Do you ever wonder what your man craves in relationships?
I was in Florida on vacation recently. One Saturday afternoon, my husband and I dipped into a local Starbucks. As we were drinking our coffee, we overheard the conversation of a middle-aged couple sitting at one of the tables nearby.
The woman was looking at the man accusatorially. He looked in her direction but it seemed obvious that he had checked out mentally and gone somewhere else.
“You just can’t get anything right,” she said to him.
He nodded a touch and kept staring blankly.
She started nagging him about the cleanliness of the family car, the fact that he couldn’t spend more time with the kids and that he worked too much. He continued looking in her direction and uttered a few half-hearted things that sounded like they were meant to placate her. She told him a few more things meant to remind him of chores that were supposed to be done and places he needed to remember to go.
After she was done ranting, she stopped and made a “joke” along the lines of him being her “third” child.
He laughed, but it felt forced.
As her thorough emotional beating went on, my husband shot me a “can you believe this?” type-look. It was obvious that he felt for the other guy.
It was really painful to watch.
When we went out to the car, my husband had interesting things to say about it.
I said, “Wow. that sounded really hurtful. How sad for them.”
He nodded and pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me.
He brought my attention to how common and normal it has become in our culture to disrespect men. I listened as he mentioned the dual stereotypes of the incompetent, dolt husband and the nit-picking, nagging wife. He went on to point out that the disrespect of men was almost an afterthought, a foregone conclusion.
I started to get defensive and point out all of the ways that men have disrespected women over the years. He listened and agreed that mistakes have definitely been made in society’s treatment of women. When I was finished, he calmly pointed out the logical fallacy in my statement as it related to his. Two wrongs DON’T make a right.
He’s right. And by extension, when has making sure that someone else doesn’t get their needs met mean that ours get met? If I want to be respected, loved and cherished, it seems unlikely that I would get that by disrespecting someone else.
The thing is, these kind of emasculating interactions between couples aren’t uncommon. Disrespect of men is rampant, insidious and leaching into our cultural consciousness like wildfire.
So, Why Should You Care?
Because in order to have the kind of happy, lasting relationship you want, you’re going to have to give him what he needs in return.
Namely, your respect.
And, if you chose to make a life with him in the first place, isn’t that the very base-level of what he deserves from you?
After all, you probably don’t want to be one half of that middle-aged couple (on either side). It’s preventable, but it can take a little juggling of your perspective on acceptable behavior.
Sometimes it’s easier to understand this by looking at what to avoid instead of what men crave, so here are 18 things that turn him off and disrespect him—in no particular order.
(*Gold star* if you're already avoiding these!)
1. You belittle his occupation.
2. You withhold your praise.
3. You talk down to him.
4. You make “jokes” about him being an extra kid.
5. You make negative comments about his salary.
6. You withhold your trust.
7. You refuse to accept his help or advice.
8. You nag him about mundane details.
9. You boss him around.
10. You ask another guy to take care of you.
11. You treat him like he has no feelings.
12. You compare him to your exes negatively.
13. You offer unsolicited advice.
14. You criticize him.
15. You display your contempt for him non-verbally (like eye rolling).
16. You express that he’s not good enough.
17. You flirt with other men.
18. You refuse to allow him his own time.
Elizabeth Stone is a relationship author obsessed with helping women improve their relationships. If your guy is pulling away, snag a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest and check out her daily email series free here.
This article was originally published at Digital Romance Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.