Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
I just read this New York Times article about people causing strife in relationships because of their twitter or status updates about situations that should probably be private. All I can think is how stupid are these people? Yes, we’ve all had the urge, but keep yourself in check people. To help you all, I’m in the process of compiling a list – a list of the worst things you could tweet and below is the start of it. If you ever feel like tweeting the following or some variation thereof, stop - Call someone up, write in a diary, or confess to a stranger but why must we shout from the rooftops when our boyfriends are napping on the job?Ten Tweets to Avoid That Will Ruin Relationships
1. #DontYouHateWhen I just texted my boyfriend a naked pic of myself. He texts back we need to talk.
2. #SomewhereRightNow A man is listening to his girlfriend. It’s not here.
3. He just blamed autocorrect for spelling my name as Veronica. #TextsIHate #ThingsCheatersSay
4. #LiesIveToldMyParents We’re waiting. We’re not living together. He has a job.
5. #LiesIveToldMyBoss Feeling super sick today! My boyfriend came down with the same thing – Viva La Mexico!
6. I keep telling him it happens to every guy and that it’s not a big deal. #whiskeydick #DontYouHateWhen
7. #YouKnowItsLoveWhen He doesn’t mind that you told him you were thinking of someone else the whole time.
8. I didn’t know some straight men watch gay porn. #IDontUnderstandWhy he thought he had to hide it from me. #ItsAllGood
9. #ImProudToSay It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would.
10. My boyfriend just asked how twitter works. #DeleteYourTwitterIf
Feel free to comment with some of your own!
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April 19, 2012 | 2:58 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
The New York Times had a thoughtful article in it last week on co-habitation and about five different people emailed it to me, as just a few days earlier my boyfriend had officially popped the question. No, not that passé question of marriage that all Baby Boomer parents are waiting for. The Gen-Y question that is much more difficult for us to answer: Will I move in with him? We had talked about it abstractly before; a few months ago we prevaricated around a hazy outline of what might happen with our relationship in the Spring in terms of his lease being up and wanting to find a bigger place for us.
But this was different. The question was formally asked which necessitated an answer. I always imagined that I would be bugging my boyfriend about moving our relationship along while he was dragging his feet, not that I would silently freak out over nothing while he declared he was officially ready.
The thought of moving into a nicer placer with a man I love (perhaps with my own washer/dryer), where we would cook dinner together in a big kitchen makes me excited about the prospect of this step. But I also felt nervous which really surprised me.
I told him that I was excited but that there were a few logistical things I was concerned with like money for instance. He already pays three times what I pay in rent and he wants to move in to a nicer place. Of course, to him, this isn’t an issue. I never expected you to pay half of the rent, he said at brunch. But I want to pay half! I lamented. He joked that it could be a very long time before I’m able to do that and he’s probably right.
So I’ve spent the last few days doing what girls do when we have relationship decisions to make: haranguing all my girlfriends and getting their opinions on the subject. To each girlfriend I list my excuse, the finances, our differences in respect for the toothpaste cap, his Republican tendencies. I analyze the pros and cons. I try to separate each emotion I feel into a question that I must ponder. Till finally the other night on the phone, my friend Beth shoots them all down. Who cares about this stuff? Do you want to live with him? she pressed me.
When she said that, I realized I was scared. I’ve written before about my hesitation when it comes to moving in together and why it may not be the best recipe for a successful marriage. In fact, I wrote a law school paper on why women should avoid co-habitation if they want to get married which you can see here.
This recent New York Times article though offers new insight into co-habitation. It argues that there are two problems associated with co-habitation before marriage which lead to more divorce than for people who wait to live together till married. But the author proffers that the problems have solutions that seem to lessen the effect. Firstly, it acknowledges the sliding effect where a couple moves “from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation [on a] gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.” I’ve seen this effect with a lot of my friends who just end up living with different guys. This however, will not be my problem. I’ve never lived with a boy before. On top of that, I analyze relationships and dating to obliteration for a living so I’m very concerned with what all this means. If we do this, it will be a big decision and I already feel bad for the talks my boyfriend will have to endure.
Unfortunately, the other disadvantage co-habitation causes according to this new research is very worrisome. Men and women seem to view moving in together differently. Women are more likely to see it as a step toward marriage and men are more likely to see it as a “test run” for marriage. This is precisely what I’m bogged down in. My boyfriend and my guess is that more and more of my generation view moving in together as a good test for marriage. Literally he has used the word “test” in discussing the philosophical value of living together. I however don’t see it as a test. In fact, I’d prefer to wait till I’m engaged not because he needs motivation to move on, but because living together is always hard and I think if you’re more committed to working things out, your relationship will fare better. And I don’t want to be tested out for the role of some wifey image he has in his mind.
Plus, I know that living together means so much more to me than it does to him. I always assumed that a guy I was living with is the guy I’d marry, not that I would try out a bunch of different guys until I found a good fit and apartment I liked. This creates a huge problem for us because to him, getting a place together is not a big deal. To me, it’s a huge deal. He’s only asked himself Do I want to live with her? I’m asking Is this the person I’m supposed to marry? Is this the man I want to have children with? Can I accept that for the rest of my life he may never put the cap back on the toothpaste?
