How Can I Stop Men From Playing Games?

How Can I Stop Men From Playing Games

I feel like I’m in high school for even writing this but I’m confused. I’ve been seeing this man for three months now. Recently he told me that he wanted to be friends and was not ready for a relationship. I believe it. I let him know that I wish it could have gone further but I respect the honesty and I’m ready for something serious. I stopped sleeping with him, limited my contact, and started dating other people. Now, this man wants to do relationship things. He wants my time on holidays, he’s popping up at my house if I don’t call him back right away, and gets mad when I enlist other men for help. I don’t care for confusion. I’m honest and direct. Yet, this is becoming a pattern for me in my dating life. What am I doing wrong? How can I break this pattern? I want a serious commitment with someone that’s ready for me. No games.


Men don’t play games.

I repeat: men don’t play games! (not nearly as much as you think, anyway)

Now, pick your jaw up off the floor, press reset on the emotions bubbling up inside you and listen very closely to what I have to say. Let’s start with a working definition:

Playing games: intentionally manipulating someone to keep him/her guessing and off-balance.

I repeat: men don’t play games! (not nearly as much as you think, anyway)

This is a very common assertion, and I believe it is usually false for one reason: intent.

In Toni’s story, she believes that this guy is INTENTIONALLY FUCKING WITH HER.

In my version (and most likely, the guy’s version), he has NO IDEA what he wants from Toni.

His actions are the same: “I’m not sure what I want. I want to be friends. I miss you. I want to see you more. I want to sleep with you. I want to give this relationship a shot. I can’t handle this.” Are these messages all over the map? Yes! Are they so inconsistent that any reasonable woman would feel highly confused? Yes! Is this guy doing this intentionally to hurt you?

No way.

Men are normal human beings — not aliens from another planet sent here to systematically destroy you emotionally through mixed messages. In other words, this isn’t that complex:

He has mixed feelings. He’s confused. Nothing more. Nothing less.

You want to know why a guy is giving you mixed messages? It’s because he has mixed feelings.

He’s confused. Nothing more. Nothing less.

So, to sum up:

You’re not wrong to be upset with the status quo. This is unacceptable and you deserve better.

Here are the ways that you could approach this in a healthier fashion:

    1. Cut him off entirely. You limited your contact. Sorry. Not good enough. You don’t need mixed messages. You need a boyfriend who is all-in. And after three months, if he’s not all-in, then he’s OUT.

    2. You’re not attracting these confused men. You’re choosing them. Which means that men who are really interested in you will likely want to take you off the market in 2-6 weeks. If you’re dating the once-a-week date/text guy for 6 weeks, you should probably cut him off. That’s how you break this pattern. You choose men who want commitment and actively pursue it.

    3. You get over this notion that men are playing games with you. Men like sex. Men like commitment. Sometimes with the same woman. But that doesn’t mean that sleeping with you is a game, or that vacillating between freedom and commitment is a game. It’s genuine confusion.

In short, cut off men who are confused rather than falsely assuming that these confused men are actively trying to play games with you. They’re not.

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  1. 1

    Happens to many men. I met a woman that I really liked and we enjoyed each other’s company. But she started behaving in ways that really rubbed me the wrong way. I was caught between wanting to be with her and being annoyed with her.

    I probably in retrospect did the same back and forth as the guy in the post.

    We don’t often mean to do these things.

    As for the guy in the post, I’d say he just wanted a FWB situation and was disappointed when she didn’t keep sleeping with him. Or he got so used to the status quo that, when she pulled away, he missed what they had. But I’m not him, so I don’t know for sure. It’s best to cut him off entirely until he lets you know he definitely wants an exclusive relationship and actively shows it.

  2. 2
    In Not Of

    I’m not sure the intent matters that much. Either way, it’s not healthy for her and she needs to cut him off.   Don’t allow that drama in your life. You can’t get a man to not play games, not be confused, or whatever.   But you can control how YOU respond. Walk away.

  3. 3
    L.A Randle

    The one thing that I talk about on Sexy Loving Him is men and their games. You have to realize one thing, and that is you aren’t raising a child. You are suppose to be dating a man. With that being said, you can’t stop him from acting like a kid. This comes with maturity, and time. There are certain things that you can mold but the game playing isn’t one of them.

    Don’t waste your time with someone who is on a different page than you. You want something serious and he wants something to help pass time. That is a recipe for a broken heart. Protect yourself and let that fool go until he is ready to do grown man things.

