The Rubber Band Theory

I hate self-help books because they’re cheesy.  Then,  a few years ago, the cheesiest self-help book of all landed on my lap:  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. The analogies are excessive, but quite a few of the theories in the book seem  applicable to my own life.  The theory that most applies in this very instant is—The Rubber Band Theory.

The theory states the following: Men have an “intimacy cycle” where they get close to their girlfriend, enjoy the intimacy, and then need to back away and get some man time. They eventually become saturated with man time and come in for more intimacy.  It’s a cycle.

Women respond to this cycle in one of three ways:

1) They get it and relax during the stretch part of the relationship because they know things will be okay on average

2) They freak out and chase after him, which only makes him pull away even further to get the man time he wants. Sometimes the chasing/pulling away gets so extreme that it sours the whole relationship

3) They get angry and promise to not make the first move. This works as it gives the dude his space, but, the woman doesn’t enjoy it and can become bitter/jaded.  This is the bucket that I always land in.

G.I. Joe (my boyfriend) is a man’s man. He’s also a teddy bear.  I have always appreciated this juxtaposition but never connected it to the Rubber Band Theory until right now.

Teddy Bear: I have never dated anyone quite as affectionate as him.  He is the first to say that he wants to stay in and just hang out with me…”I’m in a you mode,” he’ll say.  He doesn’t care what people think and is never shy about public affection when we’re at school (I’m getting my MBA, remember?).  He lets me in on his crazy stream of conscious thoughts.  When he’s like this it becomes abundantly clear that I am his favorite person.

Man’s Man: Loves xbox. Loves playing  Rugby with the boys. Loves working out and lifting weights.  Loves his beer. Loves watching sports on his huge TV.  When he goes out with the boys (I’m usually there with other people…it’s a small town = not many bars) I notice that he’s just talking in a corner with his 4 buddies drinking beer.  He’s a veteran for Christ’s sake and literally made a living blowing things up.

Right now, he’s in man’s man world.  I was getting really f-ing angry about this until I remembered the rubber band theory.   I like the teddy bear in him, but the only reason that teddy bear part exists is because he balances it out with man’s man time.  Also, one of the draw backs of dating in business school is that you see your partner all the time. There is no space which must have an accelerator effect on normal relationship behavior.

Crap. I’m sounding like one of those cheesy romantic self-help books but it’s true, I’ve had this epiphany and I wanted to share it.

Lets see how it goes…I have lots of homework to do anyway and lots of plans set up this week.  I’ll make this lady week and reevaluate in 7 days to see how tense/lax the rubber band has become.


Getting Back Together….Again.

My relationship history exemplifies a very, very troubling trend:  I tend to get back together with my exes.

Why? Maybe I’m a sucker for romance. Maybe I believe his promises too easily. Maybe I’m hopeful and generally willing to giving second chances.

No really, why? Premature pulling of the trigger. When I breakup with someone, I usually do it because something happened and my discontent or frustrations hit a boiling point.  I tend to make rash decisions when I feel like that and then suffer from second thoughts.  People get back together with their exes when the relationship feels unfinished.  Relationships feel unfinished when the decision to breakup is made prematurely or without full information—you need to be pretty sure that things should end before you can totally walk away from someone.

Results? Clearly, the whole getting back together thing hasn’t panned out before given that all of those relationships eventually ended.

So why am I getting back together with GI Joe: He is the one who pulled the trigger. Though I still question our long term compatibility, this has been a great relationship and I was not ready to end it.  With that said, the breakup was really painful and I am scared sh*tless about trying again, being made a fool and getting hurt  a few weeks/months from now.  I’m scared, but it always felt unfinished therefore I am willing to give it another shot.

With that said: This is the last time that I will ever get back together with a man after breaking up.  I am making that a new years resolution and lifetime promise…..this is the last data point I will need before concluding that the pattern of breaking up/getting back doesn’t work for me.