Am I Petty…

There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and maybe we read a few obscure love stories from the 19th century on how not to be.

But when it comes down to actually handling the nitty-gritty of relationships, we’re given no pointers… or worse, we’re given advice columns in women’s magazines or this blogg. Yes, it’s trial-and-error from the get-go. And if you’re like most people, it’s been mostly error.

But part of the problem is that many unhealthy relationship habits are baked into our culture. We worship romantic love — you know, that dizzying and irrational romantic love that somehow finds breaking china plates on the wall in a fit of tears somewhat endearing — and scoff at practicality or unconventional sexualities.

Men and women are raised to objectify each other and to objectify their relationships. Thus, our partners are often seen as assets rather than someone to share mutual emotional support.

A lot of the self-help literature out there isn’t helpful either (no, men and women are not from different planets, you over-generalizing prick.) And for most of us, mom and dad surely weren’t the best examples either.

Fortunately, there’s been a lot of psychological research into healthy and happy relationships the past few decades and there are some general principles that keep popping up consistently that most people are unaware of or don’t follow. In fact, some of these principles actually go against what is traditionally considered “romantic” or normal in a relationship.

Below are tendencies (based on research from the folks at SurveyStud)in relationships that many couples think are healthy and normal, but are actually toxic and destroying everything you hold dear.

THE RELATIONSHIP SCORECARD. What It Is: The “keeping score” phenomenon is when someone you’re dating continues to blame you for past mistakes you made in the relationship. If both people in the relationship do this it devolves into what I call “the relationship scorecard,” where it becomes a battle to see who has screwed up the most over the months or years, and therefore who owes the other one more.

You were an asshole at Amy’s 28th birthday party back in 2010 and it has proceeded to ruin your life ever since. Why? Because there’s not a week that goes by that you’re not reminded of it. But that’s OK, because that time you caught her sending flirtatious text messages to her co-worker immediately removes her right to get jealous, so it’s kind of even, right?

Wrong.

Why It’s Toxic: The relationship scorecard develops over time because one or both people in a relationship use past wrongdoings in order to try and justify current righteousness. This is a double-whammy of suckage. Not only are you deflecting the current issue itself, but you’re ginning up guilt and bitterness from the past to manipulate your partner into feeling wrong in the present.

If this goes on long enough, both partners eventually spend most of their energy trying to prove that they’re less culpable than the other, rather than solving the current problem. People spend all of their time trying to be less wrong for each other instead of being more right for each other.

What You Should Do Instead: Deal with issues individually unless they are legitimately connected. If someone habitually cheats, then that’s obviously a recurring problem. But the fact that she embarrassed you in 2010 and now she got sad and ignored you today in 2013 have nothing to do with each other, so don’t bring it up.

You must recognize that by choosing to be with your significant other, you are choosing to be with all of their prior actions and behaviors. If you don’t accept those, then ultimately, you are not accepting them. If something bothered you that much a year ago, you should have dealt with it a year ago.

DROPPING “HINTS” AND OTHER PASSIVE-AGGRESSION. What It Is: Instead of stating a desire or thought overtly, your partner tries to nudge you in the right direction of figuring it out yourself. Instead of saying what’s actually upsetting you, you find small and petty ways to piss your partner off so you’ll then feel justified in complaining to them.

Why It’s Toxic: Because it shows that you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly with one another. A person has no reason to be passive-aggressive if they feel safe expressing any anger or insecurity within the relationship. A person will never feel a need to drop “hints” if they feel like they won’t be judged or criticized for it.

What You Should Do Instead: State your feelings and desires openly. And make it clear that the other person is not necessarily responsible or obligated to them but that you’d love to have their support. If they love you, they’ll almost always be able to give it.

BLAMING YOUR PARTNER FOR YOUR OWN EMOTIONS. What It Is: Let’s say you’re having a crappy day and your partner isn’t exactly being super sympathetic or supportive at the moment. They’ve been on the phone all day with some people from work. They got distracted when you hugged them. You want to lay around at home together and just watch a movie tonight, but they have plans to go out and see their friends.

So you lash out at them for being so insensitive and callous toward you. You’ve been having a shitty day and they have done nothing about it. Sure, you never asked, but they should just know to make you feel better. They should have gotten off the phone and ditched their plans based on your lousy emotional state.

