What is your fighting style?

We talk a lot about love languages but what I think is equally important is how you fight. When you and your partner come into some kind of conflict, what kind of defense mechanisms do you have? How do you cope with the stressful feelings? Do you fight back, do you shut down, do you walk away, do you talk it out? When you fight are you mad or are you sad? Are you frustrated or are you stressed out? What we want our fighting style to be and what our fighting style is can be two different things.

Generally when I encounter some kind of disagreement my first instinct is to shut the fuck up and not say anything else until I figure out what I did wrong or what my partner did wrong. Then I either go into full apology mode because I hate feeling like I’m the cause of conflict or I go into full explanation mode because I hate making you feel bad and I know you didn’t mean it! This isn’t always super useful, or effective. Simply apologizing might not reach the core of the problem, and it might not save me from making that same mistake again. Telling someone “I know you didn’t mean it, it’s okay!” prevents you from breaking down into the real reason why that thing hurt you. Those conversations are the absolute worst, but if you want to be a better partner, you have to have them.

This is why my ideal fighting language is I FEEL LIKE I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT WENT WRONG HERE, IF YOU’LL ONLY WAIT A MOMENT PLEASE, I WILL GRAB A PIECE OF PAPER AND WRITE IT DOWN. Because I am total shit at processing in the moment. I’m one hundred a fifteen thousand percent better in writing. Five days later. Six days later. A month later. Way past the point of the disagreement being over and settled a little lightbulb comes up over my head. And suddenly I realize two things, simultaneously. We’re both right. We’re always both right. Because when it comes to feelings, we all get the right to feel the way we feel. The problem is we weren’t able to articulate those feelings in a meaningful or useful way.

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There is no perfect way to predict the outcome when two people are disagreeing. In love languages, you can foster love and support by giving and receiving love in certain ways. If you know how your partner fights, or if you’re aware of how you fight, it might just make you more cognizant of the particular way shit is going to fly.

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Knowing how you fight and how your partner fights can help you develop a stronger connection. Being aware of what your partner is sensitive about is very important. Being aware of what you’re sensitive about is very important. There are many things that I am sensitive about that I’m sure I am not aware of (in which case, how could my partner know?) and those things might lead to future disagreements.

Mood and environment is also important. Does your partner look like they’re ready to discuss a point of conflict with you right now? No? Could the decision to have this conversation right now potentially spiral into hell? Do you like sleeping on the couch? Pick your moments. Avoid the voice screaming in your gut that says MAYBE IF WE HAVE THIS CONVERSATION RIGHT NOW IT’LL JUST BE OKAY I MEAN I’M FEELING REALLY EMOTIONAL LETS JUST GET IT OUT THERE. Choosing the right moments to talk about conflict is important. Phrasing is important. Avoiding physical and emotional abuse is the most important.

Alas, in disagreements, there is a bit of self-preservation. Imagine your argument as an archeological dig. You’ve discovered .05% of these bones. You have no idea what this monster is yet. Just keep gently digging and maybe you’ll make a cool discovery.

Then self preservation kicks in – CAN’T YOU SEE THAT’S A MOTHER FUCKING MAMMOTH ARE YOU BLIND LOOK JUST STAND OVER HERE, THERES THE TUSK, ITS A MAMMOTH. I mean, dude. Keep dusting it off and let it prove to you that it’s a dead mammoth.

Avoid the mammoth in the room at all costs.

Self-preservation in a couple is not about protecting yourself and your self-righteous “but I didn’t mean to!” Self-preservation in a couple is about making sure you’re both heard and understood so you can become better, together.

Keep fighting the good fight if it’s worth it.

If you’re unable to fight, are developing unhealthy arguments, cannot learn or move forward together, IDK. Sorry everything sucks.

This post in dedication to my boyfriend. 

We aren’t upset often, but when we are, we always come out the other side together. 

And in dedication to all of my friends who have shared their thoughts on fighting over the course of the last two months. May your fights be two way streets always ending at ice cream parlors, not fiery roundabouts, with the air conditioning broken, in the middle of summer, in a foreign country, on the wrong side of the road.

I’m… I’m just gonna hit publish now.

