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Can you get over a guy who treats you bad?

How do I get over a guy that treats me like shit, and has been treating me badly for the past oh say year and a half? —Anonymous

This is a great question, even though at first glance it appears not to be. Anyone will tell you, “Duh! If he treats you like shit, dump his ass and move on!” But for girls like you and me, it’s not that easy. And if there’s two of us, well, there’s gotta be a shit-ton more. You’re not alone, you’re not crazy, and you’re not someone who deserves to be treated like shit.

The bad news is that it doesn’t matter how often we hear this. It doesn’t matter that we ask ourselves (and others), “If he’s treating me like shit, why can I still not get over him?” We’re not flawed people, or rather, not more flawed than anyone else. We just happen to have a higher threshold for pain. And maybe a lower amount of self-esteem?

I dated a guy who treated me like shit for a while, and I got over him by going out with someone else, who then treated me like more shit. I got over that guy by going out with, yes, another guy, who also treated me like shit. But there was a catch. He wasn’t treating me extra-shittily, he was treating me like he treated anyone else. And the more I wanted things to be different between us, the more I realized that I was kinda treating him like shit too. I wanted him to be a different person! Of course he felt insecure. Of course he was “treating me like shit.” I was making it perfectly clear that I didn’t love him for who he was. I feel sad even just writing that down, but also relieved that I don’t have to do it anymore.

It took me a long time to figure that out.

It didn’t happen by someone telling me it would. I had to get to a place where the pain of letting go was less than the pain of being with him. I saw my pain on a scale. I knew, “OK, I hate being with this person, but I’d hate being without him more.”

And then one day, the scale shifted its weight. And yes, it does just happen one day. Just like that. Everyone has their own “bottom.” My bottom was verrrrry low. I hope yours doesn’t get as low as mine did.

My apologies for the long-winded answer. If you want the short answer, scroll down to right here and read this: There is no way we can predict when we get over someone. I’ve tried every single trick. Nothing works.

It’s like being in the Hunger Games. It sucks, then it sucks more, more pain, killer bees, invisible force fields of fire, fighting your way through it … and then it’s over. The good news about this stuff is that you won’t die, whereas in the Hunger Games, you just might.

Hope I didn’t give anything away there.


To ask Lesley a sex/love question for a future Go Ask Arfin, please email


  • Rita Unicornia October 4th, 2011 7:13 PM

    I’m in love with a guy who happens to be my best friend’s brother… twin brother!

  • Sunshine October 4th, 2011 11:16 PM

    Hunger Games analogy? I think I’m in love.

  • Laia October 4th, 2011 11:32 PM

    story of my life, basically, and so far the answer is “you dont” even though i have “moved on”. jeeez.

  • puffytoad October 4th, 2011 11:44 PM

    Well, you could actually die, depending on the manner in which you are being treated like shit. Sad stuff.

  • taylortarantino October 5th, 2011 1:05 AM

    The Hunger Games reference is so true.

  • stellar October 5th, 2011 1:08 AM

    it’s when u realize u can be your happy self more when not around him, and people who love u as is are with u more than him. u realize u don’t ‘need’ him to define u as much as u thought u did. it’s when the pain of not being able to stand up for yourself and what u value outweighs the temporary “pleasures” (delusions). it’s when u realize he is the way he is regardless of whether u are in his life or not. it’s when your past makes u sad because life felt so much saner before he came along. it can take a long time to get to these points, and nobody can make u get there–only u can convince yourself he’s a waste of energy in your life.

  • fullmetalguitar October 5th, 2011 1:24 AM

    Hmmm honestly I think at some point almost all of us get wrapped up in someone who treats us like shit. It has to do with these weird notions of love and stuff, like it’s okay because love is suffering and we’re good because we’re suffering. Or maybe that was just me and my issues. But anyway. In my case he actually broke up with me, which is only fair because while I wasn’t cruel like I think he was, I still didn’t like being with the douche. And that total distaste for his company probably made the relationship uncomfortable for him too.

