psy·chot·ic leop·ard sīˈkädik/ˈlepərd/ noun · anything that is funky, interesting, beautiful, niche, useful, and grabs one's attention

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How To Marry the Wrong Person: The Power of Underestimating Oneself

Posted by Lisa Johnson on

  1. Date someone after you've been out of the country for a year and starved for intellectual companionship.
  2. Even though he's kind of dumpy, wears the same pair of too-tight black Levis for weeks on end, and sports a hairpiece at the age of 30, convince yourself that he’s attractive enough. 
  3. When you first take a shower at his house, ask for a towel.  When he gives you a shredded orange rag from the floor of his closet, pretend that it’s funny.
  4. Ditto for the t-shirt covered with dog fur.  
  5. Pretend the pyramid of dirty tissues you find is amusing when moving the mattress on the floor which serves as his bed.
  6. Make a joke about the grapefruits you see in his kitchen for several weeks, even when discovering that they are molded to the box in an underbelly of gray fur.
  7. Push aside your doubts even further when he grudgingly allows you to throw that one out but insists the other is “still good” and that he is planning to eat it.
  8. When he tells you that he just recently cleaned, “only six months ago,” think about how you can help him.
  9. Tell yourself that because he's intellectual, and like you loves to read, that he must be a good partner.
  10. Tell yourself that because he owns a house and has a high paying career, that he must be responsible.
  11. Tell yourself that even though he's an awful kisser, you can get past it.
  12. Start believing that it's time to grow up and settle down at the ripe age of 24.
  13. For your six month anniversary, spend a lot of time composing a story about his dog, who he loves more than anyone, and frame it with the dog's photograph.
  14. For his birthday, write a romantic poem about how you met.  
  15. Wait for the day when he will do something truly considerate for you besides picking up some cheap pair of tacky earrings and telling you he thought they were “your style.”
  16. Rationalize that his taking you out to dinner at all sorts of cool ethnic restaurants with food you love is some kind of compensation.
  17. Convince yourself that a committed relationship means there are probably tradeoffs.
  18. When he insists you pay equal rent after asking you to move in with him to a house his family has owned forever, with no mortgage, and you make far less than him as a teacher, believe that a trip to Mexico will make up for it.
  19.  But allow him to encourage you to split the expenses on that as well.
  1. When stumbling onto other women's names and emails, believe him when he says that those are “old.” He just hadn’t had time to clean out his wallet. 
  2. Believe him when he jokes that because his place is so filthy, you can be assured that there are obviously no other women.
  3. When he mentions feelings of alienation, and you try to talk about this further, accept when he says you’re not and never will be smart enough to understand.
  4. Never really question what exactly is going on with his spending inordinate amounts of time on the computer.
  5. But accept his reasoning that people online are far more interesting.
  6. When he flirts with a work colleague of yours during a holiday party, even going to the point of putting his hand on her leg right in front of you, fight back.
  7. Know that he is wrong this time, and don’t believe his limp and elaborate explanations. Note that he does not take responsibility, and arguments attempting to get him to admit it don't go anywhere.
  8. When he finally confesses months later that his behavior was inappropriate, be grateful.
  9. Allow things in your home to remain broken, because he is too busy to fix them, and God forbid you hire a handyman, because it’s a “waste of money.”
  10. Allow the paint to peel and the yard to remain a mess of weeds, because you are both working full time, and the weekends should be “down time, according to him. But if you bend over backwards and perform all kinds of feats and use the perfect tone to ask, he might find the time to help once every few months.
  11. Even though you hate living in a dump, let him remind you that it is his house, and you should feel lucky to live there.
  12. Don't feel like you deserve better.
  13. Don't feel like you deserve better when he ruins the idea of romance, dragging out your engagement for two years while hinting he’s going to ask nearly every weekend during that time.
  14. When he finally flings the ring at you before bed one night, and says, “There, are you happy now?,” don’t immediately leave.
  15. Contain your resentment that he didn't even have his grandmother’s ring sized or cleaned and that luckily it just happened to fit.
  16. Let him convince you not to be too materialistic while planning the wedding, even though you are one of the most frugally creative people ever, according to everyone who knows you.
  17. Ignore the bad omens of the car not starting on your big day, and his father not caring enough to give him a ride to his own wedding.
  18. Allow a pair of the best children in the world to keep you with this man for the next nearly twenty years, and justify to yourself that leaving him would ruin their lives.
  19. And finally, after two and a half years of the most egregious behavior which is a book in itself, force him to leave.
  20. Endure another full year of insanity as you try to exit the marriage, and accrue nearly $100,000 in legal fees because he can’t seem to let go.
  21. Use the skills you have learned, and the relationships you have built to help you move forward and even thrive during a period of chaos.
  22. Forgive everything.
  23. Vow to expect more for yourself next time.

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