How to Spot an Online Dating Player

Every online dating site will have it’s share of players and if you want to find a genuine relationship then learn to spot the players on the dating sites you join. Let’s start with the basics, what is a player and how does joining online dating sites suit their purpose?

I would like to thank Simon for the inspiration to write this post and I dedicate it to you, you are truly a player at heart.

Players are people that use online dating sites to arrange a string of casual encounters, they are simply sexual predators looking for their latest power trip and online dating sites offer a wide range and number of potential victims.

After a few bad experiences and a lot of heartache I now enjoy playing ’spot the players’ on dating websites, so it’s a strange hobby but after all some people like train spotting don’t they?!

Do not confuse a player with people who simply enjoy casual sex, players are called players for a reason, it’s all a game to them.

Just to give you an idea of how sick and twisted these people can be, a few years ago when I first joined a dating site I immediately received a message from a lady which said “just to warn you, as you are definately his type, this guy “username” is a player on this site. After he had finished with me recently he actually sent a critique with an overall score out of 10 and a list of ladies on the same site, along with their scores, to make comparisons with. It was a detailed report including my dress, makeup, table manners and of course sexual performance. The cheeky git even added some tips for how I can improve my game. As awful as it is to admit this I just wanted to warn you”.

She and I are still friends to this day and sure enough after a few weeks on the site I got my first message from him telling me he was just about to give up on the site when he spotted my profile. I already knew, because of the warning, that he had been a member of the site for over 4 years and sent the same message to every women he went after but had I not have been warned imagine how special that would have made me feel (especially as he had used a photo of a male model from Canada on his profile and whilst I am certainly attractive I am not model material by any stretch of the imagination).

Players can be single, in a relationship or married but they are all looking for one thing, the next challenge and sexual encounter. Modern times now see an increasing number of female players in a game that was traditionally thought of as exclusively male.

Generally when you first join a new dating site you will very quickly be approached by the honest “looking for a casual sexual encounter” gang. They will send you a message saying they like your profile photo and asking if you fancy meeting up for a hot night or weekend.

These people don’t trouble me at all as 99 times out of 100 they accept no for an answer. A simple reply saying “sorry that’s not what I am looking for” results in never hearing from them again or a polite reply saying ” thanks for the reply and I hope you find what you are looking for”. These people I can respect, I may not wish to live their lifestyle but they are honest, polite and genuine.

Players are also not the sleazebag brigade. These are the guys and girls that send you sexually explicit, rather nauseating first messages, including their instant messaging details so you can have cyber sex or an unsolicited message saying “liked your profile, blah blah blah, I have attached a photo of myself.

Basically this behaviour is the equivalent of that letch you saw in the supermarket car park last week that told you what a nice attractive bottom you have and what they would like to do to your bottom (but not in those words). Treat the online equivalent with the same contempt and do not respond to them and DO NOT open the attachment, this just feeds their desire to shock. Some people like this sort of thing from a total stranger so leave them to respond.

No, real players are skilled at their game, they are experienced hunters looking for their next victim. They bide their time and take weeks or even months if necessary to get to know you. They will say all the right things at just the right times ….. well they should be good at it, they get enough practice.

As they talk to you over time they will probably mention some woman/man on the site that is ’stalking’ them, this is a flashing red light. What this actually means is that the ’stalker’ is in fact a previous victim they are continuing to string along.

Unlike people that just enjoy casual sex and then move on, players see their victims as their personal trophy and keep these people hanging on as a symbol of their popularity and skill at the game. In their mind of course there is always the remote possibility they will have a bad weekend without a new victim and may need to call in one of the old ones.

Remember for them it is a game, they are an actor playing the part of James Bond or Marilyn Monroe and will shower you with romance, compliments and be everything you want and need for them to be. For them there is no cheap dirty hotel or fish and chips on the pier, only the best will do and the men will provide it for you and the women will insist on it if you are getting anywhere near their g-string.

Think of these people as trophy hunters, they get their prey in their sights and will go to bizarre lengths to attain their goal. Once they have metaphorically ’shot’ you they have no further interest and will move on to the next victim. The sad part is that the first night or weekend you spend together really is special, they are everything you thought they would be but for them the thrill of the game is now over.

However they will not tell you they are no longer interested, so you will get messages like:

  • The ex wife/husband is causing trouble and they don’t want that to interfere in your relationship so can you give them some time to sort their ex out and then you can get back to where you left off.
  • They have a sick parent/child/pet that needs to be cared for for a while but as soon as they are better the two of you will go away for a holiday to make up for the lost time.
  • Work is manic, a new project is going badly and they have to go away to sort it out for a while but will keep in touch by email and text.

Their reasons for the cool down are always ‘honourable’ and designed to keep you poised to come running when they next click their fingers. It is simply a power trip for them and nothing more, they have invested time and energy into you and are not going to give you up that easily.

These guys know what they are doing, they have been at this game for years in most cases and the internet supplies a constantly renewed source of potential victims.

