If you’ve been single for very long, chances are you’ve found yourself tangled up with this kind of trouble – the lover who turns out to be the queen or king of mean.
My Dear Singularians,
We’ve all experienced them, whether friends or lovers. They’re what I call a “dangermouse.” A lot like an infestation of bedbugs, their evil ways permeate your habitat – inside and out. When I say “evil” I am not talking about those who have an emotional illness. Nor am I talking about “evil” from a religious point of view. Unlike therapists who analyze childhoods and identify triggers to explain these creeps, my definition of evil is mean, cruel, unfair, and wildly selfish. So, today, in this collection of letters from those who have lost their ability to see the light, I’ve turned into Judge Judy — with acid reflux.
BF WANTS CAKE AND COOKIE, TOO
Dear Marnie: My live-in boyfriend of five years and I have agreed to split because he’s having an affair with a woman who was his high school classmate. He found her on Facebook. I don’t want this separation. I love him, but he says he’s fallen in love with her. He also promised me he won’t make a formal commit to her for a few years because he is considering our daughter’s feelings (we have a three-year-old). He said we might get back together in the future but he isn’t sure and that brings me some hope. We loved each other before he hooked up with this woman and I think I might have a chance to get him back while he’s still living in our home. Do you think there’s hope for us? — Shaky Single Mom in SF.
MARNIE SAYS: My poor dear. Have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s on me. Make it two pints, with sprinkles. Since my crystal ball is in the shop becoming a planter, I have no idea what could, may, or might happen. But I can tell you that the Pillsbury Doughboy is more baked then this rotten plan.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* He pursued her. So sadly I must tell you that your relationship was already shakier then the Golden Gate Bridge in a 79 m.p.h. windstorm. More, he’s talking “commitment-maybe” to her. What are you? Chopped liver?
* If you let him live with you without a firm commitment to lose the “side dish” and an agreement to do couples counseling, this is your life:
1) He’s got all the cards and he’s planned it that way. You’ve given him permission to have a “sister girlfriend” while you iron his jockey shorts. He’s has not only his cake (you), but his cookie (her) too. All this bounty, without giving up one bloody thing other than his on again off again presence. I call foul!
2) You’ll be on emotional probation. For the next few years you’ll be hoping, praying and being Little Ms. Perfect for this guy. Double foul!
3) You’ll have a knot in your stomach the size of a casaba melon, your eyes will blacken, you’ll dry up like day-old raisin bread and you may wind up addicted to throat spray or Kleenex. Triple foul!
* Change the deal. You grab the cards. Leave him with the Joker and you be the Queen of Hearts. Disabuse yourself of the notion that giving your all and being close enough to smell his aftershave will bring him closer to you.
* Make him live with his unholy choice. Let her wash his sweat socks. Let her hear him belch in the night. Let her experience the wonder of his dribble, gas attacks and fondness for mud wrestling — whatever. Let him pay two rents and have to get off a chair to have precious time with his daughter.
* I can’t promise he’ll come back to you. I can’t promise you’ll even want him back. But standing up for yourself is your best shot, either way.
* You see, whether he returns or not, you’ll be free to move on with your life without being held hostage by his moves; bowing to unrealistic hopes, needs or fears. Get into counseling to help you defog, then separate those fears from your true feelings and strengthen your resolve.
My best advice honey? GET HIM THE HECK OUTTA THERE.
HOOKED & HURTING
Dear Marnie: I met my girlfriend three years ago. She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. All was good, at least I thought so. Since, she’s abused me (screaming) and cheated on me more than once. She lures me in, only to deceive me and break my heart. The last time we got back together, she told me she’d never leave again, and she did. This is the fifth time I have fallen for that line. I know I’m only 33 and there are plenty of women out there, but from the day I saw her, something told me she was “the one.” She swears she’s changed. How do I know if she’s for real or if I’m just hoping for a miracle? — Tormented in Vegas
MARNIE SAYS: You believe she’s “the one”? “One” what? A selfish sow whose idea of staying power is lasting through the whole night? Look, I could have you writing diaries of this rotten relationship until your fingers are niblets. But, you need more help honey.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* Recognize you’re as addicted to your girlfriend as the guy pulling a slot machine lever until he loses his mortgage payment.
* Repeat after me: “I’m wasting my life!” Louder. Write it in block letters on something the size of the Hoover Dam.
* Ask yourself, if your best pal had a gambling addiction problem and lived in a state that is supported by little old ladies and billion-dollar sheiks, what would you advise? Therapy? Sure. But first, get out of there! Go on. Scram! Move! Yes, it’s painful, but not nearly as painful as that barbed wire that’s tying up your free will.
* Look for jobs in a place so far away that it requires two connecting flights and a donkey to get to her. If you don’t, you may be skulking around as her Plan Z till her Botox curdles.
* Call a love addiction support group, ASAP, in your new location. There are more around than Pizza Huts. Also hunt for a counselor. You need to “love” her less and love you more. That also means getting creative. Jump on a horse. Man phones for PBS. Join a class on automotive repair. (There are more women there than at the YWCA). Wrap your head around something new.
My friend, this is not about “luck” it’s about “stuck.” As any gambler will tell you, you need to know when to hold, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and when to run – and boy is it ever time for you to run!
EX HIM OUT
Dear Marnie: I had been struggling with an unfulfilling relationship for two years. I didn’t want to leave because I care deeply for him, but he made me feel so terrible about myself that I fell into several depressive episodes. I finally left three months ago and I am now with another who I think will be so much better for me. What’s the problem? My ex is really upset that I’m with someone new and I feel terrible for breaking his heart. I wanted to marry him, I just knew I couldn’t and be happy and healthy at the same time. I’m so confused, I don’t know how to deal with this! — Nervous in Nantucket
MARNIE SAYS: Of course you know how to deal with this, pussycat! You excised him like a tumor. Now, you need to exorcize him from your soul.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* I use the tumor metaphor to mean the following: there are people who feed their own pitiable spirit by invading, and ultimately sapping the spirit of others around them. They are the Hannibal Lechters of the Soul. Angel, you had one of them. You need to get rid of “it” entirely if you ever want to be well.
* Tell yourself, “This guy cost me my dignity and my freedom. I did the right thing by leaving.” Yell it. Record it. If you need re-assurance, list exactly the price he extracted, the price you paid.
* That said, the only cure is complete removal. Repeat: “Svengali-Lechter is still wafting in the spaces between my sense and my fears.” Read: He’s still scaring you. Ask yourself what part of you was, and is still bollixing up fear with love. Most of all, why are you still speaking to this parasite when you know better? Find out, honey. With the help of a pro.
* And while you’re revving your courage with a counselor, remove him from your iPhone.
* And while we’re talking about i-Phones, find out why you’re rushing to replace him with another, even one who is “better for you.” Compared to your ex, a fungus is healthier. But I can’t help wondering if the very best thing for you may be to commune with you right now. It’s time to high beam all those the dark places within you so that you never again confuse lovers with enemies – or even nice guy-relationships with need.
Anyone with the grit to cut loose from Hannibal, can do it. I know you can. Just trust you, and do it.
Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC