Today’s Lesson: The Game Players Play
February: Healthy Relationships
by Riv Lobban
“Stay away from them. They’re bad boys, total players.”
Some rendition of that warning hits us at least a couple hundred times during our teen and young adult years. Ignoring it is common, whether it’s out of annoyance, skepticism, or the belief that he really cares about you, you believe that underneath all that danger and scandal that there’s a good person waiting to be brought out by you.
And if you think that, you’ve already fallen for the trap.
Many of the bad boys and players out here are the masters of emotional manipulation. They know what to say, verbally and nonverbally, so as to evoke certain reactions from their current person of interest. They will give you pretty compliments, text you super sweet (or dirty) things, and of course act charming mixed with some sexy. It all sounds like conspiracy. It sounds like paranoia, but if you can think of at least one boy who fits that description, the facts speak for themselves.
Now tell me if this is also familiar. Once you’re locked in love with him, Mr. Smooth-Talker becomes Mr. Never-Texts-Me-Back. He becomes Mr. Flirts-With-Other-Girls or Treats-Me-Differently-Than-When-He-Met-Me. Each of these names describes a stage of the unraveling of your relationship with him. Making excuses for him only proves how bad it is for you emotionally, mentally, and physically even.
It’s hard to admit, but not admitting to the truth doesn’t stop the behavior.
Abuse in relationships does not have to look like those R-rated movies you watched when your parents were in the next room. There doesn’t have to be a person beating up or causing near fatal situations for their partner. It simply has to involve one person lacking the proper knowledge and willingness to truly respect their partner. You don’t even have to be in a “real” relationship, because people do that to each other at any stage of their interaction with one another.
If you are struggling with any sort of variation of this situation, I have some words of advice on dealing with it.
First, take your power back. After everything your partner or love interest did, you deserve better. You are a queen, a goddess in human power. Your power and authority is still there and all you need to do is tap into it. The minute you take it back, that person who’s been doing you dirty all this time will become terrified. This brings me to my next point:
Everything they did was to make you forget who you are.
Let that sink in for a hot minute or three. People come in and out of your life, and some of those people come in only to bat their eyes at you and make you forget two things: your identity and your purpose. Once they’ve succeeded, they can control you every way. You start believing the worst about yourself because they’ve been treating you in the worst way. You start thinking you can’t do what you love due to their belittling your ambitions. Passion within your heart dims because their cold nature took hold of your being. In the end, you forget what it was like being free and happy. If that isn’t unhealthy, I don’t know what is.
And lastly, walking away won’t be easy. I won’t write anything with a tone that insinuates that I think leaving a relationship is as easy as two plus two equals four. Emotional investment in a relationship is building strong ties with that person. You’ve opened up to them, poured everything you are in that relationship with someone you cared about and thought cared about you the same way. Physical bonds solidifies the relationship. All of that contributed to making your brain secrete dopamine, becoming something you needed for your pleasure and happiness. Therefore, ending that bond is ending your source of emotional ecstasy. Trust me, I know the deal.
Some days I think about the player I liked, and whether I should send that “Hey” text one last time. What always stops me, are those three truths listed above. Thinking those things over leads me to thinking, “After all I’ve been through, is even thinking about going back to him worth it?”. Asking yourself that question will always make you consider the benefits and drawbacks of re-entering such a union with your player of an ex. If the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, the decision has already been made.
Ladies, femmes, queens, my rant has done its purpose. My hope now is that what you’ve read will only help you in leaving bad situations and getting on the road to healthier ones. But before you step into a new relationship, remember to never let anyone make you lose sight of your awesomeness, regardless of your relationship status.