    Here’s where the advice part from me comes in for my fellow sufferers: Don’t jump right into another relationship. You will probably make exactly the same mistakes you made before. In my case I just flitted around hooking up with a few pretty boys and girls for a year, thinking maybe I liked them and maybe I didn’t but always holding myself back just in case. And once I figured out where I was going wrong in the whole ‘judging what I REALLY want’ department, it all worked out! I finally ended up with a guy that I love being friends (and more) with, and I know I’ll never make those old mistakes again. If I wouldn’t want to stay friends with a guy, why in the world would I stay in a relationship with him? If only I had asked that question with the first guy…

  • Banana October 5th, 2011 1:53 AM

    Shit leslie – this is so on-point. Especially the part where being with them outweighs the shittiness of being without them. I’m a month out from ending my relationship with the guy who treated me like shit and we’re both awesome – just like that. Fucking miracle!

  • twinklegal19 October 5th, 2011 2:45 AM

    “It’s like being in the Hunger Games. It sucks, then it sucks more, more pain, killer bees, invisible force fields of fire, fighting your way through it … and then it’s over. The good news about this stuff is that you won’t die, whereas in the Hunger Games, you just might.”

    As a Hunger Games fan, I squealed out loud at that reference!

    Anyway, interesting article. Fortunately I never experienced that kind of relationship (yet) but it was definitely worth reading! :)

  • samhatt October 5th, 2011 5:05 AM

    Haha, love how the hunger games is applicable to real life > <

  • zazza October 5th, 2011 8:44 AM

    bill sikes and nancy…

  • Eleanor October 5th, 2011 10:29 AM

    Very good advice, it definitely applies to when I was in the same situation. Something that also made me get over this problem was having a talk with the guy to say how I felt, and us both apologising. And not long after I met someone new, which also helped a lot.

  • Augusta October 5th, 2011 7:56 PM

    If someone treats you well when they feel like it but at other times behaves as if you mean nothing to them….don’t get stuck! It can be very addictive, and it’s easy to fall into a state of mind where you need to WIN in some way. You start to think about how you can convince them you really ARE the best thing since sliced bread, which can be very consuming, crushing and makes you feel a bit sick. Maybe the realisation that you’re great will hit them eventually, but by that time you kind of resent them anyway.

    Sometimes people do this hot-cold thing because they’re honestly confused/unhappy/have other more pressing things to think about. Some people like doing it because it excites them to keep you hopping from one foot to the other. Either way if it’s grinding you down, just leave and do other stuff.

    Also, one day it does just happen, you don’t care anymore. Last time this happened to me I fell over in the street while listening to Temptation by New Order on headphones. It hurt a lot but I was very over excited and happy. (that’s not a lame metaphor for ‘the pain of love’ or anything….)

  • mirah gate October 9th, 2011 4:36 AM

    A good way to get over anyone is to get busy (Not that. (maybe that.))

    Like, really. Do stuff. Become cool by experiencing things. Like he does. He’s cool because he does stuff. Kim Gordon’s cool because she does stuff. People who do stuff are desirable. Get. on. their level.

    Not that romance isn’t essential for dotting the isolated lower case i-stems that our lives can be
    -or something-
    but as others have mentioned
    if unhappiness is present there’s likely a tug of war over wits and touches and seducing muteness going on.
    So you’ve really gotta ask yourself: Am I playing the right game?
    And: Is this going to feel me maximum good?

    The truth: You. can. do. better.

    And by better, I mean smarter.
    There’s always going to be a boy with lower self esteem than you out there that you can use.
    Do it.

    Just kidding (not that. (maybe not that.))

    At least use your pain to pen a really famous poem.

    The truth: Ask yourself questions and you’ll get much further from the lusciousness of Bobby Badilicious than your endorphin-cured notebook pen will let you. The intellect will mute your feelings long enough to let you duck into a text-book (pseudo-mommy/daddy hug), thwarting the danger of sneaking another peek at his internets footprint (f-book page.)c

    Worst case scenario you get stuck in an endless why doesn’t he love me loop? Stop. Don’t think. Run.

  • stellar October 10th, 2011 8:48 PM

    watch out for guys with low self-esteem, because they may think they need to wreck yours to feel better!!

  • tankgirl October 15th, 2011 11:40 PM

    Love’s a funny thing the way it fades away without a warning
    It doesn’t ask to be excused.
    And when it’s gone
    Oh it’s gone
    And it’s never coming back.