9 Intense Mind Games Men Play (And How To Handle Them)

Beat him at his own game.

Intense minds games men play and how to handle them Ollyy / Shutterstock

Dating a guy and not knowing where you stand with him is frustrating.

Why would anyone be so cruel to leave you hanging on? Well, because sometimes having you hang on is convenient for him.

It's not always so cut and dry. A man may not even realize that he's giving you all the signs he doesn't want a relationship with you because he's got so many other things going on in his mind.

Maybe he's wounded and scared. Maybe he's trying to move past a breakup. In other words, he may not even realize how crappy his behavior is.


The less secure a person is with themselves, the less aware he or she is of the effects of their choices and consequences on others.

On the flip side, he could be fully aware of what he's doing and just doesn't care. Maybe he's really heartless and enjoys having many women dangle at his feet. It's just one of the many mind games men play. It could feed his ego. It could bide his time.

Whatever the case is, if it suits his needs, he'll continue to do it to many women, and not just you.

RELATED: 11 Mind Games Men Think They Play (That Women Simply Choose To Ignore)


Ladies, before we start patting ourselves on the back, women do this as well, so it’s not purely a man thing.

Our reasons may be different, but most of them are just as terrible.

The reality is, whenever we get involved with others, we have a duty to share where they stand with us. Doing so is kind and respectful. When we are kind and respectful to others, we get that in return.

But some people don't play by those rules, so if you're thinking that Mr. "What's His Name" is being shady or stringing you along, he just might be.

Be on the lookout for these signs that he's playing with your mind so you can beat him at his own game.

Nine mind games men play

1. Showering you with gifts and attention, but avoiding any real commitment.

Why men play this game: Because they likes their ego stroked and figure that with gifts and attention, you’ll stick around to continue to do so.


He likes having you around. And her too. And her too. And her too... You get the drift.

The more women paying attention to him, the more pumped his frail and sad ego is. It's plain old selfish. He can’t commit to you because then that means he can’t have all the other “sugar” he likes to enjoy.

So, he’ll shower you like some Don Juan, acting like you matter. But when it comes to putting you fully into his life, he stalls each and every time.

RELATED: 8 Reasons Women Feel Crazy When Emotionally Abusive Men Play Mind Games And Manipulate Them

2. Making last minute plans with you at the last minute, then suddenly cancels.

Why men play this game: Because he has options, and you’re one of them.


Sure, he likes you, but he’s not sure he wants to be with you. So why should he care about losing you to a better, worthier opponent if he can keep you close by while he’s fishing around to be sure you’re his “best option”?

3. Being hot and cold towards you, constantly.

Why men play this game: Because he’s probably not over his ex-girlfriend or wife (and maybe not even finished with her).

He’s not totally done, but he sees the potential you two have and figures he needs to keep you around — but not too close. He alternates between radiating his love and praise to you and then being emotionally withdrawn for days or weeks. His behavior reads as confusing. You are never able to tell where you stand with him.

If he's able to cut off ties from his former relationship, he gets a free pass and you should give him a shot. It is normal to struggle with letting go of someone. If he can’t, he’s just a selfish jerk. Period. Kick that boy to the curb.


RELATED: 5 Lies You've Been Told About What Men Really Want

4. Taking two steps forward in your relationship, just to retreat again.

Why men play this game: Because he likes you, but he’s afraid of getting involved.

This is the only reason on my list that is really not a jerk move, but is indicative of a man who needs to grow and evolve.

He decides to give you enough to keep your appetite wet, but never feeds you the love you need because he’s afraid of being hurt.

If he exists like this constantly, then he is broken, or a jerk. The fear excuse is only good for so long. We can all walk around afraid, but in order to grow we must try to push past our fears.


If he is able to acknowledge this issue, tell you about it and work on it, then be patient. He's human and going in the right direction. No one comes without baggage.

5. Giving his all in the bedroom, but never taking you out.

Why men play this game: Because he wants sex from you. He figures if he gives you the idea that he likes you, you’ll keep sleeping with him.

He doesn’t actually want to commit. If he did, he would get off his butt and take you out. He just wants to enjoy your body.

RELATED: 10 Lies Your Guy Is Telling You — And What He's Hiding

6. Talking to you about his ex, constantly.

Why men play this game: Because he’s not over his ex-girlfriend or wife.


Luckily, he’s got you to soothe his ego and heart. He can keep you hanging on as long as you make him feel good. It’s convenient... for him. And him only.

7. Struggling to define your relationship status.

Why men play this game: Because he likes where you two are now.

Do you have a hard time understanding why your relationship isn’t moving forward? Does your dude give you vague reasons as to why you two are not progressing?

He doesn’t want progress — he wants things to exist as they do. Is that good enough for you? Hell to the no.

RELATED: 10 Sad-But-True Signs He's Incapable Of Love

8. Avoids introducing you to anyone important in his life.

Why men play this game: Because if he introduces you to important people, you’ll get the idea he wants to be with you.


And honestly, he’s not sure he wants to be. So, if he keeps you on a small leash, the attachment cannot grow substantially.

9. Establishing bizarre rules about what you two can and cannot do.

Why men play this game: Because he doesn’t know what he wants your role to be.

Does he give you gifts but won’t spend your birthday together? Does he introduce you to his friends but never his family? Will he only stay at your house and never invite you to his place? Will he not hold your hand in public because that’s “what couples do”?


He thinks that if he keeps expectations low or draws these interesting boundaries, you won’t hold him accountable for his behavior; therefore, he gets a free pass for acting strangely.

RELATED: 8 SIgns He's A Player And Will Never Commit To You

How to handle a man who plays mind games

Now that you are aware of some signs he's just toying with you, it's time to adjust and handle him accordingly.

Stand strong in who you are and what you bring to the relationship.

The only way to get a man to stop is to leave him and his mind games where they stand.

Spiritual Life Coach and Hypnotherapist Keya Murthy explains, "If you are with a man that plays intense mind games ask yourself, 'How did things get this way?' Be prepared to get the answer. If you have nothing to gain from being in such a relationship, walk. Learn from the experience and don't get together with another man like the one you left if you want a better life."


RELATED: 13 Really Weird Things Men Do That Women Have Zero Idea About

Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage, and more for YourTango, New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.