Games and relationships just don’t mix. But sometimes, you’re told to play light dating games as this can help you to build interest in your crush, like by playing a bit hard to get to keep them interested in you. Are those games worth it? The thing is, while some dating games can help you to foster a connection, like when you make yourself a bit less available so you don’t seem desperate, you have to tread carefully and avoid going OTT with playing games as they can cause your relationship to blow up and end, leaving you in a big mess you created. It’s not a cool feeling. These relationship games should never be played because they’re manipulative and give your partner a bad impression of who you are.
- Blowing hot and cold. Mixed messages, anyone? They suck! There’s nothing worse than acting like you’re into someone one minute, only to give them the cold shoulder the next day. They’re going to be shaking their head, wondering what on earth is going on, so don’t do it. Drama-free love is about being clear and consistent.
- Keeping your distance This game goes like this: no matter how much the person flirts with you or shows you that they want to be serious with you, you tell yourself to play it cool. And you do this for several days or weeks to see what they’re made of and if they’re really interested in you. Um, not only will this backfire because they’ll just think you’re not interested in taking things to a more committed level, but there’s nothing worse than a relationship ending because you were holding yourself back.
- Flirting but never taking it further If your partner flirts with you and you reciprocate, that shows you’re both on the same page. However, if you flirt your butt off but then never take the flirting to the next level, such as by building greater emotional intimacy with your partner, it can confuse them and make them think you’re just playing with their head and heart. Stop trying to be cool, and be real instead.
- Trying to make them jealous When you’re out with your partner, do you try to make them jealous by flirting with other people or do you tell them that you’re chatting to certain people on social media just to make them feel like crap? Why?! Not only is this manipulative, but someone who has a good amount of self-confidence and self-worth isn’t going to stick around to be manipulated or made to feel bad.
- Love-bombing When you first start dating, do you come on really strong, such as by throwing tons of praise on your partner or giving him gifts? This can come across as manipulative, as if you have a hidden agenda. Or, it can make you seem desperate and insecure because you’re trying to make them love you. None of these things look good on you. This is one of the most subtle but damaging relationship games.
- Withholding sex If this is one of the relationship games you play, it’s time to stop. Now. Withholding sex when you’re upset with them because you think it’s a way to get your own way — i.e. not having sex with them until they do something you want them to do that they don’t want to — is completely inappropriate. It’s time to grow up.
More relationship games you should never play
- Building them up only to tear them down Do you give them a compliment followed by an insult, such as by saying, “You’ve got great hair… although it’s a terrible color” or “You’re such a hottie… If you worked out more at the gym, you’d be even sexier.” Don’t do it. It might make you feel powerful, like you’re controlling them or making him desperate for your love and attention, but honestly? You’re just showing them that you’re the insecure/nutty one.
- Acting like you don’t care If you’ve been dating for a while and you always try to act like you don’t care about anything, like when your partner wants to talk about a fight you had and you’re just not interested, it really tells them you don’t want to work on your relationship. You might do this to keep them on their toes or make them work harder, but honestly? You’re just pushing them away. No one wants to be with someone who doesn’t care.
- Making them suffer You and your partner had a fight and things are still pretty weird. Now they’re trying hard to make things up to you. Do you give them a hard time even though they don’t deserve it? Punishing them, such as by giving them the silent treatment or not reciprocating their loving words, is really breaking down your relationship. It’s immature, unfair, and really toxic.
- Being a “yes” woman When your relationship is still in its early stages, you might think of saying “yes” to everything to show him you’re into the person. When they ask you to an impromptu dinner, you say yes even though you have a stressful day at work the next morning. When they say they want to take you out on Thursday night instead of on the weekend, you say yes even though you had other plans. This sort of behavior can make you come across as way too available, or like you don’t have an identity and are just going along with everything they want. It’s not cool. Be real and be yourself! It’s the only way that your relationships can be healthy.
- Trying to be just like them This might not seem like any of the other relationships games on this list but hear me out. You might think that you have to be exactly what they want in order to impress them. So, you might try to like what they like and be interested in their hobbies. But this comes across as weird, or like you’re trying too hard to fake a connection. While you might think this dating strategy is going to make sparks fly, it can seriously burn you. They don’t want to date a carbon copy of themself. They want to date someone with her own thoughts, feelings, and desires.