THE GAMES OF LOVE

Should you play games with love? The answer is a qualified “yes.” There are two kinds of games when it comes to relationships–power games and playful games. Sadly, it’s very easy to cross over from one side to the other.

In a relationship, power games are based upon control. They as common at work as they are at home. What are some of examples?  How about bullying, withholding information, guilt trips, “getting even”, threatening, abandonment, or even teasing games?  In my world, if there was a nasty-meter to rate power games, those that are physically abusive rank at the top although extreme mental cruelty isn’t far behind. The difference in power games in the workplace is that there is actually a greater chance of a reprimand than at the home front.

I’d say that the DMZ zone between playful games and power games is teasing. The Oxford definition of a tease is, “A person who makes fun of someone playfully or unkindly.” That’s a big swing, isn’t it?  The definition of someone who is playful means, “Fond of games and amusement in a lighthearted way.”

In the games of love, much more than in games of business, sentiments run high and feelings are sensitive. Even the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” may not be sufficient in a relationship. For example, if one person was raised in an atmosphere of love, but constant teasing, that person is “thick skinned” and can take a teasing with no problem. However, if that person’s partner has sensitive feelings or insecurities, even light hearted teasing is may be too much. Keep this paradigm when you play. Empathy goes a long way in Dating for Life.

SOUL VERSUS DNA

Did you ever think about how amazing DNA really is?  Essentially, you are pre-wired from birth to be disposed to physical attributes and even ailments. Just like a puppy with very large paws will grow into being a big dog, how you grow from your initial inception is DNA destiny.

Certainly your environment can impact how you develop. Accidents can alter physical attributes, as will your diet, habits and workout regimen. Education and exposure to culture will polish the jewel you could be for sure. But DNA is a big part of destiny.

Now consider your soul. Where DNA determines physicality and IQ, your spirit and belief systems determine your character. Attitude is a choice. Just ask Stephen Hawking or Nelson Mandela. But here’s the great news. Your SOUL isn’t prewired. It’s not streaming from your DNA. It comes from a higher power—one that’s tapped into the entire universe. The greatest news of all: you’ve always had the power to tap into that universe and alter your soul in the blink of an eye. It happens in every step you take, so do me a favor—take those steps toward good.

COUNTER OFFERS IN WORK AND ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

Situation:  an employee gives notice to his or her employer. The employer gives a counteroffer to the employee, who decides to stick with the current employer rather the leave. Did you know that the odds that the employee will still leave the current company within one year are 78%?

Why?  Think about it. What were the reasons that drove the employee to want to leave?  Maybe it was because the employee was worried about the financial condition of the company. Maybe he or she was past over for a promotion. Maybe it’s a new boss. Maybe the company is notorious for not paying well. Now the employee gives notice.  The boss thinks, not now! I can’t afford to lose this person at this point in time. A likely conversation to the employee is, “But we have such plans for you! You’re an important part of our team.  What will it take to keep you here?”

So the employer offers a new title, or more pay. The employee decides to stay. Two things just happened. The employer/boss thinks, “I can’t let myself be vulnerable to this situation again.” So the company begins to shift responsibilities and protect their position. Meanwhile, after the break-up and make-up euphoria has gone away within a few weeks, the employee realizes that the driving cause of wanting to leave really hasn’t changed. This person is still doing the same things; working with the same people; enduring whatever was the root problem. And the bond of trust for both parties has been broken. Eventually, they part ways. Theses are the statistics proven in an extensive survey taken by the National Association of Personal Services.

In the work environment, the 22% of counter offers that work are when the legitimate driving reason to compel an employee to leave is properly addressed the employee’s problem has been solved. For example, what if an employee loves his or her job, loves the company and likes the area, but doesn’t like the new boss. In a larger company, sometimes that employee can be moved to a new department. If the problem is solved, the counter offer works.  However, the TRUE solution is to maintain proper communication with the employee so that the situation doesn’t get to the crisis level.

