The latest scandal with Anthony Weiner has revealed a cultural epidemic—men who seek power and self-worth through the means of seduction, harassment and exhibitionist behavior via social media. This is no longer a fad; this has become a preferred and predictable way for many men to deal with their psychological impotence. And while we see an increase in these stories in the news, the behavior and pathology is not new.
Little secrets run rampant with couples—you said you were working late when you were out at a bar with your friends after work or you said the shoes you just bought cost $80.00 when in fact they cost $280.00. While on the surface they may seem innocent enough, in the long run, keeping secrets in order to avoid confrontation, conflict, manipulation, or in some cases, potential divorce, wreaks havoc on the health and well-being of a marriage. And while these little white lies or omissions may appear to work in keeping the peace in the short run, in the long run, both spouses lose. Here’s why.
Our culture puts a lot of pressure and emphasis on “love ever after”. People who are married and especially those that have long term marriages are seen as somehow better than the rest of us. When someone divorces, people describe that as a “failed” marriage. We are shocked and dismayed when we hear that marriages such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s are ending. There are many wonderful things about making a commitment to one person and seeing that commitment through until “death do us part.” The benefits are bountiful and I will definitely write a blog on this topic another day. But today, this blog is for those that want “out” but feel pressured to comply with our cultural standards or don’t want to feel like a failure or are simply feeling lost and alone. There are many good reasons to end a relationship. When a relationship is unhealthy and unworkable for you, staying simply for the sake of staying together under adverse conditions only reinforces stagnation and pain. Here are some reasons why it’s okay to call it quits.
Some people resist saying those simple words “I’m sorry”. Most of the time, this knee jerk reaction comes from a place of defensiveness. We don’t like to be criticized or attacked. We don’t like to think we’ve done something wrong. For some people it triggers a whole world of guilt or shame, for others, it simply makes them feel coerced or manipulated, especially if they believe that they have not done anything wrong to begin with. So what does an apology really mean. It means that...
Okay, I admit it. There is something that people do that drives me crazy. Sometimes they do it out of selfishness and other times out of ignorance. And I guess for many people, they just don’t pay attention. Regardless, it gets me mad. Please don’t make your problems mine. My daughter, whom I dearly love, has a habit of doing this rather often. It simply drives me crazy. Here’s one story to illustrate my point.
“Why can’t you just take out the trash without me having to remind you three times?” “I wish you would use a hand towel to dry the dishes as opposed to leaving them out to air dry.” “You said you vacuumed, but I still see dirt on the carpet.” “You need to cook dinner for the kids, not bring in take-out!” These are just some examples of the kinds of things we say to our loved ones every day. We know they are doing their best, but we just can’t help being irritated and stepping in to show them the “right” way to do things. And we just can’t understand their reactions to our good intentions to facilitate their performance-improvement. Why would they get so defensive and angry?
People make assumptions all the time. We assume we heard someone correctly; we assume we understand exactly what they meant; we assume that it is all about us, all about them, etc. Communication blunders can be attributed to one thing. Our assumptions.