Relationships are like a Math Problem

Relationships can be fraught with all kinds of disagreements that fall on the spectrum from petty to apocalyptic, and frankly you need to have disagreements. But how can you fight like hell without it falling (entirely) to pieces?

*disclaimer: I am not a relationship therapist. Just sharing what’s worked for me.


Treat your disagreements like a math problem by following these simple rules:

By being selfless.
By listening deeply.
By exhibiting empathy.

Selflessness: you may feel wronged in a situation, but it’s important to know exactly why and how the other person was wronged, too. By being selfless, you can objectively consider your own actions.

Suspend your ego for a moment.

Listen deeply: truly listen – let him/her finish a thought before you respond. Instead of countering with defensive language (though it isn’t easy at times), provide logical and objective reasoning for your action/s. Logic is key here. I do believe it’s important to own, experience, and defend our feelings. But you can defend/protect yourself without defensive language (including body language).


Exhibit empathy: put yourself in your mate’s shoes. Once s/he has logically explained the thinking/reactionary patterns that created the emotional response, it’s easier to understand how exactly A+B=C for that person. And please, don’t insult.

In short…

Goal: treat sticky situations like a math problem and handle it with logic and patience to reach a solution.


Now, none of this is to say if you try this method your problems will suddenly become cute little soap bubbles that require a simple pop to disappear- a fight can be gnarly as hell and leave some emotional residue, and require time to cool off/be alone before talking. And all of this takes emotional maturity, patience, and willingness. But, if you can give those things to one another, even the most painful confrontations can be handled with more dignity.

Do you agree with my methods? Are math problems the key to our relationship drama?

Cry it out,

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Do It All For Love

I have an obsession, one that is not very easy to admit to without being perceived as intimidating or outright creepy: observation. I am a detail-oriented fanatic. It is in my nature to strip every situation into mental notes of places sounds, smells, colors, and – of course – people.



So for those who have been reading my posts, it will come as no surprise that most of my stories are inspired by what I witness from friends, colleagues and random people I meet everyday.

Which sounds ok right? Well yes and no. I can say that I’ve learned a lot from watching people interact and maybe it this obsession of mine that has saved me from many awkward and sometimes downright catastrophic situations.To watch and learn from other people’s mistakes has always been my life’s motto.

But, here’s the problem:

too much observation of other people’s lives means that you will judge and prejudice them wrongly.



You see, I had meant my post for this month to be a raging manifesto on women who take equality in relationships to mean basically bullying their boyfriends/ husbands. The kind of thing that makes the name “Feminazi” a legit term after all. I had all the juicy examples and situations dug up from a friend of mine who perhaps the whole of Cairo can agree on is your typical relationship bully. Until I realized that this is really about how I perceive the relationship and how my own bias seeps into other people’s business.

As far back as we were in university, the girl would tell her now newly-wed husband who to go out with, where to go and when to go home.

The guy has been the laughing stock of our group of friends for years. The theories on how the relationship will pan out vary from those who believe that he will continue to allow himself to be bullied forever to those who wait the day when he will explode in rage. Since I have known them, there is only one thought that rings in my head every time I see the two: “Holy f#ck, I would never do this.”

And it is true that a relationship based on intimidation, no matter how well-disguised, is doomed to fail. But what’s changed is that I no longer see men (like my friend) here as “sissies” or “wimps,” but rather the possibility that this is what they sacrifice for the sake of a relationship in which THEY seem to be happy.

After all, don’t we all give up something for love?



We will never get it 100%. We will still judge, jump to conclusions, and air them with foolish confidence.

But it’s best to learn the lesson through awareness and not just because karma bites back.




YASMINE یاسمین

Does “One Size Fit All” in Relationships?

A friend of mine from college got engaged about two years ago and recently broke up with her fiancée. Of course, the entire thing was made public on Facebook, right from when they first started dating until her relationship status announced “single” and all their pictures together disappeared from her profile.


A few weeks ago, I noticed that almost everything she posts now is all about the pride of being single. So in a single day you get about 10 variations of posts like “30 Good Reasons Why You Should Wait Until You’re 30 to Get Married” or “Why Being Single is Great.”

Then, just last week, on her birthday she posted a status explaining that of all her birthday wishes, she was disappointed that many people said things like “hopefully next year you’ll spend your birthday with your husband.”

This, she said…

contributed to women’s lack of motivation and dependence. They need to know that life is not about ‘a man’ who comes and makes all your wishes come true and your life complete! They need to understand that there’s so much more to life.


The questions here are: If I wish to spend my next birthday with my husband…

does this make me a ‘dependent’, frail woman with no sound directions in life despite my career?

And does acknowledging the importance of a man in my life mean that I don’t know the importance of other things like family, friends or my job?

You see, one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to relationships- hell when it comes to anything- is the idea that…

one size fits all.

My issue here is not that this girl thinks being single is great, it’s that she is trying to impose the notion that women who seek or wish for marriage are just brainwashed by patriarchy and don’t know any better.


If we are going to talk about patriarchy, there is a completely different tone and set of questions to ask.

We need to stop making generalizations

…and claiming that one size fits all when it comes to our experiences and relationships.




YASMINE یاسمین

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