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General : Columns : Celia Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

"Dating" can last a lifetime
By Celia Anderson
4, May 2002 - 16:50

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Being a person that likes to watch people, I have often caught myself “eavesdropping” on people sitting close to me. It is not that I have a terribly curious nature, well, actually I am very curious, but not in a nosey way. I do not listen to people around me for gossip reasons. I just find it interesting how people see a situation and react to the happenings of life around them.

The picture says it all !!

That brings me to the topic of this article. Couples, whether they are “Dating”, engaged, married or just friends. Recently, while having a quiet coffee in a filled open plan restaurant, I overheard a couple having a conversation. At first it seemed to be just general conversation. The point that took my notice was that the male side of this couple could just not say anything right. To whatever he said, his female partner had some hurtful or snide remark. To give you an example, he mentioned that they should fetch their film, before they did the main shopping. She replied something of the sort: that it always had to be his things that had to be done first. He replied that it would be easier for them to go into the pharmacy without laden trolleys, that is all he meant. She replied that he always had to be right and have the last word. To that he just sat quietly and looked down at the food. Yeah right! I wonder who has the final word in their conversations. When one does that long enough to a fellow human, you will land up with a partner who has nothing to say. Not due to the fact that he or she is uninteresting or stupid, on the contrary, they are clever enough to stay out of trouble. But nothing is gained, and many possibly happy moments are lost.

Why is it that people have to destroy each other? This was just an example where the man was on the losing end. Don’t get me wrong, many women undergo the same treatment from their male partners. I just wonder if that was the type of conversation they would have had, were they still in their Dating Days. The days we, male or female, tried so hard to please our partners and win their approval. I would have loved to know how long their relationship would have lasted if she had that attitude while they were going out. I think it would have been very short lived. We all have our down days, but why don’t we sometimes think about what and how we speak to our “loved ones”. Is it really necessary to break down their self-esteem? Why do we after a while attack our loved ones, instead of support them. I can imagine there is a history to this relationship and many things must have happened to make her sound so bitter. What about not using guilt and accusations to answer a person? We all do things wrong during our lives together, but it that enough reason to destroy the future. I sometimes think that some people just don’t grow up. It’s like watching young children in a school ground. That one made you angry yesterday. Today he or she is trying to be nice, most probably because he or she realised that they were wrong. What do we do? We let them know, by being nasty to them, to get even for yesterday. Or to make it even worse, we make them feel guilty about what they had done and make them suffer for a day or two. Can we not, like grown adults, just state what is on our mind, and get on with it.

If he or she came home drunk last Friday night. Is that enough reason to treat them like a criminal for seven days or more? Do we have the right to give people, who have made mistakes, “jail time”. We are not perfect, so it might be a good idea just to mention that you did not like what happened, and remember when last you did something he or she did not like. Try and think back how your partner reacted to that. Did your partner forgive and forget or was he or she as immature as you and sulk for days about it?

I have been in households, where you could actually cut the atmosphere with a knife. And it was all about some silly little mess that happened days ago. I don’t say, forgive and forget everything. There are some things that are just a bit harsh, for example inflicting bodily or mental harm to your “loved ones”. Each situation has its own judge. What that woman at the next table was doing, was nearly as bad as bodily harm. It was mental harm. If your partner does not like to go shopping with you ask yourself why? Is it because he just does not like shopping? Remember, women have a greater patience level than men, and that is no fairytale. It’s mostly the way we were brought up. Or does he not like to go with YOU? Are you such a pain that it is torture for him to tag along while you decide what type of washing powder you should get. Yeah! Yeah! I know I have the entire female race in an uproar now. If you both hate shopping, then take turns. You might be surprised at what new items you discover. And for goodness sake, don’t criticise everything your partner buys. That is the fastest route to having them sulk and give up on a good idea. It’s your turn next…. We women think we do the shopping just right (which we mostly do), but that’s only due to the fact that we have had more experience at it. Don’t give up on his first try, he will get it right in the end, maybe not up to your expectations, but his own. Oh boy! I am going off the point as usual.

When you decide to answer your partner the next time, think! Would you have said what you were going to say when you were going out. If not, what has changed? Where you pretending to be that charming, understanding and entertaining person that you are not? Or have you just lost yourself on the way? If you have lost yourself, you must make a great effort to remember who you are and what you stand for. It will damage you more than the people around you, if you stop liking yourself. If you hear what you say, and don’t like it, then that is not you. Figure out who you were and try get back to that. We all grow up and happenings through our lives change us. But they should never be harsh enough to change who you are. There are many ways to skin a cat, as it is said, but the most hurtful way is to skin it with spite. I personally feel (and I know I am going to be banished from this page for that) one should try and live your life with your partner as if you are “Dating”. That does not mean, to be someone you’re not….just the absolute opposite. Just be who you are, and you might be in for a lovely surprise. You are most probably a lovely person. So you “dragons” and “dragon ladies” out there, think about this. Find who you really are and be yourself. If that lady at the next table is being herself, I sympathise with her partner. He is going to have a very long, hard life. But it’s never too late. I don’t mean, leave her. I mean, don’t keep quiet just for the sake of peace. Sometimes peace is not a quiet place. Make a stand, try to give your nasty partner back their own medicine, and when they complain (believe me they will), remind them that is exactly how you feel when it’s done to you. Court one another…. don’t destroy one another. There was and hopefully still is a reason why you love one another…and believe me, most of the time, it’s still there. Dig it out, nature it and enjoy it all over again. (I have had to learn how to “practice what I preach” many times myself.)

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