For some reason tonight, when my SO asked what I wanted for dinner, I got incredibly pissed off. This only got worse when I asked him to check on the laundry and he asked me for hangers.
He fucking did laundry, I should have been jumping for joy.
Guys and Gals, listen up… Some days, the other human beings in your life just wakes up, rolls out of bed, and even before their eyes are completely open, everything and everyone sucks. It has nothing to do with PMS as guys like to joke. Nor anything to do with an SRH like gals tease (for those who do not know an SRH is a Sperm Retention Headache and the male equivalent of PMS).
We always pretend relationships are all moonlight and roses. We forget the important things that go into them. The work; dinner, laundry, walking the dog, trying to agree on a TV show, pretending the other person’s breathing isn’t pissing you off…
About 1/12th of a relationship is moonlight and roses. The rest of the time, it’s trying to not make the exact same thing for dinner every night. It’s about trying not to let your bad mood turn the day into a nuclear meltdown complete with shouting and throwing shit at each other. It’s arguments about laundry and dishes and whose turn it is to take out the dog. And it’s about not putting a pillow over your partner’s face while they sleep. And guys, don’t lie, I have talked to enough of you to know that you fantasize about this just like the gals do.
As a woman in my thirties, who knows a lot of twenty-somethings, I always want to grab them, shake them, and scream these things at them. Over the weekend, I heard one of them complaining that her boyfriend of two years never did anything romantic. They live together. It’s hard to be romantic and what is she doing to foster the romance? Why is he expected to be in charge of it?
There are three keys to a good man:
- He doesn’t beat you physically and he is neither emotionally or mentally abusive.
- He helps you with bills, meaning he probably has a steady job.*
- Once in a while, he decides to go for Mexican food instead of cooking dinner.
That’s it. And guys, a good woman is just as easy to define:
- She hasn’t smothered you in her sleep, because I promise, she’s thought about it. She also doesn’t physically, mentally, or emotionally abuse you.
- She helps pay the bills, meaning she probably works.*
- Once in a while, she decides to pay for the Mexican food instead of cooking dinner.
Everything else is a bonus or part of the teamwork that is required to make a relationship work. One person should not be responsible for all the chores (unless one of you is a housewife or househusband). One person should not be responsible for the dogs, cats, hamsters, children, spider monkeys, or whatever else lives in your house – this includes whatever is caught in the mouse traps. One person should not be responsible for fixing every meal and when the guy fixes it, try to at least make Hamburger Helper instead of peanut butter sandwiches, unless that’s what you both want… then enjoy your sandwiches.
You do not have to love everything your partner loves… far from it. This includes movies, TV shows, hobbies, books, etc. Sometimes it helps to have a few things in common, but like my SO and I hate each other’s favorite movie and TV genres, except on rare occasions. When we do find something we both like, we instantly buy it because it’s rare. He loves racing, racing makes me physically ill (the lights, the noise, the going around in circles, the smells – especially the gasoline or ethanol – are all migraine makers for me). I love the NFL, him not so much. This means I don’t drag him to Chiefs games and he doesn’t drag me to the race track. However, I will watch racing on TV and he will watch football on the TV. Usually, both of us end up napping during the other ones sporting event of choice, but that’s ok.
You don’t have to love each other’s friends. You do have to respect the friendship though. My SO and I have mutual friends and then we have individual friends. There are people I adore that he hates and vice-versa. But you can’t threaten or issue ultimatums to stop your partner from seeing them (unless there is actually a valid reason and then there are other problems that need to be addressed). We’ll even accompany each other to see that person or persons we don’t care for, because we respect that the other person in our relationship does like them. Most of the time though, we agree that he goes out with Person X or I go out with Person Z whenever and the other doesn’t have to be involved. Also, we are civil with those people. Just because I don’t like Person X doesn’t mean I can break out the Bitch Hat. I engage them in small talk and smile when appropriate, it isn’t awkward, it isn’t fake, it isn’t even uncomfortable… It’s me doing my part to respect my partner’s feelings towards that person. The same goes for him. The best part of this; is that since my partner knows how I feel about Person X, my acceptance of Person X as his eternal friend, makes my partner happy. The fact that I am willing to interact with that person also makes my relationship with my partner stronger.
You don’t have to rush things. I have known my SO for 22 years. I hated him the first five or so. I thought he was an idiot for a few more years. Now, we have a relationship. For the record, he wasn’t my biggest fan either, I wasn’t the only one rolling my eyes every time we got stuck doing something together. However, as a result, I have felt a whole range of emotions regarding my partner and him me. Best part, we both know about it. This makes talking about our feelings so much easier. It’s really easy for me to tell him he’s being an asshole because I have called him much worse over the years. Just like it’s really easy for him to tell me I need to remove my bitch hat, because he’s had much stronger, harsher feelings towards me.
People think dating for two years or a year or living together for six months shows them all their partner’s warts. It doesn’t. It requires strong emotional states to see most of those sides. It may not be something you see in the first two years or even the first four years. Then one night, you’re out with friends and he or she starts a bar fight. Suddenly, you realize that you have never seen this side of your partner. Knowing someone requires more than just talking to each other. It requires emotional triggers to see all the good and all the bad. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have heard people who are three years into a relationship suddenly find out that their partner has a temper or uncontrollable urge to give money to beggars or secretly hates tacos. The last two might not seem like a big deal, but I assure you, they can be.
Finally, it’s okay to fight. Best fight I ever had with my SO was over the installation of a TV. A fucking TV and it wasn’t ours, it was his parents. We were both doing it right, but we were doing it different from each other. We nearly broke up over it. I even stormed out of his parents’ house with name calling, shouting, and slamming doors. Some of the effect was dampened because I had ridden with him, so I had to call for a ride, but hey, life isn’t perfect. The result is what made it perfect though. We had to talk about why we had gotten into a fight over a TV. It led to an honest discussion regarding how we are both always convinced we are right and it should be done our way. This didn’t change how either of us feel about the fact that we always have to be right and think it has to be done our way, it made us realize that we do not work well together and that when those situations arise, we need to agree to not work on it as a team. So, when we poured concrete in September at the campground. I sent him up to do that and I just signed the check to pay for it. Then I came up after it was all done. In other words, it helped us discover areas where we are just not going to get along and anything that requires tools is a sign that we should retire to separate spaces.
If you find yourself a good guy or a good gal, work at it… it takes both of you. Because a relationship is about finding someone that tolerates your shit while you can tolerate theirs.
*Housewives and househusbands may not help pay the bills, but they do just as much work as the one that leaves the house every day. Do not take this for granted.