I’m Done Playing the Game


Shared by Brookie

Of all things, love is not simple.

It is a prize that has been sought after by kings, princesses, and paupers alike. Over its possession, figurative dragons have been slayed, tournaments have been held, kingdoms have been sliced in two, and both death and life have been dealt from one hand. Even in the modern world, it is the cause of both the greatest disasters and the greatest achievements.
Love today is complex, and it is safe to say that it has always been so. It is a fight, that’s for certain. It is hard—that is undeniable. But when did it become a game?

Today’s princes and princesses are standing on a checkerboard. They are pieces in a game of “Sorry,” where break-ups happen with the flip of a card and rarely do pieces reach home without rebounds. They are players in Monopoly—where “friends” build hotels on opposite sides of the board and then charge each other when they’re broke. Relationships themselves are like chess, where friends become pawns and exploiting weaknesses is the way to win.

When did love become a game? We all recognize it subconsciously. Even Taylor Swift admits in her song, Blank Space, “Love’s a game. Wanna play?” And indeed, we play it well. We use social media as our chessboard—likes count as scores, notifications count as spaces moved, empowering comments count as the jackpot. And the cards? Well we keep them hidden. Throughout the game, we bluff and fold and call the other players out on cheating. We sacrifice the precious little chips of our heart for the chance to gain it all—or we lose terribly while trying.

That is the game we play in love. It is strategy. It is manipulation. It is hiding the hurt behind your poker face. It is cheating if you can get away with it. It is subtle. And above all it is toying with the most precious gift in life as if it were a game of cards.

Love is chess now. I’m tired of playing it too. Why? Because making love a game makes it all about winners and losers. Instead of working together, relationships become him and her both struggling for the trophy. This creates a lack of trust, which causes both people to keep their cards hidden. In doing this, him and her never really reveal themselves. They are never honest. In the end, the relationship fails because someone ended up with a hand full of aces or they got bored and left to watch Netflix. It’s not surprising that we have a status called “it’s complicated”. It’s even less surprising that we have these half-relationships where no one knows what’s going on. That’s because we have made it a game. And it’s hard to have commitment when there’s so much competition.

So I’m tired of playing this game. If I ever get a second chance to love someone, I don’t want it to be me against him or us against the world. I don’t want to trick all my friends and family by hiding my true intentions. I don’t want to lose myself or my goals by getting caught up in the heat of one move. I don’t want to toy with his heart through subtle texts and mixed facebook posts. I don’t want to show my trophy off to others just to make them jealous.
What I do want is to hand him my cards and say, “Look, we don’t have to play anymore. Here is what I have in my hand. That’s who I am and what I believe. Now how about your cards?” Then we would play solitaire, only this time I wouldn’t be alone. One card at a time, we would match his deck with mine and see if we could score. We would smile as two cards matched up, and we would communicate whenever they countered each other. Once all of them were on the table, perfectly matched, we would shuffle them together and start again.

At some point, everyone has a choice to make in a relationship: would you rather play war—throwing down hearts, spades, and diamonds in quick succession—or would you rather do solitaire for two? Would you rather have the fireworks and thrills of the game or the steady growth of a relationship? Are you going to play or not? If you play, you might win some big ones, but you could also end up with a broken heart and many scars. If you don’t, you have a chance at something called true love….something that lasts forever.

And that doesn’t come by playing the game—it comes by winning the heart.


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