How to Know Whether Your Date Is a Player

Dating 101
16 Jan 2024
10 min read
8 Signs of What Is a Player in Dating

Most of us want a relationship to make a real loving connection with someone. While dating, we’re looking for a person to have a future with. But it’s not that easy to find such a partner. At times, all we get is meeting someone who will end up taking our feelings and hurting us. That’s what is a player in dating.

When we are already hurt, we start to memorize there was indeed a sign or two of a player in dating:

  • A partner was not that interested in you
  • They were strongly hesitant to introduce you to family or friends
  • Any conversation you had with them was vague
  • You had the feeling of being some sort of last-minute backup plan for them

Now it’s clear – but at the moment, while you were noticing these signs, something stopped you from making correct assumptions or calling out to your own friends and family for help. How do you protect yourself from harm next time – and determine the person as a player in dating right away? I’m not a relationship coach to teach you how to behave, but I can tell you what a player in dating is and what the best strategies are to deal with such a person.

What Is a Player in Dating?

A player in dating is usually a person who uses their charm to emotionally manipulate others into falling in love with them. When their victim happens to fall in love, the fun ends for them: they drop the relationship and head to their next target. 

For players, love is merely a game. And the way to win the game is to enter as many lives as possible and leave a string of broken hearts behind.

Will a player ever fall in love? While they may not necessarily fall in love with anyone, it is always best to live with the assumed answer that is no. Remember that for players, being in a relationship is akin to playing a game. While there is a chance they might fall in love, their interest does not lie in building a connection.

What is a player in dating

8 Signs You’re Dating a Player

It’s a rather common mistake to overgeneralize things. Indeed, players have certain attributes that cannot and should not be ignored. However, it’s important to search for the strong signs rather than blame all the people on a dating site for playing.

Take a look at these characteristics and judge people around you objectively.

1. They Come On Strong

One of the biggest attributes of a player is that they come on very strong. In other words, they’ll tell you lots and lots of sweet things, tell you outright lies, and play mind games. If you see this, don’t rush into believing they really mean everything they say.

Players come on strong because they need to charm you as quickly and efficiently as possible to have a successful booty call. It’s a severe problem if they don’t worry about the emotional intimacy most people who want from a real relationship.

2. Emotional Unavailability and No Sense of Commitment

When you go out with a player, you may notice they are emotionally unavailable. While you seem to think you’re in a serious relationship, they don’t support you. Also, they may seem unwilling to change their relationship status on social media or not meet your emotional needs

In the dating world, when you are going out with someone, you should usually feel some kind of commitment from them. However, players tend to play by their own rules and will look at relationships as games. This means they feel no need to commit to you or anyone else fully.

If you’re also into casual fun, that’s OK – but if you want something serious, you’d better avoid players.

3. You’re Doing Most (If Not All) of the Relationship Work

A healthy relationship is all about give and take. This means that you both put in the effort to try and make it work. That’s why doing most of the work in the relationship is one of the most common warning signs of a player in dating.

To get a better idea of your relationship balance, think of everything you and your partner have done together in the past year:

  • How many of the things happening were your initiative?
  • How many times were you the one to write and call first?
  • How many times did you say “I love you”?
  • How many times did they say the same?
  • How many times were you able to be physically intimate without it resulting in sex?

If you think about it and grow concerned about the numbers or the lack of balance, you may be dating a player. Or they are just a person who doesn’t meet your relationship needs.

Related reading: 10 Basic Needs in a Relationship: Are You Getting Them Met?

4. No Consistency

You can always count on players to be consistently inconsistent:

  • They may keep going MIA
  • It’s OK for them to ignore your texts or calls
  • No matter what happens, they just seem to be completely over it.

When you think the relationship is over, they’ll start to love bomb and pull you back in. This leaves many women feeling confused and causes them the unnecessary pain of being heartbroken over and over again.

5. They’re Stashing You

How many people have you met in your partner’s life? If you cannot think of anyone, that is a huge sign of stashing.

Stashing is one of the biggest relationship red flags that can make you realize you are dating a player. As humans, we make many different connections in life – and with that, we should have many different types of relationships. When we are serious about those relationships, we allow them to intersect and build connections. This is how we network on a social level.

However, when they seem to be adamant about keeping you away from their friends and family, they lack respect for you. Before they decide to introduce you, they don’t plan to become serious about a relationship with you.

Related reading: Moving Forward: Your Guide on How to Stop Loving Someone

6. They Never Want to Tell You Everything

One of the big warning signs in dating a player is they often use tactics to avoid giving you all of the information:

  • If you ask about past relationships or if they have any female friends, they may try to use language that is as vague as possible.
  • If you ask about their life, they may be quick to change the topic or may even outright ignore any questions that you attempt to ask about it.

Of course, most people have things they don’t want to share in detail. However, most players differ because they seem to be reluctant to talk about themselves from a multitude of aspects.

7. They Seem to Be Very Protective of Their Phone

If you are dating a player, you may notice that throughout the relationship, they seem to be very protective of their phone. Players tend to take it to an extreme level, which is definitely more of a red flag.

You may suspect that there is another person they are making feel special – and in the case of a player, you are more likely to be right. But don’t get too suspicious right away – they may have a wandering eye because they are tired, have problems at work or in their personal lives, or just feel confused about what you’re saying. In short, not all the mixed signals are about your relationship status.

Related reading: Common Mixed Signals and How You Can Figure Them Out

8. It’s All About Sex

When you are in a relationship with a player, it may seem that the only thing that they want from you is sex. Nothing in life ever beats it.

