in general, i am extremely pro-honesty. two relationship instances when lying is permissible.
INSTANCE #1: SILENT SUFFERING
louis ck. i came up with the term after reading this gawker piece Louis C.K. Forced to Reschedule Show Due to Sandy, Apologizes to Fans with Classy Open Letter
Listen. I know that probably it’s going to be a starry clear night and the trains are going to be just gliding up and down the tracks and a baby zebra is going to whinny as he trots by the City Center on a night that is going to break records for being placid and perfect for a night of comedy. And I’m going to feel like an asshole. And I know that some people had their plans set and are going to be pissed off at me. I know. but I also know that some of you are struggling with whether to come in or miss the show and this is the closest I can get to a solution. You don’t have to take a chance and you don’t have to miss the show. Just come see me in a few months.
If it’s any consolation, I’m eating a pretty staggering fee for cancelling the show. But I can take it. What I can’t take is the thought that there’s a CHANCE 4300 people will be in danger trying to get home from my stupid show.
and this comment stuck out:
A class act does not mention they are eating a large cancellation fee.
and then all of this other stuff started coming up that made me of think of silent suffering. by mentioning the cancellation fee, does that make him a hero? or does it make him petty for trying to get those points.
angeles. angeles has this story that she loves to tell about me. about how i ALWAYS get other people to do shit i want them to do, and how i NEVER do things other people want to do (which is not really totally fair……. but not totally unfair either). and then she mentions one year when she had her birthday at a brothers comatose concert, and how i went, but how i was a REALLY TERRIBLE sport and looked miserable (i think there was something really bothering me that day and my arm was heavily twisted, but she is totally right–i was a major, major downer that day).
it took me awhile to realize that it’s not really that angeles wanted me to go to the concert, because i was there at the fucking concert, it’s that she wanted me to WANT TO be at the concert.
early relationship chicken. himym (which, really has been lacking (among many other things) the relationship guru advice–cougar town is definitely the best tv show giving good relationship advice these days, imo. followed by modern family and happy endings) described something called “early relationship chicken” in season 7, which is when you agree to do things when you’re dating because you don’t want to look like you’re a sourpuss who isn’t a cool guy.
in himym, this led to various hijinks which ultimately landed robin and kal penn at a strip club and robin buying kal penn a lapdance on their date! LOL. but i would also group dave agreeing to go with me to an intro parkour class on a first date and my agreeing to go with daniel to the de young in this category of relationship chicken. especially as dating progresses, it evolves from “agreeing to do things you wouldn’t normally have agreed to do” to “it’s your obligation to do things you wouldn’t normally do, so now be happy doing it.”
cougar town. this line sums up everything for me and how i feel about this subject:
Therapist: Grayson, so you want kids. What about you, Jules?
Jules: Well, I did say I would go on any adventure with him. But not ALL adventures are things that you’re necessarily DYING to do. For instance… like getting kidnapped! Or eating raw chicken!
Grayson: You don’t get credit for saying you’ll have a kid if you’re going to constantly make me feel guilty about it.
taking it home. basically, i’m going to do things that i don’t want to do when in the relationship. but what is more important than actually doing it is actually PRETENDING that you really enjoy it. i mean, obviously this is true to a point, don’t go overboard and be so convincing that you end up having to do it over and over again in an unhealthy way, but if you’re already doing it, be positive about it! smile, don’t gripe, don’t guilt, don’t frame it as “MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER OWES ME A BIG ONE”. especially if there was a big fight to get you to do something, the moment you acquiesce to their request, a switch needs to be flipped and you need to just go all in. i can be a terrible liar and a bad sport, but i am doing my best to be excited about things that i may not be excited for otherwise. if you are suffering in a relationship activity, you get a lot more credit if it’s silent.
this happens all the time in sitcoms (and in real life? who knows), but as far as i know, very few, if any people have the self-control not to just blurt out how you owe them. like how ted breaks up with victoria because victoria says that ted has to stop being friends with robin!?!? and then ted chooses robin’s friendship over victoria as a wife?!?!?!? and then ted doesn’t even tell robin that HE CHOSE ROBIN OVER THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE?!?!?!?!?!?!?! he earns zero credit from robin, but somehow, telling her that he chose her over victoria maybe would have created more guilt than credit. trying to become a better person. fun fact, to this day, i consider the ted/victoria wedding episode one of the most romantic, beautiful, magical 30 minutes of tv ever. i used to show it to -everyone-.
it should be noted that i think it’s equally important not to turn into the couple where you can’t trust the things they say, if they are accurately representing their preferences, requiring painstaking observation, triple-questioning, and confusion.
will be revisited, but daniel originally didn’t want to come to disneyland, but he consented, and (acted like) he had a great time!! and i appreciate it.
