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Men That Play Games

My friend Alyssa asked me the other day, “Ryan, men that play games—how do I get away from them?” Well… you might not be able to. Unless you really change the way that you look at the world or even YOURSELF. Probably, yourself is first!

The dating pool is so mysterious and full of surprises. You never know what kind of people you might meet once you dive in, but there is a clear distinction you can make between the good guys and the bad ones. It’s up to you what kind of men you prefer to be with, but if there’s one opinion that many people will readily agree on, no one wants to date men that play games.

Sometimes there’s no time for such games; other times, you might be looking for something more substantial in the long run. Whatever your reasons for avoiding men playing mind games, it’s safe to admit that it’s not easy to figure out these kinds of men.

They are sly with their words and actions that you might just be swept off your feet. Perhaps he has a way with words that just make you feel like there’s nothing else you can do or say about his behavior, even if you are not okay with it.

If you have ever felt this way about some men, welcome to the ultimate guide that will help you recognize these toxic patterns and give you tips on handling such men.

There can be many reasons why a man would want to play games with you. But it obviously takes a lot of work and effort from their end, so why even do it in the first place?

See also: Lying by omission

Men that play games: Almost all men will play games with you—it's how you handle it that matters.
Men that play games: Almost all men will play games with you—it’s how you handle it that matters.

9 Reasons Why Men Play Games

—Men that play games

He Likes To Be In Power

Men who like to be in control all the time will play mind games to make sure that he always has the upper hand in the relationship. He uses different manipulation tactics to ensure you are always beneath him.

He Thinks Of You As A Challenge

“You can’t always have what you want.” The truth of this phrase applies to this reason why men like playing games. They perceive you as a challenge and want to chase you when you seem out of their league or hard to get. But once they get you, you no longer serve the purpose of making them feel excited about the chase.

Related: Important values in life

He Does Not Want To Be Vulnerable

For men who have had tough pasts or are unlucky in love, jumping back into a relationship seems to be one of the hardest things to do. Hence he might be playing some mind games to know your true intentions or to change something about this relationship.

Perhaps he was used in the past relationship, so now he wants control over the relationship, so he uses his power of mind games to keep you in check.

For An Ego Boost

Many people know men for their massive egos that must be fed with sadistic and manipulative intents. His desire to feel entitled and desired might make him devise cunning mind games to play with you so that he is always the one in power.

He Is Only Looking For A Physical Relationship

Men only looking for a physical relationship will play tons of mind games to ensure that their partners do not expect anything other than physical needs from them. At the end of the day, getting intimate was their goal, so when they get what they want, the games will start.

He Has Low Self-Esteem

Insecure men tend to play mind games to protect their self-esteem. Instead of working on themselves, they would rather manipulate. And hide behind a mask of fake control and power to fuel their low sense of self-worth.

He Wants To Test How Loyal You Are

Some men will push you to the limits and exhaust you in the relationship just to test your loyalty to them. He wants to know if you’re actually serious about the relationship. So he might just start spinning stories and giving you scenarios in which he expects a reaction.

He Is Just Killing His Boredom

Some men are just bored, and instigating dramas keeps them on their toes. So they might just start manipulating and gaslighting you for no other reason other than for fun.

See also: Signs a guy is jealous

How To Know If A Man Is Playing Games With You

Typically, men are known to be straightforward about their needs and want regarding relationships s, but a few others like playing games. So how would you know if your man is playing mind games with you?

Men that play games: You'll need to handle the situation with grace, not aggression.
Men that play games: You’ll need to handle the situation with grace, not aggression.

8 Signs That A Man Is Playing Games With You

—Men that play games

He Is Always Blaming You For Everything That Goes Wrong

No matter what the issue is, if your man is always finding a way to make you feel bad about the situation by blaming you for it, it’s not a good relationship to be in. he might be gaslighting you to make you feel like you’re the one in the wrong even though he might be fake apologizing to you.

Some people push the limits by blaming you even for significantly bad behavior like cheating or treating you poorly and with disrespect. He always has a justification for his actions and never apologizes without an excuse.

See also: How to set healthy boundaries

It’s Hard To Predict His Mood

If you find his behavior inconsistent, he is probably up to something. When assessing this, remember that we all have good and bad days, and that can predict our mood, but we’re not always strung that way all the time.

However, if you notice that your man has this hot and cold behavior, like he’s interested in you today and sends you a thousand messages but the next day he’s MIA, it’s a sign that he could have something up his sleeve.

His sudden disappearing acts in your relationship could indicate something more than his absence. And if this is something you notice often, you should take this as a warning sign.

He Likes To Play The Victim Card A Lot

A master manipulator knows how to use the victim card to his advantage. He will always victimize himself in all situations and make you feel bad for everything wrong, even though it wasn’t your fault.

