Stuff like John Tucker Must Die was the ultimate girls-night staple because, hello? Who hasn't dated—or seen a bestie agonise after—the standard two- (or in this case 27-) timer who's messed with your head like crazy? All those movie tropes come from somewhere—we've all dated at least one of these guys and because we're so close to the sitch, we can't quite tell when we're with them. Distance makes all the difference, and that's when you realise you put all your time, energy, and bikini waxes into the kind of guy you wish you could erase from your past. Like...
Anmol, 22, Web Writer
"I'd been off-and-on with this guy for a year. If I had to describe our relationship, the only word I can think of is 'negative'. There was never a time we weren't fighting, and I felt like he was sapping my energy with his defeatist outlook on life.
I kept trying to make things work, but I finally realised that he had stopped making me happy ages ago. It takes real will power to up and leave when you're invested in someone—you're so used to that person and the comfort you draw from their presence alone, trying to imagine going even a day without them is a scary thought. But eventually, I decided it was time to get my sh*t together and dump him. When I finally did, he came running back and asked if I would reconsider, but I managed to stay strong (and trust me, that's the toughest part). Cut to present day—I'm in a relationship with someone who's in a good place, and does everything he can to make me happy. I'm glad I cut the cord on that dysfunctional dynamic."
Vinita, 24, Performance Artist
"The biggest thing I learnt from this relationship was listen to your friends! When the world is constantly telling you 'He's not going to commit! He's not going to commit!', your antenna needs to go up ASAP. The trouble is, when you feel so damn connected to someone (especially physically, that's the trickiest part), you can't really see what's going on the way other people can. For instance, whenever this guy and I spent time, we'd have so many amazing moments, it was almost surreal. But he'd always be quick to pad it with lots of reasons for not making it official—the chief amongst them being 'I'm not over my ex'. It should've been a red alert considering they'd broken up three years ago! But I was in too deep to see that the 'ex' thing was just his way of getting a convenient out whenever he felt like things were getting too serious. It suddenly hit me one day that I hated being in that state of relationship limbo all the time—I simply stopped taking his calls and I've never looked back since."
The Possessive Guy
Mehak, 18, Student
"Sometimes, you realise you're with the wrong guy in an instant. Sometimes, it takes five years to figure it out. My ex was the very picture of insecurity, and his nagging, internal fear of losing me to a hotter, smarter guy would keep popping up. It got to a point where he had a problem with me talking to my closest friends, my classmates—he even had a problem with me helping a random stranger on the road with directions! Basically, he believed that no member of the male species should be allowed to speak to me. To add insult to injury, he barely made any time for me himself—asking him to give me 10 minutes of his day was like asking him to move mountains. I felt imprisoned because he wanted me all to himself; without really giving me much of himself. I'm finally out of that relationship, and I'm loving my freedom—I deserve to talk to anyone I damn well please!"
The Disappearing Act
Prachi, 25, Media Manager
"He was someone I'd been seeing for six months. It was all very dreamy, that fairly typical 'film romance' situation. You know, dinner dates, spending all our time in constant touch, intimate pillow talk—the works.
I've had my fair share of relationships before, but I felt like this was different, in some way. And then, one day, I call and he doesn't pick up. Not a one-off situation, this. There followed a series of unreturned phone calls, unanswered texts, unread emoticons of poop and smiley faces. Contact ended—completely and totally—on his end...and I was just left wondering what on Earth I could've possibly done (and you know, the usual: 'Is he okay?' 'Did something happen to him?' 'Did he get devoured whole by a rattlesnake?'). When I finally got through to him and asked why he'd gone 'poof!' into thin air, his answers were evasive and vague. I found out in a very dramatic fashion that his girlfriend had come back into town! The creep had been in a long distance relationship the entire time we were 'together'! Luckily, a few months later, she had the good sense to leave him—and thankfully I had the good sense to turn him down when he came back to me begging for forgiveness!"
The Control Freak
Sweeti, 23, Marketing Executive
"It started with a couple of pangs of jealousy in the midst of what was essentially just a woozy whirl of new love. It was okay, I figured, and it's nice to spark a reaction sometimes, you know? It makes you feel like that person actually cares about you...until the pangs turned into constant questions like 'Who's that guy you were talking to?' and 'Why are you meeting him?'. Pretty soon, this attitude began to seep into the other things in my life. He wanted his social circle to be my social circle...and then conservative clothes became the only acceptable accoutrement for me to stack my closet with if I wanted to be with him (he thought everything else I wore was just 'inappropriate'). He'd log in to my social networks and monitor my activity on a daily basis. It reached a point where I'd lost control over my basic liberties—he'd get all up in everything—even what I was eating! I was almost like some sort of puppet, pining for his approval and doing anything it took so he'd think of me as The One. It took a few hard knocks and alarming incidents to shake some sense into me, and to make me realise I was turning into whatever his version of perfect was, and that, in this hopeless and degrading process, had stopped being true to myself. It was hard to breakup with him—especially since he did not take it well, but I did it anyway. Leaving him taught me the greatest life lesson I've ever learnt—don't ever stay with someone who screws up your relationship with yourself."
Serah, 25, Consultant
"We started out as friends, so texting, chatting, chilling together was no great shakes for us. At some point, though, the tenor of those texts and chats changed—it became pretty clear we were into each other. He was out of town at the time, and this went on for a couple of months. We decided to meet when he came back, but I didn't hear from him at all. One night, I was club-hopping with some friends and I walked into a club at 4am...just as he was stumbling out of it with another girl. The *sshole didn't even acknowledge me, but the girl he was with knew me and said 'hi'. The next day, he plain and simple acted as though he'd done nothing wrong. He eventually started dating that girl and realised he wasn't over me! Luckily, I was smart enough to not even entertain the thought of giving him another shot." n