Everything is coasting along smoothly and then she asks the QUESTION. It makes you feel as if you have just hit a brick wall. You also suddenly feel like some wild animal caught in the headlights of a large oncoming truck. Is there a way out?
Why do you think your last relationship didn’t work out?
This is a trick question. If he says it was all his fault, it gives his new partner ammunition and if he says it was his old partner’s fault, it looks as if he thinks he is perfect and is just being nasty. Previous relationships are also private territory and unless the information is volunteered, it is best not to trespass there.
Possible answer: I obviously had less insight when I chose her than when I chose you.
When do you think we can get new curtains for the lounge?
She means ‘sometime in the future’ and he thinks, “Oh heavens, she wants them tomorrow and we can’t afford them.” Frankly, he has never even noticed the curtains and probably wouldn’t be able to say what colour they were if you asked him somewhere he couldn’t see them. Questions like these turn up the financial pressure many men feel in relationships.
Possible answer: Money’s a bit tight now – where do you think we can save a little over the next few months so we can afford this?
Do you even know what day it is today?
No you don’t, which is why she is asking. The terror evoked by this question is huge. Forgetting birthdays or anniversaries or St Valentine’s Day, can give your partner ammunition for weeks to come. Fill these days in on your desk calendar or programme them into your cellphone in advance. It is worth the trouble. When you forget a woman’s birthday, she hears the message loud and clear that you no longer love her or care for her – whether it is true or not.
Possible answer: Of course I do, but they could only do the delivery late this afternoon, so you’ll just have to be a little patient.
Do you think my best friend is attractive?
Another trick question. She wouldn’t have asked unless she thought her friend was attractive. If you say that you do, you could be in serious trouble. If you say no, she will think you may be lying, or that you are just being nasty.
Possible answer: I can see why men would find her attractive, but there is a reason why I chose you and not her.
Where do you think our relationship is going?
Uh-oh. This is a heart-stopper. Does she want a marriage proposal, an evaluation of the last week together, or just reassurance that you still find her attractive? Probably all three. This is where you have to tread carefully, especially if you are a bit commitment-phobic. Try and be honest as far as you can. There is no point in being manipulated into something just because you’re polite.
Possible answer: That’s not something I can decide by myself. And besides, I am not sure exactly what you mean by the question – can you clarify a little?
Do you enjoy being with your friends more than being with me?
This is a deadly one. No one enjoys spending all their time with one person – everyone gets different things from different friends. We do need variety. In a certain sense the answer would be yes and in another no. You and your partner both need to accept that friends are an important part of your support structure and there is nothing wrong with enjoying their company.
Possible answer: I really do hope that the fact that you spend two nights a week with your friends doesn’t mean that you no longer love me?
What are you thinking?
There is nothing that kills atmosphere like this question. People will share what they are thinking if they want to or feel the need to. Being asked is tantamount to an invasion of personal space. We all need our own private world of thoughts and feelings, no matter how close we are to each other.
Possible answer: I was thinking about how wonderful a cup of coffee would be right now. Would you like some?
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated March 2012)
Things never to say to a man