No matter how many women write in to say, ‘I don’t do this!’ the fact is many, many, many women practice the behavior that follows. Men have complained about these problems in various male-oriented forums before, but here, now, I drag their 10 biggest complaints into the daylight so that everyone can finally see how women make complainers out of men.
You like to play coy.
If you like us, let us know. If you don’t, let us go. This game where you pretend you don’t care and secretly hope we chase you down is for teenagers. You think men like the chase? Perhaps. You think we like guessing whether we’re wasting our time? No.
You fixate on what we’re thinking, when you should be watching what we’re doing.
You ask, “What are you thinking?” and we say, “Nothing.” You figure this must be a lie, and decide that we aren’t willing to communicate with you. The problem is, this is the wrong question to ask. We’re action-oriented. You don’t need to ask what we’re thinking, just watch what we’re doing. Coming home late every night? We’re not happy at home. Uninterested in sex, probably crushed by stress. Not calling you back even though we said, “I love you?” We don’t love you. You can save the questions about musings until you see a change in our behavior. That’s the surest sign that something needs to be discussed.
You don’t understand and/or like our need for alone time.
This often expresses itself with regard to hobbies. Say a man likes to play golf and has played for years. Many a man has gotten into a relationship only to have the woman complain about the time he spends playing golf. She’s jealous of this time. Of course, if she loves him she should know that he NEEDS this time on the golf course. It’s his passion. It’s his release. Without it he will burn up with anxiety and frustration over life’s little indignities. Why does she get involved with a man who has a hobby she doesn’t like? See ”You see us as projects you can fix.”
You have a complicated set of double standards.
I could write a novel on this one. We only need look at the example of going dutch on a first date. You offer to split the check, and if we let you, you hold it against us. Really? You demand, quite rightly, to be in on all important relationship decisions, yet when we take you out and ask, “What would you like to do tonight?” you are angry that we haven’t taken charge of the situation. It’s a confusing set of double standards and antiquated rules that make it very difficult for us to know which move is the right one.
You want us to change, and then lose respect for us when we do.
It’s an interesting phenomenon. When a man and a woman get together it is likely that he will have some hobbies, tendencies, or habits that she doesn’t like. For instance, I have a friend that met and married a woman who wasn’t thrilled that he played in a band. She was a bit threatened by the attention he received and his time spent pursuing this. She told him, “I really wish you didn’t play in this band,” and because he loved her, he quit. Within a few months this woman was confiding to her friends, “I’m a little less attracted to him because he quit the band, and just did what I asked. Now, he just hangs out at home.” It’s a specific example, but a common problem. Clearly, the man should do what he feels he has to do, but we try to be accommodating, and to have that count against us is infuriating.
You see us as projects you can 'fix.'
You meet us. You like us. You date us. You marry us. And somewhere along the way it might seem that you love us just as we are, but rarely does it work out that way. Women see potential. They see rough edges, and they want to sand them off. This makes us crazy. We don’t want to change. We have chosen our car, hair, friends, home and hobbies because we enjoy them. The knowledge that you are thinking, “If he could only...” is a deeply disturbing thought, and perhaps more sinister is the idea that this behavior is so common that even if you aren’t the kind of woman who wants change, we expect that you do and are only biding your time.
Your expectations are set by Hollywood and sky high.
Hollywood strikes again. I have a buddy that has plans to attend a Nicholas Sparks book signing so he can tell the man to KNOCK IT OFF! Most women know at an intellectual level that their man isn’t going to be like George Clooney, or Brad Pitt or that Italian guy from 'Under the Tuscan Sun', but in their heart they want it. They’ve been fed a fantasy about romance and passion for so long that when a REAL act of love comes down the pike, he notices that the tread on your tires is low and buys a new set, it hardly even registers.
You're always looking down the road.
Women tend to think about the next major step in life. Men tend to think about the next major meal. Certainly part of this is driven by biology. A 34-year-old single woman who wants to have children has to think about the future. She has to think about finding a quality partner, where they are going to live, is there enough room for the baby in the study? A 34-year-old single man has far less interest in planning or pushing towards some future major life goal. This difference in priorities often leaves women in the unpleasant position of saying, “next,” “next,” “next” when it comes to relationship events. There is a female drive to get answers to questions like, “What ARE we?”, “Are we exclusive yet?”, “Are we going to get married?” that makes it seem like they aren’t enjoying the now and only worry about the future.
You use your emotions as a weapon.
You don’t mean to. I suppose it isn’t your fault that during an important conversation about the future of our relationship you start crying, but surely you understand that this derails the ability to pursue the issue at hand. You’ve, essentially, played a kind of trump card. If we continue to advocate our side, we’re bullies. If we give in, we’re weak.
You have a tendency to be critical.
I’ve tried to avoid the word n-a-g, but there seems to be some internal mechanism that makes women predisposed to criticism, in the same way that men are predisposed to seek their man cave. It’s almost a cliché -- the wife that complains and makes demands, and the husband that just wants to be left alone to watch TV or work out in the garage.
In all the years, after all the articles, these are the ten best bits of advice I’ve ever given to men who are out there dating women.