The Luv Doc: She Goes Even Offer

All anyone remembers is the sad trombone

The Luv Doc: She Goes Even Offer

Dear Luv Doc,

I have been dating a woman I met in a coed (call it "exercise") group last spring. We have a lot in common. We both moved here during COVID. We both work mostly from home, and we are both high achievers. She is a project manager at a large company and I am a marketing VP at a tech startup. Since we started dating, we spend a lot of time together. My friends and co-workers have become her friends and vice versa, so we are even together for most of our social time. This is usually not a problem until I get angry or annoyed with her about something – it can be anything – like her forgetting to lock the car, or tapping her nails on the end table while we're watching TV – and we end up getting into a huge argument. Anytime I get just a little bit mad or annoyed, she gets really mad that I got mad – like way over the top – and the little thing becomes a huge argument. I feel like I can never say anything negative to her without making her really mad. It doesn't matter if we're alone or in public, she goes from zero to a hundred almost immediately. How do I get her to dial it back a bit?

– Duck and Cover


I have been told many times that the key to a successful relationship is effective communication. Simple enough, right? We all speak basically the same language – which I am going to assume for you is American, but even if it's UnAmerican you can get those translation earbuds damn near anywhere these days. They go for about a hundo on walmart.com. I'd say that's probably money well spent, all though I am curious to see how well they would translate, "Cariño, esos jeans se ven fantásticos, pero para estar segura, tal vez deberías probar una talla más grande y ver cómo se sienten." For those of you too lazy to learn Spanish ... or figure out how to use Google Lens ... the sentence above is basically a divorce decree unless truncated immediately after the word "fantásticos."

As a marketing VP, you're already fast-tracked for eternal damnation, so I am a bit surprised that you're uncomfortable with the heat your girlfriend is putting off. Maybe there is hope for you yet! Maybe you're one of those new-age-type marketers who abhors hype. "Just have Johnny Depp play 'Wild Thing' on a Les Paul through a 15-foot pile of amplifiers in the desert surrounded by well-coiffed coyotes. Every red-blooded American male will think, 'I want to stink like that dude.'" If so, maybe it's just purgatory for you – or an eternal supply of Sauvage™, which is basically a 2 milliliter sample vial. Hey, just because Satan is diabolical, doesn't mean he has an unlimited budget.

The point is, being a marketing VP you should know that oftentimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it. If you choose to communicate when you're angry or even simply annoyed, rest assured the main thing you are communicating is that you're angry or annoyed. Furthermore, the two examples that you gave were things you absolutely didn't need to get annoyed about. That's on you. Next time your girlfriend does some little thing that annoys you, maybe think, "Why do I feel the need to be a dick?" Anytime you let an emotion sneak into your communication, there's a really good chance that the only thing you will communicate is the emotion itself. That can be a useful tool if you're trying to get people fired up about furniture discounts or the healing power of Jesus, but it works the same way on the negative side.

Debbie Downer dropped some serious truth bombs. All anyone remembers is the sad trombone.

In my opinion, your girlfriend might actually be a genius. Maybe she is high-key schooling you up on the inappropriateness of your reactions by going completely over the top with her response. Goddamn it. If she's that cunningly diabolical she should be running her company instead of just managing projects. Did you ever consider that maybe you're a project she's managing? It's a possibility. Next time you go off and she goes even offer, call her on it. Tell her you're onto her game and it's absolutely working. Then explain how you're working on managing your emotions so you can communicate effectively. Couldn't hurt. Who knows, she might join in!

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Luv Doc, communication, dating, relationships

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