I woke up early, rolled over, and watched the sunrise over the city.
The view from my apartment was amazing. Life was good. But I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was missing. I wondered: is it just going to be me, the cat, and a vibrator forever?
And just like that, my bliss turned into dread. That was the moment I realized I’d been selling myself short. I’d been settling for things that made the loneliness go away temporarily but didn’t satisfy my long-term need for love, commitment, and companionship.
Like most independent, 30-something, single women, I was adaptable, creative, and lived a full life. I loved my friends, traveled, and built an interesting career.
I met lots of men. I dated them casually. But none of them lead to the long-term outcome I was so deeply craving. They came and went. We were “just friendz.” We were keeping each other company until something better came along.
I told myself I wasn’t really interested, but I kept responding to their texts and calls anyway. I’d justify my choice by saying:
“Why not? Life is short.” “I’ll give him another try.” “I’m not sleeping with them, so why does it matter?”
At the end of each date, I’d be irritated with them for being some way they always were. I’d write them off until the next time they called.
Then it would start all over again. I’d blame them for this scenario. I’d mentally accuse them of being lame, unavailable guys who just wanted to use women, had lots of issues, and weren’t ready for the real thing.
As I laid there in my bed dissecting the weekend’s male encounters, it dawned on me: it wasn’t them; it was me.
I was a “Lady Player.”
I was doing all of the things that I hate—that unavailable men do. I was ghosting, breadcrumbing, reappearing, and spending time with people I had no long-term interest in.
The truth was that I was terrified of commitment and lying to myself to cover it up. I was a player. I was getting just enough love, intimacy, and affection to keep me going without risking any real vulnerability.
I was protecting my heart from being shattered again by avoiding situations where I could really be loved. This worked great until it didn’t. This worked until my need for something more became stronger than the quick fix. Once I understood the price I was paying, I had to change.
That big realization led to an even bigger decision. I decided that I didn’t want to be a “player” anymore. It was time to learn what it meant to be an emotionally available woman. I was ready to open my heart to something real. I was playing for keeps.
The truth was that underneath my intimacy avoidant behavior was a huge and vulnerable heart. I’d been acting like a player and blaming men for their shortcomings because I was afraid to fully experience my own heart and all of its love, hope, hurt, vulnerability, strength, and tenderness.
The first step in healing my inner player was to accept this. I understood that my inner player existed as a defense. So, I forgave myself for my imperfection and for all of the ways that I’d been unavailable. I opened my big heart up to myself. I filled myself with the love that I was holding back.
I let myself feel the tender vulnerability that existed underneath the defenses. This was the first step in a process that led me out of “player-ville” and into real love.
If reading this article makes you wonder if you, too, are a lady player, you might be. But I am here to tell you that it’s okay.
It’s okay to continue doing life the way you are doing it. But, it is also okay to change and really experience the fullness of your own heart.
When you get to the point where being a player doesn’t work for you anymore, remember: awareness and a little self-forgiveness go a long way.