What Is a Player in Dating?

by Shelley Frost ; Updated March 15, 2018

Beware the player in the dating world. Men often get the reputation of being players, but women can be just as deceptive with the people they date. Knowing what a player is and learning how to spot the signs can help you avoid the heartbreak that comes along with dating one.

Tip

  • A player is someone who plays mind games or says all the right things to earn your affection but has no intentions of settling down with one person. A player may be dating several people at once without revealing it to any of them.

What Is a Player?

What is the definition of a player in a relationship? There's some variation in the definition of a player in dating, but the general consensus is that it's a person who doesn't want to commit but makes his partner believe he does. Players often know just what to say to make dates believe they are ready to settle down. Players often use mind games to convince their dates that they are interested when they are actually emotionally unavailable. They are usually charming and may sweep you off your feet with their romantic talk and gestures.

Why People Become Players

You know the definition of a player in relationships, but understanding the reasoning behind the behavior isn't always as easy. Players often find satisfaction in getting people to fall for them. It feels like a victory to win the affection of someone else.

People often behave this way because of poor self-esteem. Feeling in control and having lots of people fall for them boosts their ego. The power means they don't have to show their vulnerability and risk getting hurt themselves. They might feel as if they aren't worthy of love, so they avoid committed relationships in favor of short relationships they can control.

For many players, getting someone to fall for them is a bit like an addiction. It provides a feeling of euphoria to know that charm and slick talk convinced someone to fall hard. When the excitement wears off, the player moves on to the next "catch" to continue pursuing the thrill of the chase.

How to Spot a Player in Real Life

Spotting a player before you fall for the bait helps you avoid heartache, but it's not always easy to tell what you're dealing with. Players often have plenty of practice and know just what you want to hear. It's easy to get caught up in that fantasy world. If you can step back a little, you may be able to spot some signs that you're dating a player, including:

  • Your date has very limited availability. If she's always unavailable on weekends, for example, she may be a player.
  • He's constantly texting or doesn't want you to see his phone. He may be hiding his interactions with other women.
  • She doesn't let you meet her friends or take you to her place. You can't expect an immediate invite, but if you've been dating a while and still haven't met a single friend or seen even the outside of her apartment, you may not be the only one.
  • He moves quickly, trying to convince you to fall for him right away. He may be very charming, enthusiastic and say what you want to hear. He may try to convince you that your life would be horrible without him.
  • Boasting or unsubstantiated claims may be an indicator of player tendencies.
  • You feel as though the situation is too good to be true. Follow your instincts if you have a gut feeling that something's not right.

How to Spot a Player on Dating Apps or Online

It can be a little more difficult to spot a player online or on a dating app. It's easy for people to deceive one another from behind a keyboard. The same behaviors that apply in real life may pop up in online dating, but you may see other signs as well. Look for telltale signs in the dating profile, and pay attention if you meet in person. The following signs may reveal your date's player tendencies:

  • Your date is very vague in profiles and in conversations. Some people are private, but you should both start sharing things if you're truly interested in one another.
  • You notice huge inconsistencies between the dating profile and the real-life persona. Sometimes, players take on several personas and have difficulty keeping them straight.
  • Your date puts off an in-person meeting.
  • Your date cancels plans at the last minute.

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About the Author

Shelley Frost writes professionally on a full-time basis, specializing in lifestyle, family, parenting and relationship topics. She holds an education degree and has extensive experience working with kids and parents.