Players tactics include but are not limited to:

  • the “I am going to leave the site but thought I would just say hi” line – this is designed to make you respond quickly and feel special when they stick around to get to know you. Now ask yourself why they have been a member for X number of years and just decided to leave the site now.
  • the “I am fed up with the dating game and am going to take a break but would love for us to be friends” line, coupled with their little harem of stalkers of course – ask yourself why Mr/Miss Smooth & Popular wants to be just friends with a total stranger of the opposite sex on a dating site. This is to make you think they aren’t just after sex.
  • Offers of helping you find the right guy/girl because he/she talks to lots of men/women on the site (just as friends of course) and so knows who the players are and can help you avoid them – again designed to make you trust them and believe they aren’t after a quick fling.
  • Asks too many questions about you and your emotions and their replies to your answers go into great detail about how and why they feel the same way. They are using empathy to get you on side, if you have asthma then so do they, if you suffer from depression then they have post traumatic stress disorder, if you have been emotionally hurt then their ex ran off with their best friend, etc.
  • Players will make declarations of growing attachment and emotion very quickly and use nauseating terms like “you are my soul mate” or “I have waited all my life for my perfect partner and here you are”. This can often be before they have even spoken to you on the phone. They are playing into your hopes and dreams of meeting that special someone.

The difficulty in spotting them is that they seem so sincere and the reason is because they are. They are in fact in love ….. however not with you but with the game they are playing.

Now I can hear you saying “I would never fall for that, I’m not that stupid” but believe me a withering wallflower is not a great challenge to them, although it won’t stop them using them for practice but a confident savvy individual is just the challenge they are looking for.

These people know what they are doing, they have been at this game for years honing their skills. No doubt they began as clumsy amateurs but by now they are skilled professionals. Unless you have been a victim and so are wise to their game it is well worth a little research to understand what they want and how they operate in order to avoid falling into their game.

So how do you avoid turning down Mr/Miss Right for fear they may be a player? Very simple

  • life is a compromise, every relationship whether it be romantic, friendship or with family can only be successful if you all compromise. The compromise may be over something seemingly insignificant like preference for sun over snow holidays, red over white wine or taste in music but somewhere in getting to know them you should say to yourself “well I prefer …. but I can compromise on that”. If you meet someone on a dating site that is just so perfect for you there simply is no reason to compromise on anything then run like hell for the hills, they are a player.
  • Mr/Miss Right will be very human. They will have a hair out of place, tell a bad joke, snort when they laugh or drop their fork during dinner. Not so the player, they calculate every move and never put a foot wrong.
  • Mr/Miss Right will be interested in your friends and family, they will remember that you prefer white to red wine and will ask your opinions (remembering the answers). For players dating is all about them and only them.
  • A player is very reluctant to make firm plans for the future, I don’t mean getting married type plans but a concert next month or attending a birthday party in September, if they make plans with you then they may miss a better offer. A player is also very unlikely to attend anything like a friends birthday party with you as they will not be the star attraction. Mr/Miss Right will be delighted when you invite them and make firm plans for the date.
  • Real people will talk about their friends, not in a casual way but in a detailed personal way, whereas players have a little black book overflowing with acquaintances but very few meaningful close friends.

There is an excellent article by Pamela Bailey called Spotting the Player in the Online Dating Game over at associated content.

Here is an article on the Pleasures and Perils of dating a player.

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Dating Advice, Dating Tips, Online Dating

12 Responses to “How to Spot an Online Dating Player”

  1. Darwin Stephenson (1 comments.) Says:


    I’d like to talk to you about joining an upcoming episode of CupidCast, the Internet Radio Talk-Show and Podcast covering online dating. Take a look at our site and give me a call.

    Best regards,

    Darwin Stephenson

  2. Ash from Snow White Halloween Costume (2 comments.) Says:

    Hey, great article, thanks for the tips! Youre right in that every single dating site has its players…there are plenty of people to stare clear of. I personally am very cautious before giving out any details or even contemplating meeting up when I use these services.
    Ash @ Snow White Halloween Costume´s last blog ..Sexy Snow White Costumes My ComLuv Profile

  3. Reno from Dirty Talk Phrases (2 comments.) Says:

    Hey, Not every “player” is an asshole…

  4. Sally Says:

    That depends on your opinion and what you are looking for Reno. I have never met a woman in my life who says she is looking to be a notch on a bedpost.

  5. Rowland Says:

    It is interesting to me how woman decide a man is a player. I have been called a player because after a few conversations I decided to no longer communicate with someone or meet them. Woman decide to call someone a player when the dateing situation does not end in the manner in which they so chose. It is interesting how inpowered some people think they are and say the things that they do when hiding someplace in cyberspace

  6. Sally Says:

    Hi Rowland

    I agree he term is extremely over-used and more often than not what they mean is “he didn’t fall madly in love with me” but of course men are rather too fond of the term bunny boiler when it comes to describing women they meet online.

    Players are a particular breed, they are dangerous and lack real emotion … however they are only a small percentage of internet users.

