Are you constantly plagued by the differences between you and the men you seem to get involved with? Have you come to the conclusion that men are simply from another planet? Are you about to give up hope of ever understanding what they really want from you, or if they want you at all? Stop beating yourself up this instant! Take a deep breath, and get ready to discover what his behaviour really means, and how to communicate with him without pulling your hair out, with these 18 fabulous tips and insight, to help you get inside the mind of your man!
1. Men Are Practical; Women Are Emotional
This is one very important difference between men and women that you need to get your head around! Once you get it, everything will suddenly make so much more sense. It is a fact about men and women that relates to most of the conflicts and breakdowns in communication that we experience in relationships. The truth is that a man’s brain simply works in a slightly different way to a woman’s – this is what causes so many misunderstandings.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that women are irrational – far from it! What I am actually saying is that women tend to spend more time trying to figure out how they feel by having long conversations and exploring issues out in the open, preferring to get feedback before coming to any conclusions. In contrast, a man will usually deal with the emotional side of things internally by himself, and only share the problem when he knows how he feels about it, and it is time for him to create a solution.
Sometimes a man’s practical approach can be taken out of context, especially when a woman is feeling sensitive or over-analyzing. When a woman thinks too deeply about something a man has done, she often misses the simple, innocent, and often practical truth of the matter. Most of the time, a man’s behaviour is based on simple logic.
For example, let’s say that he loads your dinner plate with significantly less food than his, making him look like a greedy pig. You jump to the wrong conclusions and blame him for being selfish as usual, when really he was being practical, because you’re on a diet and always leave half of what’s on your plate as his portions are too big. You’ve taken it personally when really he was just using his common sense and trying to be considerate!
Tip: Men are often accused of being selfish or lazy or clueless. Try to take a minute to see things from his perspective, and see if you can see the practical side of his behaviour. Cut him some slack, and don’t always assume the worst.
2. Men Tell It Like It Is
Sometimes men are too honest for their own good! A man will usually tell it like he sees it, so if you want to ask for your man’s opinion, then make sure you are able to deal with hearing the truth – I’m talking about whether that dress you are wearing makes your bum look big!
He is not thinking about being sensitive to your feelings when you ask what he assumes is a straightforward question; he thinks you are asking him the question because you value his honest opinion. He won’t evaluate what time of the month it is, whether you are feeling bloated and need compliments, or whether you are nervous about attending an important event and need a confidence boost. If that’s what you wanted, then that is what you should have asked for!
But remember: just because he has agreed that the dress you have on hugs your ass, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is saying he doesn’t like it, or that it doesn’t look good on you! Perhaps you can try to take it as a compliment?
Tip: Be honest with yourself first – Do you really want to know the truth?
3. Go To Your Girlfriends If You Want Empathy
As soon as you describe any problem to a guy, his first instinct is to fix the issue by offering a myriad of solutions. These ideas probably won’t take into account how you feel, or the fact that you don’t know how you feel or what you want yet. Women tend to use conversation as a tool to explore how they feel and what they think about things; a bit like when you write in a private journal. Men don’t always catch onto this typically female behaviour, and they forge ahead trying to resolve the problem before you have even had time to figure out what your problem is really about! Annoying, isn’t it?
Your guy doesn’t mean any harm though; he just wants to be helpful and he wants you to be happy – and this is always the best way to interpret him. Just tell yourself that he is trying to help by offering solutions, because he can’t stand to see you upset or in turmoil; and that he wants to help resolve things as quickly as possible, and has skipped out the empathy bit, not because he doesn’t care, but because he is trying to be practical and time-efficient.
If you are looking to have a good old whine and not necessarily come to any active resolutions in that time, direct your emotions towards the girls instead. They will always be more than happy to sit drinking tea with you for an hour, nodding in agreement to everything you say on the matter and giving you their penny’s worth. Sometimes talking about something can make you feel better because it allows you to express how you feel, and that alone can make you strong enough to then resolve the issue by yourself.
Tip: Express yourself through the girls first, and then go to your man for the solution when and if you need it! It’s good to involve your boyfriend; you just have to be strategic about the point where his input is likely to be most valuable.
