Man. It’s kind of a dick move when you think about it. Our partners see the absolute worse side of us when they are the people we love best and who love us best. We are nicer to the bratty toddler running through the aisles at Target than we are to Boo, who has seen us upchuck at 3 o’clock in the morning, smelled our morning breath, and cleaned our pee off the toilet seat. And to be fair, Boo does the same to us.
It’s human nature to be toughest on the people we are closet to. This is why we tend to pick fights with our mate more than anyone else. Not that Boo is perfect. Or that you are the epitome of grace, elegance, and sweet-smelling morning breath. But we do tend to fuck with each other way more than necessary.
Of course when someone is your partner, you are having to constantly negotiate and navigate boundaries. Of course. And it’s an ongoing process as relationships are fluid entities that are always morphing and reshaping themselves as we live in them. But what really needs to be navigated? And when can you just let Boo be Boo?
Is it Intentional?
Is Boo intentionally fucking with you? Like deliberately disrespecting your time, resources, needs, and desires? Like “I know we had dinner plans but I went out drinking instead because fuck you”?
Ok, sweet pea. You have every right to be mad. But also? What the ACTUAL, LITERAL HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH THIS PERSON? If they have no fucks to give about what’s important to you? Get OUT. Believe what they are showing you about who they are. Call your bestie to request sofa surfing privileges, pack up your pooch, polish your tiara, and move ON.
Fighting is worthless here. Because you are being treated like YOU are worthless here. Don’t fight if Boo has made it clear that they don’t care. Grown ass people are not intentionally dicks. Well, there are a few…and they sometimes become president. But if you wouldn’t vote for someone, you sure as hell shouldn’t get them the privilege of seeing your naked, FFS.
Who You Really Mad At, Cupcake?
Remember learning about Freud’s defense mechanisms in Psych 101? Ok, he was a crazy motherfucker who snorted too much coke. But he was right on about that shit. Displacement is a defense mechanism where we attack the safe target rather than the real cause of distress. Of course you can’t tell your boss that his mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries. So you are already riled up and ready to rumble. Boo tells you they forgot to pick up your dry cleaning and you find yourself spewing venom like a champ.
If you know you are ripe to rumble, after a hard day, do what you need to do to decompress that doesn’t involve sniping at Boo. And warn them that you are wound tight.
What’s The Cost Analysis?
We all have our idiosyncrasies. It doesn’t mean we are intentionally fucking with our mate, it means we have years of behavior patterns that are really hard to change. Ever tried to give up tacos for Lent? You feel me, right? Mr Intimacy Dr and I are pain- in-the-assess in a million different ways, but battle stations are only activated when there is a cost beyond irritation involved.
For example, Mr Intimacy Dr has dish duty here at the Underground Headquarters of Sexitimes. I cook, he cleans. Modern romance. He has a tendency to put off the hand-washables like my kitchen knives and cutting boards because they are a pain in the ass. This makes me nuts, because I like to head into a clean kitchen to start my next day of oven sorcery. Bleh, irritating. But not the end of the world. However, he got in a habit of leaving them soaking for a couple DAYS at a time (My fellow culinary types? Are you feelin’ me on this?) I had to get all the knives resharpened and had to completely toss a few of the cutting boards.
So yeah, that was worth a different kind of discussion. I growled and stomped and muttered and griped. Mr. Intimacy Dr has worked really hard at not leaving dishes hanging around near as long since that episode. And if he doesn’t get to the handwashables, he puts them up behind the sink so they don’t soak and get ruined. And if I need them in the meantime, I wash them myself.
Another example? Mr. Intimacy Dr is a writer. His lair is a pit of despair, as you can imagine. I go through and collect trash sometimes, but mostly close the door and ignore. I only fuss when we are getting to the point that I see a huge-ass roach sitting at his laptop, editing his current screen play, and eating the popcorn he left out. Then it’s “Dude. You’re grounded till you clean your room. Now tell the roach to go do the dishes.”
What tends to be your relational sticking points? How money is spent? Create free money allowances for yourself. Or come up with an amount that each can spend without checking in with the other based on what you can afford and your financial goals as a couple. Sex? Come see me at my office, we can work that out. Parenting teenagers? Ugh, good luck on that one.
But no matter big or small, look at what the actual cost of the issue is before you decide how to proceed. It’s amazing how much can be let go when you do that.
Humor Rather Than Snipe
I suck at hanging towels up to dry. I tend to leave them sitting in the sink. I’m trying to be better at that but I had years of living alone and not sharing that bathroom with anyone. And it doesn’t bother ME. I’m probably gonna use that towel to mop up the floor before I throw it in the laundry, anyway. Which also grosses him out.
If I forget to hang up the towel, he will tease me into remembering rather than yell. “Who HATES to hang up towels?” And I’ll waive my hand in the air and say “Me! MEEEE!”
It’s obnoxiously cute, but it is way preferable to a stupid fight over a stupid thing, right? I remember to go hang up the towel and neither one of us feel irritated in the process.
Negotiate on Things That Are Straight Up Preferences
I have a toilet paper roll holder than hangs over the side of the toilet tank. Mr. Intimacy Dr hates the thing because he has to twist around to reach the roll. First world problems. He prefers it sitting on the counter next to the toilet. I don’t like that because it gets damp there. Again, first world problems.
Guess what? We have two rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom. One sitting on the counter and one handing on the holder. Boom. We are all set in our ways and have our preferences. They aren’t worth fighting about.
Is it Netflix and chill night and you want pizza and Boo wants Chinese? Just get both.
Mr Intimacy Dr would wear basketball shorts to the White House. I just got a white Cruella streak in my hair that he hates. But we allow each other to be who we are. Let your partner have their idiosyncrasies. They are the things you fell in love with, after all.
Honestly? My goal in life is to have my house be a peaceful abode. I want it to be my favorite place in the world to be. My spouse feels the same, so we work hard at setting up our relationship so we maintain that peace. Try it at YOUR home. It’s a pretty nice way to live.