Thursday, 13 March 2014

Demolition Women

If you ever find yourself working in the hotel business for more than five years, you will come across a very expensive but altogether necessary exercise known as "refurbishment". In an attempt to justify the annual increase in preferential, rack and corporate rates, many leading hotels close shop from time to time in order to refresh their tired brand and essentially improve the product and overall client experience. Carpet samples and room extensions, fresh linens and tapestry. Basic amenities such as Charlotte Rhys hand soaps, rain showers and iPod docking stations. The extent of this transformation may vary depending on budget and desired outcome, and while the sole purpose of change is to lure and attract new clientele, it can also be used to retain the attention of more frequent, permanent guests.

Being in your first long-term relationship can be like your first visit to a five star hotel. Once you check in, you never want to check out, especially when the service provided is top class and caters to your every physical and emotional need. Twenty-four hour room service, in-house dining, complementary turn downs. It's no wonder they call the first six months the honeymoon phase, but just like all things new, the novelty of such luxury can sometimes wear off too soon. When you're constantly living the same routine day in and day out, the little things that were once regarded as attractive and appealing can suddenly lose their charm. Sometimes, a slight modification can solve the problem without alienating the guest completely while others feel the compulsive need to totally revamp. It's perfectly understandable that a change is as good as a trip to Puerto Rico, but is it really necessary to whip out the sledgehammer and reconstruct an entire person from scratch?   

"There's a right way of doing it and there's a wrong way of doing it." Taryn, a 42 year-old sales executive had mastered the art of relationship refurbs without compromising too much of herself and without emasculating her partner in the process. "Every relationship eventually goes through a lull and when it does, we find ourselves looking to change particular habits and personality traits within our partners to make us fall in love with them all over again. We want them to be more proactive with the domestics and responsibilities. We want them to push themselves harder in their career. We want to tell them this but because we are human beings we are sensitive creatures so we can't just blurt it out. It requires tact and delicate plan of action."

So how does one begin to refurbish a relationship without riding in on a wrecking ball? When open and honest communication have the potential to backfire, how does one make alterations to their partner without coming across as a Nazi or fishwife?

"James put on quite a few kilo's after Kyle was born and I didn't quite realise how comfortable we were becoming in that skin. He was quite active when we met which was one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place. Suddenly we weren't having sex even though I was horny as fuck so I knew that something had to be done. Instead of making him feel self-conscious or having any kind of awkward conversation where James might implode, I simply took action and hired a personal trainer. Twice a week for two months. Suddenly, we began communicating and laughing again. Not only did it save our sex life but because we were doing something together, it revitalised that connection and intimacy in our relationship."

But how do we distinguish good change from pushy and possessive ones?

"You get some real bitches out there who get some kind of a kick from publicly humiliating and bringing their partners down. I call them Demolition Women. They're the ones who believe in total overhaul. Once they get their hooks into a man and they're comfortable, the hard hats come out. They start telling him what to wear, what to say, how they should and shouldn't wear their hair, what and where he should spend his money. The Blue Balls as I call them. Demolition Women don't want boyfriends. They want a project, someone that they can mould and fit into their warped idea of perfection. Here's a newsflash sweetheart: no man is perfect! The best you can do is encourage him to be the best he can be. The rest is up to him. When you have someone's best interests at heart like that and they're willing to make the necessary changes that will inevitably bring out their full potential, that's when you have vacancy for life."  

Whether the improvement is external or internal, the general consensus around changing one's partner in a relationship is generally not advised. Whether it's his offbeat sense of humour that you used to find funny but now detest or even a physical attribute such as the ten kilo's he's gained since you guys got together, being honest with the person you love without hurting their feelings is nearly impossible. No matter how delicately you approach the subject, there's no good way of telling them that certain qualities repulse and annoy you. You have to be subtle, sensitive and rational. While some partners see light renovations as something constructive and positive, some would rather have the relationship crumble to ruins before making any kind of adjustment. While minor D.I.Y's and home improvements have the potential to save a relationship, at the end of the day we simply have to love our partners just the way they are.

When it comes to changing one's partner in a long-term relationship, I couldn't help but wonder, is it better if we do not disturb?

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