Why Do Men Play Mind Games?

Posted by in breaking up with grace, communication skills in dating, red flags in relationships, single women over 40 | 0 comments

mind gamesHi Sandy,

I recently dumped a guy I had been dating for 2 months as it seemed he was playing mind games with me, and only wanted to see me when it was convenient for him.  I met him online and specifically noted in my profile I was not interested in any game playing.  I made it clear I was looking for a long-term monogamous relationship.

I’m 53 and he’s 55.  When he sent a smile/flirt, I wrote him back even though he’s not normally the type of guy I would even go for. I thought I would step outside my comfort zone.

We would have a great date one night, and the next night he would act very cold.  In person, he’d say things like, “I really like you a lot”, “I enjoy your company, we have fun together”, and “You’re really easy to talk to, it makes it very easy for me to buy you a gift”.  He mentioned things like how “hot” I made him, etc.  Then I wouldn’t hear from him for 4 or 5 days and most of the time in between, I was reaching out to him via text or phone.

I got tired of the hot and cold behavior, and I texted him (as he never seemed to want to call me or really spend any time with me) and told him I was getting the hint, I wouldn’t be bothering him anymore.  His response was that it was an odd text and didn’t realize he was dropping any hints or clues.  My girlfriends say for sure he’ll want to be in touch again, but I don’t want him around. My thought is to ignore him if he does try to touch base again. Why do men play mind games like he did?

Confused in California

Dear Confused,

The guy you dated seems like the type of man I call “Quality but Carefree”. He’s basically a good guy. He likes you when he’s with you, but when out of sight, you’re probably out of his mind. He’s casual about dating, while you want a serious relationship. Men like this make you feel amazing, hot, and sexy when you’re together. But that same guy can totally drop out of communication when you’re apart. When he’s out of touch for a length of time, it makes you anxious. You begin to question his true feelings for you.

During the courtship process, a man who is looking for a serious relationship keeps moving forward: from first email to first phone call, from first date to dating regularly, to calling often between dates, to sealing the relationship.

If things are not escalating, it’s probably because you are not on the same page in terms of what you both want in a relationship. If that’s true for you, let him go and find a man who wants a girlfriend. If he says he’s on the same page but doesn’t show it, get curious. Ask him what’s going on. Maybe he’s busy at work. Tell him what would make you happy. (A good man wants to make you happy.) If calling you every night for a few minutes before bed is what you need, ask if he can do that, and see if he follows through. His actions will speak louder than his words.

And remember this: in a good relationship, you will feel good when you’re with a man AND especially when you’re not.

So, if you’re anxious when you’re apart and don’t feel secure about how he feels about you, honor those gut feelings. A good guy won’t make you have to guess.

In the future, I wouldn’t text a man if a man loses contact with you between dates. Talk about it when you see him. You’re more likely to get an honest response.

Best of luck,


photo: courtesy of point8td.com




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