The 10 Dating Games Men And Women Play (Whether You Realize It Or Not)

In most relationships, at one point or another, most of us have played “games:” we’ve tested and tried, gently manipulated and used certain things to our advantage. There’s no shame: it’s a fact of life and most of the time, it’s really only a matter of being aware. This particular piece, of course, is intended to be applicable to heterosexual relationships, and is only suggestive of the possibilities, not definitive of the intent of every last person and coupling.

On The Women’s Side:

1. Waiting for him to make the moves rather than put themselves on the line and show interest. Women tend to show some interest then pull back — they don’t want to seem desperate or clingy because it’s just unbecoming and an easy way to turn a guy off. Oftentimes, however, the line between “clingy” and “interested” is hard to draw, so many women just won’t. Even if they’re dying to reach out, they won’t unless he does first. This usually continues until there’s a secured commitment.

2. Testing how jealous he’ll get. Women often try to gauge a couple different things with this: whether or not he cares enough to be affected by it and whether he’s a healthy kind of jealous guy or a controlling-rage-a-holic kind of jealous guy. 

3. Becoming passive aggressive when upset about something. If they’re slamming doors, banging things around, suddenly goes quiet, without telling you what’s wrong… it means they’re mad at you for something you did and are hoping you at least have the decency to figure out why by yourself.

4. Using sex for their own benefit. They’ll cut off him off as revenge, use it to bargain with him to get something else she wants, etc. 

5. Utilizing ultimatums. They pull these out when there’s something going on that’s considered a deal breaker. It might be something to do with commitment or a bad habit her man has that they want him to get rid of — either way, they give an ultimatum to get what they want out of the relationship, or they’re out. 

On The Men’s Side:

6. Pretending to care so they can get laid. One of the oldest tricks in the book. He’ll do anything he can to make a woman think he’s different and special. He’ll pretend to listen and care about all her problems and act as if he’s on her side, as though he’ll be there for her until the day he dies. It’s not hard to spot this one: he’ll morph back into his true self as soon as he’s done (whether or not she is too). 

7. Leveraging the power. Men will let women think they are in charge, but only when they want. For example, they’ll allow their lady to choose where to eat — letting the woman think she’s calling the shots, and then use it against her: “Don’t you remember all those times I let you choose where to eat?!” as if it was ever a sacrifice.

8. Testing her tolerance. A man will often push his limits to see how far he can get within a relationship without her expressing disapproval. This goes for how much housework he can get away with not doing to how much he can flirt around with and interact with other women, etc. 

9. Trying to get her to submit, even in subtle ways. Men are told they can’t be a true man unless they are the one who wears the pants. He will try to assert his dominance in many ways, such as giving a command instead of asking her in question form to do something he wants her to do, making decisions without her approval or knowledge, acting aloof to appear impermeable and unphased by any kind of game she throws at him.

10. Gaslighting her. Men will try to throw a woman off her her argument by implying she’s being too emotional, a drama queen, irrational, pms-ing, that she’s “not looking at the facts,” and sometimes even call her crazy or psychotic. They’ll use anything to make it look like her argument is invalid because there’s something wrong with her psyche or hormones.

There are many more games men and women play, but these are of the more common ones. Carefully take a look at your relationship and try to find hints of any of these happening. You might be surprised. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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About the author

Ashley Pariseau

Relationships writer. No bs advice for women.

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