We know you want to help, but there are better ways ...
If you’re always trying to help your man, the intimacy you used to have has most likely faded away. The distance between the two of you has grown, and you wonder if and how you’ll ever get that intimacy back.
The good news is you can get back the intimacy with the counterintuitive approach you’re about to learn.
But first, you need to understand why you feel compelled to help your man, how your man perceives that, and how it hurts your relationship.
Good intentions don’t pan out the same way with men as with your girlfriends.
If you’re like most women, it’s in your nature to be helpful. You mean well when offering advice and suggestions, and when playing devil’s advocate. After all, in conversations with girlfriends, we listen to each other go on and on about our problems. We give advice. We share our opinions. And we feel free to disagree with each other.
Girlfriend conversations where we try to be helpful make us feel good, because we believe we’re making a positive difference. They also tend to make our girlfriends feel cared for, knowing they matter to us. These conversations are the foundation of the strong friendships we continue to enjoy year after year.
But here’s the thing …
When strong women play devil’s advocate, give advice, and tell their man to do things differently, he gets defensive and shuts down.
He pulls back and becomes distant. If you can relate, you’re left feeling isolated and wondering what happened. After all, you had good intentions and were only trying to help.
I’ve learned the hard way.
As a strong woman, I definitely have my own viewpoints and opinions. When my man would share something with me and I told him he should do things a certain way, or I disagreed and played devil’s advocate, I noticed he would become frustrated, defensive, and withdrawn.
Even though I meant well by trying to be helpful, I unintentionally made him wrong by my opposing thoughts, advice, and suggested ways he should do something differently.
Here’s the truth, being helpful makes you appear judgmental.
He feels criticized, incompetent, and emasculated.
Imagine how your man is feeling.
Think back to a time when you were going through a rough situation and just needed a compassionate ear. You told your man about that situation and he told you what you could have done to avoid the bad things from happening. Instead of the compassion you wanted, you ended up feeling defensive and judged.
Men are more sensitive than they let on. While he won’t want to admit to this, it hurts him to feel as if he’s being rejected by the most important person in his life — you.
Even though you mean well, he thinks you don’t see him as the man he wants to be.
So here is the counterintuitive approach to helping your man while retaining the intimacy in your relationship.
By now, you may be thinking, “What if I still want to help?”
If the way you’ve been helping is still keeping your intimacy intact, continue helping in the same way.
But if the help you’ve been giving has caused more distance than closeness, you’ll want to change your approach in this way …
When he shares something with you, listen closely to hear if he’s asking for your advice, opinion, or feedback.
If yes, share in a way that doesn’t come across sounding judgmental.
For instance, non-judgmental phrases sound like, “I hear what you’re saying and it makes sense. I also see this situation as (insert your perspective).”
Or you can pose your opinion as a question like, “There’s truth in what you’re saying. What do you think about (insert your perspective)?” Then listen to his response. If he sees otherwise, say something like, “That’s interesting. I’ll have to think about that some more.”
If you can’t tell if he’s asking for your advice, opinion, or feedback, ask him, “Would you like me to just listen? Or would you like my advice, opinion, or feedback?” Then respond accordingly.
You might be thinking this means you have to be a watered down version of yourself. That’s not the case at all.
The next time you sense your man getting defensive, notice the tone of your voice and the words you used.
Was your tone harsh or compassionate?
Were your words negative and critical, or positive and caring?
The bottom line is, if you want an intimate relationship, you don’t have to stop helping your man. You can still help him.
Just do so in a non-judgmental, respectful way in which he feels accepted, competent, and encouraged.
When you help in that way, your man gets to feel good about himself, about you, and your relationship.
And you get the intimate relationship you desire.
Janet Ong Zimmerman is a Courtship and Relationship Mentor. You can subscribe to her YouTube Channel through the link under the video above to learn about her program “Get Out of the Driver’s Seat and Enjoy the Ride."