Hate “The Player” And The Game

There is a chapter in Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? that identifies “types” of abusers. Not every abuser fits into a specific type, some have bits and pieces from several different types, and some are predominantly one “type,” with certain aspects of other “types.” When I got to the type that Bancroft calls “The Player,” my heart caught in my throat. I felt like someone was describing my abusive ex, CB, to me. Word for word, his personality and our relationship was laid out in the pages of this book by someone that had never even met him or I. I even began to remember things that happened that I had forgotten, as the different tactics and characteristics of “The Player” were detailed. When reading about this type of abuser, I saw how his abusiveness affected the actions of Trollface (aka The Other Woman, that was as intertwined in and part of our relationship as him and I were. He played the two of us off each other for almost two years, and I recently stopped hating her, as I realized that she was a victim of his abuse and manipulation just as I was) as well. That entire two-year period of my life started to make sense as I gained an understanding of what was happening and why. If you are unfamiliar with the basics of our relationship, these three posts should give enough background.

“The Player is usually good looking and often sexy. In the early part of a relationship he seems head ovr heels in love and wants to spend as much time as possible in bed together. He is a pretty good lover. You may feel lucky that you have caught someone who knows how to turn you on and feel proud to be seen with him.”

CB is a very good looking guy. Up until that point, he was by far the hottest guy I’d ever been with. I always dated the nice, “cute” guys, and never even considered the “hot” guys because I didn’t think I had a chance. I never thought that I wasn’t pretty, but I was still insecure about myself and often dated guys that were “less attractive” than me because 1) It made me feel good that they were so in awe of my “beauty” and the fact that they could “get” someone that looked like me that they boosted my self-esteem and provided a lot of validation for me, and 2) I never felt like the would break up with me or cheat on me, because I was “such a great catch” for them. I’d known CB through our friends for two years, and always thought he was absolutely gorgeous. In fact, the first night that he actually hit on me, I was *floored* that he even a) knew my name, and b) was actually interested in me!

And the sex was phenomenal. It was great right from the beginning. I’d had so much bad sex in my life, and been with so many selfish lovers, that I was thrilled to be with someone that turned me on so much and pleased me so well. We couldn’t get enough of each other, and even when we went through our rocky times later in the relationship, the fantastic sex always remained consistent. Even when we were broken up or fighting, we would still meet in the middle of the day to fuck, and I will be honest and admit that the sex kept me in the relationship for much longer than I would have been if it hadn’t been there.

“After a while… you notice that apart from sex, his interest in you is waning. He seems to lock his eyes pretty hard on women that walk by. He flirts with waitresses, clerks, or even friends of yours… [He may claim that] it’s not [his] fault that women find [him] irresistible! Rumors start to come back to you that he’s been seen with this woman, that he is sleeping with that one, that he is pursuing another one but she isn’t interested yet. At first you discount the rumors as hurtful gossip, but after a while you start to wonder.”

CB was always a flirt, but that didn’t bother me at first, as I’m not a jealous person. But he did find a way to engage people, usually women, in conversation wherever we went. In fact, I remember a time fairly early in our relationship that he had gotten some overdraft fees charged to his bank account and called the bank to ask about them. Within 15 minutes, he had charmed the woman on the phone so much that she dismissed almost $200 in fees from his account. And that wasn’t the only time that something like that happened. He was great at getting deals and discounts on things, as long as the person working was female.

I’d hear from friends that they’d seen him out with a group of people and he was flirting with so-and-so, when he had told me that it was just the guys that night. His phone would ring and he’d look at the number and not pick it up. This person would tell me that they saw him here, that person would tell me that they weren’t sure, but they thought he might have been hitting on them. And since I’m not a jealous person, I shrugged most of these things off.

“He tells each [woman] that the others are lying about their involvements with him because they are jealous of her, or because he turned them down, or because he used to be involved with them but isn’t anymore.”

When we first starting dating, he spoke to his ex-girlfriend often. He explained that they had dated a long time, their mothers were best friends so they had known each other since childhood, and that he had taken her virginity, so there was a history between them. I didn’t mind this, because he reassured me that they hadn’t been together for quite some time. But she would call or text at all hours of the night, or send him song lyrics, or other things that I felt were inappropriate for someone that was not his girlfriend to be doing. I mentioned to him that I would appreciate if he would talk to her and ask that she try to be a little more respectful of his new relationship, and to try not to call at such late hours (especially when I’m sleeping and have class in the morning!). He would say that he would, and that she was just young, or drunk, or having trouble getting over him. “I was her first love!”

