A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about older (wiser?) women selecting (wanting?) only the best parts of a post-divorce relationship. I used my own not so very merry merry-go-round relationship as an example. And FYI, at the time of its posting, I hadn’t actually decided if I was actually going to swallow what he’d spouted. Nevertheless (and it’s friggin’ moot now!) the Monday following the publication of “Cherry-picking”. . . yep. You guessed it. Ironic, huh? (And BTW, why DO they call it iron-y when nothing ever gets the fuck ironed out??) Suffice to say, Sunday stayed til Tuesday and then was back Wednesday evening thru Thursday evening. Naturally, I’m going with cherry-picking as my defense. But is it?

For 18 months now this man enters and exits my life like a damn sewing machine needle doing a zig zag stitch. (And damn if he hasn’t given me material—no pun intended) It’s the relationship that doesn’t end, because despite everything (including his 7 month absence) neither of us is (at least at the same time) willing to call it quits. And so we (alternately) keep reaching out (in my case) or showing up (in his), thereby maintaining the “friendship.” (potato-potahto) Romantics wearing rose-colored lenses or half-glass-full type optimists are wont to dub such a relationship “meant to be” –ala Carrie and Mr. Big. Not I. For the record, I’m near-sighted. Not to mention, cynical. If half-empty doesn’t equal pessimist—it sure as hell adds up to realist. What I am NOT, however, is apparently unique.

So-called experts call such a back and forth, on again off again ménage à deux a yo-yo relationship. Like the reconnect, the yo-yo happens out of habit. And yes, while we humans are all creatures of habit, it’s important to note that the yo-yo is perpetuated more by men. The reason is simple. Men are basically lazy (when it comes to relationships). A yo-yo is familiar and comfortable. But better yet, it’s easy. To reconnect with a past girlfriend or ex-lover often takes but a single phone call or text. Something along the lines of, “Hey, I was in the neighborhood . . .” (FUCK) Yep. Pretty much. And FYI, Ladies, good—if not great—sex is the most common reason the Yo-yo Romeo is jerking your string.

Frequently, however, we women want to believe there’s more. We want to believe Hallelujah! He’s come to his senses. Dumbass has finally realized what a gem I am and now he wants a do-over. Ladies . . . NOT. Rare is the man who hears that wake-up call. Not saying it’s not possible, but the cock-a-doodle-do he’s heeding? Yeah . . . probably more about what’s rising between his legs than what’s coming up in the east. Nevertheless, I am willing to concede it could happen. Once in a blue moon. Somewhere. Someplace there’s a guy who wants a do-over ‘cause he’s realized he fucked up. (I actually will buy this as most men are trial and error learners. In other words, they learn more by fucking up than by stepping up.) But listen carefully! Do-overs and second chances are well and good and AFTER if he acknowledges and apologizes for his fuck-up. (And don’t mistake excuses for either.) Absent “I was wrong and “I am sorry,” he’s merely picking up where he left off . . . Probably because he’s again single (i.e. horny, bored, lonely) OR because somebody or something just kicked him in the balls and he needs you to kiss them and make it better.

Ironically (there’s that damn word again!), there is a third reason for a yo-yo relationship. It’s a combination of the two aforementioned ones and best explained by the old adage: You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone (and THEN you miss it). (I like Madona’s Unapologetic Bitch lyric, too: “You never knew you loved me ’til you lost me.”) Regardless, I do believe relationships have a course they are just destined to run. And all are different–and dependent upon those involved. Age, circumstance, history . . . all have a bearing. What a never married 30-year-old wants is not necessarily what a divorced 60-year-old does. Not judging. Just saying. So back to Mr. Back Again . . .

Sometimes a yo-yo is a no-no. But sometimes a “yo” is a “go.” So how do you know? Trust me. You know. You can lie to the whole fucking world, but don’t to the woman in the mirror. Don’t delude yourself with that trite “just friends” crap. How many of your “friends” have seen you buck-ass naked? And how often does it physical hurt to think of a “friend” with someone else? Yeah . . . NOT friends. And BTW, know if you’re keeping a foot in each other’s life, neither of you is stepping forward. You’re both standing still—and blocking the path for the next (and better?) one to come along. Just saying.

That said, there are unignorable signs a yo-yo relationship is unhealthy, actually toxic or doomed to die. (Heed them or not. Your choice.) UK’s Daily Mirror advice columnist Dr. Miriam Stoppard cites the following red flags:

  • you have little in common except great sex
  • he lures you back with gifts, declarations of love and/or promises of change
  • trust is broken
  • you make excuses for his lack of commitment
  • the fights worsen each time you get back together
  • you think you are going to change him.

No. You can’t. You can’t change a Yo-yo Romeo (or most men, for that matter). If that’s what you think/ hope/ want – STOP! Cut the freaking string. Also, if the list of cons is longer than the pros or if you see yourself in any of the other bullet points above . . . yeah, let go. Above all, and again, be honest. If what you want ain’t on Romeo’s to-do list (marriage, babies, commitment) you can yo-yo til the cows come home (oh goody! another barnyard animal allusion) and it won’t happen. This pertains to younger women in particular. But if you’ve been there/done that and what he does offer is what you want . . . then why not? Of course, this means YOU have to figure out what YOU want.

Which, ironically (really?!? again!?!) brings me back to the question raised in “Cherry-picking.” What do I want? Honestly, I‘m not sure I really know. Yet. Oh, and for the record, and ‘cause I can’t make this shit up . . . Sunday has returned to his previous “never again” stance on marriage. I have no idea why. Nor have I asked about the 28-year-old. (LIFE LESSON learned: Don’t ask a question you don’t want to hear the answer to.) So for now . . . yeah. Sunday and the realist are probably going to keep sewing. After all—and as any good seamstress knows—the straight stitch might be stronger . . . but it’s the zig zag that will stretch with the fabric.

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