12 Relationship Poltergeists (and How to Get Them the Hell Out of Your House)
Whether your relationship began in the previous millennium or last week, it's inevitable: Unless you're vampires (in which case, you probably have a whole other set of issues), you're both older now. Things have been lost: Your ability to wear sexy-lady stilettos without whining about your bone spurs; the bid on the exact-right house that would have been the exact-right backdrop for your exact-right family (not that you're pregnant yet); the I'll-live-forever confidence that fueled your carefree bike rides together (before a car door knocked the wind out of you, as well as your fearlessness). It's okay to look back with gentle longing. But if you're obsessing over the path not taken, take a moment to ask yourself if this backwards glancing is helpful in any way. Chances are, it's not.
The Cobwebs in Your Bank Account
Many of us are haunted by financial secrets. Whether it's a savings account that exists only in imagination, a monster credit-card debt looming from the past or even secret money fantasies (e.g., financial security is your main priority, but you haven't worked up the nerve to admit this to your free-spirited aspiring-artist boyfriend), this is probably the top conversation you're not having but need to. No one wants to talk about money. But not talking about it doesn't make it go away.
The Pickle Fork of Love
Add this to pickle forks, baby-wipes warmers and upside-down mortgages on the "List of Things No One Needs": The thought that he may want to get back together with his ex. They broke up. And now he's with you. The end.
The Perfect Woman
We know, we know, you're almost perfect. You can imagine the perfect you. She's a lot like real you, except just a touch perfecter. She effortlessly balances her stellar career and social life, puts her partner and family first and every night finds time to make an interesting and healthful dinner, spotlessly clean her home, talk to her mother, knit a baby hat for a friend, run three miles, read a novel and, of course, get enough sleep so that she can be that same stellar self in the morning. She would be the perfect partner. And so many of us fall into her wily trap, trying to become her and in the process driving ourselves—and everyone else—crazy. Here's the thing about Perfect Woman: She's boring. She makes everyone feel bad for not being as perfect as she is. And besides, too much self-sacrifice doesn't actually make a woman perfect; in practice, it makes her frantic. Does your partner want to spend eternity with a frantic woman? More importantly, do you? Didn't think so.
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