Now think about a romance that’s slowly been going sideways. One partner wants out. The other partner thinks, “NO! I need you. We’re a good team. We can improve.” Both partners reconcile and everything is just fine again…or is it?  Actually, the percentages differ greatly from an employment scenario. One in every 2.7 marriages in the U.S. experiences the traumatizing effects of an affair (Spring & Spring, 1996). Studies have shown that marital discord generally surfaces during the first seven years, after the first child arrives, and/or when the first child turns 14 years of age (Shellenbarger, 2004). Other studies suggest that periods of disenchantment occur every four years (Dyn and Glenn, 1993). It’s easy to fall in love; its harder to keep it.

Statistics indicate that couples that attempt to reconcile after an affair have a 70 percent chance of staying together, while there is only a 30 percent likelihood of staying with the paramour from the affair (Brown, 1999).

But how does a couple stay happily married? Cynthia Frasier of http://stayhappilymarried.com/ suggests that the chances of repairing a relationship after an affair are increased whenever:

  • Both the betrayed and the betrayer have a genuine interest, perhaps not at the same level, in restoring the trust that has been breached;
  • The lover has been given up completely;
  • Both are willing to accept an appropriate share of responsibility for one’s contribution to the affair;
  • Both are willing to try new behaviors which build trust;
  • Both are willing to try new behaviors which build intimacy;
  • Both are willing to honestly recommit, characterized by a sense of connectedness despite differences, dissatisfaction, and ambivalence;
  • Both are willing to design a better future by sharing the responsibility for feeling satisfied and loved on a daily basis

Everyone grows individually and in a marriage. Life is one big evolution. The key for both is not to devolve. When one partner accuses, “You’re not the same person that I married,” there’s an interesting paradigm going on.  Did the accuser not evolve, whereas the other person grew?  Or did the accused devolve and also lose interest in trying to bolster the relationship?  Or both?

As in the business world, the key is an on-going respect and communication throughout the relationship so that things don’t get to the “crisis stage.”

One key to injecting energy and passion into a relationship is to continue Dating for Life. Chivalry isn’t dead in vibrant relationships. Never alter what gets you to the altar!

THERE’S SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE

Did you know that there are over 1500 dating sites in the United States alone?  A 2012 University of Rochester study reports that 23% of U.S. couples found their partners through online dating as of 2009.  EHarmony boasts that they contribute to 5% of American marriages. Match.com, PlentofFish.com, Chemistry.com and Zoosk.com fill out the list of biggies. But there are a whole lot of sites that cater to highly unique interests or backgrounds. Courtesy of Bloomberg Business Week March 4, 2013 here are some other choices for you:

  • FarmersOnly.com – (250,000 users) and you thought farming was only for perishables.
  • BeautifulPeople.com – (750,000 users) only one in eight applicants is accepted.
  • SugarDaddie.com – (3 million users) the bigger the wallet, the better you look.
  • Geek2Geek – (200,000 users) what’s the probability of a cogent relationship here?
  • CougarLife.com – (4 million users) boys, the average age of a “cougar” is 39.
  • WaitingTillMarriage.com – (4000 users) hmmm, 1000x more cougars. Interesting…
  • TattoedSingles.com – (100,000 users) average number of tattoos per user—7
  • Cupidtino.com – (30,000 users) first dating site for Apple fans. Where’s Droidites.com?
  • Purrsonals.com – (15,000 users) is for lovers of cats. No comments on pussies, please.
  • CrewDating.com (5,000 users) pilots and attendants fly together, but mostly on land.
  • ScientificSingles.com (3,500 users) what’s the potential for test-tube babies here?

But I can guarantee that regardless of personal choice, it’s all an internet illusion until any two people finally meet and greet and go out on a date. And if the magic happens, the couples that keep dating together stay together. Dating for Life applies to any demographic. So does chivalry.

LUST OR LOVE—PART II

Let’s play a little game. Below are listed some famous couples. You tell me if you feel that each couple is “in lust” or “in love.”

  • Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
  • Jack and Barbara Nicklaus
  • George and Barbara Bush
  • Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning
  • Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf
  • Bill and Melinda Gates

Okay, maybe I made this test too easy.  The answer should be “all the above.” You can bet that each of these couples had their ups and downs. High profile celebrities have considerably tougher lives amid the entire splendor, because of their extraordinary lives. In essence, their lives aren’t their own.  But like any couple and unlike the Captain and Tennille’s song “Love will keep us Together” this isn’t really the case. Love is preserved, first and foremost, by maintaining trust and respect, but love grows through the continual process of “Dating for Life.”

Each of these couples has multiple businesses and daily pressures. But their relationship isn’t all business. The Greek word “didonal” is the root word for dating. It means, “to give.” By continually dating, these couples are “re-honoring” each other on a continual basis. Chivalry never wanes.

If love and romance make the world go around, then dating for life keeps it spinning.

LUST OR LOVE?

Did you know that the human brain measures lust within one-fifth of a second?  The visual attraction and male or female stimulation or endorphins happens almost immediately.  Unfortunately, too many times is this confused with actual love.  Lust in this context is defined as “an intense sexual desire or appetite.” Love is almost indefinable, but in essence is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”

Interestingly, both the head and the heart confirm true love. The brain gets a hunch, but the heart actually confirms these feelings over many weeks if not years dependent upon the complexities of each individual. On average, it only takes a male 10 minutes to know whether or not he wants to take a blind date out for a second time; it takes an average of one hour for a woman to determine her course of action.  Why?  Women normally have a much more complex set of parameters (checklist) that they use to determine and confirm a relationship.

The problem with lust or love is that too often Hollywood and TV perpetuate lust, or the feeling of initially falling in love, as the newsworthy moment. It isn’t. The net result is our “fast results oriented” society often wants the quick fix of instant love. These are siren calls from a distant shore.  Anyone who loves the idea of “falling in love” will likely not do so.  Love takes work. As I can’t say it any better, this quote from a reliable authority on the subject sums it up best:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  — Corinthians 13:4-7.

DESENSITIZATION AND THE END OF DATING

Why has TV drama become so blood thirsty? As Time’s issue on Serial Killing quotes, “The Grim Reaper has had to get creative.” What’s the effect on real killings? Does art imitate life or vice versa? What is clear is that society has become desensitized to violence.

Now lets look at dating. A Pews Institute survey found that 50% of the greatest generation (post-World War II) believed that marriage was one of the most important cornerstones in an individual’s life. Today, 20% of the millennial generation believes the same thing. There are over 1500 dating sites with on-line dating being a $1.2 billion business in the USA alone. Couples want romance, yet they mock it at the same time. For years TV soap operas broadcast infidelity, and primetime reality TV shows and blockbuster movies mock marriage. Everyone wants a quick fix. We have become desensitized to romance.

A girl receives a text message from a guy. “Hanging at Meat Bar from 9 on—be there.” The normal reply is, “Sure” and she and/or some girlfriends dress up and go to this bar, only to drink for several hours before various couples splinter, often to various bachelor pads to further “hang out” for an overnight. The odds of a true relationship lasting from a bar stool is 2%.

If I have to explain this to any girls, then you need to remember that nothing has really changed for hundreds of years. The MAN chases the woman until SHE finally catches him. Girls who are easy to get are easy. Guys are linear puppy dogs. They take the path of least resistance and if they don’t have to prep for a date, or even properly groom, and then they won’t. The primary reason that guys are getting married much later in life is that life is good just the way it is.

I’m sure that most millennial girls will say, “Hey, if I don’t comply, then I’m the odd one out.” You would be partially correct. It takes a community, and more and more women need to band together in order to re-establish chivalry. If I were to compare hunting to dating, what’s going on in this world is that the hunter can walk into a fenced in game preserve and kill whatever he needs for his daily sustenance. Accordingly, he doesn’t even need to be much of a hunter. In today’s world, guys don’t need to practice chivalry because the game is easy. They are desensitized to a world where parties abound and scoring is easy.

Girls—remember that you are still the object of a man’s fancy. Make it harder to get and you’ll see a reemergence of gentlemen in your world.