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The Bitter End 

When an ex gives Norman Bates a run for his money

Come on ladies, we've all been there. Eventually we all find a man who has an ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, ex-lover, ex-fiancee, ex-whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-her -- and she just can't seem to let go.

If there's one thing I had to learn the hard way in life, it's this: You can never talk your way back into a relationship. It doesn't matter how well you can compose letters or e-mails, or how eloquently you deliver your sales pitch on why your man needs to stay with you -- if he's set on leaving, he will. It's amazing, but there are some seemingly intelligent women who find this concept difficult to grasp.

Once in a while you'll find the Conversing Psycho Ex, who talks with the new woman in her ex's life like she's trying to make a new friend. Her preferred time to call tends to be on weekend nights, between when the bars close and when you have to get up the next morning. She wants to give you a sales pitch about what a loser you're dating -- a loser she happens to hate soooo much she couldn't wait until daylight to save you from the same drama she's been put through. A loser whom she finds so worthless that she plans on, er, keeping him? She never really comes out and says it, but that's always the side of the street she's trying to get you to drive on.

What do these women really think is going to happen? That we'll just wake up and say, "Oh my gosh! I'm so glad you called to warn me! I'll call that SOB right now and tell him it's over!" -- and then turn around and ask the psycho-ex if she cares to have a thank-you brunch the next morning at Providence Bistro?

Jeez, give me a fucking break.

Then you have the mysterious Phantom Psycho Ex. One type of guy claims to attract psychos on a regular basis. This guy routinely boasts about "never leading women on" and "never promising her anything," however he's the same guy in your social group who spins tall tales of sexrageous stories about how he had some girl in his bed when another decided to drop by unannounced, yadda yadda. . . The common factor here is that the girl who just showed up is always dubbed the psycho, and the one he's currently screwing suddenly becomes the one he wants to be with. This is the guy who just can't keep his women straight. He may come home one night to find a nasty note on his door, or his car keyed, and he hasn't a clue about who may have done the dirty deed.

Then there's the Ultimate Psycho Ex. She's the one with characteristics I call the "booger effect". . .you just keep shaking your finger and she never quite goes away, she just keeps reappearing in unexpected places. The poor guy has to deal with her regularly, as does whatever female he happens to be dating. These men have it pretty tough because they go out to every public place looking over their shoulder, wondering if the ex is going to show up and make a scene. Some guys get turned on by a good catfight -- but if they're with a woman on the receiving end of a bar brawl, guys know that the chances of them getting laid that night are pretty non-existent, so they instinctively steer clear.

The unfortunate truth with most Psycho Ex's is that, in almost all cases, the man did something, no matter how minor, to lead her on -- although he'll swear on a 40-foot stack of Bibles that he didn't and is just an innocent victim. I've learned that if you keep digging for information, you'll come up with a night that resembles a cross between a one-night stand and a booty call. Men -- they're never totally innocent.

I've learned to deal with the Psycho Ex's in my life the same way you deal with flashers: You stop giving them what they want and they eventually go away. Take away the fuel that keeps them burning -- justification.

Psycho Ex's do have a function in life, mainly keeping you on your toes and making life interesting. Some men may complain about Psycho Ex's, but if the truth were known, they see these women as giving them a warped sense of worship and admiration. I sometimes wonder what unspeakable talents a man would have to possess to drive me to such acts of desperation. Makes for a pleasant thought, anyway.

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