I've done lots of couple counseling. The heterosexual couples are usually speaking on quite different levels. Men are talking facts and logic, and are oblivious to feelings, or are strenuously avoiding them. (Except anger; they've got that one down.) The women are trying to convey their own feelings and understand their partners, and are feeling so unloved and unheard that they consider logical argument to be utterly beside the point.
Both feelings and facts are valid. The trick is not to try to talk about them both at the same time.
Sarafina, I acknowledge that I tend to take this kind of humour seriously, and perhaps that's out of line. But humour, however lightly meant, does indicate popular beliefs. Otherwise it wouldn't be funny. These kinds of jokes are steeped in sexual politics, and are far from innocent; they enforce negative stereotypes and screw up communication.
Nina, I don't envy you your job, because I think it's given you a terrible bias. I was married to someone who spent two decades walking around whining about hurt feelings and not being loved. It gets annoying. He did the same thing with his first wife for the decade prior. Wish I'd known.
Steph, iam not makeing excuses for him. in fact sound like you should of given him a fucking slap. weak people always look for someone to justify there own shit so they dont have to face it. Personal responsibility is something that has been lost in our libertys.there are things out of our control but victims pay the price eventually.
Nina One, thanks for saying that. I'd have said something related, but you said it much better. And I'd have added that most women are perfectly capable of talking rationally for much of the time, just as most men have some capacity for processing emotions, at least for much of the time. We speak different languages, but we still have some understanding of one another.
Mental I know you weren't. I just can't understand a person who makes someone else at fault for his or her own feelings. I cannot make you feel badly about yourself. Only you can do that. I don't take bullshit compliments from people either. I know when I look like shit, so telling me I don't is only going to make me think you're stupid or a liar. So why people ask someone else how they look is beyond me. If you're asking me about your choice of shirt for the occasion? Fine. But there's the mirror, look at it and if you're comfortable with what you see then that's all that counts.
Steph, some people live of the opinions and feed back of others. they exist only in relation to other people and not independent of them. a merged existence of sorts and trying to use others as an emotional tampon is selfish. It's easyier to let others think for us. god knows theres a sence of freedom that comes with submission. but it's a dishonest way to be in my opinion laying everything on someone else rather than takeing it on them selfs what salvation comes from being that way?
Mental; that's exactly how I think of it. It is selfish to expect someone to prop you up all the time. I can't do it, and I can't be around people who expect it. Because if you ask me what I think, you're going to get my truth about it.
I might throw in that while it seems like we should own our own feelings, it would be amiss to deny that we affect each other. Scientifically they've already proven that observing someone else smile releases all kinds of feel-good hormones and bonding agents. So if you smile at someone, you are responsible, in part, for that feeling. The same thing if you insult someone. But just like some people fall on the "cold" side, others lie on the "wear their heart on their sleeve" side. But, if we consider that we ourselves matter, then it's pretty easy to put your own boundaries in a relationship to keep from constantly propping someone up.
People in close relationships do affect each other, and the interactions can push each one into roles they wouldn't have chosen. For instance, if one partner is more demonstrative than the other (i.e. more huggy), the one who is less so may seem to pull away a bit. The partner may feel a bit rejected, and try again to get close, precipitating another retreat. This can escalate, until one partner sees the other as needy and hysterical, and the other sees their partner as cold and rejecting. Whereas to begin with, they might have been only moderately different and well within the normal range for emotional expression.
Steph, I was trying to give this some thought. For the continuous pout, that was my statement about respecting yourself and creating a boundary, definitely not the partner's fault. Maybe the last two statement's you were trying to make a parallel metaphor, and I think that works. But if it's asking for validation (assuming occasionally or a healthy amount), and by asking that weakens the partner's view.... Which are you saying?
Exactly that - asking for constant validation because you only see yourself. When you are so wrapped up in your own reflection that you expect your partner to be nothing but a mirror, you are no longer desirable at all. You have, in fact, become UNdesirable.
