Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Our Thoughts on Traditional Relationship Advice

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Everyone has an opinion on what other people do, it's how we function.  We must just be wired that way, and it's especially true in the case of relationship advice.  John and I just celebrated 6 years together so we decided to compile a list of these things we've heard from other people, and whether or not we agree.  Here are our thoughts on traditional relationship advice you usually hear:

Don't go to bed mad?  No.  We're both much more rational come the morning.  We both have jobs that can be overwhelmingly hard some days and by the time we get home, tiny things seem like the biggest problems and we get so mad for no reason.  By the time we wake up, it's practically funny how ridiculous we were the night before.  The one thing we don't do is go off to work mad, because duh, he could literally die in a fire.  We can go off to work annoyed if there's still an issue we need to sort out later, but we at least always say 'I love you.'

You have to sleep in the same bed every night?  You should hear how he snores when he's sick.  There's only so much a girl can take, I have to go to work too!  And usually when Tara comes into town, he has to work early the next day so we stay up too late chatting and he passes out on the couch long before we go to bed.  Oh well.  I always make it to the bed because I can't sleep on a couch, but if he's already passed out, I'm not going to wake him to move and go back to sleep in a different spot, that seems so silly.  Plus, duh, he works 24 shifts at the firehouse.  I understand the sentiment behind it, that you lose a level of intimacy when you don't go to bed at the same time and don't get that closeness, but we don't see that as an issue since we do sleep in the same bed a good amount of the time.

You should/shouldn't live together before getting married?  We've heard it both ways, but I'm firmly in the should camp, obviously, since we do live together and aren't married (but we aren't ever getting married so it's a little different.)  You don't know someone until you've been with them for two years and you definitely don't know someone until you live with them.  I like to know what I'm getting into in every situation, it's why I'm such a planner.  No way I'd sign up to tie my life to someone else's without knowing their at-home habits.

You shouldn't have sex before marriage?  Again, different for us since I don't believe in marriage but damn, no, I don't agree with this a bit - you have to test drive the car before you buy it!

Be on the same page about finances?  Yes, times 1000.  The number one cause of divorce is money, and it doesn't matter what the income is.  You have to be on the same page.  Of course, you don't have to agree on every little purchase.  Or even big ones, if that's in your budget.  But you should be on the same page about the big picture, like whether you take on more debt, whether you sacrifice vacations to pay off the house early, whether you're going to foot the bill for your kid's college, what the retirement and investment plan is.  And how much you want to have liquid at once - men see money as power, women see it as safety.  I had to make sure John understood that distinction before we agreed on the giant emergency fund I wanted and paying off the house as fast as possible.

You have to be best friends?  Yes and no.  I certainly don't think this should be a rule, since there's a totally different place in your life for your significant other versus your best girl friend.  For me, 'best' is a category, not a single person.  Tara, Betsy, Meredith, Megan, Ida, they're all my 'best friends.'  (And let's get real, my bestest best friend is Hawkeye.)  And John is in there too.  And I'm in that category for John, but so is his brother and his cousin-in-law, Sal.  I do think John should be on that list of course, but he doesn't need to be the only one filling all my best friend needs.  Basically, Steph wrote a post about this a long time ago and I co-sign it 100%.

What about you?  What advice have you heard that does or doesn't work for you?

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