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Weekly Update: The Unlikely Status of Tidying Up

This week I did something I’ve been leading up to for a good ten years. I deleted my Reeder app. Reeder is an amazingly powerful tool that collects every new post from any blog or website you input into it. At the time of deletion I had about 200 sources ranging from tech blogs to friends personal blogs, fashion blogs, all the way back to kink blogs. And every morning I would wake up and a little alarm would go off saying “MAKE THE NUMBER ZERO LORELEI.” Not literally, but it did buzz at me and, among other tasks, prompt me to clear the list.

If I did clear the list three times a day, I could keep it pretty close to zero. But if I skipped one day or forgot about it for more than a day the number would quickly build to over 5,000 unread articles. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized this wasn’t bringing me any joy. Not only that, but a lot of the articles were duplicates if something big was happening in the news. How many times do I want to read about David Bowie’s death today? 450? Who is going to give me the most insightful eulogy? I’ll pass.

I’d scan through the posts looking for something to spark my interest, but it was always the same two or three websites that made me stop. Then I thought, why don’t I just visit those blogs every so often to experience that good feeling? Why do I wait for them to pop up in my Reeder? Why do I swim through all this other bullshit to get to them? The same feelings arise from email newsletters. I’m not going to read your pushed posts in my email (I know many people do read my blog or other blogs this way, and if that works for you, awesome!) But when it’s in my email inbox it feels like a job I have to do. One unread post. And I’m going to notice it all day in the midst of my other important emails. And, honestly, I’m probably going to delete it if I know I can’t read it right then.

I’ve been reading Marie Kondo’s books the past few weeks and have become a Kondo-zombie. If you’re not familiar, she’s the woman who has written the books about how tidying is a magic process and you should throw away things that don’t spark joy. For a normal person, this book might sound a little cray-cray. But I read this and felt so completely at peace finally getting rid of things I’d hung on to for years, and years, and years. If you’re like me and feel personal and emotional connections to inanimate objects, this will help you get rid of all that shit and realize whats important. I’m even… I’m even becoming okay with the thought of purging a few of my books. The ones I look at and think “who even gave this to me? I don’t even like this kind of thing.” So now I have to figure out how to absorb this new knowledge about myself. Remember how it felt when your bones grew?

This whole process of purging made me curious how you read my blog. If you wouldn’t mind, please take this quick little poll!

Weekly Update: Me Inside You (A Love Note To Planes)

Ho boy, has it been a long time since I’ve done one of these. Life, busy, things, stuff. Got up, got more coffee, sat down. Forgot I was going to write this. Longest coffee break ever.

Typically one might come to my blog to receive advice, but today I’m going to be asking for advice in return! I’ve got two vacations coming up this year and I would love any suggestions. I feel like every time I travel somewhere, I’m traveling there for the first time. While I’ve been to the following places, I feel like I’ve only tap-tapped the hard surface. And there’s so much creme brûlée hiding beneath I’ve yet to discover.

Vancouver, BC – I’m staying with a friend of mine so lodging isn’t going to be a problem, but I would love suggestions on favorite spots! Specifically places with good beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, good bookstores, good photo spots, or anything else that sticks out as a must-see!

Paris, France – Paris is just so packed tight with amazing that my general plan is to hit up my favorite spots and then spend a lot of time just soaking it in, enjoying, and exploring. I want to discover rather than go by a strict timeline. We’ll also be considering some out-of-paris trips, maybe for a couple of nights! I’d love to get some swimming in on the coast, but not sure where! We’re not sure where we’re staying in Paris, but if you have a favorite arrondissement, let me know!

Finally, I’d also love to hear your go-to packing and travel suggestions! I fly so  rarely that I don’t have a super great system yet. What do you pack in your carry on? How do you pack it? Do you have any favorite products you bring when you’re traveling? What about a super-awesome piece of luggage? What do you definitely leave behind? What do you definitely bring?

À bientôt!

Q: He hates when anyone else touches him, whats the deal?

Question:: How would you define this person? My friend is a 38 yr old male who hates for anyone to touch his penis while having sex. He is bi but can only pleasure himself with his own hand while giving male/female oral sex. I think it’s odd and numerous sexual partners have broken up with him over this issue. I’ve told him he has some issues to deal with. But is it normal or does he have something wrong with him?

