I’ve written a few posts about relationships and certainly when it comes to making them work I seem to have a lot more to learn, but there are still a few things I have figured out along the way. The kinds of advice you shouldn’t take when you are in a relationship are pretty clear, the postcode rule, emptying your partners bank account and hitting on their best mate are all things that we know are no no’s. But what about the advice that seems like it’s good advice but actually isn’t?
There is a lot of advice we get that seems to make sense at the time because we are angry, frustrated, horny or otherwise focussed on ourselves but which we wouldn’t even consider if we had the chance to sleep on it.
The most dangerous kind of advice in a relationship is the “well you need to look out for yourself” ear worm whispered by well meaning friends. This kind of advice is dangerous because it’s good advice as often as it’s bad advice, and we are not always equipped at the time to tell the difference. Emotions, arousal, alcohol and all kinds of other things may alter our state of mind and effect our judgement of the situation.
Looking out for yourself is important if you are in an abusive relationship, it’s not so good when you are thinking about going home with your boyfriends best mate.
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly selfish each day. There is nothing wrong with desire and ambition but it must be tempered with empathy. Relationships are about looking out for each other, not just for yourself.
The problem when our friends say to us “well you need to look out for yourself” is that it’s often used as a justification to do something we know we shouldn’t really do. We know we shouldn’t do it but we absolve ourselves of responsibility because our peers say it’s okay. We let our friends give us permission to be bad so that we don’t have to ask ourselves, and then we say “well I deserve to have some fun”.
Next time somebody says to you “well you need to look out for yourself” remember that you also have a responsibility to look out for your partner too. To look out for their emotions, their happiness and their well being. It’s important and being selfish can be bad advice. I’ve let my Demons win over my better angels many times and regretted it every time.