13 Signs He’s Playing Mind Games post image

13 Signs He’s Playing Mind Games

No one wants to be be played with. That’s a major fear that causes people to put up walls, preventing them from getting the love they truly want because love can’t flourish behind a plastic wall.

I want to start off by saying that very few people intentionally seek out playing mind games- most guys aren’t out there just looking to screw with your heads.

Mind games are usually a manifestation of his own ambivalence towards you and the relationship. Maybe he just doesn’t like you enough or maybe he just has issues with relationships in general and can’t commit.

Now on your end, you just feel totally confused. You spend more time trying to understand the relationship than you do actually enjoying it, and hence the term mind games. You feel like you’re trying to solve some intricate puzzle rather than build a relationship and form a connection. You feel like you can’t totally drop your guard because you’re afraid of being blindsided with a breakup.

MORE: 13 Definite Signs He’s Not Serious About You

Well to clear things up, I’m going to share the biggest telltale signs a guy isn’t sure about you and is playing games so keep reading.

1. You’re doing all the work

You are always the one to initiate texts and hangouts. You almost feel like if you stopped reaching out to him, you would never hear from him again.

And here is where it gets confusing: he always replies … and he’s perfectly nice, and maybe even a little flirty when he does! And he does accept your invitations to hang out, and he seems to have a blast with you and seems really into you. So you feel really confused.

He may also initiate sometimes, but he can go days or weeks without reaching out and you’re not sure what this means- if he doesn’t like you, why reach out at all? Why be nice when you reach out to him?

Well, this is what I call the passive reciprocation trap. When you reach out, he responds and it perfectly nice and this is because he does like you a little … but he’s not really super into it and that’s why he’s taking a more passive approach to the relationship.

When a guy is on the fence about you, he will be in and out, sending “mixed messages” left and right and it will feel like he’s playing mind games. When a guy really does like you, he’ll be consistent. 

If this is the situation you’re in, just pull back a bit and see what he does. There is no better indication of how a man feels than how he behaves when he thinks he may lose you.

2. He bails on you … often

Things come up sometimes, life happens. But how often is it happening?

If he’s consistently bailing on you, it’s a strong indicator that he doesn’t regard your feelings and isn’t worried about losing you. When a guy truly likes you, he won’t cancel unless he has a seriously legitimate reason.

If a guy is flaking often, it’s a sign that he just isn’t serious about you. Or maybe he’s just a selfish guy who always puts himself first. Either way, it’s not a good sign.

It also points to a guy who is still exploring his options. If a guy is just messing around, then he might bail on you when something “better” comes up.

MORE: Why He Won’t Emotionally Commit

3. He’s in and out of the relationship

I touched on this earlier but this is basically the main component of knowing how a guy truly feels: he’s consistent.

If he’s in and out of the relationship, if he’s obsessed with you one week and then vanished without a trace the next, it’s a sign that he is apathetic toward you. Guys don’t act like this with women they really care about.

A lot of women get confused by mixed messages and hot and cold behavior. They come to me daily asking what the messages mean and usually, the message is clear: He’s just isn’t sure about you.

It feels like he’s playing mind games because when he’s in it, he seems to be so in and it feels really nice. But then when he goes cold, you’re left shattered and confused. What did you do wrong? What caused this? What is going on in this guy’s head?

Most likely, he likes you … but he doesn’t like you enough. That is truly what’s at the heart of all the confusion.

MORE: 4 Ways To Make Him Commit To You

4. You have no idea where he stands

He’s just kind of in a state of neutral. He’s nice and he’s friendly, but you have no idea how he really feels about you. Sometimes it seems like he really likes you, other times you have no idea and you feel like the rug could be pulled out from under you at any moment.

He doesn’t talk about his feelings or where he wants the relationship to go, and anytime you bring it up he either makes jokes or deflects. He seems content keeping things unclear and undefined. The reason he wants things to stay here is it’s not unclear for him, he knows he doesn’t really want a relationship with you but he can keep you around as long as you don’t know that that’s how he truly feels.

MORE: The Top Signs He’s Just Not That Into You

But it’s also possible he thinks he needs more time to figure out how he feels, or maybe to figure himself out. Either way, this state of confusion drives you completely crazy.

5. He makes you feel lucky to have him

He makes you feel like you’re lucky to have been chosen by him, even if he isn’t giving you what you want.

When you express your needs, he might say “Well, I spend more time with you than anyone else, doesn’t that mean something to you?” almost making you feel like you should be grateful he’s giving you the time of day.  He may tell you he has tons of options and that girls hit on him all the time and he can have anyone.

He may even “neg” you. Negging is an insult cloaked in a compliment- like “You look so much prettier with makeup on.” Or, “My last girlfriend was super hot- I’m glad you’re more of a girl next door type.”

