Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend believes in too much honesty. Every time she meets my friends, and often when we go to events of my choosing, I’m treated immediately afterward to a litany of all the reasons the friends/events were terrible. I’m not insisting that she come, and I don’t want to hear it.
She says “So you’re asking me to lie to you?” (Nope! Just shut up); and, “I feel like you don’t want me to express my emotions” (Correct! But that’s apparently not allowed); and “It’s not a judgment on you if I don’t like the same things as you” (I maintain that it’s reasonable to be offended if someone doesn’t like the majority of your friends).
It’s normal to not want someone to tell you how much the things and people you love suck, right? Is there anything I can say? We’ve been on the verge of breaking up, and I’m tempted to let this be the last straw.
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Some temptations are meant to be given in to.
It is normal not to want someone to tell you how much the things and people you love suck, yes. However, there are higher levels of normalcy available to you.
Namely, it’s normal not to make someone your romantic partner unless and until you learn that, in general, you actually love the same people and things. It’s unrealistic to expect someone to have everything in common with you, but you certainly can find a better match than someone who feels displeasure “every time” in response to things you hold dear.
For what it’s worth, she has a point when she says it’s not about you when she doesn’t like the same things — but she needs to adhere to that logic herself and not make her tastes your problem by itemizing all that she found terrible about any given person or event. She can easily recognize that these dislikes are about her alone, and manage them “in-house” — by breaking up with you, by not accompanying you to events she likely won’t enjoy, or by being a good sport occasionally and not giving every grievance its due.
Sharing displeasure occasionally to help you both understand your compatibilities is helpful; sharing “every time” is a problem. That problem can just be stubbornness, where you’re both too focused on being right for it to occur to you that you’re just not right for each other, or it can be that you’re with someone controlling, someone who can’t abide your having a good time without her calling the shots or having the last word. Remember, you’ve made it clear she’s doing this at your expense, and she’s doing it anyway – and blaming you for wanting otherwise.
Your opening is, “My girlfriend believes in too much honesty,” but if she were any less honest, you might not have such rich, clear evidence that you’re dating someone who isn’t right for you and is apparently not terribly nice, at least not with you, not anymore. In this case, “too much” is the perfect amount.
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