conflicted couple
Relationships, Sex, Dating & Relationships

If You Need Relationship Advice You’re Probably In the Wrong Relationship

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“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you really need relationship advice I tend to think that’s probably a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship.

Says the woman who spends about a third of her blog pontificating about ways to have better relationships.

But most of the relationship advice I’ve ever received or read hasn’t been even remotely relevent to my life. Heck, most of it barely even makes sense.

Like how there seems to be this received wisdom that if you’re dating a man you need to ‘take control of the situation’, ‘make him work for it’ and ‘make him come to you’.

I don’t understand how ‘making him come to me’, leaving the ball in his court and the whole situation festering in the background is ‘taking control of the situation’. I couldn’t do that if I tried. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a terrible control freak, the waiting to see if I was actually waiting for anything would just about drive me out of my mind.

In terms of how much it annoys me this is closely followed by ‘you need space’.

If one or both of you needs to calm down then sure, take the time to do that, but beyond that space is the enemy of intimacy.

Absence seldom makes the heart grow fonder, it more often hardens the heart due to the fear of getting hurt that stems from not having a frikkin clue what’s going on. So your partner removes themselves from the situation entirely and leaves you deal with the mess by yourself.

And what’s with the umpteen articles I see on a daily basis telling me ‘how to get my partner to do x, y and z’?

Why is anybody reading those things?

I’m not interested in emotionally manipulating anyone. I want to create a connection that’s real. I want to know that I really see my partner and that they see me. That we’re both present in the relationship and that we’re doing the things that we do because that’s us and that’s how we want it. Not because we’re playing by someone else’s lousy rules; doing an impression of a real relationship.

You need to treat him this way because he’s ‘A Man’. You need to treat her this way because she’s ‘A Woman’.

They’re also individual human beings.

And I’m going to find a way to treat my partner that works for them. And for me. And if that doesn’t work out and I end up getting hurt then so be it, because that’s so much better than getting into that box all this so called advice is trying to fit us into. It’s just too cold and detached in there for me.

I think part of my aversion to relationship advice is that control freak thing kicking in again. If something is really important to me I don’t want other people who don’t truly understand it barging in and messing it up for me. If I’m going to screw it up I at least want to know that I did it on my own terms.

Partly it’s because the picture the advice is based on of what a relationship is supposed to look like just isn’t something I aspire to. It assumes that all successful relationships look the same, based on the assumption that everyone defines success in terms of their relationship in the same way. It also tends to assign either party a role within the relationship and then expects them to proceed within the confines of that role.

I know who I am; and I know what I need from a partner and want out of a relationship. I don’t need to play a part; and I don’t feel like my relationship needs to look like everyone else’s in order to be healthy.

But mostly it’s because I really think that if anyone else knows more about your relationship, or has a better idea how best for you to negotiate, improve, or mend it than you, you probably shouldn’t be in it.

Honestly, if you can’t ask the person you’re with “why did you do this?”; or say to them “you hurt me”, or “I don’t understand why you are doing this”, or “I need blah blah”. You probably shouldn’t be with them. You’d be better of just ending it and finding someone who you feel like you can be yourself with.

Communication is the only way to build a relationship and to create and sustain any level of intimacy. If you have intimacy you shouldn’t really need to seek guidance from anyone but your partner on what’s best for you relationship.

If you don’t have intimacy I don’t really see the point of being a relationship.

1 thought on “If You Need Relationship Advice You’re Probably In the Wrong Relationship”

  1. Normally, I would agree with you, and I still do mostly. I think those articles about “men” and “women” are generalized and useless…but I also know that sometimes you have to look outside of your relationship for help, because you need an outsider’s perspective.

    For me, I always know exactly what I want and I’m not afraid to say it. I will talk to my partner about whatever it is I need before I say anything to my friends or the Internet about it. BUT I’ve also been lucky in that I have had partners who are equally open to having hard conversations and being upfront about what they want, etc. And that they generally want the same things that I do at the same time.

    I have friends who are dating people who clearly love them and are good in a million different areas except one. For example, one friend wants to move in with her boyfriend. He has no problem planning a future with her, they spend all their time together etc, but he hasn’t asked her to move in and hasn’t made plans for them to move in together, even though she’s made it clear that that’s what she wants. Should she just throw away that entire relationship because of this one thing? Sometimes you need to talk to someone else because it becomes infuriating to talk to your partner about it, and you need to figure out if there’s a different way to approach the situation or if there’s a new way to understand your partner’s approach.

    You’re probably not going to find the kind of nuanced advice you need in one of those generalized articles, but it is possible that they’d open your eyes to a new way of looking at the situation — which simply talking to your partner doesn’t.


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