Is He Leading You On? 28 Signs & Reasons Why He’s Playing Games

He’s only there when it suits him and something just seems generally ‘off’ about the relationship. Is he leading you on? Here’s how to find out. 

is he leading you on

The thing about being led on is that when it’s happening you have no clue. You’re hopeful and excited, never even considering the question: is he leading you on?

If you’ve ever been led on before, you know that the end result is anything but hopeful or exciting. In fact, it feels like you’ve been royally screwed over. And that’s because you have.

When someone leads you on, they are not treating you with respect. They play games with your emotions with little to no sympathy for the pain they cause you.

This is why it is important to be able to spot the signs that you’re with a guy that has no intention of committing. Is he leading you on or is he genuine in his intentions? Put a stop to it before you get hurt. [Read: How to play the player and return the favor like a boss]

Do all guys do this?

No, thankfully! But some certainly do.

Being led on by a guy is not just a major waste of time, effort, and emotions, but it leaves a triggering question festering… Why is he leading you on?

Guys lead us on all the time, but it is not always for the same reason. Some guys are truly cruel while others are dense. But, if you’ve been led on recently, you are probably wondering why. Did he change his mind? Is it something you did? Was he playing you from the start?

Luckily for you and unfortunately for us, we have had a lot of experience being led on by guys, so we know exactly why he is leading you on. [Read: Guys who play games – 17 signs and reasons why and what you need to do next]

What does being led on really mean?

Before we get into the signs and work out is he leading you on or not, let’s make sure you really know what being led on means. It isn’t always black and white and can be confusing. So, we’re going to lay it out there for you.

When someone leads you on, it means they are giving you false hope. Some consider flirting with someone that buys you a drink a form of leading someone on. In our book that is a little too polite to be considered leading on.

For us, being led on is when someone gives you hope, indirectly or directly, that they are interested in you when they know they do not plan on following through.

You can be led on and then ghosted. You can be led on and then stood up. Or you can be led on and then dumped or used and always let down. [Read: The obvious signs that he’s just using you and pretending to care about you]

Is he leading you on? The signs he may be using you

Why do you think he’s leading you on? What led you to this feature?

Whatever it is, we can confidently say that there is about a 90% chance your gut feeling is spot on. If something feels off and you’re questioning his intentions, you probably should be.

Now, we hate to be a Debbie Downer, but those are the odds. Sure, sometimes we overthink and have trust issues, but if you feel like he is leading you on, he probably is.

Is he leading you on? Well, trust your gut, people. And if you still want to be sure you can feel good about dumping his ass, read on to identify the signs. [Read: The signs of a toxic boyfriend that should make you move away fast]

1. He said he wasn’t looking for anything serious

This is something a lot of us tend to ignore. Some guys straight up tell us that they are leading us on. We either ignore it or deny it.

When a guy says this but then starts treating you like he wants a relationship we assume he changed his mind. But you cannot assume. No matter his actions, if he said he didn’t want something serious then treats you like he does, he is leading you on openly. [Read: Why do guys ghost? 15 common reasons why they turn into cowards]

2. He’s newly single

Not every newly single guy is a player, but there is a good chance a guy who is fresh out of a relationship isn’t looking to settle down. Even if he claims to be over his ex and didn’t plan on leading you on, it will likely turn out that way. Stay alert.

3. He doesn’t keep in touch

Is he leading you on? Well, a guy who is leading you on only gives you the perfect amount of attention so that you seek him out. He wants you to think he is interested just enough so that he doesn’t have to make the effort. [Read: Why is he ignoring me? 37 honest reasons to decode a guy’s mind]

4. He’s too charming

Anytime you feel like he is too charming or suave or smooth, he probably is. When a guy is truly interested he gets nervous, yes even the most confident ones too.

If everything he says is so perfect, it is not because he’s perfect. It is because he is great at playing you to get what he wants.

5. He likes you too much, too fast

We’re not saying you don’t deserve someone that likes you, but when someone likes you a lot without even knowing you, it is weird. Guys seem to think this is the best way to grab your interest.

And we do tend to fall for it. Instead, question what this guy really knows about you. Does he really like you? Does he really want you to like him? [Read: What is love bombing and how to spot the manipulation early on]

6. He doesn’t live up to his word

Words only go so far. If he makes plans and cancels them or says he’ll call you later and doesn’t, he isn’t as invested as he claims to be. In that case, wondering ‘is he leading me on’ will probably lead you to the correct answer – he likely is.

7. He’s confusing

If you’re talking to a guy who makes you question everything he is probably leading you on. He wants to find a balance between keeping you interested and keeping his distance so he doesn’t have to take accountability for hurting you later on.