 

I’m not certain what your relationship is with him, and why you’re getting involved, but if there’s some sort of sexual relationship between the two of you, I’d suggest asking him directly why he has this preference. Seems obvious, I know, but let’s just get it out there. If you’re just curious because you’re close friends and this strikes you as odd, maybe your position is simply as the bewildered confidant.

My first guess is that he might have issues with ejaculation – coming too quickly – and wants to have control. If he were to give someone else the ability to take the wheel he wouldn’t be able to pace out intercourse in a way he’s accustomed to.

Other potential explanations: he has issues staying hard and needs to stimulate himself a certain way, he has insecurities about his penis, he’s very sensitive and finds that other people touching him causes him discomfort, he’s had bad experiences in the past and is still struggling to move on, he’s got a specific jerking-off-in-peoples-faces-kink, or… it just so happens that this specific act is the thing that gets his rocks off the best/easiest.

In the case of it’s just what he digs, man maybe he should be honest with himself and others and seek out partners who don’t think its strange. If it’s an issue of control, sensitivity, or insecurity, he might need to work through some things – with the right partner – to make a more fulfilling connection.

Have a question? Submit at http://www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog.

 

Prompt: What I Kept of My Ex

I asked my friends if they could do something for me. Take a photo of something from a previous relationship that you’ve held onto, and tell me a little bit about why you kept it. It was inspired in part by a conversation I had with my boyfriend, and in part by an afternoon curled up with my stack of old journals. Why do we keep these mementos, and what do they tell us about ourselves?

What I didn’t realize was that the question “what have you kept?” would cause people to go back through these things and, well, feel stuff. It wasn’t until the last day if this project that I went into my own closet and took a real look at the things I’d hung onto. It was startling. I have small mementos from just about everyone I’ve ever gotten significantly close to, friends, or boyfriends. Photos, letters, notes, small gifts, little tokens I’ve forgotten the importance of. I actually used this opportunity to sort out what I wanted to keep and what I didn’t want to keep, and it was hard for me. I had to call back to something I’d read in Marie Kondos book re: tidying. Mementos are the hardest to get rid of, but ask yourself this question: does the person this memory is attached to even remember it exists? (For me the answer was a resounding probably not.)

With much fanfare, here are the submissions:

This is a ring gifted to me by a man I dated when I was 19-20 and again at 21. The ring was a very thoughtful gift, combining my draw to all things Scandinavian, and my wanderlust. The runes on the ring were picked out by my then boyfriend to ensure a safe journey wherever I go. I’ve held onto it and still wear it when I’m not working (rings hurt when tree climbing), and he and I are still friends to this day.
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This is the only note I have kept from C. It is, of course, a beautiful lie. But I hold onto it because, as much as it was nothing more than fantasy, I like to imagine that maybe it meant something. It is a lovely thought, like a good story that makes you smile even though you know it can’t possibly be part of reality.

So I hold onto this note to remember that even the ugliest situations can have glimmers of joy. Even if they are without meaning, the smiles were real enough.

Still, though, there is a lingering sense of hurt. So even looking at this note isn’t enough to produce the smile it was meant to bring.

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 ‘Do you know you are a good person? And I like you! Interesting.’


My ex lent me his shirt for the last Blazers game we went to together. I really loved going to games with him.

He didn’t talk to me for two months after he broke up with me. I suppose I could have a mutual friend pass it along, but it’s been so long now that I feel weird about it. Mostly it just sits tucked away in my bottom drawer. I feel a pang of hurt every time I see it.

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David Bowie… Random, I know. But for whatever reason the guy, let’s call him Max, the guy who made me realize it was capable to love two people at the same time, we shared a love for David Bowie. Every time I see that magical figure or hear his captivating music it transfers me back to last year when we were still together. Nights of cudding next to Max, the way he brushed my hair out of my face and followed it up with “you’re so beautiful.” It moves me to this day.

When David Bowie passed away I was heartbroken. Not just because a legend died, but it transfered me back to Max when I thought I was over it all. Apparently not. He still holds a piece of my heart. We loved each other more than we anticipated, which made his primary worry and uncomfortable. We had to end it, though neither of us wanted to. It’s always hard, still is.

“The stars look very different today.” They have ever since that night we decided to walk away from it all.