    1. 3.1

      I kinda feel the cutting someone off part as easy as it should seem is also stopping from getting to any deeper feelings. Deeper feelings are confused because not just anybody gets to them. They stay hidden from conscious view until they’re stirred up

      and both men and women have them. If Id prefer to just cut confused women out for instance its easier… Just get rid of anyone who becomes difficult. Basically get them and leave them. As many as ya want

    1. 4.1
      In Not Of

      Which is all the more reason not to stay on the hook. Why be interested in a guy who’s interest isn’t mutual?

      1. 4.1.1


  4. 5

    Great response , Evan.   If after three months, he is not all in, he’s all out.   He wants your time and attention (and sex), but isn’t ready for a relationship.
    Additionally, I’d say this guy is displaying some additional red flags.   He’s being disrespectful of your boundaries by showing up unannounced at your house if you are not responding promptly to calls/texts.

  5. 6

    I basically agree with EMK, that men (and women too) sometimes really are on the fence and not deliberately playing games, but with all the internet dating advice out there with   play by play instructions on how to manipulate the opposite sex (“The Rules” for women, various “game theory” sites for men) one can’t always be sure that   someone is really ambiguous, or just gaming you.


    In the end it doesn’t matter, if it’s a true case of ambiguity or intentional game playing. In either case you aren’t going to get what you want.   The best advice is what Evan said, 100% no contact.   If you stick around in relationship limbo, you too are playing the game, even if you are unwilling game partner.


    I have met   some women who rave about “The Rules”.   I thought it sounded like BS, but out of curiosity I bought a used copy on Amazon.   I feel dumber for having read that book.     And even though I have met some women who sing praises of that assinine book, I have NEVER heard a “Rules” success story.   That whole playing “hard to get” thing NEVER resonated with me.   ( I don’t chase men either, but I refuse to play stupid games)


    WHY would I want to be in a relationship, if I had to feign indifference to a guy ?   If I can’t set my heart my free with a man and love him back what’s the point ?   To build my ego ?   To have a guy “trained” to crawl and beg to me for scraps of affection ?   No thank you.   (Yes, “The Rules” speaks earnestly about the need to “train” men to do your bidding.)   I can’t imagine myself being attracted to a man who would allow himself to be treated like a circus seal, but I’m not attracted to “bad boys” or “assholes” either.

    I figure if a guy really likes me, he’s not going to like me less because I answer his phone call instead of letting it go to voicemail.   And if a guy doesn’t like me, he’s not suddenly going to like me because I waited 2 days to return his call or only accept Saturday night dates scheduled by Wednesday or sooner.

    I would rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.


    1. 6.1

      Awesomely said Sparkling Emerald. Well done. Great advice.!! And Evan as well.

    2. 6.2

      @Sparkling Emerald-agree on all points! Well said.

    3. 6.3

      The Rules aren’t about changing who you are, or anything about yourself. They’re also not about getting cma guy to like you. Men like who they like; there is no way to get a guy attracted to you if you’re not his type. What The Rules are designed to do is weed out the men who aren’t that interested, and don’t really want a committed relationship. They allow you to focus only on the men who really do like you. They create longing and excitement in a man who’s already interested. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book.

    4. 6.4

      “I would rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”

      Absolutely, SE, absolutely!

    5. 6.5

      someone said what i wanted to say :).   I really dont understand WHY one must play ( it does involve faking), when you want a REAL realationship. Once you think he/she is right, just be light and honest. why waste time in playing while you can have heartful talks :), isnt that the goal?( defenetly for all of them it seems). The tragedy here is that people who play choose people who loathe playing, drag them in and play left right centre, leaving the non-players confused more irnoy?.. leaving them with trust issues. We should just be strong (or stronger) than the confused people ( uncertain on their own feelings but will string us along anyway for a ‘rainy’ day) and just cut them off. Eventually we settle with someone who thinks close to oneself 🙂   ( players too?)

    6. 6.6

      Wow, much respect. You’re so right.

    7. 6.7

      I’m so glad I read your comment. I started to believe a few years ago that I’m the only person out there who feels that way. Seriously…why behave in a way that isn’t yourself to get someone? Makes no sense at all. On top of all the other reasons that make it a bad idea,a person who does this is fucking with themself and the person they’re seeking. If you give a false identity to yourself you’re ultimately making them fall in love with a fake person who will eventually dissapear and then when the true you emerges they’re going to feel differently because it’s not who they feeling love with. The only way to find someone who will love you for you is for you to be yourself.

