As a member of the female gender, and a huge fan of both genders, I have made it a personal priority to try and understand the fundamental differences between the sexes, the differing needs and expectations of each in connection with the other, as well as the similarities and bridges between us. I have been blessed with the presence of superior men and women in my life, and have come to achieve and enjoy emotional intimacies with many of them. Since my early teen years, I’ve had lots and lots of “girl talk” that revolved around interest in and dating boys. Just recently I’ve found myself, and very welcomingly so, the chosen “listening ear” for a number of my close single male friends. I have 4 very close male friends right now who are single and looking. They have all shared experiences from recent relationships with me, as well as frustrations with their dating experiences in general. The number of recurring scenarios between the four men’s experiences prompted me to pay very close attention to what was going on, and from that I’ve isolated the fundamentals of what was revealed to me to present in this blog post.
This is in no way a demonstration of favoritism toward the male gender, but rather a focus on their experiences as they’ve been explained to me, and my interpretation of them. We all have our qualms with the opposite sex. This particular blog post focuses on their qualms with us, and serves as an opportunity to take note and hopefully improve our chances of responding to the men in our lives according to their needs and desires, as we wish for them to do for us. In fact, responding to their needs and desires mindfully will very likely serve as a catalyst for reciprocation. I’d also just like to add that the men I’ve referred to are my dear friends. They are all men of excellent character- kind, attractive, loyal, hard-working, adventurous & artistic beings. The kind of guys so many women are hoping to find. They are all in their early 30’s. From here on out I’ll refer to them as *Will, Tom, Ray, and Jake.
“Dating has been tough. It’s been really tough as I’ve gotten older.” – Will
Will’s main frustration with women is one I’ve heard before. Today it will serve as screw up #1.
1. Wanting him to change. Will is a very funny and charismatic guy. The life of the party! He has attracted the romantic interests in his life with this dynamic personality. He makes them laugh, he entertains them and they’re hooked. At some point though, his outgoing nature becomes a bit “too much”. Suddenly, it’d be nice if he could tone it down a couple of notches. Needless to say, this is very disheartening to Will. Everyone wants to be liked for who they are and it seems very unfair to be asked to change. I agree with Will. Demanding someone change to fit your criteria is unacceptable, unkind, and an unhealthy way of performing inside a romantic relationship. Acceptance is something every person needs and deserves. What you see is what you get. Take it or leave it, but don’t try to change it, unless “it” is in the mirror.
“She ended up having some insecurity issues that I couldn’t cope with.”- Ray
2. Being jealous and/or possessive. Several months ago I remember Ray being completely smitten with a woman he had begun dating. “She’s everything I could have hoped for”, he expressed over lunch with the look of immense gratitude and joy on his face. He was showing me her pictures on his phone. She was gorgeous! Less than 2 months later we were talking on the phone and to my surprise he told me that he had to end it with her. He said she started getting really jealous, repeatedly questioning him about his relationships with some of the women he was friends with on Facebook, and fighting with him if he had lunch with a female friend or if he mentioned the name of someone he previously dated. He began feeling as though he was walking on eggshells whenever he was around her. No matter how hard he tried to reassure her, unresolved insecurities managed to get the best of her and they’d end up in a fight. It is commonly recognized that confidence is one of the most attractive qualities. As such, excessive insecurity and desperation are very unattractive qualities. We really need to get to a healthy state of being self-confident to function well in our relationships. Entering into a relationship while experiencing issues with trust, or insecurity born from any other reason, isn’t fair to you or your unsuspecting interest, as you will both suffer. Ray is one of the most genuine and honest men I’ve ever known. She truly missed out on a good guy.
“I’m seriously tired of being expected to do all the work.”- Tom
“I’m ready to be swept off my feet for a change.”-Jake
3. Expecting him to do all the initiating. Tom and Jake are very different in one pretty fundamental way. Jake has no problems approaching women. He isn’t afraid of rejection and usually has the courage to ask a girl out if he fancies her. Tom on the other hand really has to work up the courage to strike up a conversation with a pretty stranger or to ask a girl out. What they do share in common though, is that they both feel that it’d be nice if women would be a little bit more aggressive. From the initial contact, to the first phone call, to the first kiss, any or all of these would be a good time for us girls to make a move. I personally don’t mind playing tit for tat. I mean it’s only fair. If he approaches, I’ll offer my number and a good time to call. When he calls I will ask him when he is free before he has a chance to ask me, and so on. I personally feel that meeting in the middle makes for a healthy balance with the occasional extra initiation on both parts to demonstrate willingness, understanding, and desire. Boys like to be romanced too.
“Guys love positive feedback.”- Will
4. Constant Criticism. Apparently, we women tend to verbalize disapproval more often than we verbalize approval. This is kind of a shame. “Do you have to watch sports EVERY weekend?”, “Would you mind doing the dishes once in a while?” “Another slice of pizza?? Suit yourself.” “You’re wearing that?” I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time you’ve heard women being accused of complaining or nit-picking. Of course there is nothing wrong with pointing out things we feel could use improvement, but the key is to choose our battles and not to take on every single one. In addition, if you’re with a guy he must be doing something right! Let him know what it is he does that makes you happy. This will really mean a lot to him and go a long way in the relationship. Both men and women want nothing more than to be appreciated, as well as accepted and acknowledged. These are known among relationship experts as the triple A’s. If we practice the triple A’s consistently then we can rest assured that we are treating our partner well.
In all honesty, I have been guilty of all the above in past relationships. It took a lot of maturing, learning, and deliberate effort on my part to get to a place where I could be conscientious enough to eliminate these screw- ups and find myself in a successful, healthy, and happy relationship. Again, I realize that men have their own work to do to understand the needs of women so that they can perform successfully as well. I will be sure to write a post dedicated to helping men realize how they can reach their potential for being an amazing partner in the near future.
Many thanks to my wonderful friends for sharing their experiences with me!
Be You and Enjoy It!
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.