Ok, i’m at work and my girlfriend rings up for a chat, we discuss what time I should come over and have a good old chat about this and that, somehow the conversation turns to what I think about her housemates (who I don’t really know) friends problem she is having with her boyfriend. I won’t go into details because it was about as interesting as watching paint dry (or Blaine dangle, which I think is the modern equivalent). What I want to know is why anyone would think that someone else could possibly be interested enough in two people they don’t knows trivial details of their relationship especially while they are working to warrant even discussing it? I don’t want to sound uncaring, I mean I am more than happy to talk about people I actually know and offer advice and so forth but the link from me to these people is so slim it makes Ally McBeal look like a whale. The other thing I don’t understand is why she gives a shit? She doesn’t even know them and also doesn’t even like the girl who asked her…how the fuck does all this wind up filtering its way to me…at work? She always seems to ask me questions about why her friends, sisters, dog walkers, hair dressers, mother-in-laws, daughters, boyfriend won’t go to some party or other or some other seemingly random link of people and their problems. I’m surprised she can’t hear my eyes glazing over. I have told her politeley on quite a few occasions that i’m sorry but i’m not interested but she always brings something up. I blame this culture of soap operas and reality TV (she’s fans of both) with peoples obsession with pointless gossip. I’m sorry for ranting like this, I totally love the girl, but this really pisses me off…almost as much as people talking about ‘Eastenders’ characters in the first person…‘Whats that you say? Sorry I couldn’t give a buggering shag that Kat Slater has broken up with Alfie Moon’ etc, etc. Well thats that off my chest…time for some tea.
Welcome to Relationship Hell, WILLASS.
I hate to have to say this, but no, you don’t. You love an idealized notion of this girl, a girl who doesn’t go on and on about the problems of her housemates, brothers, hairdressers, etc., a girl who isn’t a fan of soap operas and reality TV, a girl who doesn’t make your eyes glaze over. Your current girlfriend, alas, is manifestly not this girl.
Heh. That cracked me up. There’s a reason that the Bible warns people about gossiping. For better or worse, gossip has been one of the primary forms of human entertainment for thousands of years. Soap operas and reality TV are just the modern way of using technology to bring gossip into the lives of people who no longer live in tiny towns where they know the business of all of their neighbors.
I agree (to a point) with Early Out. Liking to gossip is a character trait common to a lot of people. You’re not going to be able to get your girlfriend to stop with a few hints. She clearly enjoys both the personal and televised versions. You’re just going to have to decide whether your love for her is strong enough for you to put up with her fascination with the lives of strangers.
So what your saying is that when you truly love someone that nothing about that person pisses you off? I don’t believe that for a minute, you love someone warts and all. This pisses me off in the way that I might piss her off by taking the bed clothes, or leaving the toilet seat up. I only pitted this because it wound me up at the time. I don’t really understand how this pissing me off makes me love an idealized version of her? I honestly don’t know anyone who can honestly say that certain things about their partner doesn’t bug them slightly. If what you are saying is true then i’m screwed because I have never met anyone that doesn’t get on my tits in at least some way.
What the fuck? Kat and Alfie broke up? Fuckin’ A.
Sorry. BBC America recently cancelled EE here and I’m lacking in my EastEnders weekly fix.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind her liking reality TV shows, or her discussing her friends relationships (if this was the case i’d pretty much be stumped for woman to go out with) its just when its people I don’t even know! This only bugs me in the way that say guys talking about football bugs their girlfriends…
Ok then, just to slightly hijack my own thread - What pisses you off about your partner? Is this going to cause the downfall of your relationship? Am I basically fucked because I don’t care about her friends relationships? Answers on a postcard please…
If you truly love someone, you can overlook some incidental characteristics that perhaps rub you the wrong way. It’s just that, from your description, it sounds as if your girlfriend’s fascination with the real and imagined lives of strangers and fictional characters is more than just incidental to her personality. It sounds like this fascination forms a central part of her life. If that’s true, you’re in trouble! If this is just an tangent onto which she occasionally she veers off, then maybe all will be fine. But get used to it, because she’s not going to change (any more than you’re going to!).
Now here’s another one of those Brit expressions that means exactly the opposite of what it sounds like it should mean (to me anyway). I mean, I’d love to have someone get on my tits now and then, y’know?
And I do think you love your girlfriend and this will either work itself out (she’ll catch the ClueExpress and talk about this stuff with someone who wants to play), or you’ll just bat this ball back and forth now and then for the duration of your relationship with no serious harm done. It happens.
She doesn’t care about their relationship. She’s trying to get to know you better.
