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Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships

Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships

3.8 15
by Laura Schlessinger

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1. Stupid Secrets
Withholding important information for fear of rejection

2. Stupid Egotism
Asking not what you can do for the relationship but only what the relationship can do for you

3. Stupid Pettiness
Making a big deal out of the small stuff

4. Stupid Power


1. Stupid Secrets
Withholding important information for fear of rejection

2. Stupid Egotism
Asking not what you can do for the relationship but only what the relationship can do for you

3. Stupid Pettiness
Making a big deal out of the small stuff

4. Stupid Power
Always trying to be in control

5. Stupid Priorities
Consuming all your time and energies with work, hobbies, errands, and chores instead of focusing on your relationship

6. Stupid Happiness
Seeking stimulation and assurance from all the wrong places to satisfy the immature need to feel good

7. Stupid Excuses
Not being accountable for bad behavior

8. Stupid Liaisons
Not letting go of negative attachments to friends and relatives who are damaging to your relationship

9. Stupid Mismatch
Not knowing when to leave and cut your losses

10. Stupid Breakups
Disconnection for all the wrong reasons

Editorial Reviews

Stupid secrets; stupid egotism; stupid pettiness; stupid power; stupid priorities…. For a quarter of a century, radio advice guru Dr. Laura Schlessinger has been confronted with the same lamebrained behavior by couples who should know better. In this no-nonsense book, she doesn't just point fingers; she helps you become smart.
Publishers Weekly
Schlessinger once again pontificates on the values, behaviors and flaws that ruin lives and society. Dr. Laura is well-known for her caustic advice on her syndicated radio show and in previous Stupid Things books. Never a believer in the proverbial spoonful of sugar, she pummels readers with judgments and instructions for dating and marriage. With many quotations from listeners, Schlessinger gives a tongue-lashing to "stupid" secrets, egotism, pettiness, power, excuses, etc. She offers rational (if familiar) counsel to honor commitments, treat partners and relationships respectfully, communicate, accept differences and make some compromises, but she exhibits not a trace of empathy or humility. She never substantiates broad generalizations that "feminist propaganda" and "ultraliberal... norms" have yielded an "amoral" and "ego-loving society," neglecting to cite sources for vague "studies." She writes, "I get very angry when spouses call feeling guilty for wanting to get out of bad relationships," forgetting that, as a counselor, her feelings don't much matter. Frozen in some pre-Feminine Mystique time, she advocates chivalry, alleging, "it's getting more and more difficult for a man to find a woman he can respect." Although not a medical doctor or addiction counselor, Schlessinger rejects the concept of addiction as disease, blaming it on poor "character." People seeking a self-help alternative to touchy-feely or moral-relativist philosophies should avoid this harsh, self-indulgent tirade. (Oct.) Forecast: Schlessinger's high profile will spur interest. But outrage at her recent antigay campaign caused many advertisers to boycott her television show and will affect sales. Copyright 2001Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This follow-up to Schlessinger's best sellers 10 Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives and 10 Stupid Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives is meant to help heterosexual couples iron out the wrinkles in their relationships. Dr. Laura is again telling it as she sees it, pointing out ten behaviors that prevent intimacy and commitment (e.g., Stupid Secrets, Stupid Egotism, Stupid Pettiness, etc.). Devotees, beware: she quotes liberally from letters that she has received and calls that she has taken on her radio show. Throughout, she calls for more God-centered relationships, spelling it G-d so as not to be sacrilegious. Feminists and the "predominantly liberal press" two groups she blames for current societal woes will not embrace her ideas. Despite Schlessinger's conservative politics, her book deserves a chance because she has something for couples and singles alike to think and argue about. She is frank, compelling, and easy to read. This work will be popular with her fans, sell well in bookstores, and be in demand in public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/01.] Susan E. Burdick, Plymouth Meeting, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Chapter One

Stupid Secrets

"Dr. Laura, when, if ever, should I tell a woman I'm dating that I used to own and run a whorehouse?"

Believe it or not, that was a recent question from a caller on my syndicated radio program. Though this specific question may stimulate snickers and outright laughs, the basic question is an important one: What, if any, information from your past are you obligated to reveal during dating, engagement, and marriage? And what if the past is only last week? And on the flip side, is there any danger in "the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"?

