8 Dating Games You Probably Don’t Realize You’re Playing

You say you don’t play games when dating someone, but you might be guilty of subtle dating tactics without even realizing it half the time. Do any of these feel familiar? If so, sorry to break it to you

  1. You try to tone down your interest to keep him from freaking out. This is a more subtle version of playing hard to get. Instead of blatantly trying to show the guy you’re not interested so he can chase you, you show your feelings… but only as much as he does. You’re following his lead out of fear that if you’re honest about how you feel or you’re showing affection before he does, he’ll lose interest in you. Honestly, screw what he’s going to do! You should do what feels right for you and if he’s into you, he’ll stay.
  2. You play the passive aggressive game. When the guy you’re dating does something to piss you off, instead of talking to him about it, you retreat into your shell. The walls come up. The chains are locked. Then you wait, hoping he’ll realize his mistake and apologize. Um, you might be waiting a long time ’cause guys aren’t psychic. You might write off your passive aggressive ways as you feeling hurt or licking your wounds, but if it’s causing resentment in you towards your partner, it’s not a game for two.
  3. You act like you like the stuff he likes more than you actually do. This is the silent killer in relationships. You and your BF have very different interests and passions so you figure you should try to be as similar as possible to keep the fire going. You might cut down the amount of time you spend on your passions while bolstering the amount of time that goes towards what he wants to do. It happens without you noticing at first: you might cancel that dance class yet again so you can go bungee-jumping with your BF until soon you’re totally forgetting what you used to like. Just to keep him interested? FFS.
  4. You force the chill. You’re told that guys want chilled, mellow GFs who don’t bust their balls, so you try to be that person. You turn a blind eye to things that irritate you and even offensive behavior. This is just about being the type of woman you THINK he wants, but it makes you totally forget about what you need – and denies him the amazing woman you are.
  5. You try to be the rescuer. Fixing someone else, like that hot narcissist who would be so perfect if he just wasn’t so selfish, is always a bad idea. You’ll end up hurting yourself while trying desperately to make the guy go to rehab/get back into the job market/leave his current GF so you can be together. But fixing someone else is sometimes also a way for you to bolster your ego and be seen as an amazing, giving GF by your partner. It’s a way to get love, but why should you have to do anything to receive love? You’re loveable just the way you are.
  6. You withhold sex for the wrong reasons. Waiting a long time before you have sex with your partner can be a good thing if you’re doing it for your own personal reasons, but if you’re hoping you can use sex to control the guy, think again. Sex might be a persuasive way to keep guys hanging onto your every word, but honestly, it’s only got limited power. Instead of withholding sex to control someone, get into a relationship with someone you don’t need to control. Period.
  7. You’re busy AF… but not really. You’ve really got lots of stuff going on, so when the guy asks if you could keep Sunday open to do something fun together, you will say you’re too busy. That’s the fourth time this has happened. If you’re genuinely that busy, then you shouldn’t feel you need to date if you don’t have the time. But if your busy life is just a partial cover for “I’m playing hard to get here,” be careful that you don’t use it to push away the good guys.
  8. You forget your friends, but they’ll understand. It’s normal to have a bit less time for your friends when you get into a new relationship, but if you can’t remember the last time you and your bestie had drinks, this is a problem. You might think cutting down your time with loved ones in favor of spending time with your new partner is a great way to bond and connect with him, but it can backfire. Your friends might not stick around waiting for you to return their calls — and if your relationship tanks, you’ll wish you hadn’t made yourself so alone. Trying hard to make a relationship work is a good thing, but not if it’s a tornado sucking the rest of your life into it. That’s playing with disaster.
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.