Take it from an old guy: Trashing a relationship is easy as 1-2-3-4-5.
There’s not a lot of good to say about getting older. I’m achy sometimes for no reason, my ears ring constantly, and the pounds don’t come right off like they used to. Don’t get me started on what a chile relleno and a late cup of coffee can do to a night’s sleep.
One mixed blessing of tacking on some years is that I’ve had plenty of time to make a lot of stupid mistakes, and those I haven’t made my friends have made for me. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the last few decades about destroying relationships:
1) Treat waiters and other service workers poorly. You might think that witty remark about the slow service or your demand to get the manager right now makes you look large and in charge, but really you just look rude and arrogant. If you really think those who serve you don’t deserve your respect, you’ve tossed up two relationship red flags: A) You’re the kind of guy who thinks he’s superior to others, and B) You treat those you deem inferior like crap. No reasonable person wants to risk being on the pointed end of that stick.
2) Solve her problems. If you’re already practicing item 1, she knows you have trouble with empathy. Now you can really drive that point home by not empathizing with her when she tells you about her new boss’s unreasonable demands. Saying “That’s simple, here’s what you do…” is like saying “your problems aren’t really that big of a deal.” Now, if you don’t want to trash your relationship, practice active listening. Shoot for “That must really be frustrating,” but more importantly—mean it.
3) Do absolutely nothing. I mean this in two different contexts: A) Don’t help out around the house, and B) Have no interests. Be a slug, because every woman wants to hitch her wagon to that shiny star who sits on the couch all day playing Xbox.
4) Hide your porn. Not every guy looks at porn, but a lot do. And although not all women will be cool with that, a very large percentage are even less cool with you keeping secrets. I’m not saying a healthy relationship means watching Big Booty Surprise Party 6 together; rather, I’m just saying that the “I enjoy a little visual stimulation now and then and that is no reflection on you” talk is a hell of a lot less painful than catching you in the middle of BBSP 6.
5) Demand sex. And do so in as many different ways as possible: pout, get angry, be passive aggressive, get clingy, withhold affection, bargain, push, push, push. This is especially effective if you’ve been practicing items one through four above, because by now she sees you as an obnoxious, know-it-all , Xbox loving porn hound who can’t be bothered to wash a dish, and what’s sexier than that?
Here’s the thing: When I was a twentysomething, no middle aged bald dude with a keyboard could’ve told me anything. I get that. But I’ve been through the wars, little brother, and I regret the casualties. A lot. I still don’t know the secrets to a happy relationship, but I guarantee you that these five bullets will kill one before you know it.
Too late? Check out When She Says It’s Over It’s Over.
photo Erich Ferdinand / Flickr