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15 Signs a Guy Is Playing You, According to a Former Therapist

In this article we are going to talk about the main signs a guy is playing you and what you can do about it.

Is he playing me? You likely already know the answer if you’re asking the question. That’s the truth you might not want to hear.

However, if you need more confirmation to back up your intuition, there are several signs that he’s just playing you. Some of them are obvious, but some signs are far more subtle and easy to overlook.

You might know that you’re being played, but the heart might be a little harder to convince. 

How to Know if a Guy Is Playing You: 15 Strong Signs

Here are a few clues a man is probably playing you.

Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and families and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships and psychology. My work has been featured on Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, Mamamia, and The Good Men Project.

1. You’re Not Friends on Social Media

Most people have some sort of social media account. Not having one actually seems more suspect these days. It’s how we often keep up with friends and family or even networking contacts.

So, if he has a social media, and you’re not on it, he’s probably playing you, boo.

There’s absolutely no good reason that he’s a friend in real life but won’t share his online life with you — especially if you’re a lot closer than just friends.

He might use many excuses here, but the truth is simple. His social media is a reflection of his social life. If he won’t let you in, he just might be playing you.

2. He Doesn’t Post Pictures with the Two of You

This goes back to social media but is a different beast entirely. If you’re friends online, why wouldn’t he share pictures of the two of you together? You know why.

He’s playing you and seeing other people. He doesn’t want to mess that up with obvious evidence that you’re in the picture. So, you’re not in any pictures at all.

3. He Only Gets in Touch Late at Night

Are you his late-night contact only? Does he never call you in the light of day?

Have you begun to suspect that he might be a creature of the night based on his propensity to screen all your calls and texts in the daytime?

He’s likely playing you. You’ve been relegated to hookup status. Have you even verified his relationship status to make sure this guy is single?

You might want to double check because this behavior is highly suspect.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with dating around. However, if you’ve decided to be exclusive, it’s a good idea if both you and your partner are on the same page about what that means.

You’re not mean to be exclusive while your partner dates around. 

4. He Doesn’t Include You in the Future

One of the signs he’s playing you is he doesn’t include you in his short, medium and long-term plans.

When he talks about the future, do you wonder where you are in it? You might not even notice at first. You might even think that it was an innocent mistake, and of course, you’re included in his future plans!

Only this might be more of a Freudian slip.

If he’s not talking about a future with you there beside him, he’s revealing that he doesn’t see you there. Chances are, he’s successfully avoided confirming or denying this. 

5. The Relationship Revolves Around His Convenience

When you look at the relationship, you might notice that it all revolves around his convenience.

You meet when he wants to meet.

He doesn’t show up for you in the same ways.

If the relationship is all about him, where does that leave you?

Alone. That’s where it leaves you, and there is nothing lonelier than being alone in a relationship.

Relationships should include give and take, but that doesn’t mean you should be doing all the giving while he does all the taking. 

6. He Doesn’t Introduce You to His People

If you haven’t met his friends or family, he’s playing you. Hey, maybe his family is a dysfunctional shitshow, and he’s trying to protect you.

Maybe his friends have been too busy to get together lately. Have you asked?

If you know he’s hung out with his friends and yet you’ve never been invited, this is a clue that he’s just playing you.

He likely doesn’t see a need to introduce you if you’re not sticking around anyway. If he’s into you, he’ll want to show you off to everyone who matters in his life. 

7. He Doesn’t Respect Your Time

Does he make plans and arrive late or not at all? This is so disrespectful. A man who cares about you will care about your time, too. He won’t just leave you hanging when you’ve made plans. 

If he’s running late, he’ll call. If he’s got to cancel, he’ll have a clear reason. Otherwise, you’re just being played. If he doesn’t respect your time, he doesn’t respect you either. 

8. He Doesn’t Make Holiday Plans with You

Every season has some sort of holiday. Does he include you in his holiday planning, or does he leave you out? That’s one of the biggest red flags I can see in retrospect.

When you go through a major holiday season with a partner, it’s natural to have plans with them. When they avoid you during the holidays, there’s a reason. You know the reason. They’re playing you.

This doesn’t mean you have to do a big Valentine’s Day event, go to parties in matching costumes, or invest in matching holiday pajamas.

It does mean that you should be somewhere in the picture. He should want to see you during the holidays — unless he’s just not that into you.

9. You Stay in More Than You Go Out

Does the majority of your relationship take place indoors at his place or yours?

If you’re staying in more than going out and the relationship revolves around the physical, there’s a good chance he’s just playing you. If you’re dating, you should be going out … on dates. 

This is not rocket science. It’s basic common courtesy. He should want more from you than just staying in each and every day.

You should be able to share a meal in public or attend an event together. That’s pretty basic level dating stuff. 

