Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

PBFH

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope you’re having a lovely day.

For the last few Sundays we’ve been reading sections of Anonymous’s story.  It looks like we’re going to have to wait another week to learn how that story ends – sorry.  But hey, I’ve always been a big fan of suspense.

Lucky for us, we have an amazing story by a different guest author, Mr. Nice Guy.

“A long time ago, in a University far, far away… I was a . Well, OK, so I still am. On the other hand, I was a who girls have always felt safe with – you know, the guy who’s your best friend, who would never push his luck even when you’re drunk (and will mop up your vomit when you miss the sink), who’ll put you to bed when you can’t stand (and won’t look under your dress), who listens while you cry about your most recent bastard boyfriend (and isn’t looking down your bra). Yup, that was me – and still is.

On the other hand, I was on the Student Council. That’s what attracted PBFH to me: she liked men who were popular or in positions of power. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time – I quite unreasonably assumed she liked me for who I was.

We dated for a few months at University. It was a good time. We were almost complete opposites: I’m a very late developer who went to an all-boys school and had his first kiss at 19, while she was active in her early teens; I’m a computer geek and she was a playwright; I’m plain while she was a cheerleader. For me, this meant a whole host of new experiences – I learned about theatre and more about films, my love of language meant I could edit her work to help out, she got me exercising and eating better, and in bed, well… let’s just say I’d never experienced anything quite like it.

But somewhere, at the back of my mind, there was a little alarm going off. I was the one getting up early to type and edit her plays, so she could come along later and work on the next scene. Her parents were independently wealthy, but I still paid for just about everything. When she did pay for something, it was mostly to use her parents’ AmEx card and annoy them. Heck, I even paid for an overseas holiday for both of us, using my bank overdraft.

I convinced myself that this was normal, of course. I’d been brought up to respect women and to treat them right. By sacrificing some of the things I wanted to do, she was happier, so everything was good. Right up until the “yoghurts in the fridge moment.” That’s what made me realise just how selfish she was. There was a yoghurt left in the fridge, you see, and she ate it…

…without asking if I wanted it.

Now, you know as well as I do that – had she asked – I’d have happily let her have the yoghurt. No problem at all. But she didn’t ask. She just took it and ate it. From that moment on, I was suddenly a lot more aware of just how many things in our relationship were one-sided. All the work. All the effort. All the money. A lot of the love.

When I caught her cheating on me a couple of weeks later, I did something of which I’m still not very proud: I pretended to lose control. I trashed the entire apartment (except for my stereo and computer gear, of course) purely for effect: I’d guessed at least a week earlier that she was cheating and I was just waiting to catch her. The only thing that stopped me destroying everything in the apartment was the look of fear on her face. Even though she was the PBFH, I couldn’t scare her with physical violence – that simply wouldn’t be right.

So we broke up. I went away for a week just after the whole thing happened and, when I came back, you know what she’d done? She hadn’t just moved out. She’d taken a whole bunch of stuff with her and left me a bill for my half of the things she’d left behind, that we’d bought together. A bill. From an independently wealthy woman who cheated on her man to a guy who’d been faithful and who was living on a single baked potato for lunch every day because he couldn’t afford anything else. Lovely.

I learned a lot from PBFH and, in some bizarre way, I’m grateful. Not only for what she taught me about selfish women, and not for the two years of solitude it took to get over the pain of it. Not for finally being able to use the line “I’d like to bury the hatchet,,, in his head” when I saw her again and she asked how I felt about her man. And not even for the moment when we turned up at a University party at the same time and her man hid in the bar all night out of fear (I’m a pacifist, by the way, which makes it even funnier).

No, not for any of those things, but for the way she made sure that my next (and still current) relationship would last and would be based on healthy things like mutual respect, understanding and quite disgusting amounts of lurve!

So yes, I’m grateful. But then I also hope that, wherever she is, she’s in a lot of pain.

P.S. The abbreviation PBFH is used because I don’t like swearing. She is the Psycho From Hell, and the only person for whom I will use the B-word.”


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12 to “PBFH”


  1. AGirlNamedMe says:

    So yes, I’m grateful. But then I also hope that, wherever she is, she’s in a lot of pain.

    But you’re over her, right? ;)

    xoox

  2. sfsingleguy says:

    Great story. Sounds like you were really into her which is great, because that doesn’t come along often. But I can see a couple places in this story that really stand out in my mind as places were you were too nice of a guy.

    You went into your overdraft to take her on a vacation. You should avoid doing that for two reasons, the first being that it makes you look financially irresponsible in front of her. The second is that you endangered your ability to support yourself. And if you can’t support yourself, you have no business being in a serious relationship (non-serious relationships are another matter).

    You probably came across as a spited, vengeful (and in the eyes of some people potentially dangerous) person when you used the bury the hatchet line. A better answer is “I don’t really know him, is he here? I’d love to meet him”. In doing that, you take the test she was putting you through and turn it around 180 back at her. Granted, this is a very hard thing to do, especially on the spot, but it is an honorable way to deal with things that will gain you respect from your peers.

    Plus, if had gotten to meet the guy, you could talked about your relationship with her. The key there is not to trash her because you were in pain, but just to get to know the guy a bit. He’s not the one that cheated on you, and he may do the work of trying to get the details out of you about what led to her cheating. You may have had to deal with speaking of your ransacking issue, but since you were cheated on you get one free pass, and could have used it there.

    Lastly, am I understanding it correctly in that she was not living with you, but came into your home when you were not there, and took your (not mutual) belongings? (the mutual possession issue can go either way so I’m avoiding that part). That just sucks. If you call the cops, you’re the bad guy (and probably overreacting unless it was something of significant value).

