How Do I Avoid Wasting Time on Players and Narcissists?

How Do I Avoid Wasting Time on Players and Narcissists?

Dear Evan,

I think your male point of view may help women spot the good guys. You advise us to be careful with the alphas and Mr. Know-it-all types. Well, it’s not always easy to spot them for women, especially for the attractive ones. It’s easier for men to know other men, you can easily say if such guy is a player or not; but it’s sometimes difficult for women due to the mixed signals. I’m physically a very attractive woman, and this is sometimes a real curse since a lot of men compete for my attention, and they all seem nice, compassionate, chivalrous, and generous at the beginning, even the alphas and know-it-alls. They keep a low profile, at least for a while. I never know their real faces until I’m invested.

I wish there was a way – a kind of test for women to figure out who can walk their talks, who is genuinely compassionate and kind, before we got emotionally invested. I’m an observant person. I observe how they treat waiters etc., yet some of men are really good at hiding their true selves for a long time (until they’re sure of you). It’s a very frustrating experience for me. I wish women could have practical tools to measure up men before they got involved and eliminate the narcissists/players.

I’m looking forward for your advice from the male perspective. –Ashley

Dear Ashley,

You didn’t ask me a question. You made a statement:

“It’s hard to tell if a man is a good guy. I would love to have a magic wand that would let me know if I’m wasting my time.”

Well, you’re in luck, my friend.

If your biggest concern is that everyone puts on his best face for a long time, then the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and observe him.

You asked for a “test” that women can give to men to figure out which ones are truly kind and compassionate, instead of selfish players.

I’m not sure if you were looking for a physical object (like the aforementioned magic wand), a personality test (like the 436 questions on eHarmony’s profile), or maybe just a subtle series of questions that you can drop into every day conversation (ex. “Are you a player or are you a genuinely sincere guy?”)

If it sounds like I’m teasing you, Ashley, well, I am.

Because, no matter how important such “tests” are (and they are), and how much women want them (a lot), they all pale in comparison to the one test that I can offer that’s close to foolproof.

Yes, this is a test that everybody knows about and it’s FAR more effective than “So, where do you see yourself in five years?”. And yet somehow, it’s not considered very popular in the female community.

You ready for it?

It’s called “the test of time”.

If your biggest concern is that everyone puts on his best face for a long time, then the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and observe him.

Literally ANYTHING else you try to do to “weed him out” is going to be obvious, tone-deaf, and likely ineffective.

How do I know this? Because, by your logic, my wife would have weeded me out really early on. Check out these red flags.

• We hooked up (without sleeping together) for a month before I became her boyfriend.
• I didn’t see her six times a week; closer to 3 times.
• I was never “whipped” and never had the “you just know” feeling.
• I didn’t tell her I loved her for six months.
• I had never had a girlfriend for longer than 8 months before.
• She wasn’t my “type” – liberal, Ivy League, ambitious, East Coast.
• I was open about my confusion and ambivalence. After 16 months, I was either going to propose or break up and I didn’t know which.

So why did my wife keep me around?

Because she could tell that I was 100% authentic.

If a man wants to get married and start a family one day, he’ll bring it up. If he never brings it up, he probably doesn’t want it.

That I kept absolutely no secrets.

That I really did want to settle down and start a family.

That my moral code and integrity were my most valued traits.

So even though she could tell that I had a wide alpha-male, know-it-all streak, it was always tempered by the fact that I was sensitive, open and honest with her – even when I was confused about our future.

If she had pressed me after one month or three months as to whether I intended on marrying her, it would have been a mistake.

After six months, as I said, I loved her, but I didn’t KNOW anything for sure.

And that, to me, Ashley, is your blind spot. You seem to think that a man is a player if he doesn’t want to marry you. I’d say that there are definitely some bad apples out there, but that EVERY man is a player until he finds the woman with whom he wants to stop playing.

Who is that woman going to be?

Most likely, it’s going to be the one who is confident enough in herself and her judgment to not have to administer “tests” to her boyfriend, no matter how fearful you are about wasting your time.

So, to come full circle, let’s give you something you can take away from this article – apart from the concept of being cool and patient and letting the man reveal himself over time.

Pay attention to whether your boyfriend shares the same life goals as you. If a man wants to get married and start a family one day, he’ll bring it up. If he never brings it up, he probably doesn’t want it. And that will probably mean that you’re wasting your time.

