I’m tired of women complaining about men. Men can be bad and they can be good, but most men are direct. Women need to also be direct when communicating with men. For God’s sake, stop making them guess why you’re angry, or sulking, or giving them the silent treatment. At the same time, stop bad behavior when you first spot it and you’ll quickly weed out the men who are unwilling to accommodate you. You’ll stop wasting time on men who make you unhappy.
I started a book called Love Boot Camp, but I’m putting in in blog form because I think many women need to hear this.
Ana is a striking woman of Hispanic descent. She’s a tall, lithe ski instructor, not a bit of fat on her even though she’s just past forty. When she walks into a room, men notice her perma-bronzed skin and black hair. She steals the limelight from many younger women. To top it all off, she’s truly, deeply nice, with a great sense of humor. But she experiences one disappointing relationship after another. Why? She picks men based on little more than their looks. She has sex far too early in her relationships. She asks for no effort from a man: no time spent with her doing things she enjoys, no dates, no flowers – nothing. When her one-night or one-week stands don’t call, she calls them. When they don’t want to get together with her again, she makes excuses for them. The men change, but the endings are all the same: tears and self-recrimination.
Maybe you’re saying, “That’s not me! I’m in a relationship. I just want a little more consideration from my man. Granted your problem may not be the same as Ana’s, but the solution is the same: backbone and clear communication.
In the following chapters, you’ll see how to pick a good guy – your good guy – from the hundreds of possibilities out there. You’ll use tough love to weed out the rejects before you fall for one.
But what if you’ve already fallen for one? Tell him what you want and see if he doesn’t give it to you. Remember, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later that this guy isn’t willing to give his all to keep you. You’ll either be surprised by how much he cares for you…or by how little he does.
CHAPTER 1 Why are All The Good Ones Taken?
Why are all the good men taken? They’re not. They’re out there waiting for you, actually looking for you. It seems like the good ones are taken because another woman saw her man’s potential, then decided to work with him to bring out his best. You can do it, too!
Wait a minute, you say. Isn’t it impossible to change another person? Maybe. But change your own expectations and, more important, change what you’re willing to accept, and you’ll find you’re no longer wasting time on losers, commitment-phobes, and bad boys. Most men are well-intentioned, but they don’t know what you want unless you tell them. What’s more, their “rules” for life are probably not the same as yours, or any woman’s. Like the Mars-Venus guy says, they speak a different language. So you have to translate your expectations into direct talk. No sulking or passive-aggressive behavior, just straight communication of your expectations. If he likes them, fine. Otherwise, better to know sooner rather than later.
How many times have you let a relationship drag on because you were scared of being alone? How much precious time have you wasted? How many red flags have you ignored? Stop it right now! It’s time to invest in a relationship that will get you the respect, companionship and love you deserve. That means the behavior you have to change is….that’s right – yours.
It’s hard to be alone. You look around at a world made up of couples. And it’s no fun to feel excluded on holidays like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. So it can seem easier to accept inconsiderate or disrespectful treatment than to end an unhealthy relationship. At least you have a man, right? Wrong. If you don’t feel valued, cherished and appreciated, then your relationship is taking from you more than it’s giving. It’s true that some women — and men — are empty vessels who can’t get enough praise or attention. If you’re one of those, then you need a different self-help book. But if you’re a normal woman who just wants to give and receive love, who likes a few compliments and hugs, who sometimes needs a little spoiling and sympathy, then you should settle for no less. You have to be strong enough to walk away from a man who’s not giving as much as you are.
The good thing about tough love is that you will end up with a guy who is also strong – in all the right ways. That’s because he’ll have the discipline, logic and resolve to recognize that your expectations are reasonable, and he can meet them.
CHAPTER 2 If He’s Late, No Date
You’ve showered, tweezed, styled and tried on enough outfits to cover your bed. A final spritz of scent and you’re ready – fifteen minutes before your seven o’clock date. Ten minutes after seven, and he hasn’t shown. You wonder if he understood your directions. But if he couldn’t find your place, wouldn’t he call? You check your phone for dial tone. Yep, it’s there. Check your cell’s batteries. All the bars are filled in. Look out the front window. No lurking cars or lost-looking guys. By now it’s twenty after seven. You tell yourself it’s his first time to your place, you can cut him some slack.
It’s seven-thirty and now you’re starting to worry. What if he’s a no-show? Should you try his cell? Would that look desperate? Could he have forgotten, misunderstood the time, the date? Or maybe you got it wrong. You should really call him just to make sure you’re both on the same page. You don’t want to text him because you want your tone to be just right – and you want to hear his. At 7:40, you dial his digits.
“Hey!” he says, his tone casual.
“Um. Weren’t we supposed to get together tonight?”
“Yeah, sure…a buddy of mine dropped by and I kinda lost track of the time. I’ll be there in a half hour.”
SCREEEECH! That should be the sound of your mental brakes slamming on. So stop right now before you agree to something stupid. Instead, take a page from my friend Cindy’s book. Cindy is a twenty-five year old grad student on the west coast, the land of casual hook-ups. But Cindy doesn’t do that any more because she got fed up with being disappointed. Here’s how Cindy handles this kind of guy.
“No, you don’t need to come by. Our date was at seven and it’s almost eight.”
“Hey, don’t be pissy, I just got into some stuff and forgot the time. C’mon, I’ll be there in a few and we’ll have fun.”
Cindy, in a calm voice, replies, “By not showing up on time, and not calling, you’re telling me that my time is less important than yours, and I don’t agree.”
There are several ways a man might react to this.
1) He becomes huffy and defensive and ends the relationship – such as it was.
2) Or, he apologizes and asks for another chance.
3) He may even start out huffy and defensive, but then think over your point of view and ask for another chance after some time has passed.
4) Finally, he may show up later that evening with flowers, a bottle of wine and an apology.
This last is what happened to Cindy. She forgave her date, and they ended up in a long-term relationship. Was he ever late again? Not often, and when he was, he called to tell her he was running late. Cindy’s calm logic works whether you’re meeting a date somewhere or waiting for him at home. You might consider giving a guy twenty minutes grace if you’re meeting him in public. If he doesn’t show up, by all means call and state your view. You’ll quickly find out just how interested he is in you. After all, if he can’t bother to be on time, he is self-absorbed or – to quote a best-selling writer, “He’s just not that into you.” A third possibility is that he’s testing you in his own passive –aggressive way. His childish message is, “You’re not the boss of me.”
In the end, though, his reasoning matters less than his actions. He may not even fully understand his own reasoning, and you may never understand them either. But his actions affect you. That’s why it is important that you say something about his being late, not ignore it. Because if you ignore this first, fundamental discourtesy, you pave the way for many other actions that will make you feel disrespected and unappreciated.
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