12 signs he is testing your patience (and what to do about it)

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You might be dating a new man, or maybe you’re in that uncertain pre-dating stage where you’re not really sure if it’s going to work out or not, and you haven’t gone on an official date.

But there’s just something about this guy that almost makes you want to rip your hair out at times, almost as if he’s playing games to see how far he can push you.

The unfortunate truth?

There are men out there who purposely try to test the patience of the woman they’re dating.

And there could be a dozen reasons why they do it: anywhere from asserting power and dominance to just messing around with you for fun.

Here are 12 signs that this man is testing your patience on purpose. After that, we’ll discuss what you can do about it.

1) He Flirts With You, Then Acts Uninterested

Despite all the time you’re spending together and the flirty messages you’re exchanging with each other, you still don’t really know where you stand.

Some days he’s affectionate and available; other days it seems as though you don’t even know each other.

Don’t worry, you’re not imagining things.

If you feel like the guy you’re talking to is hot and cold, it’s probably because he is.

He gives you just enough sweetness to make you feel special but not enough commitment to let you know that he’s serious about you.

Maybe he’s trying to see how far he can go without actually going all-in on you; maybe he’s toying with you to get a rise out of you.

Either way, this kind of withdrawal is a red flag so tread lightly.

2) He Stays In Contact With His Ex

Although it’s not unheard of for exes to be friends, most people would be understanding if the person they’re currently seeing isn’t so comfortable with the idea of them still being in contact with their ex.

The inside jokes, the knowing glances, the all-too-familiar touches — no one really enjoys seeing someone they like connect so well with someone they have history with.

Despite your protests (or your subtle signs), he doesn’t really budge and continues talking to his ex as if you weren’t in the picture.

It’s almost as if he’s asserting his independence and testing your own boundaries.

3) He Flirts With Others In Your Presence

Not only does he flirt with other women, he makes it a point to exchange flirty banter with you within hearing and seeing range.

He doesn’t even try to be discreet; your mere proximity seems to be encouraging him all the more.

It’s like he enjoys the idea of you being jealous.

And if you haven’t had “the talk” yet, it might feel like it’s not your place to say anything — which might be exactly what he wants you to feel.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in a relationship or not.

You have your own feelings and spending time with someone is an investment that gives you the right to be treated with respect and courtesy.

If he doesn’t see that, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

4) He Cancels Last Minute

Everyone’s entitled to a rain check but there’s a fine line between being flexible and being flaky. You’d have things planned for weeks only for him to cancel at the last second.

Maybe he even leaves you hanging at the restaurant or waiting at the apartment after getting ready for hours.

The twisted thing about all this? He knows you’re anticipating. He knows that you’re looking forward to whatever activity you two had planned, and yet he cancels at the last minute.

The fact that he does it at the last minute instead of informing you in advance or offering to reschedule means that he doesn’t really think about your time or your feelings.

5) He Plays Too Hard To Get

It takes time to build a connection.

People don’t always hit it off within days, even weeks, and it takes time and chemistry to really feel like you have something real with the other person.

What you have feels like the complete opposite. You’ve been upfront with your intentions, but despite your best efforts, he doesn’t seem very keen on returning them.

But don’t take the bait. More often than not, guys like what they can’t have, so give him a taste of his own medicine — show him you’re perfectly fine without him.

And the best way to do that is to actually work on yourself — to learn to live life without a lover, because yourself is the only lover you really need. 

This is something world-renowned shaman Ruda Iande teaches you in his Love and Intimacy Masterclass.

Instead of falling into the trap of codependency with this man, focus on yourself first. He’ll show you how you can date yourself, give yourself gifts, and love yourself the way you think you need to love him.

And who knows? Maybe in the end, you’ll actually realize that you don’t need him in your life.

Click here for the free masterclass.

6) He Criticizes People In Your Life

Co-existing with your significant other’s friends isn’t always so straightforward. Some personalities just don’t work well together no matter how hard they try at it.

The thing is, your guy hasn’t even really tried getting to know your friends.

Sure, he shows up to dinners and joins text chains but he doesn’t really seem like he’s trying to bond with the people in your life in earnest.

His pessimism wins over and he openly criticizes the people in your life as if to test your loyalty and bait you into an argument.

7) He Does Something Crazy To See How You’d React

A guy who is playing with your patient wants to see how far he can take it, and what side of you will come out when he pushes you over the edge.

Maybe he’ll compliment one of your girl best friends in front of you, just as a kind of power play.

Or maybe he’ll say something really nasty and personal to you, just to see if you have the courage to say anything back.

At the end of the day, this is all about power: he wants to test how much power you’ll allow him to have over you, and even if there’s any limit at all.

The more power he knows he can assert over you, the more he knows he can dominate any future relationship with you.

8) He’ll Do Something Stupid To See If You’re Sexually Open

The previous point was about power dynamics in a relationship, but this point is about sex.