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I realized recently that I’d gradually and dispassionately gotten rid of all the sentimental items from past relationships. They’d all become meaningless junk to me. Whenever I’d come across one of these mementos, it was like finding someone else’s clutter. So now it appears that I’ve thrown the last of them away without even noticing when it happened.

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My ex boyfriend’s tack hammer. It was the longest relationship I had (over two years). We met when I was 18 so I didn’t know what to look for as far as red flags. He was emotionally abusive, possessive, and hypocritical. Even though this hammer and the hard-learned lessons are the only traces of this relationship in my life, they’re both very useful so I keep them around.

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This is a drawing an ex gave me for my birthday in 2009. I kept it because our relationship was this intense mess of two damaged people using each other over and over again. To look back on it, you’d think there wasn’t any moment of tangible affection from her, just desperate emotion from me. Except this picture that she worked a whole weekend on showing the story of how we met. That was a sign it was at least somehow more real than imagined.

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This was from a boyfriend I met my senior year of college (he was an Officer in the Marine Corps). We dated off and on for about 3 years. The off and on stemmed from the inevitable difficulty of keeping an emotional connection across the miles that separated me from him and whichever base he was moved to, let alone fearing deployments. We would have a perfect few weeks when he was on leave and then he’d be gone and every day was lonely/combative/frustrating – texts taken the wrong way, long distance phone calls that consisted of crying or arguing, flowers sent to make up for what he couldn’t provide in person. He wrote me this letter toward the end of our relationship. The fact that it’s on base stationary makes it feel like a memory from a movie. It was the first time he sat down and perfectly explained why we couldn’t work (the military had to come first), but also why he wished we could and the sadness he felt in realizing someone could do a better job of loving me. Telling me I deserved that. It all fit on one page and tied every loose end I had desperately tried to resolve for myself for years. A closure so well crafted that I keep it.

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As these things tend to go in unhappy relationships, I was unhappy but didn’t see a way out. I finally went to a therapist who told me to make a pro and con list. I think putting it down on paper made me see the quality and quantity of evidence on one side versus the other and gave me the strength to have the tough conversation. When I did break up with her, it was terrible. But I stuck to my guns, for once, and ended up falling into the arms (waiting, I learned later) of a friend. 2 years later we’re still together.

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Good Reads Cheat Sheet

the authentically pleasurable nonsense of predicting oscar nominations (new yorker)

The Oscars are, above all, a sociologist’s delight—they’re Hollywood’s idealized self-portrait, one in which commercial success is essential but not sufficient. They show what the industry thinks of as its best—or perhaps the consensus of what, in the domain of films that have a decent shot at commercial success, they want to be seen deeming the best.

st says: I absolutely love the title of this article. It is precisely why I like the Oscars so much. Joining in on the fun of the spectacle is pure, authentically pleasurable nonsense. I also enjoying seeing each year advance in terms of female representation in film (including sometimes hilariously misplaced tokenism.) Will you be watching the Oscars? Follow Slough Avenue for my picks once the official list has been announced.

sperm off switch may offer men reversible contraception (ars tech)

After the implantation, the valves’ switches can be flipped by simply pushing on them through the skin. In the off position, sperm are diverted out of the ducts and dumped back into scrotal tissue where they would theoretically be reabsorbed by the body.

st says: Baby you stay away from my valve switch, don’t you tell me you’re just tickling my scrotum.

when breath becomes air (brain pickings)

Punctuating Kalanithi’s story are vignettes of those small yet enormous moments in which destinies pivot and the elaborate universe of priorities we’ve spent a lifetime constructing combusts into stardust. In those moments, there is a violent slamming shut of chapters we had naïvely thought would go on and on, leading to Happily Ever After and yet somehow not really ending there, for the endings we imagine for ourselves aren’t really endings.

st says: I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and am looking forward to reading it. Again, follow Slough Avenue for updates on what I’m reading and what I recommend reading.

three questions to ask when considering a vasectomy (good men project)

I had a vasectomy several years ago and found that it wasn’t a big deal when it was over. But I admit I was pretty nervous about the whole experience beforehand. I thought a great deal about why I was doing it and how it would impact me physically and emotionally.

st says: Have you had a vasectomy? Did these three reasons resonate with you?