Are You Dating A Player Or Is He Just A Player With You?

dating a player

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

This is a great dating story about a divorced friend of mine who was dating a player (or so I thought.)


It all started when she went out with a guy she really thought she liked. The problem was, he wasn’t treating her very well. For example, after the first date, she was the one who texted him. (I feel like that’s a bad sign from the start.) Then, he would text her occasionally, but he wouldn’t ask her out.


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My friend found herself really frustrated. All she got from this guy was texts and photos of himself with friends, on trips, etc. She would get her hopes up that he was going to ask her out again, but he just never did. But, he would always stay in touch, like he was keeping her on his rope just in case he wanted to go out again. For this reason, he wasn’t my favorite person. She was dating a player. Period.


“Dump this guy,” I would tell my friend. “Just stop answering these self-centered texts that are making you feel like he’s stringing you along. He’s clearly hot and cold, mostly cold.


Eventually, he stopped texting.


So, a few months later, another friend of mine (who doesn’t know my other friend) tells me she just started dating this amazing guy. Describing him as “attentive, sweet, kind, thoughtful, and affectionate,” she said it’s really nice that he is so committed.


‘Wow, that’s refreshing!’ I’m thinking. I love guys like him—not afraid to show affection and not afraid to commit.


 But then, I find out it’s the same guy! What?!


Here is what I realized about this story. Was my first friend dating a player? I don’t think people can be classified as “players” on a permanent basis. In other words, if someone is a player, it’s because of one of two reasons:


1. He hasn’t met the right person.

2. He’s not in a place where he’s ready to commit.

In this case, this guy is probably a really good guy, and my friend (the second one) is getting the best version of him maybe because he’s in a difference place now then he was back in the days when he was seeing my other friend (or not seeing her, I guess). Or, maybe he just didn’t have the feelings for my first friend that are needed to be a committed boyfriend.


The lesson here is, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with my first friend. She’s actually pretty and kind and a good person. It’s just that there is something about my second friend that is bringing out the best in this guy for whatever reason—whether it’s her or timing or a combination.


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So, if you think you are dating a player, you will feel better if you let yourself realize that the problem isn’t YOU, but rather either timing, or the chemistry just isn’t there for him (which is no reflection on you, either!)


I can tell you that the best relationships are those where people bring out the best in each other. They are committed because the chemistry is there in every way, and while there is some luck and timing and being in the right place at the right time involved, a lot of this comes from working on yourself to be the best person, to be happy and to be stable and happy with your life. That kind of situation will set you up for maximizing your chances of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right.


I hope this works out for my friend. She deserves to be treated wonderfully by a guy who makes her feel adored and cherished, and who is committed. We all deserve that. So, don’t settle for anything but that. If he’s a player, don’t try to fight it. Just move on. It’s not easy, but remember, he won’t change for you. Believe me.


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I dated a guy several years ago who just wasn’t into me. He was hot and cold and not committed at all. I kept trying to change him and the situation and all that got me was frustrated and bitter, with low self-esteem. The guy then met this other woman a couple months after me, and has been committed and loving to her for years.

So, turns out, it wasn’t that he was unable to be a great boyfriend, he just didn’t want to be one with me.  Does that hurt me? Yes, in a way it stings. I mean, why didn’t he want that with me? Our first reaction is to think, “What’s wrong with me?” The answer is nothing. Just say to yourself, “It’s just that way. There is nothing I can do. It’s not meant to be. I am going to meet someone who is better for me and I am going to be happy.” I am living proof that that happened.

How a person feels about you should not define how you feel about yourself.


Remember that dating a player isn’t healthy for self-esteem and overall happiness. Don’t try to change him and make it work. Your guy and the right timing will show up soon. But you won’t meet him if you are focused on the player you are constantly trying to change.

Like this article? Check out “3 Words For Those Who Have A Fear of Dating After Divorce”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    One Response to “Are You Dating A Player Or Is He Just A Player With You?”

    1. Maggie

      A wise male colleague of mine said something when I started dating after my divorce that has stuck with me: “A man will only change for one woman, but I can’t tell you who that woman is.” Advice I would have loved to have had decades ago that I have passed on to my daughter. It also made it easier to be happy for my ex when he remarried.


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