Meg’s Do’s and Don’ts for a Long-Lasting Relationship

April 4th, 2010

Happy Easter and Passover! And of course to those of you who celebrate the NCAA (as at least one person has been doing in my house all weekend), happy that, too!

For those of you who missed it, on April 1 I celebrated my 17th wedding anniversary (obviously, I was a child bride).

Many have asked, “What’s the secret to such a long-lasting relationship?”

I’ve been thinking about it, and decided to use the current Sandra Bullock-Jesse James drama as a teaching tool:

DON’T sweat the small stuff . . . and it’s ALL small stuff.

This is a popular expression in Al-Anon. It means don’t worry about the little things. And it’s ALL little things.

Girls email me a LOT about their relationships, freaking out over what I would consider small stuff (“He was looking at porn on his computer!” Uh, yeah. He’s a boy).

But there’s a lot about Jesse James that was apparently small stuff to Sandra that would have been big stuff to me. Such as:

DO object if he dresses like an ass clown:

Think about that photo of Jesse James wearing Nazi regalia, doing that Hitler salute. What if you were Sandra Bullock, and you were in that picture with him?

Your career would now be ruined.

See? How your partner dresses MATTERS.

So next time your boyfriend shows up to meet you wearing his pants around his knees with his underwear hanging out over the top, point out that he’s not being very respectful of you: Society judges us in many ways, and one important way it judges us is how we dress, and, by association, the way in which the people we’re with are dressed. It’s not fair, but that’s how it is.

Try to lead by example. If you look stylish, he’ll most likely try to smarten up when he’s around you.

If all else fails, refuse to be seen with him in public until he starts dressing in a more civilized manner. He’ll get the message.

Then later, you can gently suggest he “donate” the most offensive items in his wardrobe to “the poor” (who will in no way want them, but you don’t have to hurt his feelings by telling him so).

DO have a sense of humor.

Studies show that sense of humor is at least partly inherited, so keep in mind how your guy handles stressful situations is probably the fault of his genetics.

But whatever his parentage, you can defuse almost any situation with a joke. Just make sure he knows you’re laughing with him, not at him . . .

. . . unless of course you ARE laughing at him, because he’s so stupid he had unprotected sex with someone who had the word SINNER tattooed across her forehead and then was SURPRISED when she chose to sell her story to the highest paying tabloid.

(But that might just be the best thing that ever happened to you, because now you know his true nature and can get on with your life, while he will forever pine for you, knowing he ruined the one chance he ever had at true happiness. That’s funny. In a sad way.)

DO admit you made a mistake, apologize, then fix it:

No one is perfect. You’re going to make mistakes—say the wrong thing, do something stupid.

When you make a mistake, it’s important that you be upfront about what you did. Don’t cry and moan about how it wasn’t your fault. Even if you do have an addiction of some kind, saying this is what caused you to do the things you did just makes it look like you’re not taking responsibility for your actions.

The best thing you can do to show someone that you’re truly sorry is suck it up, admit you were wrong, apologize, and FIX IT.

Then maybe in a few years, if you truly behave yourself and help out in Haiti or something, people will forgive you.

DO forgive and move on.

When your partner treats you in a reprehensible manner, don’t be a doormat. Pack the Box and Change the Lox, which is what Sandra is apparently doing now.

But Packing the Box and Changing the Lox is an extreme measure only to be taken when your partner has truly crossed a line. I’m not talking about “He showed up in sweats to my office party!” or “He stayed out all night with the boys and didn’t call!”

I’m talking he drove all the kids to soccer practice . . . drunk. Or had unprotected sex with someone other than yourself.

The rest of the time, forgive and move on. Remember what I said about sweating the small stuff . . . most of it really IS all small stuff.

These keys to a long lasting relationship seem self-evident to me, but if you have questions about them, you can stop by any of my blog tour stops for the paperback release of Being Nikki, which is out now in paperback, and the final book in the Airhead series, Runaway (out April 20), and we can talk.

I had a blast last week at The Story Siren discussing the prisoners who are required to watch the first Princess Diaries movie as part of their jail indoctrination program (true story).

My latest stop was My Friend Amy’s blog, where I blogged about my worst travel experiences (because at the end of Being Nikki, Em takes a not-very-enjoyable trip. She’s still not enjoying this trip at the beginning of Runaway).

In the meantime, someone sent me this bit of news about the Avalon High movie casting. I have no idea if it’s true. But I did promise to keep you guys posted. So this is where to send your head shots. If I find out otherwise, I’ll let you know!

Finally, look what I got in the mail!

YES! Advanced reader copies of my June release, Insatiable! (I don’t know why this batch is so dusty. It sort of goes with the look though.)

If you’re on my Author Tracker with Harper you’ll be getting the first excerpt in your inbox THIS WEEK. If not, sign up for it here.

Now I have to go track down some chocolate bunny ears.

More later.

Much love,

Meg