Welcome to the weekly advice column of Auspicious Jots where we take concepts like "advice" and "weekly" pretty loosely. Like all advice columns I accept questions. Because I am new and foolish, I will take all kinds of questions until someone offends or stumps me, at which point I will take all kinds of questions except those.
This week's questions come from Mabel in Missouri and Blake from Birmingham, Alabama. (Not their real names, nor their real hometowns but I do love me some illiteration.)
Mabel writes, "My boyfriend and I are madly in love and are getting very serious. We only have one issue that often causes us to argue. I like to IM, text, tweet him throughout the day. He says, it is annoying. Then my feelings get hurt. Then he gives in and the cycle starts all over again. Please help."
Ah, relationship advice! Don't tempt the minister to get started. Remember, I have watched the dynamics of a couple hundred weddings first hand. I am a traumatized soul on the subject of human mating rituals, but since you ask - let's start with some questions you need to ask each other.
Mabel, why is it important for you to communicate so often? Are you anxious, self-conscious, jealous, bored at work, or do you want to let him know every time you think of him? Are you hoping to marry him for his money? Are you keeping him busy so he doesn't find out about your previous life as a (fill in the blank: accountant, Cowboys fan, man)?
Mabel's Man, how does the frequent texting, etc. come off to you? Does she seem pushy, neurotic, disruptive, disrespectful, or abundantly affectionate? Does she spell for crap? Is she disturbing your work romance? Is she reminding you of your ex (fill in the blank: lover, boss, mother)?
Another question: is money a factor here? Is this a simple data plan disparity issue?
My guess is - that it is none of these things. The most likely culprit is that Mabel is a person who has a lifestyle with some freedom to do what she wants whenever it strikes her and Mabel's Man is a man with structure, either self-imposed or career related. That's the good news.
The... ummm... other news is if you do not talk about this one now and get to the bottom of it, the core issue will just keep coming up in new ways. This chickie thinks you need to be honest with yourselves and each other about what lies at the heart of this conflict. Skip the adjectives and use big heavy nouns like: respect, commitment, boundaries, fear, emotional accessibility and I-don't-want-to-get-fired-ness.
I would like to point out a troubling dynamic that the otherwise mundane question highlights: when Mabel's feelings get hurt, Mabel's man concedes to her wishes which are not in his best interest. Instead of appreciating the compromise, Mabel barrels back into the habit (a la the Talking Heads), "same as she ever was".
Mabel's man, this chickie thinks your behavior is what we call, repeat after me - CO-DE-PEN-DENT. Not good for you. Not good for Mabel. To keep her, you need to know who you are and communicate it to her.
Mabel, this chickie thinks your behavior is what we call, repeat after me - Selfish as Hell and Then Playng the Martyr. Whoops, outside voice. Let's try that again. Mabel, you need to brush up on your compromise skills, particularly if your communications of affection are sincere. To keep him, you need to respect who he is.
A final option - you two should become doubly incensed that I would suggest such things and in your shared ire for me unite, bond, and make sweet love to prove how wrong I am. This option works all the time. No lie. In fact, I would consider this day a success if all my readers ended the reading of this column with some canoodling. Life is short, my babies. Share some physical affection.
As for Blake in Birmingham who is worried about his/her (wasn't specified) weight gain, this chickie thinks she has no room to talk about this issue thanks to her wide posterior and her chattiness with Mabel and her man who, gotta' be honest, had the better question so got more pixels.
Blake, the bottom line(sorry about the pun) is: it is time for some math. Find out your Body Mass Index and how many calories you should consume daily. Your doctor is the best source of this information and is another person keenly interested in your being a healthy weight.
Next, track how your calories are entering you through a faithfully documented and portion accurate food diary (there are plenty of online choices). Adjust meals according to the unhealthy trends you discover.
Then track how the calories are being burned through an exercise log (my favorites are phone apps). Exercise is good for you no matter what this chickie in the orthopedic boot may think.
Finally, according to my buddy Michael, who recently lost the equivalent of a second grader carrying a skateboard and a full backpack, burn through exercise more of the calories you eat.
Michael also suggests that you lose weight because you feel so good about yourself that you want to live longer and not because you want to look hot in those chaps. This chickie thinks healthy weight loss is a long, slow process so whatever inspiration you need is ok with her.
This chickie also thinks she's done for the day. Send in your questions for next week. Don't worry, Mabel and her man were a composite of every relationship I've seen in the past 17 years. When you ask your question I won't call you selfish or co-dependent.
I hope you know I am lying.