They end up blaming all their bad behavior on something that happened to them in the past or even to you. They know that you’ll end up feeling sorry for them and forgive them even if their wrongs outweigh yours or, worse, has nothing to do with you.

He Doesn’t Introduce You To His Friends Or Family

Everyone knows when your significant other introduces you to his close friends or family members, it shows that they are serious about your relationship. They want their inner circle to get to know you and accept you as their own.

However, even after several months of dating and crossing several milestones in your relationship, he still hasn’t introduced you to even one of his friends. It could be because he still isn’t sure how he feels about you or the relationship. Perhaps he doesn’t want to get hooked or is still looking for something else.

Men that play games: You know the types they are... So why not avoid them entirely?
Men that play games: You know the types they are… So why not avoid them entirely?

He Is Always Pushing Your Limits

A guy that likes to play mind games will always push your boundaries. You might not know what he is after or what he aims to gain from ticking you off, but he is surely trying to get something out of you.

Perhaps he wants to see how loyal you are or wants to test you on some unreasonable aspect of your position in the relationship with him.

By pushing your boundaries constantly, he’s trying to find out how much you tolerate and what he might be able to get away with. In time this behavior might fester, and he will take advantage of you based on these mind games.

He Sends You Mixed Signals

So he might say one thing and do the other. He might tell you that you are everything to him, but he doesn’t even respond to your texts. Maybe he tells you he wants to be with you but never takes you out in public.

If you’re seeing a pattern of mixed signals from him, it’s time to have a real sit down and discuss your relationship with him.

He Gives You The Silent Treatment

This is another way that your man might be manipulating you by ignoring you or refusing to talk to you even though you want to. He’s probably trying to make you feel powerless by not giving you control over what kinds of conversations you have with him. It also leaves you confused and wondering if you did something wrong even if you didn’t.

He Only Calls You When He Needs Something From You

If you notice that your man only looks for you when he needs something from you, he’s not the real deal. Of course, partners should be able to seek each others’ help in a relationship. Still, if that’s everything he ever does in your relationship, he’s probably only with you for convenience.

7 Ways To Deal With Men That Play Games With You

—Men that play games

Pay No Attention To His Mind Games

Some men are there to make your lives miserable, and you gain nothing from the relationship. So if your man is always playing these kinds of min games with you, pay no heed to his actions.

He doesn’t deserve your attention, and your attention is exactly what he is trying to grab. When he sees that his games aren’t working on you, perhaps he’ll be more genuine.

Have THE TALK About Your Relationship

It might be a hard conversation, but it is better to talk about the status of your relationship and ask him, “what are we?” from the get-go.

When you establish where you stand in the relationship, you know better how to deal with him when things go wrong and what you can and can’t say.

Without the talk, you might be left wondering if it’s even right for you to question his actions just because you’re not in a relationship or his partner.

Straight Up, Confront Him

When you notice a pattern in his behavior, address and confront it instead of letting it go. If you never speak up, it only motivates him to keep repeating the same behavior.

Tell him you see right through his games and that you have no time for such silliness in your life right now. Being firm in your stance will make him see that you’re not there for fun but are serious about whatever you have.

Build Your Self-Respect

When a man plays mind games with you, you might be tempted to retreat into your submissive self and let him take control. Master manipulators have a way of making you feel utterly small that you can’t help but adhere to whatever it is that they want from you.

However, self-respect comes naturally if you work on your self-esteem and self-worth. When you respect yourself, you won’t let men will tiny, fragile egos dictate what you can and cannot do. Have confidence in yourself and know that you deserve the best of everything you need.

Set Some Boundaries

It is important to set clear boundaries and let him know you will accept no-nonsense when it comes to your happiness. Let him know where your limits lie, and make it a point to let him know never to cross them.

As much as you want him to respect your boundaries, you should also practice the same.

Remember, men who like to play games are experts at gaslighting and making you feel like you’re the one at fault, which might help them push your boundaries. So don’t look at things from an emotional point of view. Be clear and straightforward about your needs, and there will be no room for anyone to play any mind games.

There’s No Need To Panic

If you notice that a guy showing so much interest in you suddenly doesn’t contact you, don’t panic. It’s not your fault. He’s probably playing games to get your reaction or wants you to chase him too. Maybe he also wants to figure out his real feelings before he commits to you. Bottomline is there’s no need to worry about it. What is meant to happen will happen.

Walk Away From It

Sometimes there’s no point in explaining and dealing with people who are not ready to understand. Some men are just plain bad and evil people who like nothing more than to make other people’s lives miserable.

Perhaps they have something to gain from taking the joy out of other people’s lives, but you shouldn’t have to feel like you need anything from such men.

When you know what you’re worth and you work on building your self-esteem, nothing and no one can stop you from spreading your wings. Not even men that play games!

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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