Yes, it is a dating “game”

The rumors are all true—the dating game exists.

And the first thing any single man or woman needs to know about the dating game is that it’s like a contact sport, one in which you can and will be injured if you don’t know what you are doing. The goal of Utah’s Dating Coach is to help you navigate the hazards of the dating game while leading you confidently and successfully from flirting to first date and on to engagement and marriage, so you can get out there, play ball, and have fun.

The links and information below are provided to help coach you successfully through the dating game. Good luck!


Your guide to the dating game



Learn and keep THE RULES

Although it may be wise to view dating as a game, it can quickly become the manipulative kind of game we all fear and hate if there are not some basic rules for men and women to follow. The good news is that these rules do more than help a man or woman be safe, confident, and successful in dating; they also help them attract and appreciate other good and loving players on the field. After all, is it not our final goal to attract and then marry a good man or loving woman?

Rule 1You can’t win if you are not in the game. Seems simple enough, but too many don’t follow this basic rule. They think they can stay in a place far, far away from the dating game and still become lucky in love. Not only does this passive position make them more vulnerable to the abusive and manipulative, it also wastes much of their time. The bottom line is, you can’t hope to find success if you are not putting yourself where other singles are, or at least looking up and around in your day-to-day life to notice the singles that are already all around you (at the grocery store, the park, your church group, etc.).

Rule 2Be safe and avoid unnecessary risks. The best way to identify the early warning sings of a potential liar, cheater, abuser, or manipulator is to recognize their lack of empathy, self-control, and personal responsibility. Want to Marry a Good Man? Here’s How! and Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man describe in detail how to recognize these issues as early as the third date. The Be-Safe sections of these books are universally applicable to men and women, so don’t take for granted that the advice in these books is only about ensuring a woman’s physical and sexual safety. Abuse and manipulation cause emotional, psychological, and financial harm as well. So it’s imperative that men and women recognize and act quickly when they see the early warning signs of an abusive or manipulative personality. Too many people trust quickly in spite of the facts. Avoid this trap by knowing the warning signs and thus never taking unnecessary risks. For example, don’t take for granted that someone is just excited to meet you (when they want you to come to their house at 11:30 p.m. for a first date), or that you seem to be everything they have been looking for (when they ask you to blow off work to help them with some crisis, even though you have just met). Knowing the early warning signs can help you to avoid the unnecessary emotional attachments that will later prove painful.

Rule 3Tackles are against the rules. In the dating game, tackles represent abuse and manipulation. Tackles are what most singles refer to when they say they hate all the “games” in dating. Although it is wise to think of dating as a game (with strategies and techniques that can make you more successful), manipulating others is not the goal of the dating game. A person who honestly seeks to understand and appreciate the opposite sex while being true to him/herself in the process can learn to influence others in a healthy way that inspires them to pursue and enjoy the relationship. However, there are those who are looking for the tricks and traps that will get them what they want. Thus, you would be wise to accept the fact that, although tackles are against the rules, they are a frequent occurrence in the dating game. Learn how to avoid abuse and manipulation, and never be guilty of them. If you want to attract a good man or loving woman, you must be a good man or loving woman.

Rule 4To play, you have to pass the ball. The ball represents active participation in the game. Too many singles wait for love to happen to them without realizing that the more deeply they sacrifice, the more deeply they love. You can not progress personally or in your relationship skills if you do not invest in the process. Sitting on the sidelines, waiting for someone to entice you into the game, will not prepare you to play the game. You need experience and practice if you are to become confident and successful in your relationship skills. Many people can excel at school, work, or their favorite activities and yet be lousy at relationships. If you are to find, have, and keep a love that will last, you need to engage more fully in the process.

Rule 5 A date involves a man a woman and a ball. Hanging out requires little sacrifice and thus creates little love. If you are to develop a lasting relationship, you will need to make an investment of your time, energy, money, and commitment. That investment and commitment develops over time—from exchanging telephone numbers to going on dates and then to investing in the other person’s needs and feelings. However, to keep the ball in motion, you need to choose a partner who plays fair and invests in you as well.