Why It’s Toxic: Blaming our partners for our emotions is a subtle form of selfishness, and a classic example of the poor maintenance of personal boundaries. When you set a precedent that your partner is responsible for how you feel at all times (and vice-versa), you will develop codependent tendencies. Suddenly, they’re not allowed to plan activities without checking with you first. All activities at home — even the mundane ones like reading books or watching TV — must be negotiated and compromised. When someone begins to get upset, all personal desires go out the window because it is now your responsibility to make one another feel better.

The biggest problem of developing these codependent tendencies is that they breed resentment. Sure, if my girlfriend gets mad at me once because she’s had a shitty day and is frustrated and needs attention, that’s understandable. But if it becomes an expectation that my life revolves around her emotional well-being at all times, then I’m soon going to become very bitter and even manipulative towards her feelings and desires.

What You Should Do Instead: Take responsibility for your own emotions and expect your partner to be responsible for theirs. There’s a subtle yet important difference between being supportive of your partner and being obligated to your partner. Any sacrifices should be made as an autonomous choice and not seen as an expectation. As soon as both people in a relationship become culpable for each other’s moods and downswings, it gives them both incentives to hide their true feelings and manipulate one another.

Let me stop because my bath water is getting cold, and I realize Im really talking about myself. Am I petty?

Question: Are you petty?

Leave a comment below…

SurveyStud: In the App Store

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What Women Think About Attractive men

Like the comedic monologue in every rom-com you’ve ever seen is that semi-awkward moment where the protagonist sees a gorgeous, leading-man-type, hot guy. You can picture it now. The sucking in of your breath, the being slightly overwhelmed by their presence, and the thought of oh my God please don’t let my eyes bulge any further out of my head! It’s completely expected to have certain things pass through your mind during these moments.

The media has convinced women that beauty is something you should strive for and try to grasp at, especially when it is within your reach.

Why wouldn’t you crave the attention of an attractive man? Just to remind you that you’re not alone…  in your feelings, here are the thoughts most women have when we see a hottie:

Holy Sh*t He’s Hot. This is the standard, OMG reaction that many of you get when a gorgeous hunk of man meat walks in your general direction. It’s the recognition that this is a very attractive man and it’s taking you a minute to really grasp just how attractive. Usually, this is paired with eyes bulging out of your head, head turning, lower jaw dropping and possible perspiration. Just remember to keep it all in your head. Shouting “Holy sh*t you’re hot” at a complete stranger can sometimes be met with strange looks and restraining orders.

I’d Do Him. Men aren’t the only ones who can be controlled by their libidos. For women, it usually starts with some slight butterflies in your chest or stomach and it sometimes warms you all the way down to your knees. Fantasizing is completely normal, especially when someone you find incredibly attractive strolls by. You might even have these thoughts and gently bite your lip. Yes, that man is good enough to eat. Remember, it’s guilt-free because men do it all the time. It’s called the “yes or no” game.

He’s Better Looking Than My Ex. First and foremost, of course he is! There aren’t many men out there that aren’t better looking than your awful, lazy, slobby, finally-kicked-him-to-the-curb ex, unless your ex is Denzel Washington; in which case, our condolences, and alas, this hottie is NOT better looking than your ex. It’s normal to think these things, and the more you notice how beautiful other men are, the easier it is to forget and move the heck on.

I Wonder If He’s Good In Bed. The cat’s out of the bag. It’s not just men who look at an attractive woman and fantasize about sleeping with him. The difference is that women actually take a few moments to analyze the likelihood of him knowing what he’s doing or if he’ll just go at you like a jackhammer… for all of 3 minutes… if you’re lucky. So just keep in mind, it’s okay to think about it, and it’s okay to fantasize about it, but whether or not you proposition a complete stranger is up to you.

We’d Have Beautiful Babies. Every woman has fantasized about what her babies with a celebrity would look like. Think George T. Reynolds, Will Smith, Channing Tatum… the list goes on. People are hardwired to scope out their best possible mate. You make decisions based on height, appearance, job, hair colour, and many other factors. Everyone that has made the decision to have babies wants healthy, beautiful babies so go ahead, close your eyes and picture you and Mr. Gorgeous over there having a perfect, beautiful baby boy.

He’s WAY Too Good For That Girl. You may come across a handsome gentleman and you notice that he’s not alone. If he’s with a girl, you’re going to be prone to making the comparison between him and her. Most outsiders of relationships can look at one from afar and judge whether or not the relationship is ‘equal’. Which one is the better-looking one? Which one dresses better? Which one has the better job? OMG, he should not be with her. Followed usually by he should be with ME.

