Dating A Player – Follow These 11 Rules To Not Get Hurt

Dating experience | | , Editor-in-Chief
Updated On: May 1, 2024
dating a player

Are you in a relationship where something feels off? So much so, that you’re not even sure whether what you have going can be classified as a relationship. We hate to break it to you but you may be dating a player.

I speak from experience when I say dating a player can plunge you into a bottomless hole of uncertainty. They will keep stringing you along, leaving you confused about what their deal is. This cycle continues for as long as you don’t recognize the red flags and learn to protect yourself. That said, finding a concrete answer to ‘am I dating a player?’ is never easy.

The player you’re with will make sure of it by sending you all sorts of mixed signals. While it may not be easy, it’s not impossible either. Look for the devil in the details and protect your heart from getting skinned.

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How Do You Know If You Are Dating A Player?

How to know you are dating a player? And how to tell a player from a nice guy? Questions like these can weigh on your mind when there is something unsettlingly odd about your relationship.

Perhaps, the person you’re with is taking things forward too fast for your comfort on one front – being physically intimate with you. And not showing any progress on the emotional front. This can leave you feeling used, conflicted, hurt and unfulfilled.

To know whether or not you’re dating a player, you have to understand who a player is and how they operate. A person who shows just enough interest in you to keep you hooked without committing or giving any clarity on where the relationship is headed is a player.

The relationship you have with them is a classic example of breadcrumbing. This person may be seeing others on the side or looking for prospects while still keeping you as an option to fall back on. To understand how they operate, pay attention to these 5 tell-tale warning signs of a player:

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1. Their actions and words don’t correspond

As they say, ‘There is a message in the way someone treats you.’ That’s why paying attention to your partner’s actions can make the warning signs of a player abundantly clear.

If they’re playing you, they will say one thing and do completely the opposite. My ex, for instance, would almost inevitably stand me up. He’d either conveniently forget about any plans we had made or be too busy to honor them. If I picked a fight with him over canceling yet another date or not giving me enough time, he’d apologize profusely and promise to make it up to me. Except he never did.

If your relationship too is a vicious cycle of dashed hopes and broken promises, know that your partner or boyfriend is a player.

2. It’s all sexual to them

Yes, intimacy is a key component of a relationship. But intimacy isn’t just about the action in the bedroom. There are different forms of intimacy between romantic partners. In a holistic relationship, each of these is nourished to some extent.

However, for a player, your entire dynamics is centered on sex. If you’re together, they can’t wait to get down to it. If you’re texting, the conversation inevitably swerves toward sexting.

Even their compliments to you have sexual overtones. For instance, they’re more likely to say ‘you look hot’ or ‘you’re so sexy’ rather than ‘you’re beautiful’ or ‘you’re smart’. These are tell-tale signs of a player in a relationship.

Related Reading: Negging – How To Spot It In Dating And Get Away

3. Your relationship is under wraps

Am I dating a player? You can be sure you’re if you’ve been together for some time yet they haven’t introduced you to their friends or family. Even the people in their innermost circle may not be aware that you two are together.

My ex, for instance, was always hesitant about being seen with him in public. He especially steered clear of places where we could run into his friends or coworkers. Of course, his family had no idea about my existence even though we dated for more than 3 years.

Likewise, a player won’t befriend you on social media, like to be seen in public with you or invite you into their life. They do this to make sure that snapping the chord is easy when they’re done with you and ready to move on.

Your relationship dynamics is centered on sex

4. They’re emotionally unavailable

You can see the signs of a player in a man who is an emotionally unavailable partner. Or a woman who has a mysterious aura to her. These people want to maintain a safe distance from you despite being ‘romantically’ involved to eliminate the scope of any feelings taking hold on their side.

Whether you’re dating someone who used to be a player or suspect your partner to be one, this is one of the red flags to watch out for. If they close up and become distant at the slightest hint of emotional intimacy or say things like ‘Don’t look at me with those lovelorn eyes right after sex’, be warned.

