This post could also be titled, “Everything I need to know about what not to do in a relationship I learned from Taylor Swift’s Blank Space video.” But that statement wouldn’t really be the truth. You see I used to be a little like Taylor Swift in her Blank Space video, I mean minus the mansion, designer clothing or size 00 ass.
It’s been a while since I’ve been a true crazy girl, but not so long that I don’t remember what it was like. Now as I’m sure you know, (if you’ve also had the crazies) that when you’re happy in a relationship everything feels like it’s coming up roses, or in Taylor Swift’s case, French chateaus and thoroughbred horses. It’s when he does something you don’t agree with that things go awry (i.e. you lose your sh*t). The good thing is we can all learn from our mistakes—or even better, Taylor Swift’s mistakes (even if her video makes them look exciting and glamorous.) For those of you who haven’t seen the video, her relationship battle tactics basically boil down to the following:
1. When in an argument with your partner, instantly say everything that comes into your head out loud. You deserve to be heard. Self-monitoring is for wimps.
2. Is he failing to see things your way? Have you tried screaming?
3. Still not hearing you? Throw something at the wall really hard so he knows you’re serious.
4. Cry hysterically when you don’t get your way. As long as you look pretty while you’re doing it, it’s ok.
6. Now find something he loves and destroy it. That’ll show him to take a phone call from his mom on date night.
7. Never go to bed angry. Just because you’re exhausted and irrational doesn’t mean you should give up the fight. Also if you have a large knife and some baked goods handy, bring those into the bedroom to make sure he’s giving you the attention you deserve.
I can pretty confidently say that I’ve tried a few of these at one time or another with little success (except for the knife and baked goods thing. I wasn’t that crazy). Luckily for all us (especially my husband) I’ve since been on a serious spiritual quest and in the process discovered a hand full of practical and effective tools that that I will share with you now.
1. Stay mindful. The key to having a productive argument is awareness, so think before you speak, woman! Somewhere along the line many have come to believe that we need to express every feeling we feel as we feel it in order to be healthy. Yes, it’s true we need to be honest, but why not do it mindfully? This is your partner who loves and cares about you. There’s no need to be rude. When in doubt, just be quiet and listen.
2. Pretend You’re Talking to Your Boss. Would you raise your voice, or cry hysterically at your boss? Let’s hope not. Unfortunately we often treat those close to us with less respect than we would others because we know they’ll take it. Just because they won’t leave you when you’re being a jerk doesn’t mean it’s okay to be a jerk.
3. Take a Time Out. If you take anything away from this post, let it be this. When you start to feel your inner crazy girl ready to rear her ugly head (or in Taylor Swift’s case, her incredibly beautiful head), instead of stomping out the room, (calmly) tell your partner that you need a time out to process. The truth is there is always time to discuss your feelings later when you’re more composed—unless you’re Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and only have 60 seconds to make a decision before the world blows up. If you’re not Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, take a time out.
4. Go Inward. Once you’ve taken a time out, sit quietly by yourself, take a few deep breaths, go inward, and wait for guidance. Call on the powers that be and ask, “What is the most loving action I can take right now?” If the answer is, “Cut all his favorite shirts into paper dolls,” keep trying.
5. Go to bed angry. That’s right, I’m talking to you, lady at every wedding I’ve ever been to that tells the bride and groom to never go to bed angry. Are you kidding me?? At the end of the night when you’re exhausted is not the time to attempt a rational argument. This also goes for when you’re hungry or intoxicated. Sleep on it and revisit it in the morning. Who knows, you might wake up and realize that threatening to divorce him for leaving his socks on the floor was probably the wrong move. (But seriously guys, the hamper is right there. Pick up your damn socks.)
6. Look for the gift. That’s right, there might be a gift here. In fact, according to most spiritual teachers there’s always a gift. This gift usually comes in the form of new knowledge or a lesson. It may be a sign from the universe you need to make a change. After the fight is over journal until you come to the gift, and try not to be a smart ass as you do it. While writing, “The gift is validation that my boyfriend is truly an idiot,” may make you feel better, but it’s not going to help your spiritual growth.
In my next edition of The Former Crazy Girl’s Guide to Relationships, we will be exploring Tove Lo’s Habits video for advice on what NOT to do after a break-up, i.e. go to sex clubs and pick up dads on the playground.