I know how this sounds already. Men…better at something that has to do with relationships? What? Again, it doesn’t mean that men are better AT relationships (not even a little bit) but GOING IN…at the start, the mentality most men come in with could really help set the foundation for a healthy relationship. Here’s Part 1 of this series, if you haven’t yet read it.
Here are 5 more ways men MIGHT be more prepared (at the start) for healthy relationships than women.
1) Men tend to know more about women’s needs than women know of men’s needs.
This is going to sound like crazy talk here but just stay with me here.
Going in, most men – even terrible men - know more about women’s needs more than many good women know about men’s needs.
Just think about it. Because of the previous point #2 in part 1, (men knowing that they must give before they can get), men (even ones with terrible intentions) have had reason to constantly figure out and attempt to meet women’s needs…and KNOW that getting anything from a woman is a function of how well he meets her needs. This gives men a lot more information about what makes women tick than women have about what makes men tick.
Let me put it this way.
Most men go into relationships or the pursuit of one thinking “I’ve got to figure out what she likes and what makes her tick, and do those things in order to be able to be successful with her.” Can’t you see how even if his intentions are bad that it behooves him to know a lot a bit about the subject he is trying to rip-off?
This may be hard to admit but:
Most women being pursued or entering relationships do so thinking “He likes ME. I make him tick. I really shouldn’t have to DO anything extra for him. As long as I don’t change and just keep being myself, he should keep ticking.”
Don’t believe me, ladies? I may be wrong, but ask yourself. In your current or previous relationship, what exactly are the things you did for him (did, as in actual actions…for him…as in specifically for him) to make him desire you or pursue you or want to be with you? For most women, there will be nothing on that list. (Maybe later on to KEEP him…but nothing to make him desire or pursue you.)
This is not a bad thing because God gives us men the responsibility of observing and finding her. However, that does not mean that when men do this, women should take it for granted.
The woman who does not understand this will act fundamentally differently (from the woman that does). She will assume that his “finding and pursuing” her abdicates her of her responsibility in doing her part to keep the relationship alive. She might realize one day that her pride, superiority complex and lack of emotional effort are reasons why the relationship didn’t work.
2) Men seem to know that they may have to change when they begin a committed relationship (in fact that’s why many delay).
This is the truth.
Underneath the “men so afraid of commitment,” statement (which by the way is not true for many good men out there) is two layers.
The first layer is the over-simplistic… very convenient and I admit often true layer of “maybe he wants to pursue other women.”
The second layer, though, is the often ignored, understated and unfeminist layer of: “Innately, men have a better grasp (at least at the start) on the specific notion that a good and truly committed relationship will require an almost complete evolution and change from the participants.
They understand that being in a committed relationship means… “I may have to give up myself and, the more committed I am, the less I will matter and the more it will be about the other person.” It is this drastic change demanded of them that men are afraid of.
Many women, on the other hand, (not all women) assume that a great relationship is one where she does NOT have to fundamentally change at all… where a man will love her “just the way she is.”
This is frankly not a realistic expectation and pride couldn’t be louder. If you haven’t already, you simply HAVE TO read this piece I wrote some time ago titled: NO I DONT ACCEPT YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE: Acceptance vs. Commitment
Men who enter relationships being comfortable with change…laying themselves down to be changed….leaving their sense of pride to be changed into what the relationship needs. Those men set an incredible example in the relationship. So incredible is this, that it is like the very example of Jesus Christ becoming man for the sake of connecting with us.
The woman who recognizes when her man or potential man is doing this or attempting to do this, and praises him for it, has unleashed a beast…that is at her service.
3) Men are more open to constructive criticism at the START of relationships.
This is fairly easy to explain:
- Persons A and B have been seeing each other for 3 weeks and are “not quite” official yet.
- They go to a mutual friend’s party.
- Person A says something that was not generally offensive but offended Person B for some reason.
- The next day, while on the phone, Person A says “I didn’t like how you spoke to me last night at the party. I thought it was a bit disrespectful and it really bothered me that you would say that and I was offended by how you spoke to me.”
Possible outcome 1: Person B gets off the phone and thinks “Wow…I totally did not mean to offend person A. Perhaps person A is being a little too sensitive but either way, I have to fix this asap. I have to make it up to Person A as soon as possible. I have to think of something that will make person A feel better so I can be with Person A. Maybe I need to change my ways. Maybe this will make me a better person. So what can I do to solve this?
Possible outcome 2: Person B gets off the phone and thinks “That was a bit much and person A made me feel uncomfortable with that call. I barely said anything I would consider offensive. I guess I can’t speak freely around person A and can’t be myself. I am a bit uncomfortable that person A would tell me how to talk to them (and we’re not even official yet). Person A is really showing their true colors and maybe I should take that as a sign that this person is not for me and cut this off."
Now, I know that there are elements like tone of voice, and so on, to factor in but generally speaking…at the start of a relationship, which Per son B scenario would YOU say is more likely to be a man and which would likely be a woman? Outcome 1 or Outcome 2?
I have to tell you that in my experience working with people, men respond like Outcome 1 and many women respond like Outcome 2 at the start of relationships.
This is a serious advantage men bring to relationships.
Again though, what happens 6 months…1 year…2 years into it? It’s debatable. Going in, though, kudos to the gentlemen out there.
4) Men seem to significantly factor in their own performance as a critical factor in the sustainability of the relationship.
Likewise, women also seem to mainly factor in HIS performance as critical factor in the sustainability of the relationship.
It seems to me that when men enter a relationship, at least good men, they are very aware of the fact that their performance as a man in that relationship is critical for the very existence of that relationship and could be grounds for termination. In other words, men enter relationships thinking “I better do good if I want to keep this going. I better not mess this up.”
