Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why You're Not Married Yet, Chapter 5: You're Selfish

We're onto Chapter Five: You're Selfish! That means we've made it halfway through the book without wanting to kill ourselves. Yay, Us! If you haven't picked up this book yet to read along with us, then we've got news for you. YOU ARE NEVER GETTING MARRIED. Totally kidding. But it's not too late. Order it here, y'all!

The Single Girl's Perspective (20 LA Wannabe) 
McMillan starts us off by letting us know that selfish people are like children and adults neither can or want to be in a partnership with a child. She continues that selfish people love being taken care of. Wait, didn’t she say in Chapter 1 that men just want a woman who will be nice to them and take care of them and cook them dinner? Does that strike anyone else as selfish? So she’s inadvertently saying it’s okay for men to want to be taken care of but it’s selfish when a woman wants that. Big disagree on this one. Doesn’t every relationship book ever spell out that men need to provide in the relationship and need to be needed?

Moving on… She talks some more about characteristics of selfish people and how always thinking about yourself is unattractive and goes as far as to say that if you’re selfish, guys will fuck you but they won’t want to marry you. She also lists ways to tell if you’re selfish in case you’re so caught up in yourself you can’t even tell if you’re selfish or not.

It isn’t until later in the chapter when I found some of McMillan’s information either helpful or accurate. She reminds us that we can’t punish people for not being able to meet our own selfish needs. I can admit that I may have been guilty of this a few times. More so of people not meeting expectations, that they didn’t even know were expected, but selfish needs as well. She also tells us that we must respect men and when we do, the way we relate to them will also change.

And here comes the chapter’s thesis. You’re going to have to change. Duh. We all need to become better people. She advises us to stop paying attention to our feelings so much, um hello this is LA, all we do is talk about ourselves all day long. But she suggests that we all have to become more helpful and courteous and grow, because the biggest problem in relationships is when one person grows and the other does not and that women have to go first.

While McMillan makes a few valid points I think that she over-analyzes selfishness. I also am not a huge fan of her view that loving someone is about giving something up, not getting it. While love should be selfless, I would still probably be in love with all of my ex-boyfriends if I didn’t want love in return. Her point is simple and of course we do need to stop being SO selfish, but people who want to be in relationships (especially those leading to marriage) are usually considerate of their partner. I found this chapter to be a little futile, but we are 5 chapters in and I’m still single so maybe the problem lies within me.

The Married Girl's Perspective (Saaara)
So, not that we're halfway through the book, I'm really starting to see how McMillan must have struggled stretching one Huffpost to an entire book. Cause this chapter may as well have been called: you're shallow, since the takeaways were pretty much the same.

The main argument in this chapter is that you can't go into a relationship asking what the other person can do for you. In fact, McMillan wants us to do the opposite. She wants women to approach relationships as doing service. She talks a lot about motherhood in this chapter and what she learned raising a son. Once Ms. Tracy had a baby, she rose to the challenge of being selfless as a mom and she's learned to carry that into other relationships.

Here's where I agreed with McMillan. Her definition of selfish = wanting things to go your way all the time. I'll fully admit, I have this problem. I wasn't spoiled as a child, but I don't handle disappointment well. My husband can attest to that. (Like the night we were gonna go out to sushi, but the sushi place was closed and we had to eat at the paella place instead. I basically acted like someone was forcing me to eat human instead of sushi.) This is definitely a personality trait I've been trying to work on, because it doesn't lead to a happy marriage. I've gradually learned to not freak out when things don't turn out the way I expect them to. I mean, guys, it got to the point where my husband was nervous about going into a deli and getting me a sandwich cause I would be miserable to be around if he got my order wrong. Ugh. I hate even confessing to that. So, I'm working on it. (side note: it seems I'm only selfish when it comes to food.)

I don't know how I feel about the whole "service" thing. I just don't agree with McMillan's claims that if people don't do certain things for you, it means that they just can't, not that they won't. Um, not true. My life partner fully admits to me that there are certain things he doesn't do (AKA drop off the drycleaning), because he knows I'll eventually just do them anyway. And that's where as women, I think we need to be careful about how selfless we are in relationships. I don't know if McMillan still does EVERYTHING for her son, but if she does, she's doing him a huge disservice. The best kind of guys and partners are the kind that know how to do things for themselves and aren't going to expect their mates to do everything for them. After all, I thought guys don't want to date their mothers.

 Also, like McMillan points out, once us ladies do become moms, a lot of our selfishness has to go out the window. And whether we like it or not, our lives are going to be impacted more by having children than our husband's lives (especially when the kid is attached to our boobies.) So, shouldn't this sort of be our time to get to be selfish?

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this chapter. I hear where McMillan is coming from when she advises us to generally be a better person-- the kind that are thoughtful, gracious, courteous, etc. No shit. We should all be like that. However, I know some people that are a bit over the top in this department and they aren't really that happy either. They feel like they're always putting themselves second. Or that if they don't always put their spouse first, then that person won't love them. I guess like anything in life, we need to strike a balance. It's good to stand your ground on some things, but when you love someone, it's also really important to learn to step aside and let them do what they want.

Anyway, after I read this chapter, my husband asked me to get him a glass of water and I didn't groan and say "get it yourself." So....baby steps! Until next week when we read Chapter 6: You're a Mess.

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