What Every Woman Needs to Know About Relationships (From A Guy)

KyleInghamheadshotGuest Post by Kyle Ingham

Guys, you got a chance to step into the mind of a woman with Nina’s post last month. Now ladies, I’m going to give you some perspective on relationships from a guy’s point of view.

The good news is that you can trust me. I have no reason to lie to you. Since it’s not 1:30AM at a bar, it should be clear that I have no hidden agenda. I come in peace, representing all well-intentioned guys. Guys who have just as much desire as you to have a healthy and meaningful relationship.

A couple of things to clear up right off the bat:

We’re not your ex-boyfriend who cheated on you. We’re here and we’re on your side. Until we do something fucked up, give us the benefit of the doubt. Try to keep any of your previous experiences from coloring how you see us.

We DO want to meet your friends. They’re ambassadors of you, and that means something to us.

You DO have to be nice to our friends. They’ve been in our lives a lot longer than you have. By the way, if you really want to get a flavor for who we are, watch how we act around our closest friends. That should give you a clue.

We don’t mind watching chick flicks with you. But please don’t make fun of us when we try to comment on the plot or the characters. You dragged us here, we’re just trying to be involved and make the best of it.

Ladies, the key to good communication isn’t much of a secret. Nina wrote about this same thing from a woman’s perspective: Just be honest when something’s on your mind. Even with our brutish, testosterone-soaked brains, we can tell when things aren’t good on the homefront.

For starters, don’t say “okay” to stuff you’re not ok with it. That’s just silly. You might think you’re avoiding confrontation at the time by martyring yourself. But if it’s something you really don’t want to do, eventually we’re going to know and it won’t be fun for anyone.

Since many guys love Star Wars, we think we have a Jedi’s ability to sense when there’s a disturbance in the force. We’ll never wield a lightsaber or levitate a rock, but we’ll know when you’re upset that we didn’t spend enough time with you at the party.

Point is, you need to come clean about how you feel and what you want. Don’t be afraid it’s going to turn into a fight. It’s worse if you let it fester, especially when we know there’s something up. Whatever you do, don’t save what’s bothering you in your “arsenal” and use it during a later discussion. That IS a recipe for a fight. Tell us how you’re feeling then and there. If you just explain it from your perspective rather than tell us we’re doing something wrong (I’m feeling like…I’m worried about…), it gives us an out. We appreciate your honesty.

Also remember that we like to fix things. Even when we’ve never tinkered with the contraption before OR read the manual. So if you come to us with a problem—anything, an issue you’re having at work, a fight with your mom—just prepared that we’re going to try to provide a solution. We know it’s annoying, it’s just our nature. We all secretly believe we’re younger, sexier, versions of Dr. Phil. But mostly we do this because it’s our way of showing we care.

If you don’t want us to give suggestions, just tell us what you need from us. Don’t be afraid to say, “Do you mind if I just vent for a bit? I just need you to listen. I’m not ready to try to solve this, I just want to talk through it, okay?”

Give us the benefit of the doubt with our female friends. If we’re not being inappropriate, then please assume that we don’t have bad intentions. It IS possible for us to be friends with a woman without wanting to have sex with her. But just like Nina said, you’ve got speak up if we’re crossing a line that’s uncomfortable for you. Otherwise we may not realize that we’re in the danger zone.

Don’t forget, we get jealous too. It’s complicated since men and women flirt differently. Guys have a binary approach to flirting: If we flirt with you, we usually like you. Women maintain degrees of flirting with different guys (even the 80 year-old dude at the produce stand) and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re interested. Not all guys understand this, so be mindful of how and who you flirt with.

For those of you who are still self-conscious about taking complements and getting pampered: for god’s sake, don’t get weird when we try to treat you like a princess. When we show up at the restaurant with a box of truffles and a dozen long-stem roses, it’s easy to feel like you’re in the spotlight and everyone’s looking at you. Because they are.

But keep in mind, we’re also putting ourselves out there. Just enjoy the attention and appreciate what we’re trying to do. If you think you look lame accepting flowers, you should see how lame you look trying to hide them under the dish-station in the restaurant.

Ladies, we generally like your quirks. When you’re goofy and you accidentally squirt ice tea out your nose when you’re laughing. Or when you do that terrible impression of Fozzie the Bear. It’s pretty damn cute.

Just like for you, there’s nothing sexier to us than confidence. We love it when you’re comfortable in your own skin. That’s why, however you’re feeling, you’ve got to own it. Walk confidently, come right up to us. Look us in the eye and tell us in a nice way that we’re full of shit…before kissing us on the mouth.

It is pretty sexy when you know about sports or Raiders of The Lost Ark. We love it when you can root for our favorite team—or understand that Indie’s fear of snakes makes the scene with the cobras in the well of the souls even more badass.

And hey, surprise surprise, it’s also sexy when you’re being sexy. But as guys, we’re absolutely guilty of wanting that age-old balance of a woman who’s a lady by day, sex goddess by night. We can’t unprogram that. So when we’re alone we love it when you’re an animal in the sack. We don’t love it when you straddle us while we’re reaching for guacamole at our friend’s Super Bowl party.

A few things we’re working on but will always suck at:

Planning and calendaring. We don’t remember dates very well, and you’ve got to realize it’s not because we don’t care. We continue to be in awe of your ability to remember that your cousin’s birthday party is the same day our parents are coming to visit—and that, hey, we need to coordinate those things. We’d be lost without you.

That said, no guy should be forgetting a real, honest-to-god anniversary. I’m not talking about the 4-month anniversary of your third date–give him a break, ladies. I’m talking about the 1-year mark and beyond. If he’s forgetting that, then his head isn’t in the game and it’s time for you both to reevaluate.

When you feel the hankering to say the “L” word, go ahead and say it, if you think the time is right. But give us a chance to get there as well. Don’t expect that we’re going to lob it right back to you like a tennis ball. We’ve got to feel ready, too. Just because we’re not ready to say it that moment doesn’t mean we’re any less invested or interested. Sometimes we’ve just got to warm up to sharing our feelings.

Just remember that even if we act super confident we can be sensitive, too.

Be patient with us. No one’s perfect, and for most guys this relationship stuff is still uncharted territory. In general, we’re simple creatures. Except for the rare player, what you see is what you get. If we seem like good guys, we probably are.

We’re just happy we get to hang out with you and smell your hair.


 

Kyle Ingham is the founder of The Distilled Man, a website that features articles on essential skills every guy should know. He is a regular contributor to men’s lifestyle and dating blogs, and lives in San Francisco with his wife.
For more Kyle, connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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