Fool Me Twice: How To Know If You Should Give Someone A Second Chance

by Penina Remler

If at first we don't succeed, should we truly try again?

This saying has been taught to us since we were little kids and is, indeed, applicable to endless experiences. Like the time I failed my driver's test, did poorly on the SAT, overcooked the chicken or cried during my first attempt at spin class.

Over time, these struggles eventually improved. And as a result of giving them another shot, I am currently licensed, enrolled in college, well fed and a spin fanatic.

But what about men?

What about the countless instances where, as much as we wanted something to work out, we had to watch it end? There's always a lesson to be learned and a friend to tell you "you're better off without him." And while this advice proves to be valid, why do we find ourselves extending a second chance to the ones who hurt us the most?

When it comes to the men of our past, is it really worth another shot?

Having just read Leandra Medine's "Man Repeller," I was pleasantly surprised by the story of how she and her husband, Abie, came to be. The pages read as if it was love at first sight, but the chapters took one through a windy road of breaks, breakups, jealousy and revenge.

With every emotion out on the table, the two seemed to come full circle, as they ultimately got married and are currently living happily.

After a history of heartbreak, Leandra gave Abie a few opportunities to redeem himself, and Mr. Cohen certainly rose to the occasion. However, for many of us, a second chance to a man of the past usually ends with distress and what feels like never-ending PMS on our end.

I remember seeing a boy who, despite his "player" reputation, I found utterly intriguing. Consider a John Tucker sort of scenario: When we were alone, I was comfortable, happy and excited...until I found out there was more than one girl who could say the same.

His strategically sweet persona had me blinded and I was beyond bummed. However, a friend had reassured me, "If he fools you once, shame on him. But if he fools you twice, shame on you."

She was right.

I tried my hardest to turn it into a learning experience. Some guys just suck, so at least this gave me an excuse to never fall for another manipulative trap like that again.

Or, at least, I wished the story had ended like that.

After some time, his spontaneous texts and calls felt like flashbacks, moments of the past and memories I wanted so badly to erase from my head. "Maybe he's changed or matured," I told myself.

But the only difference was I was now the fool, and the shame was definitely on me the second time around.

I caved and crawled back to the glory days. All I could remember were the good times, and somehow, all the vent sessions I shared with friends after he hurt me became nothing more than a blur.

"It's fine," I told myself. "Something feels different this time...I think."

The truth was, I knew this was all artificial. I was fearful that people would find out and consequently, I was left dealing with all of my emotions internally, which diagnosed the end of every weekend with a serious case of "Sunday Blues."

I felt sad. I wanted sympathy, but I didn't deserve it. I took back the ignorant assh*le who fooled me not once, not twice, but an infinite number of times.

I wanted to believe our temporary rendezvous was exciting, but it was not exciting enough to ease the anxiety and frustration I'd have to deal with later on.

Unfortunately, this story does not make an exciting turnaround like Leandra's, but it has left me with something.

It has left me with shame that may not be apparent on the outside, but is booming from within. It has left me with regret. It has left me lonely, as I can't talk about it to any of the friends who advised me to stay away.

The shame is on me. But the truth is, it doesn't have to be.

It isn't easy to see something that once made you feel so special suddenly bring you down.  These downfalls leave us feeling low, lonely and vulnerable, which ultimately leads us to the worst decision of all: going back to the guy and repeating the cycle all over again.

How do we learn -- in the words of Lauren Conrad -- to forgive and forget? But most of all, how do we learn to move on without regret?

Let's turn to our girl Taylor Swift and ask ourselves, is the high really worth the pain?

Probably not.