The heart beats no more: Relationship columns make too many assumptions



Despite what you may have read, women do not all want the same things from a relationship.

I have difficulty speaking for 50 percent of the world’s population, but I will say “we” cannot be painted with the same brush or collectively categorized under one roof. The unfortunate reality that relationship columns run in newspapers to help men see into women’s thought processes is damaging to both men and women.

Unfortunately, society has bred us (women and men) to believe all things can be categorized — black and white, rich and poor, male and female. The reality is, some things cannot be simplified.

“Dos and don’ts” or simplified answers on “how to get the right girl” do not exist.

The relationship column assumes too much. It assumes heterosexual relationships are the only relationships. The column also assumes the reader seeking advice was born yesterday and did not know mantras like “don’t be too shallow” and “say how you feel.” These mantras should be applied in all facets of life, not just romantic ones, and I argue there is no appropriate time to be shallow.

The problem also lies inherently in the person reading the column, male or female. Why do you need to consult a stranger who could potentially be making up information as she goes along?

I can, however, speak for myself, as I am the woman I know best. I can give advice on what I have learned thus far, within the limited prism of 20 years:

• Communicate. The core of many relationship problems is a lack of communication, ineffective communication (see also: screaming or texting) or miscommunication (sarcasm). You are supposed to be in love with (or at least like) the person you are dating, and if you do not enjoy communicating with him or her, I advise you examine this potential disaster.

• Apologize. And “make-up sex” is not the response I’m suggesting. We’re human, and we all make mistakes, so it is completely acceptable, necessary and healthy to apologize for them.

• Make love (in unconventional ways). Spend time getting to know your partner by sharing experiences — riding bikes, cooking or my favorite, sharing silence. These are opportunities to know someone on a deeper, more profound level.

• Laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is short and ridiculous.

Also, relationship columns presuppose that everyone has a relationship with another person. Guess what — the majority of college students are single. So here’s my best relationship advice: love yourself, because that’s who you’re stuck with for the rest of your life. Your body, your mind and your heart are the vessels that will carry you until your last breath. So take care of them.

So no, all women do not like to be “wined and dined.” All men do not “have a habit getting stuck in only the things they are interested in” (suggesting sports). Humanity is diverse, and your relationships should be too.