was not healthy and make it a point to not attract people that desired this.  But it’s been also suggested to me that the “laying all the cards on the table” approach is not necessarily desired by men either.  Or maybe just not by the type of men that I’ve encountered thus far perhaps?

A very dear friend told me that he felt badly for me; this friend being in his fifties said he empathized with me because he knew that I hoped to find that special person and have a family one day, but I scared men that were my age, and therefore would attract men that were a bit older than myself and probably finished their “baby making days”.  I was almost offended at this impression from someone who I thought to be my friend, telling me I scared people.  He followed up by saying, no, it wasn’t an insult, but that more “seasoned” men would be better suited to put up with my strong personality because they’ve lived more and have most likely already come across it, and then proceeded to explain the male maturity level vs. age and the difference in relation to women.  I get what he’s saying, although, I view age and maturity as two different things.  I already knew that my desired Prince Charming had to be a mature (mentally, not necessarily in years) sort, because I’m at the point in my life where I’m looking to share and build.  Comes with the territory of real, substantial relationships, no?

To shed some more light on this, I have no problem asking people about the impression I give and decided to do some research.  I’ve had my mother (yes, you read that correctly – though I think with my age she may be starting to panic about the possibility of  pending spinsterhood for me, so I try not to hold these statement against her, and neither should you, the woman wants grandbabies lol) tell me perhaps I shouldn’t be so direct and gain interest from a man first by being light, and then revealing the full brunt of who I am.  And, I’ve had a friend tell me I’m probably scary (or intimidating, I think both words were used) to men that are around my age.  During the time I was thinking about writing this article I asked a friend who I actually dated what his impression of me was, and though we had different wants in life and were not successful romantically we’ve still kept in touch as friends; he is a kind, great person and is nearing 40 in age to give you some background ; I realize this was possibly one of those “don’t ask a question you don’t want truthfully answered” scenarios, but I really am all about self learning, whether pleasant or unpleasant.  So I asked him “from a male perspective, am I intimidating?”, explaining to him that he could be candid and honest, he knows I’m not easily offended and could even take criticism. Honesty was what I got in his response, and I quote: “The answer is more complicated than a yes or no.  To some men who are looking for that light hearted, easy come easy go, 20 something, flighty girl, your confidence would be quite intimidating.  Your life experience puts you in a bracket far above what some males are comfortable with.  Men who have lived and are looking for someone to be an equal, you are perfect.  But some guys have gotten used to being the dominant one who takes care of the lady or there are guys that stick around until they decide to trade her in for another model.. You do not fit either mold and they don’t know how to deal with that.  This they confuse with intimidation.”

I’m not some hard ass though that doesn’t want to be looked after or treated as a lady, actually there’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind being doted on every now and then (what girl doesn’t enjoy the odd spoiling?) and to view my partner as the masculine protector/caregiver.  But I’ll agree that I want to be viewed as an equal, not a lesser partner.  Surely this isn’t an unrealistic expectation that would be causing a barrier in my love life (or starting of said love life)?

Anyhow, as I’ve said throughout this blog (and my life’s journey), I’m all about self exploration and realization.  I analyze myself and do so in my writings (lucky you, you get to read them), and maybe I’ll gain insight that will assist me in finding Prince Charming… Or not finding Prince Charming, however the chips are to fall.  Although, I feel better about attracting someone to me, and not some game of portraying a different version of myself.  So, we’ll see how this goes.

Still learning….


11 comments on “Play the game

  1. As the average difference in age between men and women in couples has remained a constant men-being-older-by-two-years even though the average age at marriage has increased, there may be some truth to you needing an slightly older fellow for a stable relationship.

    Or someone with a Ph.D. in number theory.

    Hold out for a special fellow. You’re worth it.

  2. candyquill says:

    I too was raised to be independent and self sufficient and as a result have a strong personality. At the same time, I like all things pink and go aww when I watch princess diaries. My husband thought it was attractive in a woman to be strong and feminine at the same time. What I am trying to say is, that all men are different and are attracted to different qualities in a woman. Some men feel pride in telling their peers how smart and successful their girlfriend/wife is. I don’t think you need to wear a mask when you are dating, doing so will only attract the wrong kind of man. There are lots of mature men out there who are just waiting to be introduced to a smart, kick ass woman. Best of luck!

  3. thrallex says:

    Very interesting.. indeed..

