The Business of Love

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Dating Game: It's About Control

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Girl says, "He was afraid of commitment" in response to the failure of her last relationship. While there is some truth in this comment (and this is from the guy's perspective) I believe that this "Fear of Commitment" is a symptom of a larger issue; the desire for control in the relationship.

Control

What do men want? Food and shelter rate pretty high, but control is pretty dang close. Men want to be in control of their life. They want to be the master of their own destiny. This is why dating and relationships cause men to develop this "Fear of Commitment".

Fear of Commitment

Here's the scenario: Guy asks girl on 1st date. Things go well so guy asks girl on 2nd date. Things seem okay again, so guy asks girl on 3rd date. Of course this is highly simplified, but the guy here is sending a clear message; he is interested. Now comes the frustrating phase where the girl is sending "signs" and our poor fella here is trying to figure out what they are and what they mean. The frustration arises from the loss of control. He has conveyed his interest by continuing to ask the girl out (if you girls can't figure that out you're more helpless than guys) and therefore has given control to the girl. She now must decide if she is interested in the guy enough to commit or just keep holding out to see if her feelings change or something better comes along.

Now most girls reading this are probably saying they wish it were so easy. They're right. It isn't that easy and here is my main hypothesis: Fear of commitment is a tactic to maintain control in the relationship. In the situation above the guy lost control and therefore was at the mercy of the girl. As long as she keeps saying yes to dates and doesn't send signals that she wants to be exclusive, the guy is stuck. If he keeps dating other girls he's perceived as a player and his interest in the first girl is discounted. If he actually keeps his actions congruent with his intentions he has no control. So if a guy shows commitment first in a relationship he will end up looking like a player or he'll lose control. Faced with these choices is it any surprise that guys develop a fear of commitment?

Compromise

Given that guys are responsible to show initiative, guys are in control by default. Therefore, if a guy doesn't do anything to give up control he is in the driver's seat. That means that the ladies are kinda stuck. They have to communicate their interest while they are uncertain of his position and we're in the same situation as before; frustration.

Now I suppose you're hoping I have a solution for you all. A way to win the dating game without the frustration. Well, as a single guy, I obviously don't have the answer. I've been on both sides of the situation and I don't like either side. The best results I've encountered came when direct VERBAL communication was used early on. But of course those were all rejections. So I guess I'm not much help. I've turned comments on again because I want to hear what you have to say.

11 Comments:

  • At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just wanted to say I really like your analogies on this whole 'dating game'. It's intriguing, because they totally make sense from my experiences in my first year at BYU, where dating has been scary and unpredictable so far. I sense that you're a tiny bit cynical from your own experiences and don't really understand girls and their sometimes psychotic behavior in relationships...i just wanted to say that a lot of the time the girl is in as much of a quandry as that guy who's trying to read her signals. Honestly, she's as confused as she seems. I agree that it's best to be verbally up front so if there are any strong feelings in either party, it becomes clear right away. But again I haven't exactly found the path to 'success' in this area so I'm not sure how much my advice is worth. I'd be really interested to see what a girl, with your same knowledge about economics, would say in response to these analogies. :) good luck with everything! And for the record, I think dating is still fun, despite its many frustrations!

     
  • At 3:30 PM, Blogger Handsome said…

    Cynical? ME? Okay, I confess I bear the effects of a some failed relationships and have not kept the most positive attitude. I like your point on girls not knowing what they want/feel. Guys are the same way, but just on a less complicated level. Good luck with the dating game and I hope you find success.

     
  • At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Aren't we all a little cynical with the entire dating game? Haven't we all experienced some loss in the market in which we came out embarassed, hesitant, and frustrated. So...sort something out for me? Guys like to be in control (in a healthy way), right? Well, they are...when they ask us out and we say yes. Girls, just as much as guys, feel it necessary to have some control. I imagine that one way of accomplishing this is to guard our feelings...hence few signals because we don't necessarily think the boy is interested b/c he is fishing around the pond while he is on the third date with us. Its contradictory...its the market with a high risk...but possibly very high yields. Why isn't "yes" enough of a sign...especially on a 3rd or 4th date? Isn't it obvious that both are interested?

     
  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous soccersingfr said…

    Handsome(I hate calling you that!), maybe you should just tell that person you really like them. You'd be surprised how much it actually works. That is the flaw in the dating game. Honesty. Plain and simply stated. You may really like someone but you will never tell them because you're afraid of rejection. Well, love is a leap. Sometimes you plumet to the ground and feel a bit broken. But what can be broken can also be mended. Then one day you'll jump and there will be someone there to catch you. But if you never have the courage to jump then you'll never know if anyone's at the bottom. It was, is, and always will be a risk, but you have to be willing to take it. Who cares about control? That's just pride talking. Be sincere and go for it. Dating would be a lot easier if we were honest with one another.

     
  • At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    RE:soccersingfr
    I thought the same thing too until I leaped and almost died. That sounds a little dramatic, however, sometimes, things need to remain unspoken because there is a timing issue. If it is too soon, and the other person doesn't know that they like you yet, your lack of patience could get you no where fast...
    What do you think?

     
  • At 12:26 PM, Anonymous soccersingfr said…

    I guess that's true. I always assume the person knows I like them and then yesterday a friend told me that most guys don't even get that you like them. I wish I didn't have to spell everything out. The game gets old after a while.

     
  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have finally come to the conclusion that it is a miracle when things actually work out. Dating always seems to be a dog chase cat chase mouse chase cheese...etc story. Everyone likes someone ahead of them and we never turn around to see who might be chasing us (because we truely aren't interested). Its a miracle when two people actually hit it off. Think about it... two people, with similar hobbies, with similar taste, with similar values, with similar chemistry...and they FIND each other...there's no other way to explain it than as a miracle! I have decided to stop playing the game and leave the miracles to the Maker...if its right...He'll make it happen (that's faith). Your thoughts...

     
  • At 9:12 AM, Anonymous soccersingfr said…

    I think you're right. People look so much for something they don't have, but it they only knew what thy do have they wouldn't be searching. But you have to admit, the waiting game is pretty tough. Maybe even more so than the dating game.

     
  • At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yeah...touche. too true...hmmm...
    any advice???

     
  • At 9:41 AM, Blogger Jami Orlando said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 9:52 AM, Anonymous soccersingfr said…

    The ironic thing is that there is no advice for dating. Some things work and some don't. This whole blog is filled with advice and ideas. I think the key to getting to know people and being in relationships is sacrificing one's self to know another person. Putting aside doubt and fear and judgement to get down to business. Most heartbreaks are due to false pretenses or lack of honesty with one's self. I think you can tell when things are going well, but that means also being brave enough to admitt when they aren't. Emotions are bound to be involved and pain is one of the more prominent, but that just makes it so much sweeter when you do find someone.

     

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