Rule 6Anyone can drop the ball at anytime. Rejection happens. It can’t be avoided. As much as singles hate it, they must accept it as an inevitable risk; however, if singles will learn to view dating as a game, they may come to realize that their success or failure in the game (and with the opposite sex), has more to do with their technique than their personality. Thus, it is not you who is being rejected, it is your technique (this is especially true in the first few weeks and months of dating). On the flip side, you owe it to yourself and your future (and/or present) children to make the best choice possible for yourself (and them). It is your responsibility to end a relationship that’s not good for you. When you are single you need to be true to yourself, your needs, and your feelings. This is not selfish; it’s self-worth-ish. When facing either side of rejection, focus your attention on your worth and have faith that the kind of person you are looking for will see you for what you have to offer and will do their part in a relationship with you. Thus, chose faith instead of fear—it will make you look more confident and will help you endure the highs and lows of the dating game.

Rule 7It takes a man, a woman, and a ball to get into the final stretch. To help your relationship progress, you need to show love in the love language of the other person (see Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages), you need to express your feelings and needs, and you need to sacrifice for the relationship (while also allowing the other person to sacrifice for you). You need to keep the ball in motion (through your love and investment) while also keeping you eyes wide open (to the issues and problems you see in your partner and in the relationship). Now is the time to decide if this relationship is compatible with your goals and needs. So create a top-ten list of what you want and those problems you would be willing to choose in a relationship or partner. Ask yourself, “If I choose my love (with their strengths and problems), could I love my choice?”

Rule 8The game doesn’t end until you reach the final goal. Marriage is awesome when both partners are committed to and invested in each other’s happiness. Nonetheless, you will still have much to learn and resolve. The good news is that as you spend a lifetime working through your issues, you will both become more together than you could have ever become alone.

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Know and use the COACH’s strategies

Most people don’t want to think about how or why love happens. They expect that it just will happen. But love often does not work out the way we plan. Sometimes relationships fail to develop, or love doesn’t last. On occasion, those we love make choices we can’t live with, or we discover that our hopes and dreams were just that—hopes and dreams, not reality.

As a marriage and family therapist, Alisa Goodwin Snell (the Coach) knows many things about love and relationships that can help increase your chances for a good outcome. With this knowledge in mind, she wrote Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man, complete with 19 Game-Play Strategies for a woman’s safety, confidence, and success. She wrote this book knowing what women need most in relationships—safety and security. In order for a woman to feel safe and secure, she needs a good man, one who exercises self-control, takes responsibility, and respects her feelings, needs, and rights.

For men, it’s much simpler. They want a loving woman, particularly a loving woman who has faith and trusts in them and their competence. Thus, the dating-game strategies men need are very different from those women need.

The Coach’s strategies for men focus on helping them plan for and manage rejection, understand the female psychology, and provide for a woman’s safety and security. These strategies also help to maintain a man’s interest in the relationship as well as creating greater feelings of passion and excitement in life and in love.

The Coach’s strategies for women focus on helping them to act in a way that will get and keep a man in pursuit of her. These strategies encourage woman to act loving, understand the 17 secrets to the male psychology, act confident, and be true’to herself (which creates more of a challenge for men in dating).

These strategies can’t be explained in detail here, but as you peruse the secrets for success and dating tips found on this web page, you will learn many of them. For women, Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man will be a useful resource as well.

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Avoid unnecessary INJURY

The are many injuries that can happen in the dating game. Most of those injuries result from:
Tackles—Tackles are against the rules of the dating game. They represent abuse and manipulation. They are unfair, unjust, wrong, and hurtful, but they exist nonetheless. They are a major cause for breakups, divorce, infidelity, and more. Those who are guilty of tackles rarely feel the full impact of their abuse, exploitation, cheating, lying, or manipulation. They often jump from one relationship to another and are skillful at avoiding their responsibility, shame, and the consequences of their actions. Those who behave honestly, fairly, lovingly, and overly responsible are commonly attracted to (and attractive to) those who abuse and manipulate. In order for someone to be manipulative, there has to be someone who is easily manipulated (an abuser needs a good victim). Those who are overly responsible are often drawn to helping others and fixing their problems. These overly responsible individuals often have poor boundaries and difficulty in saying no to others. Thus, they are prime targets for tackles. To identify your vulnerability to abuse and manipulation, take the self-test in chapter 2 of Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man. You will want to address these issues before you get back into the dating game.

