I’ll never understand why the word “player,” when discussing male-female interaction, is exclusively used to describe men. The truth is: Women come to the table with a fully loaded deck of cards, and they make much larger bets.
As early as our teen years, we’re are warned about the player who’ll buy you dinner to get you into bed. And later, thanks to advances in digital gamesmanship, he’ll do things like send artful images of his nether reasons to … wait. Why does he do that? “That’s easy,” a guy friend confessed. “To get you to send a dirty picture back.” Obvi. We all know that no one really wants a picture of the P.
Those games, and many like them, have quick pay-offs. When women get themselves dealt into the game, the stakes skyrocket. And when there’s no ROI on these bets, the loss is devastating.
Take the girl who pretends to really love watching football all day on Sunday. She picks up the six packs, makes her famous seven-layer dip, wears her hair in cheerleader pigtails and ignores all the beer being sloshed around on her new Ethan Allen rug.
Sure, she does this in hopes that her guy will adore her. But there’s more to it. She’s also hoping he’ll reciprocate by acting enthused during a six-hour mall-hopping session to find the perfect pair of pointy-toed booties that she’ll only wear once.
Yet, here’s his read on the football slobfest is: That’s how all Sundays are gonna be from now on, and wasn’t that cool? That’s about it. He’s still going to pout when you’re on shoe fitting No. 3. And he’s authentically puzzled by your extreme belligerence when the next big game day comes around. What? No bean dip?
But the game really changes when she ups the ante … as well as her anticipated payout:
• If I cook him dinner at his house and do all his laundry, surely he’ll invite me to move in.
• If I take care of his kids as if they were my own, he’ll definitely want to have children with me.
• If I say, “I love you” and hold my breath long enough, I’m positive he’ll say it back.
That poor chick has probably passed out.
I got myself into a similar situation with a guy I really wanted to date. We’d flirt over text or Facebook messaging for hours. Sassy banter turned into full-fledged sexting to the point where I got uncomfortable. Mostly because I was coming up with all the dirty text.
He’d ask for more and more, insisting I was so good at it … “But you’re the writer,” he’d whine. And I’d oblige, despite the growing “ick” it was giving me, because I was still hoping for more.
“Wow,” another guy friend messaged me. “You’re his jerk-off buddy!” (If there were a snickering emoji, it would have accompanied this message.) Great. I wasn’t winning anything with this, er, hand.
We change who we are and try so very hard because we think there’s something on the other side that looks like the big love that we want. But sadly, it typically isn’t coming. And here’s the kicker: It’s not his fault.
I’ve heard so many women bitch about their man because, after everything she’s done for him, he didn’t come through. However, she’s never laid out the rules of the game. She just expects him to know what he’s supposed to do because, duh, it’s so obvious.
OK. Here are words to remember, live by, make a meme with, whatever: Unexpressed expectations are dream crushers.
A girlfriend of mine had spent years learning the hard way, so when she found herself in a new relationship, she set the rules: “I told him: I’d be chill whenever you go on skiing and golfing trips with your buddies. In fact, I’d help make reservations and book rooms … just so long as you plan trips with me, too,” she explains. “When he never did, there was no question as to why I was pissed.”
Can you look your guy in the eye and tell him your endgame plan, or are you’re high-rolling for the “1, 4, 3” or a shiny new ring that you need a souped up playbook to win? If so, it may be time to take a wider look at what you’re playing with.
Is he in it for the long haul, or have you just made his life so comfortable that he doesn’t have a reason to leave … or invest further? Have you given him the milk without even knowing if he wants to buy a cow? If he really likes you and wants to take it to the next level, you’ll know. And if he knows what you want and he’s down to deliver, he will. No game plan needed.