Why A Bad Lover Is Like A Shitty House

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 13.266% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

“Welcome to my house!” your friend says, ushering you in. “Just… don’t walk over into the corner.”
“Why not?” you ask.
“I’m pretty sure that if anyone stood there, they’d fall right through the floor. Not that I’ve ever done it, of course, the linoleum’s all saggy – I wouldn’t trust the entire kitchen, actually. That’s why we keep the refrigerator in the bedroom. And cook our eggs on a hair curler, over the toilet. And – oh, no, don’t lean against that wall! That’s a load-bearing wall!”
“…Shouldn’t a load-bearing wall be able to deal with me leaning against it?”
“It’s only-load bearing so long as nobody adds stress to it. Don’t touch it. No, don’t look at it. Don’t think about it, it’s fragile. Come here, where it’s safe, near the couch.”
“You mean the couch made of balsa wood and papier-mache?”
“It’s a beautiful couch, perfect for every need, so long as you don’t sit on it.”

Here’s the thing about houses: if your house can’t deal with the daily shocks of everyday life, it’s a crappy house. Houses exist to provide a comfortable space for you to live in, and if they’re so fragile that they’ll collapse whenever you try to, you know, live in them, then you should probably move out ASAP.
The same can be said of relationships.
I see a lot of very sad people, going, “Oh, I can’t tell him when I’m upset! He’ll leave me!” Or “I can’t tell her I love her, that’ll ruin this thing we’ve got going!” Or “I need this dirty kind of sex to feel content, but if I ask them to participate in such filth, I’m sure they won’t want to have anything to do with me!”
If that is the case, it is better if the house collapses.
Relationships exist to serve your mutual needs. If the only way you can remain within a relationship is to suppress your most natural urges, then that is by definition a shitty relationship. And if the only way you can keep this relationship functioning is by doing the metaphorical equivalent of cooking eggs on a hair curler over the toilet, then I will tell you the best possible thing you can do is to shove the fridge into the kitchen, see if the floor actually collapses, and if it does, then find a better house.
Someone you are dating should be able to deal with who you are – maybe not who you are at your worst. (I generally find “you at your worst” is the sort of thing you should be making apologies for and trying to keep locked in a closet as frequently as possible.) But they should be able to cope with you having an ordinary bad day, or you raising your voice, or you needing something that you wake up every morning wanting.
Otherwise, you don’t have a relationship. You have an illusion. And illusions will inevitably break.


  1. DF
    Mar 1, 2014

    Thanks, needed this. Really.

    • Carolyn
      Mar 1, 2014

      Yep! Apt analogy. Unfortunately, some people would justify living in a shitty house with the illusions of improvement because it is embarrassing to admit that your house (or relationship) is shitty, and this just gets worse over time. If you are man/ woman enough, care enough, etc. you should be able to FIX your shitty house over time. Moving is drastic. Right? The thought is: I’m smart. If it was THAT shitty, I would have moved out, right? Wrong. Time strips people’s abilities to be more objective about either their shitty relationship or their shitty house. This analogy should be posted regularly. Thanks, I needed that, too. Really.

  2. Yet Another Laura H.
    Mar 1, 2014

    Can we make this required reading for health class, junior-high on, please? Maybe bribe Disney to include a musical number about it in their next blockbuster? (Or not even the blockbuster. Let’s see: “I’m no fool/ No sir-ee./ I won’t be true to someone/ If I can’t be true to me…”)

  3. Tommy Long
    Mar 1, 2014

    You are a wonderful writer.
    Thank you. Great page.

  4. Pax
    Mar 1, 2014

    I’ve always had a difficult time putting my feelings for this concept into words. This says a lot, and very clearly.

  5. Fen
    Mar 3, 2014

    All true! I wish more people realised this.

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