If there’s one recurring theme I hear when I discuss relationships with my friends, neighbors, random people in airports, it’s that their partners/companions don’t understand them. Men think that their women just don’t get it, and women think that their men don’t have a clue. So after doing some research, here’s Part I of a two-fold effort to level the playing field. So ladies, grab you pens and pencils; here are the top 5 things your men want you to know:
- GIVE HIM SOME SPACE. You may have read this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. If there is one thing a man enjoys, it’s his personal space. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with spending quality time with your man or wanting to be around him. However, there is a line between couples’ bonding time and becoming a second shadow. This is especially important for women who are living with their partners. Too often, we rush to latch onto our men as soon as they come through the door. We are oblivious to the fact that they need time to relax and unwind, or as my grandmother says, catch themselves. Give your man a chance to kick back, grab a drink, and watch TV before you run to permanently perch yourself under his arm. You may think it’s cute and loving to snuggle up to your hubby as soon as he walks in, but in actuality, he may consider it to be clingy and smothering.
For those of you ladies who aren’t currently living with your companions, you may think you’re off the hook. Not quite. Even though you may not live in the same space, it is still very possible to stifle and suffocate. How? Phone calls! Take a look at your cell phone log. How many outgoing calls are there to Baby or Sweetheart today? If it’s before noon, and you’ve got 5 or more calls to his phone, you’re in the danger zone. I know that you may think it shows interest and concern to call him once every hour or two just to say Hi or to make sure he’s doing OK. The truth is, your man may interpret those gestures as an effort to keep tabs on him or to monitor his movements. He may feel overwhelmed and may actually begin to pull away from you in order to get some room to breathe. In essence, the fastest way to lose your man is to smother him.
- STOP NAGGING. One complaint that I have heard time and time again from my male friends is: My woman just continues to nag and harass me about EVERYTHING. Why does she have to make an issue out of minor things? I just wish she’d leave it alone. The truth is, we have to understand that some things we may deem to be earth-shattering or of great concern don’t even show up on the radar screen for men. This is not to say that you shouldn’t share your feelings and let him know if something’s bothering you. But at the same time, put things in perspective. Before you call or walk over to your partner to make an issue out of a particular matter, think about whether or not it’s truly worth it. The last thing your man wants to do is argue or have a heated discussion about a minor situation. So if he called you back at 4:00PM instead of 3:30PM, if he forgot to take out the garbage, or if he didn’t make it to your place exactly at 7:30PM for dinner, don’t make the issue World War III. Instead, think first what damage has truly been done. If none, then simply let it go. Trust me, your man will thank you, and you’ll realize how much more smoothly your relationship runs when you decide not to sweat the small stuff.
- HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE. This actually ties in very nicely with #1. Too often, we get our man, then we let our own lives go to hell in a handbasket. Soon, we don’t have anything to do unless it’s with our man and his friends. No good. A man likes to see that his woman is independent and ambitious in her own right. He likes to know that she is capable of standing on her own two feet in any instance. She’s got her own friends, career, interests, etc. A woman with nothing going for herself separate from her partner becomes quite unappealing very quickly. If any time your man says he’s going to watch the game with his friends or attend a workplace event, you find a way to invite yourself because you don’t have anything to do on your own, RED FLAG. If you currently don’t have any interests or friends on your own, FIND SOME. Whether you pick up a new skill/hobby like baking, writing, or dancing, visiting art galleries, or something as simple as reconnecting with old girlfriends, start doing things without him. To be completely frank, if your man really wants you to attend an event or outing with him, he’ll be sure to invite you. Furthermore, should you and your significant other ever decide to part ways, you want to ensure that your world doesn’t fall to pieces because your life was totally inseparable from his. You were an individual before you met him, why should all of your individuality and uniqueness evaporate once you are in a relationship??
- TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR APPEARANCE. Skinny jeans, mini-skirts, halter tops\u2026.sound familiar? These were all the cute things we would wear when we were single and/or looking to date someone. We took care of our bodies and stayed in shape. We made sure that we took time to go to the gym and eat well. Why? We wanted to be physically attractive. But for some reason, once we snag our man, that desire to remain attractive and appealing seems to fly out the window. We find ourselves in our man’s sweats or basketball shorts, baggy t-shirts more than our own clothes. We decide that make-up and moisturizer are no longer necessities, and exercise should only be an occasional occurrence. We think, Well, I’ve already got my man, so who do I need to get dolled up and pretty for? The answer is YOUR MAN! He wants to see you look as beautiful and sexy as possible. This is not to say that your man should only be with you for superficial or physical reasons. But ponder this: When he met you, before he got to know your mind or your personality, it was your good looks that caught his attention. Why wouldn’t you want to keep those good looks? Let’s be 100% honest: You know you want your man to be attracted to your body as well as your mind and personality. You want his eyes to light up every time you walk into a room and for him to smile every time you’re on his arm. Better yet, YOU want to feel confident every time you’re on his arm. No, no one’s suggesting you need to be dressed in ball gowns and high heels all the time. However, you shouldn’t only wait for holidays and special occasions to get pretty or dolled up. Ladies, you want your man to want you, so MAKE him!
- STAY AWAY FROM HIS ELECTONICS! Yes, ladies. Step away from his Blackberry, IPhone, Sidekick, insert-your-sexy-piece-of-technology-here. Something as simple as interfering with your man’s electronics can truly be detrimental to your relationship. You ask, Why? It’s an invasion of PRIVACY! Think about it: Would you really want to walk in the room to find your man rummaging through your purse?? It’s essentially the same thing. Your man’s personal information is in that phone, and here you are, wearing your Sherlock Holmes hat, sniffing through his call logs, e-mails, text messages, and IM conversations. Why? The typical response I receive when I ask women this question is: Well, I have the right to know if my man’s cheating on me. Guess what? If your man’s smart, you wouldn’t be able to find out whether he’s cheating from searching his phone, pockets, or briefcase. And if he isn’t that smart, he’ll slip up without any effort on your part. In the words of my good friend, if you go looking for something, you’re going to find it. That’s true to the point that you’ll invent things that probably aren’t there. You’ll find a text message from cousin Kiki, misinterpret it as an invitation for an illicit rendezvous, and cause Armageddon in your home. Word to the wise: Men don’t appreciate accusations, especially persistent ones. If you keep insisting that your man’s cheating and scouring for evidence, he’ll do one of three things: a) CHEAT (she keeps accusing me of doing it, so why don’t I prove her right?), b) Leave, or c) Cheat, THEN leave. No matter which of the 3 doors he chooses to walk through, you’ll find yourself hurt and most likely alone. Ladies, you can not control your man’s actions, and you’ll probably do more harm than good if you try to.