  6. 7
    Elly Klein

    Couldn’t agree more, Evan.

    He’s not intentionally  playing games. He’s emotionally immature, doesn’t know what he wants and, I hate to say it, Toni, is using you. He also sounds selfish, controlling and a little creepy.

    Please move on!

    There are WAY better men out there who will be consistent with their feelings/actions and treat you in a manner that’s not all about them and what they want at any given moment – like a 2yr-old. This guy needs to grow up (big time!) and I wouldn’t wait around for that – not for one second.

    All the best!

    1. 7.1

      Gorgeously said.

  7. 8

    Actually, he is  playing games. She stated she wanted something serious he keeps coming around thats a game, baby.

    Takes two to play games so drop your ball (no pun intended)   cut him off live and learn –serious no contact. Now, if he comes back on bended knee he’s your man but I doubt it.

    1. 8.1

      You do have a point. If she was clear about what she wanted and he’s just ignoring her wishes to go on getting what he wants isn’t that a form of game playing? You’ve made me re-think this situation.

    2. 8.2

      I agree. He is playing games. And for Evan. Pls look up narcissism. Yeah these people (men and women )play games.   So when a man or a woman is all about himself /herself and has the traits of narcs ,i d run miles away from them ! Inwas dating a guy who d correspond only at his timings and on his terms ! It came to a point I d be confused should I respond to his hello or not ? Since mostly when I do there is no response back. Days turn to weeks to Months and once again a hello from him.   When we first started, he d text first(always. I felt like he controlled how and when we d communicate ) and I d respond. Back and forth for less than an hr and it is goodnight.   Next day I d say a hello and nothing from him!!days would go by and a hello from him. I d respond and whoosh he disappears.   This can be so frustrating !   This time after days of nothing from him suddenly a hello. I politely expressed my concerns about his   manner of communication      He became so defensive and said I am Bad one and was v defensive !!! It is thsn I learned about narcissists. They play games. It is all about them . Their life ,their day spent , nothing about how I am doing    And narcs discard and devalue Thus the disappearing and reappearing games. And narcs love to be chased. Want us to get on our knees and beg them back   ! Mind u this is the devaluing and discarding period. But I just brushed him off and made a decision to myself ” he is not the guy I see my future with !” Note though when I made him aware of this disappointing behavior ,he twisted it around and blamed me ! This technique is called gaslighting. So to conclude the lady who asked this question. Run run RUN. U don’t need headaches !

      1. 8.2.1

        Thank you for your story. It resonates with me. I’m going through hell right now with my ex who cheated, lied and is controlling my calls.

    3. 8.3

      So  well said Mrs. Smart. In regards to your ‘bended knee’ thing doubt>>it made me smile. The fence sitters/players usually fear the humility in getting down so low(that only happens in their wee brain), but never  actually put it into action.   Just saying>>>hey, if you see it you say it! 🙂

  8. 9

    You can only control your own actions you can’t control anyone else’s.

  9. 10

    I think Evan is spot on with this one. That guy is probably clueless about how his behavior is effecting you. That being said, he must be pretty immature and self absorbed to be so unaware of how he makes others feel. No matter what his motivation is, he’s better kicked to the curb.

    1. 10.1

      Yeah! Lol. I did a dance for a year with a guy like this. Always ended up the same. I learned a lot though, about what I want in a relationship and when to cut someone out. He is now gone. Probably canoodling with the other women he was never honest about…not to say I was an angel. I certainly wasn’t. We both couldn’t stand certain behaviors towards each other and he always played the victim and wouldn’t ever validate me in a conflict. They don’t change. It would be miraculous if he came to me validating my experience and taking responsibility for himself. In my dreams, never in reality.

      1. 10.1.1
        I love EMK

        Let me guess he had a massive ego?

  10. 11
    Karmic Equation

    From my perspective, it really doesn’t matter if the guy is playing games or if he’s simply clueless.

    If the OP doesn’t want to play games, she herself has to stop worrying about whether the guy is game playing or not. By HER thinking about/obsessing over his behavior and “what it means”, she’s playing a game of “what if” in her own head.

    Women don’t play games the same way guys do. We play games by assigning either positive or negative intent to a man’s behavior.