10. He Guards His Phone

It’s not just that he has his phone password protected. Many of us do this for security reasons and not because we’re shady. He turns his phone over so the screen won’t light up when he gets messages.

He doesn’t look at incoming messages when you’re sitting beside him.

And he jealously guards his phone and doesn’t even want you to pass it to him if it rings or vibrates.

He’s playing you. This isn’t normal behavior. Even if he has a pretty impressive collection of kinky porn on his phone, this behavior is weird.

It’s likely that he’s playing you and doesn’t want you to see messages from other people on his phone. 

11. He Prefers Being Spontaneous Rather Than Planning in Advance

He’s likely playing you if he prefers spontaneous plans over, you know, actual ones. He might not want to plan in advance if it requires keeping time open for you that he might want to allocate to someone else.

If he wants your whole relationship to exist in the spur of the moment, it’s because that moment freed up, and you were the backup. 

If he’s really into you, he’s going to want to make specific plans to see you or talk to you. He’s not going to play it by ear.

Even if he’s not a big planner, you can be sure an interested man is going to let you know he’s interested rather than just expecting you to be ready at a moment’s notice in case his night frees up. 

12. He Gets Philosophical When You Address Relationship Status

When you bring up relationship status, does he become a philosopher? Mm hm. You know what I mean. All of a sudden, he wants to talk about the social construct that is marriage or monogamy.

Or he deflects to the standard desire not to define your beautiful relationship because it defies definition.

This is one of the obvious signs he’s playing you, in case that’s not clear.

Asking about your relationship status shouldn’t involve a lecture series on the benefits (or lack thereof) of monogamy. It’s a simple question. Don’t let him distract you from getting your answer. 

13. He’s Vague When You Ask Him Questions

You might notice that a guy will be vague when he’s playing you. He’ll be vague about where he was, what he was doing, and even who he was doing it with.

You’ll notice that he’s perfectly comfortable using the gender-neutral “they/them” when he doesn’t want you to know he’s hanging out with other women. 

He’s vague about his life in general. This is not a man who is an open book. He’s more like a locked diary that also functions as a little black book. 

14. He Increases His Effort Only When You Pull Away

If you try to pull away from him, he suddenly increases his effort and attention.

Just when you were done with his bullshit, he suddenly reminds you of just how wonderful he can be. In fact, he’s never been more attentive.

Girl, run! If his effort increases when he think he’s going to lose you, pay attention to what happens once he feels more secure.

Does he maintain his effort or slip back into old patterns of behavior?

Does he pull away when you’re back on the hook? It’s because you’re being played.

15. You Don’t Know if You’re in a Relationship or Situationship

If you’re asking these questions and trying to figure out if you’re in a relationship or a situationship, you already know the answer.

If you’re in a relationship, that’s official on social media. You’re in pictures. You’ve met at least one of his friends and maybe his family members if they’re close.

He’s clear about his interest and investment in you. You don’t have to wonder.

But you are wondering, aren’t you? It’s because you’re in a situationship where you’re being played — and the truth is that he might not even be doing it on purpose.

You could be dealing with avoidant attachment issues or just plain old unhealed hurt from past relationships. The why doesn’t matter. It all boils down to what you’re going to do about it. 

Recommended read: FWB Relationships: Meaning and Rules to Make It Really Work

What You Need to Do About It

  • Have a conversation and get clarity. You have every right to know where you stand, and there is absolutely no good reason he can’t provide you with that clarity.
  • Figure out what’s yours and what’s his. If you’re making every single one of your needs his responsibility, that’s a “you” problem. But if you have healthy, realistic relationship expectations and he’s being sketchy, that’s on him.
  • Follow The Gambler’s rules of relationships. Kenny Rogers said it best, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”. You can’t change his behavior, but you can acknowledge it and decide if this works for you.
  • Stop overthinking this. You either talk to him, get in therapy, or do both. Couples’ therapy would be ideal. But what you’ve got to stop doing is overthinking this. You’re already wondering because you already suspect the truth. So, now it’s time to take action.
  • Take good care of you. If you’re going through this situation, you might not be ready to say goodbye. It’s emotional. You might be attached. That’s okay. Go easy on yourself. Just make sure you take good care of you.

You already know you’re being played, or you wouldn’t be asking these questions. Trust yourself. If you don’t know if he’s invested in your relationship, he’s not. If you think he’s playing you, he is.

And if you doubt that he’s being honest, there’s a reason.

But talk about it. Stop assuming. Stop going over your relationship with a fine-tooth comb. Talk it out.

If you’re old enough to be in a relationship, you’re old enough to talk about what that means and what you want from it. 

Take a deep breath. It really is going to be okay. If you think he’s playing you, know that you deserve better. Act accordingly.

Photo by James Barr on Unsplash

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