Grab a tea or coffee and get comfy.
I interviewed my husband for this one, so it’s straight from an ‘actual man’. #realman
I asked him:
What type of things make him feel terrible that women say/do in relationships.
So here we go…here’s pretty much what he said…
ONE. Questioning the way he does things
I will put this a little more gently than he did:
Questioning an activity and how they’re doing it, he says, is the absolute worst. It’s disrespectful/condescending. This makes a man think two things: either you don’t trust him or think you know better. Both will make him feel terrible, damage the relationship/friendship, and no, sadly, he won’t fall madly in love with your encyclopedic knowledge on cooking pasta or world politics. (darn it!)
Some examples include:
- Saying, ‘Why are you doing it like that?’
- Showing them the ‘right’ way/how you do it
- Re-doing the thing they just did because ‘they did it wrong.’
TWO. Pointing out where he’s going wrong
Again dangerous territory, you’re really gonna get him offside and pissed off with comments or actions like:
- ‘You missed a spot.’
- ‘You didn’t put that in properly.’
- ‘I could of got a mate to do that.’
- ‘Next time I will get a tradie to do it.’
- ‘You call this done?’
- ‘When are you going to finish this?’
- ‘So and so does it like this’ (Comparing him)
- Generally overlooking what he’s done right.
- Stepping in and doing it for him (YIKES – oh girl, just end things there because you just trod on his actual soul and destroyed it)
THREE: Questioning what he’s saying is going on in his head
(The situation: He seems quiet/moody and gives a vague answer about why).
I did this the other night! I felt like it would help to probe into more of his thoughts and feelings – there’s nothing more to it ladies just be happy with his first response and leave him be!
FOUR: Making it about you when he shares something, or,
- Telling him to ‘suck it up, princess.’
- Telling him to ‘man up.’
Why: you are not him / don’t have to be him, so how would you know what it’s like to be a man. (Other guys can say this stuff to other guys, but a woman saying this will get him feeling awful in no time).
FIVE: Taking away his life challenges
This is tantamount to repeatedly kicking him in the face. You can accidentally do this by being too much in your masculine energy and ‘assertive’ and taking action ‘on his behalf.’ (I know this appears to take a while for him to get stuff done sometimes, and you just want to ‘help’ but in his head, he is plotting it all, getting his ducks in a row, ‘the struggle’ is what gives a man purpose).
Be patient and:
- Don’t rob him of his challenge, problems, or progress. Let him swear, sweat and struggle through that IKEA build – (he’s secretly enjoying the challenge…shhhhh!)
- Don’t do things he can do for himself e.g. (planning a date, trip etc)
- Don’t do a household task and prove/say how easy it is, before he’s got around to doing it himself.
Why it isn’t very pleasant: if you actually look at all the other things he’s doing – it’s a LOT. So ‘sit down’ and chill. Trust that he’s got this (he has, believe me!)
SIX: If he says sorry, lingering on it for eeeeevvvveeerrrr:
Men are not flippant about apologizing. In other words, it’s RARE for them to say sorry. They only apologize after a long battle internally, so when they do, don’t replay that situation. Receive the apology gracefully and move on. (When a guy apologizes, it’s deeply felt and sincere).
SEVEN: Ignore his accomplishments/contributions to the family
He says the ultimate feeling for a man is: accomplishment. Especially if other people notice it with a sense/knowing of the amount of work that went into it. Might be a well-mowed lawn, the desk he built, or the sacrifice of going to work every day to support his family. Saying thanks or noticing is a big deal for a guy. If there’s been a lot of sacrifice, he said, regular acknowledgment is great. But don’t go overboard: In other words don’t ignore their gifts and efforts but don’t over thank to the point of cringe zone. How you say this stuff is important…
Examples: ‘It’s really warm in here’ (indirect acknowledgment that he’s kept the room warm with his fire-making effort) is better than directly saying ‘you did a great job of the fire’ like his mum would say.
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© Morvana Zaahira Goodman 2021