Monday, February 9, 2015

Lie to Love- The World's Worst Relationship Advice

Typically when I read an article that's utter bullshit, especially when most of the comments agree, I just groan in disgust and move on. However, Lie to Love: 20 White Lies You Always Tell In Healthy Relationships on Elite Daily inspired me to write a blog post deconstructing why it's the most dreadful advice I've ever read. I would dismiss the piece as absurd, except it exaggerates a number of monogamous dating conventions that are widely accepted. Here are some of the lies we always tell out of love, according to the author:

He's the biggest you've ever had
He may not be the biggest, but right here, right now, he is. He's the only guy you're with, so he's the only one you're comparing him to. 

The assumption here is that comparing your lovers is inevitable, but it's not. It's a choice. If you're having this conversation, either you've initiated a penis size competition, or he is insecurely asking how he measures up. Either way, you don't have to go there. When I have jealous episodes, my boyfriend refuses to tell me how I compare to other women he dates. Even if it would temporarily alleviate my insecurity, he is smart enough to know it's a bad idea. Today I might have the bigger boobs, but one day that won't be true, and then he'll be stuck having to lie, say something painful, or hurt me with his new avoidance of answering the question. Better to set the standard that we don't make comparisons, and instead focus on communicating our love and what we genuinely desire about each other.

How you really wanted to spend the weekend
If he spent all Saturday pretending he actually enjoyed the mall, then you'd spend all Sunday pretending you give a sh*t about football.

My spouse and I never understood the need for couples to merge all their interests and spend 100% of their free time together. We are unique individuals who can still enjoy separate friendships and hobbies. Why not skip the pretending all together-- you go to the mall while he is watching the game, and then meet up later for date night? You'll both be happier.

How long it takes you to get ready
He doesn't need to know you spent an hour on your hair and, unfortunately, you did not wake up like that. If beauty is an illusion, let yours keep up the smoke and mirrors. 

If this article was titled "20 Things We Do To Protect Ourselves When We First Start Dating Someone New," I wouldn't have a problem with this one. We all put up screens to varying degrees, concealing our imperfections and bodily functions, until we establish enough trust to be seen in all our natural messy glory. However, given the title is about love and healthy relationships, this lie isn't sustainable. What happens if you move in together and your partner can see exactly what you look like when you wake up and how long you take to get ready? Do you really want to create a giant illusion to bust if things progress? One of my favorite moments in new relationships is when I'm finally comfortable for my partner to see me without my makeup on, first thing in the morning. It is wonderful to feel that vulnerable, to discover that my partner finds me beautiful without the facade

How intense your last relationship was
Whether you were engaged, living together or just had amazing sex, none of that needs to be known. You have an ex and everything about them is just white noise.

Past relationships are part of your story. They are experiences that helped shape who you are today, how you think about love, and what you're looking for in a partner. They give your life context. Why would you hide that?

The platonic date he/she doesn't need to know about
Whether it was a work dinner with a hot client or coffee with a coworker, sometimes the best thing you can say is absolutely nothing...if it really was just nothing.

If you have to lie about this, then I would speculate that either a.) Your platonic date meant more to you than you're willing to admit. Or b.) Your significant other can't handle knowing that you spend time with members of the opposite sex, in any context, ever. Either way, something dysfunctional is going on there. Healthy relationships are built on trust and honesty.

How often you think about him/her
Just all day. Every second of every minute. Every minute of every hour. And every time you hear something that reminds you of him/her- which is almost everything.

Someone thinking about me 24/7? Creepy. I prefer my partners to think about many other things throughout the day, and then share them with me, so I can appreciate their intellect and bond with them over stimulating conversation. I guess if your goal is to develop a superficial relationship with someone who treats you like a sex doll, pretending to be physically perfect with no thoughts outside your relationship is decent advice.

How much you actually love him/her back
You try and play it cool, but inside you're dying to tell him/her how much you think, talk and dream about him/her. Your partner is your reason for being and the light of your life- but for now, you'll just say, "I love you too."

When I was monogamous, I kept my cards close to my chest and revealed my feelings slowly, because that's how people play the dating game. You don't want to find out you're more in love than your partner-- to scare them away with the intensity of your feelings, or risk rejection. Now my partners and I readily share our feelings early in relationships. And you know what happens? You build intimacy faster.

I've done the white lying and can assure you that it's not the key to a healthy relationship, at least not a deep meaningful one. In my experience, the key is to fearlessly be myself, communicate honestly, and share my life openly with my partners. By doing that I've not only developed functional life-long loving relationships, but I've also found self-acceptance and happiness.