If he’s making you feel crazy it’s because he’s trying to do that.

8. His story changes

Did he first tell you he was free every Thursday but when Thursday rolls around he has plans? Did he tell you he would text you at 8 but when 8 o’clock strikes he doesn’t reach out and doesn’t respond to you?

If he can’t keep his story straight, it’s because he is lying and probably to more than one person.

9. It’s a struggle to make plans

A guy who is leading you on will be a nightmare to make plans with because he is waiting for something he considers to be better to come along and wants to string you along as a backup. Is he leading you on? Likely! [Read: He won’t commit but he won’t let go – What should you do now?]

10. You’re always waiting for him

Are you always waiting for him to text you? Are you waiting for him to be over his ex or to have time for a relationship?

If he is keeping you waiting, not only does he not consider your time as valuable, but he doesn’t consider you as valuable either.

11. He always turns the conversation to sex

A lot of guys that lead you on are looking for one thing. Sex. And if that’s what you want, great. If not, and he knows that, he will string you along until he gets what he wants.

If you just send him a cute selfie or outfit photo and he turns everything into something sexual, he is most definitely leading you on and getting impatient while doing it. [Read: The signs he just wants sex and is using you for his enjoyment]

12. He doesn’t go anywhere with you

A guy who is leading you on puts in the exact amount of effort he needs for you to remain interested. He will say the right things, but will not do anything he doesn’t want to.

That means he likely won’t take you dancing, out for dinner, or even drinks. He’ll stay local or maybe even out of sight.

13. He uses the same lines

If he repeats himself a lot, there is a good chance he is leading you on. Maybe he uses pet names too early or repeats something he knows you responded well to before.

This is not because he is sweet or a good listener. He is lazy and doing the absolute least to impress you. [Read: What makes someone a player? The 15 sly signs of a player’s mind]

14. He says he’s “not like other guys”

If a guy says this, you should run away ASAP. He is most definitely leading you on.

15. He overreacts to your worries

If you’re a mature person and share your concerns with him and he gets defensive or guilts you for questioning him, he is leading you on. And he is good at it.

16. You just get a vibe

Sometimes you just feel it. When something is off and you can’t put your finger on it is just because he hasn’t shown you he is leading you on. Your intuition was made for this. [Read: Is he a player or a gentleman? 13 clear giveaways]

How is he leading you on?

When figuring out if he is leading you on, look to how he’s doing it too. This will help to open your eyes to the reality.

Is he texting you all day long and getting your hopes up. Then, he disappears for hours, if not days, at a time?

Is he only seeing you at your place and never in public or at his?

Has he been hiding you from his friends and family and refuses to meet yours? [Read: The 3 stages of blowing hot and cold and why people do this]

Does he offer excuses as to why you don’t go out, why he is unavailable, and why he won’t be official with you?

Are you sleeping with him?

Is he hot and cold?

All different ways he may be leading you on and all of them are for different reasons. Maybe he is hiding something or is purely afraid of real commitment or is just selfish.

These different ways he leads you on signal his intentions. They help you get the answer to is he leading you on. [Read: The most common sneaky techniques guys use to get in your pants]

Why is he leading you on?

We’re sure you are already familiar with the previously mentioned ways guys might lead you on and now you know the signs too. But, it doesn’t tell you why he is leading you on. He could be ghosting you or haunting you, but not knowing why is what really drives you nuts. It makes you question if you did something wrong and impacts your self-esteem.

That is not fair. When a guy is leading you on, it almost always has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him and his bad decisions. You deserve an answer so you know what a crappy guy he is. The answer will help you move on right away. [Read: Haunting vs ghosting – Why haunting is so much worse]

1. He doesn’t want a relationship

This is a classic as old as time when it comes to guys leading us on. It isn’t that he doesn’t like you, it’s just that he doesn’t want to commit to you. Now, that is not an excuse, but to him it is.

He doesn’t want to lose you, but he wants all the perks of a relationship without actually being in one. He wants you to come when he calls, be there for him, and do all the things a girlfriend would do while he gets to be single. If this is what he’s doing, drop him like a hot potato. [Read: The signs you’re wasting your time in a one-sided relationship]

2. He is in a relationship

Another reason he may be leading you on is that he is already taken by one unlucky girl. Maybe they got in a fight and he is straying, or maybe they didn’t and he is still straying.

