There are certain things in life which are never easily understood, not least of all when it comes to dating. Men - you think you know them and are reading the signals correctly when suddenly, out of the blue, you realise that, who you thought you were dating, was a pure figment of your imagination - and that, actually, you know as much about men as you did when you were fourteen and fancied the boy who worked in the chippie on the corner.
Sadly, unlike fourteen-year-olds, when it comes to dating, time is slightly more of the essence the older one gets, and unless you're looking to spend two years of your life on a guy who's idea of commitment is adding you as a Facebook friend, sometimes it is useful to sift the chaff from the grain - or the players from the keepers, before your collecting your free bus pass.
There are several ways to tell whether you are dating a player.
He's fun and intense.
Players aren't always good looking but they are always charming and charismatic. They will know how to attract people and be a master at manipulation. An experienced player is an expert at the double bluff, presenting himself as spontaneous and innocent at the beginning of a relationship, supposedly ignoring the text book 'rules of dating'.
If he makes you feel like you're the only girl in the world and find yourself with an over-whelming sense of relief at having meeting someone who doesn't play games - you're dating a player.
He gets sexy quickly.
His disregard for rule playing expands further than calling you more than is standard at the beginning of a relationship - be prepared for things to heat up quickly. Players know what they want and know how to get it. 'We've got such a connection, I can't get enough of you' *alarm bells*
He's full of crap.
Think of a player as a modern day cad. Charming and addictive but basically full of s**t. Fortunately for players their crap is often bought because they are so good at wrapping it up and delivering it.
Crap includes, sweeping statements about connection and chemistry, declarations or love and lust and passionate conversations about meeting 'the one'.
You are the interest du jour. Enjoy it while it lasts.
One of the easiest way to spot a player is by the amount of time he spends online. If you met your potential player online and find yourself reading his profile as 'active within the last 24 hours' three months into the relationship, you might want to reconsider his commitment to you. If he's not online but spends more time on Whatsapp than a 15-year-old girl excited about an impending One Direction concert? Don't say I don't warn you.
Most of his friends are women.
Players don't date women, they collect them.
Players love the company of women, enjoy spending time with them and cannot understand why a person would deny themselves the pleasure of more than one.
By contrast, he has few male friends - not understanding why you'd have a person in your life who you couldn't potentially have sex with. If your boyfriend's Facebook page is more than 70/30 women, prepare for the worst.
He'll keep you to himself.
Or at least that's what he'll tell you. Don't expect to meet a player's friends or family anytime soon - they do not mix business with pleasure. While he's pursuing you, a player will want to focus on the prize aka you naked in his bed and once he's won you ... he'll be bored and move onto the next one.
With an ego that big there is little room for anything else in his life, least of all tea with the in-laws.
He disappears as soon as he arrives.
The ultimate way to recognise if you're dating a player - he'll be dust quicker than you can say 'So, where is this going' there is little point in even entering into a relationship conversation with a player less you want to see what a human being looks like running at the speed of light.
It's not all bad news though, players are typically fantastic fun, awesome in the sack and will know how to show you a great time ... even if it is just for a fortnight.