Stumbling blocks—The stumbling blocks in the dating game are, unfortunately, a result of our own making. They represent our issues with the opposite sex and our faulty beliefs about relationships. In this way singles often trip themselves up in their own efforts to play the game. For instance, a woman who uses sarcasm to express her frustration about dating and men may accidentally turn men off to pursuing her (in spite of the laughs she seems to be getting). She seems to not like or trust men, and so men fear her rejection and stay at a distance. A man who suffers from anxiety or fears rejection may act passive rather than actively participate in the process. He may then mistakenly believe that women aren’t interested when in fact they are. The problem is that his passivity makes him look less confident and attractive to the female psychology.

Potholes—The potholes in the game are a common cause for why singles stumble and fall in their efforts to attract the opposite sex. They do not understand the secrets to the male and female psychology, so women often take away the challenge, create boredom, become nags (and more); or men act insensitive, insecure, and disinterested. Potentially good relationships don’t materialize, and singles feel frustrated and ready to give up on the game. However, with a little more education, singles can quickly discover success.

Collisions—Collisions happen in all relationships (including marriage). They can’t be avoided. They result from the necessary strains of life and the struggles of how men and women communicate differently. Even the best-intentioned couples will discover that these collisions happen in spite of their best efforts. Do not despair. If you are with someone who is emotionally mature, their commitment will endure the challenge. They will do their part. They won’t abandon or quit. So smile, laugh, and touch each other when these collisions occur. Be sure to express your faith and confidence in your partner and his/her goodness. Say things like, “I know you would never hurt my feelings on purpose,” “I know we can work this out,” and ” I have faith in you and your ability to be inspired about what we should do.”

Now is the time to have faith (not fear) in your partner, yourself, your relationship, and in God. Fear creates self-fulfilling prophecies, insecurity, and doubt. It will rob you of your confidence and peace. Furthermore, it inspires little and drives others away. It will make you look and feel less happy, whereas choosing faith will only lead you to a higher and happier road.

To help you and your relationship sustain the many collisions you will experience, you’ll need to improve your communication skills,  understand the differences between men and women,  learn the secrets for success (in this website), and/or get counseling.

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Learn the SECRETS for success

Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
—Matthew 7:7

When it comes to being successful with the opposite sex, you need to know and understand the 17 secrets to the male psychology and the 17 secrets to the female psychology, which are provided within this web page and it’s links.

As in all things, the more you seek, the more you will appreciate and understand what you find. You can either search through the links and articles on or simply sign up for e-mail updates and have a copy of the 17 Secrets sent to you. Sign up for e-mail updates.

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Avoid the common MISTAKES

Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man outlines the 20 common mistakes women make—from flirting to first date and on to engagement and marriage. The book also provides hints for avoiding each of these mistakes plus hundreds of tips on what to do instead. However, you may find this brief list useful as it outlines some of the common mistakes men and women would be wise to avoid.
From flirting to first date
Common mistake #1—Men often window-shop for the perfect girl while hanging out at social events, rather than actively pursuing women through dating. It’s not that a man really expects to find a Barbie doll, it’s just that when so many women are available without any real sacrifice on his part, he can’t help but wonder if some thing better exists out there (Secret #4 of the male psychology—men are driven to succeed, face challenges, compete, and conquer). Unfortunately, he will keep wondering and wandering until he makes a top-ten list of what he is looking for and then actively pursues those who appear to have the qualities he desires (Secret #3 —good men are largely logical about their relationships and commitment. Thus, they do not commit easily to things they have not invested in over a period of time). It is through this effort of making the phone call, arranging the first date, and his investment on the date, that he may grow to like and appreciate her more (Secret #2—men love through sacrifice). When just hanging out, her flaws—which are easily discovered over time—turn him off; however, when he’s sacrificing and investing in her, those flaws seem manageable or even adorable (especially if she acts loving to his male psychology throughout the process; Secret #16 —good men adore women who give them love, attention, and affection).

