Ladies, this is not meant to vilify you or to suggest that men are never at fault for messing up their relationships, there is certainly plenty of blame on both sides of the fence. But this article for men will be upcoming. Today, we will focus on mistakes you might be making that could be causing your partnership to stagnate or worse, become irreparably damaged.
1. Don’t make men go shopping with you.
Girls, I know that it feels nice when your man buys you something, but don’t drag him to the dress shop, for heaven’s sake. Men have a different relationship to shopping than you do. They buy when they need something, like a new tool, when the old one breaks. True, they do tend to spend lavishly on big ticket items, like cars and gadgets, but they generally do their research online first, or by asking their friends and associates. They don’t just go the the mall and peruse. For men there is nothing more boring than standing around looking at clothes. And when a man is bored, what does he do? He fantasizes about women. And what better place to do that then at a woman’s dress shop or the mall. That’s one reason this is not a good strategy.
You may like clothes, purses, shoes and jewelry, but don’t cajole your man into buying them by dragging him to the store with you. You should have your own money and go shopping by yourself or with your girlfriends. If he wants to buy you something as a gift, that’s great, but he may choose to show his love and devotion in other ways, like building or fixing things, taking you on vacations, arranging a romantic candlelight dinner, etc.
As women complain about being valued only for their physical attributes, men feel many women see their wallet as an ATM machine. So if you want to be appreciated for your personality and actions as well as your body, extend the same balanced treatment to your man. Recognize him first and foremost for how he treats you, cares for and compliments you, rather than what he is able or willing to buy
2. Don’t try to change him into who you think he should be
Women often go into a relationship with the notion that their man is a lump of clay and it is their responsibility to mold him into a need fulfilling machine. While it is true, many women do seem to develop a sense of themselves and where they’re going far earlier than men, yet a man’s journey of personal development still has to be largely self directed. When a woman usurps that task and mistakenly assumes she can then influence his development for her own benefit, she plays with fire. He may go along for a while, especially if he was emotionally damaged by the last relationship, but eventually, he’ll realize he’s being duped. The result may be that he’ll bolt and find someone else with whom to share all the valuable lessons you taught him.
It’s better to find a man who already has qualities you admire and that are compatible with your own. Yes, it may take a while longer to find the right fit. but when you head down the slippery slope of tinkering with other people’s personalities, you may create a monster that one day will bite the hand that feeds him.
3. Don’t assume he can go toe to toe with you in the feelings department.
I never understood how women expect men to be strong and sensitive, courageous and gentle, smart but not sarcastic, etc. OK, there are some exceptional men out there I guess who might fit that description, but how long do you plan to wait and do you really think they’re still single? Get real girl! Normal men usually fall squarely on one side of that line or the other. Either they are sweet and sensitive, but not particularly masculine or they are full of testosterone but not too well developed in the expression department. You have to choose what’s more important to you. Do you need a man to excite you and drive you wild in the bedroom or do you want one who will discuss philosophy all night, then wake up the next day and say “let’s go shopping”? Really? That’s what your girlfriends are for. If you find a good man who works hard, is faithful, generous, smart and funny, you’ve done well.
Don’t emasculate him by expecting him to emote with you over your soap opera. You may end up with an androgynous bore who increasingly depends on you for affirmation and reassurance.
4. Don’t participate in arguing. Don’t remain in a relationship where compatibility continues to be an issue
I once learned a very valuable lesson from a Siberian fur trader. He relied on 6-8 Huskies throughout the year for transportation, warmth, companionship, defense and so on. He was always training new dogs to replace the ones that would eventually be too old to provide their valuable services. Once in a while, a puppy would just display a stubbornness, a lack of ability to work with his peers or develop a functional relationship with his master. Instead of punishing the dog or forcing him to obey, his philosophy is “just find another dog”. This is a useful tip in human relationships too. People generally do not change. Their personalities are pretty much fixed before their 18th birthday. If you and your partner cannot agree on simple things, if either of you feel the need to be defensive or competitive, it’s not a good match. In other words, he may be a strong dog, a beautiful dog, but if he cannot work with you, then he will just hold you back and make you miserable. Just find another dog.
5. Move on from little hurts. Don’t keep dredging them up to use as ammunition against your partner
Sorry ladies, but this is a characteristic feminine flaw, the inability to forget. Along the journey toward hopeful relationship bliss, there will be potholes, speed bumps and hazards, as each of you learn to navigate your own feelings and cope with each others’ differences. The result is that mistakes will be made on both sides. But where as men don’t reserve room in their brains to hang on to all that history, women do and they often replay it in technicolor in the context of an argument about something else. Men are more focused on the here and now, where as women see the relationship as a continuum, meaning that for them, what happened yesterday, last year or even a decade ago is just as relevant now as it was when it happened.
Each time you place the spotlight on a past transgression, you rip open the wound and prevent it from healing, either for yourself or the relationship. Eventually, the timeline of the partnership is viewed only in the rearview mirror, punctuated by missteps and thoughtless acts or comments, rather than the quiescent and joyful spaces between them. You may feel it is useful to keep these moments of less than stellar behavior on the part of your man, visible, as a reminder to him to be more thoughtful about his actions. But he sees this as perpetual punishment and a prison of past mistakes from which he can never escape. Furthermore, since he cannot remember the details of these events nearly as well as you, he begins to doubt your retelling of the story. Each time they resurface, they appear to more sensational and to possess greater intensity. To him, this is akin to being retried over and over for the same crime and being found more guilty each time. This is a death nell for any relationship. To forget is a blessing. As each of you matures, so will your respective relationship to each other and these little hurts will begin to diminish in frequency. But if you refuse to let them fade into the past, as they should, the weight of collective guilt and injury will eventually snuff out any remaining passion and drive you farther apart.
Focus on what he does right and if he is faithful, caring, gentle and affectionate, count your blessings and let go of the little hurts along the way.
6. Don’t use sex as a way to control him.
You may not like it, but sex is a very important part of a man’s life, at least through middle age. So, if he’s not getting it from you, he may seek it elsewhere. Don’t use sex like a carrot and stick, offering it as a reward when he does something you want and then withholding it when you’re upset. Also, don’t always wait for him to initiate. Especially if you’ve been hot and cold in the past, he may fear that he’ll be rejected again, so show him that you desire intimacy. Don’t be subtle. Men don’t read your cryptic signals, they need concrete messages that don’t require interpretation. Grab him where it counts and say “Ooooh, I miss our time together”. That will get his attention for sure.
If you've enjoyed this article, please feel free to comment and or share it with your friends on social media.
You can also write me with questions about relationships at: