Tara Blair Ball, who goes by the username @tara.relationshipcoach on TikTok, where she has more than 199,000 followers, frequently shares tips for couples.
In one video shared in March, Ball revealed that she and her husband rely on an “imaginary” scapegoat that they blame when something goes wrong in their relationship.
“Here’s a helpful relationship tip that my husband and I use,” Ball began. “Make up an imaginary person that you, as a couple, blame things on. We blame things on ‘Rick.’”
According to Ball, the couple uses “Rick” when one of them doesn’t do things such as pay a bill, with the TikTok relationship expert giving the example: “‘Hey Honey, Rick forgot to pay that medical bill.’”
“Rick is our scapegoat. But you know what’s great? We don’t scapegoat each other because of him,” Ball continued, adding: “What this does is bring levity and humour to a relationship, which is what we all need right?”
While the video has been viewed more than 7.7m times, people were divided in their response to the advice, with some agreeing that the tactic could be useful while others said it showed immaturity in the relationship.
“We blame things on the cat. ‘Mittens might have dinged the car,’” one person commented, while another said: “Yes yes yes, I’ve made it to happy marriage TikTok.”
However, someone else wrote: “Or we are adults and just take responsibility for our mistakes to learn from them?”
Another person asked: “Sincere question, wouldn’t it be healthier to just address and accept responsibility for your mistakes…?”
The advice also prompted a humourous response from one person who revealed that their husband’s name was Rick, with their comment reading: “I blame Rick too because that’s my husband’s name.”
In another video, Ball claimed that “70 per cent” of a couple’s problems don’t need to be resolved, they need to be “aired out” and that a tactic called “mirroring can do that”.
“When you’re mirroring, you’re literally saying back to your partner what you heard them say,” Ball explained. “This is specifically helpful if you and your partner seem not to be able to hear each other the way you’d like to.”
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