Steph, sorry about the headache. I was referring to my post above, in which I describe behaviour in relationships as an interactive system. Yes, there are extreme personalities who are going to be that way no matter who they're paired with. But for most of us in the normal range, our behaviour is shaped in part by the other person and their reactions. So that someone who is only a bit insecure, in a relationship with someone not very demonstrative, can end up looking very needy indeed.
Well, I'm decidedly not needy. And I haven't had a lot of people, male or female, tell me that they seek validation and don't get it. I think if you just say what you mean, instead of trying to be coy or get a reaction, life is a lot easier. People who expect someone else to just "get them" are living in a fantasy world. Probably created by fairy tales and movies that tell us there is some "perfect person" (god forbid) out there for each of us.
Steph, well, of course. But I'm talking about something a bit different. Or rather, I'm trying to put some of the content of this discussion into a wider context, and one that is slightly less judgemental.
Steph, I think I get what you're saying. I was thrown by the *minute* in the statement of "the minute you ask if you're sexy...". I've never met someone who didn't need occasional validation, advice, or a comment.
Connotations, regional language interpretations, and someone's mood all get thrown into the mix. It helps to be direct, and forgiving. Conversations are dynamic, interactive, and subject to environment. People who are purposely vague... many have their reasons, most people I meet don't do it intentionally. When they do, that's where I'm direct about my personal boundaries.
Nina, human relationships could be a lot less complex. People make things harder than they are. Honesty is easy. Fear of being judged keeps people from it. When you get to where you don't worry about that? You're home-free.
Steph, relationships are difficult because people are complex, don't know themselves well, and come with baggage. Everyone we meet reminds us of other people we've known, sometimes for the most spurious reasons. How's your head today, BTW? Better, I hope?
Nina One, belatedly: yes, I agree with your thesis. And it's not true just in romantic relationships, but more generally. People who feel ignored shout more insistently, become more irritating, and get rejected more assertively. People felt to be less competent get things done for them, and their role as the dependent person is reinforced. The member of a couple who's more empathetic will get the jobs requiring empathy, while the more practical person is in another room, building a cupboard. But it can be positive, too: we can learn from the traits of our partners: not mimicking them or trying to become them, but learning from their example. A little humility and appreciation work wonders.
Back on the topic of feeling loved: I apologise for the unreadability of this page , but http://marriage.about.com/cs/communicationkeys/a/lovelanguage.htm does hint at the fact that one partner may need to feel love in the way that the other partner doesn't naturally express it. In one couple I knew, she was tactile and wanted to be cuddled and complimented; he was generous and practical, and expressed love by doing and by giving. She, I sense, felt lonely and unloved, and became increasingly demanding -- unreasonably so, in my opinion.
Markus, good points, but I still hold that if you just TELL someone what you hope for they will be able to either try to do it or they will tell you it's not in their makeup. Then you can stop having that unreasonable expectation. And if you do it early on in the relationship you won't end up with the wrong person. Thinking a person will change is the biggest mistake people make. You either like them "as is" or you should continue looking. So you start a relationship with honesty instead of trying to sell your best self. My head is better, thanks :)
Steph, I couldn't agree more: communication is vital. Too many people, I think, expect their romantic partners to read their minds. However, I do think people can change in some respects, if not in others, and, since you'll never find a perfect match in the wild, it's worth taking a little time to find out what can be changed and what can't. I know one woman who refused to marry her boyfriend unless he gave up smoking. They married in 2000 and he's still tobacco-free. I know another couple who had to negotiate about their attitude to money (a more critical area than many people realise) but have arrived at a good way of managing it; whereas some other friends of ours find money a constant irritant, because he wants to save but she always spends, leaving them in serious debt that he can't earn his way out of. Like anything in human relationships, it takes time, it involves risk, and it's never simple.
Partner can change if not being forced to. I know I changed some of my bad habits, but only when nothing pressures me. I also pressured to change some habits and was pressured, it never worked. From my experience pressure never works, it always backfires. I think ego comes into play for both sexes. Always.
Tadas, I see that I veer closer to the 'nature' side of the debate, and you veer closer to the 'nurture' side. I've never seen a stupid person become intelligent, although I've seen plenty of intelligent people doing stupid things. I've never seen a habitually dishonest person become trustworthy. People I knew who were neurotic thirty years ago are still neurotic now, or were neurotic when they died. So my best advice would be too walk away if you see someone stupid, habitually dishonest, or neurotic.
