A Game by Liz N. Clift
Game requires exactly three (3) players, at least one (1) unaware that s/he is playing. The characters are as follows:
Significant Other (You probably shouldn’t read the directions too carefully. Spoiler alert.)
Potential Suitor (If you’re reading these instructions, we can’t play the game.)
Dating age and up. Ideally, you should be beyond those awkward teenage years when you went to the mall to be alone. For best results, the Primary Player and Significant Other should be considering living together in the near future.
Rules & Setup
The game starts with emotional betrayal. Make a friend who will make your Significant Other (SO) jealous, a Potential Suitor (PS). This friend need not be anything more than a potential, but if something develops, all the better for you.
Primary Player: For best results, your SO should be long distance and wildly different from you. See the following chart for examples:
|You or Significant Other||Significant Other or You|
|Atheistic and/or religiously confused||Devout, evangelical Christian|
|Pro-social justice||Hates any sort of welfare|
|Pro-socialized medicince||Pro-private health care|
|Unaffiliated, left-of-center politically||Die-hard Republican|
|Pro-gun control||Keeps weapons in every room of the house|
|Believes labels like “men’s work” and “women’s work” should be eradicated from the English language.||Classifies “men’s work” as mowing the lawn, anything with hammers or wrenches, changing the oil, and drywall repair. “Women’s work” entails vacuuming, all things with Windex and Scrubbing Bubbles, baking, and cleaning the toilet.|
|Difficulty with expressing affection; shows emotion by taking care of others||Believes words are enough; verbally expresses affection frequently and is hurt when this is not reciprocated|
|Comfortable with silence||Uncomfortable with silence|
|Believes September 11, 2001, was a traumatic day in American history, but realizes almost as many people die each day of heart disease||Believes September 11, 2001, is worthy of deep remembrance and patriotism because Americans died unexpectedly, in a way we could not control|
1) Your current relationship with Significant Other (SO) should involve high emotional investment. Until recently, you would have called this person one of your best friends. Probably s/he still is.
2) Spend a rainy Saturday emotionally cheating on your SO with Potential Suitor (PS) at a coffee shop, and later at a local park while walking your dog (walk yourselves if you do not have a dog). Tell PS things you’ve never trusted yourself to tell anyone.
b. Remember, two to four weeks ago you didn’t trust yourself to share. Or, more specifically, you didn’t trust your SO. Really, it’s the same thing, isn’t it?
ii. If you choose B, do not advance forward.
3) Spend eight hours with PS that rainy Saturday. It’s not your first time losing hours with/to this person.
Note: SO – Really, you’re doing fine. There’s nothing to worry about. Move backward again.
b. Tell PS about it early in the day. S/he will not have feedback directly related to relationship. Try to gauge if there’s any jealousy on PS’s part.
4) That evening, call SO. Say Happy Birthday. Or, How was your day? Or think, I can’t end this when I hear his/her voice.
b. Think of all the ways it could work. Make a list of these reasons. Burn it and lose one day.
Note: SO – This might be a good time to talk about the long-term. Your SO is feeling vulnerable and anxious. Talking about the future will give him/her a sense of security. Or push him/her over the brink because s/he can’t think about you in the long term. But hey, isn’t it worth the gamble?
c. If applicable, remember s/he didn’t want to commit to a long-distance relationship, so whatever you are, you are not dating. Even though if someone overheard your conversations they would conclude otherwise.
5) Lie to SO when s/he asks what you did with your day, who you were with. Do not lie out of obligation, but because you believe it’s the right thing to do.
Note: SO – If you’re not the jealous type, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the Primary Player believes you’re the jealous type.
6) When your SO tells you s/he loves and/or misses you, respond in kind. Or almost in kind. Reciprocate. Enjoy the feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you this is wrong. Hush that feeling. Tell yourself that it is good to feel this way. You feel this way because you know the relationship is wrong.
b. If done in person, fake the body language. Do it, damn it. You can fake anything.
7) Tell your SO you’re tired. This is not a lie.
8 ) S/he does not want to let you off that easily again. Third night in a row. Don’t talk much. You’re tired, after all, and wishing you were still talking to PS.
9) SO mentions s/he doesn’t like it when you’re so quiet. S/he can’t tell if s/he’s done something to upset you, hasn’t said something s/he should have, etc.
a. For every time you reassure your SO nothing’s wrong, move backward.
10) Talk until your phone starts to die. Listen to the phone give warning beeps.
11) Allow the phone to die.
12) Send an email to PS about things you talked about during your rainy Saturday together. Title it simply: “Thoughts.”
b. Yes, you’re tired. Push through and write the damn email. Lose one night.
13) Get ready for bed. Plug in your phone, but do not turn it back on.
14) The next day:
ii. Instead, send a text saying you were too tired. It’s not entirely a lie.
15) Make the decision: I’ll end it Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Next month. Soon.