February 4th, 2002 05:55 PM
If dating is a game, who wins?
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?
\"It\'s only arrogrance if you can\'t back it up, otherwise it is confidence.\" - Me
February 4th, 2002 06:17 PM
I view dating as a sort of non-cooperative struggle to meet one's needs. Maybe its because of my past experiences, but I always ended up getting used(my money, car, time) and thrown away. Dating is a game. Unfortunately men never win.
Wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
February 4th, 2002 06:24 PM
The feminists are gonna be after you Wizeman, comparing the art of war to dating! lol
Dating for me is always some sort of struggle, for no other reason than I have views opinions or wishes different to that of my partner. But thats where the art is, blancing all these things out.
February 4th, 2002 06:24 PM
I always win, and after sex she'll wash my dishes!
February 4th, 2002 06:28 PM
The biggest problem is finding the proper balance. If you get "everything" you feel you want, the relationship gets very boring. Dating someone with no personality is a waste of time. If you don't get anything, and give it all, then you are still wasting your time. You must find the proper balance.
As you said, it is much like a venn diagram. There is only one problem with such a simple approach. Sometimes, 2 people share some of the same interests, but to different degrees. You may like fish and be fasinated by computers. Your significant other may be the other way around. So both fish and computers are in the "joint" section of the venn diagram. So what happens when you woman gets tickets to the aquaium (which is having some special going on) the same day as you intend to go to the CES show. What happens? Both people would like to do both things, but feel that theres is most important.
As far as dating being a game.....well, that depends on your definition of a game. There are times where I would rather be playing Q3 then hanging out with my girl friend, but then isn't all of life a game?
\"Ignorance is bliss....
but only for your enemy\"
February 4th, 2002 06:47 PM
Interesting view, I have my ups and downs and to be honest with you I think your theory is pretty close to right on. Further more, I beleive this is the approach to take in any relationship friends and family, as well. Maybe I am twisted beyond repair?
February 4th, 2002 10:10 PM
I agree, my experiences are exactly what has lead me to believe in the non-cooperative (or a more real life, or less romantic) view of love and dating. I disagree about the men always losing. If you play both play the game correctly, then both you and your sig. other will avoid losing.
You make a good point. I never really considered interests as a two-dimensional sort of object (the interest as one dimension, and the extent of the interest as the other). Maybe a sort of spherical venn diagram would be more in order. I'll have to give that some additional thought. I guess a situation like the aquarium and the CES show is when "The Art of War" comes in (choosing the correct battles and all, and looking like you are weaker when you are really strong, etc..). You could interepret that struggle for interest supremacy as a mini-battle.
Thanks for your comments guys! Though I wonder how the women view this topic...any ideas ladies?
\"It\'s only arrogrance if you can\'t back it up, otherwise it is confidence.\" - Me
February 4th, 2002 10:38 PM
i'd have to say that, like souleman kinda hinted at, the one who wins is the one who gets most of what they want but still has enough desire to keep them interested. if you start dating sombody and instintly have everything you could ever want, what is there to keep you striving for more?
if a chick sleeps with you on the first date, how likely are you to call her back for anything more than just sex? i would say not that likely. why is that? because in the begining of a relationship most guys are just after the sex(espically if it is a blind date or a date with sombody they dont really know). now who wins there? definatly not the girl(assuming she was looking for a relationship), and not really the guy either, because even though that is all he looked for at the moment, he has nothing to keep him interested. so basically nobody wins there, because the girl doesnt get enough of what she wants and the guy gets so much of what he wants he is no longer interested in persuing.
There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who dont.
February 4th, 2002 11:06 PM
The reason I think most people don't win in their relationships is because they don't know what they want. I asked a girl at work what she looks for in a guy. She spent the next ten minutes specifically listing the various qualities she sees as important in a guy. The funny thing was that nothing she said was unreasonable. She just knows exactly what she wants. I think before anyone goes into a relationship they should know what they want and go for it. If it turns out that the two of you want different things, that's fine. At least you didn't waste time with someone that you didn't really want to be with in the end.
And remember it's not whether your partner's perferct, it's whether you're perfect for each other =).
OpenBSD - The proactively secure operating system.
February 4th, 2002 11:22 PM
When it comes to the subject of women and relationships it’s been my experience that it is very important, as it is with any subject for that matter, to realize and learn from your mistakes and errors. Only a fool would touch a hot stove, receive the tremendous pain, and then touch it again. It’s just common logic and behaviorism, yet alas I, and I do believe many men and women, fall victim to similar fates from relationship to relationship.
