Dating is a confusing situation, but when you throw mind games into the mix, it gets even more befuddling. But, why do games even need to appear in a situation that’s meant to be about fun and perhaps love in the end? The truth is that guys who play games are far more common than you might think and quite frankly, it’s a situation nobody wants to endure.
Mind games are designed to manipulate. That’s what they boil down to.
When a guy tries to play games with you, he’s trying to be the one in control. He’s manipulating the situation to his side and leaving you chasing after him and doing anything he wants for a little attention. When you read it that way, it’s not the most pleasant thing, is it?
But to get to the crux of the problem, we need to work out why do guys play games in the first place?
They do not have a master plan and they are not playing hard to get. They are making it up as they go along. And that is why it is so hard to deal with a guy who plays games.
[Read: Understand the characteristics of a healthy relationship so you can end the shitty ones]
Before we get into how you handle guys who play games, you need to learn how to spot them.
There are plenty of decent guys out there who are just clueless when it comes to dating. They don’t know what to do, what to say, or how to act. They are not the guys who play games and wouldn’t even know how to.
Instead, you are looking for a specific type of guy. The problem is they are really good at hiding the fact that they are playing games. Guys who play games may not be smart or clever, but they are phenomenal liars, so good, in fact, you probably won’t even know they’re lying. You may not even have an inkling.
One obvious sign of a guy who plays games is this phrase, “I’m not like other guys.” Any guy who utters these words is not only exactly like “other guys,” but he is probably even worse. [Read: These are the 16 types of guys you want to avoid like the plague]
Guys who play games tend to have this persona of being a good guy with no intention of hurting anyone. They claim that they don’t play games when in reality they are the biggest players around. But, they barely admit it to themselves, so spotting it will not be easy.
Genuinely good guys that don’t play games won’t feel the need to tell you that they are a good guy. They won’t tell you that you are safe with them. They will prove those things to you with their actions.
If someone’s words and actions don’t line up, they are playing games. If a guy says the nicest things to you but doesn’t text you back for hours or days, cancels plans last minute, and ditches you to play video games with his friends, he is a guy who plays games, and not good ones. [Read: The 3 stages of why someone is blowing hot and then cold]
Of course, you’re probably wondering why a guy would want to go to all the trouble of playing such games. After all, they’re not much fun, right?
The point is control, as we mentioned before. But, there are a few other reasons why guys might want to start playing games with you.
He’s not sure where you stand and how you feel about him. So, he’s testing the waters, seeing your reactions.
He may be scared to make the first move, fearful of rejection, and his hot and cold behavior will make you feel like he’s playing a game. Fear of rejection is huge for men, as they have pressure to make the first move. [Read: 14 signs a guy likes you but is afraid you’ll reject him – And how to help him out]
Now, there are some guys who just don’t care at all about your feelings. They’re doing whatever feels good for them at the moment, without considering how you may feel.
Some guys enjoy the ego boost of having a couple of women at their disposal, stringing you along until you’re not needed anymore.
Did you clearly express what you’re looking for? Being wishy-washy isn’t going to attract guys who want a committed relationship.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, this leaves space for people to interpret what you want. If you want a serious relationship, but are dating someone who’s looking for fun, he’s going to look like a game player. When in essence, you didn’t clarify your needs. [Read: What do you want from a relationship? 25 questions you need to ask yourself]
So the story here is that he’s read a lot of books and listened to podcasts that tell him how to attract women. He’s a little socially awkward, and he doesn’t know how to date.
Would being himself work? Probably, but he doesn’t know how to harness his strengths. He can be playing games because that’s what he’s been told is the way to succeed with women.
Again, this isn’t all men. But there are some men who find joy in manipulating women to have their needs met. These men are loaded with insecurities, relationship trauma, and really struggle with entering a relationship in a healthy manner.
Their needs aren’t necessarily based on sex. It can be the need of having someone show them affection or someone who will listen to them. [Read: Selfish people – 20 ways to spot and stop them from emptying you]
If a guy is really into you and wants to date you, he wouldn’t be playing games. And if he is, of course, it could be because of any reason on this list.
But, it can also mean he’s seeing someone else. He’s playing games with you because he knows you’re into him; however, he’s already dating someone else.
We like to think that men and women who play games aren’t actually men and women. They’re girls and boys. This behavior is immature and juvenile; if he’s playing games with you, it’s a clear sign he hasn’t grown up.
Real men have respect for themselves and others; they don’t feel the need to play games to get what they want. [Read: When does a man emotionally mature? 19 signs he’s grown a real pair]
You don’t know what he does in his spare time or who he hangs out with. If he sees his techniques aren’t working, but his friends’ methods are, then he may feel the need to try them out.
