And once you figure it out, does that have to mean the end of the relationship? Or can you date a player, maybe even lasso that sucker, tag him and claim him for your very own? Questions, questions. Let's see if we can answer some of them.
First off, I should clarify that I've known heartbreakers of both sexes and the carnage they've left in their wake is grim. But players of different sexes are of vastly different varieties so here, just to narrow the field, we are going to focus on the male player and what, if anything, to do with him.
Right. So, Where to Start?
First off is the question of determining whether he is or is not a player. Just what is a player anyway? A player, according to the good people at dictionary.com is "a person or a thing that plays." A player is someone who treats dating like a game. He's racking up chicks to shoot with his cue stick, so to speak. He doesn't care about you. He just cares about a good time and getting into as many pants as possible. To outward appearances, at any rate, but we'll get to that in a moment.
First, the signs of a player are not as obvious as one might like to think. You might not feel like he's hiding something. He's probably not taking text messages from other women right in front of you. And you've just started dating him so how are you supposed to know whether he's acting "distant" or not? Signs he might be a player include but are not limited to:
He's the most charming dude you've ever dated: He opens doors, brings little gifts, listens when you talk and picks up the check (the first time, anyway). But you're sometimes unsure whether he's just given you a backhanded compliment. The "neg" is a tool used by pickup artists, as described in Neil Strauss's book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. He might say you look good for your age or that you have big feet but your shoes look good on you. Apparently the aim is disarm and it works on all kinds of women. Even smart ones.
He has an astonishing number of funny and impressive stories to tell: To the point where you start wondering whether they're true or not but would not feel comfortable questioning him. Maybe he really did climb Mount Kilimanjaro in the year before he went to med school. And maybe his best friend really did die on the expedition. But probably not.
When you run into women he knows, he introduces you as his "friend:" Even if you think things have progressed beyond the "friend" point he might introduce you with that qualifier and you wonder if you're being a crazy person. But why couldn't he just say "This is Marianne," instead of "This is my friend Marianne." Because he's keeping his options open and sending a clear message that you are just a friend. That's why.
He's the most attentive date you've ever had until you don't hear from him: "[Players] reveal themselves in their efforts," says Evan Marc Katz, author of Why You're Still Single: Things your friend would tell you if you promised not to get mad, and, according to his website, "America's leading dating expert."
"What determines whether a guy is interested is whether he calls you up and asks to see you again. He can sleep with you and tell you that he loves you but if he doesn't tell you the next day he can't wait to see you again, that doesn't matter."