Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

19 Ways to Peeve Your Lover

When in stubborn intimate conflict, we tend to pull out classic rhetorical moves to deflect doubt from ourselves and onto our opponents. Here's a list of nineteen such moves. Read More


#20- Refuse to acknowledge that you're going bald, and pretend that you still have a lot of hair for a man your age.

Am I right?

If you can get past this, you'll seek out a quality realistic hair weave from Hair Club for Men. Call today, Jeremy.

And rememebr, I'm not only the President of Hair Club, I'm also a client.



I represent that Sy. But I

I represent that Sy. I insist I still have hair growing on my bald spot. ;-)


Excellent Article

I enjoyed the 19 ways to peeve your lover. I have used a couple of these myself in arguments with my significant other. And they have used all of them on me.

You said at the beginning that "Love doesn’t mean never having to say you’re sorry." I find that the phrase "I'm sorry" is very hollow. Maybe it is because when used on me, it sounds like what you called it in #18 peeve: "Sorry-taliations." Because of that, the only way to me that the words "I'm sorry" mean anything is when there is physical restitution that accompanies it. Other than that, it is meaningless.

Here's an article I wrote a

Here's an article I wrote a long time ago in which I worked out 81 different meanings of sorry. I was worse at permutation math back then. I think it's a lot more than 81.

One simple distinction is whether saying sorry is a substitute or complement to changing, that is do you say it instead of changing or to bring about change. It's hollow when it's a substitute. I work to make it a complement to change by declaring a commitment to change and then bring it up spontaneously over the months ahead, remembering my error out load and reasserting my commitment to change. To me we have a big moral obligation to send clear traffic signals about what we aim to do. I hate it when at a busy bar you think you maybe got the bartenders attention in ordering a beer and he's too cool to nod acknowledgement so you're stuck wondering whether you'll be a pest to assert your order again or whether you're waiting in vain for him to serve the order he didn't hear. It's that sort of thing and it shows up everywhere. That's why I try to send explicit sustained messages with my sorries. Sorry and I pledge to work on it, followed by work on it and reiteration of the sorry, remembering my mistake even when a forgiving friend has forgotten it, and not remembering it as a melodramatic mea culpa, just a clear signal--I got your order and I'm working on delivering it.

And here's the tough thing about sorrytaliatoriations and all those peeves. There are times when we really are just sorry the other person took it the way they did, and that's all we're really willing to apologize for. See, all those peeves are honest signals in certain situations. It's just when they start getting used reflexively, formulaically, automatically to keep from looking at our own behavior, that's when they get peevish.

Thanks for thinking with me.


I personally would rather

I personally would rather someone said to me "I need to think about this" than to knee-jerk straight to "sorry". The word sorry doesn't make things ok. Knowing that the other person understands why they hurt you and can empathise with your feelings while endeavouring not to repeat those actions, makes things ok. So I'd rather discuss the issue at a later date when they've had time to process and things are less heated, then just have someone apologise to get me off their back.

Amen to that. Truth is what

Amen to that. Truth is what peeves about any of these is only that they're used automatically, without the reflection you'd want before someone decided whether to say 'sorry."

Thanks for writing.


one more

You forgot about playing the martyr. When you tell your partner that something they said hurt your feelings they say something along the lines of "Well I'll just keep my mouth shut next time so I don't get shot down!

You're right. I had that one

You're right. I had that one I my list once. Wonder what happened to it. It may actually be two combined. One is playing the martyr. The other is taking whatever you said to an extreme you didn't mean. An overstep in the right direction, like if you said "Can you be more selective about what you choose to share?" and the other person saying "Fine, I'll never talk again."

I'm sure the list is longer than 19. If I get to 50, I'll turn it into a book. ;-)


one more...

And let's not forget the old standby, the false equivalency rationale. Coming to an argument near you.

Indeed. A great many of these

Indeed. A great many of these boil down to "I know you are but what am I?" The Teflon mirror.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.


Subscribe to Ambigamy

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.