Common mistake #2—Women often pursue men, linger too long, and otherwise become a bore. Women don’t do this intentionally. They just don’t understand that men need a challenge in order to feel excited about pursuing a woman. Women also don’t realize what message their behaviors send to men. When a woman walks across a dance floor to meet a man, she may believe, “I am sick of all this waiting; if he isn’t going to make a move, I will.” However, such a belief system is the equivalent of saying to a man, “You can’t be trusted to pursue me, so I will do it for you.” Men seek out relationships that make them feel trusted and respected (which is the #1 secret to the male psychology). A man may not consciously know what turns him off about a woman pursuing him—he just feels turned off or less attracted (all of a sudden). What first felt flattering has quickly turned (within weeks) to, “What is wrong with her? She’s driving me crazy with her calling. I just need a break. Maybe with a week or so of no contact, I’ll become interested again. She’s pretty but too needy.” He feels bad because he knows she is a good woman, but the passion is gone. Understanding this is essential to a woman’s confidence and success. Women hate to feel powerless and will often take charge rather than wait for others. However, taking charge often hurts a woman’s confidence because women thrive when they feel safe and secure (which is the #1 secret to the female psychology). When a woman pursues a man, she does not feel as safe and secure as she does when he pursues her. As a result, she often acts and feels less confident, feminine, flirtatious, or she looks desperate.  Fortunately, a woman need not despair. The links on this website will give her many options for getting and keeping a man in pursuit of her while also helping her to feel more safe and secure.

Common mistake # 3—Men often fear rejection, so they don’t pursue many of the women they would like to date. Women are drawn to strength and confidence (Secret #6 to the female psychology). Additionally, women often fall in love with friends (Secret #7), and women like to be pursued and to feel wanted (Secret #8). Thus, the best thing a man can do for his confidence is to pursue challenges and accept rejection well. When a man can look a woman in the eye, smile, respond to her rejection as if it’s not personal, and then say a gracious good-bye, he will likely discover that she becomes more attracted to him (and so do many other women).

Thus, men, create a rejection plan:

  • Imagine approaching a woman who tells you she’s not interested.
  • Envision your body language being strong, confident, and cool.
  • See yourself asking her for her number and her saying, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
  • As you respond to this, envision yourself squaring your shoulders, looking her in the eye, and smiling at her (perhaps with your hands in your pocket while assuming a casual body language).
  • Imagine yourself saying something clever (not sarcastic), or at least imagine yourself saying, in a warm and confident tone, “Well, it’s been a pleasure talking with you. I hope you have a good day.”
  • Once you can see this in your mind and not feel anxious about the experience, go out and approach a woman you would “kind of” like to date (as a first step). Anticipate the possible rejection and how you will handle it. Trust that the experience will change how others perceive you. Trust that you will be changed by the experience as well. If you are rejected, no problem. If not, great.
  • Then approach another woman, someone you would like to date (even more than the first). Anticipate rejection again, and so on. You will quickly discover that when you expect rejection, plan on it, and then handle it well, you will experience very little of it.

Common mistake #4—Women often act cool, indifferent, casual, or friendly rather than feminine, flirtatious, warm, and adoring. Women often hate to feel vulnerable. They fear looking foolish to others. They don’t like to take risks and experience rejection. If given an option, many women would rather walk across a room to start a conversation with a man (while appearing cool and indifferent or merely friendly —hoping he’ll get the hint), rather than simply look him in the eye and coyly smile from across the room. However, men like women who like themselves (Secret #5 of the male psychology), and men like femininity (Secret #8). So when a woman attempts to approach a man while also concealing her interest in him, she either ends up acting less feminine and like a friend, or she seems too available and less interesting (because she wasn’t a challenge).

Women hate feeling powerless as much as they hate feeling vulnerable and foolish. However, a woman can change this pattern if she will:

  1. create a top-ten list of what she is looking for;
  2. remind herself over and over, “the kind of man I am looking for is looking for someone like me; he will see me for what I have to offer and he will pursue me”;
  3. choose to have faith (in herself, God, relationships, and good men) as an antidote to her fear;
  4. look men in the eye and smile;
  5. use good posture;
  6. take a break from her group of friends so he will be more likely to approach her;
  7. be prepared to ask him a simple question if he does approach her; and, finally,
  8. not linger too long in the conversation so he feels a need to ask for her number.

The best time for a woman to end a conversation is about 5 to 10 minutes into it (if she bumped into him or started the conversation first) or 10 to 20 minutes (if he walked across the room to meet her and start the conversation). A woman who ends a conversation by touching a man on his arm, slightly cocking her head, smiling warmly at him, and then saying, “It was a pleasure talking with you. I would really like to talk with you again (or “I’d love to get a chance to dance with you some time tonight,”  “I hope you will call me some time,” etc.), while following this comment with a sincere, “‘I’m so sorry I have to go,” will likely find that he will follow up with her later.

