When a Relationship Becomes a Game

The Atlantic:

It’s a Wednesday afternoon, and Kamakshi Zeidler, a 34-year-old plastic surgeon in Los Gatos, California, is explaining how to fill up a “love tank.”

“If you do little things for your partner… you get signals your love tank is full. And if you don’t, you’ll get signals that your love tank is almost empty. It’s based on how much you love each other. Well, through the app,” she adds.


Zeidler and her husband Brendon form a satisfied, if busy, pair. Both work long hours and have little time for spontaneous romantic gestures.

The “love tank” Kamakshi describes is one feature of a “couples’ app” called Kahnoodle.

By many measures, the app should work. But the relationship between a man and his Starbucks reward history is a lot less complex than the relationship between Sonja and Damone. Right? Psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University certainly thinks so. According to Finkel, you run into a couple of problems when you gamify love. Kahnoodle’s “Kudos” service, which allows one partner to reward another for a romantic gesture, might foster an “exchange mentality.”

Read the whole story: The Atlantic

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