Hello Everyone!

I recently finished Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," in which tactics and strategies of winning a war are discussed. I've seen writers interpret Sun Tzu's writings and place them in the context of Management and Business, and that made me wonder if these "war strategies" could be used in dating. My friends and I often refer to dating as a "game," in which points are scored or lost based on how you get what you want out of your relationship. Yes, yes, I know this totally devalues love and relationships, but you have to admit it is an interesting concept. Is it really possible to quantify a relationship?

Recently, I was thinking quite a bit about it, and I have found that relationships act as an ever changing Venn diagram. One circle represents your interests, needs, and desires, and the other circle represents your partner's interests, needs, and desires. Now, if you are familiar with Venn diagrams, you'll know the portion of the circles that overlaps indicates similar interests, needs, and desires. This is the area in which couples do the most cooperating (ie both work to meet these ends). The area that does not overlap, however, represents a very non-cooperative area, these are the areas that cause conflict and strife in the relationship. Often times one partner wants or needs something that the other does not (ie one wants a monogomous relationship, while the other is interested a non-binding relationship).

This is where my mention of the "game" comes in. Each person should be primarily concerned with getting as many of his/her own needs and desires fulfilled as possible. So, you can theorize that there is an equilibrium point at which there is a perfect fit of needs and desires so that there is just enough overlap to provide an interesting and well-balanced relationship.

That being said, I believe that dating is a game, and that the winner is the person who gets the most of their desires filled. Now, the partners can certainly employ the tactics of Sun Tzu or of Machiavelli to make sure that their interests and desires are winning out, or that in the end their desires will win out. I think it is truly interesting to view relationships in this arena of game theory, and I believe that in it lies the key to truly understanding relationships.

So, now that you made it all the way through that stuff, what do you guys and gals think? Do you view dating as a sort of non-cooperative struggle to meet one's needs? Or would you rather think of it as a cooperative situation in which the two parties work together to achieve mutual goals?