    I say stop that worrying about what he means when he does X,Y, or Z. Just evaluate his behavior against your wants. If he’s not giving you what you want, then he’s not giving you what you want. Ask yourself if you can live with that or not. If not, cut ties. If yes, then continue.

    The game that OP is playing is that she’s building a fantasy that if he’s coming around then it must “means”he really likes and that his coming around “means” something, right? It could, but that meaning is IRRELEVANT if he can’t give her what she wants. If she wants a boyfriend and he says he doesn’t want to be her boyfriend, “but he acts boyfriendy” — who cares??? OP should not, that’s for shore.

    He’s not her boyfriend. Is she ok with that? Apparently, she’s not sure because she lets him keep coming around. She herself is sending mixed messages. If she really means she is looking for something serious,   she needs to tell him in no uncertain terms that she’s not interested in him any more. And she needs to mean it. Once a woman cuts ties, she needs to stand her ground, if she wants to be taken seriously.

    Women who make empty threats or who cannot maintain her boundaries do not gain a man’s respect. And men don’t choose women they don’t respect to have relationships with.

    1. 11.1

      The game that OP is playing is that she’s building a fantasy that if he’s coming around then it must “means”he really likes and that his coming around “means” something, right“?

      Tell me about it–let me guess, she fantasizes that she is so “special” that she can turn around a noncommittal man into a committed one.   Unfortunately, pop culture tends to perpetuate that myth that the “right” woman can miraculously turn a man around (i.e. Fifty Shades) The problem is when women buy into that and think real life follows that script too.

      But as you said, who cares even if it actually “means” something?   Then all she will have gotten is a boyfriend who doesn’t give her the consistency she needs to feel safe, secure and cherished.

    2. 11.2

      You are 100% on to this. I totally agree.

  11. 12

    I am scratching my head wondering why she has had even “limited” contact with him.   It doesn’t matter that much whether he’s “confused”, or “playing games”.

    Even if, by some miracle, he relents and gives her the “title”–then what would she be getting?   Obviously no self-respecting woman wants a boyfriend who “plays games”.

    However, I also don’t think getting a “confused” boyfriend is any better!   Does any self-respecting woman really want a boyfriend who is “confused” about how he feels about her?   Or does she want one who unequivocally loves her and cherishes her?

    Chances are, even if he reluctantly becomes her boyfriend, then later on he’ll still have “confusion” about whether he wants to take the next step to live with her, get married to her, etc.

    The point isn’t just to get the boyfriend/girlfriend “title”, but a stable and loving relationship to go along with it–which it doesn’t sound like she’d get even with a title.

    As far as I can tell, he brings no value to her life as a so-called “friend” either.   Friends should enhance your life and bring you joy, not “confusion”.   I hope she cuts him off. Life is too short and precious to waste so much mental energy on someone who isn’t worth it.

    1. 12.1

      Christine I copied your last para. Well said. If my guy friend couldn’t be a good friend why even waste my mental energy. Friends r meant to enhance u and not csuse confusion. Yes and no stress either. Thanks

  12. 13

    You can make guys stop playing games with you by stop pretending to be “friends” with your ex-s. That desire on a part of the man to be “friends” is my pet peeve. It’s like, let me get this straight, you didn’t want to commit to me, or have a real meaningful relationship with me, you possibly disrespected me or broke my heart, disappeared from my life, strung me along, pick any number of things,   and now you want to be “friends”? What does that even mean? So that you could still have a shoulder to cry on, an occasional companion and may be a booty call while being free of any obligation that comes from being in a relationship? This is having your cake and eating it too, plain and simple. No self respecting woman should ever be friends with her ex-s. It’s emotional clutter you don’t need.

    1. 13.1
      stopped clock

      Very well said.   He isn’t doing the woman any favors by keeping her as a “friend”.    In his back pocket.    He is a jerk.   Move on.

    2. 13.2

      OMG Stacy you nailed that one. Thank you!

  13. 14
    Karmic Equation

    Two parts, Stacy.

    1) I agree that most men who want to stay friends with exes whom they treated disrespectfully are only pretending to be friends so that they have access to potential booty calls. — So women who have been treated disrespectfully by their bfs should NEVER allow those exes to be their friends. If she does, she has only herself to blame for any future pain.

    “So that you could still have a shoulder to cry on, an occasional companion and may be a booty call while being free of any obligation that comes from being in a relationship?”

