Are You Dating A Catch & Release Guy? 12 Signs You Need To Stop Taking The Bait

If you’ve ever wondered why men always go AWOL just when things become serious and what you do to put them off, the problem isn’t you—you’re dealing with a guy who loves to “catch and release.” Here are 12 signs the guy you’re dating is going to throw you back into the dating pool.

  1. He’s all about the chase. He loves the dating chase and puts loads of effort into impressing you. You see this as chivalrous or as a sign that he’s really interested in you, but he’s got a hidden agenda. You can tell by how he comes on a little too strongly, such as by being super nice or showering you with affection and gifts when he doesn’t even know you. He’s not going to stick around long enough to actually date you.
  2. WTF is this guy’s deal? Guys catch and release for a variety of reasons. He might be looking for an ego boost from getting such an amazing woman as you or he could have a fear of commitment that makes him bolt before things get too serious. He might even have an addiction to dating or adrenaline-causing activities. No matter what reason or excuse he has, he’s a jerk because he’s bringing you all his drama.
  3. He’s a man on a mission. You can spot the “catch and release” dater by how he’s in a mad rush to date you. He likes to move fast and show you how much you mean to him. It’s all an act to make you do what he wants. He’s not an alpha male—he’s an alpha loser.
  4. The excitement fades fast. After the chase, when he has you where he wants you, the “catch and release” dater is likely to start fading you out. From wanting to speak to you daily, he’ll only respond to texts but never initiate contact. Or he might ghost you, cutting off all contact. WTF?
  5. He stops paying attention. If he’s still meeting you for dates, you’ll spot that he’s slowly pulling out of the relationship because he never gives you his full attention. He stares at other women a lot or looks distracted. He might even spend more time on his phone than talking to you. Ugh.
  6. He confuses you to hell and back. You think that he’s interested in you and wants to take the relationship further, but then he’ll throw you a curveball like saying that he wants things to remain the way they are, he’s not ready for something more serious, or he just wants to enjoy casually dating you. So now instead of being in a relationship with him, things feel complicated. It’s seriously messed up.
  7. He’s always hunting down new adventures. A “catch and release” guy is likely to have the same need for speed in the rest of his life. If he’s always looking for new adventures and getting bored with his current hobbies a little too quickly than seems normal, these can point to a guy who has the same mindset when it comes to his love life.
  8. He wants you to commit. The most insulting thing about “catch and release” daters is that they don’t want to commit but they want you to commit to them. It’s all about stroking their ego. When they’re sure that you have strong feelings for them and want to take the relationship to a higher level, that’s when they’ll throw you back into the dating pool. They’ve received the gratification they want, and don’t see any further use for you.
  9. But the game can go on for months. “Catch and release” dating isn’t always just a one-off. It could happen that a guy gets you stuck in a “catch and release” setup for months – or even years. For instance, he might work hard at getting your attention, only to disappear once you express interest in him. Then, months later, he’ll resurface and charm the pants off you so that you think maybe he’s changed or is really interested in you this time. Toxic AF!
  10. It’s even easier to do via text. Texting makes the “catch and release” game much easier for these guys. All they have to do is give you loads of attention via text in which they act like they’re enjoying chatting with you so much, then they’ll disappear for a while and resurface. As much as you hate the yo-yo, you can’t help but feel a tinge of excitement when they send you a text after having bolted on you. This is a clever way to keep you hanging and make you addicted to them.
  11. You’re not the problem. If you’ve ever moaned to your besties about how guys always bolt once you’ve reciprocated their feelings, now you know they were just keen to “catch and release” you. Don’t spend a minute of your time feeling bad or suffering a dent in your confidence. These guys are the immature, insecure losers.
  12. Stop taking the bait. These guys will never change because they love the game more than they ever liked you. The only way to break their toxic cycle is to stop taking their bait! Don’t fall for their declarations and promises, and quit letting them play you like a puppet. The minute they see that you’re possibly still interested in them, such as because you responded to their text even after they ghosted you, they’ll work hard to keep the game going. It’s so sick!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.