Ask a Guy: How to Win at the Texting Game post image

Ask a Guy: How to Win at the Texting Game


I wanted to ask for your take on guys who play games in relationships, like the texting game, for instance. I thought people stopped that after college, but recently found out I was wrong.

I hate the whole game of one person sending a text and the other waiting two hours before responding, even if they have their phone and aren’t busy, just so they don’t seem desperate. I really don’t like playing games but this guy I’m involved with is being very confusing and I can’t tell if it’s just a game or not.

Is there a way to break the texting game or is that who that person is by nature and there’s nothing that can be done? How can I beat the texting game?

Honestly, there’s no winning if you view a relationship as a game in the first place.

Whether or not it’s intentional is something you can never know for sure, so it’s in your best interest to believe it’s not (and if it is, then it’s because of some fear or issue he has and not because he’s trying to manipulate you).

A huge factor in having good relationships is finding a way to move through the world and be in the relationship in a way that doesn’t activate your defenses.

As in: “He’s doing this to me/against me, so I need to counteract what he’s doing to me and win…”

There’s no winning/losing in relationships… if things go through that mental filter, it is always going to be a loss in the long run. Granted, there is a lot of relationship advice out there that advocates and even encourages using strategies and playing games, but any relationship that has a real shot of leading to lasting love does not and cannot have this component…

You can’t have love in a relationship and simultaneously have counter-measures and defenses in how you relate to the other person. You can have love or you can have someone you compete against… but you can’t have both.

QUIZ: Why Doesn’t He Text Back? 

Maybe short, isolated events will happen that can make you feel like you’re gaining or losing ground… but in the long term, it always results in guardedness, resentment, and withholding… and if that’s what characterizes the relationship, then it’s not a win on any level. That’s not a relationship – that’s a battle of wills, which, at best, can only offer a never-ending cycle of stress and relief.

The best way to relate to people is to give them the space to be how they are and find a way to accept them and relate to them for who they truly are.

Not how you’d like them to be…

Not how you wish they were…

And definitely not how you think they “should” be acting.

If you can accept someone with compassion in your heart (and not view them through a lens that they’re doing something to/against you), then you’ll actually be able to relate to him without guardedness and without putting yourself in a position where you risk feeling hurt, resentful, taken advantage of, rejected, etc.

Simple, but not easy. It requires a shift.

When you aren’t in the right headspace, you can interpret something as an attack or disrespectful action and attack back when the original action wasn’t an attack or disrespectful action in the first place. Our mindset colors the lens through which we see the world. If you look at him as an opponent, then you will be in defense mode and will be on guard for the next attack.

MORE: 10 Things Confident People Do Differently in Relationships 

A large part of my work is giving people awareness and a deeper level of consciousness so they can recognize destructive patterns for what they are and take a path that actually will lead to love. It is largely a matter of perspective and awareness… and all of us (including myself) would do well to keep pushing ourselves towards acceptance, compassion, and understanding (versus attacking or defending as the first instinct).

Now some might counter by saying, “But why should I keep putting anything into the relationship if he isn’t investing in it?”

I am not advocating staying in a bad relationship. What I’m trying to highlight is the importance of having the right mindset and the right way to look at a relationship. The wrong way to look at relationships is to see them as quid-pro-quo exchange and to believe that the other person owes you something or should be a certain way. And if it’s not that way you get upset. For instance, you think he should text you back right away, or should text more frequently. When you have these expectations, then you stop relating to the other person from a place of love and compassion and instead become guarded and full of resentment.

A lot of people (not just women) believe that if they bring something to the table, it’s only fair/decent/expected that the other person give what they want in return… but it doesn’t always work that way and in reality, a strong, mutually satisfying relationship isn’t an exchange… it’s two people coming together as a unit and complementing each other and bringing out the best in one another.

In light of that, ongoing reciprocity in a relationship (in the largest sense) is an illusion. If you’re going to look for anything, look for someone whose nature makes you happy… not what you get in return for what you feel you put in.

It is clear as day to me when a woman who writes to me has been pouring her heart, energy, and soul into a guy who isn’t right for her. It clearly isn’t a match, even if she won’t admit it, but she clings to the hope that there’s something she can do to turn this relationship into the great love she’s always wished for.

In those cases, … (continued – Click to keep reading Ask a Guy: How to Win at the Texting Game)

8 comments… add one

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martina

hi

Reply May 21, 2015, 12:07 pm

Kim

Hi Eric,
I’ve been reading He’s Not That Complicated, and Kelsey Diamond’s series. I thought this guy I met on a dating site lost interest in me for whatever reason. He disabled his profile, and today he sends me Xoxo. He really only text me once during what seems to be lunch hour. I responded the same way and added a smile. I sent him a relatively close suggested line from Kelsey’s book and he replied with Lol… you’re so silly you make me smile. I know I’m worth more than texting and two previous phone calls which both ended with phone sex. I’m just trying to figure out how to find out if he will follow through wanting to meet me, so I can just stop being bored and waste my time. I’m not a harsh person, but stick a fork in my arm! I’m done. Dating now a days is just too complicated. Thanks Kim

Reply December 18, 2014, 11:27 pm

Sabrina Groover

Hey Ive been talking to this guy for awhile and we text ALL the time, like all day everyday. we flirt and joke around, but in person he seems almost distant. he talks to me, but not in the way he talks to me on the phone. I really like him, but I have no idea how to make it less awkward when we hang out in person. Help!!!

Reply December 10, 2014, 11:40 am

anja

you said in our e mail “you have to love him in
the way that’s deeply meaningful to
him.”

So how do we know what kind of love is meaningful to him? 🙂

Reply November 26, 2014, 6:43 am

Alayna

Cool eric so cool!

Reply November 25, 2014, 1:46 pm

Kristina

Good article! I really wish a guy I just ended it with could read this. Although he never played the “texting game”, he definitely played other games. He comes from a place of hurt (his ex cheated on him and basically treated him like crap). I always felt like it was a tit for tat thing with him. And he would set things up, almost to see if I would react (ie. we hadn’t become exclusive but he knew that’s where I wanted to go and one weekend his phone was not receiving texts. I didn’t hear from him all weekend and when I did, I told him I thought he was ignoring me. Instead of assuring me, he said, “Yeah, everyone thought so and my phone went ape shit crazy”.) Little stuff like that. I feel he needed the validation and would say things to get a reaction from me, which would validate him. Even though I told him on a number of occasions I liked him and thought he was great.

Literally two days after that convo about his phone, I had to have the “talk” with him and ended up walking away. What you said is so true, you have to be in the right mindset to have a successful relationship. Both parties do, it can’t just be one person.

Reply November 19, 2014, 3:26 pm

Debbie

The best way to stop the texting ‘game’ is to refuse to participate in it. Tell him you will only talk live. I’ve found players will generally prefer to text-helps them keep track of their stories. Everyone else will pick up the phone

Reply November 19, 2014, 3:06 pm

marion

Hi Eric,
“…a strong, mutually satisfying relationship isn’t an exchange… it’s two people coming together as a unit and complementing each other and bringing out the best in one another. ”
This is probably the only and best advice in one sentence anywhere to be read.
Thank You for that – in doubt, it’s all anyone needs to remind themself of – ever!!

Reply November 19, 2014, 2:46 pm

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