Because players don’t play into feelings of intimacy or connection, it’s rare they’ll pull you back toward you on a date, a simple conversation, or anything else. If you are dating a player, you will find that most of your encounters with them almost always end up being sexually related.

How to deal with an emotionally unavailable player

8 Ways to Deal With a Player

Now that you know what signs to look for, it’s time to learn how to behave with someone who is playing with your emotions properly. By learning how to deal with a player, as well as play the game in your own way, you will feel safe and more confident. Here is how you can deal with a person who believes that love is a game.

1. Manage Your Expectations

“If you expect nothing from somebody, you are never disappointed.”

Sylvia Plath, American poet and novelist

Keep your expectations low, and you won’t need a relationship coach to save you from heartbreak. Treat each night out with your partner as a chance for some spontaneous fun.

By lowering those expectations and starting to notice the “ugly” truth as it is, you will find that you’re much less likely to be hurt by them.

2. End the Relationship If You Want Something Serious

If you want the relationship to be a true and serious one, the best way to avoid being hurt is to end the relationship when you see a clear sign simply your partner is playing with your feelings. Don’t rush into running away – but feel the moment to leave before it gets past the point of no return.

It’s better to end the connection before getting yourself lost in your feelings. It takes practice to go at the last moment before allowing yourself to be heartbroken when the truth finally rears its ugly head. Trust your intuition – deep inside, you always feel when something goes wrong. Don’t hesitate to put yourself as a priority in your own life.

Related reading: 36 Moving On Quotes to Help You Move Forward

3. It’s Them, Not Only You

You may find yourself comparing your relationship with a player to the healthy relationships that your friends have. You may even be compelled to see it as a sign that you are doing something wrong. But it’s important to not blame yourself only for the situation.

Remember that this isn’t true. Everything we do in a relationship is 50/50, so take responsibility for 100% within the half you’re in control, and let your partner cover the rest 100%.

4. Don’t Search for Meaning Behind Their Gestures

When it comes to the gestures of a player, no matter how romantic they might seem, it’s best not to look at it as a sign of romantic compatibility.

If they give you a gift after a night together, it’s likely they’ve given the same gift to others and are just trying to keep up appearances. It’s not about showing that you’re special to them.

When it comes to those gestures, it is best to show appreciation for them but not attach any superficial meaning to them. It’s nice, and you deserve this, nothing more.

Related reading: Getting Romantic Gifts to Her: No More Stress!

5. Have Fun With It

If you think you are in a relationship with a player, sometimes the best thing you can do is just have fun with it. Think of it as a friends-with-benefits type of situation, and let yourself enjoy that whirlwind of lust and connection with each other.

When you make a game out of their game, you’ll find that you’re less likely to be hurt. It’s also about lowering your expectations about this partner without lowering your standards about love.

6. Keep Your Boundaries Clear

When you’re interested in a player, it’s best to keep your boundaries clear. Of course, they may completely ignore those boundaries – but it’s still important to keep them clear for yourself.

As you become closer, you may be willing to be a bit more lenient towards them – and that is exactly what they want. Breaking your boundaries means giving up an idea for a relationship you deserve. Don’t let your date interest ruin it, even if your relationship goes so well that you’re ready to invent pet names for each other.

Related reading: Boundaries in Relationships – Keeping Them Healthy

7. Don’t Feel Compelled to Seek Revenge

Even if a player hurts, you it isn’t necessarily a personal vice against you as an individual. Players often see themselves as the main characters in a dating game. So when they make friends with people or enter romantic relationships, they see it as a successful quest and not for the pain it actively causes.

When they hurt you, you may be compelled to seek revenge, perhaps by sleeping with their friends or wrecking their stuff. If you’re a woman, don’t do that. Ultimately, this is going to cause you more pain than what it’s worth. And while you are perfectly within your rights to feel hurt, it is best not to act in such a way.

8. Be Ready to Move On

“Good people give Good Memories, Bad people give Good Experiences, Don’t Judge, Learn your lessons and Move on”

Kunal Tandel, author

Players often have a multitude of people they are romancing, along with multiple backup plans for dates. They may break up with you in person. However, they may also end the relationship by ghosting you and never establishing a connection again. You may get so used to the feeling of being on the back burner that when they ghost you, it can take months before you finally realize you’ve been dumped.

These things happen so often that it’s best to set yourself up with a mental timeline and be ready to move on. We find that two weeks to a month of being ghosted is a good amount of time to determine if it is time to move on or not. When you move on, don’t allow them to pull you back in; they had their chance with you, and you should not allow yourself to be placed on the back burner any longer.

Dealing with a player can be hard, especially when you find yourself falling in love with them. However, it is important for your mental and emotional health that you can handle being in a relationship with them without the fear or worry of finding yourself heartbroken. As you take the time to learn how you can spot who the players are, how to play their game against them, and how to manage your feelings and expectations you will find that the world of dating just gets a little more interesting.

Rise Above And Triumph!

If you fall in love with a player, the breakup can be painful. But, you can get through it. Rely on your friends, meditate, pray, engage in self-care, eat amazing food, watch movies that make you laugh, and listen to great music. Ultimately players end up alone. You can write whatever future you want.

Dating Tips Author
Shelly Standford
After a devastating relationship breakup, I threw myself into the dating scene by registering on Hily. I had over 100 dates - some absolute disasters, some pretty average, and some that were actually great. So many stories to tell and insights to share with you guys!
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