Relationships don't need to be that complicated, gentlemen.
I was once interviewed for an article on Fox News Los Angeles, the author of which finds herself immersed in the LA dating scene. As you can imagine, this is quite a unique experience.
We discussed some recent experiences she had with men, and while some of them were a little different from what I usually hear, some were consistent with issues I felt I discussed multiple times before with different women about men.
What does this mean? It means there are consistencies. There are, for some reason, mistakes that many men (probably myself included) are making when it comes to being in a relationship. In this article, I will discuss these mistakes to help all men become more aware of where they can improve, and work to become better.
1. He never really learned about relationships.
This has always surprised me. People (men and women) spend years of their life learning about business, history, science, and whatever subject comes our way. But when it comes to the one thing every single one of us shares — relationships — many are generally clueless.
Time is not taken to observe, talk to, or learn about the opposite sex. The more effort you put into learning about women, particularly the one in your life, the more likely you are to be in tune with her feelings, emotions, likes and dislikes.
This will, of course, lead to a smoother, happier relationship because you can anticipate her wants and needs in order to act on them. You don't need to be a mind reader; you just need to put in a little effort.
2. He spends too much time trying to sell himself.
You spend far too much time talking about yourself and not enough time learning about her. Dating is not supposed to be a sales pitch where you try to convince the person on the other end of the table that you're their best option.
It's about mutual learning and figuring out whether or not you are both a match for each other. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so listen twice as much as you speak.
3. He doesn't make her a priority.
I've had more than one conversation recently that focused on men who were either so submerged in their career, business, friends, or other interests that they barely made time to spend with their own girlfriend. As an entrepreneur, I understand the importance of focusing on business and progress, but I also understand the beauty and depth a relationship can bring to your life, and the importance of playing your equal role in it.
The woman in your life wants to feel valued. She wants to feel adored. She wants you to be emotionally present when you are with her. She doesn't need to have you around constantly, but she wants to feel loved, just like you do.
If you stop putting in effort to make the woman in your life feel special every day, you lose your right to complain when someone else does.
4. He didn't work to build a foundation.
A foundation of friendship and trust is essential to every relationship, much like building a foundation is essential to building a house. Without it, things may look solid from the outside, but will be crumbling from the inside.
Many men shy away from friendship with women because they're scared of being in the "friend zone" and never having more than that with a woman they have feelings for. But it's important to realize that many relationships are built off of friendships.
That is what keeps two people together long-term. She needs to know she can count on you, that you will be there, and that you are the real deal.
You can have a friendship without a relationship, but you can't have a relationship without a friendship.
5. He is inconsistent.
Another common question I get from women about men is: Why are men so hot and cold? Men can be talking about commitment and a relationship one day, and then completely disappear the next. What gives?
I understand that, as men in the social media era, we have options. We can easily X out a conversation and start a new one while easily forgetting about the last one.
It's an unfortunate side effect of the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality that comes along with constant information overload. But one thing hasn't changed: The fact that you are talking to real human beings with real feelings and emotions.
If you are interested in her, tell her. If you are not interested in her, tell her. A gentleman will never allow a woman to fall if he does not intend on catching her.
6. He focuses too much on her looks.
This one is pretty interesting because it may be counter-intuitive to a lot of men reading this. But that is only because most guys try to get a woman's attention by complimenting her beauty, and put no effort into learning about her character.
Early on in my relationship I found myself not complimenting my girlfriend on her looks very often. I wanted to tell her that she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen; I wanted to tell her that she looks just as beautiful in sweatpants as she does in a dress
I wanted to dig up every adjective I could think of that could be used to describe someone's appearance — but, I didn't. Why? Because I didn't want her to think that's why I wanted to be with her.
Yes, she is beautiful and sexy, but she is so much more than that. I actually told her once that I didn't want her to think I only wanted her for her looks. She told me that if I'd spent too much time complimenting her beauty, that's exactly what she would've thought.
The woman in your life will have much more appreciation for you taking the time to notice her character, compassion, thoughtfulness, and kindheartedness — far more than you telling her how great her butt looks in those jeans. Even if it does.
7. He gives too much, too soon.
Yes, men can be clingy, too. When we find a woman who really catches our attention, sometimes the excitement can be a little overwhelming and we may come on stronger than we intend to. This, particularly for a more independent type of woman, is kryptonite and pushes her away immediately.
Take a step back, take a deep breath, tell her what a great time you had on your date, and do your best to fight the urge to text her every 5 minutes. Don't be worried about coming across as uninterested; you will actually likely be helping yourself rather than hurting yourself.
8. He hasn't yet defined himself or his own path.
I know that this was a big hang-up for me for a long time. I wasn't really sure who I was as a person, who I wanted to be, or who I wanted to become. For that reason (and others) I knew I wasn't going to be ready for a relationship until I had at least a better grip on those questions.
In order to be happy with someone else, you first need to be happy with yourself. That is the most important relationship you'll ever have. If that one isn't healthy, none of your others will be either.
The idea of "you complete me" is romantic, but it's not realistic. A relationship is not about two people who complete each other; it's about two people who are already whole and accept each other completely.
9. He puts in part-time effort.
Healthy relationships aren't a part-time commitment. The woman you are with is not just another option or a way to pass your time, and she shouldn't be made to feel like she is.
When you are with her, be with her. When you are not with her, let her know you're thinking about her. A relationship is a team, and teams fall apart when one of the members doesn't pull their own weight.
She needs to know that you will be there for her during good times and during bad times. If you always seem to be just sort-of-kind-of committed, she will eventually realize she's better off being single, or will find someone who gives her what she needs.
10. He's clueless about how she's feeling.
You also need to make sure you learn about her on a deeper level, especially about the one woman you've committed your time and effort to. If you don't put in the effort to become in-tune with how she's feeling or what she's communicating to you non-verbally, you will never be able to form the type of deep, emotional connection that a healthy relationship should possess.
She doesn't want or need you to be a psychic. But if you truly put in the time and effort to communicate with her, listen to her, and pay attention to the things she's saying to you when she's not actually speaking, you will gain a greater understanding of the woman you love and ultimately be able to bring more happiness to you as individuals, and to your relationship.
Relationships shouldn't be as complicated as they seem to be for our generation. They don't need rules or checklists; what they do need is two people who are willing to learn, understand, and communicate; two people who will stand by each other when things are good, and when things are bad.
Two people who are willing to work together as a team. Because, in the end, the team wins the game.
James Michael Sama is an award-winning Boston based blogger on the topics of dating and relationships, having amassed over 30 million readers in just a year and a half. He writes and speaks on the topics of chivalry, romance, and happiness throughout the country and has been featured repeatedly in news segments, talk shows, and mainstream radio.
This article was originally published at jamesmsama.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.