***Author’s Note: This article was written almost a year ago after a MAJORLY painful betrayal and heartbreak – the most painful to date. This article was my heartfelt plea and a source of self-healing at the time (speaking out my truth) to help guide other women left feeling wounded, confused and abandoned in the dust by these types of men + was inspired by a mix of memories from the variety of Epic Players (of MANY nationalities…I traveled the world and found them everywhere) I’ve had the great opportunity to encounter and learn from over the years. One could play the tireless victim after attracting one player after another, or could choose to go deeper to heal what’s creating the vicious cycle in the first place. My UPDATE is at the end of the article on how I’ve moved forward since this EPIC breakup, but first let’s reminisce…***
Ahh, that lusty look that makes you crumble into a helpless pile of dirt. Sadly, most of us have been there at least once. You’re hooked. You’re infatuated. You’re in despair. You’re in the middle of an insanely ugly cry. You want to punch a hole in the wall…or his face. You’ve totally been had by the Epic Player.
He’s the ULTIMATE. You thought it was love, but it was really just his killer biceps and smoother-than- Don Julio Extra Añejo moves that got you sucked in. If you’ve been lucky enough to get by this far in life unscathed by the burning-bitch-that-IS being skillfully played, then congratulations …and you should probably go buy a lottery ticket, because you are LUCKY, HONEY! Heed these warnings carefully!
If you have been through it, then allow this to be my own personal, gentle slap of the forehead reminder a’ la Homer Simpson (DOH!) that if you’re doing it again, it’s time to wake up and smell the reality of lying to yourself, sweetheart. It doesn’t matter how amazing you are, because he’s not going to change. The Epic Player is in a category all his own; one that remains consistently douche-baggy until the end. No woman will ever make up for his super-duper lack of self-esteem. It stinks, but being played by the Epic Player really smells like you-know-what.
1) He’s impossibly good-looking. Like WAY-too-good-to-be-true good looking (without some serious issues). And he’s single. If he’s older than 40 and has this going on, BEWARE.
You know exactly who I’m talking about. Those eyes. That bod. He just passed me on his Harley. I die. He makes young ladies swoon just by the way he glances at them and even makes the 70-year old female bank teller’s hormones miraculously come back to life so she starts playing with the necklace in between her cleavage like a ridiculous teenager. He’s smooth, baby. And that’s the FIRST red flag. If he’s so fabulously hot and slick, why is he still single? He’s making the ladies drop like flies, so there must be a reason why he continues to walk solo. (I’m not saying there aren’t hot, older men who choose to be single, but read on, because this definitely won’t be the only red flag of the E.P.)
2) He has a history of being in “complicated” relationships. At least, that’s what he tells you.
Newsflash, chicas. “It’s complicated” is just code for “I acted like a cowardly, emotionally or mentally abusive A-hole numerous times in the past and telling you the honest truth about my previous relationships would actually make you run for the hills. So I’m just gonna lacksadasically toss out the “It’s Complicated” and slickly change the subject so you drop it.” And then he grins and gives you that ‘I-just-stripped-you-naked-with-my-eyes-and-liked-it’ look and you completely forget what you asked him in the first place. Yes girls, he’s good. This is his M.O.—you think he doesn’t have plenty of practice in the best manipulate-and-distract tactics? He’s got strategy like a mom waiting in line for entry to Walmart to buy a Tickle Me Elmo in the 90’s.
3) He has more than one cellphone. Or more than one number. Or both.
One of my Epic Player’s not only had more than one cellphone and two numbers, but I also discovered an entire DRAWER full of old cellphones. Like 20 of them, complete with chargers. I don’t care if you’re almost half a century old, dude and technology has changed, but nobody has THAT many phones and saves them. Either you’re a hoarder, you’ve played so many women that you had to change your number every year since you were 30 or you’re waiting for the day they may come in handy on one of your elusive “trips” out of town (a.k.a. I’m gonna turn off the phone with the number YOU have for a week and not respond. But I’ll be dumb enough to email you with a signature that says Metro PCS instead of My iPhone. (He may be an E.P., but some of us ladies should have been C.I.A.!)
4) Almost every ex-girlfriend was a biotch, according to him. And none of the break-ups were ever HIS fault. And there are a LOT of exes or flings. And some of the exes still haven’t let go or disappeared from his life (or his cellphone(s)).
He plays the martyr/blame-game like a PRO, because you actually believe his fake “poor me” sob stories.
He LOVES to talk crap about the ladies of his past, mostly because it makes him feel like he had zero responsibility in the mess-making. He may even tell you about his casual sex-capades like a passing joke (when really it’s just his inflated insecurities trying to be passed off as humor). He’s trying to build himself up like a winner, because his loser tendencies would turn you off. When you figure out what he’s doing here, you’ll probably be turned off too, but he’s so slick that it usually takes you awhile to understand how he’s falsely painting the picture to make you think he’s a good guy who’s just been unlucky in love. Plus the E.P. loves to brag about how he’s a lady killer, because he wants to make you jealous and he’ll play on your vulnerability just enough to get you to cling to him or fight harder to make him yours. The Epic Player’s grandiose ego is never satiated. Well, there are two sides to every story. And a man not taking any responsibility or accountability for his part in the ending of a relationship is a major RED FLAG of emotional unavailability…the KEY component of the E.P. Look out.
