“Endgame: the stage of a chess game after major reduction of forces; also : the final stage of some action or process.”—Merriam-Webster

I guess you could say there’s an ongoing cultural “debate” over whether or not women play games. Most men say women play games. Most women say they don’t. Personally, I’ve been on this planet long enough that I have come to the conclusion that women do play games … but so what if they do?

I was trying to explain this to someone the other night.

Basically, women are confusing. This was the topic of the conversation. They say they want one thing, but then it turns out they want another. They demand X, but what they really want is Y. Women weep, get mad, and between the indecision and the PMS, men get very … confused. I think all of this can add up to make it seem to a guy that women keep changing their minds.

That’s when I said, “Women don’t change their minds. They change their endgames.”

See, here’s my theory. Whether women know it or not, most women have an endgame in mind most of the time, especially when it comes to men. They want to get this guy to be their boyfriend. They want a man to marry them. They’re over it and want a divorce. Whatever “it” is, I think there’s usually an endgame involved—a short or long term goal that the woman is pursuing. Sometimes she knows she’s doing it. Sometimes she doesn’t.

Women change what they’re saying depending on their endgame, and when their endgame changes, so does what they’re saying. For example, a woman in a relationship who wants to get married may say that she’s ready to settle down and have a family, if that’s what her prospective husband wants, because she knows saying that will help her reach her endgame. Then she gets married, and she realizes she doesn’t want to be Susie Homemaker. She wants to go back to work, or not have a kid just yet, or write the Great American Novel. When she tells this to her now-husband, he says, “That’s not what you said you wanted! You changed your mind! Women!” His statement isn’t entirely, true, though. She didn’t change her mind. She changed her endgame.

The solution would be for women to be more aware, more open, and more verbal about what they’re after—rather than telling the other person what they want to hear. Still, that’s not always easy. It would make women seem less contradictory. Of course, maybe some women want to remain enigmatic. After all, a secret plan can be far more successful than an overtly-stated one. If relationships are like poker, sometimes it’s best to keep your hand to yourself.