Is Everything Private a Secret?

The first issue to think about when deciding "what to tell" is to be able to distinguish between secrecy and privacy. This is not a small issue or insignificant distinction at all. I recently asked my listening audience their opinions and experiences with secrecy and privacy in intimate relationships and got the largest and most immediate response I ever received to an on-air question. Here are some of those responses:

  • "Privacy is something you 'give' someone out of respect. Secrecy is something you 'withhold' from another."

  • "Privacy is when you want to go to the bathroom or pick your nose without your spouse looking -- or try to buy them a gift without their knowing. Secrecy is when you feel guilty about something that you can't tell your spouse."

  • "For spouses to be secretive, they would also have to be separative. Secrecy builds lack of trust, reservation, guarded intimacy of the heart, and resentment -- all of which lead to bitterness. Private is personal only to the individual and should not include anything that affects in any way both parties or the family."

  • "In my opinion, privacy in marriage is your own personal space. In this, there is trust and respect. The other partner is aware of this space and respects it without intrusion. We all need a little private time to ourselves, otherwise we go nuts! I think secrecy is destructive in marriage -- it is a lack of trust and respect. This is something the other partner is unaware of, and in essence, it is a lie."

  • "Privacy is something we value within ourselves. It is something we decide a little at a time to share. My thoughts are private and I will choose to share bits and pieces. Secrets are wrong if they promote dishonesty, distrust, and compromise morals and integrity."

  • "Privacy is having some quality time or spiritual time alone. I think secrecy in a marriage could be a form of deceit."

  • "Privacy is the withholding of information concerning yourself, the disclosure of which would be of no benefit to the partner, and which you do not wish to share. Secrecy, on the other hand, is the withholding of information that may have an effect on the well-being of the partner. This effect may be financial, spiritual, physical, or mental. Privacy is acceptable. Secrecy is not, unless it protects the partner from harm."

  • "Privacy is using the bathroom (especially when smell is involved), plucking your eyebrows, picking your nose, popping zits...all the ugly little things that are bad enough doing yourself let alone being involved with your spouse. Secrecy is not telling your spouse about a special surprise for them...definitely not something which would hurt the marriage or the spouse."

Whenever I receive a call about "telling" something to an intimate, the issue of what is private and what is secret is always the first part of the discussion. I not only want people to have integrity in their treatment of others, but it is vitally important for their well-being that they have compassion for themselves and maintain reasonable dignity. Too many folks seem to believe that they have to filet themselves wide open on the cutting board of their new relationships in order truly to be cleansed. These are the folks who have no sense of personal privacy at all. Others are filled with so much self-disgust that they want to hold everything in for fear that there is no forgiveness and no moving on. These are the folks for whom absolutely everything becomes a secret.

Being able to accept one's limitations, historical warts, and problems while being willing to risk truly being known by another is a definite sign of positive mental and emotional health, without which, quality relationships are not possible.

Fear of Privacy

There are flawed and sad elements in everyone's life and there are people with profound insecurities. These are the people who have to know everything you're doing, saying, thinking, reading, writing, and with whom. If they don't have this constant reassurance of information (their attempt to control the world and make themselves safe), they immediately imagine the worst and exaggerate and misinterpret everything and anything -- leaving a wake of arguments and frustration.

Our cultural environment propels otherwise reasonably secure and well-meaning people to question the sincerity and fidelity of their dates, fiancés, and spouses like never before in history. Why? The answer is as simple as it is destructive:

  • The general societal approval of out-of-wedlock sex has led to an epidemic of experimentation, casual sex, promiscuity, and a diminished "meaning" of physical intimacy. This produces a long line of prior lovers, who are still present at work, in the community, or in families -- or who just can't let go.

  • Pop-psych has called much of infidelity and promiscuity and perversion a disease. Men and women are ignoring their families to have internet affairs because of an addiction. Men and women are cavorting with extrarelational dalliances because of an addiction. This puts the victim of bad, selfish behavior in the position of being unsympathetic to their philandering partner's illness. Oh, puhlease!

  • Our culture has supported the moment-to-moment quest of immediate satisfaction and gratification by making divorce no-fault and by saying shacking-up is equivalent to...

Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships. Copyright © by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is one of the most popular talk-show hosts in radio history and the only woman to win the prestigious Marconi Award for syndicated radio. She is the author of twelve New York Times bestsellers, writes a daily blog, and is a regular Newsmax columnist. She is heard daily on Sirius/XM Channel 155 live, and her program is streamed and podcast on www.drlaura.com. Dr. Schlessinger has her own YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/drlaura). She is also the skipper and driver of a racing sailboat program that won the 2010 international race from Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas. She and her husband live in Southern California.

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Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess up Their Relationships 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is America's most popular relationship radio talk show host. She compiles all of her knowledge into this book describing the ten most common mistakes people make in their relationships.  It becomes very evident that she is a very educated and knowledgeable on the subject.  The book is a combination of Laura’s dialogue as well as excerpts from people calling and writing into her show. Some of these accounts are comical while others are more on the serious side. The book is made into an easy read that is also interesting and educational. Every aspect of a relationship is covered and some of these mistakes may be surprising but after reading Laura’s feedback it becomes very obvious that many people are oblivious as to how many conflicts can be caused by simple mistakes.  The personal accounts in the book are very relatable and clearly illustrate the problem. Some seem little and others are clearly disastrous but all show a poor effect on the relationship that can be easily preventable.  All the examples demonstrate one of the ten mistakes included in the book and a detailed solution and prevention of the problem follow the excerpts.  It becomes very clear that simple mistakes can be the root of conflict between two people.  The humor Laura includes in the text makes it even more relatable and shows how easily stupid mistakes can be prevented. The book is really an eye-opener on how a slight slip-up on you or your partner’s part can be catastrophic if not handled correctly. The book is a great read for males and females and could have an astonishing effect on a relationship just by creating an understanding of the effect of your actions on your spouse. The real-life accounts that comprise half of the book back up everything Dr. Schlessinger says and provide evidence as well as entertainment.  Overall it is an easy read that is also educational on a subject everyone could use some advice on. 
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Dr. Laura Schlessinger seems to get lots of letters and calls from people who have made some really major mistakes in their relationships. About half the book is made up of such verbatim comments. The personal stories are then grouped into 10 mistakes that women and men make in relationships (a list is on the back of the dust cover of the book), and then subcategorized according to the specific type of suberror. Dr. Schlessinger doesn¿t like much of anything about the lack of virtues and values in the Me Generation, so you will read lots of rants about individual selfishness killing off relationships and harming children. Although she picks on both women and men, the arguments are a little stronger and more frequent when it comes to mistakes women make. This is often related to Dr. Schlessinger¿s dislike of the views of more extreme versions of feminism. Her writing style will trouble some, and I certainly found it a little off-putting. Dr. Schlessinger likes to inject morality into her arguments, which is certainly appropriate. But she does so in strange ways that will take you a little time to get comfortable with. There¿s almost a flip tone to parts of the book that will either amuse or annoy you. A lot of the advice is pretty common sense, but if everyone appreciated its wisdom there would be a lot fewer mistakes. For example, you will be told to get to know someone and their background before you start having intimate relations and making commitments with them. The book is filled with sad stories of people who got carried away with their emotions, and lived to regret it. In many other cases, one or both of the ¿adults¿ is pretty immature. In more than half of the stories, one or both of the ¿adults¿ are acting as though they are not married, and certainly not like they are committed to one another. The fundamental message is that you need to build a new, combined life together. That takes time, effort, honesty, openness, and caring. If you hold back important information, it will eventually come out . . . and trust will be destroyed. On the other hand, Dr. Schlessinger does have some pretty good ideas about what not to share with your spouse, such as your fantasies about someone seated across the room from you while the two of you are dining out. I suspect that this book will only do any good if people read it before they are in a relationship. As a result, 10 Stupid Things might be a good gift from a young adult¿s divorced parents along with some candor about what mistakes the parents made that led to the divorce and how the book can help the young person avoid making the same mistake. Or, it could come as a gift from a young adult friend who has made some of the mistakes and is willing to open up about what went wrong. Look for the possibilities of what two loving people can accomplish together . . . and then communicate, communicate, communicate and support one another! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise