Pay attention to red flags
After the unraveling of his 12-year marriage, and losing his wife to a cult, Eugene O. is a veritable fount of lessons learned. Besides watching for excessive alcohol/drug consumption, he looks for signs of New Age religion. "New Age shit is shit. Carol (name changed) always looked for cures, except from professionals, because that requires confessions to people who know how to help you find your own answers. Also, every meditation group is a front for a cult. I have little doubt about this now."
Be careful what you wish for
Michael K. again: "I went out with this girl for two or three years. During that time she and some girlfriends went to Australia for six months, so we decided that we would 'take a break' and resume things once she got back. Apparently, she really 'took a break' and boinked a whole bunch of Australian guys. For some reason I thought I would be OK with this, but the more I thought about it the more of a passive-aggressive prick I became once she got back.
"I started asking her about the dudes she had been with, and then I started criticizing her family's materialism and critiquing her mom's goose-themed country kitchen. I was young and in college and increasingly resentful. And to no one's surprise except mine, she rightfully dumped me. Moral: don't agree to 'take a break' unless you are prepared to really 'take a break,' and don't become a passive-aggressive prick and don't take your resentful feelings out on your girlfriend's family and their goose-themed country kitchen."
Don't put her on a pedestal
After breaking up with a pretty Australian philosopher, Jeff O. maintained a friendship with her. Ten years later they started going out again, and this time, instead of teasing and making fun of her, the way he once did, he was worshipful. It lasted three months. "If I'd made fun of her the way I used to do, it might have worked," says Jeff.
No matter how much time has gone by, she can still f*** you up
Mike S. tells the story of coming home after a long day at work, and just wanting a hot bath. However, before he can get into the tub, his common-law wife tells him that "Cindy called." Cindy, his ex, whom he hadn't talked to for 25 years, who had dumped him, who had been "abusive," says Mike, "and made me feel like shit. And who I pined for, for a year."
"So I said, 'I don't want to call Cindy, I just want to have a bath.' And here's Georgina, the woman I love, telling me to call my ex. So then I'm having a bath and the phone rings and it's Cindy, and Georgina hands me the phone! So now I have to talk to Cindy! And it turns out she's calling for a job reference. And then she starts criticizing me, saying things like, 'Are you still a slob?'''
So what did he learn? "After 25 years," says Mike, "they can still call up and ruin your night."