How to spot a player

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men who are players

People who have been single for a long time, are lonely or who struggle with self-esteem are particularly vulnerable to players but no-one is truly immune. Here are some of the warning signs that can help you spot a player

A player – defined most simply as someone who fakes a serious degree of romantic interest while often conducting several similar relationships simultaneously – is deceptive and manipulative by nature. When one enters your life, you could be forgiven for believing that they are the answer to your prayers, which is exactly what they want. Such behaviour often disguises low self worth and an inability to form secure attachments.

In the beginning….

The beginning of a relationship with a player will usually feel like a whirlwind: their charm, enthusiasm and interest in your life can feel irresistable. They will work hard to make you believe, very quickly, that your life has no value without them.

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Before long they are central to your life, and may try to ingratiate themselves with your family and friends too. Look out for boastful, unsubstantiated claims, a lack of information about themselves and flashy or grandiose plans. If it all seems too good to be true, it probably is.

As time goes on…

The aim of a player is to win your affection and the marker they use to judge this is often sexual – they have made their conquest. For others, it’ll be when you say you love them or, in extreme cases, agree to marry them. Whatever the challenge, once it is achieved the tide can turn suddenly as he or she backs off and you are left waiting. You may find yourself spending money, time and energy to lure them back. You might also realise you don’t really know very much about them, like where they live or work, and when you start to check out the things they’ve told you, none of it seems to stand up.

Why do people become players?

Most players are looking for a fix for their ego and, fundamentally, their action are about power and control. Often, they are scared and feel unlovable, thus they are drawn to intense, short relationships rather than longer, more sustained attachments.

Luring you into their trap provides a temporary euphoria which soon wears off. They then feel compelled to leave and repeat the whole process again with their next victim.

In the end…

The world is full of players and to a certain extent we are all guilty: each of us must occasionally negotiate relationships and situations to serve our own self-interest.

A player in the romantic arena is a different because of the extreme emotional consequences for their often vulnerable victims. No one wants to be left feeling a fool and it is this fear that stops many people dating at all.

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A better idea would be to develop a more robust response to excessive flattery. Take time to get to know a potential partner and listen to your gut instinct. If someone is overly confident, pushy or asks you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable – for instance, loaning them money when you have just met – don’t be afraid to sever all contact.


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