I had to laugh in a bitter, frustrated, want-to-rip-my-esophagus-out way today when I read a column by Elina Furman on the five signs that a romantic relationship might be over.
Elina, who seems to be a wise, perceptive person, must not know the same people I do. In Elina’s circle of friends, apparently there are subtle signals that people send out when a relationship might be on the rocks. These signals include things like picking fights, forgetting to call, and criticizing almost everything you do.
I thought all that is part of what a relationship is.
Maybe it’s because Elina and I know different types of people, or maybe it’s because I’m from the South, or maybe it’s because I’ve dated some Vindictive Heartless Bitches (VHB[sup]TM[/sup]) in the past, but I’ve never really had a problem determining when a relationship was on the rocks. Women I’ve dated have made it perfectly clear that things were over between us, using such time-tested, relationship-ending communication tools as sarcasm, insults, marrying someone else, and high-powered rifles.
Of course, it could just be that I’m remarkably intuitive when it comes to things like this. So, as a personal favor to you, I’m going to give you my Helpful Hints on Figuring Out Your Relationship is Officially Kaput (HHFOYRiOK):
• If, during a session of physical intimacy, your wife calls out another man’s name, your relationship may be in trouble, but it’s not necessarily over. If she calls out the entire starting lineup of the Chicago Bears, including their jersey number and position, you’ve got serious problems. If you’re female, and your husband calls out the entire starting lineup of the Chicago Bears, you can legally shoot him in most states.
• If your girlfriend greets you at the door by swinging a shovel at your face instead of kissing you, things are on the rocks.
• If your boyfriend surprises you with flowers for no reason, things are good. If your boyfriend surprises you with Mace and a restraining order, things are not so good.
• If your husband forgets your mother’s name consistently, that’s forgivable. If he consistently forgets your name, that’s a problem. If he consistently forgets to come home, your relationship is in trouble.
• Small, personal love notes from your significant other, left where you can find them, are thoughtful gestures. Small, personal explosive devices where you least expect them are a sign of severe communication issues.
• If your wife tries to talk over you during an argument, that’s normal. If she tries to duct-tape your mouth shut during an argument, that’s troubling. If she tries to duct-tape your nose shut after duct-taping your mouth shut, you should probably just concede her point.
• If your husband would rather watch a sporting event than talk with you, that’s normal. If he would rather play a sport than talk with you, that’s normal too. If he would rather go to a sporting event with other guys instead of talking with you, that’s still normal. Basically, any jerkish behavior by a guy related to sports is normal, and that will never change.
• If your girlfriend wants to have a talk about Where Our Relationship is Headed, that’s not unusual. If she wants to have this talk while you’re in a boat chained to a block of cement, your relationship is not headed in a good direction.
• If your wife says a movie actor is good-looking, that’s normal. If she says guys she sees every day, like a co-worker or the mailman, are good-looking, that’s still normal. If she says a co-worker is good-looking when he’s wearing nothing but leather chaps and is being teased with a whip, that’s not normal, unless your wife works with a Congressman.
• If your husband teases you about your weight, that’s insensitive, but unfortunately it’s sorta normal. If he teases you about your weight as he’s lifting your tied-up body into the trunk of his car, you have serious problems.
So, there you go. I hope these tips from a perceptive guru such as myself help you navigate those sometimes-treacherous communication waters in your relationship. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my wife has asked me to pick up some rat poison and C4 explosive at the store.