Monday, December 7, 2015

Help: My Significant Other Embarrasses me.

At one point, my friend Jen was in a relationship with a really sweet, good-natured guy named Mike. He was unassuming and likeable, and people usually warmed up to him quickly. But he didn’t have a whole lot to talk about—he was well-versed in sports and video games, but didn’t have a job or goals. Sometimes the immaturity of what he would say would catch you off guard.

When I’d ask Jen how Mike was, she would dance around the question or, at the very least, keep the answer brief. Jen enjoyed spending time with Mike one-on-one, but became nervous when they’d socialize with a group—she’d find herself staying close and dominating the conversation so he wouldn’t have to contribute.


One time we were at a wedding of a mutual friend and she and Mike left right after dinner. Later, she confessed that she figured leaving was an easier alternative to dancing and socializing. Gradually, they ended up kind of becoming homebodies without even realizing it. Some of our friends never even met Mike in the two years they were together.

On the other hand, one of my other friends had a girlfriend who would constantly be angry with him. It didn’t matter if I was third wheeling or if there was a group of us, nor did it matter what we were doing: we could be celebrating her birthday or just chilling at his apartment. It never even seemed like legitimate reasons to be angry, by the way. Not usually one to dole out unsolicited advice, I actually took it as far as a conversation with him about how awkward it made things.

No matter how angry or embarrassed you may feel, never pick on your significant other in front of other people. Not only will your boyfriend hate you (see #5 You make him feel embarrassing), but in my friend’s case it really just made his girlfriend look angry and dramatic. While it may have felt painful to listen to the same dumb story for the millionth time, her anger did nothing but make everyone else uncomfortable.

Back in Jen’s life, fast forward a year and a half after her and Mike’s BLOW OFF: she’s introducing her new boyfriend to everyone she knows within the first two months they’re together. I could tell right away that he had a lot of interests and some charm, so he was good at effortlessly keeping a conversation going. No longer does Jen struggle with feeling proud of her significant other, and Mike is now free to find someone who appreciates him for exactly who he is—publicly and privately.

Do you openly include your significant other in your social calendar, or do you find yourself relieved when you don’t need to bring a plus-one? Have you ever had a relationship gradually become hidden in a separate part of your life? Comment below!

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