But IF he wants to one day get married and start a family, literally the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and watch him for two years to determine if you think HE’S worth of being your husband for the next FORTY years. If he passes that test, he may be worth your time.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Gina

    Great post! I am 50 and have been married twice. The first time I dated my ex for 4 1/2 years before tying the knot. The marriage lasted for two years. There were red flags, but I chose to ignore them because I just wanted to get married and thought that things would change once we were married; it didn’t. Instead things got worse. I was 25 at the time. The second time around I was 31. We dated for three years and the marriage lasted for 12 years. There were no red flags, and we are still friends 7 years later. Neither those marriages produced children. I am not opposed to getting married a third time if I met the right person; however, I am comfortable financially and feel that having a steady boyfriend would be fine also, due to the community property issues in the state of California. There are a lot of wonderful men out there, but there are also quite a few predators. A person can only hide their true character for so long. Time is definitely the best way to determine the type of person you are dating. If the truth doesn’t come out in the laundry, it will most certainly come out during the rinse! I would also advise women to listen to the gut or intuition. Sometimes you get a ‘feeling’ that something just isn’t right. I used to dismiss that feeling thinking that I was being too sensitive and overreacting. I now pay close attention to it and act accordingly.

  2. 32
    Selena

    A few years back when Evan first wrote about taking 2-3 years to decide to marry, I thought, eh at least one year, 2-3 seemed a little over cautious. Then I thought about my own partnerships. How there were problems in year one and two, and how they took a down turn in year 3.  Marriage had been on the table in each one, but had I gone through with it, I would have been divorcing in year 4. And I would have been divorced 4 times by age 46.

    I have empathy for the ladies who truly want to be married. Especially those of you in your 30’s who want biological kids. But consider please, if you do find a man who will marry you in your first year, and you manage to get pregnant immediately, what happens if you find in year two, or three that you really aren’t great partners to each other? You go your separate ways but this now entails having to give up time, holidays with that child you wanted so badly. How will you feel then?

  3. 34
    Joe

    @ Girl in the Midwest:

    But some guys (people in general) don’t need–or even want–to spend all their free time with their SO.  They may be just fine in all other respects.  That doesn’t make them bad people.  It may make them bad for you, if you need a lot of time from your SO.

  4. 35
    Rochelle

    I agree with Zann #24 on being flirtatious and manipulative being a warning sign. When I think of “players”, I’m thinking of this breed of  inauthentic men  who deliberately  try to manipulate women into “chasing” them. And  they aren’t  difficult to weed out by just giving it time. Their red flags usually come out pretty fast.  They may be “nice and chivalrous” when they are with you.  But they’re inconsistent and play tricks where they are trying to see if they can  get a woman to chase after them, or get her to “jump”. Their words are usually much stronger than their actions.    They are also typically flirtatious; of course not all guys who love to flirt are players but coupled with the above, it means you have an insincere player  on your hands. Sometimes we get too swept by the chemistry to follow our intuition on a man’s character.  Chemistry can often be a hindering factor…I’ve had to train myself to not get sucked into that “denial warp” as Zann put it

  5. 36
    Karmic Equation

    Players have their uses. Perfect as transitional men. Great for practicing your Sherry Argov “bitchiness” around. And if you do it right, you might even reform him in spite of himself. The caveat is that you can’t hang with a player with hopes for a relationship. That’s when you’ll get hurt. If you can hang with a player without hoping for a relationship, it can be fun.

  6. 37
    Ellen

    I don’t know Karmic, how does spending time with a man who objectifies you like crazy, controls everything (or tries to), treats you shabbily, etc. supposed to be fun?! An insipid reply, sorry.

    The only revenge I was able to enact on two players I dated for 3 and 6 months, respectively, was writing really good, really excellent actually, parting emails that skewered their characters and were so spot-on and borderline insulting that I probably had them feeling bad about themselves for weeks afterwards. Touche.

  7. 38
    marymary

    I don’t find players to be fun. I remember sitting with my player ex and the thought drifting into my mind, unbidden, “I,m bored”. And I’m not someone who bores easily. When he,s not showing off, drinking, and having sex there isn’t much going on.
    i suppose not all players are like that. not that they care what I think! 

  8. 39
    Sherell

    No one mentions the guys that are not players and truly interested at first and then changed their minds down the road.  It happens.  I really do not get vested in relationships until much later. The key is to have a full and rewarding life and date multiple guys, even if you like one more.  Until you are asked and accept one as exclusive.

  9. 40
    Kathleen

    Karmic 39

    I can relate to what you said! I got the second Argov book ..the marrying one …which is funny but also awesome You recommended it in another topic question . That combined with Evans great book and info about mirroring has enabled me to put theory into practice.
    I had a hot prospect walk and disappear recently after I said I prefer an exclusive relationship ( per Evans video ) I was so empowered and relieved that I played it right without any emotional investment. I can bet that guy will eventually reappear because he didn’t make the conquest he was expecting.   
    His departure left me free to meet another guy who has asked me this weekend to be his exclusive girlfriend. 

