Why Playing The 'Dread Game' Doesn't Work In Relationships

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One thing I've noticed with dating guides is how often people tell others to use something called the “Dread Game.” Dread Game is the term that Red Pill users and pick-up artists use to describe the act of making someone think you’re going to dump them or choose someone over them to get that person to shape up. 

It’s not quite an ultimatum because it’s not spelled out, yet the message you’re sending is crystal clear.

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Dread Game is a ploy that can and will work...for the short term. We never like the idea that we could be faced with loss, even if what we’re losing isn’t necessarily that good a thing for us.

So, to avoid that feeling of loss, most of us will end up bending to the demands of the other partner. Sounds good, right? Well, not really. Here’s why it rarely works well in the long term.

Why playing the 'Dread Game' doesn't work in relationships:

1. It can cause resentment in the person being dreaded

In the long-term, Dread Game just doesn’t bode well for a relationship. If it does work, the person who was gamed often will get resentful about being strong-armed into changing. This is doubly true if you regularly "Dread Game" them. Eventually, they’ll be OK with losing you.

2. If they don’t care about your needs until you threaten to leave, that means they don’t care about how you feel unless they’re faced with losing you

If you think about what that means, it’s pretty terrible! It means that they’re taking you for granted. When a person doesn’t do what they can to save a relationship when things don’t seem dire, that means they don’t care how you’re feeling. If they cared, they’d make the problem, and you, a priority.

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3. Similarly, a person who is Dread Gamed into changing might just revert if they feel like you’re back as a “sure thing”

You know how there’s always that one girl who threatens to leave every five minutes, and the guy never takes her seriously? That’s what happens when you Dread Game without putting your money where your mouth is. Dread Game ruins credibility!

4. Situations that call for ultimatums or dread games are typically the ones that really should be dealbreakers

If a guy won’t propose without an ultimatum, you need to find someone who will. If a guy won’t clean up after himself unless he sees you packing your bags, you shouldn’t be with him.

I mean, do you want to have to use threats just to get him to treat you right? Having been there, I can say it’s not worth it and it will make you feel terrible in the long run.

5. It also can make you resent him

Think about how messed up it is that the person you want to Dread Game won’t care enough to work on the relationship unless you are acting like you’re about to leave. I’ve heard of women who have Dread Gamed their way into marriage who have been resentful that that’s the only way they could make their men pop the question.

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That resentment carries on for a long, long time. Rather than just resent him for having to resort to this kind of game, wouldn’t it be healthier just to leave?

6. Some guys will react to Dread Game the same way they will react to ultimatums

They may end up just refusing to do it out of principle alone. And then, things will get ugly if you didn’t want to break up with him.

7. Even if you get your way, the damage is permanent

Dread Game inherently changes your relationship dynamic into a toxic one where control is an issue. Do you want that for yourself? 

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer who mainly focuses on lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships.