EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS I LEARNED FROM MY KID

Sunset
I read a lot of crap about relationships and marriage, even though I’m not in a relationship and I’ve never been married. Human dynamics fascinate me, as do the myriad reasons relationships work or don’t work. I figured because of this, it’s my duty to impart my wisdom (and I always try to be objective and not take sides—except when I’m talking about my exes).

Although I haven’t cohabitated with a man in quite some time, I consider my son to be a little man in training with similar propensities. I’ve had to learn what’s important to him, what he responds to or doesn’t respond to, and I’d like to think all this will help me in future relations with the opposite sex. Mind you, we’re taking food and sex off the table here, because if you were to ask me what men’s 3 top priorities were in life, those two would immediately come to mind. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a third, although it’d probably be a toss-up between money and family.

The following rules are the “little things” that seem important to a man.

1. When he comes home, run to greet him with an effusive hello.

I know a few wives who don’t greet their husbands at the door when they come home from work—either because they’re always in the middle of something or because they’re not touchy-feely women in general. Imo, this makes their husbands feel like they’re not happy to see them after a day of being away. When my son comes home from school, I usually see him walking from the bus before he reaches the front door. This gives me a moment to finish typing a sentence or save a document, get up from my seat and wait for him with open arms. I scream his name, the diva barks uncontrollably—It’s pure chaos and my son loves it. He runs into my arms for about 2.5 seconds before disentangling himself from me. Since he’s admitted he looks forward to this welcome every day, I make sure never to disappoint him.

2. When he’s in a bad mood, leave him alone until he decides to emerge from his shell.

This is hard for me. If I see someone in a bad mood, and especially my son, I want to know what’s wrong RIGHT AWAY. Women may be able to talk about whatever their problem is immediately, but I’ve never met a man who could. Men are like beef stew—it takes awhile for the flavors (issues) to come out. I’m not sure what they’re doing while they’re “stewing”—ruminating, perhaps? Decompressing? In any case, if I push my son to talk about what’s bothering him before he’s ready, he’ll clam up. The few times he’s come home, gone straight into his room and shut the door without saying anything are the times I’ve had to sit on my hands, literally, and give him a few moments to unwind alone. It’s tough, but way better than getting my head bitten off.

3. When he wants to tell you something, stop what you’re doing and listen.

My son’s not a big talker. Except when I’m in the middle of very important work or it’s late at night—my least favorite times to chat. Any other time I get one-word answers to my questions, but it’s when he’s in the mood to talk is when I get truly significant information, like what happened on the playground, which girl likes him, and what he wants to do when he grows up (work at GameStop so he can play video games all day). Sure, I could continue staring at the computer screen while he’s divulging deep, dark secrets, or fall asleep, but these times of disclosure are so few and far between that I make the effort to stop what I’m doing and make eye contact. Even if it kills me.

4. Be his biggest cheerleader.

If you’re not, who will be? My son lives to please me. My disapproval crushes his little spirit. Many husbands say they live for their wives’ approval and when they don’t get it, well, they do naughty things in retaliation like cheat and forget your birthday. I’ve been known to take perverse pleasure in playing the devil’s advocate simply because I like to argue, but that never puts me in good favor with a man because then they think I’m against them. Any male, whether they’re 10 or 70 wants to know that the woman who claims to love him most is in his corner. Even when he’s wrong.

5. Be interested in what floats his boat.

Oh, the pure torture when I’m in the car with no place to escape to and my boy’s yapping about the video game, Minecraft. Crap spews from his mouth like, “There were 5 creepers in a hole, so I had to YOLO dive and pull out my sword and then dive into the pit, yelling ‘YOLO!’ to try and kill them.” It would be so easy to tune it out and fantasize about a romance hero instead, but if I don’t show interest in what he’s talking about, he’ll never want to talk to me, ever. Especially when he’s a teenager. Men are the same way. You may not care how the Dow did, or even what the Dow is, but force yourself to listen anyway, because there will always be another woman out there willing to listen about the cam shifter and interrupter your man replaced in the 1988 Olds with the V-6 engine.

Anybody have anything to add to the list?

Advertisements

A BLIND WIFE AND A DEAF HUSBAND

Ball and Chain

Photo by Bob Doran

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.               –Michel de Montaigne

Marriage is something I can’t seem to understand—like Sudoku, fluorescent colors coming back in style, and what Lance Armstrong hoped to accomplish in his interview with Oprah. Oh, I understand the concept “in theory”; it’s the reality of it that makes me want to repeatedly bang my head against a wall.

Now, I’m not married; I’ve never been married; I doubt I’ll ever marry. I’ve been in love, sure, but I’ve never met anyone I believed I could spend the rest of my life with. That’s A LOT of years. To be with ONE person. FOREVER. Until I DIE.

