Sunday, June 30, 2019

How to Kill a Relationship

If you are looking for relationship advice, you have come to the right place. Or so I like to think. The woman who wrote to Carolyn Hax a bunch of years back did not go to the right place. She asked a serious question and received the kind of advice that any good denizen of the therapy culture would have offered. That is, she got some bad advice.

I will quote the letter, in its entirety. I am confident that you know what Hax responded. And that you know that it was bad advice.

Here is the letter:

I have finally met a guy I really like. We have been seeing each other on and off for a couple of months. Should I ask where this relationship is going or just see where it takes us? I have been raised to believe the guy should bring up stuff like that. I'm worried that if I say I would like to be exclusive I might scare him off.

She is worried that she might scare him off. She is right to be worried that an assertive lean-in attitude will scare him off. In almost all relationship situations, open and honest is a bad idea. She is right.

Hax sees it differently. She writes:

I was raised that way, too, but then reconditioned to believe that if honesty kills your relationship, then it was already dying of natural causes.

“Where is this going?” still lays it on him. Asking to be exclusive is honest, and also such a compliment that it would be a shame to withhold it out of fear that he might not agree.

No, of course, she should not ask him where it is going. They have been seeing each other on and off for a couple of months. And she wants something like a commitment. Hax seems to believe that she should ask, but does not understand that asking where it is going does not really lay it on him. 

Those of us who have reached the age of adult reason understand, by the laws of Darwinian theory, that women become more committed emotionally to a man sooner than a man becomes committed to a woman. I will spare you the explanation, but you should understand that when a man and a woman mate they are not performing the same action.

What Hax sees as honesty bespeaks desperation… and an unwillingness to deal with a human specimen with a different emotional constitution. It is not a compliment when a woman becomes desperate and clingy. Many men find it suffocating. Many find that they are dealing with a pushy woman who is depriving them of the right to make up their own minds.

The key to understanding male/female relationships is to know that a man will give a woman anything she wants, but only if he believes that it’s his idea. If a woman is not clever enough to figure out how to communicate without couching her desperation in a cloak of false honesty, she needs some dating lessons. 

If you don't like that, ask yourself this, do we want her to get what she wants or do we want her to make a psycho point?

As for the big question, how she can persuade her paramour to be more closely committed to her, the solution might be for her to be slightly less available for him. Note that she says they are seeing each other on and off… this means that they are not yet a constituted couple… in his mind.

If she wants to regain some control over the situation she should take a step back. Otherwise, if she wants her relationship to have a higher level of commitment, perhaps she should demonstrate a higher level of commitment herself… by cooking him dinner. 

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