Whether he does or does not ask (then and there) for her number, she needs to walk confidently away while repeating in her mind, The kind of man I am looking for will see me for what I have to offer and he will pursue me. Whether she believes this or not, she will act and feel more confident and in time have greater faith in the belief because faking it until she makes it really works.
From second date to the three-week drop-off curve
Common mistake #5—After a great first date, women often overthink the process, become too available, or outright drop the ball. Women often feel vulnerable and powerless in the first few stages of dating. They like a guy, want a relationship, and hope he will call, but waiting on the sidelines to see what he will or will not do is often a painful experience for most women. They analyze every detail of the date, look for clues to his intentions, discuss their thoughts and feelings with their friends, diagnose what they should or should not do, and get their hopes up. They later feel miserable when his call doesn’t come or when three weeks of great dates end without a word (or, in other words, they hit the three-week drop-off curve). What did she do wrong?

That’s a million-dollar question, and here are a few thoughts that may provide some answers:

  • In her effort to avoid acting “too into” him or appearing vulnerable or foolish, did she actually act too cool, as if she was not interested at all, as mistake #4 illustrates (Secret #10Good men pursue women who are approachable and appear available)?
  • Did she show appreciation (Secret #7—men like being appreciated)?
  • Did she act as if she is so well put together that she has no room or need for a man in her life (Secret #12 – men need to be needed, not in a needy kind of way but in a way that says they make a difference and are important and essential in the lives of others)?
  • Did she talk so much about her past problems, issues, and relationships that she stressed him out or failed to actually develop a meaningful connection with him (Secret #15, men bond by doing activities and through talking about things more than they do through talking about people, problems, feelings, or ideas)?
  • Did she act too available, linger too long, allow or encourage sexual activity, or otherwise become a bore, as mistake #2 illustrates and Secret #4 of the male psychology explains (both described above).
  • Did she seem too accommodating, pleasing, or lacking in personality (Secret #9 – men like women who have opinions and assert their needs)?

So what does a woman do to avoid these common mistakes and to feel empowered and not excessively vulnerable?

  1. Smile at him. Act like you like him.
  2. Let him open your door for you. If he offers to do something for you, let him.
  3. Give compliments. Act interested in him.
  4. Talk about yourself, your life, your experiences, but spend more time doing activities, talking about things, and keeping the interaction light, interesting, and fun (as a guide, try to spend 60% of the time doing things and activities, 20% talking about feelings and ideas, and 20% talking about people and problems)
  5. Act feminine, warm, and encouraging.
  6. Keep affection simple and nonsexual. Sweet, short kisses, hand holding, etc., will do enough to keep his interest and keep you from feeling shame and regret later (this will also prevent his boredom and disinterest, which are common after sexual contact and usually lead to the three-week drop-off curve).
  7. Don’t talk much about the date later. Tell three friends all the details you want and need to discuss but once told, don’t keep processing the details. Don’t tell everyone else because it will make you more excited about him and increase the disappointment and vulnerability you feel when others ask you about him after he stops calling.
  8. Remind yourself that until you get past the sixth week you could still hit the three-week drop-off curve. It’s best to not get too attached or too excited too early.
  9. Make plans with your friends. Stay busy. Keep dating others and keep flirting until you are at least past the sixth week.
  10. If he is still pursuing you after the sixth week, feel free to become more excited about him, but don’t rush to become exclusive with him unless it’s his idea and he seems serious about taking the relationship to that level. Until then, keep your options open and keep flirting. If you aren’t having sexual contact with anyone (which protects you and others from getting hurt), you should be in a great place. Plus, it’s never a good idea to be more into him than he is into you. You want a mutually committed and invested relationship, and that will take time. Plus, you don’t want to be too easy of a catch, or he will get bored (increasing the possibility that you will get dumped).
  11. Show appreciation.

Common mistake #6—sorry, this page is not yet complete. Until it is, sign up to get e-mail updates. We will notify you when all the pages are complete. Until then, browse the buttons above for the most recent dating advice, previous dating advice, newsletters, and more.

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