I perceive, however, that women go in to relationships with the notion of “I am going to give him a chance based on all the information I have so far, and hopefully he lives up to the expectation I now have of him and these emotional promises he has made to me.”
Many women (even good women) enter relationships with a sense that HE is the one responsible for the outcome of the relationship.
Don’t believe me?
Why is it that it is more women (by far) give relationship ultimatums (even at the beginning)?
Let me ask it this way.
Which of the core areas of a relationship do women enter (remember we are talking about the entry/starting part) feeling MORE performance pressure than men ? ( i.e I have to perform well here even better than he is, unless he may have grounds to break up with me) than men?
Aside from frequency of sex, what else could there be?
Finances? Emotional control/management? Career success? Sexual satisfaction of the other person? Spiritual grounding?
This is a tricky one because on many levels it is how it’s supposed to be. (Many good men are very happy to play Super Husband). We men are tasked by God with the burden of setting the right examples in marriage and creating an environment where the home and the relationships within it can thrive. We are to extend and give all of ourselves for the sake of the ones we love.
It doesn’t mean that men actually end up DOING those things better than women over time (in fact, far from it)…but just that for the most part, men “enter” relationships having more of that burden of performance and owning it and this is worth giving men credit for.
Now, that said, there is a VERY thin line between all that, and relationship laziness by many women who don’t want to take full responsibility for their part of the relationship.
Relationships will be better, more authentic, when both parties come in knowing and embracing the fact that their own performance (or lack thereof) matters just as much as the other person’s.
When, for example, a man knows that he must control his emotions when he is upset, but a woman also knows that she must control her emotions not to provoke him to anger. When a man knows that he is just as responsible for the cleanliness of the home and hosting the perfect tea party as much as his wife is. When a woman knows that she is just as much on the hook for his sexual satisfaction as much as he is on the hook for hers.
I really hope this makes sense.
Women who get this, act fundamentally differently (than women who don’t) and they become better partners, they say “I’m sorry” easier, take responsibility for their mistakes more often, plug relationship holes faster, suppress their men’s aggressive responses to dissatisfaction better than women who don’t.
5) Men enter relationships with a strong sense of how happy he can make her.
Yet, women enter relationships with a strong sense not of how happy she can make him, but how happy he can keep her.
Think of all the love songs you have ever heard…all the romantic movies you have ever watched…all the romance novels you have ever read. In fact, think of all the relationships you have ever been in. Men go in thinking about all the things he can do for her, give her…all the places he can take her and so on.
The narrative of men and romance is “give me a chance…I can love you like that…I’ll make you happy…I’ll guarantee your satisfaction…I will give you the world, I’ll give you this and that with cherry on top, I’ll make sure this happens, I’ll make sure you’re happy….and so on.”
He may not end up being able to do all those things at the level he thought, but any woman would take the man that starts wanting to try, than one who doesn’t.
Now…what is the narrative in books, movies, songs and even real life about women in a state of romance?
“He makes my heart sing… he loves me…he loves me not… I love the way I feel when I’m with him… the way he holds me…he cares about me… he had me at hello…he swept me off my feet…and so on.”
The female narrative is not bad…it’s great. In fact, it’s the validation men need that their effort of pursuit is going to be rewarded.
But, I think it is a noble thing that men are wired like this. It adds so much value to the relationship. How so? Well, imagine if women entered relationships thinking this way too and seeking to prove it at the beginning of the relationship.
You know like, I can’t wait to take care of him…I can’t wait to make sure all his dreams come true, I can’t wait to surprise him with small gifts delivered to his office, I’ll give him this, I’ll take care of his that, I will make sure of this, I’ll make sure he’s happy…
Some ladies reading this might be thinking, “No way…women always enter relationships like this.”
Then I’ll ask you…when you and your friends get talking about men. What’s the general tone? Is it one where you are happily talking about all the things you can’t wait to do for your man? All the sacrifices you can’t wait to make for him, how you can’t wait to make sure he is satisfied in every area…without the alarm going off in their eyes and in your head that you’re going to get “used” by this man?
It’s almost uncomfortable for women (even ones who have never experienced abuse by men or ever actually seen it) to talk about pleasing a man.
Of course, don’t get me wrong. Many women enter relationships and desire to be a great partner for him but most don’t have the burden (there is a difference). And great relationships, fulfilling relationships, require BOTH people to feel totally responsible for every area. That’s what it means for both people to give 100% and not 50:50.
Men who start relationships with this burden and own it are truly noble men. They bring a major advantage to relationships by being this way and they end up being solid rocks in relationships.
Women who see this and appreciate it are like farmers who not only take care of the fruit the land produces but take of the land, too, to ensure it keeps producing.
So there you have it. Kudos to the good men out there but major kudos to the women out there who are able to see these things and appreciate their men for them. So, if your man fits this profile, throw a few thanks his way. He accepts several payment methods. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, good food, Express Store gift cards and even a session of “tent” for the married folks.
Question for you:
If men are willing to start the relationship like this, why is it that many men seem to change drastically over time?
Is it that:
A) They were lying and faking it all along and never meant to BE this kind of noble man
B) They got fed up because their women acted entitled and didn’t work to give these traits back in return to the men
C) They just got tired
D) Other reasons you want to share
Also, which of the points stood out the most? Why?
Tobi Atte is a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, motivational speaker and the writer behind IJustMetMe, a lifestyle website for young adults who need a good dose of daily inspiration to tackle tough life issues. Tobi is also the author of the new book How to Make Sure Your Values are Aligned: A Guide to Avoiding Relationship Frustration. For more on relationships, motivation, fresh perspectives on faith, personal improvement and more, read/learn more at www.ijustmetme.com, watch him on YouTube HERE and download his free e-book HERE.