Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

How are important issues in your romantic relationships brought up?

Asked by nikipedia (27531points) August 8th, 2010

My best friend and I were just observing that women tend to be the ones to bring up topics of significance in relationships—at what point it becomes “official,” whether to stay together or break up when one person has to move, other big-pink-elephant-in-the-room problems that both parties know about.

Has this been your experience? When you’ve had to go through these conversations, who tends to bring them up, and how?

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19 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

Very tough question for me. It has been different with each relationship. I normally allow those things to surface at the right moment. I’ve never planned those conversations. I think timing is very important with for me with those moments. Would like to add, was referring too relationships from years ago. For example, the girl I dated in high school (my senior year..only girl i was ever involved with in high school…we went out 7 times before I ever kissed her goodnite…loll), she was a grade behind me, and we were involved in heavy petting only. After a really long discussion, me going off to college, and her senior year coming up, we decided to be just friends. It was a good decision for both of us.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

In our relationship, important issues get discussed all the time – we check in with each other fairly often and if something of importance to ourselves or our family comes up, we just spill it, because it’s easier that way…it’s not so much about who is the one to bring things up, it’s the when and the where..when we’re in each others arms or hanging out on the balcony after the kids are asleep.

Dewey420's avatar

it’s usually me. and it’s done loudly and very drunk.

Luffle's avatar

It depends on the personality of the people in the relationship. In my most recent relationship, I’ve usually been the one to ask the questions because otherwise, he’d never talk about any issues at all if he could. I’d usually just wait a bit and hint at it but if he’s tries to completely avoid it, I ask at the peak of my frustration when things are already changing. This has been common in my relationship because of the type of guy that I’m attracted to but there are some guys who have been more open and sensitive towards certain issues than I have. I just didn’t date them for very long because of personality conflicts. I also have a tendency to be more reserved about certain issues.

le_inferno's avatar

Yup. I’m always the one bringing them up. I just speak my mind when I feel something is wrong or needs to be addressed. There doesn’t have to be a golden opportunity.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Yep, I bring them up. How? I just do. If something needs to be dealt with we talk about it. I am just the one that always starts that conversation.

stardust's avatar

It depends. With my last boyfriend, he was the one that brought wanted to put a name on the relationship. There’s been times when I’ve asked what’s happening and where things are going in other relationships. I like to go with the flow and allow things to happen naturally.

Seaofclouds's avatar

My husband and I will bring things up whenever something comes up that needs to be discussed. Most of the things he brings up are related to his career and what it means for our family. Most of the things I bring up are related to running our household and caring for our son while he is gone.

janedelila's avatar

I state my few simple rules at the point we have physically noticed we are compatible. I continue to state what will and won’t work for me as we progress. When we cannot agree, or will not, then a decision is made mutually. I have found that this is the only way any of it works for me.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I do. I bring the issues up. In the UK, I am met with a bit of disbelief by men. Why? Because I am direct and honest. I don’t pfaff around and play games.

“I don’t think that we are connecting here. Why are we even together?”
“Uh, what?”
“I said, I’d like to know why we are together when we don’t talk or communicate anymore. I might as well be an ottoman.”
“I thought we were getting along okay.”
“Actually, we haven’t had sex since Australia won the Ashes and the last time we went out to do something together was to visit your mother in the hospital.”
“Well, we did go out to dinner.”
“At the hospital canteen. Cheese on toast is not romantic.”
“It was going out….technically.”
“Exactly. That is a problem, wouldn’t you think? A hospital and some mushy peas does not a passion make. Maybe we need to not see each other anymore?”
“Hmm…what exactly do you mean?”
That we should not see each other anymore.
“Could you explain that in a different way? I’m still not sure exactly why you are saying that? Or what you mean?”

Exactly.

kevbo's avatar

My experience across a few relationships has pretty consistently been that my bringing up stuff is “bad timing,” or “insensitive,” or evokes withdrawal from the other party, so (and with all due respect to your question)... fuck it.

I’m terrible at initiating break ups.

wundayatta's avatar

I think women have a lot more issues than men do.

I’m only half kidding. Look at the ratio of women to men bringing up issues.

