Read about The Theory of Interest first, if you've come here because of women. Otherwise, check the table of contents. Despite model scenarios, you can lose some illusions here.

Pokud jste tu kvůli ženám, přečtěte si, o čem Teorie zájmu vlastně je. Jinak zkuste rovnou obsah. Ač uvedené jsou modelové situace, nedivte se, když tu přijdete o iluze.

Dating Is a Game  

Posted by SomeoneCZ in ,

Let us start with a short lesson from history to discover a motivation for the game. First of all, people saw that they might have a successful relationship. It does not matter, what kind of relationship it was – e.g. Miss Right and Gentleman, lovers and adultery, or marriage for money. It is important to realize that there was a publicly available statistics, so they could assess a success probability. Although, they would not use exactly these words to describe their choices:-)

For a long time, the statistics were the only source, until Theory of Games [31] came on the scene. It has been shown that it is possible to compute a strategy to achieve a particular goal. A strategy we can consider as optimal under given circumstances.

Later, John Nash proved an existence of equilibrium for n-person games [32]. Using the Nash equilibrium, we can describe a lasting relationship that both partners desire to keep. All we miss at this point is a set of game rules to achieve and keep the desired equilibrium.

While e.g. Nash and von Neumann were concerned mostly about the field of economy, their theories are applicable to dating as well. DocLove [2] is concerned about the dating and he introduced a set of rules, which lead us to the goal – a desired equilibrium in a form of a long-term relationship with Miss Right having high interest level.

For example, we can take The System [2] as a set of rules to increase her interest level. It confirms the possibility of applying Theory of Games to dating and relationships.

Using Theory of Games, the following text outlines modeling of changes of interest level and associated reasons.


Let us consider the dating as a game - precisely, as a game for one man and one woman. Since I’m a man and therefore I talk from the man perspective, let us play the man. Our goal is to find a win strategy to gain and keep the woman. There are four distinct victory and defeat conditions:


  • Primary: A lasting relationship
  • Secondary: A proof that the woman is not the one we seek


  • Rejection without achieving the relationship
  • Rejection while achieving the relationship

Obviously, the last three conditions end the game, while the first condition equals to an infinitely-long (non-terminating) game, thus allowing two more conditions.

Like that or not, but it is possible to compute the optimal strategy [31, 32]. So, let’s get a little bit formal here. With so-called normal game, we assume that both players play simultaneously and they don’t know actions of each other. If they have some knowledge about choices of the other player, we call it an extensive form. The extensive form can capture an imperfect information game – see later.


Let us a make an example – each cell contains a duple of numbers – the resulting state of the man and the woman. Each number is either 0 (not satisfied), or 1 (satisfied). Assume two distinct woman personalities – Miss Right [3] aka The Good One [2] and a mercenary.

His Action/Her PersonalityMiss RightMercenary
He spends a reasonable amount of money1, 1 (a)1, 0 (a)
He spends a lot of money0, 01, 1 (b)
  • 1, 1 (a) – He is satisfied that she’s not a mercenary. She’s satisfied as he does not try to buy her interest level. They continue to reach the primary victory condition – the relationship.

  • 1, 1 (b) – As a mercenary, she is satisfied with his approach. Apparently, he loves to spend a lot of money with woman as well. Thus, they both head for a relationship too.

  • 1, 0 (a) – She is not satisfied, because she is after his money at the first place. However, he is satisfied that he discovered a mercenary, before she could lighten up his bank account. He achieved the secondary victory condition by making a proof she is not the one, he seeks.

  • 0, 0 – She’s got the feeling he tries to buy her interest level and she interprets such behavior as a lack of self-confidence. She did not like him. Thus, she rejects him. Therefore he looses as he achieved the defeat condition – getting rejected without the relationship.

  • 1, 0 (b) – If man spends a lot of money, it is an omitted variant that indicates an error in result evaluation, as it would mean a man that is satisfied with a rejection by a woman he wants, or alienation.

The Lasting Relationship

If you date her for more than two months, we can start to talk about having a relationship. As there are commitments in the relationship, we talk about a cooperative game. As each player can have his/her own strategy, it is generally an asymmetric game. Because we don’t watch our girlfriends as a woman prison guard, we don’t know all actions she takes. That’s called an imperfect information game. So, these are our conditions, under which we try to achieve such state that it is seen as profitable for both players to continue with the relationship. This is the equilibrium [x5] that we seek.

Using the Model

Okay, you’ve got the basic idea about the game theory and its application, so now it’s the time to ask, how to use it. For the moment, let us assume that you’ve already got the model of woman’s behavior. This material and [2, 3] are in fact a representation of the model. They are a set of statements, which describe behavior of Miss Right. It is done in a form of reactions to various inputs. For instance, if you act with self-confidence, it raises her high interest level, if there’s one. Applying this information, you should know to always kiss her without asking on the end of your first date. When you don’t introduce yourself, but you rather wait until she asks on her own, you are evaluating her fitness to the model – if she is the one you want. Miss Right with high interest level will ask.

