Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lives are Actually Pretty Hard to Ruin

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Is it just me, or do a lot of guys secretly or not-so-secretly have an ex who they quietly obsess over forever? But it's not the girl who got away. It's the girl they wholeheartedly believe they destroyed in body, mind and spirit by initiating a break up or being a cad or by going away to school instead of going to State.  Every tale is different, save for one detail.

She is scarred for life.

In my dating days I had not one, but two semi-serious boyfriends melodramatically share the story of the ex who simply must have been so despondent that they 'done her wrong' that not only was she probably ruined for all other men, but possibly just plain ruined for all time. Both times, I was rightfully irritated and suggested that I would not stand in their way if they wanted to go make things right.

Better still, I have been that girl - not broken, but rather on the receiving end of a phone call in which a boy I once cared for years before admitted he thought he must have ruined my life. As if someone could ruin my life by hurting my feelings when I was 18 years old. I didn't know whether to be amused by the magnitude of his hubris or annoyed that he truly thought he had wielded so much power over me.

ex boyfriends

I mean that's an awful lot of power for someone to imagine that they have in a relationship. Especially when my and all these many ladies' lives allegedly ruined were ruined by young men in their late teens and very early 20s. 

The very strangest part is that the guilty torches the guys are holding have been burning for a decade or more, as if it's not only possible, but likely even that the ex in question is still sitting mournfully in her room day after day thinking about that time he ditched her to work on his friend's Dodge. Unable to hold down a job. Incapable of love! A mere shell of a human being! All because of him.

As if.

Now, this probably isn't just a guy thing, but I've never heard one of my girlfriends suggest they'd ruined some man from their past for all other women forever and ever. Of course, I've also never heard one of my girlfriends give much more than an amused (or maybe angry) passing thought to an ex. Could be the ladies I know just aren't the pining kind. Or that a fair number of the guys I know are. There are always exceptions.  

Have you ever been on the receiving end of this phenomenon?


  1. I haven't, but maybe that's because I didn't really date until I was in my 30's and the few I did date were also divorced so we all knew we would successfully pick up and move on.

    1. I think getting older is probably a strong antidote to this. If someone is going to have those feelings, they're going to develop in early adulthood. Hopefully it's something people grow out of :)

  2. Oh, that cracks me up! I can just imagine a callous young lad having the cahones to think he's so wonderful.......lol. One interesting thing I just learned....my 50th high school reunion is coming up next year (I was 5 at the time, of course) and one of my classmates who is tasked with contacting as many people as possible has told me that some, no, a LOT, of the guys that the girls thought were soooo adorable, thought they were plain, or worse, when we were teens. Who knew that guys were as insecure as girls????

    1. I think I prefer the people with insecurities to the people who think they're the bee's knees! Isn't it funny to learn that even the 'cool' people feel uncool most of the time?

  3. This cracks me up! I have been on the receiving end of something like this, actually. It took me a long time to appreciate the gesture, because while I hadn't thought of it... AT ALL... over the years, I liked that he had the guts to apologize. It made me respect him as a person and we're actually friends now! But seriously, it took me 5+ years to stop thinking "what a weirdo, who does he think he is"?

    All that being said, have you never had that "one who got away" feeling? Like, if things had been different? I think that women might actually be more prone to this one than men... maybe we just don't talk about it? Does it disrespect our current happy relationships? I guess if there is pining involved then, yes. idk...

    1. I haven't had the one who got away feeling - but that's because I had AWFUL TASTE IN GUYS when I was younger! Like, the worst. Looking back, I wish I could go back in time and give myself a lecture about how I ought to have been treated!!!!!

      Best I can do is make sure P. and Bo don't get treat that way in the future.

      But yep, I do know a couple of ladies who have ones who got away. I do think it's not something people share because they don't want to hurt their spouse's feelings. Probably for the best to keep it on the DL!

    2. It's funny, too, that I didn't realize I had friends with ones who got away until you put it like you did. They're not exactly pining, but names are mentioned here and there. Thoughts of what could have been briefly shared.

      I guess they had better taste than I did!

  4. Sigh. Yes, there is this donkey that I used to be hitched to who'll swear up and down that I ruined his life. I'm inclined to think it was the other way around, though.....

  5. definitely not just a guy thing! some people perversely enjoy thinking they have that kind of power (even if it's disguised as feeling bad for having "ruined his/her life"). creepy!

  6. There is scientific proof that men are more narcissistic than women. Carly Simon wrote a song about it


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