    To start off with, yes.. you shouldn’t be repressing yourself, you
    shouldn’t be pretending to be someone you aren’t, you shouldn’t be
    playing a game or allowing someone to fall for you under false
    pretences.. Really I shouldn’t need to type that, but honestly I do.
    It appears that’s where everyone’s mind goes, “the game” as you speak,
    puff out your chest wear pretty colours and attract people with your
    fluff rather then yourself. Terrible idea, shallow unfulfilling
    relationships and disappointments all over, some of us are far too old
    for that crap. Which also brings up a good point, not a fan of “people
    your age just aren’t x enough”, or “you are too y to pick up a mate”..
    its silly, ridiculous even. You are who you are, the problem I believe
    may come into play partially because of that mindset. “I’m so unique
    and I just can’t seem to find someone that caters to me and I will need
    to change who I am for any success”. No, no.. stop it! If you feel
    that way, maybe consider something else: Communication. It’s sometimes
    important to remember that the things we say are almost never
    interpreted how we mean them. Yes you have your needs, but do you
    consider how the other person may interpret how you come across (keep in
    mind I have no idea how you present this “list of demands”). But maybe
    through means of body language, maybe through tone, maybe the timing or
    it could even be the wording you use.. it may not come across the way
    you would hear it if someone were to say that to you. Perhaps some tact
    and patience is in order to see how they stand and feel before checking
    off the bachelor list. This is beneficial as well, for all the good of
    the list, I’m certain the last thing you want is to love this list. I
    completely understand not wanting to waste your time with someone who
    doesn’t want the same things, 100%, but peoples needs change all the
    time. And you don’t want to fall in love with each others needs..
    right? Why not love someone and make a list together, a life with you
    should be the goal, not getting married and having kids with “someone”.
    The biological clock is a friend to no one, but being unable to live in
    the moment and “smell the roses”.. to me that takes away from the whole
    point of even starting the clock in the first place. I think you may be
    better off clicking with someone and ironing out the details as you go,
    not liking a list and choosing from that pool of similar listees. Lists
    can change, as you well know, and if you don’t click there is no
    guarantee, even if your lists don’t change, that they will be checked
    off together. You have plenty of time to enjoy life still, to have
    sporadic and memorable moments, to fall in love, to be swept off your
    feet, to come without a disclaimer and not apologize for being you.
    Protecting yourself is more then just coming with a disclaimer, we need
    to have fun sometimes or we go nuts!

    • Well, wow, that was quite the insight and opinion thrallex, and I thank you for it.

      I agree, we shouldn’t be something we are not to attract a mate, and I think that was moreso my point of this article. And nor, would I ever apologize for being me.. But I always value self analysis and am pretty much talking through impressions people have shared with me in this entry. I personally, don’t find myself intimidating, nor think that I’m “so unique I can’t find anyone”, we are all very unique in our own way, and all have different personalities, that’s why the world isn’t boring 😉

      Thankfully though, I appreciate your mention of patience and approach, and I think that is something I’ve learned more in depth over the past ten years, and continue to learn. Although, I think some common goals should be discussed in the dating process sooner than later, for instance you mention children. If there is something you want in life, though it is wonderful to find a person, fall in love, and then build a life together; if they are dead against that goal in your life I think it would just complicate things, you love them but to be with them you give up something big (and possibly part of yourself), make sense? So asking questions of common goals, I don’t believe is rushing things, but you are right in the suggestion of timing for such discussions being a consideration and how things are worded and portrayed.

      But for dating, human behaviour, wants, needs, love…. There are no manuals.

      I’m fumbling through, focusing on me (and things that I can affect for myself) and if Prince Charming comes along and meshes with that, great! I’m enjoying life, no worries there friend 🙂

      But in the meantime, wonderful people like yourself get to read my self analysis and make comments that make me think (like this one).

      As always, thanks for reading thrallex. Cheers.

  4. Great post! Playing games may work to attract someone short term but doesn’t work long term. I messaged you an extended response with my experience with this topic on FB. Check it.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Never. Ever. Hide who you are.
    Speaking from experience, it never ends well to fall in lobe with someone who isn’t being their true selves, or is “toning down” who they actually are to better suit your needs, or just doing so to attract you in general. Fun times eventually become less fun, and the life you once thought you’d found in that relationship begins to wither and die because it was never really there to begin with.
    I am a loud,strong minded, opinionated woman who is independent and I come fully equipped with a sarcastic sense of humour as well as a child-like playful side. People become attracted to us for those reasons, and become “intimidated” by us because on THEIR level, they can’t actually handle who we are…and that’s their problem, not ours.

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