5. You don’t know where it’s headed

My ex never said the ‘L’ word in the three years we were together, and whenever I so much as broached on the ‘where is this going?’ conversation, he’d literally disappear. For days altogether.

A player is a quintessential commitment-phobe. No matter how long you’ve been together, you will never be able to say with certainty that you know how this person feels about you. That’s because they never let it on.

Due to this, you may never know with certainty what to make of your relationship. You may even find yourself caught in an on-again-off-again relationship with a player.

Related Reading: 13 Ways To Make Him Realise Your Worth

11 Rules To Date A Player And Not Get Hurt

Dating a player is an immensely exhausting and frustrating experience. They fake commitment and feelings, stomp all over your heart and move on without flinching. But even with all their flaws, players have an intrinsic charm to them.

That charm makes them irresistible. So, it won’t be out of the ordinary to want to continue seeing this person even after you see all of the screaming warning signs of a player. If that’s the case, you need to learn how to date a play without getting hurt.

That’s what these 11 dating a player tips are meant to help you with:

1. Don’t be in denial

If you want to continue dating this person without getting hurt, you need to be able to see and accept the warning signs of a player for what they’re. Don’t brush aside the red flags staring you in the face and fool yourself by believing that this person cares about you.

They will have a seemingly legitimate reason for not treating you right every time. But if you see a pattern in their behavior, know that these reasons are just excuses. That’s why one of the most crucial dating a player tips is to brush off the denial and see them and your relationship for what it really is.

2. Treat it as a ‘cheat’ relationship

No, by ‘cheat relationship’ we are not suggesting that you start cheating on your partner to get back at them. We’re saying you treat this relationship the way you treat a cheat day in your diet. You eat junk food knowing fully well that it is not good for you because it is so sinfully delicious.

Deal with dating a player in the same way. Go ahead and date a player by all means if you want to but without losing focus on the fact that they’re not good for you. Treat this as the ‘junk food’ of relationships. You will be able to have a good time without getting your heart broken.

Related Reading: 8 Types Of Boys One Should Avoid While Dating In College

3. Know that it’s them, not you

One of the vital dating a player tips to protect yourself is to humanize and not demonize them. Unless the person is a sociopath, no one desires to be in meaningless, unfulfilling relationships.

The fact that the person you’re with tends to self-sabotage their romantic partnerships indicates that this player persona is their defense mechanism to safeguard their own emotions and feelings. My ex, for instance, experienced a crushing heartbreak when his fiance cheated on him and that got in the way of his ability to invest emotionally in a relationship. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that he did what he did to protect his feelings.

So, when you see them acting in ways that make you feel horrible about yourself, don’t lose sleep over ‘what am I lacking’ or ‘what am I doing wrong’. Remind yourself: it’s them, not you to blame. Not losing sight of this fact is imperative to know what to do when you’re dating a player and handle the relationship correctly.

4. Don’t attach meaning to their sweet gestures

Once you know that you’re dating a player, stop looking for hidden meanings in their words and actions. ‘He texted me first. Does that mean he is missing me?’ or ‘She said she loves me. Is she finally falling for me?’

A player may occasionally do or say sweet things, making you feel as if you’re in a real relationship. They may even do it without any ulterior motives. Perhaps, they were feeling those things in the moment.

Rest assured that they will fall back to their typical ways sooner or later. So, it’s in your best interest to not attach meaning to any out-of-the-ordinary gestures, if your girlfriend or boyfriend is a player.

5. Be in it for the fun

The excitement, passion, spontaneity and unpredictability that they bring to the relationship is what makes dating a player so exciting. To live this experience to the fullest, let go of your inhibitions and just soak up the fun.

Keep your conversations lighthearted and fun, channelize your sensual side, flirt, do and say things that you wouldn’t dream of in your wildest fantasies. This is a relationship based on and driven by intense sexual tension. You must treat it as such to avoid getting hurt.

Stories about dating

Dating a player can help you let go of your inhibitions and unlock sides of your personality that you didn’t even know existed. Embrace that aspect of your relationship to evolve as a person.