    Sounds like she left the note as a way of saying “if you want your stuff back, pay the bill I left”. I had that happen to a friend of my who was dating another friend of mine (the taking of possessions), and the story about my friend (a guy in this case who took the possessions) is still floating around and it reflects on him poorly.

  3. "Mr Nice Guy" says:

    AGirlNamedMe: Yes. Being over someone doesn’t disallow the wish that life will mistreat her the way she mistreated me (and others). :)

    sfsingleguy: I was waaaay too nice. The whole self-sacrifice thing was totally out of hand. Hey, I was young and stupid! :) On another note, this was just after University, in a better economic climate – future work was neither a problem nor an issue – so self-supporting financial situations were less important than enjoying a bit of freedom before having to be responsible adults.

    The “bury the hatchet” line was very special because she *expected* me to be nice about him and want to meet him: it was a deliberate choice to inform her that – although she thought I would forgive and forget – there would be no forgetting. A conscious “play”, if you like, against an established pattern.

    He was, in fact, as much to blame as she – he’d been wheedling his way into her affections and crowbarring us apart (and I knew this, being sufficiently devious myself to see it in others) – it would’ve happened anyway, but it was as much his fault.

    The possessions thing – we were living together. They were mutual possessions. Nothing was particularly important to me – it was the attitude that sucked.

    As an additional note, shortly after our break-up, she stayed with someone I knew for 7-10 days while she found a place to live. She’d been fighting with the new guy non-stop. The mutual acquaintance who put her up saw me afterwards and asked how I’d managed to go out with her for so long – he found her THAT selfish and annoying.

  4. aguy says:

    Hanging onto your bitterness about this girl — calling her bitch, wishing her ill — really isn’t healthy and reflects poorly on you. The bill thing is a bit mind-boggling, but try to just let it go…

  5. Simone Grant says:

    -Hmm. I don’t know a soul who doesn’t have at least one ex who they wish misery upon. I’d say that’s entirely human.

  6. aguy says:

    Really? I’m decidedly no saint — but I certainly don’t wish misery on any of my ex-es. Maybe there are some I’d take a little schadenfreude from their misfortune… but I certainly don’t wish any of them misery.

  7. "Mr Nice Guy" says:

    aguy: Read previous comment. Note second sentence. Reassess. Thank you.

    Alternative version: writing about something forces the writer to feel the emotions of the situation again, otherwise it ends up as a crappy B-movie script. Hence the emotion in the article. I totally stole the “pain” line from Twins, by the way: it’s humour, but obviously lost on you if you’ve not heard it before!

    Incidentally, the fact that you don’t wish misery on any of your exes would indicate (in my humble opinion) that none of them have been important, or that you are simply hiding the truth behind the contents of a thesaurus.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Did this happen at Brown?

  9. aguy says:

    It’s good to be the better person! And I honestly think it’s more psychologically healthy to forgive than harbor grudges. For whatever reason this girl had some flaws that caused her to hurt you, badly, but you obviously had some some happy memories together and learned some new experiences from her. And while your relationship was one-sided, that is not entirely her fault — as Simone has said, you teach people how you want them to treat you, and you let your relationship be this way. You were also both young and immature – hopefully she has grown since then.

    Honestly I was thinking more about this and while I’ve had some bad breakups, I would be stunned if any of my ex-es wished misery on me … and v. surprised if most people wished misery on an ex. “When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride” -Fredrick Buechner.

  10. LPS says:

    I agree with aguy here. There’s enough nastiness in the world without wishing someone ill-will after the relationship.

    Mr Nice Guy – you were dating a spoilt, little brat. You were enthralled by her beauty, her other-wordliness, her popularity and it took you awhile before you realized that she wasn’t giving anything back. Now you’re in a great relationship & you can see the amazing difference between your current girlfriend and PBFH. That’s powerful stuff. You’re really lucky to have found someone special.

    For my 2 cents here, I say forgive PBFH’s brattish ways, the cheating (as horrible as it was to have done to you, I know, I’m sorry), the bill, and forget about it. She reacted to you like that, by way of the bill, in the only way she knew how – she wanted the money from you to hurt you (or quite possibly her parents got tired of giving her handouts too); you bought those things together, ergo, this was how she was going to get money before she mooched off her next boyfriend.

    There’s no need to wish her misery now, just hope she’s found her feet and has grown up a bit more in the interim. All breakups are bad when that person matters to us. But there were good times in that relationship too, right? It is much more positive to remember the nice characteristics about an ex, especially when you are over them. She must’ve had a nicer, softer side to her, somewhere?

    Either way, great stuff about the new girlfriend! I wish you the best. Thank you for your entry!

    PS. I hope you didn’t pay the bill in the end!!!

  11. imhere says:

    I’m BI and not sure if it’s proper to leave a message here. Any bi or bi-curious out there? If yes, you can find me on ***Biloves***dotcom.

  12. "Mr Nice Guy" says:

    Anon: It didn’t happen there, no.

    aguy/LPS: I’ll say it again: those were the then-feelings and that’s a quote from Twins, intended as dark humour. You’re both right that neither of us was ready for a real relationship and I was far too nice. As for all the fluffy “”don’t feel bad” thoughts, I’ll stick with being indifferent, thanks. Being all group-huggy about such things just buries them under a false layer of pretence and you’re better off being bitter, getting over it and moving on to new things. As for what I remember, I prefer to maintain a solid batch of memories of good AND bad. If you forget the bad, you’ll make the same mistakes again.

    Oh, and I did pay the bill. It was a pretty cheap price for getting her out of my life.