If what you’re doing isn’t achieving your goal, then trying a technique that’s proven to work will certainly motivate you. Does that mean it makes it right? Of course, not. It just shows he hasn’t grown up.
When you see a man playing a game, it should alert a red flag in you.
Guys who play games aren’t secure in themselves, hence, why they play games. If you’re honest with your needs, there would be no reason to play games. What’s the point? [Read: 20 signs of insecurity people can’t hide when they feel insecure]
He knows you’re into him, but he’s not looking for anything serious. That being said, he also doesn’t want to give up the relationship because he’s enjoying the benefits.
If this was a mutually-agreed casual relationship, there wouldn’t be the need to play games because you two would be on the same page.
People who are hurt will hurt other people. It’s that simple.
A woman played a game on him, he was hurt, it traumatized him. And from that day on, he decided to stay a “free man” and play women at their own game. Yawn. This is the formula for almost every chick flick out there.
Hurt people, hurt people. And he has yet to process and work through his issues. [Read: Emotional baggage – How to help someone put it down and find freedom]
We’re sure you have come in contact with at least one guy who plays games recently, if not more. And now that you know which ones are the guys who play games, you can learn exactly how to handle their childish ways.
If a guy is playing games with you, try not to get wrapped up in his charm and cleverness. Instead of letting his “good” qualities take over your feelings, own your own self-worth and don’t buy what he’s selling.
If he claims to be this great guy who was broken-hearted and is looking for love and thinks you’re the right one after two days of talking, proceed with caution. Don’t let his surprising gung-ho attitude sway your rationality. [Read: The signs of a toxic boyfriend that should make you move away fast]
Most guys who play games are feeding on your desire for a boyfriend. They know you are interested and that is why their games work. They know if they don’t text you that you’ll reach out. And they know if they tell you they love watching The Bachelor that you’ll send them Snapchats of your reactions.
Instead of letting that work, back off.
Now, usually, we would advise against games or playing hard to get, but sometimes pulling back is necessary to really see what he is all about. If he reaches out, then he actually wants to talk to you. If not, he is probably giving the same lines to two other girls. [Read: How to ignore someone for attention and get what you want]
One way guys who play games succeed is by getting you to bring up anything important over text. They overwhelm you in person so you don’t want to ruin the moment with a question like, “where is this going.”
But, don’t let your fear of awkwardness or making him uncomfortable stop you from asking the questions you need answers to.
Over text, he can weasel his way out of answering or lie without a tell. In person, he can’t get out of it and will not be able to lie as convincingly.
This is also not the most sage advice we have ever given. Usually, when a guy plays games, we like to shut them down and end all their fun. But, sometimes revenge is just too sweet not to take.
This is a move I once made and although my maturity winces at it, it sure felt good to give this guy a taste of his own medicine. A guy had led me to believe we were dating and had a future. He made all these claims and promises about the future until out of the blue he tells me he doesn’t want anything serious, leaving me in a lurch.
He wasted my time, disrespected me, and had the nerve to ask me to be his booty call afterward. Instead of ignoring that and moving on with my life I agreed to it and planned a time to meet up. I then stood him up and never responded to him again.
The whining texts from him sure felt good. Am I proud of this? No. Do I regret it? Also, no. [Read: How to play a guy at his own game – 17 ways to make sure you win]
If you spot the signs that he is a guy who plays games, call him out. Instead of worrying you got it all wrong or not wanting to be dramatic, call him out. Tell him that his sister he told you about, who makes him want to be a better man, would be disappointed in him if she knew how he really treated women.
Call him out on his crappy lines and worse promises. Tell him that what he is doing is not just disrespectful, misogynistic, and gross, but that playing games like this is why he will always feel inadequate. [Read: The 13 reasons why he could be acting strange and distant]
Finally, take the high road and just turn him down. Tell him that you are too good for his childish dating games. You deserve someone who treats you as an equal, not a toy.
When he gets all whiny and defensive, as all man-children do, just ignore him and block him, if laughing at his pleas with your girlfriends is getting old. You’ve said what you wanted to. There is no need to hear his lame excuses.
With all of this, we hope you have learned how to better understand and handle guys who play games. But, do remember that when it comes to these guys, there really is no winning in terms of changing them.
[Read: Do guys play hard to get? The truth, 21 reasons and what you need to do next]
Now that you know how to recognize the players, remember that the best way to win when dealing with guys who play games is to move on. Find a guy who plays with you, not your mind!
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