Fuckboy, fuckgirl, fuck-people — we're all very across the terms and what they mean. Or are we? We used to use these dating labels to describe people who manipulated us into faux-intimacy, because their feelings weren't anywhere near the level of our own. But these days it seems like anyone who emotionally hurts us, even unintentionally, is getting the label slapped on them.
The term 'fuckboy' seems to have originated in 2002, but wasn't used so widely until 2014 when a Tumblr post outlined the traits of this terrible date, like “askin’ for nudes when all u did was say hello.”
That's not the fuckboy/fuckgirl/fuckperson we know and detest now. By the late 2010s, a fuckperson was defined as someone who gave you the impression you were the centre of their world, only for you to be unceremoniously dumped or worse — find out they were telling several other people the same thing.
Now, in 2022, I feel like the term has lost all meaning. We still think 'fuckperson' and think of a player, someone who participates in Bad Behaviour — it's being cancelled, but make it dating — except now that Bad Behaviour seems to be anything from full-blown cheating through to simply dating other people, even when you're not exclusive.
The other week I was scrolling Facebook (for the first time in like, months) when I came across a post in a private group for women I joined years ago, one of those supportive networks that, somewhere along the way, took a huge dive and is now this toxic place that breeds negativity and bullying. Anyway, the gist of the post was this.
A woman had just had her heart broken by someone she termed a "fuckboy". They'd been dating for three months when he started becoming distant, and eventually broke up with her at the end of a date night. A few weeks later, he went Instagram-official with his new girlfriend, someone he was presumably dating while also dating this woman.
She was understandably hurting. She clearly liked this guy a lot, and wanted the relationship to continue. She was also angry — she felt blindsided by his behaviour and the fact his feelings clearly hadn't aligned with hers.
What surprised me wasn't that she was so mad, because that's a natural human response to rejection. It was that the comments on her post reflected her sentiments. I guess maybe people were just being nice, but every person who contributed posted some iteration of "what a dickhead".
But is this guy a dickhead? Does he fit into the category of fuckboy? Really, at the end of the day, he tried a relationship with this woman and it didn't work out. His feelings didn't grow, and he ended things when he knew that. He was dating other people, as is his right as long as the relationship isn't exclusive, and used his personal social media to celebrate his new romance.
He didn't share until after he'd ended things with this woman, and it doesn't even sound like he led her on. So why is he a fuckboy?
I went through a similar experience years ago. I was falling hard for a guy I was seeing who then broke my heart, telling me he didn't see the relationship going any further. He, too, seemed to flip-flop for a few weeks before making a decision, acting erratically and switching between distant and loved-up.
I definitely remember calling this guy a fuckboy to my friends. But I regret that now. He wasn't a fuckboy, he was just confused. The flip-flopping, I can now see, was the natural process of working through complicated emotions. He had really liked me, but now he wasn't feeling it. He was trying to reignite the original spark, but then pulled away because actually, it was gone and he just couldn't accept it yet.
Love is messy, and dating even more so — you're walking this line between vulnerability and keeping cards close to your chest, between diving in and holding back. If we don't give a blossoming relationship a proper shot, we can't determine if the person is a good fit for us. If we dive too deep, we run the risk of hurting the other person's feelings.
I feel like we've reached this point with dating where we want to enter and exit partnerships with no pain. Guys! This will NEVER HAPPEN. You can't openly explore love without the risk of getting hurt. It just doesn't work that way.
Yes, we all deserve respect. We deserve honesty, and balance — it used to drive me up the wall when someone I was dating heaped exaggerated sweet nothings on me, "ohh, you're the most amazing woman I've ever met", "how are you real". We should all strive for this balanced space where we open our hearts, but also have self-awareness.
A true fuckboy/fuckgirl/fuckperson has no respect for the one they're dating. These types are actively and intentionally manipulating the other party. These people will fire-react to your Instagram Story after ghosting you for two weeks. You'll meet their parents but then they won't introduce you to their friends at a party. They're Stephen from Tell Me Lies.
A real fuckperson wants attention when it suits them, and won't admit to any fault. That's not on — it's important we call that behaviour out.
What doesn't feel fair is to shame people for simply being human. Yes, being blindsided feels shit. It hurts. It feels unfair, mean, cruel. That's because you've slowly allowed someone into your heart and then they've decided they don't want to do the same for you. It's an awful experience and it sucks that we have to go through it every damn time we start to really like someone, but we do.
No one is to blame when one person doesn't fall for the other. I'd even argue that there should be some grace for mild bad behaviour while figuring this part of dating out. Lord knows I've been wishy-washy with people I've dated in the period between limerence and the slow realisation that this person wasn't for me long-term. It's hard to end something that you once really wanted, but have now realised you don't want.
Also, that realisation isn't always sudden. It slowly grows and as it does, you naturally pull back. You don't cut it off immediately because you're not even sure about what you're feeling. Sometimes the disconnect is temporary, sometimes it isn't. It's those latter times when you end up hurting the feelings of the other person, but that can't be avoided.
I think the road we're walking with dating is dangerous, more for ourselves than others. When we label anyone who hurts our feelings as a fuckperson, we're saying it was a mistake to date them. The more we label our broken relationships as bad experiences, the more closed-off we become to new ones, even healthy ones. I've been there — a string of failed dates, me piling the blame on the other people like the rejection was personal, and then that evolves into huge walls up toward anyone who isn't instantly and consistently excited by my presence.
The right relationships will often be smooth sailing, yes. But not always — and certainly not without a level of vulnerability from both involved. Instead of labelling everyone who hurts you as a fuckboy/fuckgirl/fuckperson, try instead to see things like this: that relationship didn't work. It isn't my fault, it isn't their fault. I'll let myself grieve for a bit, but I won't let that experience determine how I approach new people.