Awhile back I changed my Facebook relationship status to "It's complicated." I was tired of "single" status and I was curious to see what kind of comments I would get. Sure enough, I got a good deal of attention... changes to relationship status always generate comments on Facebook, either sympathetic or congratulatory. Most of the comments reassured me that every relationship is complicated. So true.
My scheming mind thought I should capitalize on this. With so many complicated relationships out there, I could create a "Complicated Relationship Game"... kind of like "The Newlywed Game", where you ask each other questions and the other person has to see if they can figure out what their complicated partner is going to say. Of course, I wanted to make the game into a Website or maybe a Facebook app (and market it to everyone who's Facebook status claims they're in "complicated relationships.")
My thinking is that one of the reasons the relationship is complicated is most likely because the complicated couple isn't communicating. My game would change all that. What a revolutionary concept. Maybe after playing the game, the complicated couple would break up or maybe after playing they'd feel closer. Either way, if they played, the hope would be that they would know more about what the other was thinking.
The first question is designed to give everyone some nice warm fuzzies.
* What five things do you like best about your complicated partner?
In order to score points, the partner only has to come up with one item on the list. As long as they figure out one thing, they score points. Each partner has a turn at coming up with five traits they like about their cp (complicated partner) and if the cp guesses only one of them, he/she gets the points.
Now, again, the game is about communication, so the points really don't matter (unless you're a really competitive "Complicated Relationship Game" player.) This first question should get everyone in a happy mood. It's always nice to hear five positive traits about yourself and find out what your cp appreciates about you.
The next question is one of those "sensitive" kind of topics:
* If you could change one thing about your cp, what would it be?
On this question, the cp comes up with three things that they think their partner is going to pick. If one of those is the correct answer, points are scored.
The good thing about this, is it helps people have a discussion about potential relationship problems without one person feeling criticized. Since you both are answering this question, and listing three negative things about yourself (while your partner is only picking one, that will hopefully match one of your selections) there is less chance for hurt feelings. It also gives everyone a chance to find out whether or not that thing you were all insecure about, really is a problem. Your cp might reassure you that they don't think (whatever) is a problem at all! Or maybe they'll confirm that, yes (whatever) is a problem and then you can brainstorm ways to resolve it.
Of course, when I played this game, my cp thought I was perfect. He still didn't want to have a committed relationship with me, even though the only thing he listed he'd change about me was an undisclosed "other." So much for communication.... However, I do want to note that I scored points when it came to answering the question I'd most want to change about him: Better communication...
The game continues with questions to help foster communication. If I were to market this, I'd probably have questions that the couple could choose from that would most match the reason their relationship is complicated. The issues could be related to sex, commitment, kids, family, ex's, habits, compatibility, etc... Often people avoid talking about "sensitive" subjects because they are afraid of hurting feelings or getting in an argument, so instead, things go unsaid. One or both people withdraw, and the partner is left second-guessing what's wrong. Honest communication is hard, but most of us would prefer to know what is on the others' mind. If done respectfully and with sensitivity, it can change a complicated relationship into a solid one.
On the other hand, you might find out your differences are too big. Maybe one person just isn't into the relationship for reasons they don't even understand themselves. If that's the case, as hard as it is, it may be time to move on. Or maybe both partners find they agree that they'd like to "down-level" the relationship, but at least they talk about it. One thing is for sure: without communication, a relationship is bound to fail...