In my office, I work with primarily women. That's what happens when you work for a fashion accessories retailer. There are a total of 2 men on our 20 person team. This is a big change from when I worked for a consumer packaged goods company where it was dominated by men. The common topics at the CPG company was football, fishing, golf, and other topics uninteresting to me. Now the common topics of discussion are clothes, make up, and men.
Ahh yes. Women love talking about men. Particularly one of my colleagues is very open about her love life or should I say pursuit of a love life. I noticed that a lot of the comments made about men are often pretty critical. You would think these group of women hated men.
"He picked XYZ for our date. Can you believe that?! ABC would have been a better choice!"
"Billy Bob Joe takes forever to answer text messages" (hold up, you texting at work?! mmmhmm!)
"He's so unaffectionate and insensitive. It's like I'm dating a rock."
"John Smith is 36 and he still lives with his parents. He needs to get it together!"
You get the idea. We complain. There's always something wrong with the guy. There's always something we,women, want more of albeit attention, time, romance, security, etc. Then I reflect on my own relationship and think of all the conversations I've had with Manny about improving this or wanting more of that but can't think of the last time Manny had any complaints about me. He's always just happy. It's not that I'm perfect or he's not. He just realizes that I'm human and loves and accepts me for my imperfections. And that feels amazing. I believe that the best way to show someone you love them is to accept them completely for who they are. I feel accepted, loved, and safe. An amazing feeling. I then start to feel a bit guilty about my many complaints. How exhausting is it to constantly be wrong or be reminded of how flawed you are. I believe it to be a source of many women's unhappiness is the unwillingness to fully accept their partner or walk away from someone you can't accept fully. Accepting a person for who they are fosters love. Resisting who that person is results in resentment. Who wants to be around someone who always makes them feel wrong?
But what if I do want more? I have needs too!
Very valid. I believe that every person deserves love and affection. To foster a healthy relationship, there should be healthy communication. There's way to translate your core needs for love, affection, security, attention, etc without complaining and making him wrong. The answer is to make it about you and make sure it comes from a loving place.
1. Write down your complaint
Write down the very complaint you want to say to him.
ex. You spend too much time watching football!
2. Identify your need/request
What are you really asking for or needing? More affection? More time?
ex. More quality time together
3. Reword it to be about you, show him how to please you
Men are caretakers. They want to make you happy and they want to please you. They just can't read minds. When you express your inner desire and communicate how to please you, a loving, responsible man will be receptive.
ex. It would feel great to spend some quality time with you.
Notice how I take out the subject to be about him ("you") and begin with me. Instead of making him wrong for watching football, I express how it would feel good to spend quality time together.
A simple switch in how you communicate will improve your relationship immensely. It may feel uncomfortable but that's ok. Being open about your inner desires is making yourself vulnerable. It becomes to be about you. Be willing to be vulnerable to the one you love and you will see incredible results. Let's revisit those complaints and translate them into healthy communication.
1. He picked XYZ for our date. Can you believe that?! ABC would have been a better choice!
2. I want him to take me to ABC
3. Thank you for taking me/suggesting XYZ. I've been wanting to check out ABC, it would feel great to go with you!
1. Billy Bob Joe takes forever to answer text messages
2. I need more attention
3. You can't neccessarily control his actions, but you can let him know when he does something that makes you happy.When you receive a text say: It feels great hearing from you! I love it when you respond quickly.
1. He's so unaffectionate and insensitive. It's like I'm dating a rock.
2. I need more affection
3. It would feel so good to hug you and touch you. I love how it feels to be next to you.
1. John Smith is 36 and he still lives with his parents. He needs to get it together!
2. I want security and responsibility
3. At this point, if his life choices/style is not something you can accept, you shouldn't be with him. Loving someone means accepting them for who they are and not trying to change them.