Can a list really help your relationship?

Jennie McNultyBY JENNIE MCNULTY
Lesbian.com

I was surfing the World Wide Web today; I can’t remember the task I was avoiding, but I’m sure there was one. I came upon two titles that made me laugh. HuffPost wanted to tell me the “8 Signs you are in the Right Relationship,” while Yahoo warned me “How to tell if you’re with the wrong guy.” What amused me was not the concept, we all can use relationship advice now and again, but the juxtaposition of the two arguments and the thought that a list of eight things can keep you coupled and a list of — well, actually, it was a video 3 minutes and 59 seconds long — will have you ditching Mr. Wrong. Perhaps, if you need an article or video to validate your feelings about your relationship, your relationship is not the only thing that might need help.

Here’s what those eight things or those 239 seconds will tell you: Exactly what you want to hear. There has to be some question about what you’re feeling or you wouldn’t have clicked on the link. What are you really trying to find out? And, with all due respect to the journalistic beacon that is HuffPost (really?), would you stay together because an eight-item list on the internet said you were all good? Are you really happy or do you just want evidence that you’re happy?

Apparently, Americans are a list-loving people. A recent study found the United States to be third on the list of countries that make lists. Okay, I made that up, but it does seem that we want to rate or rank everything. And we don’t really care who’s doing that rating. We just want it to come out like we already think it should. A quick Google search will turn up conflicting lists of advice on any number of very important topics, like when it’s time to relocate to a new city, when should you leave your job or whether circumcision is right for your baby (hint, not if it’s a girl).

Not only do we not want to really think for ourselves anymore, we want help for our life-changing decisions from the same source that brought us “Lady Gaga’s 10 most outrageous costumes.” I’m going with the meat outfit, but that’s just because Cher was with her for that one.

The internet is an amazing source of information — both helpful and not. But it’s not the wrong answers that trip us up, it’s the wrong questions. We need to be honest with ourselves. What is it we really want to know? Without regard to how it will look posted on Facebook or what our friends will think, what do we really feel? Or, maybe, we really can’t think for ourselves anymore. We’ve been told what is and what is not for so long now we aren’t really sure what is and what is not. “News” is not supposed to be subjective. But, show me a media outlet anywhere that isn’t slanted toward a particular view. We are not really given facts, we are given skewed representations of events. But we don’t notice because we’re not thinking and we’re getting our facts from people with whom we already agree.

Back to those insightful questions above, just how IS your relationship? You could Google it. But, it might just be that the best thing you find on the internet is a good therapist. Well, that and some funny kitten videos.

In the meantime, if you really want some relationship advice, I will give it to you. Because I’m a giver. And, you know it’s true because you are reading it here on the internet. Here are, not one, but two lists for you. The correct list is, of course, the one you think it is.

FIVE SIGNS YOU ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER

  1. When you are together, it seems you’re always laughing. Laughter is the best medicine. You, obviously, have a very healthy relationship.
  2. You fight about trivial things. Sometimes it seems you have a different opinion about everything. You know the old saying, “Opposites attract,” you’re meant to be together.
  3. When he/she is gone, you are calm and complacent. You miss the excitement he or she brings to your days. Life should never be that boring.
  4. When you are out in public, your partner comments on other attractive people. He or she feels totally secure in your relationship and any potential jealousy never even entered his or her mind.
  5. Your family and friends think your partner is fantastic.

FIVE SIGNS THAT YOU SHOULD BREAK UP

  1. When you are together, it seems you’re always laughing. Laughter is the best medicine, but only sick people need medicine. Some things in life need to be taken seriously, like your relationship. Get out now.
  2. You fight about trivial things. Sometimes it seems you have a different opinion about everything. That much disharmony is never good.
  3. When he or she is gone, you are calm and complacent. You know you will be fine on your own. It’s time to leave and find a new life.
  4. When you are out in public, your partner comments on other attractive people. He or she should only have eyes for you. It’s disrespectful to mention someone else they find sexually appealing.
  5. Your family and friends think your partner is fantastic.

Jennie McNulty was named one of Curve magazine’s Top 10 lesbian comedians. She can be heard weekly as co-host of LA Talk Radio‘s “Cathy Is In: The Cathy DeBuono Show.”

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