Dating Don’ts: How To Recover If You’ve Behaved Like A Bunny Boiler
Disclaimer: If you’re reading this right now and have the urge to put your love interest’s pet in a pot of boiling water, stop reading and seek professional help immediately. This is not for you. This is for everyone else in the world, for we’ve all had bunny boiling moments. Please don’t even front like you’ve never behaved like an insane person in your dating life. Every single one of us, with the exception of PERFECT PEOPLE or those who are not yet old enough to have experienced temporary romantic insanity, have had off-the-richter scale embarrassing bunny boiling moments. Whether motivated by excessive drunkenness,insane jealousy, crippling insecurity, the aftermath is always the same. Mortifying. We shall not dwell on why you stalked your ex and showed up at the karaoke bar to confront him and his new girlfriend (that’s for you and your therapist to discuss), we want to talk about how to recover from the incident with your dignity intact. One incident of bunny boiling does not make you a psycho a la Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” it makes you a human being who made a mistake that you now need to atone for. Some suggestions after the jump.
1. Apologize for the incident, but not for your existence. As we’ve pointed out, you are human, who made a mistake in the name of love, not a fucking leper. Don’t apologize for being born. Don’t beg for his forgiveness. And dear Lord, please don’t threaten him into forgiving you. Keep the apology related to the incident at hand. Example: “I’m very sorry that I got really drunk, tried to make out with your friend in front of you and then puked at your birthday party. This was totally out of character for me and it won’t happen again.” If humor is your forte, you can make a joke about it. Example: “Remember that time I was totally insane at your birthday party? That was FUN. Sorry about that.” Even if you use humor, make sure to take your apology seriously, but try to avoid making the situation MORE dramatic. We’ve had enough drama for one night. This is about damage control. One of the many wonderful things about guys is that they usually forgive and forget quickly. Chances are he’ll never bring up his birthday party again if you don’t. He’ll also never date you again. But at least he got over it right?
2. Resist the urge to talk about it incessantly with him. Speaking of bringing the incident up again, you shouldn’t. You’ve made a sincere apology. That is all you can do. You don’t need to keep revisiting it. Let him forget about it (and you) like he wants to. You had some feelings and they got out of control. If you can’t forget about it and feel as if you must discuss the incident for your own peace of mind, do it with someone other than the bunny boileree. Friends or therapists are good for that.
3. Remember, it probably wasn’t as bad as you thought. While you’re sitting around obsessing over how you made a scene, showing up on his doorstep and crying because he cancelled plans with you and you thought he was with another girl, remember, he’s probably not remembering the incident with the same attention to detail the next day. He’s probably thinking about how he might have hurt your feelings and how he hates to make girls cry. He’s not replaying every word of your tirade or remembering how much snot came out of your nose when you were crying (the things that are making you want to die today). He is remembering his own discomfort. Not harping on yours. Take solace in the thought that sometimes things are worse in our minds than they are in real life and that people pay less attention to us than we do to ourselves and cut it out with the self-flagellation.
4. Develop self-soothing tactics. The most important thing you can do to combat intense emotional reactions is learn to self-soothe. It’s a skill we all should have learned as kids, but depending on our family situations or our love histories, something might have gotten lost in translation. If you have trouble talking yourself down in romantic situations, then you need to learn how to do this so you stop lashing out anytime you are upset. This can be a long process, but it basically involves finding ways to calm yourself down with comforting thoughts and actions. When dealing with romantic situations, we recommend “striking while the iron is cold.” Meaning, never act out when you’re feeling all fired up. The “sleep on it” policy works wonders as well. If you feel the urge to bunny boil, go the fuck to sleep and see how you feel in the morning.
5. Let time work its magic. Once upon a time, one Frisky staffer who shall remain unnamed, had a bad case of limerence (i.e. a crush SHE COULD NOT GET OVER) for a guy she met in college. After she graduated and had moved away, she went back to visit him and he didn’t tell her until she got there that he had a new girlfriend. Later that night, anger and jealousy and sadness simmering in the whiskey bath in her gullet, she lost her shit. She was crying and screaming — in public! — telling him how much she loved him. And then she pushed him into the street, into oncoming traffic. Mind you, the traffic was basically at a total standstill so it’s not like his life was in major danger, but still. She pushed a dude into traffic. The next morning, she apologized with deep sincerity and shame, left his apartment, and left him alone for six months. They eventually reconnected and it was like water under the bridge. She gave him the time and space to get over it and not worry that she would do something bunny boiling again. This made it so the friendship that had always been between them could survive. Ten years later, they’re still pals. The moral of the story here is that the old adage is true, time heals (almost) everything, sometimes even the worst of bunny boilings.
6. Don’t expect to be what you once were. Let us give it to you straight here: If you act like a lunatic around a guy you don’t know all that well (like maybe you had sex with him once and he lives in your building and one night you showed up at his apartment and made a scene), don’t expect to start over and try again. If you do manage to head in that direction, allowing him to take the lead, congrats. But chances are you need to suck it up, admit you fucked that one up permanently, and be polite and on your best behavior when you see him in the elevator.
7. Learn from it. Now that you’ve made this serious error in dating behavior, it is up to you to figure out what you need to do so that you never, ever bunny boil again. Maybe you need to see a therapist. Or institute a two-drink minimum. Or stop drinking altogether. Or erase phone numbers of exes so that you can’t drunk text. Or unfriend them on Facebook. Or have a friend who you can call when you’re feeling in a bunny boiling mood. There’s nothing to be ashamed about if you have issues you need to deal with. We all do. Welcome to the club of humanity. But if a guy makes you go temporarily insane, there’s usually something deeper going on there. Hint: It hardly ever has to do with him. Remember, it is better to have bunny boiled and learned than never to have bunny boiled at all. Actually, it would have been better never to have bunny boiled at all, but you have, so turn it into an opportunity to become a better person.