Easily said, you start with an optimistic assumption she’s the one you are looking for. Anticipating this fact, you tailor your actions towards her in such manner, which should result into growing of her interest level, if she fits the model. If she does not, then you will encounter either an infidelity with the model, or low interest level. This way you achieve one of victory conditions – you either get long-term relationship, or you know it is better to try another one.

Just to stress it, I don’t say to be rigid. Please, expose a flexible behavior – anyway Miss Right expects that of you. However, make sure you always follow the model. You won’t pay for your mistakes, if you won’t make them.

Common Mistakes

I have never used such model, I don’t believe this is possible, etc. is the cry of guys who don’t like the precisely defined steps showing their errors (BTW: they love to repeat). Like that or not, any behavior can be described with a model, which does not necessarily needs to be formed with math equations. As you behave somehow, you behave accordingly to some model. It is a fact that is not violated by an inability to describe, understand or design the model, or by the model’s fidelity.

Model’s fidelity with reality is a big issue. If the model is either based on a set of assumptions, which do not hold when confronted with reality, it is an apparent mistake. Typical examples are wishful thinking and incomplete information:

  • I asked her out twice, she refused twice without a concrete counteroffer. I’ll give it one more shot.
    If she would have high interest level, she would respond with a concrete counteroffer.

  • I’ll bring her flowers on the first date to please her and present myself as a gentleman.
    There are three types of woman: require flowers on the first date, hate flowers on the first date and does not require flowers on the first date. Part of the success is to know whom you want.

Another mistake is a belief that you can switch models swiftly enough to score with any type of woman without loosing a point. Considering the flower example, it proves an existence of a situation, when you loose points – assuming require flowers, meeting hate flowers. However, it is possible to minimize, not eliminate, the probability of getting into such situation and it is possible to develop techniques to reduce your losses in such situation.

Or, some people set unrealizable goals. For instance, they make assumption that they can have any woman. This is not true – as example, you cannot have Miss Right that has high interest level in somebody else, because she is loyal.

I have no doubts that there will be some macher with a persuading war story as he got her laid. Bullshit. In that very moment he got her laid, he proved that she’s either not loyal, i.e. she isn’t miss Right, or that she lacks high interest level in her so-called boyfriend. Aka, it really is impossible. C’est la vie.

Fourth mistake is not a problem with the model, but it is a feedback problem. Every model operates with some tolerance, but you have to feed it with valid data. If you fail to correctly evaluate the situation, you loose with any model. However, some are not aware of it sometimes.

Modeling Miss Right

Miss Right presents a particular type of woman that is well-defined with her attitude characteristics. Additionally, her behavior towards a particular man is determined by her interest level in possibly several men. She presents a subset of all women. Thus, we can construct a relatively simple model and design a relatively small set of rules. While they are still effective, they fit the reality on given range and lead us to the realizable goal. Therefore, a violation of the model indicates that we either do not deal with Miss Right, and/or that she has low interest level.* In such case, we could achieve the secondary victory condition and we are free to proceed with another woman to try to achieve primary victory condition.

*Yes, formally, it can indicate an error in the model too. However, field results continuously prove the model to fit the reality over past years.

Not only Miss Right exposes an adaptive behavior as she takes past values of her interest level into account for her decision making.

Creating a huge, complex model that would cover every woman implies an enormous phase space. Moreover, we would have to introduce delays to deal e.g. with loyal woman and we still could not guarantee a success exactly with her. We have to use state space instead of phase space, because in continuous space, the loyal woman presents too many variables we cannot estimate effectively enough – e.g. if, when and why she will break up with her current partner. However, in the discrete state space we can substitute these variables with a sort of algorithm to describe transitions between states, which of course have to be well-defined.

A simplification with more reasonable requirements means to classify women into several classes. A problem arises when it comes to setting the granularity level to identify particular classes. Should they be mutually exclusive, or should they overlap? Miss Right model eliminates this problem by using the black & white classification. She either is Miss Right, or she is not.

To correctly identify Miss Right, regardless of her interest level in a particular man, it is necessary to describe some aspects of behavior of other women as well. It is a side effect of the black & white classification, which comes handy and you can use it to design your own strategy, if you’d like to have a different type of woman.

One has to bear in mind that when it comes to women, in which we have high interest level, decisions are being made in a stress for many guys. An excessive complexity harms their efforts to adhere to the model. On contrary, a relatively simple model does not have such disadvantage. But it may be seen as too inflexible because of emotions, fear of rejection, etc. Fortunately, it is possible to practice discipline to rule these effects out of the decision making.

An effective strategy is a key to your success.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 7:14 PM and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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