Let’s not beat around the bush, here: I’ve been around the block a time or two. No, I’m not saying “been around the block” in the sense that I’ve whored around and probably carry enough STDs to make a scientist at the World Health Organization salivate with the possibility of using my disease combinations to study the effects of promiscuous behavior. I’m saying I’ve been in a lot of relationships, of many different variety.
In those varied relationships, I’ve learned some very obvious rules to abide by; commandments, you might say. Now, while I’m talking about romantic relationships, this could also apply to friendships, family relationships, as well as work associates. I see some of the experiences I’ve had in romance (dating, living together, marriage) as microcosms of the ways in which people should treat all relations with others. But for now, it’s more fun to keep it to the romantic ones.
Relationship Commandment #1
Thou Shalt Not Talk About Your Ex
Nothing is worse than when someone won’t just shut the fuck up about their ex. I know, I know – sometimes it is obvious when a person is out on the rebound, looking to drown those horrible, broken feelings in hours of apple martinis and random one night stands. But it’s still a sign that a person has little care about anyone’s feelings but their own when they continue the conversation beyond the initial break-up. No one cares if your girlfriend did X or Y in a way that you felt was wrong. Trust me: it doesn’t make anyone feel good to hear you talk about, or talk shit of, your ex.
Relationship Commandment #2
Thou Shalt Be Present
I’m not really talking about physical presence – everyone has other obligations (work, school, etc.). I’m talking about emotional presence. Nothing is more damaging to a relationship than when someone is completely unable to be emotionally present in it. The whole point of relationships is to share emotion; a concept that seems to be lost more often now than ever before. If you are unable to be emotionally or mentally present in your relationship, chances are you shouldn’t be in a relationship with another person to begin with.
Relationship Commandment #3
Thou Shalt Always Honor Commitments or Communicate Otherwise
I have had the great fortune of being in a relationship with someone that truly believed it was acceptable to not show up for a planned evening together. He did not call, he did not text – we made plans and he just blew them off. Later when I asked if he thought it was okay to do that he said he knew people who would think it was. No apologies, no justifications – just “I think it’s perfectly okay to do.” Well, faithful blog followers, it is most certainly not. Anyone who thinks it is okay to be ditched like that has some serious boundary issues they need to work on (as in they have none). It is never okay to completely abandon a commitment made to a significant other. Recently I surveyed some of my Facebook followers in preparation of this blog to see what they thought, and the results unambiguously support Relationship Commandment #4: Thou Shalt Always Honor Commitments or Communicate Otherwise.
Relationship Commandment #4
Thou Shalt Be Honest at All Times
The amount that people seem to lie now a days is really starting to get under my skin. In any sort of relationship – romantic, business, familial, or otherwise – it is never okay to lie. Ever. It is not okay either to be equivocal with the intent to deceive. Lastly, “what they don’t know won’t hurt them…” is not an acceptable mantra. Relationships are built on trust, which is only found through honesty. There is no such thing as blind faith in another human being – that is reserved for God, Allah, or whatever religious entity you may (or may not) subscribe to. (In fact, if someone believes you should have blind faith in them, they obviously think they are God and thus have severe delusions of grandeur you should get the fuck away from.) The thing about a lie is this: at some point, it’s going to come out. Whether it be later on when he finds out you really aren’t into football, or when your secretary calls the house wondering where you’ve been for two hours when you said you were heading home for lunch…and once that trust is broken, it is very hard to get it back.
Relationship Commandment #5
Thou Shalt Never Swap Sex Stories
The only reason I can see for a man to need to swap sex stories with others is because he either needs to prove he can get it up, or assert his heterosexuality. The only reason I can see for a woman to need to swap sex stories with others is to talk shit about the man and his penis. In either event, it’s wrong. The bedroom is considered private for a reason; and while you may think it is perfectly acceptable to talk about the position and moisture level from last night with anyone and everyone, unless you’ve explicitly and verbally cleared that with your significant other you have no right to do so. Let’s remember that in this world we are not the only ones that exist and have feelings. When you are telling all your lady friends that your boyfriend’s penis is flaccid half the time, and like boning lumpy mashed potatoes the other half, I’m pretty sure his feelings would be terribly hurt if he knew you were talking about it.