Whenever we begin a new relationship, there appear to be certain games that many people play, consciously or unconsciously and it can be maddening for both parties.
Games such as mind control, power dynamics, possessiveness and tit-for-tat are all dangerous games that could result in you playing all alone when your partner has had enough.
Games should be kept to the playground
I reached for the dictionary for the definition of games:
‘Games (noun): a competitive form of activity with rules. An enjoyable activity which children play.’
Armed with this trusty knowledge, it is safe to assume that when one plays emotional games with another, it flies in the face of the true meaning of games.
Emotional games have no rules; are not enjoyable and in most cases, nobody comes out the winner.
The gamble doesn’t always pay off
My mother has always told me not to play games with people’s hearts and to do unto others as I would have them do to me. I always thought it was part of her list of annoying cliches along with “Well, life isn’t fair.” So it was a surprise to find myself having an 'ah ha' moment.
The scene: in bed on a Sunday evening after a blissful date. The problem: my 'uhm friend's' Facebook status. It so turns out that the problem was not what I was seeing on Facebook but rather my reaction towards it.
My initial thoughts veered towards changing my profile picture and updating my status with a similar remark about somebody else.
However, as I began typing my brilliantly thought out status update I realised that participating in this tit-for-tat game was a sign that I was willing to entertain it.
Combat playing games with communication
Communicating and allowing yourself to become vulnerable with a partner isn’t always easy because we’re so often concerned with our own self-protection we end up sabotaging the real potential of the relationship and the feelings in front of us.
We’re so concerned about possibly being hurt that we deny the other possibility of a reality in which we’re happy.
Being open and honest however allows for the relationship to grow and puts an end to unnecessary games that result in one or both of you getting hurt. Playing tit-for-tat will only lead to more of the same thing.
Real life and real feelings usually get in the way of happy endings
If game playing always ended the way Hollywood scriptwriters would like it, the romantic lead in every woman’s life would realise that she is his ideal match and would arrange a flash mob to impress her before declaring his undying devotion in a crowded shopping centre.
You may not necessarily want him to profess his unfailing love for you just yet but just like a Hollywood script, you desire the happy ending.
Some of us will dabble in emotional games with men whether it is blackmail, trying to make them jealous, or simply not answering our phones when they call. All of which are unnecessary.
Durban clinical psychologist, Sherona Rawat says that “something that looks good in the movies usually gets complicated when you don’t have actors in the lead roles”.
Keep it simple, stupid
Whether you’re in the process of starting a relationship or you are currently in one, your intentions and lines of communication should be clear. People start playing games when they feel insecure; which doesn't solve anything.