4. Men Ogle Women On Autopilot
Seriously, stop freaking out every time your guy turns to watch an attractive woman walk by. He can’t help it; it really is written into his make-up. I’m not saying it’s okay or that you shouldn’t feel put out, but the fact is that testosterone is linked to libido, and guys have six times more testosterone surging through their systems than women!
The good news is that any thoughts he has are usually momentary, and the woman in question will have disappeared from his mind almost as soon as she disappeared from his sight. Something else will have taken her place like the bikes he’s watching on Ebay, the football score, or the awesome sandwich he had for lunch.
A guy’s thoughts are so random and interchangeable that you will nearly always be wrong about what he is thinking. He could have just had a deep and meaningful conversation with you about feelings, and look like he is contemplating everything that has been said, but when you ask him what he is thinking he will probably tell you he was thinking about going to take a dump, or trying to calculate the sum of something completely unrelated to anything you were initially talking about!
Tip: He may not be aware that subconsciously ogling girls is upsetting you; in fact he may not even be aware that he is doing it! Talk to him about how it makes you feel, and give him a fair opportunity to be considerate before you fly off the handle at him in the middle of the street when the next leggy blonde walks by!
5. Young Men Are Obsessed With Pecking Order
You might have noticed if you date younger men that they always seem to be competing over something or other. The younger your guy is the more likely he is to be preoccupied with establishing his place in the pecking order; which let’s face it, is likely to get on your last nerve! It can get tedious to listen to men putting each other down.
Why can’t they just grow up and focus on the things that actually matter? The thing is, to him ranking at the top does matter, because it makes him feel more of a man, which means he feels good about himself in your relationship, because he feels more worthy of you. Unfortunately this means you have to put up with him getting jealous, competing against other guys over the smallest of things, and generally behaving like he belongs in the school yard.
A lot of it is, again, down to testosterone levels. Due to the decline in testosterone, older men seem more interested in developing their relationships, and caring about people and the community, rather than being in competition with everyone and everything around them.
Did you know? The male brain becomes more primed for cooperation during your pregnancy, and the closer he is to becoming a father. Testosterone decreases, and prolactin, which is a hormone that prepares a man for fatherhood, increases. Pregnant woman pheromones have also been said to waft over to help develop paternal behaviour! So don’t worry too much if you are with a young guy and want to start building a family – he will grow up when the time comes!
6. Get Closer By Showing Him Your Support
One thing every guy has in common is that they all love to have their ego stroked. If you display positive responses to his contributions to your relationship, he is much more likely to respond well and open up to you about other things. So if you want to be a perfect girlfriend, reward him with your appreciation, approval and awe.
Tip: Don’t overdo it. A man will sense if your support is not genuine or if you have ulterior motives. Make a real effort to connect by being open-minded, positive and flexible, and these are the things that will come back to you, and enrich your relationship.
7. Use His Interests To Communicate Things That Are Important To You
Men and women often suffer in their relationships because there are no common interests that can serve as a way to understand and communicate feelings from each side. When neither of you can relate to how the other person is feeling, you just end up creating a wall that separates you from each other.
Once you start thinking of each other as being from different planets, communication becomes very difficult because you are both more likely to make unfair assumptions about each other’s behaviour. This is called gender stereotyping, and it is not productive in relationships at all! Nobody likes to be pre-judged or put into an unfair category.
The thing is men and women can’t escape their natural gender differences. You also can’t escape individual human differences, personality differences and different beliefs… the list could go on… because all people are all different! If you make the effort to find out more about the specific things that interest your partner though, then you will be able to use these topics to refer to when trying to get your own thoughts and feelings across. If you give your guy something he can relate to, then he will understand what you need from him.
For example, why not try comparing the issues you want to discuss in your personal life to sports tactics? Learn the rules of a game of snooker or football and then apply the theories to the events that are happening in your own work or social life. You can really get a guy involved if you give him something he can directly relate to. At the same time he will appreciate that he can finally share with you something he enjoys!
