Friday, October 24, 2008

Need-based love

That's what these rebound relationships are all about, right? Women who are driven to "fall in love" out of neediness and desperation. The result is usually blindness to the man's character, and ugly surprises down the road.

Ever since her divorce, my friend Polly has jumped from one rebound relationship to the next. This is because she can't be without a boyfriend for more than two weeks. Every time a heavy, deeply involved relationship ends, she manages to pop up in another one within two weeks. About a year ago she hastily and eagerly dived into a live-in relationship after the guy she had been dating for a month took her on a romantic, extravagant trip to Venice replete with champagne and candlelit sunken tub, and showered her with Mahnolo Blaniks. How this could be the piece de resistance that would catapult anyone into a serious relationship is beyond me, given that any guy with a few bucks could do it. It reveals nothing about his character except that he is perhaps a spendthrift.

In any event, she sold her home, sold off her furniture, and moved into his apartment. I thought he displayed some early signs of thuggish and controlling behavior, but that eluded her. As time went by, however, she saw that he had a Jekyll and Hyde personality. One day he plied her with Ferragamo's and Jimmy Choo's, the next day he'd get angry and curse her out in a shockingly coarse way, calling her "slut," "whore" and the C word. The following day he was all contrition, offering to do whatever she wanted, which she found irresistibly endearing. This continued for more than a year. At one point he threw her out of the apartment during a fight, even though she was paying half the rent and no longer had a home to return to. He even confiscated her cell phone and barred her from using the computer so she wouldn't be able to find a place to go.

But sure enough, he later apologized and she moved back in. After several more months of abuse she finally ended the relationship. And guess what? Within two weeks she went online and resurfaced in another one, with yet another guy she'd known for about a month. She never looks back look enough to analyze this pattern -- she just cruises right along to the next boyfriend. She has even criticized me for being too picky and critical of the men I've met online. Well, I call it being discriminating, and while it's left me without a boyfriend for long periods of time, I'd rather have it that way.

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