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Don’t be a passenger in your relationship

If your relationship is being driven into the ground by bad communication, it’s up to you to say so.

Q: Smug Marrieds, I used to drive all the time, but now my hubby is always in the driver’s seat and I’m the passenger. What’s up with that?

Kate says…
Maybe you can explain this phenomenon to me. I have never understood it, and I’ve seen it happen again and again. Not always, but really, really often, women just let their husbands drive all the time when they are in the car together. It’s not that they’ve forgotten how to drive — they still manage to get around quite handily when they are alone.


Drinking helps, I nd. If he always drives, then surely he must always drive when you’ve been out to a dinner party, which means you get to drink all the wine. Typically, unless he is truly freakishly uptight about this, he realizes the sacrice he’s making and you naturally end up negotiating equal driving rights.


But then, not everyone drinks, so the question remains: Is it just that once comfortably coupled, men feel that they can let their naturally controlling instincts prevail behind the wheel? With Bret and me, I drive maybe 80 per cent of the time, which, from what I can tell, suits us both.

Bret says…
Darling, do you even need me to write this column?

Q: I just moved in with my girlfriend. We’ve been together for over a year and have never really fought. Now all of a sudden I find everything she does totally annoying (48 bucks on fashion magazines?!?). I think she feels the same way. Are we dust?

Bret says…
Yes. Yes, you are totally dust. As Kansas once said, “All we are is dust in the wind.”


Okay, here’s the deal. When Kate and I rst moved in together, I thought it would be good to impress her with my command of the kitchen. Once, I had some really good chili where the secret ingredient was two squares of unsweetened chocolate.


So when it came time to show off my chops over the stove, I dreamed up a little concoction involving cocoa-infused brown rice. It tasted like 12 layers of ass. Kate did not like eating it. I did not like eating it either. She was too polite and I was too full of Grade 7 pride to just dump it in the garbage and order something Thai instead.


And I felt small and humbled inside. Are we, I asked myself, dust? Looking back, the answer is clear: Of course not.

Kate says…
Are you dust? Not if you do something about this fast.


When Bret and I moved in together, I personally felt like killing him about ve minutes into the whole deal.


Bret and I communicated pretty much exclusively by snapping at each other and glaring for the rst week we lived together, after sustaining an impressive dewy and doe-eyed phase in our relationship. If you’ve been together for a full year and never once had a proper drag-’em-out, hold-no-prisoners yelling match, there is probably something you’re not telling each other.


The luxury of being able to slink back to your own place to stew and steam and repress all those pent-up resentments over niggling slights is gone. Now you actually have to talk to each other.

 
 
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