Talk…Yeah sorry that’s it. And I know what you’re thinking, “well dur, I knew that” but you’d be surprised how low down the list of ideas simply talking to their partner is when faced with an issue, for many people. I don’t know how or why it happened but over the past thirty years Game Theory has made a big impact on how we think about relationships. Thanks to books like The Game and The Rules, relationships have become much more adversarial in nature, competitive rather than cooperative. We’ll talk to our parents, our friends, strangers online and even our pets before bringing up tough subjects with our partners! Now there’s nothing wrong with seeking advice from a variety of people but in the end the only way you can sort something out is by sorting it out together.
There are a number of emotionally and psychologically manipulative techniques that I’ve heard condoned and promoted in order to get a predefined, optimum reaction out of your partner, or potential partner. These include:
- Playing hard to get
- The silent treatment
- Backhanded compliments
- Talking to their friends, while ignoring them
- Making them feel goofy or insignificant
- Don’t call or text in order to worry them
- Crying in order to elicit a response
And so on. This is your partner we’re talking about!! Game Theory is used extensively in economics, politics, psychology and marketing, traditionally very cut throat, competitive fields one would have to agree. The (extremely simplified) premise behind game theory goes a little like this; One wishes to elicit a response in another in order to gain something of value. One then position themselves strategically with the best possible chance of acquiring the thing of value through any means necessary. So let’s say one company wants to buy another, however company A knows that they don’t have the finances to buy company B outright. So rather than going to B and asking to buy them, they put into place a number of tactics that make them appear extremely valuable and attractive to other companies. They create false interest in their company, manipulate their earnings to show higher numbers, and appear to not wish to acquire any new companies. Thus company B comes to them of their own accord, and company A “reluctantly” agrees to buy them out and add them to their growing conglomerate.
This is the way many people also view relationships, and I’m ashamed to include myself in that list up until a few years ago. Similarly when dealing with your partner many of us think like this:
- What do I want? – Him/her to spend more time with me
- How will I get it? – Mope, cry, passive aggressive behavior
- How will he/she react? – He/she will worry, causing him/her to spend more time with me
I see and hear of this kind of thing going on all the time and it’s just horrible. We treat love, affection, time together and sex as commodities that must be battled over and fought for using any means necessary. We treat our partners as enemies to be conquered and dominated. Well I for one am done with it, and have been for a number of years. It’s time to talk, about everything, let nothing be out of bounds between two people who are committed to having a relationship with each other. We have to stop chasing each other into traps, manipulating each other’s emotions for some perceived personal gain.
My philosophy is this, if I can’t get what I need out of a relationship through honest and up front communication, then I might want to consider whether the relationship is in fact right for me. I have a new set of rules:
- Absolute honesty
- No psychological or emotional manipulation
- No lies, secrets or tricks
- Communicate early and often when problems arise
- Negotiate and talk every time something changes
Those are the “rules” of my “game”, and if I can’t “win” according to those rules then I graciously accept “defeat”. People talk about “cheating” in relationships, well I see lies, manipulation or bad communication as cheating as well, and just as destructive. Since going 100% honest and open
my relationships my life has improved significantly. I was once the kind of person who would say or do something in order to elicit a preferred response, now I say only the truth and I take whatever response comes, knowing that I’ve earned the true response. When I deal with people it’s the same, I don’t accept game theory, or manipulation from others. As someone who used to do it I can spot it a mile off.
You might say “But The Game is for picking up girls, it’s only a bit of fun, a way to get laid”. Man save the $200 you’d spend on drinks at a high class club and spend it on a legal sex worker, this way the exchange is clear, more honest and the sex will probably be better! Is it really so much more moral to trick a girl into a drunk one nighter using bad psychology, than to simply pay for sex? Anyway, an ethical discussion for another time perhaps
Here’s my point; let’s communicate people! The enemy is out there, there’s politicians, bankers, shyster lawyers and marketers all vying for your money, time, attention and emotional investment. Our personal relationships should be our sanctuary, our place to feel safe, our place to have a laugh, and be open and honest in our dealings. But what if you feel scared to speak the truth? Afraid to bring things up? Terrified to give up your secrets? Let me tell you the good news, with the truth you can never lose. It might be tough, but in the end you’ll always come out the winner. Let’s look at a list of scary things that can happen when we are honest, and how they are all actually positive:
- What if she/he hates me when I tell the truth? Good! It wasn’t meant to be, move on and find someone who loves and likes you for who you really are
- But I have secrets that I know will end the relationship! So? Either end the relationship yourself or share the secret and see what happens, if it end it ends, as it should. If you are happy to fool your partner and live dishonestly then have at it.
- I’m terrified to bring things up with my partner! If you fear speaking your mind this is a sure sign that you are dealing with a bully or pshycho. Decent, ethical and empathetic humans want you to speak your mind and will listen, even it it’s a difficult truth.
- But if I tell the truth my partner will hurt me/the kids/the pets! Ok now you ARE dealing with a bully/psycho. You need to get in touch with an abuse help line and start planning an exit. The truth can wait for now, don’t waste it on an abuser.
And so I appeal to you, make honesty your policy when dealing with partners and potential partners. In a world full of deception and manipulation it’s the honest ones who stick out, who are like a breath of fresh air when we talk to them. And don’t let the misdeeds and dishonesty of others tarnish your own character, two wrongs don’t make a right. Sure it looks like the liars are getting an advantage, they might have all sorts of ill gotten gains. But the honest person knows that everything they have is theirs, every experience and every relationship belongs to them, honestly.
Thanks for reading folks! What do you think? Is honesty the best policy?
- The Death of Romanticism
- Falling in Love was Easy
- Life’s Little Adventures
- There’s Nothing Sexier Than The Truth
- The Secret to Unconditional Self Love
- How to Overcome Loneliness & A Fear of Being Single
Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.