    The few players I’ve met and made mistakes with have helped me learn how to play my cards right with a quality guy. I know the power in negotiation is your ability to walk away and I now feel that walking away from a player while being unattached to the outcome gives me a sense of empowerment that strengthens my resolve even more. Thats fun

  10. 41
    Steve

    Ask any psychologist, among a particular generation of Americans there is effectively an epidemic of narcissism.  The result of a generation of bad parenting ideas.    Anyone dating in 2012 does indeed need to ask themselves how to avoid hooking up with a narcissist, but s/he also needs to ask her/himself if they are one and what s/he can do about it.

  11. 42
    Tom10

    Ellen
    “The only revenge I was able to enact on two players…was writing really excellent parting emails that skewered their characters…and had them feeling bad about themselves”

    Unfortunately these types of emails have the adverse affect: they just convince him that he made the right decision in the first place. If you want ‘revenge’ I find the best way to do it is to act magnanimously at all times, wish them well with a smile or a hug, forget about them and just move on. It just leaves that little bit of doubt that they made the wrong decision. As many as one in three come back with their tails between their legs asking for another chance, which always gives great satisfaction.

    Liz
    “Go on a double date with a friend and her BF or husband and then ask the guy later what he thought of your new date”

    Unfortunately this is very transparent and easy to spot. Any sensible man knows that an easy way to earn credit with a woman is to charm her friends, particularly her male friends (they think the same way and can be protective of the woman in question). He knows that he will be talked about later so will make extra effort to win them over.

    Ashley
    I’m not really sure what a ‘player’ is technically. I tend to drift from casual fling to fling but I’ve no interest in playing games, controlling or treating women shabbily, so I’m not sure if I qualify as one. I’m just in it for fun, not control. I probably am a narcissist but I’m no sadist. Here are a few characteristics that might help you, all of which are obvious after about six weeks. Individually none are definitive but together they might help form a clearer picture:
    –          I say at the start that I’m not looking for a serious relationship at the moment. Even though this is a giveaway, amazingly many women don’t seem to believe it!
    –          If I know a woman wants a relationship I’ll stay away, but women never seem to indicate what they want and just hope we know telepathically somehow.
    –          I have virtually no internet presence, i.e. I have no Facebook, Twitter or Social Networking accounts (with my real identity anyway).
    –          Delaying sex will cause me to lose interest, although a few months is probably unnecessarily long; I rarely wait more than two dates.
    –          I always keep my Saturday night free to be with my friends.
    –          I never introduce women to my family or colleagues, and only very reluctantly to my friends.
    –          I postpone meeting her friends for as long as possible (from then on they effectively become spies!)
    –          I am extremely reluctant to meet her family and will try any excuse not to.
    –          I rarely make direct references to sex initially, maybe just the odd oblique flirtatious hint to suss her out. However, once she signals it’s on I will try to revolve everything around sex.
    –          I never mention the future or what our situation is, and try keep conversations as light and as whimsical as possible.
    –          I never meet more than once a week, less if possible.
    –          I never react to provocation, hints or veiled threats; I just play dumb because I don’t care what the consequences are. It’s not a matter of if I get dumped, but when.
    –          I can’t be played, cajoled or tricked because again I don’t care what the consequences are.
     
    I hope this helps but I think Evan is right that time is the only sure way to know.

  12. 43
    Liz

    Tom,
    My point was even if the “player” does spot the tactic of having a friends’s guy check him out when they meet, and tries harder to win them over…I just find that guys seem to be more perceptive and sensitive to authenticity/inauthenticity. For example, the guy almost always know when a woman is trying to hard even if she tries hard to cover it up and play it cool. 

    Im just saying you guys seem to have better sense to judge someone’s character. That’s a generalization so forgive me if it’s not 100%.

    Also, going out with other couples and meeting the other men in her life will happen naturally as relationship progresses. So girls just keep your mind open to the opinions of men around you. They may see something you don’t. 

  13. 44
    Ellen

    Tom #10: I usually do act magnanimously towards most of my dates and only resort to the scolding email or verbal parting when I DON’T want to be contacted again. lol

    But, yes, you’re right: If you act like a lady and don’t hit below the belt 2 out of 3 men will want you back. I’ve had guys re-contact me months after “breaking up”. It amuses me. A male co-worker told me men think they can just hit the reset button or something and get a fresh start.

    Steve #44: It took me years to figure out my first husband had been a narcissist. You simply can’t win with them, so as a result I really don’t “count” that marriage at all. I.e., there was no way it could have been successful (he cheated on me a number of times). But I agree with you- there does seem to be an epidemic of narcissism right now and borderline personality disorder, particularly amongst females. It ALSO took me a few years to realize my ex mother in law had BPD. She was a classic troublemaker. Unfortunately she skewed my ex’s perception of females as a result (he had no sisters).

    Psychology is just plain ole fun sometimes!      

  14. 45
    Selena

    Nice list Tom. Recognized some of the casual guys from my past line item by line item. Really hope it helps some of the readers here.

