The Relationship Lottery

Every year millions of people begin a romantic relationship hoping to win the Relationship Lottery. They say “okay” to an offer for a date, not really sure they want to enter the lottery once again.

I do not know who said that love is for lovers, but I think they were wrong. I think love is for gamblers. The problem is that most people are poor gamblers and lose everything with the roll of the dice. Not only are they poor gamblers, but they continue to gamble in ways that only insure they will lose.

Does the fact that they lose at love over and over again persuade them to explore a different pattern of gambling? Heck no! Those losses only encourage them to try harder and more often.

Then, there are people who gamble one time, lose, then say that the whole game is rigged and so it is impossible to win. Both approaches are wrong and both create nothing but sore losers.

The only way to have any kind of chance of winning the Relationship Lottery is to know how to play the game so that the odds are in your favor. Very few people today believe that you can win the game of love by chance. The people who still believe in that type of magic are usually called losers or victims. They keep hoping that their boat will come in while they wait for it at the train station.

The successful gamblers learn from every little mistake they make. If they were to go over to the train station to look for their boat, they would only do it once. This does not mean that they would quickly learn to go, instead, over to the boat dock, it just means that they would try something different than the train station.

Another trait of successful Relationship Gamblers is that they do not put all their chips on one roll of the dice. They look at different games and place small bets on each game. When they become aware that they are becoming more successful or winning more at one game, they shift over and place higher bets on that game.

Another part of this is the trait of the loser. The loser will find one person and put all their energy into that relationship. It does not matter that the chance of them betting on a loser is extremely high. They are in love, and love will always win out. But, if that is the truth, why are there so many relationship losers in the world?

Knowledge is another characteristic of a successful Relationship Gambler. Successful gamblers really study the game. They not only read about gambling, they spend hours and hours watching other successful gamblers. The one attitude they have about knowledge is that no one can ever have enough of it. To continue to have a successful relationship, the learning process can never stop.

Knowledge allows gamblers to learn from other gamblers’ mistakes without having to make the same mistakes themselves. Knowledge allows the gamblers to think in different ways and make different decisions that give them a better chance for success.

Losers devalue knowledge. They say that no one knows them or the person they are in love with. They will say it is their life and they will make mistakes if they want to. Losers never consider the high price of ignorance. They would rather feel the sharp pain of relationship failure than admit they had not taken the time and energy to make an informed relationship decision.

Successful Relationship Gamblers do not play by someone else’s rules. They set a standard for themselves and they do not vary from that standard. If, at any time, they are asked to play by someone else’s rules or leave the game, they will not debate the issue, they will leave the game. The successful gambler knows that it is easier for someone to cheat if that someone is playing by his or her own set of rules rather than an agreed upon set of rules. Because successful gamblers know that the chances of winning under someone else’s rules are slim to none, they are willing to leave the game and wait for another game where the rules are fair and standard.

The loser, on the other hand, is willing to go by any set of rules, as long as they are able to play the game. It does not matter that the deck is stacked against them and that they are sure to lose. In a lover’s way of thinking, playing the game of love is more important than winning the game of love.

Bad days are part of any successful Relationship Gambler’s life. Successful Relationship Gamblers know that it is impossible to win all the time. They realize that even though things might not be going well, if they continue to stay focused on their goals in a relationship, they will eventually win. They do not give up at the first signs of loss. They have already expected the down times and planned for them. They have already encouraged themselves to stay with it until the winning times return.

The flip side of this winning attitude is the position that the loser takes. The loser also expects that bad times will come and also plans for them. But, when things go bad for losers, they look for someone or something else to blame. Surely it could not be their fault that they picked someone who would dump them and go off with someone else. If blame does not work, then the loser falls back on Plan Two. Plan Two is, “When the going gets tough, the loser runs out the door.” Losers will not be able to weather the bad times. They will move from relationship to relationship to avoid the consequences of a poorly planned bet.

The final trait of successful Relationship Gamblers is the awareness that birds of a feather flock together. They know that if they are going to be a winner in a relationship they are going to have to interact with other winners. They also know that when winners get together in a relationship, then there is no real gambling involved.

When a successful Relationship Gambler connects up with another successful Relationship Gambler, together they rise to a different and higher level of relating. The level is called everlasting love. Everlasting love is never a gamble, but always a sure bet. The sad and painful life of the loser is also connected with the birds of a feather slogan.

If winners connect up with winners, then losers connect up with losers. The sad thing about all this is that the losers believe that opposites attract and that someday a winner will come along and turn them into a winner. This false idea encourages so many people to continue to gamble in a losing pattern, rather than adopt the traits of a successful Relationship Gambler and find the lover they so desperately need and want.

So, ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. Will you be our latest winner or will you join a long line of losers? The choice is yours. You can play by loser rules and lose, you can not play at all and lose, or you can take the time and energy to learn the traits of a winner and take the grand prize home.

© 1997, Dr. Roger A. Rhoades

Dr. RhoadesRoger A. Rhoades, D.Min., is a licensed professional counselor, a therapist for more than a decade who is nationally known for his considerable skills in the field. He has worked with all ages and races, worked in psychiatric hospitals, worked in drug & alcohol rehab settings. Dr. Rhoades has extensive training in marriage and family therapy and is considered an authority on relationships.

You might have seen Dr. Rhoades’ appearances on national television shows such as The Montel Williams Show, The Rolanda Watts Show, and Biggers and Summers. Most recently a regular on the Jenny Jones Show, he is America’s most popular talk show counselor.

You may e-mail your request for a consultation with Dr. Rhoades to: or visit his website.