It feels awful to be “played” by someone you’ve been dating.
If a guy has misled or manipulated you into believing that you two were on the same page, only to betray or ghost you later, it’s going to be damaging.
But don’t despair.
Here are 12 tips on how to get over a guy who played you:
Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you work through your feelings related to the guy who played you. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.
1. Feel what you need to feel.
If you’ve been played by a guy, you’re likely feeling a massive storm of different emotions. One moment you may bawl your eyes out and the next you’re punching your pillow enraged about how anyone could treat you so disrespectfully.
Common feelings after being played include confusion, hurt, anger, bitterness, grief, and loss. These feelings can be particularly potent if you felt a strong connection to the guy.
Don’t feel you need to repress your emotions for the sake of keeping up appearances or saving face. Cry if you need to, scream at an empty room if it helps, or journal about your feelings until your hands ache.
It’s only by releasing these emotions that you’ll be able to fully let go of them.
2. Don’t be cruel to yourself.
If you’ve been played by a guy, your instinct may be to blame yourself.
You may criticize yourself for being naive or feel “stupid” for not seeing the red flags. You may direct your anger and disappointment inward, which isn’t helpful for your healing and recovery.
Perhaps you were going through personal difficulties or stress at the time. When we’re hurting, we’re more vulnerable to dangling shreds of hope that we feel may raise us up.
As such, we often ignore raging red flags—either consciously or subconsciously—because we’re so focused on those tiny lights in the darkness.
Traits that allow us to connect with others are virtues, not vices. You didn’t do anything wrong by opening yourself up to a connection with another person, so please don’t berate yourself for making a “bad” decision.
You offered love and care to someone who wasn’t capable of seeing the gifts you were offering: that’s on him, not you.
3. Focus on self-care.
Ensure you’re focusing on as much love and kindness towards yourself as humanly possible.
Self-care looks different for everyone, so while one person will lean heavily on their social circle while crying into bowls of ice cream, another may need silence and towers of books as their solace.
Prioritize the things that bring you the most comfort and replenishment.
If you’re struggling to focus on work, ask your employer if you can have a brief leave of absence to attend to your mental health.
Book a deep-tissue massage if that’ll help you release the tension you’re holding in your body, and nourish yourself with foods that feed your body and soul in equal measure.
Most importantly, don’t hesitate to say “no” to people or situations that may demand more time or energy than you’re prepared to spend right now.
Make yourself the top priority over anyone else’s wants of you.
4. Ensure closure.
If you’ve been severely hurt or damaged by someone who played you badly, one of the best things you can do for yourself is ensure closure by protecting yourself from them and their influence.
This might involve discarding gifts they gave you as well as blocking them across social media and email, plus blocking their number too.
You might also want to avoid going to any places where you are likely to bump into them.
This may require you to stop going to your favorite cafe or pub for a while or taking a bit of time out from shared social circles, but it’s a small price to pay for your own well-being.
5. Do something empowering.
One of the main reasons people feel hurt after being played is that they feel worthless.
If a guy has used you, you’re likely dealing with rather hideous self-esteem issues now.
Many people who’ve been played wonder whether there is something wrong with them that caused the guy to abandon them.
This is deeply disempowering because it puts the power and choice into the guy’s court, rather than your own. As such, it’s important to do something to take your power back.
What you choose to do to empower yourself will depend on your personality.
For some, merely shifting their state of mind to personal autonomy can make a massive difference. Instead of being a “pick me” type who’s sad about being played, they decide that they’ll be the ones to choose who and how they date from there on in.
In contrast, someone who feels that they somehow weren’t good enough may decide to become the best version of themselves. Crucially though, they are doing this for themselves.
They might change their appearance to whatever they’ve always wanted to look like or go traveling on their own simply to prove to themselves that they can.
As a side note, if having a fling with a gorgeous guy you just met will help you heal from being played, then go for it—provided that you take steps to protect yourself emotionally and physically.
Have this dalliance with the full awareness that it’s a casual thing that you’re choosing as a rebound, and use protection. After all, the catharsis of a great romp with a handsome stranger will be quickly undone by the unpleasantness of a furious STD.
6. Be as present as possible.
What you went through was awful, but it’s in the past now.
At this very moment, you are not involved with the guy who played you. The experience you had was horrible, but it’s not happening anymore.