  15. 46
    Rochelle

    @Liz I believe women and men are equally capable of judging the character of the opposite sex. i.e., ability to pick up on sincere/insincere vibes, insecure vibes, etc.  I think guys are just more likely to go with their “gut feeling” on a person. We just tend to be more sensitive to chemistry, and having our emotions get the better of us, so we let it cloud our “gut feeling”. That’s when we go  into denial mode, start overanalyzing, and staying hopeful despite the red flags in front of us.

  16. 47
    Teddie

    @Karmic #39: I disagree. Why reward these morons with your company? It only encourages their awful behavior and bolsters their egos, which makes it that much harder for the next poor woman who ends up with the guy and has to deal with his crap.

  17. 48
    Teddie

    @Tom10 #45: It’s a pretty safe bet that most women are looking for a relationship (we look for love and find sex, remember?) No telepathy involved. If you don’t want to get into the messiness of a relationship, don’t have sex with us. Just like we’re not supposed to expect a relationship with a man we’ve had sex with, men shouldn’t expect us not to attach any significance to the act. Sure, it can hppen, just not as often as you boys would like. So tell us how, exactly, is using women for sex not “treating them shabbily?” How is “playing dumb” not playing games? Congratulations, you’re a player.

    1. 48.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Teddie – Your post to Tom10 was very valuable – but not for the reason that you may have thought.

      In one paragraph, you illustrated the big blind spot that women have in relation to men and sex.

      We’ve established that men look for sex and find love.
      We’ve established that women look for love and find sex.

      So who’s job is it to say no to pre-commitment sex if she wants to avoid a world of hurt?

      You say it’s men who should be altruists and avoid having sex just in case they decide they’re not that into you.

      I say that YOU should have the wherewithal to understand how the world works and not sleep with a guy if he’s not your boyfriend.d

      One takes responsibility. One places blame.

      One you can control. One you can’t control.

      Which do you think is a surer strategy to avoid being hurt – hoping that men forgo sex on your behalf? Or forgoing it yourself?

  18. 49
    Nadia

    I totally agree that women are responsible for not respecting their own boundaries; however, it does chap my hide just a bit that we are expected to realize this and live more consciously, while men get to have an excuse to not consider the consequences of their actions. How about we all live more consciously? And for the record, I have good guy friends in my life who have made the choice to not have sex with a woman plenty of times, to avoid hooking her emotions unnecessarily, so they do exist. But really, Evan, hold women accountable. No problem. But hold men accountable, too. Once they learn the inner workings of a woman, don’t they have some personal responsibility to use this information? We’re all bigger than our baser instincts, in theory.

    1. 49.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nadia - I agree with you in theory. But what matters is practice. If my job is to give advice to women, my advice to women is not how men can change. Make sense?

      Similarly, I spent 4 years not having sex outside commitment to avoid serious heartbreak, but even then, it gets messy. If I’m not sure she’s my future wife, am I not allowed to kiss her? Get to second base? Receive a blow job? Am I not allowed to experience any physical pleasure with a willing and consenting adult? Am I supposed to negotiate this in advance? “So, you know this probably isn’t going anywhere, right? But we’ll both have our pants off and I’ll make you breakfast tomorrow before I do the slow fade?”

      My point is that “holding men accountable” is a futile endeavor. I’m one of the good ones – the men of conscience – and even THEN I hooked up with scores of women who I didn’t necessarily see a future with. And if I’M this way, I can only imagine that changing “MEN” is the LEAST effective method of protecting yourself.

      Understanding men and making calculated decisions based on what you can handle is always going to be more effective.

  19. 50
    Tom10

    Teddie
    “It’s a pretty safe bet that most women are looking for a relationship…no telepathy involved.”

    This is what the women on this blog keep getting wrong. Women here are looking for a relationship so they assume that all women are looking for one, however, this is just not true. At least 10 – 15 % of women fade me out / ignore me after sex or a hook-up (I mustn’t be very good eh) without ever have seen me as relationship material.

    When I was younger I always assumed that if sex happened then I could pursue a relationship with her if I wanted. However, after I got stung a few times it became apparent that different women want different things. Most women might want relationships but some want casual and some just want a one-off. Other women have sex as part of getting to know a man without really considering a relationship (at first anyway). I have no way of knowing which category a woman falls within.

    I always assumed that because I just want sex that all men just want sex, but this is obviously wrong: different men want different things.

    Now I make no assumptions, just like you shouldn’t.

  20. 51
    Ruby

    @Tom10 #45: “I tend to drift from casual fling to fling but I’ve no interest in playing games, controlling or treating women shabbily, so I’m not sure if I qualify as one. I’m just in it for fun, not control.”
     
    An inability to bond with a partner is a problem with control. It’s an inability to allow yourself to relinquish control over your emotions so that you can bond.
     
