When Stephanie began therapy to improve her love life, she described how Dan made her feel bad about herself when he was chronically late for their dates. She said that trying to talk about these issues with him only seemed to cause more trouble.
That was a good conversation starter with Stephanie and her therapist, but definitely not between her and Dan.
Women often think that we should be able to tell our partners anything, but many men can get easily overwhelmed with the intensity of our feelings. If you want your partner or that new guy in your life to really hear you, be aware of how you are communicating your wishes, desires, and appreciation to him. Own your feelings.
Consider these points of view to start changing how you communicate with men:
Look at It from His Perspective
If we continue with the example of a man being chronically late for your dates, let’s try to imagine how he might feel after you lay out your complicated emotions for him:
- He will likely feel defensive. He’s clearly got a problem with being on time so it’s reasonable for you to have some reaction. If you try to understand what happened before bombarding him with your feelings, there is less chance he will immediately go on the defensive. When he feels like you’re on the same team, he is more likely to feel that you get him and to hear you out.
- He could feel unfairly blamed. When you tell him he made you feel a certain way, you are blaming him unfairly. Nobody can make you feel a certain way. Your feelings are yours. It’s better for your relationship to own your feelings rather than blame him.
- He may feel like he can’t make you happy. It’s difficult to be in a relationship with someone who is regularly unhappy with you. Good men want to make you happy. If they can’t, they wonder if you’re a good match as a couple. Indeed, if you are often unhappy, maybe you’re not a good fit.
Own Your Feelings: How to Express Yourself
Telling him your thoughts in a way that’s short and sweet (like “I feel hurt that you don’t make more of an effort to be on time for me”) is your best shot at letting him know that you’re not a fan of his chronic lateness without causing additional problems. The way he handles it will give you a lot of information about how he’s going to deal with his lateness as well as any future conflicts.
Ideally, you’ll address these issues early on, before you’ve built up any resentment from him being late over a long period of time. Doing that makes it easier for you to be playful with your communication. For example, when Dan was 10 minutes late for his first date with Stephanie, she could have simply said, “You’re lucky I waited for you!” or left the restaurant before he arrived instead of going into any accusations or stewing inside her head. If you’re careful about how you tell him, at least you know that you didn’t do anything to sabotage the situation and you made your voice heard.
Be Your Own Brand of Sexy
Ultimately, you have to decide if you can live with his issues. It’s up to you to figure out if you want to move forward with this man (and his faults). It may seem like a lot of pressure, but learning how to recognize your own desires and standards is the key to embracing yourself.
It is also the first step towards becoming your own Brand of Sexy.
Do you want more information about how to effectively communicate with men? Would you like to learn how to let men know where you stand in a constructive way, rather than building up resentment and potentially sabotaging your chance of moving forward in a relationship?
My eBook What To Say To Men On A Date may have the answers you are looking for. It can help you talk to men who aren’t treating you well or who seem generally unreasonable in a way that best suits your personality.
Want to go deeper? There’s a lot more tips and information about communicating with men in my book Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution for Women. You can find support and more tips from women like yourself in the Be Your Own Brand of Sexy community.