The money issue in a partner relationship is hugely important. If you and your beloved are divergent in your attitude toward money, you're at huge risk for divorce -- and an ugly one. (Not to mention you probably won't be able to afford it.)
Markus Prime, no there wasn't some "hypothetical girlfriend". Stupid person - some guy from my surrounding never seen as very bright, but had tough life in family and was involved in some gangs. Later on idk 'rediscovered' himself or something. Started new life, gitbto college, now even runs into politics. His speech and mindset changed completely since then when I spoke to him last time. Honesty - too many examples, its very 'nurture' thing, when you start to realise that your fake stance and status longing isn't getting any fruits. Neurosis - tougher case, also curable when people begin to find their path and start to accept themselves
Tadas, I'm glad that the people in your life are turning themselves around. That's great. But the hypothetical girlfriend question was aimed at myself: if I weren't married, and if I were dating, how committed would I get to someone stupid, habitually dishonest, or neurotic? If I were wise, I'd bet against that relationship and I'd walk away. If only I were always wise...
Markus Prime, yes, it's different when searching for partner. If she had all of that then its pointless to start relationship. If only some of it, then maybe. Especially if she wants to change. Of course if she doesn't want to change and it becomes one sided struggle to point her into right direction - its not worth it.
Tadas, Markus Prime, it's an interesting debate - especially the classic "Nat vs. Nur" side of it. Just, it seems to me that you're considering this phantomatic "stupid, habitually dishonest or neurotic" person as a *universal agent* - behaving in the same way, not case by case, but person by person. That's the only thing which would irremediably turn me off in a girlfriend/partner - not differentiate herself/her behavior depending from the person. If she were habitually dishonest then, I wouldn't care that much being her reliable with me. For example - I'm not a universally kind person as well, I'm neutral at the beginning, later adapting to the person I have in front of me. Passing easily from an asshole to a sweety pie :) To conclude, for stupidity, unfortunately, there's no remedy - but neuroses are just personality traits in most of cases, so, again is a matter of combinations ;)
jabyl, Markus Prime, Tadas, you may be curious to read about the nature vs nurture by looking into Life-Course criminology. The main discovery (maybe most recent) was that the genes that marked someone as aggressive or with a propensity to commit violent acts were equivalent to the propensity to commit a crime. Very fascinating read, and is changing the way crime and prison is looked at (and hopefully will do more).
It's relevant here because the studies have been thorough in both the genetic and environmental situations including family and social situations of both sexes. The goal is to identify situations and people at or above a certain threshold at an earlier age and provide more appropriate interventions. But it address how the sexes are different as well. I believe one paper was by John Wright (it might have Roger if not John)
I guess I think both Markus and Tadas are correct. Saying that people don't change their inherent personality is what I really meant. Sure you can quit smoking or stop lying but if you (apparently like my ex) think, "She will be this different person with me because she loves me," you are in for some disappointment. And so at the end he told me, "I really thought you would change." And I told him I wished he'd left me alone if he didn't like me the way I was. And I think more people should do that. Especially when someone is ~telling~ you exactly what kind of asshole they are - as I did.
Beeler, any introspective person ought to be doing that. Even I manage it sometimes. But I'm still me. What I achieve is to reduce the effects of character flaws I've identified, rather than eliminating or reversing them. For example, I'm impatient, but I can learn to be more tolerant with certain people or in certain situations by seeing things from other people's point of view or understanding that some things just have to be borne for the greater good. Others may think of me as patient -- if they do, I've succeeded -- but, deep down, I know the impatience is still there.
Beeler, I'm not talking about faults. I'm talking about who you are. Your actual self, the person YOU like and want to be. And that other person wants to change that. It's wrong. They need to go away and find someone they actually like. Not try to turn you into their ideal.
Steph, correct. But you also said "people don't change their inherent personality" and that "someone is telling you exactly what kind of asshole they are". What if they, I'm assuming the type of asshole is a fault, acknowledge that part of themselves and actively work to correct it?