    I see no point in bothering with players, unless you are one yourself. If a player has invested a few months into dating someone, he doesn’t want to lose out on even his low-stakes relationship, so he’ll pull out all the stops trying to manipulate a woman into sticking around for for a few more months of noncommittal sex. The greatest satisfaction I’ve had with a couple of the player-men that I’ve encountered is not continuing to buy into their b.s. (once I’m clear about what I’m dealing with), and simply kicking them to the curb.
     
    Writing an angry email just makes you look…angry, and lets them know that they got to you. I believe that players get off on their ability to manipulate, so letting them know you won’t tolerate games, and walking away, is the best strategy.

  21. 52
    Fusee

    Thanks, Tom10 @45, for the great check-list! I think it covers pretty well what to watch out for early on, and run away from, when interested in building a serious relationship.
     
    However this will only weed out the first category of players. The ones who like Tom10 are just looking for fun and who will not make any serious effort leading to the start of a relationship. They just collect the fruits on the lowest branches, so to speak. Getting a ladder is too much unnecessary work. They are really easy to avoid as they push for physical intimacy early on, make minimum effort for dates, and keep you completely separated from the important people of their lives. 
     
    I think that the Letter Writer, and most women reading this blog, are more concerned about the other categories of players/users, who are the men who would play the perfect date and then boyfriend role in the longer term and would fool us into beliving that we’re on something promising: he desires a commitment, he calls often, he meets you regularly, he progressively introduces you to friends and family, he plans and goes on vacation with you, etc. Some men will do all of that in the longer term, even give support in times of need, and yet still be a player/narcissist (in the worst case scenario as described by previous commenters), or at best someone bringing you – and maintaining you – in a status-quo relationship that best serves their needs. The kind that provides them with just enough benefits (regular company and sex, social approval, and not having to chase after new women any longer), but not too much hassle (no permanent commitment, no serious financial entanglements, and the possibility to escape emotional responsability at any time). Those men are harder to weed out, or to break up with once emotionally entangled with them. After all we are adviced to “look for what they do”, right? And we are adviced to “give it time”, to “see where it goes”, etc.
     
    However, more time = increased emotional entanglement = more rationalizations = waste of time and self-esteem.
     
    Now, I totally agree that the test of time is absolutely necessary. There is no replacement for time. But focusing on time is to my opinion giving half the advice. Many women who like a good rule to follow blindly in order to avoid rocking the boat will just “wait for two years” instead of challenging a possibly too good to be true situation. What you DO with the courtship time is crucial! Sitting back, playing it cool, and simply observing for a while is not enough. Maybe a shoe or two will drop. Maybe not. I strongly believe in intentionally and proactively using the time to create opportunities for each party to show all their colors, and this is the responsability of the most invested party.
     
    A player/user/narcissist might do all kinds of “perfect boyfriend behaviors” and might BS you with woman-speak involving such words as “vulnerability”, “marriage”, “soul-mate”, yadayada. But one area they will avoid like the plague is experiencing actual vulnerability. You know, the kind you feel when something unexpected happens that throws you out of balance, the kind you feel when you engage in real intimate conversations that are uncomfortable and yet that make the relationship truly progress. A player/narcissist will avoid the unexpected, anything that will not follow their script. He will avoid intimate conversations and depth. He will stick to a superficial ideal image that looks like the real deal but that is far from real intimacy.
     
    And by the way, it’s not a gender thing. Plenty of women are player/narcissist as well. Avoidance of intimacy and narcissism are definitely rampant.

    1. 52.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Fusee - Two issues with your comment:

      1) As I said, a relationship oriented man is a player until he meets the woman who makes him want to stop playing. You seem to think that there’s something wrong with, “men who would play the perfect date and then boyfriend role in the longer term and would fool us into beliveing that we’re on something promising: he desires a commitment, he calls often, he meets you regularly, he progressively introduces you to friends and family, he plans and goes on vacation with you, etc. Some men will do all of that in the longer term, even give support in times of need”.

      This is a perfect case of a woman completely misunderstanding men. Here’s why:

      He’s supposed to do all of those things. He does them because it’s the right thing to do and because it feels good. He does it because that’s how you treat a girlfriend. You seem to think that he’s an evil narcissist who is intent on “fooling you” into believing that he’s sincere. But that might be 1% of all men.

      Generally, the man who calls, commits, and introduces you to his family is taking you VERY SERIOUSLY as a potential life partner.

      And if he breaks up with you after a year, that doesn’t mean he’s a narcissist or a player – it means he DIDN’T WANT TO MARRY YOU. That’s all.

      The accusation that men are master manipulators who want to “play” the perfect boyfriend and then bail couldn’t be more inaccurate.

      This is just called dating.

      Put another way, if a woman dates a man and is a great girlfriend, but then decides after a year that he’s not “the one”, is she a liar or a player or a user?

      Probably not. She just didn’t want to be with him for life. Which is her right. Whether she’s a narcissist is irrelevant, presuming she wasn’t acting with conscious malevolence.

