…Along comes holiday relationship advice of a truly monstrous nature! Holy Moly!!! LOL!
Well, finding posts to deconstruct just got a whole lot easier! I mean the one about first date fashion had its share of image-promoting, but I just came across a true “Tour de Force” post that includes a TREASURE TROVE of “how NOT to create a great love relationship”! It’s like a blockbuster movie in there: inauthenticity, superficialness (is that a word? Well, it is now!), requiring your partner to be a mind-reader, encouraging non-communication, judgmentalness. You name it, if it supports a shallow, unhappy, uncomfortable relationship, it’s pretty much in there! So without further ado, here it is:
About the only saving grace is that the author calls this article one in the “Financially Fit” series for Yahoo Finance. I suggest sticking to money issues and staying away from relationship ones, Ms. Bernstein. Hmmmmm, where to start! Let’s just go along with the narrative…
First there’s Inauthenticity AND requiring Mind-Reading, all in the same sentence!: “(If I ask my husband what he wants for the holidays, he will say “nothing” and mean it. If he asks me, I will say “nothing,” as well. And God help him if he believes me.)”
Now it may sound as if there’s a hint of humor there, and there might be, if it weren’t for the entire article being about “bad” holiday gifts. So even if there IS a modicum of humor included in this phrase, there’s clearly a truth underneath it. One of the great friction points described in one of my early relationship classes was that of “mind-reading”. It’s also something that characterized how my ex-wife interacted with me. It felt like a perpetually losing game. How does it work? Well it comes under another death-knell category for great relationships: Obligation. Obligation starts with “if you love me you’ll…” Implying that if you DON’T do these things, I’ll take it to mean you DON’T love me. And one of the MOST often used of these obligations is “mind-reading”. “Honey-do” lists are a FAR DISTANT second on the obligation board, because at least you KNOW what you’re being asked to do. Spouses who require mind-reading expect you to do these things WITHOUT being told what they are! As you can see, mind-reading, obligation, and non-communication are all related. The main reason someone wants you to mind-read is that they don’t feel comfortable with communicating openly with you. Then you get hit with “well, you should KNOW what to do!” BZZZZZZZZ!!! Nope, not unless you express what you want! Like today, Mary said, “I would be really grateful if you would vacuum the house since we will be gone the next couple of days”. Perfect! I know exactly what to do, when to do it, and it’s not given as an obligation.
Non-Communication. There are NUMEROUS examples of this throughout the article, but this is a GREAT one to illustrate a very prominent reason that relationships are not great–blaming the other person because YOU did not communicate with them!
“Angela Lopez received a mass-market poem from her husband about the meaning of the name “Angela,” decorated with a gray wolf on a blue-violet background. “I felt a little panicked,” says Ms. Lopez, 38, who owns two sandwich shops with her husband in San Diego. “We were starting a business together, and it made me think, ‘Are we even on the same page?'”
1) If you have to ask yourself that question, you’re not!, and 2) why blame your husband for making what probably was his BEST EFFORT by not getting the same-old, same-old, when you CLEARLY didn’t ask for what you really wanted? There is a TOTALLY SIMPLE way for this ENTIRE article to be moot: ASK! Talk about it! Discuss with each other what you want and don’t want. Be honest and open! Surprises are neat, but building great relationships are about creating all the things you WANT together. Communication leads the way!
Ah, and here we throw in a little “absolutism” from my last post, just for an added relationship-disaster punch!: “You shouldn’t need a gift consultant (or a marriage counselor) to tell you these presents are wrong. They’re utilitarian. Unromantic. Ugly. And, in many cases, more suitable for a man, or a cleaning woman, than the love of your life.”
Again, there’s the “should” that means she is JUDGING you. And then the ASSUMPTION that ALL women are the same. This is EXACTLY why I tell you to treat each person as an individual. Do away with thinking in stereotypes and absolutes. My past partner Karen used to say clearly and emphatically: “stow the flowers and chocolate, I LOVE getting power tools for gifts!” What is “utilitarian, unromantic, and ugly” to one person is the PERFECT GIFT for someone else. And the only way you’ll know is to COMMUNICATE!
Here’s more absolutism, oh, and a little support of the victim role for women as well! “And there’s the rub. When men receive gifts they hate, they typically shrug them off. Women, faced with the same dilemma, feel hurt.”
Someone doesn’t give you what you wanted, feel hurt and then…blame them for it! I bet that will work GREAT for creating a super-relationship! Jeez, why didn’t I think of that???
Ah, so then we get done with the victim stories and move on to the actual gift-giving tips from the author (which, in this case, are tips for MEN when buying for WOMEN):
“• When in doubt, go down a size. (Because getting a size too big, according to the author, means NOT that you are not knowlegeable, but that you are, in fact, hurtful, perhaps even…EVIL!) ((By the way, you can easily avoid this by FRICKING ASKING her size!!!)) (((COMMUNICATE!!!)))
• Never give a gift that suggests your spouse is not perfect. No unsolicited exercise equipment, self-help books, wrinkle cremes or nose-hair removers. (My spouse is NOT perfect! She’s only perfect-for-me. And no matter what I give her, if I give it even a little thought and care, she will still love me no matter what…all the way to the return counter!!!)
• Appliances and cookware are OK only if she asks for them. (Damn, I guess I need to take back that digital washer/dryer set…)
• Don’t even think about a gift that you will get more enjoyment out of than your spouse. (Hmmm, I tend to get more enjoyment out of Mary’s happiness than she does at times…what do I do with THAT fucking conundrum???)
• Remember: It’s not just the thought that counts—especially if you didn’t have that thought until the checkout line. (And remember, it’s not how much someone loves you that matters, it’s the size of the engagment ring that does!!!)
• When all else fails, at least try to create memories.” (Funny, the thing I hold in one of the HIGHEST places of my wants list, and one of the only two main reasons for having lots of money, that is: “creating memories”, she sees as the LAST RESORT!)
Wow, this is just too much fun!!! PLEASE send me links to more of these types of articles so I can get more enjoyment out of my life! I just wish the people writing them weren’t getting lots of reads from people who might actually think this is really the way to live!
Until next time, make your life wonderful!!!
(And really, DO send me links!!!) ((And more questions!!!))