New Relationship Advice: Ladies and Gentlemen, Place Your Bets!

I like to turn every last aspect of my life into a game. Dating is not exempt from this philosophy, and I've found ways to build gaming mechanics like points systems, competitiveness, and scores into my casual dating endeavors.

Many might argue that games and shenanigans should end once one settles into a more steady romantic relationship. I disagree. I will concede that competitive dating doesn't work well when one is not seeing multiple people, but there are plenty of ways in which one might apply gaming mechanics to a budding relationship.

One excellent opportunity involves turning budding relationships into betting games.

Place your bets!
Place your bets! | Source

Relationships are a gamble- why not gamble ON them?

Before you decide that the very concept of placing bets on genuine relationships is a distasteful, gauche practice, consider the fact that people do this informally all the time. If you're even moderately social, you most certainly have been exposed to relationship-based comments such as "I bet they won't last two weeks," or "I bet you they'll be engaged within six months."

Friends, family, and coworkers bet on others' relationships on a regular basis. They just never follow through by turning their predictions into concrete wagers. Talk about a lost opportunity!

Why New Relationships Make for Great Betting Games

When turning any life event into a game, it is best to build the gaming mechanics around a salient point of friction or conflict. If the game revolves around getting to work on time, the mechanics will naturally revolve around beating the clock. If the game is centered on losing weight, mechanics will be tied to danger zones like diet and exercise.

When gamifying relationships, one ought to work with the greatest friction point associated with romantic involvement: the relationship's inevitable demise.

All good (and bad) things come to an end. Most people like to ignore the fact that every relationship into which they enter is going to end at some point, but where's the fun in that? It is much better, I think, to take that point of discomfort and toy with it.

Source

Doing so has three major benefits:

  1. The exercise helps one think practically about relationships and mentally prepare for various outcomes.
  2. The exercise is highly amusing and packed with comedic potential.
  3. If the betting process is tied to actual money, one can stand to make a profit

If at first you weren't a huge fan of the idea of placing bets on new relationships, will you not at least admit, now, that the practice has some inherent value?

How to Get Started

So let's say you've just entered into a slightly more constant / committed / exclusive relationship, and would like to give this whole betting game a go. Here's what you need to do:

What about you?

Would you ever place a bet on your own romantic relationships?

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  1. Establish a date in the future for which you would like to make predictions.
  2. Outline all possible states in which your relationship may be at that point
  3. Place a bet on one of these scenarios
  4. Encourage your friends to place bets as well
  5. Wait until that date rolls around
  6. Bring everyone together, establish the pre-outlined scenario that best describes the current state (or non-state) of your relationship
  7. Pay up or be paid!

You might also add odds to each scenario based on your estimation of each one's likelihood. See the table below for an example of six common scenarios to include.

A Template of Scenarios + Predicted Likelihood

Scenario
Likelihood
You're still together at the same level of commitment
30%
The other person broke up with you
35%
You broke up with the other person
15%
Some inevitable / unexpected event caused you to separate
17%
You're engaged
2%
You're married
1%
These scenarios would then be reviewed at a given date- say six months from the relationship's inception.

Variations

There are several different ways in which this game could be played.

Scenario Planning

The scenarios I outlined above are exceedingly basic. I recommend creating additional scenarios that are highly specific and customized your lifestyle and personality. Some additional potential scenarios could be:

You might even bet that the two of you are attacked by zombies!
You might even bet that the two of you are attacked by zombies! | Source
  • One party becomes famous and dumps the other party for a fellow celebrity
  • One party is murdered by the other party
  • One party becomes an obsessive stalker and the other party has to establish a restraining order
  • One party breaks up with the other party who becomes completely dejected and heartbroken
  • The couple becomes polyamorous and brings at least seven new partners into the relationship
  • The couple dies in a tragic murder suicide
  • The couple goes on to found a small island nation
  • The couple has an unexpected pregnancy followed by a shotgun wedding

You know why he's smiling? Because he made a good bet and is TOTALLY going to win some money from his friends.
You know why he's smiling? Because he made a good bet and is TOTALLY going to win some money from his friends. | Source

Betting

While you may bet on the scenario that you think is most likely to come to pass, you might also consider:

  • Betting on the worst-case scenario: That way, if it comes to pass, you at least have the satisfaction of winning your bet.
  • Betting as a wishful thinker: Do you really want that engagement ring? Perhaps by reaching for the stars with your bet, you will become more committed to really making that reality come to pass.
  • Betting deceptively: Just to mess with the other people placing bets. This would be especially fun.

Public vs. Private

While I think this is a more-the-merrier activity, you can also make this game an entirely personal exercise. If you're the private type and don't like talking about your feelings or your romantic endeavors, you can always do this by yourself just to see how good you are at judging the outcomes of each new relationship on which you embark.

You can also keep the betting just between you and the other party in your relationship. Does that seem weird? I don't think so! Doing so would be highly interesting, especially considering that the two of you might be placing significantly different bets! Whether the other party's bet is based on wishful thinking, genuine prediction, or intentional deception will become a point of constant conjecture for each person in the relationship. How delicious would that be???