Maybe men aren’t so bothered by “issues.” Maybe we hope that they will just go away on their own, particularly if they are with women, who aren’t understandable, anyway. Women always seem to think something is wrong. Men hate being wrong. They know that if they ever get into a discussion with women about “issues,” they will lose, and lose badly. Men are singularly ill-equipped to deal with “issues.”

So there is really no point for a man to have an issue or even to bring it up. Somehow, the woman always turns it around and makes it seem like everything is our fault. In my relationship, the only time I ever had one of my issues validated was during counseling. Otherwise is was my issues vs her issues and her laundry list was ten times longer than mine.

What do you do, ladies? Sit on the toilet thinking these things up? It totally blows me away. It’s totally scary. If it were up to me, we’d ban the word from the lexicon. No more “issues” allowed in the universe. Everything would be so much more peaceful and calm if we never have to deal with an “issue” again.

Fuck it. I’m going fishing.

And I don’t even like fishing!

le_inferno's avatar

@wundayatta I agree that women tend to find more faults in a relationship than men do. But that’s because men tend to not interpret (or even notice) certain things as faults. Women are more intimate beings, more emotionally equipped. Their perception is uber-sensitive. If they feel a weakness in the bond with their man, it will bother them. If they don’t get the affection and respect they deserve, it will bother them. Men are bothered too, of course, but it seems to take a lot more. They’re more willing to go with the flow. A woman stays on top of the relationship more because she’s got the emotional inclination to do so.

perspicacious's avatar

I don’t think either of us would hesitate to bring up something that needed to be discussed.

augustlan's avatar

It depends on the man I’m with. My ex-husband was a sensitive type of guy, and would bring things up probably more often than I did. Usually by arguing with me about whatever it was. The man I’m married to now is a totally old school, manly-man type of guy. I’m pretty sure he’d rather we never talk about “issues” again, so it’s definitely up to me. Luckily, there haven’t been many. :)

wundayatta's avatar

@le_inferno I think I agree with your analysis in terms of average behavior (there are always exceptions). I wonder what it means. Where do these differing behaviors come from? Is it just men’s insecurity about articulating feelings? Could this be a consequence on men not developing a language for feelings? Or is it something more innate?

I have long thought that if it weren’t for women, we wouldn’t have civilization. Women are the ones pushing for social organization—the ones who want to domesticate men. Men don’t fully want to be domesticated. There are advantages to being a wild animal. But women want us to help out around the house, or, more importantly, provide resources to help bring up the kids.

Once the kids are raised and gone, men aren’t as necessary to women, and so they are often cast off. Although, cleverly, women blame it on the male philandering so as to get the moral upper hand. I do not believe this is a conscious thing. Rather I think that women won’t fight as hard to hold onto a man once the kids have been raised.

Men, no longer needed by the first wife, will often find someone younger to start a second family with. Many older single women seem to find this life to be much better than the one where they have a whining man around.

If I am right, then “issues,” rather than being an attempt to make a relationship better, are actually a way of reminding a man he isn’t necessary, except as a provider. It also serves to prepare the ground for the jettisoning of the man when he is no longer necessary.

If women are the civilizing power, then they have a knowledge that gives them a lot more power then men. It is quite clever, because it allows women to get what they want while blaming men for screwing things up. Women have the morally superior position, and men have no clue what hit them.

In most cases, I would say this does not happen consciously. I would expect most people to deny that it happens. It’s just a theory, and I know it sounds wacky. We’ll see what the evidence shows over time.

kevbo's avatar

@wundayatta, wow man, that’s deep. As one of my female friends used to say, “Men are dumb. Women are evil.”

lapilofu's avatar

Gender essentialism freaks me out. I don’t doubt that @nikipedia‘s conjecture about women bringing up issues more often has some validity—women in this culture are trained to be visibly emotional, just as men are trained to be emotionally reserved, to keep their problems to themselves.

But the idea that men are wild animals who need to be domesticated and civilized by women? That’s so 1800s.

janedelila's avatar

@wundayatta wow. that is brilliant. I think you may have solved my “issues”. If you look at my asked questions. you will see.

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