In this case, he will reach out at all hours and keep you interested but also disappear at random times for hours or days because he is with his girlfriend. How nice? He wants to keep you around in case things don’t work out in his current relationship but with no intention of actually being single. [Read: 14 signs you’re a side chick when you believe you’re his main girl]

3. He hasn’t made up his mind

If you’re wondering why is he leading you on, he may like you and be considering a relationship with you. However, he isn’t sure and needs time to think about what he wants. So, he continues to lead you on. And you never know if he made up his mind.

This is the type of guy who may not think he is doing anything wrong. He is just wildly naive and clueless. When he does decide, he won’t say anything but expects you to just go with whatever he wants because he is a guy who thinks the world revolves around him.

4. He’s waiting for something “better” to come along

This is our personal favorite. By that, we mean the biggest sign that the guy you’re talking to is a major douche. He doesn’t want to pin himself down when he doesn’t know what the future holds. He likes you just fine, but he doesn’t want to commit himself to you in case a supermodel decides to hit him up. As unlikely as that is.

Pretty much he wants all your attention until he is no longer interested. He has no respect for you or your feelings and is using you for his own personal gain. [Read: 15 signs he’s talking to another girl and using you until he hooks her]

5. He wants an ego boost

This is a man, or should we say boy, with fragile masculinity. He has such low self-esteem deep down that he needs your intrigue in him to feel like a “real boy.”

Without being sure you’re interested, he feels like a failure or like less of a man, as he should. He will use your body, your feelings, and whatever else it takes to fill the empty void where his heart should be.

6. He wants the power

This is similar to getting an ego boost but is all about toxic masculinity and being in charge. He wants to make sure when he says jump you’ll say how high. Whether he is truly interested in you or not doesn’t matter.

All he wants is to control you. This is the type of guy that will prey upon girls with self-esteem issues. These guys feel they can easily weasel their way into one’s psyche and take control. [Read: 23 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend most girls don’t notice]

7. He is using you for sex

This is not cool, but it is a classic. Think about that first episode of Friends where the wine guy lies to Monica to get her to sleep with him on the first date. This is a go-to for so many guys.

He will tell you a sad story or try to come across like prince charming to get you into bed. He will lead you on, make you think he is a good person, and may even make promises. But, once you give in all that goes away, you never hear from him again. [Read: 25 signs he just wants sex and reasons why he’s only using you for fun]

8. He wants companionship

This is probably the saddest of them all but we have seen it. This is a guy who may have no interest in dating or a relationship, he just wants someone to talk to. He’ll listen to you. You’ll listen to him, and there will likely be a connection, but nothing else.

This is the type of guy you may meet online and chat with for weeks but never actually meet up with. He wants someone to confide in that has no hold in his “real life.” Then, he doesn’t have to take accountability for hurting when he decides he’s over it. [Read: He likes you but doesn’t want a relationship? How to deal with this guy]

9. He’s bored

What a prince, huh? Some guys are just plain bored. Instead of reading a book or watching a movie, he plays around with your feelings until he once again gets bored and moves on to someone else.

This is the guy that wants to flirt with you, but as soon as things get real, he backs off. You could ask to meet up or maybe you disagree about politics.

Either way, he has no interest in actual conversation just something for him to get his rocks off to.

10. He doesn’t see you as an equal or worthy of respect

He is a misogynist and a sexist. He uses you because he thinks you are there for his entertainment. Perhaps, he enjoys knowing that you are waiting for him to text back.

He will come across nice and normal, just enough for you to remain interested, but will string you along just to mess with your feelings. [Read: 22 early warning signs of a bad boyfriend you need to leave ASAP]

11. He wants to keep you in his line-up

He may be doing the exact same thing to a handful of girls. Maybe he even sends the same texts or photos to multiple girls at once. He only gives you a little bit of attention so you think he is interested but never enough for you to know for sure.

He is pretty much creating a little black book of girls he can play with. [Read: 14 warning signs a womanizing player just can’t hide]

12. He thinks he is being a nice guy

This is the one that you don’t see coming because he really doesn’t think he is doing anything wrong. He considers himself a nice guy. In fact, his friends may do so as well.

He thinks leading you on is better than coming out and saying he isn’t interested for any reason. He thinks leading you on will make you feel good. Pretty much, he is a guy looking at the right now and not even considering the future.

Now it’s your turn to make a move

Now you know the signs, how he might do it, and why he may lead you on. What’s left to do? Raise your hand and wave goodbye, that’s what.

You don’t deserve a one-sided relationship with someone who shows you no respect. Focus on yourself and a guy who gives you all of his genuine love and attention will come along. 

[Read: How to know when to stop texting a guy and move on with your life]

Is he leading you on? Sadly, if you came looking for this article, he probably is. But, don’t worry. You can do better, and you will.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...