13 Relationship Poltergeists (and How to Get Them the Hell Out of Your House)
The old argument about where you are going to spend the holidays is a sneaky one. It appears to be a simple matter of logistics, but in truth, this yearly conversation is, like any talks regarding wedding planning, baby naming or date-night movie selection, secretly symbolic. How can he say he wants to skip your family's traditional Fourth of July picnic because it's inconveniently scheduled on, you know, Fourth of July? (Subtext: WHY DOES HE HATE YOUR MOTHER?) Or conversely, how could you have suggested that you didn't want to referee his family's annual political debate over Christmas ham? (Subtext: WHY DO YOU HATE HIS MOTHER?) Do both of yourselves a favor and try to stop obsessing about why he won't just be a sport and eat Aunt Agatha's marshmallow-fluff salad. His feelings about your extended family are not his feelings for you. After all, he has chosen to be with you—not Aunt Agatha.
The Talking Box in the Bedroom
If the voice you hear most often in bed is Piers Morgan's, it's time to reconsider the placement of your television. You don't need ghosts and static for that particular box to fry a couple.
The Ill-Fated "Cowgirl Surprise"
It was a dark and stormy night. You shared a bottle of wine and an article suggesting wild-sex advice, which you giggled over...and then decided to try. And [ominous thunder clap!] it didn't work out so well. You wisely never tried it again, though you still recoil at the memory. But nothing can kill a sex life like lingering embarrassment, especially if it puts a damper on any further adventurousness. Can you laugh about it? No? Huh. Can you remind yourself that you lived through it, you're still together and that at least it will never be that bad ever again? For heaven's sake, try.
Your Younger-You's Disapproving Glare
"I'm never getting married!"
"I'll never drive a minivan!"
"We'll always go out every night—and have sex every day!"
—Selected from The Finest Quotes of Younger You
We all want to stay true to ourselves. Of course we do. But it's okay if the "yourself" you're staying true to has changed. When you were 20, you thought you'd take a bucket-list trip every year and have enlightening conversations about the meaning of life at every dinner (each one of which would be life-changing-ly delicious and exotic). If the 40-year-old you is happy, then don't let 20-year-old hold you hostage. No offense, but 20-year-old you was so...20 years ago.
Next: The shoes you'll never wear again