Elizabeth Bernstein welcomes the New Year with a list of four common relationship problems. For each problem she consults with a so-called expert.
Being something of an expert ourselves, we are happy to offer some alternative solutions to three of them.
The first problem is very modern:
My loved one won’t put down his or her phone (or tablet or laptop) and it is ruining our relationship. What can I do?
The experts recommend a conversation. For some reason, experts always recommend a conversation. They think that conversation will solve everything.
How should you conduct said conversation? The experts say that if your significant other is suffering from this addiction, you should address him or her sympathetically and with understanding.
You should never point out that the behavior is rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate or offensive.
For those who do not know the code, this means that you should not shame your partner into turning off the iPad.
And yet, when you show sympathy and understanding toward someone who is being rude to you, you are giving him license to abuse you. You are allowing him to ignore you in favor of an electronic gadget. After all, what does it cost him... beyond having to submit to a warm shower of understanding.
In this case the experts got it ass-backwards.
How should you react to such rude behavior? You should state, politely, that the behavior is rude. When someone us shunning you, you should not be sympathetic and understanding.
Depending on the circumstances and the venue, if someone consistently ignores you in favor of a gadget, you should get up and leave. Expert therapists notwithstanding, showing is better than telling.
In the most extreme case you should start thinking about walking out of the relationship altogether.
Next time, choose your relationship partners better.
Now, for the second relationship question:
How can I get my wife to have more sex with me?
Naturally, the experts recommend that you have a conversation about sex. Not in the bedroom, not before going to sleep… but at a more appropriate moment.
The experts are suggesting that you should, for example, have a chat about anal sex over brunch. Surely, that will spice things up!
Or perhaps, you can discuss your partner’s sexual inadequacies over cocktails. Think of how stimulating that will be!
For reasons that escape me, these experts seem to believe that, when it comes to sex, American couples are suffering from a conversational deficiency.
More likely, the opposite is closer to the truth. If anything we talk about sex too much. We think about it too much. We watch it too much.
If you did not think that this would dampen everyone’s libido you don’t know very much about sex.
Even those of you who are not experts know well that women do not like to talk about sex. And you probably also know that women are turned off by explicit and graphic references to sex.
If you think that women are turned on by discussions of fellatio, fetishes and lube… you do not know very many women.
That might be the reason why she no longer wants to give it up for you.
As for a more sensible solution to the problem, try this: be more considerate, caring, respectful, trustworthy, kind and considerate. Stop measuring your relationship in terms of how much pegging you received last month and try being a decent, honorable and loving spouse… outside of the boudoir.
If she does not trust you, she is not going to want to have sex with you.
Doesn’t everyone know by now that for a woman sex is never just sex and that foreplay involves a myriad of activities that appear to have little to do with sex?
The third relationship problem is:
How can I get my husband to go to therapy?
Why do women believe that their marital problems derive from the fact that their husbands lack self-awareness? Why do they still believe that therapy will solve these problems?
By now most men understand that if they go to therapy they will invariably encounter a female therapist who will ally herself with the wife, find fault with them and will try to make them into something that he is not.
Here, expert Howard Markman understands the problem well.
Most men, he says, believe that when they go to therapy they are going to be blamed. They are going to be induced to feel guilty about their bad behavior. A therapist might pay lip service to a wife's responsibility, but she will invariably blame the husband. It's the feministically correct position.
Markman is too tactful to say it, but most therapists see human relationships and especially marriages from a feminist perspective. They are practicing according to their ideology, not according to science.
A man who finds himself in couples therapy will learn that he is failing to be the kind of man that feminists want him to be.
Why would any man tolerate such an insult?
If they do not know it consciously, most men understand that if they managed to be the caring loving househusbands that their wives say they want them to be, they will be treated with contempt by their wives and disdain by their male friends.
So, three cheers for men who refuse to go to couples’ counseling. The real problem is wives who have unrealistic expectations about marriages and who believe that therapists can trick their husbands into playing a role in their feminist psychodrama.