A lot is written about the care and feeding of relationships.
It’s all wrong.
Take it from me, a two-time loser in the marriage wars. If you want a lasting, long-term, conflict-free union with another Homo sapien, then you need to tear up the rule book and get real about what it takes to stomach your life partner for, well, life.
Lack of Communication is Key
Think about it. What’s the last thing you were doing before you and your schmoopy got into yet another knockdown, drag-out fight? That’s right, you were communicating. And look where that got you. The Russians have nothing on this Cold War. You never knew that someone could sleep angrily, but here we are.
The simple rule of thumb is “Don’t talk.” Communicate, if you must, via grunts, hand gestures, and possibly short notes, although even those can get dicey.
Emails are absolutely a mistake. Trust me. My boyfriend and I just ended a short, four-year “time out” because of an email that I may have misinterpreted (I definitely didn’t).
Take Time to Do Fun Things Far, Far Apart
My ex-husband once suggested that we take our honeymoon on a Disney Cruise and invite his two grown daughters and their 12 kids to go with us.
There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin. They literally don’t make red flags bigger than this.
It’s okay to do certain things as a team. For example, grocery shopping. You can cover more territory, and four eyes are better than two at scoping out the quickest checkout line. If you’re stranded on a desert island you definitely want a partner, if only because you may eventually turn to cannibalism.
But vacations should be a solo affair. This is “me” time, not “we” time. You’re not going to enjoy the Mona Lisa if your hunny bunny keeps complaining that he’s hungry, or her feet hurt, or “I wonder if the hotel has Mojitos.”
Alternatively, a vacation may be undertaken in the manner of our nomadic ancestors crossing the Bering Strait — with a tour group of ragtag strangers who we know we will never see again, but with whom we form intense, short-lived friendships. Like in junior high.
Never Have Sex
Okay, not never never. But remember what it was like at the beginning of your relationship when the other person was essentially a stranger? It was hot, right?
Keep the temperature up by abstaining for at least a year at a time. Then, when you do finally do it, it will be like the first time all over again. As an added benefit, it will take about 30 seconds because, really, who has time for this?
Don’t Share Your Burdens
Nothing is more off-putting than living with Debbie Downer. Pretend that you barely know your significant other, and only share those of life’s inconveniences as may be acceptable conversation at a business luncheon.
I used to complain about being tired after a long day at work, only to hear, “Sitting in front of a computer all day, how tiring could that be?”
A good exercise is to chop off a limb before you get home, and then fail to mention it while you bleed out at the dinner table. “Oh, this? It’s nothing. How was your day?”
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