Hi Lucia,

I’m 29 years old and a single mom to a 9-year-old. I got married young and became pregnant right away. After five years together we divorced. Several months after the divorce, I started dating again.  

I dated two guys who played me, as they were both seeing other women. After the second time I just gave up. I threw myself into work. I made myself unavailable. I was hurt and angry. I was wondering, “Why are these men playing me?” Was it the way I looked? Do I have a sign on my forehead that says, “Players over here!” Needless to say I didn’t date for five years! I didn’t want to deal with the pain of dating someone, falling for him and then learn he’s a player.

Recently I met someone who I thought was heaven sent for me. He was everything I’d want in a guy. Physically he was very attractive, and personality wise he was charming and sweet. He was Christian, he practiced celibacy (at least that’s what he said), he volunteers, he’s a big brother at boy scouts. He just seemed fantastic. He said he was once a “bad boy” but he isn’t anymore, being that he’s 35 years old and is looking to settle down. I even asked him if he was playing me, and he said he wasn’t.  

However, with my past experiences somewhere in the back of mind I had this feeling that he was [too] good to be true, so I had one of my gorgeous girlfriends flirt with him. He didn’t know she was my friend. Sure enough he failed the test. He didn’t even acknowledge that he had someone in his life (me).

I felt really hurt because I actually allowed myself to become vulnerable. I wanted to believe that it’s possible to meet a real man who isn’t playing games. I know what I did by having my friend spy was a game too, but I wanted to see if he’d be true to me when I wasn’t around. How can I stop this pattern of dating players?


Hi Sarey,

I’m sorry to hear about all the bad guys you’ve been running into. Players are very good at coming across as the dream guy. They know what women want, and they pretend to be that, hence the name “players” because they are playing a role.

Here are some signs to look out for:

Players are not awkward or nervous when they approach you. They will be confident and smooth, like a great salesman. There should at least be a bit of anxiety.

Players come on quickly, declaring their feelings and how wonderful they think you are. True intimacy takes time, so be cautious of a guy who seems to have strong feelings after only two weeks.

Players will want to have sex as soon as possible, since that is their main goal. They are also generally great in bed, because they’ve had so much practice. Wait until you are absolutely sure he wants to be intimate because he’s into you, not just the sex.

Players don’t always call when they say they will and may often be late. Since they are dealing with several women at the same time, they’re not always able to keep their word. They may be with someone else, when they were supposed to call you back.

Finally, even if a guy doesn’t do any of the above, if you just have a feeling that something is up, trust your intuition and take precautions to protect your heart.

Write to Lucia at theartoflove.net. Read an excerpt from Lucia’s Lessons of Love at lessonsoflove.net. Listen to Lucia live every Sunday at 3 p.m. PST on latalkradio.com. Remember: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.