Look, our personalities are defined by context–is by the choices we make and the opinions we hold about real, concrete things, not abstract principles. She wants to know your opinion about the relationships of total strangers because it gives her insight into what things you value in a relationship and what things you think are incidental. She wants to tell you her opinion about total stangers so that you can come to understand the same about her.
Wow Manda JO you know I had never thought of it like that! That is actually really helpful, although i’m not sure my answer would have filled her with confidence if you are right. I don’t want anyone to think that this really pisses me off, more that it pissed me off at the time because I was at work and I can’t really sit and chat (especially about X Y or Z’s relationship) when i’m supposed to be working. I think it was because she didn’t understand this and also I have just worked for 60 hrs straight that she wound up getting pitted. But seriousley thanks i’ll bare that in mind.
I may have ‘over egged the pudding’ somewhat, she isn’t some mad gossip hungry, reality TV obsessed nutter. She just happens to bang on about people I don’t when i’m tired and at work.
What Manda JO said. Spot on.
But I can certainly understand that it pisses you off while youre at work. Have you tried saying something like, “Look, honey, you know I always love talking with you, but when Im at work I really cant. I’ll call you when I get off work.” And then do, as soon as you get home (this is the important bit). That shows that you do, indeed, love talking with her, but at the same time shows that you respect your own boundaries and expect her to, and that you also respect her needs (i.e. to talk and establish communication/find out about your take on relationships).
This is important. It’s perfectly fine to delay these conversations until you are not at work. However, when you do have them, you must, must, must be perfectly honest. There are times in a relationship when it is a wise choice to avoid disagreeing with the other person. These conversations are not that time. These conversations are a time when you can talk about “relationship stuff” without anyone having a personal stake.
Look at it this way–if she calls you appalled that so-and-so forgot her boyfriend’s birthday and oh isn’t that rude and oh how upset she would be. You pretend to share her indignance (“Yeah that is really rude. Mmmm-hmmmm, yeah, I’d be upset. You’re right, it’s not too much to ask”) while secretly wondering what the hell the big deal is about forgetting a birthday.
Six months latter you forget her birthday. The only thing she’s ever heard from you about birthdays in any way, shape, or form is that you think that they are important, critical events. Now it’s her birthday, and not only have you forgotten about it, you don’t even seem all thatworried when she mentions it. She knows that birthdays are important to you–you told her so–so she has to conclude that the thing that isn’t important to you here is her.
If instead you had been honest and said “I dunno. I can kinda sympathize with so-and-so. We never really celebrated birthdays in my house growing up and I have trouble realizing how important they are to some people. It’s something I have to work on”
Now if you forget her birthday, it’s just how you are, not a personal insult.
Does anyone else see the irony of asking these questions on an internet message board full of strangers?
WILLASS, I’m with you on loving someone and still not wanting to hear every thought that passes through their heads. My dearly beloved husband is a whole-hearted sports fan, and will regale me with hours of tales of what this basketballer did, what that pitcher’s stats are, etc. I smile and nod and make the correct noises. He returns the favour when I go on and on about something that I like that he really couldn’t give two shits about. It really is part of the relationship dance, and we both know it. (And I’m starting to amaze the guys at work with my in-depth knowledge of sports trivia. :D)
On the other hand, the fact that various people are chiming in with replies indicates that WILLASS has found an audience that consists of people who aren’t bored to tears by discussions of the relationship problems of complete strangers.
So, it’s all about you, isn’t it, WILLASS?
You’ve been forgetting to wear your tinfoil hat during your husband’s dissertations, haven’t you?
WILLASS, I’ve been down the same road as you. She would talk endlessly on the phone about the most insignificant shit…she once went forever about her roommate’s vacation. Not HER vacation mind you, HER ROOMMATE’S! She talked about which exit she pulled over at, what things she looked at in the gift shop, what snack she had to eat, all this shit that happened ON HER WAY TO THE VACATION SPOT.
WHO CARES??? Obviously, she does.
I got to where I’d just put the phone down and let her babble, then pick it up every now and then, say “uh huh” and “really?”, then put it down again. I’ve told her I do this. I’ve told her she bores me to tears. She never changed. Years after we broke up, she’s still the same way. She found out my new number, called to ask how I was doing, then started babbling about her boss’s daughter or something. I said “Oh, Chinese food’s here, gotta go” and hung up.
Trust me WILLASS, it slightly annoys you now, but will torture you later.
I thought this was hilarious! But bare in mind that this is not unsolicited, you have free will in this situation and can leave when ever you want without loss of snuggling priviledges. And thankyou again Manda Jo you are really helpful, ever considered writing a help column? (unless of course you actually do right a column, in which case maximum kudos to you!)