    2) You’re not the first (and will not be the last) woman to associate the word “obligation” with “relationship” — I think this is the crux of why a lot of men don’t want to be in relationships. They don’t want to be “obliged”  to do anything, especially not to be in a relationship.

    IMO, men who want to be in relationships don’t feel there are obligations associated with relationships. And as a woman, we need to make sure that a relationship never feels like an obligation to a man.

    What I mean is that, barring cheating and disrespectful treatment of you, let him have his freedom. Don’t get upset when he wants to hang with his friends occasionally. Let him watch porn alone or with you. Don’t “oblige” him to accompany you to family or work events.

    The man who’s really into you, will readily  attend family and work functions when you invite him. The man who’s really into you would choose to  spend most of his spare time  with you. The man who’s really into you would rather have you watching porn with him than watching it alone. lol (All kidding aside, if you want a red-blooded man in bed, you have to accept that he’s a red-blooded man out of bed, which means accepting that he finds other women attractive. Basically, a man who doesn’t notice other attractive women tend to be poor lovers. Not sure why this is, but that has been my experience.)

    When he’s out with his friends or when you don’t get mad at him for not going to a family dinner or you don’t get mad at him watching porn, you know what happens? He tends to want to do those things less. I really believe that men are not “complicated” but rather “contrary”. You ignore him, he wants to get closer. You cling and he longs for his “freedom”.

    In other words, once a man commits to you, don’t restrict his freedom to be who he was before he became your boyfriend (again, barring infidelity or mistreatment of you). It’s a paradox. You give him his freedom and he will CHOOSE to be bonded to you instead of resenting it. Because all men want to choose his own obligations, not have it enforced upon him. YMMV

    1. 14.1

      Karmic Equation,

      “All kidding aside, if you want a red-blooded man in bed, you have to accept that he’s a red-blooded man out of bed, which means accepting that he finds other women attractive. Basically, a man who doesn’t notice other attractive women tend to be poor lovers. Not sure why this is, but that has been my experience.”

      I completely agree with this. If he also doesn’t lightly flirt with other women (I would prefer he not do it in front of me), he may not be connected to his … nether regions. 🙂     I am joking, of course, but you want a man who has some game. A happy medium between a player and a dorkazoid with no skill.

  14. 15

    This isn’t about watching porn or hanging out with friends. Let’s not trivialize this issue. We are all adults here (I would hope). And yes relationships come with BOTH obligations and benefits, and from both sides, man and woman. You can not be in a relationship and have your freedom at the same time. Most mature men perfectly get that and are not afraid of obligations, provided that they are getting the benefits. It’s when a relationship is lopsided and they dont get enough benefits they get unhappy. Same true for women. I need to be able to count on my partner, I need to be able to know that he puts me ahead of his friends and buddies, etc. In return I will do the same. Anything less than that doesn’t constitute a relationship for me.

    1. 15.1
      Karmic Equation


      You don’t get it, Stacy.

      For a man to CHOOSE to put you ahead of his friends and buddies he has to have the FREEDOM to make that choice. By your REQUIRING him to put you  ahead of his friends, he does NOT have a choice.

      If your man doesn’t VOLUNTARILY put you ahead of his friends and buddies once he is in a relationship with you, then he’s probably not the right man for you.

      In other words, if a man is really into you, he CHOOSES to be with you when you give him his freedom. If he chooses his freedom over you, then he isn’t the right man for you. If you have to have continual “talks” with him that he is spending too much time with his buddies, then he’s telling you with his actions that he’s either not into you or not into the relationship. Dump him instead of arguing with him. Find another guy who is more into you.

      There should be only two “requirements” in a relationship that a man should follow:

      *Be faithful

      *Be kind

      Beyond that, you need to give him the freedom to choose.

      And when you give him that freedom to choose, he will almost always choose YOU, if he finds your company enjoyable rather than annoying.

      1. 15.1.1

        I think I get it perfectly. I am not sure where I asked for a lecture on relationships and faith though. But thanks anyway. I do *require* a man to put me ahead in a relationship by clearly communicating my expectations and then not being/staying in relationships with men who don’t do it. Clearly you can’t force a grown person to do stuff he/she doesn’t want. We can’t always change other people’s behavior, but we can chose not to accept it.

        1. Karmic Equation


          I’m sorry that you feel this is a lecture, but it’s not meant to be. I’m just trying to explain a nuanced concept and, obviously, I’ve missed the mark, so I’m going to try one more time.

          I think we can agree that fidelity and kindness are required in a relationship. However, you shouldn’t have to communicate to a man that he needs to be kind and be faithful to be in a relationship with you. He should already know this. Thus, if you have to TELL him clearly or indirectly or with smoke signals that he needs to be kind and faithful to you to be in a relationship with you, then he’s not the kind of guy who will be a good partner in a relationship.

          And this is the same with “putting you ahead of his friends”. If you have to TELL him this then he isn’t a good relationship guy. Most, if not all, relationship-oriented men will automatically put you ahead of his friends if he’s into you and/or values his relationship with you. You do NOT have to “communicate” that to him in any way.

          This “automatic” relationship behavior applies to a lot of other behaviors. Most relationship-oriented guys, who consider themselves your boyfriend, call you at least once a day. If your bf is NOT doing that, then you need to put that into your database and evaluate if any other behavior of his is cluing you in to his level of commitment or “into-you-ness”.

          Some requirements, like, “You need to take off your shoes in my foyer” or “Please can you switch from tighty-whities to boxers?” or “Please don’t put mayo on my ham sandwiches” etc ARE the kinds of things you should communicate to him. These are your preferences and he shouldn’t be upset to comply nor would he know these things if you don’t tell him. They’re simple things to make you happy. He may forget occasionally, and in those instances you shouldn’t get upset.

          However, “kindness” “fidelity” “thoughtfulness” (and putting you ahead of his friends would fall into thoughtfulness) are indicative of his character and/or his quality as a partner. Those kinds of qualities you MONITOR for.

          You don’t tell people to be thoughtful or kind, etc. Either they are or they aren’t. After you tell them, they may TRY to be more thoughtful/kind/etc, but most times that lasts only a few weeks and they fall back to their default setting.

          No, men do not read minds. But men DON’T need to read minds to know that they should be faithful and treat their gfs with kindness and thoughtfulness. If you have to communicate that to him, he’s the wrong guy to be in a relationship with.

        2. Karmic Equation

          My pleasure, Evan.


        3. Joe

          OTOH, things like,  “You need to take off your shoes in my foyer” or “Please can you switch from tighty-whities to boxers?” or “Please don’t put mayo on my ham sandwiches” shouldn’t be hard requirements, because that’s control freak territory…

      2. 15.1.2
        Just an observer

        @ Karmic Equation, you often make excellent points but consider that your tone sometimes can come across as preachy and aggressive to some, and unwilling to consider that others might have different points of view and experiences than you.

        1. Karmic Equation

          Thank you, Observer.

          I do consider the different POVs and experiences. However, I would agree that I rarely validate those POVs and experiences, which can be interpreted as “unwilling to consider” those POVs. Particularly if I feel women aren’t taking ownership of their part in the demise of their relationships.

          Women have power in relationships. Women CAN have happy relationships. However, most women believe that they achieve relationship happiness by “changing” the man they’re with. (Not within their power). Rarely do they consider changing themselves or walking away. Both of which are their only true powers in a relationship.

          If women don’t want to hear that or my stating that firmly seems aggressive, there’s not a whole lot I can do about changing that perception.

        2. Just an observer

          @ Karmic Equation

          I think the issue is with your delivery. Allow me to offer some unsolicited advice to you: people often don’t hear a message, regardless of how good it is and how much they need to hear it, based on how it’s delivered.

          I will just leave it there.

      3. 15.1.3
        I love EMK

        You obviously have very low standards if the only requirements in a relationship are

        Be Faithful


        Be Kind


  15. 16

    I don’t necessarily agree with that. Everybody has their own definition of “thoughtfulness” and certainly this is behavior that can be changed upon request from a partner. For example, in my relationship it was important for my boyfriend that I called him to “check in” when I traveled (I travel a lot). It wasn’t my automatic behavior and I never thought about that as not being   thoughtful, but once he told me that I changed it. On the other hand, it was important to me that he shares his travel plans with me before his friends for example (he also travels a lot) and that wasn’t initially his automatic behavior either, but he changed it upon request. So I will stick with my opinion here. Communicate what you want, don’t assume everybody knows what your version of attentive and thoughtful is. Then if it doesn’t work- walk.

    1. 16.1
      Karmic Equation

      What I consider “automatic relationship behaviors” (such as calling daily) doesn’t necessarily equate to thoughtfulness.

