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Played by the Player: How to Bounce Back from a Hard Hit

There are few conversations more painful than when you think a guy you hooked up with is going to ask you out, but instead he informs you that he has a girlfriend. I’m sure you’re wondering: how did this happen?

You know the deal – you run into a guy you know at a bar, you chat over drinks, and all of a sudden the situation is escalating. Things progress, and at the end of the night he asks for your number.

You leave the bar feeling excited and optimistic, only to learn the next week that he was too drunk, it was a mistake, and he is 100% not available. Talk about an awkward conversation.

For those who haven’t experienced this, it is heartbreaking to find out that you hooked up with a guy who is in a committed relationship, and didn’t even know it. It’s awful and confusing to be put in this situation. Especially when you had feelings for him, only to discover that he’s completely and totally taken.

But even more than that, as a feminist and strong supporter of girl power, one of the first thoughts that naturally comes to mind is – how could I do this to that girl? Obviously you didn’t mean to, and had you known his relationship status you would have stopped it immediately before anything happened. But at this point, it’s way too late, the damage is done, and you’re left feeling utterly discarded. It’s never fun being used, especially when you had no idea that’s what was happening all along.

The bottom line is that it can be incredibly difficult to grapple with this type of situation. What is the lesson to learn here? You’re left with a random assortment of feelings consisting of anger, regret, frustration, and sadness. But you also can’t react too strongly, because you don’t want to be the crazy girl who freaked out and made things even more uncomfortable. You’re naturally left thinking: am I going to have to ask a guy for his relationship status every time I meet someone, before I let anything go further? Can I not just trust a guy to say “I have a girlfriend” with the appropriate amount of advanced warning?

Being played can be devastating and can leave you feeling totally worthless, which is a feeling that I never want to experience again. I’ve been told by a friend that I put my whole heart into everything when it comes to relationships, which I think is a blessing and a curse. And which is probably how I ended up misconstruing his initiated conversation as an attempt to ask me out rather than to do exactly the opposite.

I guess what I’ve learned from this situation is that you can’t let relationship failures ruin it all for you. At first you may feel completely humiliated, indescribably embarrassed, and so full of remorse that you ever let your guard down. But it’s part of life. Each relationship experience is something to learn from, and each heart break just further prepares you for when you find the real deal.

Girls, be careful out there – be smart, trust your heart, and don’t let the bad guys break you.

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