Break up already!

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

If it's broke, don't fix it -- trash it.

Anyone who has "accidentally" watched an episode of Maury or Jerry Springer has seen this scene: a woman bawling over some guy in a wife-beater who's cheated on her 12 or so times. The inevitable question is, "Why do you stay with him?"

The answer?

"But ah luhve him."

And you, sitting at home, think, "idiot." But chances are you or someone you know is just as detestable as this blubbering lady. Because the odds are very high that I have heard one of you complain about your significant other. Excessively.

Common complaints:

"BlahBlah doesn't listen to me."

"So-n-So is so immature."

"What's-her-Face is boring in bed."

"Such-and-Such drinks too much and makes me cry."

I understand that not everyone is perfect. Even the most loving and respectable partner has some sort of quirk that exasperates his or her loved one.

However, if you are in a functional, communicative relationship, there is no way you should be whining to friends, family, coworkers and minor acquaintances every other day.

This is the truth, plain and simple. I hardly ever complain about my relationship. No, I'm not saying that my relationship never has problems.

It's just that my partner and I talk about what is bothering us, and we try to fix it. I have no need to bring a third party into the picture, especially one who has no qualifications in relationship counseling except they listen to "Loveline" when they're in St. Louis.

This makes it especially hard, when someone tells me about their relationship problems, to relate. Sure, I'll nod and sigh and try to give advice if wanted, but it's difficult for me to understand the problems people face when the root of it is a lack of communication. Here is a sample of a conversation I may have with a dissatisfied girlfriend:

Girl: "Joe always makes out with other girls in front of me. It really makes me mad."

Me: "Well, have you told him how you feel?"

Girl: "No, but he knows."

Chances are that Joe doesn't know his makeouts are affecting his relationship. And Girl probably does plenty of things that drive Joe up the wall, but he hasn't told her either because their relationship is definitely lacking in communication. But even worse than this conversation is this gem:

Guy: "My girlfriend is a shrew. I can't even go out with my homeboys without her being all, 'Where you going?'"

Me: "Well, being as this is the third time you've told me this, have you told her how you feel?"

Guy: "Yeah, we fight about it all the time!"

Me: "Well, gee, BREAK UP ALREADY!"

The answer? You guessed it: "But I love him/her. But we've been together so long. Blah blah blah."

If there is an unresolvable problem in your relationship that makes you complain to people constantly, then there are three options: fix it, shut up, or break up. Don't bother other people with your problems if you're not willing to take their advice or do anything to actually help the situation.

To help you put this in perspective, here is a conversation that has the same parallel to the previous conversations, only with a twist:

Guy: "Man, my sweater is giving me an allergic reaction. Every time I wear it, my skin bleeds from my sweat glands and I pass out."

Me: "Oh my God! Have you gotten rid of the sweater?!"

Guy: "But I've had it for so long Ö"

Now imagine this guy complaining about his horrible sweater to you every two or three days. Eventually you would start to think, "Why the hell doesn't he just get rid of the sweater? What an idiot." I think you see my point, maybe.

If you are like me and get complained to frequently, just remember that there are some people who may exaggerate their relationship problems to get attention. There are also some people who, because of previous circumstances in their life, will continuously seek and maintain dysfunctional relationships. Just remember the three words that will likely cause these people to at least leave you alone:

"Break up already!"

Odds are, when they don't have you to complain to anymore, you will see these people on Jerry Springer. Tape it for them.

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