      2) “I strongly believe in intentionally and proactively using the time to create opportunities for each party to show all their colors, and this is the responsability of the most invested party.”

      Yeah. That’s a really bad idea. Coming up with tests to see if he passes them. Not only will your tests backfire, but he may catch onto them and decide that he doesn’t want a girlfriend who is so fearful and paranoid that she has to create situations that reveal his character.

    2. 52.2
      Danielle

      [quote] Thanks, Tom10 @45, for the great check-list! I think it covers pretty well what to watch out for early on, and run away from, when interested in building a serious relationship.
       However this will only weed out the first category of players. The ones who like Tom10 are just looking for fun and who will not make any serious effort leading to the start of a relationship. They just collect the fruits on the lowest branches, so to speak. Getting a ladder is too much unnecessary work. They are really easy to avoid as they push for physical intimacy early on, make minimum effort for dates, and keep you completely separated from the important people of their lives.  I think that the Letter Writer, and most women reading this blog, are more concerned about the other categories of players/users, who are the men who would play the perfect date and then boyfriend role in the longer term and would fool us into beliving that we’re on something promising: he desires a commitment, he calls often, he meets you regularly, he progressively introduces you to friends and family, he plans and goes on vacation with you, etc. Some men will do all of that in the longer term, even give support in times of need, and yet still be a player/narcissist (in the worst case scenario as described by previous commenters), or at best someone bringing you – and maintaining you – in a status-quo relationship that best serves their needs. The kind that provides them with just enough benefits (regular company and sex, social approval, and not having to chase after new women any longer), but not too much hassle (no permanent commitment, no serious financial entanglements, and the possibility to escape emotional responsability at any time). Those men are harder to weed out, or to break up with once emotionally entangled with them. After all we are adviced to “look for what they do”, right? And we are adviced to “give it time”, to “see where it goes”, etc. However, more time = increased emotional entanglement = more rationalizations = waste of time and self-esteem. Now, I totally agree that the test of time is absolutely necessary. There is no replacement for time. But focusing on time is to my opinion giving half the advice. Many women who like a good rule to follow blindly in order to avoid rocking the boat will just “wait for two years” instead of challenging a possibly too good to be true situation. What you DO with the courtship time is crucial! Sitting back, playing it cool, and simply observing for a while is not enough. Maybe a shoe or two will drop. Maybe not. I strongly believe in intentionally and proactively using the time to create opportunities for each party to show all their colors, and this is the responsability of the most invested party. A player/user/narcissist might do all kinds of “perfect boyfriend behaviors” and might BS you with woman-speak involving such words as “vulnerability”, “marriage”, “soul-mate”, yadayada. But one area they will avoid like the plague is experiencing actual vulnerability. You know, the kind you feel when something unexpected happens that throws you out of balance, the kind you feel when you engage in real intimate conversations that are uncomfortable and yet that make the relationship trulyprogress. A player/narcissist will avoid the unexpected, anything that will not follow their script. He will avoid intimate conversations and depth. He will stick to a superficial ideal image that looks like the real deal but that is far from real intimacy. And by the way, it’s not a gender thing. Plenty of women are player/narcissist as well. Avoidance of intimacy and narcissism are definitely rampant. [/quote]
      This is one of the most helpful, intelligent, and balanced assessments I have ever found on this subjuct. Thank you FUSEE, you  are a woman that knows exactly what shes talking about, and you had no need to apologize for it. The best thing about this blog, is the discussions that it generates.

  22. 53
    Fiona

    Nadia at 53, I agree with you entirely. Players I have little time for. All they do is end up hurting women who then end up feeling bad about themselves when the only person that should be feeling bad about themselves is the player. This then results in women avoiding other men to avoid players and then other men get annoyed with  women for avoiding them. I also agree that when good men realise the damage this causes they stop doing it. I do not define players as men who have entered into relationships that didn’t work out as that can happen but rather men who have the sole objective of using women for sex. I know Evan says don’t judge but I am afraid I do judge. It it just a poor way to treat other people. I do agree with Evan that women can use strategies to avoid players – they are not foolproof unfortunately but they are indicators.

  23. 54
    Fusee

    Hi Evan, thank you for your reply.
     
    I definitely did not want to imply that all men who behave like good boyfriends are players/narcissits! That would be 100% of all good boyfriends, including mine, which does not make sense. I obviously communicated poorly what I wanted to say. What I tried to communicate is that a lot of good men (not the players/narcissists!) will do all of that with no intention of assessing a woman as a potential wife, which is perfectly fine by the way. But it’s easy for us women to equate “perfect boyfriend behavior” with progression towards marriage. Like you say, it does not mean it will end up in marriage. It should not anyway. Most relationships do not have what it takes for marriage and dating is about finding that out.
     
