Healthy Relationships: Conversing about Ultimatums (because #metoo)

There is so much good going on lately, with #metoo storming social media and providing a succinct way to show solidarity as well as start a conversation and show the need for change.

As a facet of that movement, I want to urge parents to tell your daughters (ok, and your sons) that anyone they might date who tells them ‘do this, or else I will break up with you’ needs to break up with that person On The Spot. No second chances. Relationships based on ultimatums are unhealthy. Let your young women know that no relationship is worth going against their values. Having a relationship doesn’t transform you into a worthwhile human: you have always been so very worthy of good and you always will be.

I want to urge parents of boys as well (ok, boys and girls), please tell your sons to avoid Ever issuing an ultimatum to anyone. Saying ‘do this or else’ is to try to force someone to bend to your will and that is so inappropriate no matter what context, but especially in a relationship. If you are unhappy with the way dating is going and you have tried mature ways of working it out (you may have to ask an adult to give you mature ideas, that is a good and normal thing to do!), then break up. You can respect a person’s limits by breaking up, but not by threatening to break up. Honestly, you’ll find another relationship. If you hold out for one in which you know that your non-negotiables will be met, then you will be able to work through the challenges together.

I know deep in my bones this is a vital conversation to have.

When one person grows up socialized to think they hold all the power, they wield power. Relationships are not about wielding power; they are about communication, staying true to yourself, and respecting the other person’s limits. They’re about a million things, really, but in a healthy relationship all of those things are kind and good.

 

I’m feeling good about parents and mentors nurturing respect through this conversation.

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Phrases that drive me nuts, pt. 1

“Shop ’til you drop!”

I mentioned recently that I’m feeling good about the ‘#notbuyingit’ trend on Twitter. Why? Partly, because it is aimed at discouraging degrading advertising messages. Partly, because I think shopping in general has become a conspiratorial crock of crap concerned with convincing [mostly women] to waste $money$ on stuff we don’t need.

How many times have you heard in advertising that a product “adds that little something….” implying that what you already have and what you already do is not enough. I’m satisfied with my life, personally. Allowing room to grow and change, of course, but one thing I acknowledge is that buying stuff generally will not improve my life.

Why do you think people HIRE people to clear out their clutter? Possibly because they buy stuff thinking it will improve their life because they’re told so. They never use this stuff. Clutter accumulates.

Beyond that, why in the world would I want to do anything ‘until I drop’?? I don’t. I like doing fun things and then taking a break before I get overwhelmed. This statement, “shop ’til you drop” essentially advocates ignoring healthy limits.

Like budget limits. Who here is unhappy with their current financial state of affairs? And who owns an iPhone??? Who told you that you needed that iPhone more than you need to pay your (electric bill, housing, water, heat, food, doctor/medical, child’s tuition to a nice school in a safe neighborhood, retirement fund so you can live comfortably until the end of your life)?

Have you ever gone shopping long enough that your feet were ‘killing’ you and you had a headache or your eyes hurt from staring at the computer screen and your wrist had a cramp from scrolling with the mouse?

And marketing specifically targets women. If you watch daytime tv, all the commercials show women cleaning a house, preparing food, taking care of kids, or focusing on beauty (hair-skin-nails-shaving-underwear). They don’t show men in the same situation. It’s actually ridiculous to imagine, what if there were Victor’s Secret underwear ads? I have Never seen an advertisement showing women welding or building houses, or skydiving unless it’s a romantic trip. And I want to. If I do ANYTHING ‘until I drop,’ and this is going to be my manifesto!, I will dance, I will travel, I will learn really cool skills and I will take a break before I drop.

Honestly, passing out is not attractive. 🙂 So look alive, friends!

I’m feeling good about setting limits, saving money, and not watching tv…. or if I do, I’m muting ALL the commercials. Try it! It’s really refreshing!