He’s WAY Out Of My League. Yes, you sometimes make the similar comparison you made to him and that other girl, but you sub yourself in, but shame on you! No one is out of you league. You can date anyone you want to. So it’s okay to have the quick thought where you know you want to date him, think that it could never happen, and then remember that if you really wanted to, you could. Put a smile on, catch his eye, purse your lips, keep walking and let him come after you.

Question: What do you think when you see a guy in the office?

Leave a commmment below…

SurveyStud: Im the App Store

Every Woman Should Know

– Grief is a healthy stage that follows heartbreak; however, one is only allowed a certain number of tears per man before it’s time to move on.

– Men are like drugs; they get you high and then drag you down. You become addicted to the anguish of wanting that unattainable first high that you will never reach. Regardless, you keep chasing it with the conviction that maybe, just maybe, it won’t bring you down even further.

– Sometimes we get stuck on the memories of old relationships because they remind us of who we used to be during that period of time.

– Failing to leave the past in the past does not necessarily mean that we want our old flames back; it has to do with finding ourselves and figuring out if we are happy with who we are or if we have changed for the worse.

– The past is an anchor holding you down; you need to let go of who you were in order to become who you will be.

– Sex with an ex is never a good idea. If you enjoy it, then that simply indicates you haven’t gotten any since the breakup. If it makes you feel horrible, well then, it’s just sex with an ex.

– Love and heartbreak both change us in the same way. It’s easy to forget this because while love is something we wait for and yearn for, heartbreak is something we do not like to predict, for we know how wretched it is bound to make us feel, even if it is for
the better.

– Men are like designer dresses on sale at Barneys; they aren’t your style, but you try them on anyway.

– Never lose touch with who you are because of fear. You’ve made it this far, so don’t be afraid to do you and go a little further.

– Falling in love is beautiful; however, never forget to fall in love with yourself first and realize that you are just as beautiful on your own as you are with the man you love.

Question: Have you thoughts about these things in-depth?

Leave a comment below…

SurveyStud: In the App Store

Women Apologize To Much

If you think you hear women saying “I’m sorry” more than men, you’re right. Women apologize more often than men do, according to the folks over at SurveyStud, Inc.

But it’s not that men are reluctant to admit wrongdoing, the study shows. It’s just that they have a higher threshold for what they think warrants reparation. When the researchers looked at the number of apologies relative to the number of offenses the participants perceived they had committed, the researchers saw no differences between the genders.

“Men aren’t actively resisting apologizing because they think it will make them appear weak or because they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions,” said study researcher Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, inc. “It seems to be that when they think they’ve done something wrong they do apologize just as frequently as when women think they’ve done something wrong. It’s just that they think they’ve done fewer things wrong.”

The findings might have implications for how men and women communicate (Read My prev blog post: Communication With Men) with each other, she said.

Should you apologize?

Although women are often stereotyped as the more apologetic sex, there is little empirical evidence to back this assumption. Goldenberg and her colleagues conducted two studies to see if genders do indeed differ in how often they apologize, and if so, why this might be.

In one, 33 university students ages 18 to 44 kept an online dairy for 12 days documenting whether they apologized or did something they thought required an apology, even if they didn’t actually say they were sorry. They also kept track of how often they felt someone had committed an offensive act against them that warranted an apology.

Women apologized more and reported committing more offensive acts, but both men and women apologized about 81 percent of the time when they deemed their actions offensive.

Men were also less likely to report being victims of wrongdoing. This led the researchers to investigate whether men are just not offended as easily, and less likely to think they’ve done something objectionable.

In the second study, 120 undergraduates rated how severe they thought a particular offensive was. For instance, they had to imagine they woke their friend up late at night, and because of the sleep disturbance, the friend did poorly on an interview the next day. Women rated the offenses as more severe than men did, and women were also more likely to say the friend deserved an apology.

Better communication

Women might have a lower threshold for what requires an apology because they are more concerned with the emotional experiences of others and in promoting harmony in their relationships. Recognizing that men and women may perceive situations differently may help the genders to get along.

“Neither men nor women are wrong when they disagree about whether or not an offense has occurred or whether or not an apology is desired,” Goldenberg said. “It’s just that they have different perceptions of an event that has occurred between them.”

When one partners is angry and feeling victimized, thinking, “How can my partner love me if he isn’t recognizing what he did,” that person should consider that the other partner “might not be seeing the event the same way that they see the event,” she said.

“So rather than assuming that your partner can read your mind or read your emotions accurately, you need to communicate to the partner what you’re experiencing…and from that communication, hopefully a successful reconciliation process can then occur.”

Question: After reading this… How often do you apologize?

Leave a comment below…

SurveyStud: In the App Store