Beliefnet
Make Your Relationship Work

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Since I’m paid to give people advice on the Internet, I take some time out of my day on a regular basis to wander around and read relationship advice elsewhere in this great digital infodump of ours.  And I find some truly great, informative information.

I also find some really, really bad ideas, often from websites that look like they’re from 1996.

Crying

I’m not a guy from the “crying is blackmail” school of thought when it comes to relationships: if your feelings are hurt, your feelings are hurt.  The problem is, and we’ve all met them, there are people who open the waterworks whenever something isn’t going their way or there’s a conversation they don’t want to have.  Because that solves everything, not having a difficult conversation!

To me, I find this idea problematic because honestly, not talking about a problem doesn’t make it go away.  If it did, we’d have nothing but fluffy bunnies and surfing squirrels on the news.  I’ve known a few criers in my time, and honestly, their relationships have ultimately not ended well because, well, you can’t talk to them about anything difficult, and in any relationship, difficult questions are going to come up.

Passive Aggression

“That’s fine.  Whatever.”  Three words any adult dreads hearing from whoever they’re dating.

Being passive aggressive has two major drawbacks.  First of all, when you’re not saying what you want and how you feel to who you’re with, odds are pretty good they’ll miss the hidden “NOT!” at the end of every sentence.  “Oh, sure, you can go drink beer with your friends if that’s what you want to do.”  “Great, thanks, see you later!”  “No, wait, I meant-!”

Secondly, it’s just begging to start a fight over something stupid.  I’ve seen this far, far too often; one person says something passive aggressive, and the second person chooses to either be passive aggressive right back or blows up at the other person for being passive aggressive.  It’s a fun argument to be trapped by when your roommate and her boyfriend are having it in front of the bathroom.

Clinging

I have literally come across websites that state “never let your boyfriend out of your sight.”  How?  He’s got to pee sometime.

In all seriousness, clinging is a bad idea and not just because it will annoy whoever you’re with into dumping you.  It’s a bad idea because it’s emotionally exhausting.

I’ve never gotten men or women who have to be in constant contact with their squeeze.  Sure, checking in on Facebook once or twice a day, maybe a phone call, but constantly?  How do you have time for anything else?  Don’t you have a job?  Friends?  The interest in seeing a movie once in a while?

And, of course, it can also turn into paranoia: “why hasn’t he/she called me back?”

In short, it’s too exhausting to be worth it.  Although I suppose some people have limitless energy in this regard.

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