He had also been casually seeing a girl when him and I first started dating. He said that they’d only gone out a few times, but she called him a lot, and he would make her sound like she was just crazy and he couldn’t get her to stop calling. And then he brought me home with him for New Year’s Eve; we’d been dating approximately a month. The “crazy” girl that “wouldn’t stop calling” him called him over and over again that night. I finally said to him, “Why don’t you just pick up the phone and talk to her?” He said that he didn’t want to, so I did it. When I answered, she asked who it was and I said, “[CB]‘s girlfriend.” Apparently, she had thought that *she* was his girlfriend, and was going to his New Year’s Ever party with him. She had no idea that she wasn’t until she called and I answered and said that no, I was with him at his party. Again, I chalked it up to her being crazy, because “that’s how girls are.”

And then the ex-girlfriend showed up, and looking back, her reaction should have told me all I needed to know about whether or not they were still hooking up and if she knew about me. She tried to be cool about everything at the beginning of the night, but by the time she got drunk, she was bawling. She took him into a room to talk to him, and to this day I don’t know if they hooked up that night. He claims that they didn’t, but I was left in the middle of a party with all his friends, all of whom I had just met that night, repeatedly being asked where he was. I would have to reply that he was in the room talking to Ex. I later told him that I didn’t appreciate being ignored all night, that I felt a little like he had made a fool of me, and while I understood that they needed to talk things over, there were better times and places to have that talk.

He first met Trollface about three months after we started dating. We broke up for a period of about a month, and he met her at a party and they started dating. When we got back together, he told me that he stopped seeing her. Only, he never did. And he never told her that he got back together with me. That was the beginning of him dating both her and I for the next year and a half. If she called or texted, he’d reassure me that they were just friends. He was obsessed with Lost, and so was she, and he told me that she had people over every week to watch the show, so he went. He’d tell me that she was trying to get him back, or that she was trying to break us up so that she could be with him.

I began to hate Trollface. I didn’t understand why she refused to respect my relationship with CB, and I told him to stop talking to her. He would refuse, or he would say that he would but then continue to talk to her anyway. I did not know that she was also his girlfriend and had no idea that him and I had gotten back together. When I would call or text, he would tell her that I was crazy and couldn’t get over him. That he told me not to call, but I was obsessed with him and wouldn’t stop. He played the same games with her that he did with me.

“Women around The Player seem to get angry at each other a lot, rather than at him, and sometimes get into physical confrontations. These tensions work out well for him, diverting attention away from his infidelity and dishonesty… He tells each one stories about how other women have mistreated him, or shares other bits of information– largely invented– to make previous, or current, women in his life sound conniving, vindictive, or [crazy].”

I don’t remember how I found out that he was dating her, too, but instead of being mad at him, I became furious at her. I assumed that she knew about me, and was going after my man. I sent her a Facebook message telling her everything. She wrote back calling me a cunt, a bitch, a stalker, and crazy. She assumed that I was trying to break them up because I was insane, as that was what CB had been feeding her about me. She hated me, too. Even when we had both figured out that he was the one lying, one of us would get back with him and the other would hate her for doing so. I hated her so much at the time that I would have a recurring dream in which I grabbed her hair at the back of her head and smashed her face repeatedly into concrete. I’ve never had that dream about anyone else, and it was always really intense and vivid. I hated her.

“He breaks up with women and gets back together with them, so that no one can keep track of what’s going on.”

Him and I were always off and on, as were her and him. Sometimes neither her nor I knew which one was his “girlfriend” and which one was “the girl he was fucking on the side.” His family and his roommates were always careful not to talk to me too much, because they were unsure if I knew that he was still seeing Trollface. One day he’d show up to his apartment with me, the next with her. His roommates didn’t know which one of us was the girlfriend at any given time, so they tried to keep conversation light. His family was the same way. One weekend, he’d show up with me on his arm, and the next time he went home for a weekend, he’d bring her. She attended some family weddings, I attended others. Family members that didn’t know any better would make comments about not knowing him and Trollface had broken up, or being surprised that he had gotten back together with me when they had just seen him with her the week before.

