A question I’m often asked—and one that I’ve often asked myself—is this: if game is the journey then what is the destination? A constant refrain is, “Do I keep hitting on girls forever, or should I settle down so I’m not alone when I’m older?” We can fall into the trap of thinking this a binary issue when really it isn’t.

Many of us got into pick-up back around 2005 when The Game was published. That was twelve years ago, over a decade of life. In that time we have all got older. I myself am now in my forties. Many very famous PUAs are a similar age, or in their late thirties.

This means that real, serious ‘life’ is happening to all of us. A lot of us are no longer in our twenties, and happy to go to nightclubs night after night looking to pick up (although of course there are plenty of new guys in just that category). Guys are starting to look at the arc of their lives, and to consider what it is they actually want: marriage? kids? stability?

I write about game all the time—‘how to’ articles, advice and so on—because the dynamics between men and women fascinate me, and because I am still, for the moment, motivated to keep going out and meeting new girls.

Last year I had a long-term girlfriend come move in with me. For various reasons it didn’t work out, and so for the moment I’m ‘back out there’ in the field. So for me as much as for anyone else the question of ‘where is this going long-term’ is very relevant.

I wouldn’t want anyone to come away with the impression that I glorify the single life and promiscuity above everything else, or that I recommend it. As I always make clear, attraction and sexual chemistry are at the root of both one-night stands and long-term relationships. So the skills you need to pick up that girl in the bar are the same skills that you require—initially—to meet the woman who ends up as your girlfriend or wife. (Of course, in the case of the latter you also need another skillset, one that pertains specifically to relationships.) This is why game is so important.

Casual Sex Versus Marriage

But as Michael Majalahti pointed out in his excellent article on casual sex last week, constant womanising is neither healthy nor a good foundation on which to build a useful and happy life.

I think a lot of men feel this instinctively. But also, we are nothing if not prey to societal programming, and the idea that marriage = good, pick-up = bad is deeply ingrained. As far as our society is concerned, men who continue in the player lifestyle much past their 40s are players, sad ‘Peter Pan’ characters, immature, damaged, toxic, creepy, headed for loneliness and unhappiness. And so on.

Even though we may have taken the ‘red pill’ and become much more skeptical about what the culture tells us, this is a highly emotive issue where society’s arguments make a lot of sense. After all, who wants to be the fifty-five year-old player in the shopping mall hitting on young women?

Where the difficulty lies, though, is in believing that there is an ‘easy’ solution. “Just stop being a player. Find a ‘quality girl’ and settle down with her. It’s the right thing to do,” people say. But this is where logic starts to break down.

It astonishes me that in 2017 some men still imagine marriage (or a long-term relationship) to be some kind of safety haven which, once reached, offers eternal respite from the shallow indignities of the dating market.

Guys ask me, “Should I look to get married, because I don’t want to be lonely when I’m old. I don’t want to die alone.” Why don’t they stop to consider that you can get married and still end up lonely when you’re older, and still die alone?

My father was married twice. He was also in a long-term relationship with a non-Western woman. Now, in his late-sixties, he is alone. My uncle, who’s of a similar age, was also married twice. Now he too is alone. I have a friend also in his late sixties. He was married five times. He has also been divorced five times. Now he lives alone. Marriage, you see, is no insurance against being single later in life.

Does this mean that I’m anti-marriage? No, not at all. Like most of us (probably), the thought of having someone to care for me and love me forever seems very attractive. Who wouldn’t want that? But I am also a pragmatist. And if my father, who first got married in the nineteen-seventies, is now single, then what hope, realistically, is there for someone tying the knot in 2017?

Yes, you can travel outside of the USA or the UK and find a no-Western woman to settle down with. That seems like a decent strategy. It’s entirely possible I will do that myself.

But here’s the thing. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this a binary issue, with game (bad) on one side and marriage / LTR (good) on the other. Because marriage, rather than being the ‘happy ever after’ at the end of the story, is actually the start of a whole set of other problems.

Plus the sad fact is that your marriage may not last. Yes, you can try and ‘screen’ your future wife, but just remember that everyone’s on their best behaviour in the throes of a new relationship.

A Player For Life?

For all of these reasons I don’t advocate either being a ‘player for life’ or marriage as the panacea that will solve everything. Instead, my advice would be to keep your options open, but crucially, to ensure that you are living a fully-rounded life as a man that includes a mission that is entirely separate to women.

Because the good news is this. The men I mention—my father, my uncle and my friend—are not unhappy being single. Actually, all of them seem to have great lives. My father has a business and friends. My uncle spends his time training and going skiing. And my friend is dedicating his life to business and writing.

So rather than looking at my future solely in regard to women (that is, in terms of whether I’ll game perpetually or ‘settle down’), I prefer to consider it in terms of my passions and ambitions (writing, business, and travel). Whether a woman comes along for the ride or not is secondary: I am placing myself first.

For a compilation of all Troy’s best game writing, advice and techniques from the last four years buy his new book How To Get Hot Girls Into Bed.

Read Next: 4 Incredibly Effective Ways To Build Comfort With a Hot Girl