Secrets from the Perpetual Girlfriend: What You Should Never Say To Your Significant Otherby Carly Pifer on August 27, 2012
Perpetual Girlfriend shares relationship advice from a ‘serious girlfriend’ with ten years — and some serious oversights — under her belt.
Though I have delicate wrists with bird bones that might splinter in an arm wrestle and am a remarkably tiny person, what I lack in size, I make up for with a sharp tongue that has left wounds on even the manliest of egos. Yes, I have been known to make grown men cry, and often.
Though it’s kind of pathetic of me, I must acknowledge that there are times when people deserve to really be served up their bullshit like a grey-tinged burger at a white trash diner. But then, there are times that I have gone too far, and lived to regret getting carried away with having the last word (and making it hurt, too.) The result is ending up groveling in a mess I seemingly enjoyed creating. Which is a big, fat, FAIL. Here are a few things that I’ve said and learned the hard way not to say ever again. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, too.
I recently got myself into one such mess by shouting “My ex-boyfriend has a bigger penis than you!” It would have probably been okay if this was some sort of Tourettes-style outburst, but it wasn’t. I was looking directly into his face. Harsh? Yes. Honest? No comment.
However giggly this matter might be to me now, this was a grave error, and I knew it even while I was delivering the blow. It is a low point in a squabble when you feel desperate enough to say something easy, and just plain mean. But hey, it got there. But the aftermath of my actions? Ugh.
See, when you critique someone’s sexual prowess, or even worse, things they have no control over, they kind of stop wanting to f*ck you. I had a very happy and maybe even robust sex life before I made this comment, and after this comment, it dwindled down to almost obsolete. I’m an idiot. Do not say this thing that I said. If you do, prepare youself for groveling, unnecessary compliments, and maybe even an apologetic blow job or two.
Honesty? Not Always The Best Policy
Confessing, “I cheated on my last boyfriend” to your new S.O. may feel like an act of righteousness, but often it’s kind of just exactly like cheating all over again; at the moment it feels really good, and then later, you regret it. Likely because people that cheat look like awful people. (Whether they really are or not.)
If you admit that you’ve cheated, you’re admitting you’re a cheater. And once a cheater, always a cheater, right? A boy in high school told me this, and I never forgot it as hard as I’ve tried. It would be seemingly impossible to for your new S.O. to forget this type of indiscretion — it’s going to lurk in the back of their mind and pretty much eat away at their souls.
So if in the glow of that “let’s share everything we ever did before we met” phase of relationship, you make this mistake, be sure to expand on why you cheated. This is important and it’s also important to recognize your reason is probably not very legit. Especially if it starts like, “I was out of the country,” or “I was drunk”. That’s just stupid. Talk about what you learned from it. Talk about how it ruined the relationship. Talk about personal growth and regret. And then do a funny dance and change the subject.
A certain aura of mystery and confidence are important players in a sexy relationship that lasts. Therefore, there are red-flag conversation topics that are not verbal attacks or silly confessions, but things that turn unwanted attention to something about yourself that is generally unappealing to others.
Never announce your insecurities as questions; the “Do I look fat?” moment is something guys have been prepped for since grade school practically, but shit, no matter how fat you might be, consider that he might not see you the way you see yourself. As in, he might love you and think your extra inch of belly fat is sexy, so don’t call attention to it in a negative way. You’ve earned it. Inside your relationship may be the only place in the world where you can (and should) feel totally safe being you, and being naked. You’re together for a reason after all, and at least initially, that reason was basic, animalistic, sexual attraction. So even if you feel fat, or ugly, or stupid one day, don’t rely on your significant other to convince you otherwise. Being reassuring for other people is draining. Buck up for yourself and the person you’re with.
One night I was drinking wine on the Upper West Side with my friend (who I thought was in a happy relationship), and I told her that my live-in-boyfriend was living in a hotel that week. He was. I like to refer to it as the week he went out of town, but in reality, the hotel was five minutes away.
When I asked about her and her boyfriend she said everything was good, everything was great and that he was practically living with her. Having just taken the plunge myself, I asked why they hadn’t officially moved in yet and she told me without hesitation; “He is very unhappy with his job and I can’t really be with him when he is unhappy. He hates going to work. He is a monster around that subject and I don’t want to deal with it.”
My friend is not an unfeeling bitch. She is one smart lady. She loves this person but clearly not enough to indulge his misery much longer. And you know what? I think that’s the most measured and thoughtful thing I’ve ever heard a woman say. Of course you should be able to talk to the person you’re with. That person should be supportive and helpful, and your “rock” as some people put it. But they shouldn’t have to listen to an endless stream of complaints and unhappiness. Instead of saying these things to your lover, shut up and DO something about them.
Carly Pifer is a self-proclaimed relationship expert, a title which she credits her uncanny hankering for marathon dating. Though she has traded partners a few times, she’s stayed married to her problems and interest in exploration on the subject. When she’s not writing about sex and relationships, she writes about fashion, travel and whatever else holds her fancy, though curiously, very little rivals her fixation on the male species.