• Thu, Jun 24 2010

The Heart Monitor: The 5 Relationship Rules You Didn’t Know Existed

1. He needs “mountain time.”

Someone once told me that women say 10,000 more words a day than men. When I told my boyfriend that statistic, he didn’t bother to ask me for a source. “Ten thousand?” he scoffed. “That’s it? Clearly, you were not a case study.”

Yes, I talk a lot. And accordingly to that still un-sourced study, so do most of us ladies. But while we often need to engage our partner and communicate our feelings, sometimes men need quiet time. Or, as my boyfriend puts it, there are times when he needs to just “go up on a mountain” and just do, I don’t know, whatever men do when they’re quiet.

When he goes up on his mountain, I need to let him be there, mulling over his thoughts and enjoying the silence. I have to stop saying: “Hey! Are you alright? Are you okay? Are you hungry? Are you mad at me? Is everything alright? Are you upset?” No, he’s not mad. He’s just up on the mountain and whenever he comes down, I’ll be here…talking.

2. Never go to sleep angry.

So you had some argument about cheese. Specifically, you bought an expensive hunk of artisinal truffled triple cream which he proceeded to eat, unceremoniously, when he came home drunk from a guy’s night out. Pretty soon, you’re fighting about what’s important in the relationship, the amount of times he’s ditched you for his friends and your justification for dropping sixty bucks on a dairy product.

It happens to every couple. You’re exhausted and you’re miserable and fingers are pointing left and right. But work it all out before you go to sleep. Or at the very least, agree to disagree. There’s nothing worse than waking up to the fight that you couldn’t settle the night before. It will ruin your workday, kill your diet and morph from a disagreement into a debilitating blow to your other-wise normal relationship.

Settle your issues before you turn off the lights. If you have to stay up until 4am hashing out the petty details, make it work. If your relationship is important to the two of you, then it can stand an all-nighter to resolve your issue and move on. Do it for the cheese.

3. Do onto your partner as you would that he should do unto you.

The golden rule is even more applicable in your relationship than it was when you first learned it in kindergarten.

This includes—but is not limited to—back rubs, breakfast in bed, thoughtful gifts, framed pictures, special office deliveries, good jokes, blowjobs, cookies, chores and compliments. And cheese.

This most certainly includes bathing on a daily basis, not talking about your exes too often, minding your manners and keeping your bowel movements to yourself.

4. We get PMS and men get off-days.

At any given point throughout the month, I am allowed to grip the bottom of my torso and sigh, “Ugh. I am so hormonal.” And then I am allowed to cancel that night’s plans to take a nap, eat a tub of ice cream, abstain from sex because my head hurts and act as cranky and sour as I want. Baby, you’ve been warned.

But just as us women are allowed to pull the PMS card, men are allowed to have off-days. He can’t be “on” all the time. So he’s tired, he’s cranky, and for whatever reason, there’s been a dull pain that has been gnawing at the back of his head since he wore up that morning, and was later exacerbated by a shitty day in the office and a long commute home. He doesn’t want to have sex and he doesn’t want to watch the Bachelorette with you tonight. Actually, what he wants to do is cancel that night’s plans to take a nap, eat a tub of ice cream and act as cranky and sour as he wants.

I say go for it. Good for him. Everyone has these cranky, self-indulgent me-days that deserve Ben & Jerry’s and alone time (see rule #1). Just because his hormones don’t fluctuate as wildly doesn’t mean he’s not entitled to a little whining and a lot of Cherry Garcia.

5. Remember: being in a relationship is really nice.

if you’re with someone and you both love each other, that’s pretty goddamn nice. Forget the chick flicks and trashy romance novels. A good relationship isn’t made up of extreme highs and lows. It doesn’t have to be the most intense love affair since Anna Karenina to be a successful, beautiful and satisfying love. It has to be nice.

Remember when you were single? Skip past the memories of workplace flirtations, torrid one-night stands and independent girls night outs. If I dig deep, I remember those bad first dates, the boring, lonely nights and the resentment I sometimes felt when my friends started dropping off the face of the earth to spend more time on their relationship and couples date nights.

But simple, happy, reciprocated love isn’t as common as the romantic comedies make it out to be. So if you have it, enjoy it. Bask in it. Go on and glow.

Just don’t brag about it to your single friends.

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  • ltg

    That study is un-sourced for a reason. It’s a myth. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200703/the-math-miss-motor-mouth

  • brandyalexander

    I didn’t make it clear that it wasn’t a hard fact? Apologies. Well, I am sure it is a myth—but I wasn’t looking to side with the statistic. The rule was not that women talk more (though I certainly do), but that men sometimes need to go up on “the mountain.”