Imagine this scenario: You and your man are out to a restaurant with friends. The food is good, drinks are flowing and the conversation is lively. Everyone is having a good time. Your friend’s man reaches for the salt and accidentally knocks her drink over, spilling it on the table and in her lap.
“Watch what you’re doing!” she shouts, jumping up from her seat and brushing the ice from her pants. “You’re so clumsy.”
“Honey, I’m sorry,” he says, attempting to blot the liquid from the table and handling her some dry napkins. “I didn’t realize –“
“Just stop!” she snaps, cutting him off and grabbing the napkins with a sigh and roll of her eyes. “I’ll do it.”
Meanwhile, you and your other friends exchange empathetic glances with her man as he returns to his seat, dejected, waiting for the storm to pass.
Does this scene sound familiar? Hopefully not! But in far too many cases, people have been, or know someone who has been, in a similar situation.
You would expect women to know that doing things like rolling their eyes; criticizing their man in public; calling him names and being sarcastic are examples of blatant disrespect, but there are a host of other, more subtle things women often do and don’t realize they are making their man feel disrespected. Here are just a few:
- Excluding him from important decisions – “I told Penny she could start dating, now that she’s sixteen.”
- Correcting what he said – “The word is ‘specific’, not ‘pacific’”
- Questioning his judgement – “Are you really going to use white bread instead of wheat?”
- Giving unsolicited advice – “If you would just ask for a pay advance you’d feel better”
- Ignoring his advice – “Nevermind. You clearly don’t know anything about social media.”
- Making unrealistic demands of his time and energy – “After you mow the grass and trim the hedges, I need you to wash and detail my car”
- Overreacting – “I can’t believe you finished off the box of cereal!”
- Focusing on what you didn’t get, not what you did – “We would have been here ten minutes ago if you had followed my directions in the first place.”
- Withholding praise – “Well, it’s your job to take out the trash…”
- Using a harsh tone – “I’m so TIRED of this!”
- Condescending –“You did an okay job cleaning up the kitchen”
- Showing little or no interest in his interests – “I can’t imagine what you see in that.”
- Criticizing his family – Because men are not as openly expressive with their emotions as women are, women sometimes forget that their man loves his family as much as we love ours. Criticizing his mother’s cooking, his sister’s child-rearing method, etc. can be very hurtful to him.
- Ignoring him; choosing friends over his company – “I’m going to Tanya’s house, now. I’ll watch a movie with you later.
- Interpreting him- “What you really meant when you said you weren’t hungry is that you don’t like my cooking.”
- Comparing – “My sister’s new porch swing sure is nice…”
- Dismissing – “Go away, I have work to do.”
- Expecting him to make you happy – It is your responsibility to make yourself happy. Happiness is a state of mind brought about by your response to external stimulus, and only you can control how you respond to things. Expecting him to make you happy is like expecting your belly to feel full after he eats a meal!
- Giving “the look” – You know that look you give your children that makes them stop dead in their tracks because they know they are doing something you don’t agree with? Yeah, that one! Save it for the kids; don’t use it on your man. Giving him “the look” makes him feel like you consider him to be on the same level as your children. Instead, treat him as the adult he is.
- Making him feel unnecessary – “Don’t bother, I can do it.”
If you find that you are doing any of these things, STOP! Realize that we all for short of other people’s expectations from time to time; and criticizing your man like this makes it nearly impossible for him to feel connected to you. When the emotional connection between two people is lost, the smallest infraction can evoke criticism, anger and resentment.
The next time you find yourself on the verge of responding to a situation in one of these ways, pause for a moment to step into his shoes. For the most part, regardless of their attained level of education or expertise in their jobs, men feel powerless when it comes to relationships. They have little or no confidence in their relationship skills. What they are clear about is the fact that they chose you as their partner because they want to be with you. If the feeling is mutual, get your act together. If not, be mature enough to say so and move on. Life is too short to waste time in a relationship that doesn’t meet your needs.
Cheers to connecting on a deeper level!
Thank you for taking a glimpse of the world through my eyes. Enjoy the scenery!