Dating Games Men Play
16 Deadly Dating Patterns You Need to Know Now
Excerpted from Love in 90 Days By Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. © 2010

Have you ever asked yourself about guys …
How could he disappear after he was so totally into me? Why hasn’t he texted? Why does he pull away every time we get close? Was it just about the sex? How could he not be interested in me? Why doesn’t he make a move? Why did he put his profile back up? Will he ever commit? What the bleep is going on with him? Is it him or is it me?

Ah, men. Mystifying men.

And we’re supposed to be the mysterious ones! Truth is, men are at least as hard to figure out as women. Their behavior can be confusing, frustrating and maddening. They tease us with clever poems, roses, daily texts and calls, only to turn around in the blink of an eye and completely disappear or disappoint us. Who hasn’t fallen for that grand opening game, where they lure us with intoxicating conversations, funny dates, a perfect little heart necklace, delicious kisses and more?

Fortunately, I’ve logged many therapy hours listening to men as they’ve opened up and explored their deepest needs and fears. Those private moments have given me a unique window into understanding guys’ dating games and issues. And in this chapter, I will take you behind the scenes and share those intimacies with you.

The good news is that they, like us, usually really do want true love, and down deep they realize that they’d be happier, more content and more sexually satisfied if they had a good relationship. The bad news is they are also scared, and they push real intimacy or commitment away. Men fear being overwhelmed and taken over in an all-consuming coupleship. Believe it or not, they also fear rejection and abandonment. And all these fears play out in a variety of ways.

Men play out unconscious and conscious games which create a maddening push-pull with your heart. That’s why dating them can be so CONFUSING and FRUSTRATING. Guy’s fears of being vulnerable, of being loved and loving, lead them to enact their dating games or what I call Men’s Deadly Dating Patterns (MDDPs). Like women, they have habitual ways of sabotaging themselves when it comes to romance and love. Unfortunately, men often follow these same self-destructive dead-end patterns over and over again, sinking possibilities of love into the netherworld in the process.

Understanding guys’ Deadly Dating Patterns is crucial not only to your success in creating the love you want, but also to your own self-esteem and happiness. When you learn to clearly see who you are dealing with and understand his patterns, you can free yourself from second-guessing about what you did wrong whenever a relationship falls apart. You will be able to let go of thoughts like, “I should have told him how much I enjoyed the comedy club he picked out and that I would love to go again! That’s why he’s not calling.” or “My thighs are so big and I wore that clingy dress. That’s what turned him off!” or “He broke it off because I am too (old, needy, successful, have kids, fat…fill in the blank).” When we don’t understand our partner’s Deadly Dating Patterns and things blow up, it is ultra easy to go into knee-jerk negative self-blame: “It ended because of something I said or did, or something I didn’t say or do.”

Understanding the MDDPs can liberate us from these self-blaming thoughts. Instead we can more easily say – and understand – that, “It is not just about me. It’s about him and his issues.” We can view relationships in a more balanced way, examining more objectively who did what to whom.

In order to have this kind of emotional freedom in dating it is important to be like an anthropologist in the world of men--to study them and understand their unique qualities and attributes. You need to suspend judgment about what a man ought to be like. We expect a lot based on fairy tales, romantic movies and the media: the all-perfect prince is supposed to come along and sweep us away to the magic kingdom of love. But real life is not a fairy tale or a movie. There are no perfect guys.

Sometimes a guy is so entrenched in his dating game issues that he would act the same way with most any woman. He is caught in a behavioral loop, an unconscious program he is totally unaware of, that is running in his mind. Chances are he will play out the same scenario with the next six women he dates. If he is truly caught in his own Deadly Dating loop, there is nothing you can do to change this. Not even you can succeed —I know what you were just thinking!

You want the guys who are healthier, more normal. There are guys who never had to struggle with Deadly Dating Patterns and they make great partners. There are also thoughtful guys who are aware of their self-sabotaging patterns. They may joke about them or talk about how they have progressed and learned about women or dating. These are the guys who can fall for you in a lasting way. They are the ones who are willing to grow, have the basics, and are crazy about you (It's in Chapter 4 of Love in 90 Days and on sale at

The severity of MDDPs varies from person to person. There are key questions that you need to ask yourself in order to determine whether to DATE HIM OR DUMP HIM. I can't go into all of them here but here are a few:

First, look for signs in what he says about: the possibility of real love, women in general, and his past relationships. Read between the lines: What can you notice that reveals how he thinks about his future in terms of a long-term relationship or marriage? How does he describe other couples? If his friend is getting married, is he cynical? Does he describe his married buddies as trapped in some way? Does he say it would take a good three to four years to know if a person is ready to be with someone? Does he say love never lasts?

Next, find out if he is willing to grow and work on his issues. If he is self-reflective, willing to take advice, in a growth course, being coached or in therapy, he is showing signs of working on himself. Once again, no man is perfect. Of course, neither are you. The question is how much does this man want to have love, that is, love with you in his life? And what is he willing to do or change to have that special, lasting experience?

Don’t be too discouraged if you find as you read through the list that the man you are most interested in has a few of them playing out. This is quite normal. Everyone has issues. Men, like us, are works of art in progress.

By the time you finish this chapter I hope you have many ‘Aha experiences in understanding and being clear about these patterns. Armed with this knowledge you can quickly get away from guys who are DUDs (Definitely Unworkable Dudes) or relationships that are truly dead-end or even destructive. You can see clearly when it is time to stay and work on the relationship or when it’s time to cut your losses and go. You can be freer to choose the ones you want, the ones who give you love that is just right for you.

In order to do that, I will arm you with the information you need about the 16 most common MDDPs based on personality types. Some of them are much more ingrained and difficult for the guy to overcome than others. I rate the degree of difficulty of each pattern, based on my clinical experience, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most challenging. I have also divided the MDDPs into three groups: easier to overcome; moderately difficult; and most challenging (those I advise you to stay away from!) So put on your anthropologist hat, and identify any Deadly Dating patterns of the single men you meet.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Diana Kirschner is a psychologist who has helped thousands of singles get the love they want. Dr. Diana’s dating and relationship advice have been featured on the Today Show, where she is a frequent guest, her PBS Special on love & the 90 Day Love Challenge on the Fox Morning Show. Love in 90 Days is now in paperback with a new chapter, Dating Games Men Play! And to celebrate the launch be among the first 500 to order and get $100 in FREE BONUS GIFTS! Visit

Dr.Diana's brand new Ultimate Secrets to Finding the Love you Want text message subscription program is also now available! Receive her ongoing love support, inspiration & ractical how-to relationship tips on you cell phone for only pennies a day. And the first 500 subscribers get $500 in FREE BONUS GIFTS!
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