Tip: Don’t talk over him. Feed off the enthusiasm and passion he has for his own subject, and then get creative with it in order to communicate with him about the things that you are interested in!
8. Be Honest And Upfront To Earn More Trust
This might sound obvious, but not many women are straightforward about how they feel. We often expect guys to know what we are thinking and how we are feeling. Often we blame them if they don’t understand us when we haven’t really made any attempt to help them understand, or even to let them know something is wrong! Imagine how frustrating it must be for a guy when his girlfriend constantly assumes he has psychic powers.
The worst of it is that women are guilty of letting the small things build up silently, and then we blow something small out of proportion by exploding and bringing up every other little issue that has silently been adding to our overall frustration.
It isn’t fair, but we still do it, and then we expect them to accept all of the responsibility to make us feel better. If we are honest about the things that bother us when they bother us, then men have a fairer chance of being able to avoid having to figure out our seemingly irrational emotionally built-up responses and, worse, getting it all wrong. Hopefully you can see how exhausting it must be for him.
If you talk openly about how you feel, then you will make your guy feel closer to you because then he will be able to play an active part in resolving issues in a practical way. He will feel good because he knows that you trust him enough to open up. It’s a win-win situation.
Tip: Don’t talk to your guy about it immediately. Allow yourself to cool off and then bring up the issue when you can talk more objectively without being infused with emotions or the urge to place blame. Get your own head around it and understand how you are feeling before approaching your guy. Talk to the girls first if it helps.
9. Men And Women View Conversation Differently
When you decide to sit down with your partner to discuss issues you are having in your relationship, the first hurdle you will come up against is the fact that you are both approaching the conversation with a different outcome in mind.
He believes that all communication must have a clear purpose, so if you sit down to talk about something, he is more likely to be able to participate constructively if you are tackling specific issues with the intention of finding specific solutions.
Women on the other hand use communication to discover how they are feeling, and to figure out what it is they want to say! This could explain why a woman is more likely to use a private journal to explore how she feels, and why women tend to get together with other female friends to ‘moan’ about the problems they are having – it is just another form of exploring feelings.
When a woman expresses that she wants to talk to her partner, it is usually because she views communication as a way of increasing intimacy and sharing understanding. It allows her to release her negative and pent up frustrations, and then feel closer to the man she loves.
Tip: Allow your man to help you understand what the main problems are with his pragmatic approach instead of getting frustrated because you don’t think he is listening or taking into account how you feel. He is listening, and he can hear you! Perhaps it is your turn to listen to him.
10. Give Him Space If He Withdraws
It is natural for you to freak out if your guy evidently has a problem but seems to be backing away from you and the relationship into his own little cave instead of sharing it and involving you.
The thing is, the more you offer your support by asking caring questions, trying to tease information out of him so that you can understand the problem and help, the more introverted your man will become.
A woman’s natural reaction to all of this is to take his withdrawal personally. She may attack and accuse him of being selfish for not participating in the relationship with open communication, or she will smother him because deep down she is afraid of losing him. Are you guilty of these behaviours?
The truth is that when a man withdraws, he is doing so precisely to escape the problem. He wants to forget about it rather than be consumed by it. He is seeking distraction, space, and adopting avoidance tactics – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Men need to clear their heads completely before they can tackle a problem effectively. Withdrawing, is a man’s way of detaching himself emotionally, so that he can deal with the issue on a more rational and productive level. When you think about it, it is actually a rather clever approach, and men are lucky because they can do this naturally without having to think about it.
Tip: When your man is retreating into his cave, make the most of this time and focus on some self-nurturing. This way you won’t feel rejected, like you have been left waiting on the outside for him to let you in again, because you will be busy making yourself feel good and reminding yourself that you are special.
11. Men Don’t Appreciate Being Told What To Do In Relationships
You might think that being in a relationship is all about sharing, but there are some things you need to just let your man get on with. It is easy to mistake ‘sharing’ an experience with ‘interfering’ or ‘being critical’. You might not mean it this way, but he will probably feel that you are stifling him if you chip in with your incessant penny’s worth.