      For example, I dated a reformed player for over a year. We hooked up for about 3 months before he started the daily calling. So for three months I heard from him maybe once a week or once every other week. But around month 4 he decided to escalate the relationship and started calling me everyday to hang out and have dinner. And we spent 4-5 days/nights of the week together. But not by any stretch of the imagination ws he a thoughtful person. He just knew the importance of maintaining daily contact. I never told him to do this. He did this on his own (most likely some other woman had trained him to do this).

      Anyway, “checking in” after landing or “sharing travel plans” are not relationship-related behaviors. People could be checking in or sharing travel plans with people they’re not in relationships with. But “putting someone ahead of friends and buddies” is strictly a relationship behavior, and it could build or erode a relationship accordingly.

      So, because women start off as relationship-oriented, we AUTOMATICALLY do this. How often have you heard women complain that their women friends disappear off the face of the earth when they get boyfriends?

      What this equates to is that men who are relationship oriented do not need to be told to put you ahead of their friends. They’re going to do it automatically (provided you’re at least as good company as his friends; if you’re annoying, forget it). That doesn’t mean he will NEVER put his friends ahead of you. It just means that behavior will be limited. And when he does hang with his buddies, use that time to spend with your neglected besties 🙂

      1. 16.1.1

        It’s most definitely   a man’s world!! Stacy is right. Men are adult humans as well and need to behave properly in relationships and respect their partner. Anything less is abusive. This respect shouldnt need to be coerced from them. It should be part of a good, respectful relationship.

  16. 17

    “Recently he told me that he wanted to be friends and was not ready for a relationship.” implies that he does not want to have a committed relationship with the lady. This is a case of friendzoning, so I think Toni should ignore the guy entirely and date other men.

  17. 18

    Although Toni’s question assumed a certain motivation for men’s behavior, what struck me about her question was that she is recognizing a pattern AND owning the fact that she is the common denominator, so she was asking what she could do differently to stop having the experience over and over of starting to date a man who turns out to be ambivalent and unwilling to commit.   She got a clear 2×4 about the assumed motivation, but I don’t think we’ve really given her an answer to that primary question of how to break the pattern.
    Maybe Evan’s answer is “you don’t attract the wrong men, you accept the wrong men.”   That is, there is nothing she can do to change the pattern, she just needs to be quicker and even more decisive in ending those relationships and moving on to the next guy who maybe won’t be ambivalent.   But it seems to me that there is something deeper – something maybe about dating from the wrong pool of men.
    There are people on these boards who claim, sometimes bitterly, to have a long history of dating people who all have the same flaw, e.g. the women who claim men always pressure them for sex.   I have no reason to doubt their claims, but I often find myself thinking they’re fishing from the wrong pond because my experience of men is totally different.   I have never, and I really mean never, had a man pressure me for sex (is this a challenge to my sex appeal?).   I have only once dated a man who was hot and cold as Toni describes, even including high school when I was truly dating boys.   So what is that about?   It’s not that I was quick to unload the “wrong” men – I dated my “game playing” guy for a full year and still haven’t totally cut him off (I remain friends with several ex-s) – I just don’t have first dates with these guys.   So why does Toni keep finding them?
    I totally buy Evan’s idea that if a partner isn’t meeting your needs, you don’t try to change him, you just move on, but if many of your potential partners keep failing to meet your needs in the same way, it makes sense to question the pattern.

  18. 19

    I think the guy kinda knows what he’s doing. He said he doesn’t want a relationship (=not really into Toni), but wouldn’t mind to have casual sex with her.  He thought  she would still keep seeing him hoping things would change (you know that a lot of women would do that). However,  Toni  was direct and firm saying NO. That raised his respect and interest, BUT not enough to ask her  to be his girlfriend. So here he is: doesn’t want to give up on a woman with self-respect and dignity, but not ready to commit. My opinion: he still wants her, but on his terms. Cut him off.

  19. 20

    I use Evan’s advice mentioned here and it has saved me a lot of time and heartache. I agree if a man doesn’t step up by three months he’s out. If he texts only occasionally and wants to only see you once in awhile, he’s out. And I say this as a single mom who dates single fathers. There is still some time to make effort. While calling it off with someone you like stings for a little bit, it hurts less than if you let them string you along for months. Some of them will never be “ready.”

    My friends think I am a bit ruthless and should give them more time (ie months’ of time) but I would rather not waste it. In the end, I also maintain my self-respect. Ultimately, you have to spend you time looking for someone who wants to spend time with you. That’s not a game.

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