All of this makes you confused and makes you feel inferior like you have to prove yourself and your worth to him.

6. He keeps you in his back pocket

A back pocket relationship is one where a guy hides you away from the rest of his life.

He doesn’t introduce you to his friends and family, he doesn’t really bring you into his world at all.

Now if the relationship is new, this is normal and understandable. But if it’s been a few months, then this is odd behavior. He’s either trying to hide something from you or trying to hide you from everyone else, either way, it’s a red flag.

MORE: 11 Relationship Red Flags

7. He’s never there for you

He shows up when he needs something or wants to get his needs met, but not so much the rest of the time.

It’s easy to be there for someone when everything is going great, but how is he when things get a little tough, as they inevitably will. Does he step up or take a big step back?

When a guy really cares, he wants to be there for you, this won’t be a burden or a chore for him. When a guy is ambivalent about you, he will bring out any excuse he can not to show up.

8. He acts like a jerk to make you like him

Unfortunately, there are many pick up artists out there that give men this advice, the advice that they need to be jerks to win a woman over.

Now fine, maybe you need to play it a little cool in the beginning, but if he’s being a total jerk to you that just points to a lot of issues within him and he might not be someone you want to be involved with. If a guy has to resort to that sort of thing, he clearly thinks his true self isn’t good enough, or he’s been too burned in the past to let someone in.

Either way, a guy who subscribes to this school of thought will completely mess with your head and probably won’t feel emotions about it because he thinks he’s in the right so stay away if you sense that’s what’s going on.

MORE: Biggest Signs He’s Never Going to Settle Down With You

9. His actions and words don’t align

Men communicate through actions more than words. This is where it gets confusing for a lot of women because words mean a lot to us.

It’s very easy for a guy to say, “Oh baby, I like you so much, I’ve never felt this way before.” But how do his words come across via actions? If he says that to you, but then disappears for days or weeks, or leaves you hanging, then maybe he was exaggerating his feelings just a touch.

When trying to decipher how a guy feels (side note: if a guy truly likes you, you won’t ever have to decipher because it will be clear and obvious), look at the actions more than words. If his words align with his actions, great! He means what he’s saying. If not … then it’s just poetry.

10. He refuses to take down his dating profiles

This just shows he’s not serious about you, he wants to keep playing the field. He might also make you feel crazy for wanting him to take the profile down, like you’re just being jealous or unreasonable.

Granted, maybe he forgot about his account after you started dating, but if you bring it up and he still won’t take it down, it’s a strong sign that he wants to keep his options open.

11. He intentionally tries to make you jealous

This is a strong sign of immaturity and he may also have learned this from the same pickup artist who told him to act like a jerk to make you like him.

He might talk about other women to you or flirt with other women in from of you. This can be his way of trying to get you to like him or his way of asserting that he’s not serious about you so that you don’t come to expect too much out of him.

MORE: The Biggest Signs He’ll Never Commit To You

12. He’s not really interested in learning about you or your story

When we really like someone, we want to know everything. We want to know their full history- every scar and every scratch and every story.

When we’re indifferent, we don’t really care. We’re just using them to serve our own needs.

If a guy only seems to care about how you see him, how much you like him, then he’s using you to stroke his ego and isn’t into building a true and genuine connection.

13. You feel it in your gut

Deep down, you already know the truth. If you think this guy is playing games and isn’t serious about you, then you’re probably right.

The trouble is, you don’t want to be right! You really like him and you’re grasping for anything to hold onto, hoping that maybe you’re just being insecure and maybe you’re wrong.

Your gut instincts are there for a reason and they are a powerful tool when used correctly. Don’t ignore what she’s trying to tell you!

MORE: Signs He’s Not For Real

The fact is, you can’t read someone’s mind and it doesn’t serve you to assume bad intentions in another person, because most of the time these behaviors aren’t done with the intent to cause harm. We’re all human, we’re all fallible, and we all can be a little selfish when it comes to our wants and needs. So maybe you discovered that the guy you’re seeing is playing games with you … I know it hurts, but letting yourself become angry and jaded over it will only hurt you more in the long run because anger and bitterness serve no positive function.

I hope this article helped you gain some clarity and insight. Now we talked a lot about how a guy can be unsure about you and like you just a little … but do you know what it takes for a guy to like you a lot? Find out what makes a man see a woman as “the one” in this article:The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman

It’s also possible he does really like you, but he’s withdrawing or pulling away because something else is going on with him. It may be something about the relationship or it may have nothing to do with the relationship. Find out more here:If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...

Written by Sabrina Alexis

I’m Sabrina Alexis, the co-founder, and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing relatable, insightful articles that help people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want. I have a degree in psychology and have spent the last 10 years interviewing countless men and reading and studying as much as I can to better understand human psychology and how men operate. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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