Relationships between men and women, women and women, men and men, other defined genders and other defined genders – and sometimes men and their laptops – are often places of paradoxical conflicts and miscommunication. No other event in our lives highlights the difference between what we think and what we subsequently say so drastically. Perception itself collapses in the face of any sort of romantic encounter. Which is to say, what you say to a partner immediately means exactly what the partner believes the utterance to mean.
Not all relationship problems are truly paradoxical, but most can feel as such when you’re trapped in them. I’ve tried to deconstruct some relationship problems and paradoxes and offer up solutions to things that could rain doom upon your chance at getting booty this evening (or ever). I’ve given them sweet names!
The Apocalypse Chow
Before being awkward on a mattress, you’ll be awkward in a kitchen. Both parties involved in the eating conundrum have some desire towards what they want to munch on, but both parties want the other to make a decision. This is a test in both directions! If you are the one cooking, just goddamn cook what you believe both of you will like, and be done with it. If you flounder in the “No, but what do you really want?” purgatory, you’ll likely get into an argument. And worse, remain hungry. “Fuck it,” you should declare, “Let’s make tandoori bacon!”
The Elephant in Your Brain
When you’re in bed with someone, there will be a lull in conversation or sound-making. This is inevitably when both parties want sex, but neither is willing to initiate, having every stigma and taboo rushing through their brains. You both want to say, “Let’s totally get naked,” but it sounds stupid in your head. The honest solution to this is the realization that both parties want to sex the other, so just say the dumb sounding thing in your head, and get over the hump (heh, hump). Or, if only one party wants to get laid, spit out the desire before you say something like, “So… um, another episode of How I Met Your Mother?” The other creature in question won’t murder your face for it, but will respect your honesty, and nothing will be lost.
The What’s Wrong Baby-Cakes?
Isn’t it weird that when someone has a problem, the worst thing to do is try to fix it? Psychology is messed up! Next time your partner sludges into the apartment looking like something the cat dragged in, offer up a shoulder, a blanket, a steaming cup of cocoa, or a whiskey shot, but not your dumb opinions. Problems are transitory and simply go away, but not if held inside like nuclear fallout in your neighbor’s bathtub. The only solution is blabbering a bit, decompressing the stressfulness of it all, without pulling out what you believe to be expert ideas and analyzing problematic quandaries. “What’s wrong honey tits/sugar pimple/candy wang?” should be the most you say.
The Sex Safari Mega Adventure
Basically, we’re wrong about everything, but mostly about polyamory and monogamy. As creatures, we are selfish, and are all about our needs, and that is a toxic thing indeed. At some point, your partner will feel trapped (weak, dude) and be like, “But humans aren’t meant to sex only one person!” because everyone has such an enlightened grasp of their own evolutionary place in the grander ecosystem (oh consciousness, you glorious bitch). We’re not actually as smart as we believe, but we’re tuned in enough to know that if you say those words to a partner, they’ll be like, “What?” and you’ll be like “You don’t understand!” and you’ll both be super erroneous about the whole thing. I know it’s hard, but you have to squirm out of your own ass and realize that you’re responsible for others too. Who cares what you want? If what you do will be like a blow to the knees to a partner, set that partner free before enjoying your own damn self. It’ll suck, but you’ll avoid the messy world of trying to hide each other’s Tinder accounts. True, sometimes this works perfectly well (oh emotional maturity, you illusory bastard), but only when you don’t pull the whole, “But it’s our nature!” jazz.
The Shut Your Face and Talk
This last one’s pretty simple. Everything you say may end up getting you in trouble, so why hide? A partner will respect you more for honesty and speaking your mind than waffling behind snarky remarks. Want butt stuff? Admit your interest in butt stuff. The paradox is that things unsaid will still leak out in other ways; may as well just shut your face and blab out your secrets and desires before you do something super stupid, like bottle up nonsense and use it as justification for something you can’t actually take back.
Well, maybe this stuff is not totally paradoxical in nature, but it can sure feel like it sometimes. Happy misery, friends!