Reminder: You deserve someone who knows you're amazing.
Think you’re being played? You probably are. If you think you’re getting played, like if your partner is running around with someone else, well... in my years of being part of the game, whether I was a victim or the player, I always found there were pretty clear signs. Sometimes, you don’t even have to try to find them — they can literally fall into your lap.
However, it’s important to both be practical and trust your gut. Which can be difficult to balance. First, dating consultant George Kong points out, has this person given you concrete reasons to mistrust them? What are those reasons, and have you discussed them? Approach your partner with your concerns, because communication is always key. Borrow a page from Communication 101: When you do X, I feel Y. “And then gauge how your partner reacts to that,” Kong says. “Are they dismissive? Do they share their feelings? Do they ask you questions? And that’s where you start to trust your gut...if you’re asking the questions and they’re being dodgy, how does your gut feel about that?”
It’s important to trust your gut because your gut ultimately is your emotions. “In dating and relationships, the foundation of how we feel about the relationship, about the other person, is about emotions,” Kong says. “If your emotions are telling you this person is not to be trusted, figure out why you’re thinking that or why you’re feeling that and figure out whether you can trust this person. If there’s something worth salvaging, then you tell them, and see if it can change. Because that is what growth is. If you don’t think there’s anything worth salvaging, then move on.”
Maybe they’ve already given you signs they’re messing around, too. You don’t have to listen to me, but from past experiences, these are seven signs you just can’t ignore.
Players Are Attached To Their Phones 24/7
One of the most telling signs that you are not the only one in your significant other's life comes from the phone. Do you think that phone is on silent and face-down for no reason at all? Wrong. There’s a reason you can’t see it, find it or hear it. Expect it to be looked at only when you leave the room.
And yes, it’s rude to be on your phone when you’re with someone, but it could also be suspicious when it stays hidden, locked or in their hand at all times — especially when they leave the room.
Players Often Go MIA
They aren't responding to your texts? That’s not out of the ordinary. I also don’t often respond to people. But I can tell you I do respond to people I want to talk to.
It's one thing if a few hours go by because you’re busy. But, when hours and hours and hours go by with nothing?
You can pretty much bet they’re either preoccupied with someone else, don't want you to know what they’re really doing or you aren't worth talking to, from their perspective. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can promise that if I like you and I’m interested in you, I will respond to you when you reach out to me or shortly thereafter.
But, when it came to the poor guys I dated a few times but was simply not into, I was the person who simply didn’t respond.
The difference is, I keep it that way. There will be no response 12 hours later or 24 hours later. If I am not interested, you will not hear from me. So, when I go MIA, it’s for good, not temporarily!
Players Are Transactional
Ever offered to help with something? Isn’t it funny how someone will swoon for you, sweet talk you and make you feel like the only person in their world until they get what they wanted? You helped this person in one way or another, so now, they don't have to try so hard.
They will step back and push you away a little bit because they don’t really need anything from you anymore.
You played your part, so now you have to go. Or maybe, they don’t really want you to go for good, but you are no longer a top priority. You will know when that happens. Timing is everything.
Players Are Sketchy About Their Social Media
Need I say more?
Players Don’t Make Much Time For You Anymore
Remember when they used to want to see you all the time? They regularly made time for you, wanted to take you out, spoil you and show you what they were capable of (oh, the early stages of the game!)
They called and texted all the time, sometimes even all day. Then, maybe that started to simmer down. Maybe you started to think it was a little strange they didn't want to talk to you or see you much anymore.
You don’t feel that way for no reason, but in their defense, it’s not always their fault. Everything is exciting in the beginning, but things do change. Less effort goes into it because now that they have you, they are no longer as interested (we are human, it happens!) or because they found someone else.
Either one of those excuses makes sense, but it would help if they would share that information with you. At least you’d know your place, lower your expectations and move on. But no, they will always keep you on that string so they can have the best of both worlds. And you will always forget you were concerned and still send that reply text or make that unfortunate visit to spend time with them.
This happens because they know you're invested and will take advantage of it when it works for them. They know how to talk to you, and you will always fall for it. Who can resist a sweet person with a pretty face?
Players Treat You Like A Rebound
I am guilty of this. Who wants to be alone when you haven’t been in years? Did you know they just got out of a long-term relationship like two weeks ago? Oh, you did know? And now you’re wondering why they are being shady and distant?
When someone says they just got out of a long-term relationship, like “three weeks ago,” that should be the first sign you are the rebound person.
Players Give You A Bad Gut Feeling
Intuition is an extremely powerful force. If you even have to wonder “am I being played?”, chances are you might be. Experience has made me almost a pro at knowing when I’m being lied to or whether I should be suspicious of someone.
It sucks, but when, deep down, you feel something is not right, you should listen to yourself. You will start to put pieces together. You are noticing it for a reason. You caught a glimpse of a text message weeks ago? You remember something they said to you on your first date that is now resurfacing?
When you start to put the pieces together, your suspicions will, without a doubt, be right. I am telling you, if you don’t listen to anything else I say, listen to this: Intuition is your best friend. It is so powerful, you simply cannot ignore it, so don’t. Step back and reevaluate. Understand that this feeling may never go away then decide what you will do with it. If you choose to ignore it, be prepared for the consequences.
Now, are you ready for the big twist to this story? Sometimes, it is your fault that you got played. You saw all these signs, and your gut was trying to tell you something was not right. You chose to ignore it because you didn’t want to totally lose this person who had so much potential in your life. Of course, knowing that you should walk away doesn’t sound all that fabulous, so you don’t.
And guess what? You got played, and the only one who got hurt from it was you. And really, it is your fault for letting it happen. That's the cold, hard truth. So now, I finally understand what they mean when they say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” It’s true.
If you know you’re being played and you choose to keep playing the game, you made the choice. Yes, you can be mad at and hurt by the “player,” but you chose to stick around. The only real person you should be mad at is yourself. And, if you are anything like me, no matter how hard you try not to, you will always fall for the player. Why? Because the forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest.
George Kong, dating consultant at byGeorge