The closest I’ve ever come to marriage is with a few girlfriends of mine. I used to tell them, “If I could find the male version of you, I’d get married.” And I meant it, because these girlfriends were like my sisters, and we spent mucho time together without ever wanting to strangle one other. I thought we’d be friends always.

The fact that we’re not contributes to why I view marriage the way I do—I was as close to these girls as two people can be, minus the sex, always believed they’d be in my life, but now they’re not. Poof, gone. I’ve since learned it’s an unrealistic expectation to think two people can change together over 20, 30, 40 years to the point where they still enjoy each other’s company. For example, I adore my son, but I sure as hell don’t want to live with him for the next twenty-five years.

What astonishes me is how many folks still take the plunge. Even knowing the horrible odds involved. Let’s take having children out of the equation for a moment. What compels a man to want to get married? Especially when men are such admitted commitmentphobes. Regular sex? We all know once you’re married sex becomes as frequent as something intelligent coming out of Kim Kardashian’s mouth. Societal acceptance? Peer pressure? All you need to do is talk to your married friends to find out how miserable they are. Comfort? Security? Maid/house cleaner/babysitter? Okay, so the maid/house cleaner/babysitter would probably tempt me, too.

Love? Don’t be ridiculous. Men are way more practical than that.

For me, a future husband would need to score in 3 categories:
1. We need to have similar core beliefs and values. I’m not saying he needs to be a Democrat, but if he kicks dogs when he walks by them, or shoplifts, litters, consumes fried pork rinds while guzzling Mountain Dew, and then thinks burping the alphabet is a talent, then NO.

2. We need to get along and have fun together—be able to hang out for hours on end, especially while sober. He doesn’t need to be my best friend. That’s what a girlfriend is for, or a gay male friend. My husband should be my husband. God knows, he doesn’t need the pressure to be my “best girlfriend” also. “Husband” already has enough obligations to it.
If he’s sitting on the sofa all night, playing video games and chatting with his online buddies, then no, thank you. One son who does that is enough.

3. We need to have sexual chemistry. I recently read this thread where men were bitching about their wives never giving them blowjobs. One man actually said while he and his wife were dating, she never went down on him once, but he thought once they were married, she’d start. After I unstuck the fork from my eye, I literally wanted to crawl into the thread, find the guy and shake the stupid out of him.
If I’m going to be sentenced to sex with ONE person for the rest of my existence (and I’m having a panic attack simply writing those words), then we sure as hell better rock each other’s world, because once I see him hurl, poop, or cut his toenails in bed (and inevitably I will if we’re living together), my sexual desire for him is going to go down–so it better go down from a 10 to a 7, instead of from a 7 to a 4. If desire goes down to a 4, that ain’t gonna get us through the next 30 years.

I don’t think these three things should be that difficult to find. And yet, finding them in one man has eluded me. Certainly I’ve had at least two of them while involved in a relationship, but NEVER all three. Which explains why I’m not married.

For those who are married, help me out here. Are my three needs unreasonable? If not, why is it so hard to find? Or am I just cursed? Do you think most people settle? Is the “institution” of marriage becoming an antiquated notion?

As Groucho Marx said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?
All these answers are by children.

1. You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
>Alan, age 10
2. No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
>Kirsten, age 10

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
1. Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
>Camille, age 10
2. No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
>Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
1. You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
>Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
1. Both don’t want any more kids.
>Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
1. Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
>Lynnette, age 8
2. On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
>Martin, age 10

WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?
1. I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
>Craig, age 9

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
1. When they’re rich.
>Pam, age 7
2. The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
>Curt, age 7
3. The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
>Howard, age 8

IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
1. I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing; I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.
>Theodore, age 8
2. It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
>Anita, age 9

HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?
1. There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
>Kelvin, age 8

And the Favorite is……..
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
1. Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
>Ricky, age 10

SAY IT ISN’T SO

Most of the time when I hear about Hollywood couples splitting, I roll my eyes and mutter, “Another one bites the dust.” Yet every once in a while, a divorce comes along that completely blindsides me, leaving me feeling sad and bewildered.

Hello, America’s sweethearts: Brad and Jen – I’m talking to you.

Courtney Cox and David Arquette – Yes, I know he’s a man-boy with addiction problems, but I was still rooting for you guys.

Ashton and Demi – If for nothing else but the proof that women do get better as they get older.

And today…Heidi Klum and Seal.

“No, no, no!” I screamed at my computer screen. “This can’t be! They seemed so HAPPY and IN LOVE! Come on!”

Yes, I know they’re celebrities. I have had pimples that have lasted longer than celebrity marriages. But if I had to put my money on any celebrity couple that I thought might last, it was Heidi and Seal.