    And regarding your second comment: I do not believe that creating opportunities to get to know one another better equate “testing” or “playing games”. For me it’s simply getting to know one another by engaging in a variety of activities and conversations that allow people to experience the unexpected and reveal a bit more of themselves, their dreams, etc. Different men will have different sensitivities about being suggested dates and being asked questions, and that’s okay. A lid to every pot!
     
    My apologies for miscommunicating my opinion, and for coming across as disagreeing with your spot-on advice. I do agree with you, but I personally like to be a bit more proactive during courtship, that’s all. On that we cancertainly disagree.

  24. 55
    Tom10

    Ruby
    “an inability to bond with a partner is a problem with control”

    Who said I have an inability to bond with a partner? I never said that; I choose not to because I don’t want to and I’m not ready yet.

    Fusee
    “They push for physical intimacy early on”

    I can’t speak for others, but I certainly don’t do this. You’d be surprised at how quickly women push for intimacy without any prompting.

    Ruby, Fiona, Fuse
    It gets a bit irritating to be constantly called a user or a manipulator as I’ve never manipulated anyone in my life.  As I said I’ve no interest in manipulating or playing anybody. You are thinking like juveniles; ADULTS cannot be manipulated because they assume responsibility for their own actions and emotions.

    You don’t tell lies; I don’t tell lies.
    You want men for security / status / to maintain your lifestyle while you have babies; I want fun and sex.
    Do you tell men you want a long-term relationship at the very start? Because I DO tell women I’m not looking for a serious relationship.
    There is no difference between us; I’m not using women any more than you use men.

    You are no better or moral than me so you can all come down off your horses and stop judging. It is not exactly a classified state secret that men like nsa sex / casual relationships so why do women do it if the consequences upset them?

  25. 56
    Karmic Equation

    @Ellen 40

    “…how does spending time with a man who objectifies you like crazy, controls everything (or tries to), treats you shabbily, etc. supposed to be fun?!”

    I believe in the power of being a woman. Any woman who can inspire a man to objectify her is doing something right. I see it as a compliment that I’ve done the right things to make myself visually attractive, and not as an insult. But a woman’s true power lies her ability to lead a man to PERCEIVE AND TREAT HER as SPECIAL. If men you date/have sex with don’t end up treating you as special, then YOU are not doing something right. That something could be
    -your chasing him and scaring him
    -your choosing the wrong kind of man, who’s wrong for your temperament/needs/lifestyle/what-have-you
    -your hoping that sex will bind him to you the way it binds you to him
    -your ticking biological clock that impels you to put undue pressure on a relationship
    -your personality or attitude could stand improvement (maybe your distrust or latent hostility towards men are leaking through into your relationships in spite of yourself)
    -you don’t have strong self-esteem; or the opposite, you have an overdeveloped sense of self (maybe you’re a narcissist yourself and won’t acknowledge it)
    -your making certain interactions in the relationship about winning and losing (“if I give him what makes him happy, (like stroking his ego), then I lose”; “if he gives me what makes me happy, then I win”)

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Men like to be in control, so depending on what it is he wants to control, there’s no reason why you should fight it. Let him be the man and in control, unless it’s unfair, unreasonable, or unsafe.

    Don’t stay with any man, player or not, if he treats you in a way that you consider shabby. But make sure that he’s actually DELIBERATELY doing so. If you tell him to stop and he doesn’t then he’s deliberately treating you shabbily. But you do have to bring it to his attention. Give him the opportunity to correct his actions. He could have been simply clueless, not deliberately jerkish.

    So where’s the fun? The fun is in being able to exercise your power as a woman and seeing if you can make the player the come to heel (think of you as special, treat you as special, followed by the need to be with only you because you are so special, etc). I wasn’t looking to make my player commit to me, but I certainly wanted to make sure I was a woman he couldn’t forget. So, unbeknownst to him, I changed HIS game (make me chase him, which I never did, and I still don’t) to MY game (go ahead buster, try to get me out of your head.)

    To that end, I was being me, treating the player like I treated any other HUMAN BEING with humor, compassion, understanding, and friendship; but of course with the bonus of frequent light-hearted sex, without strings for either of us. He came to heel, became exclusive with me, and recently proposed. Now my job as a woman is take the next year or so to see if he’s worthy of being my husband. My gut says no…So most of you would say then why don’t you break up with him? I’m not looking to remarry so I’m not wasting MY time. If he feels he’s wasting his, then HE can break up with me. I’m happy with the status quo.

    @Teddie 50

    “Why reward these morons with your company? It only encourages their awful behavior and bolsters their egos, which makes it that much harder for the next poor woman who ends up with the guy and has to deal with his crap.”

    Because I don’t see players as morons. The heartless players, I’ve actually never had relationships or sex with. Most likely because my guy-dar works well and I automatically dismiss them into “ignore” zone. If you’ve had bad experiences with players, then YOU are doing something wrong…Very likely, you let your sense of attraction blind you to his unworthiness to have sex with you.

