What’s the real issue? I know it’s not my clothes on the floor!

I leave my clothes on the floor by the laundry basket. I do this with full knowledge that I will pick them up and put them in the wash at some point. I also leave the bathroom floor wet and crumbs in the sink. I don’t do these things to upset anyone.

It’s just what I do. Simple.

Having lived with a few women in my time, I know that such behaviour is not appreciated and has caused more arguments and disagreements over the years than I can count. For my part, I admit to complaining about a girlfriend’s hair clogging the sink and clothes taking up more than their fair share of space in the closet.

Women though are in a league of their own when it comes to the art of bitching and moaning about the smallest things. Do I really have to hear about someone cutting the line at the grocery store? I don’t think so. The ultimate though is the classic and guaranteed to leave one or both parties miserable:

Does my bum look big in this? Hell yeah!

I know people that have been on the verge of a breakdown just because their other half used the same knife in the butter as they did in the jam. Truth of the matter is we get something from complaining and making silly demands. What if we just accepted that everything was as it should be? I suspect more than a few of us would be lost without our little quibbles.

Just think about it.

We spend our time in relationships trying to get our partner to do things they just don’t want to do. The big irony is if they did do things as we wanted then we would probably get bored of them. What if the man you find so exciting is exciting partly because he never quite manages to call when he says he will? Would that hot chick that makes your heart race hold your interest if she was always available, always answered your calls?

Probably not.

We take for granted the good things about our partners and obsess about the things we decide are bad. We don’t accept that our loved ones are perfect just as they are and just as they aren’t. Shit, when you eat an apple you don’t generally eat the core, but you accept that the core is part of the apple. Most of us though don’t extend that level of acceptance to our significant other.

So here’s the deal.

Most of us would rather hide behind the little things instead of confronting the real issue in our relationships. We secretly hope that sweating the small stuff will somehow eliminate the big stuff. I’ve got news for you, it won’t and if you think it will you’re plain crazy. Women are exceptionally gifted at the art of picking fights about the meaningless, although I’ll admit us men don’t help the situation with our flair for the passive aggressive (non) response.

Any disagreement that keeps coming up again and again is a good indicator of a bigger issue.

If you are in a happy, loving relationship then not much will bother you or knock you off the high you’re on. On the other hand, if you’re faking your happiness then every little thing becomes a big deal. A friend of mine’s husband used to put talcum powder on his feet in the morning before he put on his workboots. He would do this in the same place everyday, leaving talcum powder trails on the floor that he wouldn’t clean up. This drove her crazy.

Why does he do it? Why can’t he just clean it up? she would cry.

The talc wasn’t the real issue. If it was then that would make her the first person in history to name talcum powder as the third party in a divorce! No, the real reason she got divorced was that she didn’t want to be with him anymore. She wasn’t happy in her marriage and her unhappiness took the guise of complaining about small things, like talc. She was avoiding what she really wanted to say and he was avoiding hearing it. As each minor issue was resolved, she was still unhappy and nothing he did made any difference.

Eventually they found a resolution – divorce.

If your partner is constantly moaning about the same things, there is something else going on. Face that, whatever it is, instead of falling into an endless cycle of trying and failing to fix the little things. It may be something big but if you quit the avoidance it probably won’t be bigger than you or the relationship. Give yourself a fighting chance at happiness by having the courage to face the real issue. Like eating an apple, to get the best of your relationship you have to get to the core.

Join the global conversation and leave a comment.


2 Responses to “What’s the real issue? I know it’s not my clothes on the floor!”

  1. Mampo-bama Says:

    Wiley, there a lot of women out there who are happy and not living a fairytale. You have tagged a woman’s identity, without much thought on why women, men too, do so. Fact is, men and women complain for the same reasons: they want control over something, they don’t think they have enough power in their situation, they want to be heard, to be respected and yes they believe that complaining is effective. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. Life’s rule: Assume nothing, expect little, do more, need less, cry if you have to and continue living!

  2. I just think that women are never ever really happy. They live a fairytale world where everything has to be perfect, like in a movie. In film love scenes they never have a wet spot, they never notice morning breath and they never talk about the little things. Some women have taken this as there ideal and so when faced with the reality of a relationship it is alien to them. Us guys take it on the chin and try to do as we are told (in most cases) but to no avail. The answer lies all in the definition and accepting things and people as they are, not as you would like them to be

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