By: Jenny Foughner
Good relationships are built on trust and communication. This much we know. But great relationships are built on trust, communication and the understanding that sometimes boyfriends need to keep their big traps shut. This you might not know. Although there are a whole bunch of things you can (and should!) share with your girlfriend – such as hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes, and favorite sexual positions – there are a few items you would do well to leave off of your “things to divulge” list. In fact, simply resisting the urge to blurt out every single thing that pops into your head can add months to your relationship, and unless that sounds like a death sentence (in which case, go forth and use this guide as a how-to manual for getting her to dump you), you’d be wise to consider the following in order to stay out of the doghouse.
So please. Don’t ever tell her:
… that you’re drunkenly hanging out with cute girls.
Alcohol makes you do funny things like pee on buildings and profess love for people you barely know, but it can also act as a truth serum that moves you to reveal things you would probably otherwise keep to yourself. Most of the time these are innocuous bits of hilarity (such as the truth about your secret Troll doll collection or a confession that you still have a certain embarrassing website registered in your name), but occasionally drunken admissions enter girlfriend-enraging territory. Case in point: the 1 AM drunk dial. You’re out livin’ it up like a gangster and she’s somewhere else, so you decide to call her, mumble incoherently and explain that you’re in a bar that’s exploding with cute girls. FAIL. You do not – do NOT – admit to your otherwise-engaged girlfriend that you are drunk and in the company of attractive females. Got it? Let’s practice. You drunkenly call your girl. She says, “so, what’re you up to?” You say:
A. “Just hanging out. Alone. I swear. This time I’m telling the truth.”
B. “Partying with this group of drunk-ass sorority girls. They’re hilarious.”
C. “Hanging out with the guys. You know, the usual. I can’t wait to see you.”
If you chose anything other than C, then you need to re-read everything I’ve ever written. Keep the scenic to yourself, hambro. Girlfriend doesn’t need to know.
… that you hooked up with one of your coworkers three months before you started dating her.
You hooked up with someone weeks and weeks ago? Congrats, player! Your gold medal is in the mail. The only reasons to discuss past sexual misdeeds with your girlfriend is if they’re hilarious or if you’re hoping to be met with leniency after cheating on her (and the latter is actually only advisable if you hope she’ll eventually agree to marry you). JSYK: hooking up with someone before you begin dating someone else is not considered cheating on any planet, and people who feel the need to preemptively confess every one of their sexual exploits are either (a) overdramatic and living in a constant state of strife or (b) insecure and desperate to broadcast how sexually promiscuous they are. (Consequently, this is often the bailiwick of people who don’t get a lot of ass but want everyone to think that they do.)
If you’re feeling guilty about a hookup that occurred during your single days, then you should quietly try to figure out why you’re even still thinking about it. Are you interested in this hookup partner? Then give it a go with her or force yourself to get over it; don’t tell your girlfriend about it. Are you worried that your girlfriend will find out about this hookup partner and freak out because you’re still friends? Then really don’t tell your girlfriend about it, because that’s the only way she’s going to find out about said hookup, at which point she will freak out because you’re still friends. In conclusion – wait for it – just don’t tell your girlfriend.
… that her butt looks like an old lady’s.
Unfortunately for you, women can’t wear thongs every day. Some days are just not thong days. Some days are gross-feeling, sweatpants-wearing, grandma-panty-sporting celebrations of dowdiness, and as a good boyfriend, it is your sworn duty to respect the pantaloons and pretend they turn you on as much as that stringy number she whips out every other Thursday. Even if you’ve discovered a hilarious new way (Ed. note – here’s another) to say “old lady butt,” likening your girlfriend’s choice of ass coverings to that of an incontinent elder will more often than not get you a VIP reservation at the couch motel. Even if she freely admits that her undies are unattractive, you are not allowed to agree, just like how you’re not allowed to call someone else’s kid special even if the parents freely admit that he’s not the brightest tool in the shed.
… that she reminds you of your mom.
Does this one merit an explanation? You may think you’re paying a high compliment – or you may not even realize that pointing out something as seemingly innocuous as similarities between two women you love could have such dire consequences – but I assure you, this one will get you nowhere fast. One, you will almost certainly begin to see your mom in places you absolutely do not want her intruding, which will wreak havoc on your sex life. Two, you will either insult the girlfriend who can’t stand your mother, or you’ll strike fear into the heart of the girlfriend who worries she’ll never completely usurp mumsie for your affections. Either way, the big L will be yours.
