Chaos Attraction

Lessons Learned

2004-02-16, 11:16 p.m.

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"Behind almost every woman you ever heard of stands a man who let her down." -Naomi Bliven.

I found a brief article saying that Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are going to be in a movie written by the "Being John Malkovich" guy called "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It's about undergoing a memory-erasing treatment to wipe bad relationship stuff from your mind. Much as this sounds quite tempting to me on some levels, I can't deny that I did learn things from all the failed ones that it would probably be better for me not to forget.

Things I Learned From Dating High School Ex:

(a) Never date a workaholic. Well, you can't actually "date" a workaholic, because he's never there.

(b) If a guy tells you he's too busy to date, he is lying.

(c) If he says he's not into long-distance relationships, believe him.

(d) Don't get your hopes up for more.

(e) Just because a person will speak to you on the phone when you call doesn't mean he still likes you if he won't return your calls when you call when he's out.

(f) Yes, someone you're attracted to will like you back someday (even if in this case, not for all that long...)

Things I Learned From Dating College Ex:

(a) Don't date the bipolar.

(b) One should pick up hints that the fellow is mentally ill when he took six years to graduate from college because he spent two of those years dropped out to hide in his bed.

(c) The first thing a depressed person will do is dump his girlfriend. It's like, rule A#1.

(d) No matter what you think, you are STILL better off being dumped by him rather than dealing with his depression up close and personal.

(e) Don't date guys that much older than you- they'll just get tired of your shit.

(f) Yes, someone you're attracted to will like you back someday AND want to be your boyfriend, AND claim to be in love with you forever too.

(g) Don't believe them when they say they will love you forever if they also assume that they will break up with you at a future date.

(h) If he says he still wants to be friends after you break up, DO NOT BELIEVE HIM. All he really wants is for you not to be mad at him and be on a friendly enough basis to say hi if you pass by on the street. No, really, that's ALL he wants from friendship. And why the hell should you be nice to someone who doesn't want you around any more? Why make him feel like he didn't hurt you? Why let him off guilt-free?

(i) Just because a guy is a grad student doesn't mean he could exactly hold up a regular job later on.

(j) If a guy breaks up with you, NEVER SPEAK TO HIM AGAIN. Start hating him right off the bat. You'll get to the same place that you ended up with the ex you were friends with anyway (i.e. hatred and never speaking again), but with a lot less pain and a whole lot sooner. Otherwise, you will still hold out hope that you can get back together if he is in your orbit, even if he dates 20 other girls.

(k) You're better off dating an out-of-towner for purposes of being dumped because if you date someone in town, your life is more upended when they dump you.

(l) If a guy says chances are "microscopically infintesimal" that he'd ever date you again, TAKE THE FUCKING HINT THAT HE REALLY DOESN'T LIKE YOU ANY MORE.

(m) The good person that he used to be? No longer exists deep inside him any more. Don't wait around hoping that person will come back, because he won't. People just turn into assholes.

Things I Learned From Dating Dave:

(a) Yes, someone you're attracted to will like you back someday AND want to be your boyfriend, AND claim to be in love with you forever, AND want to marry you and be there forever.

(b) He may want to marry you, but that doesn't mean that either of you (but especially him) are ready to get married.

(c) Or that he will be there forever for you, either. Never trust a man to be there forever even if he says he wants to be.

(d) Don't date someone who wants kids (though him being willing to go without kids if the choice is you OR kids is good), because secretly deep down he thinks you'll change your mind.

(e) A marriage proposal doesn't mean diddly-squat on the permanence scale.

(f) Don't elope with the guy or let him move in with you when you know he can't pay half the rent.

(g) Guys have an expiration date- they last for two years at the max before going bad. Or at least that's how long they last with YOU.

(h) Dating long-distance is great when you are going to break up. Dating long-distance without any hope of the distance changing in the next few years, however, does not make the relationship last.

(i) Even if you lower your standards a LOT, he still can't meet them.

(j) A fellow isn't up to getting married until he can (1) live without being supported by his family, (2) can hold down a job for longer than six months without getting fired or wanting to quit, (3) can pay off most of his bills.

(k) Clearly, you were not meant to get married.

(l) Even if you are engaged, your fellow is not welcome amongst your family until the wedding ring is on the finger. No matter how much he whines, do not give in on this point.

(m) Much as I hate to say it and sound like stereotypical bitches that I hate, without "a ring and a date," you ain't engaged, sweetie. Or at least, you're not getting married ever, and people are laughing at you behind your back. If you can't immediately start wedding planning once the ring is on the finger, you're not ready.

(n) You can only support a guy so far, financially or emotionally, without him contributing back towards meeting your (supposedly mutual) goals.

(o) If he really doesn't want to change enough, for you or himself, it's doomed and you shouldn't waste your time and energy trying to think of how to fix his life.

(p) Don't date someone poor. Neither of you is totally going to get the mental attitudes that the other one grew up with.

(q) Being a wife is not for you.

(r) It is not a good idea to get engaged because he was having a romantic moment and you were feeling sappy and it's two fucking weeks into the relationship (yes, really, that's when we got engaged- right after Valentine's 2002. I knew it was stupid enough to get engaged that early so I didn't mention it in the journal.) and you figure, what the hell, he seems so right anyway. You knew realistically that wasn't a step you were 100% ready for. Plus, hello, you needed to find out more about him first?!

I finally told my mom a lot of the stuff I'd been holding back from her so she'd think better of him, and whoa. When I told her about how he'd wanted us to have a joint account and get a personal loan together to improve our credit, she said she wanted to send him a thank-you card for setting me free. She also uh, quoted the "Free at last!" speech. It was all rather funny. "I'm not glad you're single, but I am glad you don't have to deal with his family any more. And uh, I didn't want to invite him to our holidays because I didn't think he'd fit in with the family. Your other exes would have fit in."

You find out something new every day, I guess. I wouldn't have figured her to think anyone would fit in!

God, I do feel relieved not to deal with all the shit that came along with him. As a person, he's great. But everything around him...universal fount of awful thrown together with a heaping helping of bad luck. (My mom made a crack that he reminded her of the joke about the dog with three legs and missing other parts called "Lucky.") I just have to keep remembering what wasn't good and focus on that.

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