They had PDA down to a science; their attraction to each other was undeniable. They had four kids!

Speaking about his marriage, Seal said, “People often talk about the most important thing in a relationship. They say it is really important that you are turned on by your partner and you love each other, which is all really true. I often think that the most important thing, or certainly up there, with love is respect.”

You have attraction, love, respect, children together. What the hell else is there? Yeesh, that’s four more things than most marriages have. It’s not like there’s any fighting over whose turn it is to cook dinner, or wash the dishes, or change a diaper. They have housekeepers, maids, nannys to do those types of pedestrian chores.

Career challenges? Seal and Heidi have the financial luxury of never having to be apart for long periods of time. Perhaps they should talk to some couples where one spouse is unemployed and unable to find gainful employment to see how that stress takes a toll on the marriage.

In an article I read, it stated “they grew apart.” Seems to me they’re the same as when they first met. He didn’t go off to Hawaii to become a surf instructor. He’s still a singer. Last I checked, she’s wasn’t taking classes to become an astrophysicist. She’s still a Project Runway host, right? So, what changed?

No one will ever know the answer to that, except the two people involved. And maybe a paparazzi here or there.

What I would like to know is: With the horrendous odds stacked against a marriage working out in the first place, why do so many celebrities decide to take the plunge and get married? They know the failure rate. Do they honestly think they’ll be the one to defy the odds?

And two: Why can’t they just stay together and be miserable like the rest of us for the sake of the children? Are they really that self-centered?

Never mind, I already know the answer to that one.

TO PORN OR NOT TO PORN — THAT IS THE QUESTION

I got together with some friends over the weekend. They’re a
married couple – actually the only
married couple I hang out with, given the fact that I’m single and hate feeling
like an extra appendage. As the day went on, I detected palpable tension
between the husband and wife. Seems they had some “issue” that had been going
on for over a month now. Day turned into night, glasses of wine turned into
bottles and eventually, the issue came out.

Wife had caught husband masturbating to porn. In the living
room after she had gone to bed.

Her reaction: Similar to catching parents having sex –
disgusted, bewildered, in shock

His reaction: Similar to being caught by parents having sex
– embarrassed, ashamed, immediately flaccid

Neither of them spoke of the incident, although wifey
demanded that hubby delete the porn he had saved, lest their nine-year-old,
who’s more technologically savvy than all of us put together, get a crash-course
in Raunchy Sex 101.

Hubby did. Problem solved. Or was it?

The problem was much more complex than a simple adjustment
of parental controls on the flat-screen. Turns out wife has had her retinas
permanently seared with the image of her DH choking the chicken, and not only
is it interfering with her ability to be intimate with him, my guess is every
time she looks at him all she sees is one giant penis.

“I don’t understand why he had to watch porn instead of
coming to me to have sex,” she told me. “It makes me feel like he’d rather
watch other girls than be with me.”

We have a love/hate relationship with porn. Men love it;
women hate it.

Men love it because they’re visually stimulated and
biologically programmed to desire sex with a thousand women. A day. If you’re a
married man, having sex with a thousand different women isn’t a reality.
(Unless you’re married and happen to be a porn star.) So to them, watching porn
is like getting your very first job at Baskin Robbins. So many flavors, all
different kinds, the opportunity to try them all out. Eventually though, you consume
so much ice-cream, you become sick of it. You can’t even look at it anymore
without your stomach turning.

Not so with porn. And therein lies the conundrum. Many men
become addicted to it, to the point where they don’t even want to have sex with
their wives or girlfriends anymore.

How are we women supposed to compete with the Jenna Jamesons
of the porn world? I don’t particularly want to go out and get triple F boobs
and have sex with the mailman, the water delivery guy and the meter reader
(who’s female) all at the same time, while doing a backbend.

One woman on a sex forum wrote in saying she was horrified
to learn that her husband watched porn because she felt their marriage was
sacred and hers was the only female body he should see naked. You can imagine
the comments from the men on that one! As unrealistic as this woman may be, it
doesn’t change this one fact:

We, as women, want to be the “ideal” to our significant
others. We want to be the sexiest, the most beautiful, most desirable women to
our men. We want them to want us THE MOST.

Most men usually do think their wives are the greatest. It’s
just that sometimes they like a bit of uncomplicated, private release from time
to time. They don’t want to have to worry about pleasing their women.

One man in defense wrote, “When I am making love to my wife,
I experience an emotional connection with her. When I am masturbating to porn,
I have absolutely no emotional attachment to the person in the picture
whatsoever. I am merely getting aroused by what I see and using that to satisfy
a sexual urge.”

I think it’s all about balance. Too much of anything can be
bad. Especially if it results in being banished to sleeping on the couch for
the rest of your marriage.