So much of getting to know someone new can feel like playing games. Whether it’s how long you wait to text each other back or how many exclamation points you add, texting someone new can feel like one big mystery. Once you define the relationship with your partner, it can be relieving to feel like that weird tension is behind you, but that might not always be the case. If you find that they’re still being unnecessarily weird over text, texting signals your partner’s playing games can be glaringly obvious, and have the potential to make anyone feel insecure about their connection.
Turns out, there’s a reason your partner may still be texting you as if you were still dating, and it has more to do with them than it does with you. “If your partner is playing games, it may be a sign of their personal insecurities,” Claudia Cox, relationship coach and founder of Text Weapon, tells Elite Daily. “It’s not about you. It’s not because you aren’t exciting, attractive, or amazing enough. It’s about them and their insecurities.”
According to Cox, if your partner has trust issues or is a self-professed commitment-phobe, playing games may be their way of not getting too connected to you or dealing with their own relationship fears. Although you may love your boo, you never need to put up with shadiness or miscommunication, IRL or on the phone. And if you feel your partner is being dishonest, you might want to communicate your fears to them directly before jumping to any conclusions.
If you’re thinking your partner might be playing games, Cox breaks down the three texting signs to look out for.
1. It Feels Like They’re Intentionally Not Replying
If you’re constantly waiting to hear back from your partner, or they haven’t replied to you but you know they’re on their phone, it may be time for a check-in. “Not texting or calling you back in a reasonable amount of time, even when they are obviously not busy, is something to look out for,” Cox says. You and your boo may have your own way of talking to each other, but if you’re starting to feel ignored or uncomfortable, it’s always OK to say so.
You and your partner certainly don’t need to be texting every second of every day, but if you’ve been trying to reach them for a week and when you finally hear back, they pretend they haven’t been leaving you on read, it may be time to chat. Cox shares that them dodging you for a while and then hitting you with a “What’s up?” text like nothing happened can also be a sign they’re playing games. “If you find someone being unnecessarily unresponsive, don’t make excuses for their lack of good communication or politeness,” Cox says. “Don’t bother chasing them or over-analyzing their behavior.”
2. They’re Making You Question Yourself
Texting is tricky because you have no idea how someone is saying whatever it is they’re texting you. Although it’s easy to misinterpret a message, if your partner always makes you feel bad about your texts or they completely twist your words around, it may be time to talk IRL.
“Look out for people who create drama by purposefully misinterpreting your texts,” Cox says. “For example, if you send them a sweet, ‘Good morning!’ text message after not hearing from them for a few days and they respond with something passive-aggressive such as, ‘Sorry, I don’t have time to text you every five minutes, I’ve been really busy.'” There’s nothing more frustrating than having your words be misinterpreted. Although needing to clarify something can just mean your partner is confused about your tone, your partner intentionally making you question your words on a regular basis can be a sign you’re not on the same page.
If you and your partner have different texting preferences, try talking in person about the ways you best communicate. You should never have to feel bad for being yourself or expressing your needs. “Stop yourself from being dragged into their manipulative mind games,” Cox says. “At a certain point, it gets boring.”
3. They’re Constantly Talking About Other People
As iconic comedian and general queen Ali Wong will tell you, one of the best parts of having a partner is getting to gossip with them. But if your boo is constantly talking about their ex or generally trying to make you jealous, Cox says that it may be time to check in. Additionally, if your partner is “always being vague about what they are doing or where the relationship is going,” Cox says that can also signal shady behavior.
Ultimately, when you’re trying to build a real connection with someone, and you’re being met with shadiness and vagueness, the best solution is to talk about it. “Sometimes it hurts, but if someone really wants to talk to you, they will,” says Cox. “And if they don’t, they won’t,” Cox says. “You can’t force communication or make someone like you.” If you find yourself questioning your partner’s texting, try talking to them in person about it. You deserve someone who’s going to be straight up with you all the time, IRL and on the phone.
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