Let’s face it, relationships are hard.
Its ironic really… we spend a good chunk of our single lives making ourselves desirable to the opposite sex (or whatever sex we happen to be crushing on) then the moment we get into a relationship, we set about changing those very things that attracted us to this person in he first place.
For example… you may have THOUGHT you wanted a cool, devil-may-care artist-type; but once you get into a relationship with said artist-type, you suddenly realize that you are going to have to be the one shouldering most of the responsibilities of day-to-day life, such as paying bills and maintaining a steady job while he pursues a career as a professional skateboarder.
Conversely, you may have THOUGHT you wanted a rich, successful, highly ambitious sort of guy, but once you are in a relationship with that person, you find that he spends far more time communicating with his blackberry than he does you!
So instead of fessing up that we might have been wrong about what we wanted, re-adjusting and going off to find something more in line with our newfound wants and needs, we often set about trying to mold the person we are with into the person we have now decided we want them to be, forgetting that it was those very traits that attracted us to them in the fist place.
There are many tactics for manipulation. The girls in our office came up with many, but they can be broken down into three simple categories:
The Dramatic Call to Action:
This route is often taken by those whose partners simply aren’t listening, and it always involves some sort of dramatic, physical action that forces the other person to listen, such as lighting his clothes on fire in the front yard or packing up your stuff and moving in with your sister. This tactic has been found to be effective in producing desirable short-term effects, but rarely produces any sort of long-term changes. Plus it can be rather exhausting.
The Play on Emotions:
This one is simple. You cry. You cry for as long as it takes to make the other person feel bad and back down. This tactic can sometimes work, because once your partner genuinely sees how his or her actions are hurting you, they might be open to modifying them somewhat. This tactic however, must not be used too frequently or s/he becomes immune to your emotional tantrums, and might not take it seriously when you are genuinely upset.
Quite, Secretive, Underhanded Manipulation:
This involves making your partner do what you want without him realizing that it’s what you want. For example, say, you want him to do the laundry. You start in about init a few days before, mentioning how busy you are and how you don’t know how you will get it all done. Continue to look flustered and busy for the next several days. Leave long “to-do” lists around the house with times after each task of when you plan to do them, maybe with something ridiculous like “2:30am Thursday” written after doing the laundry. Maybe mention that you are considering skipping your great uncles funeral that Saturday so you can finally get it done, or say something like : “Honey, maybe you could drop me off at the Laundromat on your way to your Golf game tomorrow? I can take the bus back”. If your partner has any feelings at all he will eventually take pity on you and “surprise” you buy doing the laundry.
The important thing to remember in this tactic is to never outright ask them to do what it is you want them to do, always act surprised when they do it, and praise them warmly when they do. Think of it like training a monkey. It’s really much the same thing.
In the long run however, it’s really a lot harder to change people than we think. Maybe you will get lucky, and the person you fell in love with, though not exactly the same at the person you thought you fell in love with, will turn out to be someone you love even more. Or maybe you will realize you want different things and go your separate ways. Either way, you are one step closer to finding out what it is that YOU really want.