Archive for December, 2009

Funny as hell

December 22, 2009

Just came across this very funny blog, very appropriate for the end of the decade:

This Dumb Decade: 87 Dumbest Moments in Tech, 2000 – 2009

Relationship Tip / Relationship Advice # 1: Don’t Sink Your Own Boat

December 22, 2009

It might have happened to you in a relationship (it usually happens more to one of the people in it), that you feel like you really have to call or really have to insist about some issue to your partner. Maybe you feel like you messed up the night before. Maybe you think your partner is not doing enough for or with you. Maybe you are jealous. Then you really want to settle things right then and there and call a bunch of times because you might be paranoid your girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t picking up on purpose. You feel slightly embarrassed about this, but repress that embarrassment telling yourself you have good reasons and are slightly angry.

When your boyfriend or girlfriend is finally on the line, you go on and on, fighting some, saying sorry some, coming up with weird theories, but most importantly not hanging up, not letting go!! Or once you do hang up, you feel it’s really necessary to text or call back. This is an example of what I call cutting a little hole into the floor of your own boat (the boat being the relationship of course. Genius huh? ;))

A little whole won’t sink the relationship too quickly and is easy to fix (if you know how.) Other examples of relationship holes may be asking him/her to tell you they love you or whining about something they did or crying because they reacted badly towards something you did, etc. There are literally infinite ways to punch holes into your boat (relationship, remember?). I can’t list them all here, but in the end they all have something in common:

Weirdly, they are sincere signs of your affection via the message: I need you.

And that’s ok, your girlfriend might feel reassured because you are jealous or your boyfriend might feel good about himself if it happens once or twice in harmless situations. But be careful! Excessive neediness is the perfect love-killer. Ok love-killer sounds horrible, but it’s true. Some people (not all) might sort of connect this to emotions they have felt with their parents. They’re really worried about their children all the time, are protective and always wish them the best, however at some point in time the kids get fed up and want to rebel for no apparent reason (of course love is usually not killed here.) In a relationship it’s like this but worse! Why worse? because you aren’t necessarily looking out for your boyfriend/girlfriend’s safety!! You are rather looking out for their availability to you or something of the sort, which eventually hurts the relationship.

So basically sinking your own boat means making your partner want you less and less as you want him/her way more and more. Obsessive behavior often occurs. How do you know whether the little holes in the boat’s floor are still cute, or big enough to let enough water in to literally start creating a problem? Logically it is not easy. It’s extremely subjective and varies a lot from person to person and partner to partner. But using your feelings this can become quite easy. Have you felt that panic, that suffocation, when you get really scared of actually having messed up your relationship (it might be by sinking your own boat or a different category, like cheating)? Well, if you get this far by being needy or whiny or sticky, you know you really have to back off somewhat! Don’t go pretending to go out with another guy or girl, or do something stupid, just back off a little. But let’s not get it that far, try to stop yourself when you are about to crack a hole and if you already did, take the two things you need to fix it:

Time and Discipline

Very important, the best way to fix a hole is to first relax (hard) at least a little and think about one main argument you want to give your partner. It could be: “Sorry that I got mad because you didn’t wake up for my call, you didn’t deserve that.” or “Fine, I might have overreacted but what you did, as trivial as it might seem, undeniably shows some carelessness on your part.” Don’t say I love you or I miss you or anything like that here. He or she knows that. Don’t be too emotional either, just concisely let your boyfriend/girlfriend/animalfriend (jk) know what your honest stance is after calming down a bit and thinking things through more objectively. Ok?! 🙂

After this comes the hardest part! Weirdly, the next step to fix one of these holes you need to give your partner some time for him or herself! How much? A bit more than they explicitly want and don’t express what you are doing. More specifically?

You need two tools to determine how long this little silence period will last: One time limit and one action limit. Never be harsh or rude (or more than you normally are at least).

The time limit: your choice, but make it a period longer than you would normally not talk or hook up. Rule of thumb: 3 days, although this can vary greatly, for example depending on whether you live together or are in a long distance relationship. Or on your personalities of course. It might be as long as 3 weeks! (extreme) During this time, especially if you live together you are obviously not going to ignore the other person. You will be extra well-mannered and nice, but the clue is you won’t be the one to initiate extensive conversations and you will generally end them with a polite excuse of something else you have to do and with a smile. You will be visibly busy doing other stuff, whatever it might be. Most importantly, you are demonstrating independence of your partner, you are together because you want to not because he or she is your new drug or ego-booster.

The action limit: at some point your partner will notice this weird self-sufficiency (and find it attractive!) They’ll drop hints and say stuff like: “You’re acting differently”, “Are you mad at me?”, “I feel like you have gotten sort of cold” even though you’ve been perfectly nice. Here the real temptation starts. The moment they drop a hint or seem worried you just melt down, kiss, get cheesy and can’t shut up or resist clinginess. But no, you have to set a number of worried comments from your boyfriend/girlfriend before you get all affectionate again. Maybe 6? It’s up to you again. When he or she gets worried you just say: “Why would you say that? You know I love you!” Smile, give a kiss on the cheek and get back to your business quickly!

Exception: Your partner gets panicky and whiny. In this case he or she is cutting holes in your boat and you can support them and just do what they usually wouldn’t do for you. That’s not fair, but whatever! Relationships are all about emotion, not about fairness or who is right.

Finally, the reason I use the sinking boat analogy, is because to many people the feeling that overcomes them when they feel they are losing their partner is this feeling of helplessness, desperation and sort of suffocation which is similar (although at a much milder level) to the panic one might feel if the boat on high seas suddenly starts going under. Other, more appropriate analogies are accepted, of course what matters most is the content itself 😉