“There are at least two kinds of games…A finite game is played for the purpose or winning. An infinite game is for the purpose of continuing the play. “
Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse.
There are two ways in which love can be viewed: as finite and as infinite games. Determining which type of game the person you’re seeing is playing is critical to getting the dating outcome you want.
So let’s take a look at the two types of dating games.
The finite game has a clear beginning and ending. It is played for the purpose of winning. Once someone has won, the game ends.
For instance, a finite game begins when a man decides to pursue a woman. When she openly flirts and with him, the game continues. The game ends when both sleep together. The man wins.
An infinite game, on the other hand, has no clear beginning nor ending. Its rules constantly change and the goal is not to win but to continue the game. When a woman is looking for a provider, she engages in an infinite game. It is not clear when the selection for the suitable mate happens, as it is always ongoing. Once she finds someone, she carefully uses her power to keep him as long as possible, guaranteeing security.
The finite game cannot occur within the infinite game. Once the woman gives up her sexual power, the game is finished and the man has won, but if the woman is able to leverage her sexual power, keep a degree of mystery and excitement in the relationship, the man will stay, as he still thinks the finite game is continuing.
I play the finite game with men and an infinite game with women. With men, I enjoy the explosion of sexual energy and rejoice in its short-lived high intensity. With women, I love the infinite game, because, while the flame starts off small it only grows larger as the two become more and more invested in the relationship.
The greatest sense of disappointment arises when two parties think that they are playing two different types of games. “Why hasn’t he texted me back after we spent an amazing night together?” is an example of a woman playing an infinite game and not realizing that it was a finite game and that she had lost. “What does she really want?” is a confused man’s response who thinks that he is playing the finite game while in fact he is part of the infinite game where the rules are always changing.
There are two main signs that show a start of a finite game. First, are the compliments. These tend to be not specific compliments regarding one’s qualities as a human but exaggerated flattery addressing one’s looks or intellect. A fun example from two weeks ago: Just wow, on the scale of 1 to 10, you are…wow…just off the scale. He was nervous. His speech was rapid. His body was full of excitement trying to score. If a woman is interested in the finite game, she will ask for help. He voice will grow soft. She will use simpler words, construct shorter sentences, to play a part of someone incompetent and vulnerable. “That box is so heavy, I don’t know how I am going to get it up the stairs,” is a great example I ran into last week subleasing my apartment. He wanted to get back together. She did not.
Is it fun to play games? Absolutely. They would not have continued for millennia if people did not participate. To escape the game it’s enough to learn the signs and steer clear of people who exhibit them. This leaves room for the people who don’t play games to enter your life.
While I engage in both finite and infinite games from time to time, depending on whether I prefer to set an expiration date or if I want to keep things open an exit whenever I wish, I made a decision to not have them give roots to relationships. Instead, I increasingly bring people into my romantic life who no longer play games. Together we create much richer relationships based on similar views of the world rather than on an exchange of goods and services.
Which game do you play?