INSTANCE #2: MAINTAINING THE FANTASY
from a quora answer (probably a dan holliday, my quora hero, answer): So, I accept him for who he is (other than the sloppiness – which I won’t tolerate) and we have, as in most relationships, a detente on the rest. I think I heard this in Mr. & Mrs. Smith: “A successful relationship requires that each member conspire to keep their every inner thought to themselves and make the other one feel special.” I accept this.
okay, obviously, it’s an intentionally ridiculous statement, but, directionally, it resonated.
i generally hold myself to a “i need to prove to my boyfriend day in and day out that he should choose me.” and, generally, i hold (or used to hold) my boyfriends to this standard as well. it sort of imploded one night. i had gone to a new years party with an ex, and he had a lot to drink. we went outside, i forget, i think to walk home to bart or to catch a cab or something, and he got sick on the sidewalk and threw up in the sewage drain. and he just started crying, about how he always felt scared that i was going to break up with him, that he could never prove himself to me, that he was not enough, and he made me promise that i wouldn’t break up with him. it was a weird moment, i wasn’t really sure what to say. i felt terrible though, it made me realize how psychologically taxing it is to never feel secure, how…. i maybe should have just lied and made him feel more comfortable?…
(the epilogue is that we had mutual breakup. i really don’t think i really made him THAT happy either, and i think he’s much happier in his new relationship. so everyone’s a winner!)
(but this is also one (of the many) reason(s) i think it’s permissible to lie during initial dating, to act totally sold on the other person. people who feel like they aren’t being judged intently are people who feel comfortable and at ease who are people who are much more likely to impress you and let their personality shine.)
for my fucking awesome tumblr that i’m generally proud of (lots of cat photos!!!! <3), i put together a list of SO list of requirements (SOLOR, pronounced “so-lore”) and a list of SO nice to haves (SOLONTH) (h/t mawk for the coinage).
people used to be like “well, what sort of guy are you looking for!?” and i used to say “that seems like a silly question, isn’t the only thing really looking for someone who gets along well with me!?” but in retrospect, the list is perhaps longer than i would have guessed.
- must place in the top 5% of people whose company i enjoy. i think being able to have a good time together can cure most fights and get through most differences and is sustainable enough to keep your SO from wandering.
- must be empathetic. can understand how their actions will make other people feel and act accordingly.
- must meet threshold of attractiveness
SOLONTH (SO list of nice to haves)
- reasonable/rational/fair/consistent/can be reasoned with/relatively emotionally stable
- has their life together/similar relationship to money/similar life goals (directionally)
- active/open communicator
- doesn’t take self too seriously/playful/ridiculous
- competent/you can trust them to take control of situations/capable leader/gets stuff done/reliable/responsible
- respectful/doesn’t talk down/supportive/doesn’t belittle
- good teammate/partner in crime
- good/compatible conflict resolution skills/being solution oriented and not blame
- oriented/takes responsibility and doesn’t rely on excuses
- confident/bold/not insecure
- socially competent/funny
- not pretentious
- genuinely open to suggestions
- cheerful/smiles easily
- appreciates my quirkiness and endless scheming
- loves cuddling
i posted this, and daniel emailed me:
you cheated!! your SOLOR/SOLONTH list is just me! ugh!!! ❤
(which is true, by the way, that the list is just daniel <3) (OKAY SORRY just really had to get that in there)
i do have a mini confession though, which is that when i posted the entry, the last item wasn’t “loves cuddling”, but was “have a six-pack”, which was a sort of tongue-in-cheek reference to the semi-douchey-but-makes-up-for-it-by-being-attractive “it doesn’t hurt if you have a six-pack” andrew_sf online dating profile (but, yes, fine, a nice to have, you caught me!!!!). but then i thought about it, and i thought about how daniel would feel if he read it, what happens if he developed some sort of image complex/insecurity complex after reading it, and then sacrificed my journalistic integrity and changed it.
anyway. there’s obviously a time and a place to discuss shortfalls, but there are also plenty of times to gloss over them and not to be brutally honest. (which i am also trying to do better.) (but also, tbh, i really don’t really find that daniel has many shortfalls as a significant other)