Men need to feel good about doing a good job. Doing a good job is a very important thing to a man. It makes him feel competent, and it validates his existence both in life and in the relationship. As soon as you start telling him what to do, giving out instructions on how to do something, and questioning his methods, you are, in effect, criticizing his ability to do a good job! He feels like you are putting him down and not allowing him to be a man!
As soon as this happens, he will throw up a wall of resistance and all attempts at communication will be futile. In fact, the more you try to get involved after this point, the more everything will break down.
Tip: If you want to guide your man in relationship tasks such as handy work around the house, cooking and preparing meals – or even seducing you in the bedroom – avoid telling him what to do or how to do it; instead approach things by asking questions about what he thinks, or state a problem that you can see developing and let him resolve it by himself rather than give him instructions and belittle his masculinity.
12. Men Like Physically Attractive Women – But They’re Not Shallow
You might think that if a man admits to fancying a woman because she has big breasts that he is shallow. Whenever a man admits that he is attracted to the sexual parts of a woman’s body he is accused of being sexist and frowned upon by feminists and other disapproving women. This is mainly due to the fact that men don’t usually express that they are actually attracted to healthy and fertile women – and not just their visually sexual bits – because they don’t necessarily understand or know how their brain works.
Men are instinctively drawn to certain physical features of a woman though, and this is all to do with natural selection and evolution. A shapely figure means a woman looks like she has a suitable body for childbearing. Glossy hair, clean skin and wide eyes mean a woman looks healthy. The way a woman holds her body in the clothes she wears portrays her level of confidence and approachability. Men subconsciously assess all of these things in the initial attraction stage, and so they are naturally drawn to physically attractive women. Sexual attraction is perfectly natural and easily understood when you think about it.
Unfortunately, modern men can’t tell the difference between naturally healthy glowing skin and well-applied makeup, which means that if a woman can make herself look more physically appealing through her makeup, hair and clothes, then she stands a better chance of attracting a man! Women seem to have come to resent the amount of effort they have to put into attracting men in the modern world. It is not the man’s fault though; blame the media!
The good news is that when a man is attracted to a woman visually he is also assessing whether or not she is likely to be compatible with him. For example, an upper class man might be drawn to women who dress in a classy way as opposed to a sexually overt way, because he senses she will fit into his social circles and get along with his family.
Tip: If you want to stand a better chance of attracting the right man, then go ahead and take care of your appearance, but remember to be true to who you are if you want to attract the right kind of man for you.
13. Men Need Mystery To Keep Things Fresh
Relationships can become very predictable very quickly! The more you get to know each other, the more comfortable you feel together, and while you both may enjoy the security and comfort of your familiarity, I’m afraid I must tell you to be careful because it can lead to disaster. Familiarity also breeds contempt.
Men get bored easily. I’m not saying he will get bored of you and not want to be in the relationships anymore, but he may begin to feel a lack of stimulation and become complacent. If you, in turn, start to feel taken for granted, problems between the two of you are only going to escalate.
The best way to combat this scenario, before it happens, is to always hold a little of yourself back. He doesn’t have to know every single little thing about you. Give him something to wonder about; retain some of your feminine mystery.
Remember: An independent woman is sexy! Hold onto a slice of your independence and don’t let him penetrate it. For example, a night out with the girls is a night out with the girls – you don’t have to come home and fill your boyfriend in on every single little detail. Feed him a general picture if he asks, but save the details for your self. It will give him something to think about, and he will perceive you as more of a challenge. All men are attracted to the challenge!
14. Never Forget That Men Like A Challenge
It doesn’t matter what it is, if a man achieves anything in life and there was no chase and no sense of challenge, it won’t feel as much of an achievement and he won’t feel as fulfilled or satisfied with the result. So don’t give in to your man immediately. Even if it seems irrelevant, give him the opportunity to work for something. He will love you more because he will feel more stimulated and content!
It is a bit like when you were a child and you really wanted that Barbie doll, but your parents made you save up your own pocket money to get it! Or that time when at school when you wanted to be the lead singer in the school play but had to go through several auditions against all of your friends before you got the part, and when you did you felt amazing because you had had the chance to prove yourself worthy of the part rather than just being chosen for it randomly.
