According to Roisin Kilroy, the best relationship advice he received was from his father: that he should watch the way his significant other behaves with other people, especially waiters and servers, if he really wanted to get to know the real her. You may never have heard of Roisin Kilroy, and neither had I until today, but you have to say that his father had an excellent point. We hardly ever reveal our real selves in relationships. We only rear our innermost, ugly monsters once the deal is sealed at the altar. The divorce statistics are testament enough that marriage has become a sort of acting role – until rings are exchanged and the gloves come off.
The generalization fallacy
It is impossible to pull out one single piece of advice and say that it is the best way to keep a relationship happy and alive. God knows, great scholars have tried to do that for centuries but they are yet to give us the golden nugget. It leaves us to figure out for ourselves the best way to carry out our relationships. The truth is that most people who get relationship advice from books and magazines and the Internet are not doing themselves any favors. There is a huge generalization of the genders out there and we have been led to believe that what is good for one man, or 10 men who were studied, is good for all men. And that what one woman loves, or what 10 of them love, is every woman’s dream.
What is good for the goose in not necessarily good for the gander…
Not all men are from Mars and not all the women are from Venus. The author of the book no doubt based it on many long hours of observation and study but the generalizations are too broad. Men are alike in some ways but not so alike that a book can give women general directions on how to make relationships work with them. And not all women can be treated in general ways and love it.
The best relationship advice is to get to know your partner. Knowing the good stuff is all well and good but what you should be aiming for is the dark stuff, the stuff that all of us, deep down, are made of. When you get to know the little demon that lives inside them you aren’t too surprised when he rears his horns. You are also more understanding because you know that you have a demon of your own who bears his true colors from time to time. Knowing the dark stuff also means that you have fewer expectations – it is expectations that ruin relationships. You would be more willing to persevere because you know that you are not perfect.
What if the demon is darker than you can bear?
The truth is that not all relationships are meant to last. Some people will meet and fall in love and live together forever and others will not. The idea, however, is to make sure that you have given the relationship a fair try before you walk away.
Are you willing to do that with the relationship that you are in right now?