5) CELLPHONE DRAMA 101. He’s constantly texting , hiding his phone in his pocket/in between his legs when he’s sitting, leaving the phone places face-down, keeping his ringer on silent or vibrate, receiving late-night texts or disappearing to take calls.
He may be technologically challenged and he’s never heard of Skype, but he’s the fastest texter you’ve ever met and pro at FaceTime. His phone is blowing up at all hours. One of my E.P.’s favorite tricks was to need to “wash his hands” at least twice during meals out (i.e. Text his other girlfriend out of sight). Or the day we went to the store to take a bathroom break and I was standing outside the door, so when another guy came out of the restroom, I actually saw him TEXTING ONE-HANDED at the urinal. WOW. That takes some serious coordination, but the E.P. has magical hands and knows how to use them, so No Problemo there. Another trick was to leave my apartment early in the morning and then meet me later for coffee (i.e. I need to make my private, daily, morning check-in call so my other lady thinks I’m faithful and woke up allllll ALONE thinking about her). Girl, you need to slap yourself and smell the double espresso. If he’s exhibiting any of the above behaviors, then you better believe he wouldn’t need privacy unless he’s lying to you. There may also be the occasional 1am text message when he accidentally left his ringer on (Oops! One too many mojito ruined your game…). Sorry stud, but nobody work-related is texting you past midnight and your guy friends are probably drunk and passed out, so it’s not them either. And they certainly aren’t texting you, “Sleeping now”, “Waiting for you” or “Te Amo”. If he’s doing any of the above or you catch wind of questionable texts (particularly from nameless, unsaved numbers), WAKE UP, GIRLFRIEND. He’s hiding something major. And if he gets defensive when you ask him what he’s doing, even more reason to run for your life before he crushes your delicate little corazon. Maybe he doesn’t even have YOU saved in his phone. I was just a letter of the alphabet to my E.P. (The letter “H” to be precise, when he sloppily sent me a screen-shot of a text he had sent me. Told ya…even Epic Players with years of practice get lazy and show their true colors eventually.)
6) He takes unannounced trips out of town, usually for several days at a time, and either turns off his phone or pretends like he never disappeared. When you wonder why he hasn’t texted or called in a week and you ask, he either completely avoids your question by changing the subject or says he’s been “really busy”.
If someone has a habit of texting or calling you every day and then all of a sudden falls off the face of the earth on a regular basis (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) and also turns off his phone while he’s gone, then obviously the red flag should be flying in your pretty face. The major sign here is whether he gets fidgety or uncomfortable when you ask or deflects and doesn’t answer your question. Unless he’s trying to keep his lies undercover, there’d be no reason to not be open and honest with you.
7) He never invites you over to his place, but he loves to come to your apartment and make himself at home.
If you’ve been dating someone for several months and they don’t invite you to their place, there’s usually a deeper reason. Maybe they are a total slob and don’t want to embarrass themselves. Maybe their bachelor pad is more like a college pad that never got past futon and coffee table to hold beer cans. Or maybe they don’t want you around any “evidence” of their other relationship(s). If he does invite you over, take note of common themes around the apartment. He may be smart enough to keep the pictures out of reach, but if you live in California and the guy has a bunch of memorabilia from Chicago and he’s never lived in the Midwest and has no family or good friends there, then he may be hiding something larger from you (a.k.a. His girlfriend that he visits on a regular basis that lives out of town… in Chicago). And if he keeps his address a secret, it’s highly likely he’s either married, on his way to the altar or is living in his other woman’s place. Good luck.
8) The skeletons keep falling out of the closet. In fact, there’s a huge pile of bones in the middle of your living room. And you’ve only been together 6 months.
The Epic Player may be clever and cunning, but he’s human and if you’ve had rapport for a few months, he’s bound to get complacent and slip up. If he’s dropping dirty or disturbing details of his own personal history, such as a tendency towards immature or irresponsible behavior, mentally unstable ex-girlfriends, break-ups gone bad, love triangles (especially if he has a tendency to get involved with married women or women who are in serious relationships already), etc. and is pretty unapologetic about it, THAT should be a big warning sign. We all have some baggage and if we’re able to speak about it candidly in a trustworthy environment, then I’m all for it. But if the guy has more baggage than the luggage carousels at JFK airport during Christmas Break, you’re probably better off without him.
9) He takes your kind gestures and giving nature for granted. Over. And over. And over again.
