The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘relationship’

Running the Numbers

I want a piano. It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.

Recently I was talking about getting a piano and the logistics of it, and my wife took my concerns in stride. This got me thinking, ‘is she just running the numbers?’

Let me explain.


Whenever you need to run some numbers, always go with the abacus (for comedy’s sake).

When a relationship starts you may be gung ho in an effort to be fun and right there with the person. Time goes on, self-honest begins to show up, and then when someone says, ‘hey want to go <do something you don’t like but that person does>.’ Then you say, ‘ummm … here’s the thing …’ That might lead to a conversation.

At some point in a relationship you begin to figure out when you need to have a conversation. Let’s say I go to my wife and I say, ‘next month on the first Saturday we should go do this eight mile hike that I read about!’

In her head my wife likely has two courses of thought: 1, hell no. Eight miles? No. No no no. 2, ehhh … there’s like a 20% chance he’s still going to want to do that on that Saturday, and instead will likely want to sleep in.

That’s running the numbers. You begin to figure out with your partner when things they say are likely to happen, and that weighs on the decision of whether to blindly agree or not.

If you’re not running the numbers in your relationship – you’re just bonkers.

Thirty-Seven and Counting!

Congratulations to my parents, who have hit 37 years of marriage! (As I had mentioned earlier when I explained the 37th anniversary gift.)

Earlier today I talked to my mom and I asked her, “what’s the secret to 37 years of marriage? What have you learned?” She responded with a bunch of words, which I was not expecting. I had hoped for a politician-like sound byte. Perhaps, “hard work, good old fashioned American can do attitudes, and a winning smile!” Something that sounded good, but really wasn’t saying anything.

Instead she said … stuff.

One of the items she mentioned was also something I had heard at a lecture: the idea of how 50/50 is bad. It seems counter-intuitive (at least to me) but just wait, you’ll see it will make sense.

In a successful relationship, you should plan and want to give 60% of the effort. If you’re in a bad relationship, your counterpart now has it made. If you’re in a good relationship you’ve got two people who want to give 60%, which is great. It doesn’t make sense mathematically, but it’s great. Here’s what that buys you:

If you go into something 50/50, you may end up paying attention to how much the other person has contributed. I did the dishes last night, now it’s your turn. That sort of thing … But if you go into something thinking you’ll be giving 60% then you will not sweat the small stuff. You won’t think before acting if it should actually be the other person’s turn.

So there you go, from my mom and some random lecturing person … A tip for a long-lasting relationship!

Congrats again to the parentals!

One Last Thing Before You Go

She knew I wanted to break up with her. I’m convinced she knew. That’s why she started saying all these really weird things.

We’d be hanging out. Her doing some errands, me watching TV. Or maybe her watching TV, me reading. And one of us would make a snide comment to the other, pretty much unprovoked. It was really time for things to end. Then I would mentally take the plunge, the dreaded phrase, “listen, um ….” It would escape my lips with all the pomp and circumstance of a funeral procession. Then out of her, as though she hadn’t heard me at all, would come the weirdest thing.

“Have you thought about taking banjo lessons?”

It was like choking on something, having that “listen, um…” come back at me to be set aside for another time. No I hadn’t thought about banjo lessons, but now of course that was my top priority. Me? Banjo lessons? Well, I just think you’d be really good. Really? At banjo? Yeah of course! Can’t you see it? The relationship would live another day. And it turns out I suck at banjo.

“You look like you could’ve been a jeans jacket model in the late 80’s … have I told you that before?”

Honest. She said that to me once.

We were putting on clothes to go get ice cream from the grocery store and then she made a comment about my old shoes which led to me making a comment about all her new shoes which led her to comment on how I’ve gained weight and then I started in on a new insult when I realized the smarter thing to say would be, “listen … um …” Somehow she sensed it and instead I received,

“Turtle soup seems like the kind of thing you would’ve invented if you’d been alive all those years back. You know, back before it was invented. I just feel like you would’ve been the first one to see a turtle and thought, ‘yeah, let’s do this.'”

How could I break up with someone after they say such confusing, weird things? She was deliberately delaying our break up with little cups of crazy. I couldn’t leave – I had to know what was going to happen next. It’s like being sucked into a bad TV show or book, where you can’t stop now because geez you’ve put in all this effort and well occasionally something kinda interesting happens I guess.

“Listen, um …”

Wait what? She had just muttered that phrase to me and I couldn’t believe it. She’s doing this now? Really? On the one hand, yes, I don’t have to feel sorry for her now … but on the other hand THAT’S MY LINE. She did it, she pulled the gun and ended things. We were outside her apartment at the time. I asked if we could go up and grab my things. Up the flights of stairs we went in pained silence. As far as I knew she was preparing some incredibly weird thing to say before I could walk out of her door for the last time. I couldn’t handle that. Not again. This time it’ll be me.

“Do you want to keep my t-shirt that you sleep in?” I asked, sincerely. I don’t want that thing.
“Why would I want that?,” she asked surprisingly angry. Hey, didn’t YOU just break up with ME?
“I don’t know!,” whoops, now I’m angry. “God,” whoops again. Anger, you silly fiend.

We both look around, realizing at the same time we’d needlessly gotten angry with each other.

“So, is that everything?” She was asking about my clothes, but for a second I got dramatic and thought about how it really was everything in terms of us. Then I remembered my pledge to myself – that I had to be the one to leave on the weird note. She was opening her mouth, I hadn’t thought of anything, oh no, “one last thing before -”

“Sandwiches are a ploy by the government to …” oh no, something!, something!, “to um … you’ve gained weight.”

Then I turned and walked out.

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