When you start dating a new guy, he’ll probably be curious about exactly how sexually open or liberated you actually are.

And some guys think that women just need to be pushed into certain situations to realize that they’re “into it”, even if the woman says she’s not.

One thing he might try doing is getting you drunk in private with another female “friend”, without telling you his plans to try to initiate a threesome.

Slowly but surely, he’ll try to see just how far you’re willing to go when put in the actual scenario.

And he might even realize that you’re clearly aware of what he’s doing, and he wants to see how far you’re going to let him get away with what he wants.

9) He’ll Ignore You For Days At A Time

One clear power move that a man will do to you when he’s trying to test your patience?

He’ll ignore you for days at a time, not giving you any updates on where he is, what he’s been up to, or whether or not he’s even still alive.

In the age of smartphones and the internet everywhere you go, there’s no excuse to not leave a message at least once a day, or once every other day, depending on how busy you are.

Unless your man is traveling in the remote jungles without an internet connection, he should care about you for a minimum of five minutes, just long enough to update you on what he’s up to.

After all, do you really want to be with a guy who lives with an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude?

10) He Talks About You To Others (In Front Of You)

No one likes it when you talk about them to other people, even if what you’re saying is good, positive stuff. It just makes you feel awkward and judged, and while you can’t stop it from happening, it’s definitely not something you want to be a part of.

But to test your patience, your man not only talks about you to his friends (or your friends), but he does it knowing that you are close enough to hear the conversation.

He might talk about stupid, embarrassing things that you do — things other people don’t know about — and he’ll know deep down that he’s betraying you, but he wants to see if you’ll even try to stop him.

11) He Starts Fights Out Of Nothing

One minute you’re having the best time you’ve had with him in a long time, and the next minute you’re having a strange fight over… something you’re not even really sure about.

A man who likes testing his partner’s patience is a man who is obsessed over power, and he’s also a man who can’t really stand normal, everyday stability.

So he’ll start a fight out of nothing just to rock the boat because it’s the powerplay that he’s more comfortable with, not the happiness of the relationship.

He wants to know that he can upset you, and you don’t have the fight in you to call him out on his behavior.

What to do when a man is testing your patience

So a man is trying to test you. You’re not sure what to do.

Should you fall for the test, jump through the hoop and keep pursuing this man?

Or should you leave his childish games alone and move on with your life?

If you really do like this guy, then you don’t have to give it up.

Here are some tips to get him to stop testing you so you can start dating each other properly.

1. Trigger this instinct in him

If a man is testing you, then you need to make it clear that he doesn’t need to test you because you’re already the woman he is looking for.

And the most effective way to do this is to trigger something deep inside him. Something he craves more than sex.

What is it?

For a guy to really want to be in a committed relationship, he needs to feel like your provider and protector. Someone who is essential to you.

In other words, he needs to feel like your hero.

There’s a psychological term for what I’m talking about here. It’s called the hero instinct. I mentioned this concept earlier in the article.

I know it sounds kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

And I couldn’t agree more.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to be a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.

Men have a thirst for your admiration. They want to step up to the plate for the woman in their lives and provide for and protect her.

This is deeply rooted in male biology.

If you can make your guy feel like a hero, it unleashes his protective instincts and the most noble aspect of his masculinity. Most importantly, it will unleash his deepest feelings of attraction towards you.

If your guy is pulling away from you, perhaps you treat him more as an accessory, ‘best friend’, or ‘partner in crime’.

For a long time Hack Spirit writer Pearl Nash made this mistake too. You can read her story here.

Now, you can’t trigger his hero instinct just giving him admiration next time you see him. Men don’t like receiving participation awards for showing up. Trust me.

A man wants to feel like he has earned your admiration and respect.

But there are phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can use to trigger his hero instinct.

To learn how to trigger the hero instinct in your guy, check out this free video by James Bauer. He’s the relationship psychologist who discovered this instinct in men.

Some ideas are life-changing. And when it comes to relationships, I think this is one of them.

Here’s a link to his video again.

2. Just ask him why he is testing you

If you’re sure that he is intentionally testing your patience, then why not ask him why?

Many of us hate confrontation. But sometimes it really is the best way to get to the bottom of someone’s behavior.

Pretending like everything is fine isn’t going to end well. Getting angry at him for not talking also isn’t going to work.

There’s nothing stopping you from asking him what’s going on.

Approach him in a civil and calm manner. Keep it simple without pressure. You don’t need to get frustrated or defensive.

When you calmly ask someone anything, most of the time they’re going to answer.

And once you know why he is testing your patience, you can begin to date each other in a normal way.

Being upfront and direct about your feelings will mean that there is no reason for either of you to play games.

And if he is not willing to be direct to you about his feelings after you’re being direct to him, then it’s probably a sign that you don’t want to be with this guy anyway.




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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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