… that her best friend is smokin’ hot.
It’s true: your girlfriend’s BFF is hot, and your girlfriend knows it (believe me, she can’t help but know it). Much like the aforementioned underwear situation, however, you’re not really allowed to acknowledge this truth in girlfriend’s presence. There’s no need to lie, per se –women will call you out on that faster than hysteria spreads during a Gmail malfunction – but there’s also no need to give voice to something that’s guaranteed to give your girlfriend a mini insecurity complex. At times even the most self-assured girls worry that their boyfriends would rather be dating someone else; you just don’t know about it because your girlfriend is (hopefully) together enough to keep these demons to herself, opting instead to journal furiously or drink a few extra glasses of wine at dinner. Even if you think your GF is so much cooler than the average chica, don’t chance fanning the girl-insecurity flames by mentioning how good-looking her hottie best friend is unless you never want to stop hearing about how you’d “probably just rather be dating ______ anyway”.
… that you once experimented with a guy.
This one is tricky, because yes, you want to be with someone whom you can trust with your deepest, darkest, gayest secrets, but you also need to realize that some things are better left in your past as long as they’re inconsequential to the present. All young adults go through a momentary (or slightly-longer-than-momentary) questioning of their sexual orientation. Who can blame them? Feelings are confusing. That in and of itself isn’t news. What might make your girlfriend a little nervous, however, is your admission of those few drunken nights you had with your frat brother back in ’98, especially if she happens to know the dude. It happened; move on. Spilling it to her just because you think you “should” will only make her question all of your actions from the point of confession forward, and no girl wants to wonder if her man will leave her in 15 years for a guy half her age.
However: if you’re still confused, or it’s really weighing on you emotionally, then before you go crying to your GF, have a sit-down with yourself to decide if you’re really in the head space to be in a relationship at all. Take it from mama: it’s always better to deal with your dilemmas in the present than ignore them long enough for them to bite you in the ass in the future.
… that you never want to get married.
Marriage is for pussies. You’re a renegade, you have it made, blah blah blah blah. Ain’t no woman gonna tie you down. And so on. You may have convinced yourself that you’re never going to succumb to the bondage of holy matrimony, but about 95% of guys who say they’ll never settle down will one day wake up to the tune of wedding bells and an unsettling feeling that nothing’s ever going to be the same. In the same way your indignant toddler self swore you’d never EVER like a girl, your post-adolescent self swears you’ll never EVER marry a girl, but your advanced-age self will probably laugh at those two buffoons as he happily trots off into the sunset with his wife of many decades. Telling your girlfriend that you plan to be single forever, then, is like shooting future you in the foot, because when you finally realize that one really is the loneliest number, it’s going to be difficult to rescind your previous declarations of eternal bachelorhood than if you’d just kept your silly mouth shut in the first place.
Also, since women are (often, but not always) more ready to tie the knot than their deadbeat boyfriends, your girlfriend has probably already thought about the long-term potential of your relationship even if she hasn’t discussed it with you. If you haul off and vow never to let yourself get roped into a hitchin’, then you’ll likely be met with a strong emotional reaction that will end in a fight and a lot of hurt feelings. Of course, you won’t mean to upset her, but you will, so even if you’re reading this and disagreeing with me vehemently, you’ll avoid an unfortunate disagreement if you just take my word for it and keep your Clooney-esque plans quiet for the time being.
… that she’s better (or worse) than your ex.
File this under “things you wrongly think are right to say”. It’s good that you consider your current girlfriend infinitely more awesome than your ex; after all, she’s your ex for a reason. And while it makes sense that you’d want to illustrate for New Girlfriend her innate awesomeness by shit-talking Old Girlfriend, Weird but True Relationship Rules dictate that this is hopelessly faulty logic and your attempts at flattery will crash and burn in the most fantastic way possible. First, the mere mention of your ex, no matter what the context, could inspire your GF to obsess over why you’re even thinking about your ex and what it means for The Relationship. Second, no one wants to be reminded that the current object of her affection was once the love property of some other flooz, and invoking the “oh, __ would never have done that” line will only remind her that she’s enjoying someone else’s returned merchandise, which will then cast a dark cloud over happy couple island. Boo. Thusly, if you want to give your girlfriend a compliment and avoid being a douchestar, frame it as something that’s unique to her. Instead of, “wow, ex hated action movies, it really used to bug me,” why not try, “it’s so cool that you enjoy action movies, because they’re my favorite genre of film”. Or you could try something less stilted, but whatever, you get my point.