Baby, please. He’s so sexy, that OBVIOUSLY you’re going to fall head over heels and do anything for him. You massage his feet. You rub his back. You get bottles of his favorite wine. And he doesn’t really act very grateful. In fact, when WAS the last time he genuinely thanked you? Epic Players are usually arrogant and pretty narcissistic. I mean, duh. Because if it’s not you, it’ll be the next woman who will allow him to charm himself right into her pants and into her life. You’re not that special, sweetie. The E.P. is always on top in his mind. And he’s always The Most Wanted, so he doesn’t need to try that hard, either.
If you’ve experienced one or several of the 9 Red Flags listed above, I highly recommend sparing yourself the boatloads of tears, anger, betrayal and resentment that are inevitably on their way and LOSE THIS LOSER before it’s too late and you’re merely another part of his collateral damage. As I learned the hard way, we must learn how to love ourselves first so we’re able to foster healthy, honest and reciprocal relationships that are fulfilling and loving MINUS the drama. The key here is learning to love ourselves in the ABSENCE of the lover (or Epic Player Romeo) so we don’t attract these types of men to teach us the lesson in the first place. In order to break the cycle or pattern, we must also recognize our responsibility in our attracting the relationship in the first place and perhaps allowing the Epic Player to be in our lives WAY past his expiration date. Regardless, forgive yourself if it’s happened and search for the gift in the experience (you learned you’ll never settle for less again, you finally trust your intuition, etc.). Or write an article about it and publish it for the public to read 🙂 Either way, you’ll be helping yourself and/or women just like you to save themselves the EPIC HEARTBREAK that follows the E.P. everywhere he goes.
***UPDATE: When I wrote this article, I was sad, angry and confused. I still hadn’t accepted what had happened. I was just pissed off and wanted to scream it at the top of my lungs. I hadn’t spoken up about it because I was embarassed and humiliated about what had happened and feared being judged. If I’m such a great intuitive, how the hell did I fall for this? And how could I trust my own judgment? Well, two days after publishing the article, I ended up with a FULL-BLOWN case of tonsillitis and then laryngitis. My acupunturist explained to me how such a tremendous release of energy in my throat chakra led to an explosion which turned into an upper respiratory infection. He reminded me that Lungs in Chinese Medicine are connected to the emotion GRIEF. And then it made sense. I also realized that speaking up was only the FIRST step in my healing (and grieving) process.
I knew I had allowed that relationship to continue for much longer than was healthy and I struggled forgiving myself, yet on a soul level I also recognized that I allowed it to play itself out until I fully learned the lessons meant for me in that divine appointment (every relationship we have is meant for us for very specific reasons). I wasn’t in total denial, but was still in a bit of shock about why I had allowed the relationship to continue, knowing full well that I wasn’t being completely honest with myself or trusting the MULTITUDE of red flags and intuitive signs (dreams, visions, messages, feelings in my body, etc.) that my spirit guides were sending me on a daily basis. It took me over 6 full months of healing work after we separated to start to get grounded and come back to life- acupuncture, reiki, energy healers, intuitive readings, tarot cards, meditation, NLP, soul-retrieval, shamanic ceremonies…you name it, I did it. Yet no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t completely move past the anger or resentment into closure for myself. And since he wasn’t speaking to me, there was no closure happening through any conversations. I was left to fend for myself.
I was also confused that I still felt a tremendous amount of unconditional love for this man, despite many of his choices that completely lacked integrity. It wasn’t until I started to address these themes in my actual business – Self-Love, Unconditional Love, Honesty (with ourselves), Integrity, Trusting Your Intuition and Toxic/Karmic Relationships – that the real healing took place. I know I lived through this to teach others how to heal similar patterns.
Now I understand that the soul and energetic connection I still share with this person exists to remind me to trust myself and my intuitive gifts and to always fall back to unconditional love. It reminds me every day that only love is real. If I could still feel love for a person that I shared all that pain with, I could love anyone, and most of all I could love and forgive myself.
I know our souls chose one another out of pure love to be each others’ teachers before we came into these bodies and I was able to detach from the “story” or the “drama” to see things from a higher perspective. I started to do guided meditations to soul link, to have conversations soul to soul without needing to pick up the phone. And I felt things shift tremendously. My dreams became incredibly clear. The heaviness lifted. And my creative spark came back. Now instead of looking back in anger, I look back in gratitude. And I’ve even been able to embrace the psychic connection we still have as a way of validating my intuition and remembering that peace IS love. He was and continues to be the best romantic teacher I’ve ever met and my entire business was catalyzed after this experience. In fact, I have a serious of videos coming out all about toxic love (and narcissists) and how to heal from it.
So, I invite you to think about your most difficult relationship, the themes that were present, what you learned and how you can apply it to your life moving forward. Writing a sarcastic blog post may feel good, but acceptance is the hardest step…and the most liberating. Remember that you co-create every experience in your life and the sooner you forgive yourself and realize your soul only created it to evolve, the sooner you’ll get to putting that beautiful experience to good use, serving others with your knowledge and wisdom.***