Childhood Games and their Effect on Adult Relationships

From the time we humans begin to verbally communicate as toddlers we begin to use that language along with physical language to play games. Boys play what appear to be different games but all are actually a game called Compete in differing variations. Girls for the most part play House and Dolls, but again this is just one game called Control which is usually played by manipulation of emotions. Until puberty the boys and girls pretty much stay away from each other because they think the other’s game is stupid. During and after puberty as they begin to re-assemble the two cultures, obvious clashes arise culminating in devastating consequences for most.

The young male begins to try to impress his potential mate by competing, not only for her but against her, because that is all he knows. Although she is hardwired to find the best Alpha Male suitable for her, problems arise as that Alpha has become an Alpha by being very good at Compete in many categories – which is why he has become the Alpha. Unfortunately for him, his competitions against her typically makes her cry and become angry instead of the admiration he is used to when competing against other males. This is why so many young teens starting to date have so many confusing arguments. He thinks he should be admired for winning the argument (competition) against her and she typically will see it as him simply trying to dominate rather than what she is used to, a challenging mind game of control where one of the rules is you have to control without hurting anybody’s feelings. This is the basis for men walking away thinking that women are crazy. After all, he obviously won that round of compete and instead of her adoring him for winning; she cried, yelled, and spewed things that has nothing to do with the topic.

Another problem that arises is that there are different winners and losers in the competition of male fight for dominance to become the Alpha in each category. The main categories are: physical attractiveness, physical dominance (toughness), academia, humor, kindness, and athleticism. There are many small sub categories, but these are the main ones. Men know that one may be the Alpha of one of these categories yet may be at the bottom of another. Examples would include the top athlete who is almost failing in school work or the class valedictorian who cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. Where males understand the nuances involved in their games of Compete, females seem to be clueless to all of the differences.


A young lady who sees the high school or college star running back as the alpha may have no idea that he is a complete looser in all other categories. He may be near the top of physical attractiveness, physical dominance, and athleticism but he is also near the bottom of academia, humor, and kindness. After a whirlwind beginning to the relationship she slowly begins to feel the pain of her mistake without really understanding where it is coming from. After all she did chose an attractive, physical, athlete who is unintelligent, humorless, and in the kindness scale scores as a brutal asshole. How many of you ladies dated that guy?

Men are just as bad at choosing a female companion. First of all, we don’t choose – we are chosen. Since all we know is Compete and we are visual creatures ruled by our hormones, we only look at physical attractiveness as valuable. As you ladies know more than we do – there are plenty of gorgeous women with serious emotional and mental defects. So, the male equivalent of ending up with the wrong partner is the kind guy who dates the gorgeous girl who has un-resolved daddy issues who cheats on him with several of her college professors, the captain of the basketball team, his dad, and the owner of the business she works at part time. I feel that males being bad at choosing requires its own article and maybe its own book because we really suck at it, I will defer that subject to another time.

Both sexes have been trying to find a suitable mate based on wrong information, mind games, and bad advice for decades and is bringing the relationship world to a screeching halt. My hope is to educate both men and women to the games we both play and begin a world of people being able to choose partners based on sound advise and knowledge.

In my book, Alternate Reality – The Mostly True Story of How I Became a Sociopath or a Comical Look at My Messed Up Life, I talk about some of this in more detail. In chapter 14, I discuss how my cousin David and I broke the mold on this whole Compete vs Control game that both sexes play when picking partners. We decided we were not going to play either game and started a new game we called “I Win”.


By Steve Ross

Author of Alternate Reality

The Mostly True Story of How I Became a Sociopath or a Comical Look at My Messed Up Life

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