Saturday, 29 January 2011

Once Bitten, Twice Shy...

It takes two to tango, but just one to suggest what tune to dance to. Picture this – I break up with you five times, you break up with me just the once. I spend half our time together making up for my mistake while you do little to fix yours. So, who’s the mug?

The question now is, ‘what were the mistakes?’ Well, for him it was five times the same mistake – in a nutshell, the absence of sensitivity and emotional engagement. My mistake was getting emotionally engaged with someone else, which instigated the second break-up. Do you see where this is going?

Some people would understand ‘cheating’ to constitute sex with someone else. For others a kiss is enough for initiating divorce proceedings. And then there are those who would consider any deviant emotional feelings as infidelity – no sex or consummation of feelings, just the feelings – that’s what I’m guilty of and what I’ve been punished for since the moment it happened. I understand why the majority of folk would see any of these examples as ‘cheating’, but I don’t understand why I should be nailed to a cross for the lesser two examples when you contrast them with the first.

Quantifying the impact of these and establishing a proportionate punishment should not be anybody’s approach to resolving the problem, no matter how hurt you may feel. You should not be getting back into a relationship with ‘the sinner’ if your motives or intentions are to punish them. You need to seek professional help if you’re the sort of person that does that.

If you want to get back together with them, do it because you feel confident enough in their repentance that you cannot foresee it happening a second time. Do it because you’re confident you’ll be able to rebuild the bridges. Do it because you genuinely believe them when they say the sin was a foolish mistake. You will always have doubts and insecurities about it, of course. But for goodness’ sake, don’t allow those to stop you from putting at least the same effort into the relationship that you did before, otherwise the sinner will be compensating for your shortcomings and eventually it’ll exhaust them, which will only lead to another break-up.

There are people who have such twisted mentalities that when they enter into a relationship, it becomes a cruel competition to see who will fuck the other over first. A long time ago I had a partner who thought this way – he was so insecure and convinced I was shagging around that he would deliberately try to make me jealous in public and even ended up shagging someone just to hurt me. It doesn’t get more screwed up than that. The really sad thing is that this behaviour was a conscious protection mechanism – break their heart before they break yours.

Back to the most recent relationship and six break-ups later, I now realise we should not have got back together after the emotional infidelity. Once the trust is gone, it’s gone. For some it’s harder to break. For others it’s far too easy. The reunion went against everything we believed in and stood for. It went against our better, albeit clouded, judgments. I couldn’t be with him, but couldn’t be without him. In the short-term, the reunions revived the excitement, the passion and the love we felt for each other, but only until the insecurities surfaced again and another break-up ensued.

Hindsight is a bitch. I’m a ‘forgive but never forget’ kind of person. I find it impossible to hold a grudge but I do live by the motto ‘once bitten, twice shy’. There are always exceptions to the rules, though, because there will always be situations where you can’t see the wood for the trees and you’re so wrapped up in the emotion and chaos that you choose to take the easy route out, instead of the right one.

This time there was plenty of shit, but no fan. Either we’ve grown resistant to the excitement of getting back together, or we’ve genuinely grown apart. I’ve given it a lot of thought and my conclusion is that if I were in his shoes, I’d feel the same. So I can’t blame him for it.

I once told him people can’t help the way they feel, but they can help the way they behave and what they do about it. I guess we weren't that different after all.

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