Love is a losing game, or so they say.
But is there a way to win?
And how can you tell if a man or woman is trying to play you?
This article will teach you how to read the warning signs that he or she is playing the love game.
Let’s get started.
Love Is a Game…or Is It?
The idea of dating as a game has been around for a long time — probably since the world’s first-ever e-dating service was created in New York in 1964.
Back in the early 2000s, women’s magazines would encourage single ladies to play games that appealed to men’s so-called “hunting instincts.”
And in 2005, Neil Strauss’ book The Game brought pickup artistry into the mainstream, but a decade later, the author himself called the techniques “objectifying and horrifying.”
Although both approaches to dating seem outdated these days, love is just as much a game as ever — but in a new way.
The ability to swipe left or right on all the eligible (and not-so-eligible) singles within booty call distance may be a normal way to find love for Gen Z, but those of us who grew up before smartphones feel it takes the romance out of dating.
So, is it ever okay to play the love game?
And if so, what tactics really work — and how can you stop yourself from being played?
Is it Okay to Play the Love Game?
There’s something inherently flawed about the idea of romance as a game — and that’s the idea that there are winners and losers.
When you treat someone as an opponent, it means you’re against them.
It means engaging in a game of one-upmanship in which you are always trying to outsmart the other person.
That doesn’t sound like a good basis for a loving, trusting relationship, does it?
The other problem is the idea of people as “prizes” to be “won,” which reduces them to objects, instead of seeing them as whole human beings.
Also, do you really want to be with someone who you have to win over somehow?
Wouldn’t it be better to be with a person who actually wants to be with you, too, instead of having to convince them?
And wouldn’t it be best to let someone get to know and fall in love with your real self, instead of pretending to be something you’re not in order to trick them?
If you’re ready to put the players in the past and f, read on to discover the 11 tell-tale signs that he or she is playing the love game.
Signs That He or She Is Playing the Love Game
#1: They Play the Communication Game
A man should wait three days before calling after a date.
A woman should avoid initiating contact in order to not seem desperate.
These are just two of the most commonly-cited communication rules when it comes to dating.
It’s okay not to be available at your crush’s beck and call — in fact, it’s healthy, since it means you have a life.
There’s no need to be clingy during the early stages of dating, and coming on too strong scares off both men and women, so it’s important to respect one another’s personal space.
However, if he or she is playing hard to get, for example, by initiating conversations then leaving you hanging for days, then it’s a warning sign they may be playing games with you.
#2: They Blow Hot and Cold
Similarly, you can spot a player when they come on strong at the beginning, then start ignoring you for long periods of time.
Perhaps, when you’re together, there’s enough passion to make you believe they really do feel something for you.
But then they leave you waiting by your phone for weeks until they want to see you again.
#3: They Hide Their Phone
Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship — and if you can’t trust your partner from the get-go, then you probably never will.
One of the biggest giveaways that someone is untrustworthy is if they act suspiciously with their phone.
If they hide the screen from you while texting or are extra-protective of their phone, you can be sure there’s something they don’t want you to see.
If this happens, avoid the temptation to sneak a peek at their phone. You don’t want to be that person.
Instead, take the high road and show them the door, as you know you’ll never be able to trust them.
#4: They Won’t Introduce You To Their Friends or Family
I admit this is a delicate one.
Obviously, you don’t want to introduce just anyone you date to your inner circle or your parents — you need time to get to know them first.
But, if you really like someone, eventually, you will want them to meet your friends and family.
If you’ve been together with someone for a while, but they still keep you away from their nearest and dearest, it means they’re probably not serious about you as a partner, and you should move on.
#5: They Give Backhanded Compliments
Giving your partner backhanded compliments, known to pickup artists as “negging,” is a sure sign a man is out to play you.
It could be something like, “I love that you’re brave enough to wear that in public.”
But what about women?
Women are less likely to use negging on their partner, but if a woman says things to put you down in front of other people, it’s a red flag.
#6: They Don’t Want to Date You
If he or she’s not interested in dating you, it means they don’t want to spend quality time with you, get to know you, or make memories with you.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing you can make them change because chances are they are stringing along several others like you.
Another clear sign they’re not serious about you is if they avoid posting pictures with you on social media — what are they trying to hide and from whom?
If they really wanted to be with you and only you, they would shout it from the rooftops.
#7: They Make Empty Promises
The first rule of the player playbook is to make your target believe they are the best thing since sliced bread.
Then, they keep you on the hook by making promises they have no intention of fulfilling.
Whether it’s taking you on a date or on vacation to Hawaii, the player has no shame in the lengths he or she will go to make you think they really want to be with you — even when they don’t.
#8: They Flirt in Front of You
If you’ve ever been played, then you know how to spot the biggest tell-tale sign of a player: they are master flirts.
But the worst is when they flirt with other people right in front of you.
If that happens, you know they’re not serious about you — they don’t even care how it makes you feel.
#9: They’re Never There When You Need Them
Being in a relationship requires emotional commitment.
It means being there for your partner in both the good times and the bad.
If the person you’re dating has no interest in celebrating your wins or commiserating your losses, you should end it with them and wait for someone better.
#10: They Never Stay Over
If you’ve taken your relationship to the physical level, but he or she never stays over, it means either they’re hiding something, or they’re not interested in an emotional commitment — or both.
While two consenting adults can have a physical relationship without emotional commitment, it can only work if both parties are on the same page.
So, if you want a serious relationship, but he or she is skipping cuddles and running out on you as soon as it’s over, they probably don’t feel the same way about you.
#11: They Only Care About Themselves
If your love interest barely listens when you talk or talks about themselves without asking anything about you, that’s probably not going to change.
They only care about one thing: themselves.
You deserve to be with someone who’s dying to discover everything about you, not someone who barely acknowledges you as a human being.
So, if that happens, you need to let them go.
I hope you found this list helpful and will be able to read the signs of a player in the future.
Would you add any other signs to the list?
Let me know in the comments.