Why You Can't Let That F*ckboy Go

A fuckboy by another name still screws you over just as much. I’m pretty sure they unearthed that in some ancient text somewhere. Whether you prefer the term ‘fuccboi’ or ‘fuckboy’ the definition still remains the same: it’s a guy who strings you along by giving you what you need (sex, flirty messages, the occasional date) to keep your thirst for them going…but at the same time blows you off and doesn’t treat you with respect. The fuckboy “shows you just enough signs that he’s interested, but in reality, he’s not pursuing you thoughtfully or viewing you as girlfriend material,” says dating coach Samantha Burns, author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back.

Through mind-game “strategy” (one weapon: the unanswered text with Read Receipt), an f-boy can turn a confident, in-control woman into a confused and clingy shadow of her former self.

If you’ve dealt with one or many of this type, it’s not because you have awful taste in men. Such hot-and-cold behavior can be weirdly addictive. Here’s why it’s so hard to walk away and how to steer clear of these manipulators in the future.

It’s Almost Fun to Work for Their Affection

Falling for a fuckboy doesn’t mean you’re weak or anything (although when you’re in the dredges of having your heart toyed around with, it can be easy to feel down on yourself). Ironically, lusting after a fuckboy for a while means you probably enjoy a challenge: even when the challenge is winning the heart of someone else. “As odd as it sounds, if you are in a relationship with someone who gives off love on a part-time basis, then there may be a part of you that enjoys the subconscious chase of the game you’re playing with yourself.” says Nancy Deen, a breakup coach. “When you see their affection, you feel accomplished.” she adds.

But really, as fun as it is to have small “wins” when your f-boy finally does something you like or suddenly treats you like the queen you are, the inconsistency just isn’t worth it. You are completely deserving of full-time love.

The Mindset That “Something Is Better Than Nothing”

Add in the fact that breakups of any sort are no fun, and it’s not exactly a convincing argument to put the brakes on something that satiates at least part of you, sometimes. But if the idea of moving on from your fuckboy feels akin to letting go of a basic need you must have to survive, it’s getting into unhealthy territory. How should you delete your f-boy from your life without going into attention-withdrawal? “Create structure that fill the void of affection with healthy love, including self love and love from family and friends,” says Michelle Baxo, a dating and relationship expert. Another wholesome way to soften the breakup? Hugs from family or friends. These also produce the same feel-good hormones you get when you’ve got a crush, only without the emotional turmoil.

Warning: Hazardous Chemicals

Another reason you may fall fast for this type starts with oxytocin, often called the love hormone. When you hook up with someone you’re not even sure you want to see again, and—bam!—all of a sudden, you can’t stop thinking about him? Yep, that’s likely oxytocin at work. The brain releases it during cuddling, sex, and orgasm, and it’s essential to bonding and connection, explains therapist Emma Kenny. Oxytocin can make you feel closer and more attracted to a man after physical intimacy, regardless of the fact that he’s never really opened up to you in an emotional way.

Meanwhile, a man’s body also releases oxytocin during sex. But because men have a strong baseline of testosterone—the male sex hormone linked to libido and competitive behavior (among other things)—it can actually mute their response to oxytocin and dampen the urge to bond. In other words, after hooking up, it’s likely a dude won’t experience the same level of chemically induced intimacy as you do.

Of course, many men are capable of overcoming their biology. An empathetic, mature guy will straight-up let you know if he’s into you or not. But here’s how f-boys differ: “They’re self-absorbed and focused only on meeting their own needs, yet they lead you to believe it’s not just sex and more than a booty call,” says Burns. “They toy with your emotions.”

Kicking the Habit

This just in: You, too, are totally capable of overpowering your body’s hormones. Now that you know your logic has been hijacked, you can course-correct, which means no more believing thoughts like Well, maybe he dropped his phone in the toilet…or This third time around will be different.

“You don’t want to waste time and energy hoping an f-boy will come to his senses,” says Burns. “Own your worth and walk away.” Stop responding to him and his invites to “hang” (which is always at his convenience, right?) and, in time, you’ll untangle from his grip on you. Your feelings for him will fade (trust us!), and you’ll be free to find someone who can offer you emotional availability, consistency, and commitment. Your taste for f-boy games? Gone.

HOLD UP…Are You Acting Like an F-Girl?

It’s not just guys. Women are also capable of being hurtfully dismissive toward a sexual partner. As therapist Emma Kenny says, “Many men have been ghosted or rejected by women who made them work hard for little reward.” If you know someone is into you and yet you dodge their attempts to DTR, flake on dates, or ignore them when they need support, check yo’ self! Be honest, and apologize for stringing them along.

5 Signs He’s Playing You

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