Maybe you’re reading this article on your phone while drinking your favorite coffee, or on your computer at work. Either way, he isn’t in front of you. You aren’t in bed with him—you’re probably not even talking to him anymore.
As such, put your time and effort into inhabiting the present moment as firmly as you can.
Any time you find your mind veering off to Memoryville, bring it back to where you are right now. You can focus on your senses, such as choosing to count things that you can see, hear, smell, and feel, or by repeating a mantra that demands all your attention.
For example, repeat something like:
“I release the pain of this experience and refuse to let this negativity define me. I am worthy of love, care, and respect, and won’t settle for less ever again.”
“How others treat me is their karma, and how I respond to it is my own. I choose to move through this experience with grace and self-love, and release all that no longer serves me.”
If you choose to continue focusing on how you were manipulated and betrayed, you lend more power to it.
This is like tossing new handfuls of twigs onto smoldering coals. Each of those twigs will reignite the fire instead of letting those coals cool down and die out completely.
7. Consider whether it’s important to you to understand why they played you.
For some people, understanding the motivations behind another’s actions can help them heal.
Many philosophers have suggested that understanding an action means it’s easier to forgive it, but that may not hold true for everyone. Some people find it easier to forgive a guy for playing them if they never see or speak to him again.
Let’s say you confront the dude about how his behavior affected you.
From this discussion, you may learn that his actions didn’t stem from a conscious decision to wrong you, but rather that he’s an immensely damaged person.
Maybe he was severely abused in his youth and now runs from commitment. Or he was afraid you’d find out about his mental health struggles and ghosted you before you could abandon him.
Issues like these aren’t justifications for poor behavior, but they may help you get over having been played. Much like with medical diagnoses, knowing the truth of a matter gives us tangible information to work with, and heal from.
Alternatively, you may not give a damn why he played you, but would rather move on and pretend he never existed.
If you don’t pay him another second of attention, you’re taking your power back instead of letting his actions influence your thoughts and emotions.
Both of these approaches are valid, and it’s up to you to determine which works better for you.
If you dwell in the realm of reason over emotion, then understanding the why may be beneficial to you. In contrast, if you’re more emotional you may choose to focus on the fact that their behavior was inexcusable and exorcise them forever.
If you’re having difficulty determining which approach would work best for you, consider booking time with a therapist.
They can help figure out whether understanding this guy’s motivations would help you, or whether it would be more damaging in the long run than just cutting him out of your life now.
8. Give yourself time to heal.
Although I’m sure you’d love to get over being played as quickly as possible, the truth is that it’s going to take a while to heal.
Even if you throw out everything he gave you and head to Goa to work remotely from a beachfront villa, you’ll likely still get occasional pangs of hurt or anger.
These generally come up when you least suspect them and are often triggered by things going on around you. For instance, whilst out shopping you might hear a song that the two of you danced to, or a scent may remind you of his cologne, etc.
Be patient with this process, and avoid unrealistic expectations about getting over it too quickly.
All injuries take time to heal, and you may get pangs of pain now and again until the day arrives when you realize that you haven’t thought about this guy for several months.
9. Learn from the experience, but don’t revolve your life around it.
A lot of people center their identity around a trauma that occurred at some point in their lives.
While it’s important to acknowledge that the difficulties we go through shape us in numerous ways, it’s just as important to realize that they don’t have to define us.
Furthermore, while these experiences are challenging, they shouldn’t determine our future life choices.
For example, if someone told you that they had once gotten food poisoning from a salad, so they’ll never eat salad again, you’d likely think they were overreacting, right?
The same goes for refusing to ever date someone with brown eyes or tattoos because they might remind you of the person who played you.
It’s both unhealthy and unrealistic to close yourself off from emotional attachments to potential partners for fear that they might hurt or betray you like that other guy did.
If you got hit by a car when crossing the road because you weren’t paying attention, would you learn from that experience and be diligent about looking both ways? Or decide never to cross a road again so no car can ever have a chance of hitting you?
Learn from the hurt so you can be vigilant in the future about relationship red flags. If you see them, you can either tread carefully as you move forward to determine whether they indicate the possibility of real harm, or nip things in the bud early and move on.
Either way, you’re putting yourself in a position of informed power, instead of remaining in a victim mentality.
