It’s an age-old tale, told time and time again: Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy starts acting distant, girl calls 20 times in one night, boy ignores girl’s phone calls, girl drives by boy’s house to check up on him, boy and girl break up and girl becomes “psycho” ex-girlfriend.
I find it interesting that, among my friends and me, all of the guys we’ve dated have had a psycho ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend) story to tell. Are there really that many crazy, spurned lovers out there running around, chasing down their significant others with golf clubs and hacking into e-mail accounts looking for evidence of infidelities?
I think a good “crazy-ex” story is useful for entertainment purposes. Hearing horror stories about the depths of desperation to which some people will sink is kind of like watching those trashy dating shows on VH1: horrifyingly ridiculous, yet so twistedly fascinating you can’t pull your eyes away. However, in real life – and don’t give me that “reality” TV baloney – there is more than one side to every story.
Matt Titus, dating coach and coauthor of “Why Hasn’t He Called,” said in this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan that men often use terms like crazy and psycho when describing past girlfriends to make themselves look like the victims, rather than admitting to wrongdoing in their past relationships.
Basically, they want to appeal to potential new dates, so why would they say, ‘Oh yeah, I cheated on my last girlfriend, so she stopped trusting me and went through my e-mails?’ Well, they wouldn’t.
Sure you could believe this poor soul was an innocent victim who endured great injustices at the hands of his or her dramatically unstable ex. And wouldn’t you be the perfect person to help him or her – ahem – “recover” from such hard times?
However, as Titus points out, you would be smart to realize most people don’t “go nuts” without any previous provocation, and many times, those stories get blown further out of proportion with each retelling.
The stories about the “crazy ex” can appeal to our nurturing side – or, for guys, their protective side. Titus said when guys find someone they want to date, the “crazy ex” becomes more of a fictional character to help gain that person’s loyalty. By claiming to have been wronged by a woman, the guy hopes his potential new girlfriend will want to prove that not all girls are crazy and want to show him how a guy should be treated.
It’s rare that we actually get to hear from both parties in the “crazy ex” story, and when that occasion arises, it’s usually a he-said/she-said nightmare. Both versions of the story still might be a few degrees away from the truth. Hearing someone complain about multiple ex’s who have done him or her wrong might raise a red flag. It’s like hearing someone complain about going through 10 different cell phones that have broken – after about the second, you’ve got to question whether it’s the cell phones that keep failing or the person using them.
Sure there will always be the occasional ex that really is crazy, but I wonder if it’s really the quantity we are lead to believe. I advise taking the psycho-ex babble with a grain of salt, considering its biased source. Focusing more on what you see for yourself might help you decide how much you should believe.
If he or she treats you well, taking your needs and concerns seriously, the “crazy-ex” stories might be believable. However, if he seems to have multiple “crazy ex’s,” exhibits playboy tendencies and shrugs off your concerns, well, be aware he might be the one to blame in those “psycho” ex stories, and the next one might be starring you.
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