In the wise and prophetic words of Isaiah Washington’s character in Love Jones, “Falling in love ain’t sh**! Can someone tell me how to stay in love?” In a single lifetime, the average person will experience more failed relationships than successful ones. I’ve watched and endured the roller coaster of dating long enough to see where both men and women tend to get it wrong. Usually, it’s somewhere between the hellos and goodbyes but maybe I’m stating the obvious.
Buried comfortably within the walls of every ‘relationship’ are unwritten rules. Rules born from expectations (blog to come) that while never discussed, are assumed and fully embraced. The disappointment created when those rules are broken results in detached, defeated, and doubtful women. Women that slowly slip away without her guy ever truly understanding what happened. If you can’t figure out why your woman considers leaving, has already left, or just placed one foot on the other side of the proverbial door, this blog is for you.
Do the exact opposite of what she asks
As women, we tend to be very specific unless it benefits us to be vague. If we give you a roadmap to our wants/needs and you decide to take a detour or dismiss what we’ve requested altogether, you’ve demonstrated a total disregard for our feelings and our role in your life. If you can’t figure out how to show her more affection (holding hands, rubs on the back, pecks on the cheek, etc) or take her out for dinner at least once a week after she’s asked several times, you may as well pack your bags. Don’t be surprised when someone uses the map you discarded to lead them straight to her heart.
Leave her empty
While the whole love tank thing may be a bit overexposed at this point, it’s still a subtle analogy supporting a powerful point. A woman wants to be nurtured, cared for, and cared about by her man. Honestly, we prefer receiving daily displays of adoration but settle for less for a fear of disappointment. If you wonder why your woman has a faraway look in her eyes, or possibly another man’s number on speed dial, it’s most likely because you never thought to give her a refill.
Discourage her dreams
No one wants to battle the world by day and their significant other at night. There are enough naysayers in her inner and outer circle discouraging dreams and challenging hopes without the addition of her most trusted confidante. A woman needs a man that hears her hopes and wants to support her while she pursues her passion. Women can sense when a man feels challenged by her success. However, more women are deciding to lose the man instead of letting go of their dreams. Don’t find yourself watching her success from a distance.
Make her a “choice” vs. a “priority”
The quote, “Never make someone a priority that makes you a choice” is pure gold. As women we commonly fall into the trap of doting over men that rarely give us a second thought or a sideways glance. We fight with our families, sacrifice friendships, and lose sleep over men that consistently ignore our needs, hurt our hearts and handicap our dreams. If you want to keep your woman, you have to give her the loving care she gives you or she’ll one day choose to exit your life for good.
Make the truth optional
‘Lies don’t ruin relationships, the truth does.’ Being honest and forthright should be a given however, I’ve heard guys admit to lying in an effort to spare the woman’s feelings or to avoid an apparent argument. Hopefully guys will one day understand that once a lie is exposed, a woman becomes disappointed in you for the truth you tried to hide and the lie you used to cover it up. Regardless of how bad you think it might be, honesty is the best policy. Respect her enough to trust her with your truth or suffer as you watch her walk away.
Leave compliments to Hallmark
I wholeheartedly agree with Chris Rock that women need compliments. I’ve dated enough guys to know what I’m willing to sacrifice in a relationship and compliments aren’t anywhere on the list. We need to know you want us, are passionate about us, and can’t wait to see us. We want to hear the sincerity in your voice when you say we’re beautiful, smart, kind-hearted, caring, and attractive. Don’t underestimate how much the affecting sound of your voice can affirm the vulnerable parts of our being. A static message from an assembly line greeting card will never compare to a man articulating what he believes is etched on his heart.
Allow silence to speak for you
There are two very good reasons why men should never let silence speak for them. First, women think too much. Left to our own devices, we’ll create full conversations you never had and analyze actions you never took. By the time you choose to speak, we’re already upset about the fantasy we’ve created in our own minds and you won’t know why you’re in an argument in the first place. Second, silence usually confirms any and all of our negative suspicions. So when you choose not to tell us what you think, how you feel, and why you did what you did, we take your silence to mean the worst-case scenario. A lot of women have left men over that which was never said. Advice: If you love her, say it. If you think she’s the best part of your day/life, say it. If you don’t want to lose her, say it. If you’re afraid of getting hurt, open up and tell her. If you wait too long, she won’t be around to hear it and never forget – a man can’t expect to reap what he never sowed.
Try to buy your way to love
There is not a direct relationship between how much you spend and how much she’ll love you. I’ve had friends express how quickly things were disintegrating in their relationships but instead of their significant other trying to work on the aspects that mattered (communication, intimacy, compliments, quality time, etc), he chose to surprise her with diamonds, handbags, and trips. I’m not in any way suggesting men stop doing these things because they have their place. However, most women will agree that investing in the material doesn’t allow a man to forego genuine effort. A woman would rather a man learn how to freely give her the things she needs before purchasing the things she may or may not even want.
Chasing/Choosing the unknown
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”
A close relative to #4, this way is more tempting, less tangible and a guaranteed trigger. For many women, there is value in accepting and appreciating the known rather than seeking the possibility of something greater that could ultimately amount to nothing. Especially when everything is going well with the man to whom we’ve already committed (loosely or formally). When a man tells a woman he wants to ‘explore’ other options while also having her close by his side, he creates insecurities and thoughts of inadequacy. His simple words magnify in her ears and echo themes of ‘having you here just isn’t enough for me’ or ‘I’d rather take my chance with anyone else versus simply being with just you’ and don’t forget, ‘I love you and would like to see where this goes but can I have my cake and eat it too?’ I’m sure most women don’t enjoy being on a man’s back burner and that’s precisely where being with a man that chases the unknown will land her. Guys, learn when it’s appropriate to fish and when you’ve already landed the Big Catch. Not every woman deserves your commitment but when you find one that does, hold on to her. You’ll soon learn how few of these opportunities will come your way. If you choose to chase the wrong one, the right one won’t stick around long enough for your apologies and regret.
Stop fighting with/for her
When a woman and man first connect, it’s like unicorns and rainbows. Everything is lovely and neither can do wrong in the other’s eyes. Over time reality sets in and this thing called life throws a few tests their way. In the most challenging moments when it’s easy to give up and give in, a woman wants to know her man is capable of fighting for her. She wants to believe he wouldn’t throw in the towel with a dismissive flip of the wrist. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this in relationships ranging from serious dating to marriage. Husbands were too busy being frustrated with her conversations/shopping habits/nagging and whatever else you can think of and forgot to fight for the woman they loved. Even though their hearts committed to her as a life partner, they treated her like a temporary resident. Instead of trying to mend the brokenness within their relationships, they sought refuge in someone else’s arms or in their own minds. Don’t forget the importance of maintenance. You’d never buy a vehicle without proper upkeep so why treat your relationship differently? Not in any way saying women are cars (fully respecting R. Kelly’s “You remind me of my jeep…”), but she fell in love with you because of what you showed her. Commit to maintaining the communication, consideration, and chemistry you had in the beginning. If you consider her, respect her and give her what she needs, she’ll return it tenfold.