11 Signs You're Being Dreadgamed (And It's About To Get A Lot Worse)

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abusive relationship

Your best bet is to call his bluff.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt like you always had to tiptoe around your partner or they’d leave? If you’re like me, it’s something you’ve experienced quite a bit, and like myself, your first instinct is probably to try to be nicer to them and cater to their needs. After all, that’s what couples do when they want to fight to stay together.

Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, no amount of kindness or good treatment will keep a guy, especially if he's dreadgaming you.

What is dreadgaming? If he regularly holds leaving over your head, it could be that he’s manipulating you to try to get you to act more obedient or give him even more than you already are. It’s a disrespectful and abusive way of treating a partner.

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Having been dreadgamed myself, I can tell you that it never ends well. Ever. If he’s dreadgaming you, your smartest move would be to turn it back on him and find someone else. The hardest part, though, is that it’s hard to tell if a guy is dreadgaming you, and before you know it, you find yourself in this abusive relationship.

Not sure if this is happening to you? These clues tend to suggest that’s what he’s doing.

1. Any time you take a stand for yourself, he starts giving you the cold shoulder.

Oof, there’s so much wrong with this picture. This is a sign that you’re definitely being dreadgamed and that your partner also is manipulating you into removing your boundaries. Heck, I’m not going to try to mince words here. He’s abusing you and you need to bail.

2. He makes a point of talking about how hot other girls are, despite you asking him to stop.

A lot of guys do this because they know it’ll give girls the vibe that they’re about to cheat. It’s a lowkey way guys tell girls, “If you don’t shape up, I’ll leave you for someone else.”

3. He’s almost theatrical about checking out other girls in your presence.

This is another form of dreadgaming where guys use their interest in other women to try to get you to do a “pick me” dance. Sadly, it’s often very effective, even though it’s a warning that he’ll cheat. It’s telling, isn’t it?

4. If you call him out on his behavior, he seems nonchalant.

Guys who dreadgame often will not want to admit that what they’re doing is wrong, even though it is. They may even “play it cool,” react emotionlessly, and call you crazy over it.

This is gaslighting, and is what guys do when they have a need to control the situation at all costs. Like dreadgaming, it’s also very abusive and is a dump-worthy behavior.

5. It literally feels like you have to jump through hoops to keep him.

Does it feel like you never are fully good enough for him? Do you feel like you have to basically beg him to love you? Aside from this being a sign of a seriously toxic love life, it’s also a major indicator that you might be dealing with a dreadgaming boyfriend and an abusive relationship.

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6. Though you know it would be physically impossible for him to do so, at times, you feel like he’s looking to cheat.

This often means that he’s either about to cheat, is already cheating, or he’s trying to make you feel like you need to fight for him in order to keep him. All three suggest that he should probably be kicked to the curb.

7. You can’t explain why, but the way he treats you makes you feel very unattractive.

Dreadgaming is insidious because it’s so hard to pinpoint without feeling crazy for even saying it. Most of the time, it’s just minor digs at you to make you feel worse or a certain way he looks at you.

It doesn’t seem that major, but trust me, it is. Don’t fall for it.

8. He’s regularly told you that he’ll leave, or tells you that you should leave if “you can’t deal with it.”

This is one of those acts that is done for one of two ways, depending on what guys want to have happen. Most of the time, guys do this when they legitimately want a relationship to end. The other sliver of time, it’s because they want to dreadgame you and are trying to make you do what they tell you to do.

9. He dangles commitment, titles, or a wedding ring in front of you like a carrot.

This is one of the worst parts about dreadgaming. They tend to withhold love or commitment as a way to make you do what they want, especially if they know that you want that badly.

If he’s doing this, wake up. He’s never going to give you what you want; he’s just riding the gravy train because he can.

10. He’s misogynistic.

A lot of men who do this behavior learned it from anti-woman relationship advice sites. As a result, most guys who do this have a certain amount of woman-hating in their attitudes and typically aren’t kind to the ladies they date.

11. If you’ve threatened to walk away, he immediately caves and tries to make things better.

Girl, just keep walking. You’ll be better off for it.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.