Of course, the article suggests that perils of co-habitation might be avoided by steering clear of the sliding factor and discussing your expectations for co-habitation. But what am I supposed to say to him? The fact is, moving in together is forcing me to ask myself the big questions right now and yet, he’s not. He doesn’t want to ask himself those questions until he’s put our relationship through a test. He is a child of divorce so I understand his apprehension about moving too quickly, but I truly am worried that this step could damage our relationship. I’m not gong to be able to make this mean less and he probably won’t be able to make it mean more at this point, so maybe that means that our relationship is not at the stage where moving in is right. But I really am so sick of finding quarters for my washer/dryer. I really feel torn about this whole thing. All I can say at this point is guess who’s having a relationship talk this weekend? I’ll let you know how it goes…
April 12, 2012 | 7:00 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
I was in New York for most of last week with my family. We had a great time visiting friends, catching up on the art scene, sampling new restaurants and celebrating Pesach at Sammy’s on the lower east side, to which all I can say is one of the Real Housewives of New York sat at the table next to us.
In any case, I was there when I read the response to my last blog post I Don’t Want to Date a Republican! from Dennis Prager, who I have the utmost respect for. In addition to his column on the subject which I’ve linked to here, he spoke about it on his popular radio show last Wednesday which resulted in flooding my inbox with comments from both sides on the subject. Not that I didn’t also appreciate the less restrained responses from the blogosphere as on the Jane Dough or elsewhere, where tongue in cheek writing does not seem to be readily understood.
In any case, Mr. Prager has very graciously allowed me to come on his show in the near future to discuss the subject more seriously and in more depth and once I have the date on that, I will certainly let you know. (Although I’m having a hard time believing that I’m going to be speaking on the same station that a few hours later will play Glenn Beck.)
In the meantime, I wanted to give you all a little more background on the subject. Firstly, I want to challenge one specific notion Mr. Prager makes, that en mass all liberals are taught disdain and contempt for all conservatives as illustrated by my personal experience.
My personal introduction to Mr. Prager was at a very young age. I went to a conservative Jewish elementary school and I remember very distinctly in our ethics class being presented with a “Denis Prager” question. If memory serves, I believe the question went if you were in the ocean and on your right, your own beloved dog was drowning and on your left a stranger’s child was drowning, and you could only save one, which should you save? Of course, being very young at the time, too young in fact for you to judge me, I was one of the few who vocally asserted that saving your own dog was justified and I made an emotional plea for my cherished dog, Snookie. After being allowed to discuss and discuss as all good Jewish education requires, in the end we were given Mr. Prager’s answer and taught how valuable each individual life is. So I must disagree with him at the outset and contradict the assertion that we liberals were taught to dismiss all conservatives.
However, I believe Mr. Prager’s notion that liberals do perhaps live in an insular world that could benefit from a broadened discussion may be appropriate. Again by way of illustration, at this same school that extolled a very religious life, the constituency was mainly made up of Democrats. This I can attest to because, in 1992, the year President Clinton was elected for his first term, my Jewish school set up a “mock election.” In order to learn about the process of elections and secret ballot, every student in elementary school could vote for a Presidential candidate on a ballot that listed Clinton, Bush Sr., and Ross Perot. I remember the results very clearly because when we found out the final numbers were Clinton 300 and something, Bush about 60 something, and Perot less than 10, instead of thinking how odd it is to have such a one-sided result, my only thought at ten years old was “who were those 60 something people who voted for Bush.” I truly expected the number to be 0 and realized literally for the first time that I might be interacting with some Republicans only because of that result.
This I believe does lend some weight to his assertion that I may live in a liberal enclave with an at-times myopic world-view. However, I also feel that part of the reason for this lays at the feet of the Republican Party specifically. Democrats have completely excised far-left liberals from our party, case in point – our contentious primary was between two moderates Clinton vs. Obama (that’s why when Gingrich wants to align Obama with a liberal, he has to name Saul Alinsky who nobody has heard of. Liberal extremists don’t have a place in the Democratic party, at least not any more.) Contrast that with the contentious Republican primary of Romney vs. Santorum. The far-right racist extremists not only have a place in the Republican party, but they dominate it to the point that Romney has to spend months trying to appeal to them and become more conservative. If only the Republican primary would also excommunicate their extremists, I believe we could all be compromising all over the place and watching our country improve.
And yet, Mr. Prager is very correct that this view is precisely why I’m so shocked to find myself in a great relationship with someone who might vote for Mitt Romney. Because of the extremists in the Republican party which I spend way too much time focusing on and not enough time reading David Brooks and Tony Blankley, I’ve allowed my image of conservatives to be shaped by caricatures like Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, and Michelle Bachman. And now that I spend most nights saying I love you to a man who doesn’t like the word liberal, I’m forced to admit that some conservatives aren’t all that bad and can actually be scrupulous generous people who I want to be with all the time.
Thus, I’m looking forward to fleshing this all out with him in the future. Are my boyfriend and I star-crossed lovers simply because of our politics? If you have specific questions or comments you’d like me to mention to him, I welcome your thoughts below. Stay tuned for the details.
With that, I’m off to Coachella for the music festival tomorrow, which I doubt is a bastion of Republicans but if I run into any, I promise to keep an open mind and will work to keep an open heart.