10. Don’t be afraid to tell your story.
A lot of people hold back from talking about their experiences to others because they feel shame about what happened.
Many of them feel that their humiliation was justified because they were gullible, or that they refused to acknowledge the warning signs that were very clear in retrospect.
As a result, they end up suffering in silence, which can make things so much worse.
People who feel shame about being played tend to self-isolate.
Since they don’t want to risk being judged badly by their friends or family members, they choose to hold all that pain, anger, and resentment inside.
Alternatively, they may be afraid of speaking poorly about another person for fear of reprisal.
The sad reality is that many people have gone through similar situations and would be both immensely relieved to hear that others have too, and supportive of those who’ve gone through the same crap that they did.
Any time I’ve seen someone admit to being mistreated, there’s been an overwhelming outpouring of support, along with offers of help from friends and strangers alike.
Additionally, speaking out about someone who treated you poorly may spare others from being mistreated in turn.
If several people in your social circle discover that they’ve been similarly played by the same guy, then they’ll spread the word about what a jerk he is.
That way, when he inevitably tries to play the same game(s) with others, they’re likely to have heard of him and his wicked ways and will be able to protect themselves accordingly.
11. Seek help if and when you need to.
Whether you’re open to the idea of telling others about how you were played or not, talking to a therapist can be incredibly helpful.
They’ll listen to you without judgment, and offer you suggestions on how to work through—and move past—the hurt you’ve experienced. They will also help you learn to identify similar situations in the future, so that you don’t repeat this cycle.
If you want this additional help on your personal and relationship journey, Relationship Hero is a website where you can speak to an experienced professional via video, phone, or instant message – from wherever you are in the world.
Visit their website to learn more or to talk to someone now.
Another way that therapy can help is to assist you in releasing your anger and resentment in a healthy way.
For instance, although you may be tempted to seek revenge on the guy who played you, this isn’t recommended. This just creates a vicious cycle that’ll keep expanding outwards, as he’d inevitably retaliate, which will make you want to get your own back, etc., etc.
Additionally, depending on the type of revenge you seek, you may end up in serious trouble. While setting his car on fire may be immensely cathartic at the time, you don’t want to face prison time or risk hurting others.
A therapist can help you let go of the desire for revenge through role-play, or offer dialectical behavioral therapy so you can learn to regulate difficult emotions in a healthy manner.
12. Determine whether you were actually played, or if you’re creating a narrative based on your own perceptions and projections.
Although this is the last tip on the list, it’s one of the most important.
This is because we’re prone to creating narratives about our experiences, but those narratives may not always be rooted in reality.
In any situation involving two people, there are three perspectives of what unfolded: their two individual perceptions, and what happened from an unbiased, impartial point of view.
If you feel that a guy played you, it’s important to analyze the situation and determine whether you were actually played, or if this was a situation of miscommunication regarding expectations.
As an example, a friend of mine was briefly involved with a guy we both knew and was gutted when things didn’t unfold the way she hoped.
She’s from a country where sleeping with someone implies a committed, monogamous relationship. This is at odds with North American hookup culture, where people regularly have sex without even knowing each other’s surnames.
As such, when my friend found out this guy was dating someone else, she felt played and betrayed.
Essentially, she had made assumptions about what kind of a relationship they were having instead of communicating with him about it and she then told everyone she knew what a horrible player and user he was.
When I asked him his perspective, he was horrified at the thought of having hurt her. In his mind, it had been a “friends with benefits” situation, as they weren’t compatible as long-term partners.
This is why it’s so important to be as honest and unbiased as possible when analyzing your situation. Your healing process and the actions you take from here on will be largely determined by the truth of the matter.
Keep in mind that feelings aren’t facts. It’s normal to feel hurt when someone plays you, but if your perspective is coloring the truth of the matter then certain actions may harm everyone involved.
For example, telling your story may help your own recovery as well as protecting other, potentially vulnerable women, but this action may be slanderous if the guy isn’t actually guilty of what he’s being accused of, and it will reflect poorly on you instead.
Many of us feel like lashing out when we’re feeling hurt and betrayed, but this is never the right course of action.
The best thing you can do to get over a guy who played you is to refuse to let him live rent-free in your head.
Chalk it up as a learning experience, cry if you need to, and move on.
He isn’t worth another moment of your time.
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