“Much of his satisfaction in life comes from exploiting women and feeling like a sexual animal… [However, he has double standards and conflicting opinions women and sex]… women who want sex are too loose, and women who refuse sex are too uptight… [He may also use threats of infidelity to have his sexual needs met when he feels that you aren't meeting them, by telling you that if you can't meet his sexual needs, he'll] have to turn to other women… [or place blame for his infidelity on you, saying], ‘If you could meet my sexual needs, I wouldn’t have to turn to other women.’ “

The first night that him and I ever flirted, he made a comment about not dating girls that had sex with him on the first night, because he couldn’t respect them. But I blew him twice that night instead, and he was okay with that. He would mention in passing that he’d broken up with girls who’d refused to put out after a certain amount of time. He would tell me that Trollface let him put it in her ass, when I would say that anal sex was off limits. Eventually, in an effort to prove that I was better than she was and could give him everything that she gave him, I let him (try) to fuck my ass.

“He may hotly deny that he ever cheats and try to turn the tables by accusing you of being too suspicious [or of being the one that is being unfaithful]… Chronic infidelity is abusive in itself, but The Player doesn’t stop there. He is… callous in dealing with his partner’s feelings and [sic] verbally abusive… His abusiveness can escalate abruptly if he is confronted or caught in his infidelties and he may turn physically frightening at this point. In a strange but dangerous twist, The Player sometimes hits his partner for catching him cheating, rather than the reverse.”

I was always paranoid. I was the one cheating. I was the one flirting. It was always my fault, and he was allowed to go out with his friends whenever and wherever he wanted, but when I went out with mine he’d call every few minutes or the next day he’d give me the third degree or accuse me of doing things the night before while I was out. Sometimes, it became such an issue that I wouldn’t even go out with my friends, just to avoid the grief it would cause. He was horribly verbally abusive and emotionally damaging. The most physical fight him and I ever had happened when I walked in on him and Trollface having sex. He started screaming, breaking things, and trying to physically push me out of the apartment. When I refused to leave and went to go into the bathroom, he tried to pry to door open and I ended up accidentally slamming his fingers in the door, breaking his knuckles.

Any time the fights escalated to the point of him punching a hole in a wall or breaking things that belonged to me, they were precipitated by an argument over fidelity. Either I had proof that he was still with Trollface or I suspected it and wouldn’t let it go. Or him and I were not together, I knew that Trollface was his girlfriend, yet him and I still fucked at least three times a week. Even though I wasn’t his girlfriend, he wold flip out when he found out I’d hooked up with someone else, call me a slut, and then hold those things over my head when him and I did get back together. *His* indiscretions and “mistakes” were expected to be quickly forgotten and forgiven, but I could never live mine down, even when they *weren’t* indiscretions.

When Trollface found texts between him and I on his phone, which she had checked while he was in the shower, due to her suspicion that he was cheating and the fact that I had told her that we were, indeed, together, instead of admitting that he was wrong, he broke up with her. He yelled at her for violating his privacy and broke up with me, taking the blame off of him for cheating and onto her for snooping.

“The Player’s constant flirting and cheating help him to get away with other forms of mistreatment. His partner is likely to focus on her hurt feelings about his infidelities and pour effort into stopping him from straying and, in the process, lose sight of his pattern of abuse.”

I was so caught up in trying to be better than Trollface, to keep him from getting back with her, to stop him from cheating, that I totally missed all the verbal and emotional abuse he was putting me through. And the physical abuse, too, though I denied that it had ever been physical for a long time. I was miserable with him, but I couldn’t stand the thought of “losing” to her, and it became more about making sure that she didn’t get him than it did about being happy with him myself. I went above and beyond and poured all my energy into being the BEST. GIRLFRIEND. EVER. and trying to “make up” for things that I’d never even done wrong. I was willing to do whatever he wanted, to change my life however he needed me to just to keep him happy and with me. I totally lost sight of anything else about our relationship.


I decided to write this all out in a post as a form of closure for myself, to really allow myself to shut the book on that relationship because I now have the entire story. I have all the pieces to the puzzle. I got my happy ending, although unfortunately, Trollface has yet to get hers. She is still with CB, and as recently as March of this year, she contacted me out of frustration to let me know that he was still doing all of the same things to her that he had been doing to me. Parts of the puzzle have fallen into place for her, but she is not ready to leave and is too much in love with him to leave. 