Source

Cash vs. Honor vs. FOOD!

Cash need not be the only bet-fodder utilized with this game (though I think it's ideal). You can always revert to bragging rights if you and your friends are particularly broke, or you might also bet with good-as-money commodities such as chocolate and knives.

Honestly, whatever betting currency you settle on is beside the point. The entire purpose of this game is to remove pressure, consider interesting alternatives, think ahead, and have some fun. So long as you do those things, you've won.

Are you in a relationship?

What do you think its status will be in six months?

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Ladies and Gents, Place Your Bets!

Games aren't just silly ways to pass the time- they're a great way to develop skills, think strategically, and turn daunting tasks into agreeable exercises.

Betting on relationships might seem like a silly concept, but it can encourage one to think practically and prepare for a wide variety of surprises and upsets. Considering how many people get completely messed up by unexpected outcomes in romantic relationships (often due to a lack of practical scenario planning), I think it's fair to say that any practice that encourages people to think ahead is a good one.

What do you think? Have you placed an informal mental bet on the outcome of a relationship you're in- or a relationship in which a friend or family member is currently in? Would you ever bet on a relationship publicly? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Comments 8 comments

sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Quite a novel idea, Simone and I bet there will be many takers. :) Hmm... Even if people don't pay up cash, wagering privately too, may be a way to find out just how your relationships tick! Funny, interesting hub. Voted up.


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

I have to admit I've said things such as, 'I bet she's after his money,' or, 'I bet he is seeing other people.'

Although I had not thought of those phrases the way you describe them, I see your point (a very good one) - it's sad, really, that we somewhat wager on something as serious as commitment, love, marriage and happiness.

Very thought-provoking hub - thanks for publishing this! Voted up and interesting.


Attikos profile image

Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

You could set up a lottery on a breakup date, and skim 20% off the top. That should cover the cost of meals out, concerts, gas, and the like. Free dating. Can't beat it.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Yeah, it would be a great predictive exercise, would it not, sen.sush23? Thanks for the vote of confidence ;)

Marcy Goodfleisch, I actually think it's perfectly fine that we might wager on things as serious as commitment. It might actually get us to think about what we're doing and what that commitment actually means to us.

Attikos, I'm really liking this 20% idea. Reeeeeally liking it. Good tip!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

But ... does betting on it have an effect on the relationship just because you have bet on it. Surely the bet could have an effect on the relationship especially for a very competitive person. If you bet that the relationship will survive or fail, do you unconsciously make decisions because you have bet on it? Something to think about.

But I did find this to be a very novel idea. In fact, it is an interesting concept to think about. It kind of expands the limits and pushes one out of the box.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This is a novel idea. I can see pro's and cons for this. It might actually break up a relationship. Anyone betting that they would be engaged or married might be getting into something they really don't want, or might even scare off the other partner. On the other hand it might get someone to really work at keeping the relationship a good one.

Great hub


cperuzzi profile image

cperuzzi 4 years ago from Freehold, NJ

Oh the young.

There are times I'm really grateful for hanging up my number in retirement - in the form of marriage. I've been out of the singles game for almost 20 years and like most married men, I get the scoop on dating through a form of osmosis.

It's great. It's like watching television. You get to see the stories unfold and you get to be part of them as a nonparticipating observer.

That being said I agree that these kinds of games should be done while dating at the superficial level. It's almost like a dead pool - what's fun is getting to set the odds of how the relationship will terminate (if at all).

And as dastardly as this sounds, there is a perverse kind of enjoyment in seeing a relationship that you KNOW is doomed to fail, implode under its own weight of nonsense. I think it can be a learning experience, especially when you have a friend that needs to learn to break things off when they go sour.

I love this hub. Voting up!


isenhower33 profile image

isenhower33 4 years ago from Crothersville, IN

We will have to agree to disagree on this, dating can be a game if you let it be that way. Playing a game with many different people can be overwhelming and shouldn't be the approach you should turn to. I understand this happens a lot in big cities but not where i am from. If you go on a date that doesn't meet your standards just get up and leave. There are not that many people around you that fit you perfectly, so if you go on 15 dates in all reality you know out of 15 there might be 2 that fit you better than the rest. If they do not have goals and standards now, do you really think you can fix that? Dont be that girl or guy that tries to be the repair man. Very seldom does this ever work out. Don't date the person because of looks or job, date them because they match you great. I wrote about this problem for girls in my Girls Vs. Love...I do understand the reason for the many dates but after a few dates with each person you should have already narrowed it down to which guy/girl fits you better. I know this probably wont be seen lol but im not saying its all bad to date many people. Just make sure if thats what you are doing you are honest to whoever else you are dating. I know i wouldn't even bother with a girl that's dating 6 other guys. First few dates i would understand if we're not really "talking" yet but if it continues after that im gone. Im one of the good guys and i wont put my time into something that isn't going to benefit me. Good Discussion :)

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