Ex Marks The Sore Spot

Girls are stupid.
Iím sorry, allow me to rephrase that. Those "Old Wives" that came up with all those "Tales": I don't think their research was all that extensive. I'm going to focus on just one Tale for right now: "you can tell how a boy will treat his girlfriend by the way he treats his mother."
Bull.
Shit.
At least it's bullshit in my case. I treat my mother pretty damn well. But I treat my girlfriends like shit. Now I'm not the bad boyfriend that cheats on 'em and beats on 'em. At least those guys have passion. No, I'm the other kind of bad boyfriend: the constant annoyance. There are three phases to my "bad boyfriend-ness", three sets of mistakes I make over and over again with each girl.

Phase #1: The Swap
I go from being nice, interested and considerate during the courting period to being cruel, selfish and petty throughout the actual relationship. After about a year or so of this (on average) I slip into:

Phase #2: The Protraction
I realize that the relationship is suffering from my behavior and instead of correcting it or mercifully ending the relationship, I decide to continue on in the same manner while openly blaming the girl for the problems in our union. She eventually tires of this and starts to pull away, leading to:

Phase #3: The Act
In an effort to keep her close and interested I try to act like the guy I think she desires instead of being myself. This usually continues through the actual break-up (at which point my "Act" swings into full, misguided gear; involving strategic tears, thoughtless promises & even more childish behavior) and sustains itself through any dealings we may have with one another in the subsequent years. The person they knew when the relationship started practically disappears from their view. They will rarely, if ever, encounter him again.

I really do make these foolish decisions. And I make them over and over and over and over again. I'm not this stupid with my Mom. I keep my head straight. She's able to remark that Iím still so much like that little curly-headed boy she used to tuck into bed over 20 years ago for one simple reason: I, essentially, still am. There's no emotional maneuvering with my Mom. There's no creating her "perfect son" at the expense of my own personality. There's just me and our relationshipÖ a relationship that's changing, growing, adapting but ultimately: honest.

I've known all these things about myself for a very long time. Which is why, as most of my exes point out right before they decide to become exes, I have a lot of anger and frustration tied to my past relationships. But my anger and frustration, while tied to the past relationships, aren't directed at the relationships themselves. And they're certainly not directed at those remarkable young women. The anger and frustration is directed at me. Even now, I'll occasionally get in an argument with one of them. Iíll tell them how frustrating they are; how impossible they are to deal withÖ but I know it's me. Me and my decisions are what frustrate me. I'm the one who's impossible to deal with. But I'll be goddamned if I'm ever going to admit it to one of them. My three phases needle me all the time. They needle me because I know better. If the Old Wives were right, I'd have much better relationships with the important girls of my past. But, in my case, the Tale isnít true.

I promise the next column will be funnier and more well-written.

Originally Printed on 1/10/06
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J.J. Oblivian
Los Angeles, CA



I'm in a gang
called California.








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