Recently, I met a guy who…I thought was great. We were introduced by a mutual friend. He was handsome and a Giants fan and made me laugh. We really hit it off, hung out a few times. We had a date scheduled, and THEN…he had a “work conflict.” This was communicated via text. I texted back, then…never heard from him again.

Naturally, I went on a downward spiral of varying degrees of mental and emotional distress. Ever wonder what happens to a girl when you don’t call/text/show up/cheat/break up with her? We can go ca-razy. There is that rational side that argues that maybe the guy has fallen into a coma/moved to Alaska/his uncle died and he’s away at his funeral and thats why he’s not getting back to you….but even the most logical and confident of us can spiral. Because guys are occasionally terrible, and because being a girl is always hard. By the time you’ve asked us out on a date, our minds have already imagined the next few months of our yet-to-be-materialized relationship. We’ve thought about our first name with your last name. We’ve analyzed you to death with our best friends and have built you up to some pedestal that we know we shouldn’t put you on, but this is just the way we’re wired. We’ve been practicing for these moments since we were little girls. We know its intense….But its also funny. We read the magazines and know all the advice. We can laugh at ourselves.  And there are some classic defensive mechanisms and patterns we all fall in to from time to time when things don’t go the way our romantic and idealistic imaginations have intended.

This isn’t a science, and its not limited to boy-related drama. These can also apply to a fight with mom/sis/bff/work drama/any kind of bad thing.

*Lets have a Night out to Regret Something  : This is the stage that usually comes right after a guy is mean. It involves your single girlfriends and a night out, maybe dancing on tables, definitely taking shots, and taking pictures you don’t ever want to see again. This is when you have to prove to yourself that you are still hot and desirable. You may flirt a little more than you should, stay out longer than you should, et cet er a. This requires your hottest outfit, favorite cocktails, and money for a cab. This is also the stage where the lyrics from songs by Britney and Ke$ha sound like brilliant ideas, and you think you qualify as one of their backup dancers.

*Mistake Making!! : This is a momentarily fun stage. Ill-placed tattoo of Tinkerbell/flower vine/shooting star? Regrettable piercing? Hair-chopping or dying? Yup. Retail therapy? Perfect. Making eyes at your ex’s best friend? You bet! Its about spontaneity and making memories, momentary pain, and a good story later that starts with “it sounded like a good idea at the time….”.

*Self-Help Cycle : This is the classic “it’s not him, its me” stage. Symptoms include wearing sweatpants and wandering through Barnes and Nobles late at night, compulsively buying and reading books with titles like “Men are from Mars, etc. etc.” and drinking wine in the bathtub while reading. There may be some soul-searching, some tears. We are desperate for psychological answers and some reading therapy that explain why he ___________ us. We must have said something too much, been too much, and driven him to _______________. We look for answers….they usually aren’t found….we move on to….

*Self-Improvement Cycle: a natural result of all that time in Self-Help, this is when you decide that you need to work on making yourself more interesting in order to attract better guys. This might include learning a new language (insert purchase of French language cds) or learning how to drive a racecar/bartend/enroll in a cooking class. This is also a great stage for buying books on historical or current events, subscribing to the New York Times, or getting a therapist to work  you through your daddy issues so that you are more emotionally available.

Tune in next time for more ways that we like to destroy our psyche but bond together in an effort to unravel the mystery that is the mixed signals of men!