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6. Keep your expectations in check

When there is a player in a man or woman, they can at best give you a superficial relationship. Consistency, emotional intimacy, love and affection are beyond their capabilities.

Being mindful of this fact will help you keep your expectations in check and make it easier to deal with dating a player. If you expect a player to indulge in pillow talk or answer any deep relationship questions, you will get nothing but disappointment.

On the other hand, if you give them a booty call at 2 am, rest assured you’ll find them knocking at your door as soon as possible. So, know what a person is capable of offering and set your expectations accordingly.

7. Set boundaries

What to do when you’re dating a player? Set emotional boundaries for yourself. This among the valuable dating a player tips that can protect your feelings and sense of sanity. When you realize that you’re dating a player and want to continue going down that path, be very clear on how much you’re willing to let them in.

Showing them your vulnerable side or putting your feelings for them out there will only leave you crushed and hurt, not to mention a little embarrassed and slighted. No matter how much you want it, the other person just won’t reciprocate.

8. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with

One of the key warning signs of a player is their undying thirst for sexual escapades. To a point, where you can’t shake off the feeling that they’re in it just for the action. In all likelihood, they’re. And so should you be.

But even when it comes to having some unbridled fun and earth-shattering action, you shouldn’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with. Let’s say, they ask for nudes while sexting, put your foot down and say no if you’re not comfortable with it.

Or you’re getting together and they suggest a threesome. By all means, say no in no uncertain terms if that sort of a thing is not your jam.

9. Play by your own rules

The player may be a pro at the game but that doesn’t mean that you have to always play by their rules. To deal with dating a player without getting hurt, come up with some rules of your own and make it clear that you expect them to honor these.

For instance, if spending the night together is too intimate and relationship-like for you, put a no sleepovers policy in place. Or make it clear that saying ‘I love you’ to each other is a no-go territory.

Related Reading: 10 Red Flags About The Person You Are Dating – Based On How They Treat Other People

10. No tit for tat

When you’re dating a player, there will always be moments where you feel hurt and betrayed no matter how high you raise the walls to protect yourself. When that happens, steer clear of a tit-for-tat policy.

Let’s say you learn that the person you’re dating has slept with a friend of yours. Even if you know that your relationship has no future, this sort of thing is bound to sting. And hard. Do what you need to process the hurt you’re feeling but under no circumstances must you end up sleeping with their friend just to get even.

This will not do you any good but will definitely mess up your headspace, sending you spiraling down the path of unhealthy relationship patterns.

11. Know when to move on

Don’t hesitate to pull the plug on the relationship

This thing you’ve got going with a player isn’t going to last forever. At any point, if you feel that the experience of dating a player has run its course or you start getting emotionally attached to them, don’t hesitate to pull the plug.

You mustn’t wait around for the player to call it quits. In fact, it is recommended that you take that call whenever you feel ready to avoid being caught in the web of no closure.

Dating a player is as far removed from a wholesome relationship experience as can be. But it sure can stir in a lot of thrill and excitement in your life as long as you don’t get too attached. If you think you can do that, go ahead and play the player who’s trying to play you.


1. What is a player in dating?

A person who shows just enough interest in you to keep you hooked without committing or giving any clarity on where the relationship is headed is a player

2. What makes someone a player?

A person may take on the player persona as a defense mechanism to safeguard their own emotions and feelings. Perhaps, they experienced a crushing heartbreak in the past and now want to do everything they can to protect their feelings.

3. Does a player ever fall in love?

Although it is unlikely, the possibility of a player falling in love cannot be ruled out completely. However, accepting and embracing that they’re love won’t be easy for a player. So even if they do fall in love, they may not act on their feelings.

4. How do you know if you are dating a player?

You know you’re dating a player if the person keeps sending out mixed signals, leaving you confused about how they feel. They will be emotionally unavailable and the relationship will be primarily a sexual one. A player will also do everything to keep that fact they’re dating you hidden from the world, and not make you a part of their world.

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