While they can be fun for the person playing them, the immature games going on in the dating world are often frustrating and even harmful for the person on the receiving end. These are the top dating games men and women need to stop playing ASAP.
- Breadcrumbing This is one of the more common, and more unfortunate, dating games out there. Put simply, breadcrumbing is where someone doesn’t want to see you again but leaves you small crumbs of hope that keep you hooked and confused. For example, they might text you a random love heart emoji even though they have no intention of seeing you again. Meanwhile, you’re left wondering what the heart means and if there’s any hope for the two of you (there isn’t).
- The silent treatment This is a dating game that needs no explanation. While some people feel that the silent treatment is an appropriate response when you’re angry at someone, it can actually be a form of emotional abuse. It’s basically punishing someone by withholding communication. It can be difficult to communicate properly with someone you just started dating, but the silent treatment very rarely solves anything. It’s okay to take some time to yourself to get your cool back. But it’s not okay to ignore someone to teach them a lesson.
- Ghosting If you’ve spent any time in the dating world, chances are you’ve been ghosted at least once. And you may have even ghosted someone else. This is basically where you disappear from the relationship without a trace, like a ghost. One minute, you’re present and talking. The next, the other person never hears from you again. It goes without saying why we need to leave this game in the past. As difficult as it can be to tell someone you don’t want to date someone anymore, having that conversation is better than acting like they never existed.
- Haunting Ghosting is where someone disappears altogether. By comparison, haunting is where the person you’re dating stays in your life, but only just. They’ll refrain from organizing any more dates with you or talking to you. But they’ll hover in the background so the ties aren’t totally cut. People who haunt usually look at your Instagram stories or like your Facebook posts. But that’s as far as the interaction goes.
- Zombieing Zombieing sometimes happens after ghosting. As you may have predicted, this is when someone returns to your life after ghosting you. In other words, they come back from the dead. This is the type of person whom you don’t hear from for months or even years, and then sends you a text as if nothing happened. To acknowledge that it was wrong to ghost someone and come back expecting a second chance is pretty entitled. And most of the time, people become zombies when something goes on in their own lives that makes them want to talk to you again. But it’s rarely about genuinely seeing the error of their ways and actually learning to appreciate you.
- Gaslighting Not just confined to dating, gaslighting is where someone tries to make you question your own reality. Another form of emotional abuse, gaslighting involves the other person trying to make you think that you’re overreacting or jumping to conclusions whenever you call them out on their poor behavior. In the context of dating, gaslighting usually looks like one person making the other feel insecure about setting boundaries or questioning behavior. For example, someone you’ve been dating for a few months might tell you “not to freak out” about them seeing other people because you’ve only been dating “a while”. Anyone who brushes off your concerns and makes you think you’re overreacting could be potentially gaslighting you.
- Love bombing. Love bombing is one of those dating games that can be difficult to identify when it’s happening to you. This is basically where someone bombards you with affection and gifts very early on. Their intention is to get you to let your guard down and make you feel loved. Even if they’re not planning on maintaining a long-term relationship with you. Relationship educator Brie Schmidt explains that people also love bomb when they are infatuated with someone else, not realizing how overwhelming their actions are.
- Playing hard-to-get. People who play hard to get try to make the person they’re dating work for their affection. They might make it seem like they’re highly desirable and the other person has lots of competition. Or like they’re unavailable and the other person is lucky to get any of their time at all. Whlie this game can make you seem more alluring to the other person, it can also backfire. It’s not worth playing with someone you really like because it could make them think a relationship with you is too hard. Or they might feel insecure and unloved and like they want to find someone who doesn’t make them feel those things.
- Catfishing. A huge problem in the world of online dating, catfishing is where someone lures you in with a fake online persona. People might not necessarily use fake photos on their dating app. But they might use photos from years ago where they look completely different. Or they might lie about what they do for work. Or what they’re really looking for. Any sign of catfishing and you have more than enough reason to call it quits.