I feel really sad for her, as she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and deserves so much better than him. But I know all too well that you won’t be able to leave until you’re really and truly ready to. You may try, but if you haven’t hit that breaking point yet, you’ll end up going back once the sweet talk and the promises start again. I hope that one day she can find the strength to leave and reach her own happy ending. I don’t hate her any more, and in many ways consider her a kindred spirit. No one knows an abuser better than their partner, and while victims of abuse can relate to each other on a general level, no two abusers are exactly alike. Her and I share an understanding of this person, his tactics, and just how hard it is to free yourself from him that no one else will ever fully understand (except for the girls that he’s been involved with after me). I wish her the best. And him? He doesn’t even matter anymore. 
And by the way, her name is Allison.
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  1. Curvaceous Dee
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Just … *hugs*. Thank you for sharing that, hon. I know it was a long road to get to that point.

    xx Dee

  2. Vanilla Kinks
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    Holy shit! This is my ex, and I'm still letting him play his games with me even though he was dating me, and MARRIED another woman behind my back. Neither me or the wife knew about this for 6 months.

    Dude, why am I still playing his silly games???

  3. Sa
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    This is wonderful. I think we all know this guy, either because he tortured us or our friends. I'm so glad you realized that Allison was just as much of a pawn as you were…I think the worse part of this player-business is that it pits the two victims against each other.

  4. Welcome to Chicago, Jillinois
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Do you think that people who have had experiences with these types of unhealthy and abusive relationships are more prone to be attracted to D/s play/relationships?

    I think that the cycle of D/s play, especially the "receiving abuse" portion of the sub role (though it's consensual in D/s relationships) and then receiving reward/affection from one's Dom mirrors these types of relationships (wanting to please, being rewarded/chosen/being made to feel special, then pushed away/"abused", winning back approval, rewarded again, etc.).

    I think whatever it is that is in some people, especially women, to crave approval is what makes them more susceptible to being a victim to this type (or any type, I suppose) of abuse. It's rare that people are self-aware enough to recognize this and deal with it in a healthy way, either by breaking the cycle of abuse or finding their "fix" via healthy D/s play or relationships. Thoughts?

  5. Sylvanus
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink


    what else can I say?

  6. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Vanilla Kinks, I'm sorry that you are going through this. Only you can answer the question of why you continue to put up with it. And like I said, you won't walk away until you're ready, though I'd say him marrying someone else was a pretty big slap in the face.

    Jillinois, you asked:
    Do you think that people who have had experiences with these types of unhealthy and abusive relationships are more prone to be attracted to D/s play/relationships?

    I'm sure for some people that's the case. I can definitely see how it could be. If someone's been a victim of abuse all their lives and it's all they know, they may need to feel some kind of "abusive" behavior in order to feel loved, because they associate pain, degradation, and humiliation with love. I'm actually planning a post about traumatic bonding and how it functions in abusive and BDSM relationships much the same way.

    For me, I know that's not the case. I've had submissive and masochistic sexual fantasies since I was a little girl, before i ever knew what BDSM was. And I started reading about BDSM and kink before I became involved with CB, and it really resonated with me, though I had yet to explore it. CB's strict ideas regarding women, sex, and the kind of woman his partner should be forced me to stop exploring my bisexuality and kinkiness just as I was beginning on that journey, so I never got to fully experience it until after. However, it was something that resonated with me before I was involved in this relationship.

  7. Ms Scarlett
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    That last line says more about your journey than anything. I love that you and she were able to recognize each other as people rather than mortal enemies.

    What a long, hard road, Britni. You should be SO proud of yourself for emerging stronger and with more self-knowledge. Hugs!

  8. alana
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Using Allison’s name at the end was great and really symbolized the fact you’re letting go. I’ve never been in this type of relationship, but one guy I dated starting going down this road with all the drama and flirting and it was incredibly easy to get sucked in and it escalated so quickly (I ended it quickly though).

    I think situations like this would be less of a problem if we didn’t cultivate a society where women constantly feel the need to one up other women. Obviously it wouldn’t take away all problems, but I think it would at least help us recognize these situations when they happen.

  9. Welcome to Chicago, Jillinois
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Ok, then I wonder if the reverse holds true… that people who have had D/s fantasies their whole lives are more prone to experience, and more importantly, stay in unhealthy relationships as you've described above? I'm thinking of myself as an example (also you and the Bruiser comes to mind). I know that this is not always the case of course, and that people grow and overcome these unhealthy patterns (us as examples), but I do find it interesting that they seem to often correlate.

2 Trackbacks

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