Tip: Playing hard to get with your guy can also give you a sense of independence, and make the relationship feel more balanced. Show your man that you are your own person and that you don’t rely on him to make you happy, and you will make him realize that he needs to work a bit harder to get your attention – which he will enjoy doing, because it makes your attention all the more worth it!
15. Let Him Wear The Pants
It is a bit contradictory to say that men love girls who are confident, independent and who don’t need a man to complete them, and then suggest that we should also let them wear the pants. When a man does not feel like he is the leader, especially in a relationship, he will feel emasculated. He may not be aware that he needs to feel in control, but essentially it will start to affect him if he isn’t.
It can be useful to remember that in a relationship a man is instinctively the provider. But if you don’t allow him to fulfill his role then he won’t feel like he has a purpose. This can make him feel dissatisfied. He may even decide that you’re not right for him if it gets too much for him to handle, especially if you are too assertive and don’t give him space to assert his masculinity in the relationship. He may go after someone he feels is more feminine, who makes it easier for him to play out his natural role.
Letting a guy wear the pants sometimes isn’t the same as being completely submissive in the relationship. You should view it more as a way of stepping to one side and allowing someone else to steer for a change. If it bothers you, just think – it doesn’t hurt to share the reigns, and, while he is holding them, you get some down time, so take the pressure off and put your feet up!
Tip: Of course, you don’t have to actually hand over all of the control to your man to make him feel better about himself; you can just make him think that he is making all of the decisions and choosing the right direction, when you are subtly holding the guiding light. Women tend to be good at controlling things from behind the scenes!
16. Men Are Prone To Loneliness
The problem with the way most men deal with things is that their internal method of working out all of the emotional stuff means that they cut themselves off from getting any emotional support from their male friends. Guys don’t spend hours talking about their feelings to other guys in the same way that you and I do. This is mainly to do with the sense of competition that is always present between men; they are always reluctant to reveal any signs of weakness.
Not being able to express emotions can lead to loneliness because a man holds it all inside and puts on a brave face and a tough exterior. Even when a guy does talk about his problems to other guys, he will try to avoid coming across as weak or vulnerable, and so the real emotional feelings don’t always get addressed.
Some men are able to communicate the emotional side of their personalities to female friends but often, if a guy is in a relationship, his girlfriend won’t feel comfortable with him having an intimate friendship with another woman.
Tip: If your boyfriend has a close female friend whom he can talk to, don’t feel threatened by her. You will be doing your self and your boyfriend a favour if you can handle him sharing how he feels about things with another woman who will be able to give his the female perspective and emotional outlet he needs without it affecting how he perceives himself as a man.
17. Men DO Notice And Appreciate The Small Things
For some reason, not many men let us know when they like the little things we do for them. If you are very observant you may be able to tell when he is feeling secretly in awe of your caring ways, but generally their appreciation will go unnoticed. A man never erects a banner to say thank you for being so amazing! He does notice and appreciate it though!
In fact, it is the little things you do that make him feel special, unique and grateful to be in a relationship, so don’t ever stop doing them. He loves it when you leave him a post-it note to have a good day on the bathroom mirror, and when you draw a heart in the butter. He is touched when you make him a cup of tea and place two of his favourite biscuits on a plate for him. He thinks you’re the best girlfriend in the world just for putting marmite into the shopping basket even though you hate the stuff.
Tip: Always pay attention to the details, because they are what make you special to him – even if he doesn’t shout it from the rooftops. Your quirks make him feel loved.
18. Men Are Bigger Saps Than They Will Admit
I have no idea why men think it is so important to be macho and come across as detached and cool when deep down they really do love the soppy stuff! Public displays of affection like holding hands make him feels like he belongs to someone, which is a warm, fuzzy feeling. You know because you feel it too, don’t you.
Guys also enjoy it when their friends can see how much their girlfriend loves them, and, though they may brush the sop off or tone down their reaction to it, underneath they feel smug, proud and happy all at once.
Tip: Never turn down an opportunity to show your guy you love him, and don’t be afraid of letting the world know either. Men love it.