  7. JoJo Says:

    I’ve just had an experience with a guy I met online. We have been e-mailing for the past couple of weeks and he seemed very attentive and not too over keen but he did ask me to go for a drink near enough straight away. I didn’t go as I was busy and he was fine with that which I thought was cool. But he did ask for my number several times and I never gave it to him. He did use the my subscription soon runs out line on me and it didn’t so that was a lie. Anyway we met for a drink and he seemed nice and asked me questions but never seemed to be that interested in the answers which caused me a bit of concern. He was very good looking too. he said he was sick of the dating game and wanted to settle down etc. We seemed to get on well and one thing lead to another and I went back to his and slept with him. He was very complimentry and said he was so pleased he had met me and I suggested we should start dating and he said he would love that and we planned a date for the following week (tonight) in whcih consisted of me going to his place and him cooking me dinner (all his idea). I did n’t hear from him for 6 days and then yesterday he e-mailed a short message saying he wasn’t ready to see anybody right now and best of luck for the future. I feel used, upset and angry but he doesn’t know that which is good. He filled my head with hope and dreams and then used me. I was a fool to not see through it as no guy would commit that early on but I think he was a player as he knew exactly what women want to hear to gain their confidence and sleep with them. A painful lesson was learned. Also the guy was a coke head and I had a similar experience with another guy that took as much coke as he did

  8. Kathy (1 comments.) Says:

    To Rowland, I agree, its a bit feeble when a woman (or a man) uses terms like player, etc. when things don’t go their way, and the person wants to move on after a few chats.

    I have just got out of an upsetting online experience after months of emails, coffee, dinner. I had towards the end, spotted a couple of ‘red flags’ and decided to ask about them. Eg suddenly him no longer wanting to phone me but to email only, not answering direct questions. Inconsistent answers when I did get a response. If I said something he didnt like, I would get a week’s silence, Then He would come back and change the subject, even if he had initiated it in the first place. Felt like I was being interviewed, or groomed to see if I would play along. Then started the weird, questions about what I liked sex wise, (not just general stuff either).
    I would never have said this man was anything but genuine, but by the end I couldn’t decide if he was a player, or a control freak or a situation that just hadn’t worked out, and he was deliberately trying to put me off. Whatever you call it, its still not pleasant.

  9. louise (1 comments.) Says:

    well i though I couldn’t be tricked but you know there is always one so lets hope I will be even smarter and I have learnt.
    Take it slowly – which I didn’t do this time and this player got me hook line and sinker. So what do you do. Laugh – I guess. Most of the dates I have been on were nice experiences if no sparks but hey you have to take the good with the bad.
    Cupid you have a lot to answer for

  10. Yasmin Says:

    If you think your online man is a player then set him up and find out, here is one easy way to do this: If you chat on msn/yahoo or at the online dating site try this on him and see how you go. Usually players don’t chat long because they have a horde of women to attend to and they will keep conversations short if they feel confident in doing so. They often make up excuses for leaving: going to gym, going to beach.. etc.. when they do this, say that you will go when they go because you have things to do, but indicate you’re leaving the computer: going out shopping, going to friends house.. etc.. wait until he has left and stay ‘online’ for 5 minutes and then ‘appear offline’ or ‘invisible’ whatever status you can so that you are not shown as being online. Then wait, and sure enough the player man will sign back in to msn/yahoo or the dating site. Do this a few times and catch him out, then you will know if you have a genuine man or not.

  11. Violet Says:

    This article was both disturbing and a wake-up call all in one. I have been in an internet “relationship” for 2 1/2 years. I feel like such a fool that I actually believed what this man told me. After six different times of saying we were going to meet but something came up (almost always work but also his mother died on one account) you would think I would have seen this. I never received a phone number because “he doesn’t have a cell phone, he does all of his calling over the internet”. He couldn’t give me an address because he wouldn’t get mail anyways it is all forwarded by courier at his employers expense. Which by the way has sent him to several foreign countries. This man even stated he wanted to have children with me on several occasions. I am writing this not only to find out why a man would want to do such a thing to a woman, but to also let people out there know that people don’t just publish these stories for the fun of it, this really does happen and it is devastating. I feel like I have been violated and lied to and like such a fool. I hope the adage is true that what comes around goes around because that is probably the only way these people will understand what they are doing to another human being.

  12. Sally Says:

    Hi Violet

    Thanks for sharing your story and please understand you are not a fool, you are just a genuine and feeling person who fell for someone with no morals.

    Did he ever ask you for money or to pay for him to travel to you?

    If yes then this is the reason he is doing it … pure and simply MONEY. Why work for a living when you can con it out of people while sitting on your bum doing nothing?!

    If no then he is probably just living out a fantasy life online. Many people do this, even married people. They are bored with their lives and want the high that receiving a loving or sexy email gives you.

    Trust me many scam victims are sensible, well educated people and certainly couldn’t be classed as fools. These low-lives simply use human emotion to get under people’s skin, promising the thing we all hope and long for in our lives .. true love.