I believe the cause of this tendency to return to previous errors, misjudgments, and foolish actions stems from a jaundiced viewpoint commonly taken when reflecting upon past relations. When a relationship fails, it is nearly impossible for any person of average mental faculties to not come away with some wisdom concerning the matter. But often the wisdom accumulated is not all that existed to be harvested from the experience, or is not even true; for many times an individual will attempt to rationalize and form full truths from half-truths in order to justify his or her actions.
For example one may think that the relationship was indeed without problems and full of potential in the beginning, but unfortunately as time progressed vast differences of values or moral conduct arose, and that it was just a sudden change that the observing party had no control over, and the ex-boyfriend/girlfriend was at fault for. Such a viewpoint is a fallacy for, while I’m not saying it is strictly impossible, it is very implausible that a person in a relationship will have such a sudden upheaval in his or her very moral fiber. More often than not it was an oversight by both parties involved, an overlooked or perhaps ignored attribute that both individuals had a greatly different belief that was unable to be compromised. Nevertheless, the relationship grew, and it did so until it hit a wall, an impervious wall which had been constructed by the nonparallel values held by each party in the relationship. It was psychologically predetermined to fail, due to this oversight of fundamentals. With whom does the blame lie in this case? Fault is awarded to both parties, though neither is necessarily labeled as wrong in the sense of being immoral for in relationships mistakes and misjudgments are not the exception but the rule.
The point of the above example is that a common stance taken by either of the parties, it matters not who first vocalized the dissenting opinion or preformed the unpalatable action, is that they lay the burden of fault on either the ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, fate, a higher power, society, or circumstance. Rarely is it seen that an individual will openly accept the correct amount of fault for misappraisals, ignorance, or intolerable actions. Now let me now express, before my argument is condemned, that more often than not fault does lie with more than one person and I am in no way shape or form arguing that there should be no shared blame, only that blame should be recognized on all parties that are deserving of it, else one cannot and will not learn the correct lessons from his or her experience.
A frequently adopted view of past relationships is that “Things just didn’t work out” or “Everything would have been perfect if she hadn’t said that or did this…” etc. And those who have adopted that viewpoint often end up asking the question “Why does the same thing always happen to me?” or “Why do I always end up getting screwed over in the end?”. The answer to these questions is that it is because one who adopts this policy is one who does not gather the correct truthful wisdom and experience from his or her misfortunes. To put it in a straightforward example: a man who cheats on his partner and gets caught thereby ending the relationship, and then in the next relationship does that same thing has no right to complain on any grounds for any reason or place blame on any other individual save himself. This case may seem extreme, but the same principle follows for every action, or sometimes lack thereof, which precipitates a relationship to collapse. To illustrate, while one mans vice in relationships is infidelity, another’s is honesty, while yet another’s is listening. Sometimes a vice can be born before a relationship is even fully established such as the earlier example of misjudging. Misjudgment comes in all forms from evaluating a partners honestly, fidelity, or in the case of the earlier example, morality. Yet another category of vice, which is commonly not considered, is that which doesn’t directly affect the relationship but is nonetheless damaging. An example of this would be neglect of friends, responsibilities, and duties in one’s life, due to placing too much emphasis on one’s partner. There exists a pattern in all individuals of mistakes and vices which exist, unnecessarily so, and cause the downfall of relationships and the break the pattern, one must simply be able to learn from one’s prior mistakes.
It sounds a simple enough axiom to follow, but as with most things it’s great in theory but difficult in application. Some may find it hard, damning, and hurtful to openly admit grievous fault and error in a relationship, especially a recently compromised one. There is also much pain involved in reevaluating actions, and the pain of reminiscing of both good and bad times, sometimes hoping that which was lost could be regained and all maladies remedied. Yet such discomfort is necessary if one wishes to be rid of future occurrences of such. Concluding this part of my post on relationships I shall reiterate my exposed philosophy: be willing to accept blame and rationally, logically, and pragmatically determine the cause of the failure of the relationship, for by placing blame on the undeserving or perhaps even placing to much blame on the deserving (even if it is to oneself), will either spare one some guilt and emotional discomfort or in the case of the later (too much blame on oneself) will sufficiently damage the self esteem of the individual. Neither outcome is desirable for neither will truly grasp all there is to be gathered from his or her experience and thereby subjects himself or herself to further reoccurrence of the same original pain.