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Posted February 23, Reviewed by Gary Drevitch. A current counseling client of mine expressed great sadness to me recently. Holding back tears, he recounted how a woman he was 'into' was more into playing head games than actually seeing him. While she had initially indicated that she equally shared his enthusiasm to get together again, she had not texted or called him back in over four days.
In my book, The AnxietyDepressionand Anger Toolbox for TeensI address the strong sense of vulnerability that underlies dating relationships, which fuels dating head games in adolescents. While young people's brains are developing up until the age of 25, I have too often seen adults of all ages become avid head game players as well. While head games can manifest themselves at any time, the initial phase of meeting and dating is highly vulnerable to such exploitation because neither person knows yet what will become of the relationship. Could this truly be love that will endure the test of time?
If so, do just one of you, neither of you, or both of you think this may be the case? Or will you see each other a few more times until one of you cools off and ends it? Head games played at this stage lead to stressconfusion, and angst. I have listened to many people share painful stories about annoying games played in dating.
Following are three of the most common types :. People tend to exaggerate when first meeting—and where is that fine line really between exaggerating and lyinganyway? The healthier alternative: Be honest and keep it real. Know your own value and respect that you will be valued more in the long run for being true to yourself. Similarly, how about indicating interest when you're not actually interested? One of my clients, a year-old, told me of times she has heard guys say to her, "It was really great to hang out with you.
Lying by expressing further interest when there really is none is nothing short of cowardly. I have done this, years ago, and I am not proud of it. And just like the ripples that result from throwing a rock in a pond, the lie impacts all those people in life of the person you are lying to, who are erroneously hearing about how great you are.
Maybe you even debate, within yourself or with friends, whether you should wait another day or two.
Then the weekend approaches and your date tells you they have made other plans. The healthier alternative: Say, "I appreciate getting to meet you tonight. But I'm still wanting to get a sense of some other people or a person I have some interest in. Please bear with me as I hold off from making further plans with you. I certainly respect that you may want to meet some other people before we get to know each other more. And, in fairness to you, if you are no longer available, I will respect that, too. Guilt Tripping. For example, a year-old client of mine confessed to me that he was telling someone that his life was really difficult in order to gain their sympathies and further interest.
The healthier alternative: Remind yourself that injecting guilt only infects and compromises the trust others may feel toward you. In Conclusion: It is crucial that you are open—within yourself and with the person or people you meet—to establish trust. You owe it to yourself to stop head-gaming others and to let anyone else in your life know that it's game over. Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph. Worry is driven by mood, not logic.
Anxiety holds your deepest yearnings. And you can subdue it for good.
Three experts turn everything you know about anxiety inside out. Jeffrey Bernstein Ph. Liking the Child You Love. Are You? Spotting and avoiding toxic dating behaviors. About the Author. Online: drjefonlineLinkedInTwitter. Read Next. Back Psychology Today.
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Mind Games in Relationships: What They Look Like & How to Avoid Them