I received a lot of emails and some comments posted on the blog about my post regarding "The Rule of the First." What really stood out for me was how many people mentioned using the rule as a way to…um…reconnect with a man who had cheated on them. I'm wonderfully uptight, and do not generally supporting cheating (so stop emailing me Ashley Madison), but I am willing to give a little bit of leeway to the girl who is hooking up with her ex who is now cheating on the girl who he cheated with (if that makes sense). It's not good. It's not right. But I'm not sure I have a ton of sympathy.
The thing I do not understand is why is there a compulsion to pursue the man again? Why do you want someone back in your life who clearly had very little respect for you when you were together? Is it just an ego thing? Is there some sort of special validation for you if you can get a man back (however temporarily)? Is it all about winning?
Please keep in mind that I'm not talking about situations where you were both young and someone made a mistake. While I don't know if I could ever really forgive the mistake, I think people can learn from them in certain cases and move on. Also, I'm fully cognizant that women also cheat and generally behave badly. If a woman cheats on a man and leaves, does a man also pursue?
Obviously, love does not go away just because things go awry. Maybe there is a healthy mix of habit in that longing? Maybe after that kind of hurt, the one left behind just desperately wants to return to normal, and the pursuit is the only way that makes sense at the time?
Pen has had these moments. She heard a lot of encouragement on the other end: "She's not you." This, by the way, is catnip to women. She thought she would finally win when the other relationship ended, and he didn't want to be alone. But ultimately, she walked away. Why? Because the only thing she would have won was a man she would never be able to trust.