As a marriage and family therapist I have worked with hundreds of couples and I’ve learned a lot about what goes wrong in relationships. And, I’ve learned more importantly what YOU can do to make it work better.
While there are basic issues for all relationships – like respect, compassion, empathy, etc – there are some specific things that you as a man do that drive your woman crazy, and that may eventually kill your relationship.
You’ve always wanted an operating manual for women, right? Well here it is.
Interestingly, if you want your woman to stop doing stuff you don’t like, to be happy, and to take care of you, there’s a lot you can change on your side. So, quit pointing a blaming finger at her, and take charge of your side of the relationship.
If you’re doing some of this stuff, stop it. You don’t have to be perfect, no one expects that of you. Just don’t be a douche.
What You’re Doing that Doesn’t Work – Cut it Out!
1. You call her crazy, or other names because she has feelings that you don’t like or understand.
Your woman is a different person than you. And, she is going to have different needs, perspectives, and ideas. You may not like or understand them, but they are important and very real to her.
To Do: Take your woman seriously! Respect what she needs and understand her perspective. You don’t need to agree, just understand. The payoff is that she will feel loved and cared for by you.
2. You lie about small stuff (or big stuff) because you think it will protect her from feeling bad.
Actually, that behavior is about protecting you from her being upset or angry. If she asks where you went after work and you tell her you went to the gym when what you really did was have a beer at a buddy’s house, you just lied. You may not think it’s a big deal, but when she catches that lie, it is now not a small issue, but a BFD. The lie is always worse than whatever behavior you’re trying to cover up.
To Do: Tell her the truth. Even if she gets angry it will be better than having a lie discovered. And, the payoff is she will trust you.
3. You think that gifts, notes, cards, flowers, etc. are not a big deal.
Yes, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are commercial holidays. And, maybe you don’t care if you get a gift or a card for your birthday or anniversary. But, your woman does care. Mostly she cares less about the gift and more about the thought. She wants to know that she is worthy of your time, energy, thought, and money. It doesn’t have to be grand or expensive, but it does have to be for her. Unless your woman has said to you directly and clearly that you are never to buy her a gift or card, do it.
To Do: Think about what is meaningful to her. Think about how you can express your love and connection. Do that. The payoff is she will feel like a priority to you.
4. You would rather play a video game, watch sports, hang out with the guys, work on the car, surf… then spend time with your woman.
I get it. Your hobbies and friends are important and I agree that you need them. I know you work hard and that when you’re home you just want to relax. Chances are your woman does too, but for her that means connecting with you. You don’t need to have hours long deep conversations with her in order to connect, but if you don’t make the effort to connect daily with her, then distance grows in your relationship and she becomes unhappy and more naggy.
To Do: Set aside time daily to connect with your woman. And, have a date weekly that has nothing to do with kids, chores, or logistical plans. The payoff is that your relationship stays strong and connected.
5. You think sex is all about your penis.
While your penis is important, and your woman loves your penis (maybe not as much as you!), there are many more aspects to sexual intimacy with your woman. Do you know what your woman likes in the bedroom? Do you take the time to romance, and prepare, and make her feel like a sex goddess, or do you strip down and stick it in? The last thing you want is for your woman to think of sex as a chore.
To Do: Get good at romance and foreplay. Sex doesn’t need to be a big ordeal every time, but when you take the time to warm things up, then fireworks are possible. The payoff is happy sex for both of you.
6. You think sex is all about the bedroom.
What goes on in your bedroom (or living room, or backyard, or laundry room…) is important, but for your woman sex starts way before your penis chubs up. When you help with the chores or the kids, when you send a loving or sexy text, when you bring home a card or a flower, when you light the candles, when you show interests in her life, that’s when sex starts for her. If your woman is tired and resentful, she is not interested in getting naughty with you. She wants to sleep.
To Do: Think of your sex life as on all the time rather than just when the lights go out. The payoff is a woman who is much more interested and ready for you.
7. You need to be right – all the time.
If you’re not right, you’re wrong. And, if you’re wrong, you lose. And, you can’t lose or that means you’re weak. Do you think this way? Do you think that if you say ‘sorry, that was my fault’ or ‘you’re right’ that somehow you now are in a weaker position? That’s bogus thinking. Of course your woman is right sometimes and of course you are not, but if you focus on winning rather than connecting you’re screwing up your relationship.
To Do: Take responsibility for your part of what’s not working, say you’re sorry, and acknowledge when she’s right. The payoff is that your woman will feel acknowledged and validated.
8. You get angry, snap, yell, or call her names (like lazy, crazy, stupid, etc.)
You may think that you are justified in this behavior because ‘she made me feel this way’, but if you’re doing anything like this (or more), you’re being abusive. Yes, your woman will annoy you, and yes she will make mistakes. However, when you’ve had a bad day and come home and yell at her, that is your responsibility. That is YOUR feeling and she has nothing to do with it. You are in charge of your mood, feelings, and behavior. Your woman is not in charge of your feelings. Quit abusing her and making her afraid of you.
To Do: Put yourself in her shoes and understand what it would be like if someone treated you the way you’re treating her. Feels crappy. There are ways to be angry and not abusive. Take responsibility for yourself and your feelings and figure out how to make it different. The payoff is you feel better and stronger and your woman is not afraid of you.
9. You don’t share.
Are you in charge of the purse strings and dole out money to your woman? Do you think that you earn the money, so it’s yours? Do you think that since you earn the money and pay the mortgage that you’re now off the hook for other household responsibilities? Let me break this to you – when you agree to set up a household with your woman, you are agreeing to share. You agree to share financial assets and responsibilities, which means that money is now for the most part family money. You agree to work together to create a household that works. You don’t have to hand over all your money, or do all the chores, but it is important that you be a good team player.
To Do: Make sure that your household financial arrangements are fair and agreed on by both of you. Do the same with household and family chores. The payoff is that your woman will have more time and energy for you.
10. You have a mistress – and it may not be another woman.
You have another love. It could be a woman (or women), which you already know is damaging to your relationship. But, it also could be alcohol, weed, gambling, porn, video games, or anything else you feel compelled to do, and maybe hide. While there is nothing wrong with having a drink, or betting on a football game, or watching porn to heat things up with your woman, or relaxing with a video game, when you feel compelled to do those things and they begin to hurt your relationship then you have a problem. If your woman is saying it’s a problem, then it’s a problem.
To Do: Take responsibility. You may have an addiction, or you may simply need to work yourself out of a habit that doesn’t serve you. The payoff is that you have no longer have a ‘third person’ in your relationship and you and your woman are more connected.
Nobody’s perfect, not me, not you. You may be a terrific partner, and there may be one or more of these don’ts that you’re doing. I recommend that you share this post with your woman and ask her what she thinks. Vulnerable, yes. Weak, no.
I know you want a strong happy relationship. I know you want to be a great man and a terrific partner. And, I know you can be that.