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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to do the relationship exit interview.

My best friend Lauren makes terrible man choices. I am convinced her radar is permanently set to "arse clown".

Lolly is a good egg. She's in her late 20's, has a job and is kind to children. To my knowledge she has no serial killer tendencies and doesn't steal from any charities, yet her "man karma" is the equivalent of someone who may have run over a truck full of monks on their way to an impoverished village to aid sick children.

Upon hearing about another failed relationship due to douche bag behaviour from the bloke she'd been seeing, I gave her some advice. Well, I yelled it at her actually.

"Give the dick head an exit interview!".

How's that for a concept ladies and gents? An unsolicited relationship exit interview.

Letting the other party know where they fell down and how they could perhaps improve themselves for future love happiness. Obviously you must also acknowledge where you may have slipped up to make it a more palatable conversation, but giving some constructive feedback may just save the next woman/man from suffering as you did.

I think this strategy may only work for those relationships that didn't get very far down the track. I have been with my husband for 11 years and feel as though I give him an exit interview every few days.

They have little to no impact, as he has heard my grievances with him many, many, many times before.

No, this kind of thing will only work if the relationship didn't progress past the infancy stages. Before anyone had the balls to mention the things that were pissing them off. You must still be shaving all your bits and wearing matching underwear, still secretly sneaking off to brush your teeth before they wake up and exiting the room for flatulence issues for the relationship exit interview to have the desired effect.

It would be a complete and utter lie to say ALL of the intent behind the relationship exit interview it to help improve the recipients chances of happiness down the track. 

No, some of it is to get the crap off your chest that has been sitting there too afraid to show itself. We all know nagging or critiquing someone in the early stages of love is a big no no so those things gets stored away to slowly to build into an inferno of resentment. 

Go to this place my friends to put together your notes, sort through the ashes of resentment and order them neatly and coherently so that they may be called upon during the relationship exit interview.

Back to my friend Lauren.

Let us briefly visit the behaviour of the latest man to disappoint her.

They met 4 weeks ago and hit it off straight away. The witty banter was mind blowing, the eye contact lingering and the physical attraction stomach churning. 

He called her the next day which was a good sign, perhaps this was a man not afraid to take what he wants! Not interested in paying the usual games, he liked Lauren and wasn't afraid to show it.

He invited her to come to his mates wedding! Lauren called me and questioned weather that was something to be concerned about.

"NO! How very refreshing" I exclaimed.

A man who has acted on his feelings and not hidden them away to appear cool. "Go forth, say yes, purchase a suitable cocktail frock... Nothing too slutty but still hot enough to impress his friends." I advised.

Lets us stop right here for step one in the relationship exit interview. You must always start with a positive, this would be it. He came out of the blocks well, fantastic start. This feedback is important as you want to encourage this type of honest behaviour. Well done on the opening stage conduct, arse clown, well done.

This was his high point though. Their encounters after that took an overall tone of: "You are something to occupy my time with when the boys are busy and I'm not working." If this is happening a month in it's time to cut and run baby.

Step 2 of the relationship exit interview involves giving them examples of where they let themselves and you down.

In Lauren's case I would chose the following incidents.

1. Not turning up to her birthday party until 3am.
2. Ringing and abusing her at 3am for having left said party. Continuing until 4am to ring and abuse her for the lack of taxis available in Melbourne.
3. Not calling her on her actual birthday or bothering with a gift.

Usually this type of behaviour only a month in would just result in her benching him forever. Ignoring text messages and phone calls until he got the message. Not this time kids, this time feedback will be given.
The above behaviour just needs to be addressed as following.

"Your lack of self awareness is pretty profound. Showing up anywhere at 3am is usually not going to end well and traditionally, birthday's of the person you are seeing take precedence over drinking with the boys. You are 32 years old not 18, that shit doesn't wash now. Not bothering to call me on my birthday and blaming me for a taxi shortage also illustrates a lack of reasoning and manners".

After the negative feedback is given you must then move to step 3: Acknowledging how you could have improved the situation. In Lauren's case:

"I acknowledge that I should have told you I was leaving my party at 1am however I had given up on you attending as you were FIVE HOURS LATE!".

Lauren must accept she showed poor communication skills that evening.

So there you have it, the relationship exit interview done in 3 simple steps.

Let us review them once more.

Step One: Where they went right.

Step Two: Where they went wrong.

Step Three: Where you went wrong.

Think of it as a positive reinforcement sandwich. The meat in the middle is their stuff-ups the bread their triumphs and your missteps.

All too often people walk away from what they felt was a promising union confused as to where it went wrong. Let us remove this confusion, especially if it was ended by the poorly behaved party. You have nothing to lose do you? Go forth and confront, you have my blessing.

You're welcome!

Em xx


Samone said...

OMG!!! This is an all too familiar scenario for me! Right down to the birthday party bit! Hence I hate all men and really wish I was a lesbian.

The Chef said...

Dating someone for a month isnt a relationship. The real relationship starts once the LUST phase is over.

If I was your friend I wouldn't bother getting upset nor giving him a confrontation. He doesnt deserve that kind of respect. He didnt give her any did he?

The human animal is fallible and once you expect things from them you set yourself up for disappointment time and again.

Those who willingly show you how much you mean to them are the ones that count. If you have to ask for or demand respect..then beware.

As for the poster above that wishes she was a lesbian. There is good and bad in both men and women, but women can be 1000 times more conniving, vindictive and crueler than men, plus they are more emotional and hormonal!....and this is coming from a lesbian.

People should stop expecting the whole mills and boon scenario, it doesnt exsist. It takes time to make it work, yet many give up right after the lust phase is over.. etc etc etc blah blah know what i mean.

What did make me laugh was how you stated that you give your husband the exit interview. My wife does that to me all the time and I do the same to her, yet once the stress is released, its all cuddles and back to normal. Thats a real relationship. Your partner is you best friend first and foremost and someone who can tell you to go to hell, but you know they nor you are not going anywhere.

Thats love.

/end rant.

Ciao =)