    If you go into each date with this simple mantra, you might have better luck…”I know he wants to have sex with me, it goes without saying…but is he WORTHY to have sex with me?” Then you spend your dates trying to get to that answer. “Worthy” should encompass all QUALITIES (not qualifications) that are important to you and to a RELATIONSHIP, like kindess, thoughtfulness, honesty, integrity, etc., not degrees or income or even if he’s marriage-minded — because for the right woman, a man will become marriage-minded.

    If you deem him unworthy, it’s easy to move on. And if you wait until you are sure he’s worthy of having sex with you, odds are, he’s not going to leave you and hurt provided you properly and accurately qualified his worthiness with your HEAD and not your HEART.

    @Kathleen 43

    Yes, you get what I mean about “woman-power”. If you know how to wield it, it is extraordinarily empowering. Good luck to you.

    @Tom10 45

    Love your list. My bf was most of your list when we first met. Now he is the opposite. Personal question…no need to answer if you’re not comfortable. Do you keep a harem or are you a serial dater like Evan was?

  26. 57
    Fiona

    Tom, I would consider using people for sex when you have nothing at all to offer is juvenile. I have never used a man in my life unless you consider loving them and trying to be a good girlfriend as being a user. You can’t compare your behaviour with mine in the least. I have something good to offer someone that is not based on using and hurting.

  27. 58
    Fusee

    Hi Tom #61: For the record, I never called you a user or a manipulator! If anything I find your honesty refreshing and your comments really interesting. However I think most women would call you a “player” because of your short-term, fun-oriented focus, but that word is kind of ambiguous because it has a negative connotation that would not necessarily apply to someone who would state his (lack of) intentions early on. Maybe you’re not a player but a casual dater? : )
     
    I agree that it’s enough information to simply mention that you’re not looking for anything serious, and it’s perfectly reasonnable to not want a relationship. I agree that plenty of young (and less young) women are perfectly content with casual sexuals encounters. Several mid-twenties ladies of my volunteer group regularly mention drunken middle-of-the-night casual sex encounters at a friend’s house. Priorities might change with time, but that’s another story. For now, they are obviously very happy with their current lifestyle, and I’m happy for them. They make men like you really happy too!
     
    @Karmic Equation #62: I really appreciate your female empowerment messages! However feeling empowered as a woman can be acomplished in various ways. It can be through sex, but not necessarily. I think it’s about knowing what we truly need and taking responsability for oneself by always respecting others.

  28. 59
    Angie

    Evan,

    The one thing I have noticed that I don’t think has been commented on is that the idea of dating leading to marriage/future/family is not just something that comes from women. I think men feel pressured if their girlfriend is in her late 20s and up, whether or not she has said anything. His family is saying stuff, his friends are getting engaged… There is a societal pressure that is going to be on the man whether or not the woman says anything, and in my personal experience, innocuous little comments or questions suddenly become overblown.

    Granted, I think these men are maybe lying to themselves. “Do you see yourself getting married?” – “Of course” – “So you know what you want in a marriage?” – No one replies “Ohhh, no, no, I just know someday I want to get married someday wayyyy in the future”.

    I think the issue is not so much understanding whether or not a man actually likes me or cares about me, but for him to understand himself enough to be truthful and upfront. Without “blaming” the man, how does one navigate this aspect?

  29. 60
    Karmic Equation

    @Fusee 64

    I really appreciate your female empowerment messages! However feeling empowered as a woman can be acomplished in various ways. It can be through sex, but not necessarily. I think it’s about knowing what we truly need and taking responsability for oneself by always respecting others.

    Thanks. I agree that female empowerment can be accomplished in various ways.

    However, the hostility on this site from women towards players is based on sex. Many women here believe men are evil for wanting sex without strings. And are mad at men for being able to get it, from them, specifically.

    I’m saying the anger is misplaced because women won’t acknowledge or accept that the power to have sex is actually a WOMAN’s power, not a man’s. Man can “want” sex all they day long, and unless they are psychopaths, are not going to have any sex if the woman doesn’t let him have it. Women are the gatekeepers to sex. Therefore, as gatekeepers, we are responsible for whom we let in and why we let them in. It is not the fault of the “traveler” to want in. It is their prerogative to want in. Just as it is the gatekeeper’s prerogative to shut them out if they find them unworthy.

    If an unworthy “traveler” is let in by the gatekeeper herself, whose fault is it that the traveler got in? Why be angry at the traveler? The anger should be directed at the gatekeeper. And a corrective action plan put in place. The solution is to retrain the gatekeeper to properly complete her due diligence on travelers, not deny access to all travelers or castigate all travelers as alike nor to be mad at all travelers.

    “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    Women have the power, but they are abdicating their responsibility and instead blaming men, which I feel is self-deceiving and illogical of otherwise smart, successful women.

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