Well, I'm a self-professed asshole, and I like myself just fine ;) Basically what I was saying is, I am telling you that this is who I am. You, as my pursuer, need to believe me, and not want to change me. If you are headed into a relationship with someone and you are wanting to change him or her? You are the asshole. :)
Steph, right. I get that. But you don't have any thoughts on the scenario I'm suggesting? We all have faults, what if you see one in your partner and they agree and actively work to change it? Or vice versa. Still a, "Sorry for your luck" situation?
No of course not. I said that above somewhere. Fix yourself. Tadas and Markus covered it; I agreed. But I am not kidding; when my ex husband left he said: I expected you to change. And he meant my personality! What the holy hell? What kind of stupid is that?
That's stupid all right. And egotistical, to think someone will change to suit you. I do think people can work on modifying their behaviour if they're aware of it, but their basic nature isn't going to change.
Well Nina, it was a challenge living with it, but I came away unscathed. Personality intact. And I try to show others how not to make that same mistake. We all want people to accept us the way we are, but everyone can use some improvement. I'm no exception.
Steph, you're right that's pretty silly. I think what's missing in my question maybe is that in that scenario (though I'd rather keep it hypothetical), say he had pointed out something that was damaging to the relationship. Maybe an aspect of your personality, that you also had found frustrating and had been trying to correct. As a for instance, maybe you complain about rain everytime it happens and other things too- brings everyone around you down. You're not sure why you do it, but you just can't help but complain. But you also recognize it as putting stress on your relationships. You see it as a fault, your partner sees it as a fault. By yourself you have been powerless to shift it, yet you admit to having wanted to change.
I don't know, because I don't have a lot of expectations of people. If you're complaining and it bothers me, I'll tune you out. If you cook something I hate I'll make a PBJ. If you don't do your part around the house; I'll stack the dirty dishes on your pillow. Otherwise, I'm really easy to live with. If you say you're going to do something, I expect you to do it. If not? I really don't care. Don't promise me anything, I'd rather not be disappointed. I just don't get why people can't accept their partner's foibles. Everyone has them. If you let them eat away at you, you're going to feel resentment. If you look at them as endearing qualities (as difficult as that may be, it is possible) and put a positive spin on them, you yourself will be happier.
Steph, sometimes you just can't accept them. But if you love someone for lots of other things, and there are few ones that still are annoying as hell and you tell constantly your partner about them, but nothing changes. In that case who is egoist then? I disagree that "you have to accept me 100% because i don't care nor i will improve".
Tadas, I don't agree with that either. But you can nitpick someone to death. When you stop and think about it, how important is most of that? Oh, you leave the cap off the toothpaste. Balance that with you make the best damn lasagna in the world. Most of the things we pick on each other about are small. If you're gambling away money? Yeah, let's get some help with that. If you're kicking the dog? That's a problem. Choose your battles. And when you do have a "battle" it doesn't need to belittle or hurt. Because you're supposed to love that person, yeah? And so treat them with the same kindness you would a stranger.
Tadas, to answer your question a few comments up: stupidity is failure to understand things that other people can understand. Intelligence is multidimensional: there will be things that you understand that I'd struggle with, and vice versa. One of us might have a gift for numbers and abstract thought, one for languages, one for emotional cues, one for music or fine art, and so on. But, still, some people tend to be quicker on the uptake than others, and still others never seem to grasp things at all.
I think that stupidity is the inability to learn something new, a continued adherence to beliefs of behaviors regardless of proof to do or believe otherwise, an inability to grasp new information. I had a card a while ago about how often people call other people stupid. I seem to have been the only person who carried my definition of stupid.
Cat Woman, I think perhaps the second part of your definition (continued adherence...) is more about stubbornness and confirmation bias than stupidity, no? There's nothing clever about behaving like that, but even intelligent people do it.
Escape 🌹, maybe some of them. I had a friend that was so into it that he a had a simulation setup in his room. It was super realistic, he'd compete in tournaments where he'd spend hours going around in circles with 50 other dudes. Most races are a few hundred laps