Years as an advice columnist give me a unique perspective on dating, relationships and the behaviors of singles looking for love. Let me tell you, much of what I see ain't pretty! Most of the letters advice columnists get in come from single women who have become involved in situations that even Stevie Wonder could see won't work. But for some reason, the ladies charge full steam ahead, always hopeful that love will conquer all.
It never does.
This short list will explain some of the most common mistakes I've seen women make in partner selection and relationship management.
- Losing their voice. What I mean by this is women give up all control and believe that the man is the only one capable of making decisions as to where the relationship is going. I cannot tell you how many letters I get in from women upset because the guy they're seeing "hasn't told me what this is we have" or "he hasn't told where this is going." Yet they claim to love him, want to be with him, are having sex with him and sometimes are pregnant! It is not up to the man to decide whether a relationship works or not ladies, it is up to YOU to tell him what you want and if he isn't interested in that level or commitment, or doesn't want that type of commitment with YOU, get rid of him.
- Talking too much. When some of you meet a man you like, you get a bad case of Diahrrhea of the Mouth. You want to tell the guy every story about your life, all your history with other men, all the sexual antics you participated in while in college, every thought in your head and every feeling you have about him. You want to prove to him that you can "be honest" and real... that he can trust you. In reality men like women of mystery. Men like that feeling of being on edge, of wondering about you. They especially enjoy having the opportunity to fantasize about how you are - sexually and in every other way. The longer he has to wait to find out if you like him and the more layers he has to peel back to find out who you are and what is going on with your life, the more he’s intrigued and curious and the more likely it is that he'll come back to find out more. Be a woman of mystery and keep your pie hole shut.
- Discounting their value and self worth. Believing you are undeseving causes many women to be insecure and often jealous lovers. Assuming that they must earn his love and respect, these ladies will do anything and everything for him and expect very little to nothing in return. Overgiving in an effort to please and "make him like me" sets women up to be abused, neglected and taken advantage of. Most women wake up a few months into it, then write me to complain about him not doing anything and how much of a selfish ass he is. Well DUH! You never demanded that he do anything or give you anything, so he did as many people do which is as little as possible.
- Being so danged desperate to have a man at every freaking blink of an eye. One date does not a relationship make! Just because a guy calls you on the phone a few times and takes you out, he is not your boyfriend. One weekend together does not mean wedding bells will be ringing. Women truly need to lighten up on rushing men to a commitment. It drives me nuts the number of women that never learn to truly enjoy male company. More women need to have a life of their own so they don't over analyze everything the guy does. You should not be spazzing out over not getting a perfectly timed, perfectly worded call or text on some schedule that only you know.
- Assuming they can change the guy. Men tell you who and what they are pretty early on in the dating relationship. The problem I've seen is that the majority of women don't listen and don't heed the signs! Talking to him, requesting change, begging and threatening don't work. He is what he is. If he has never been with one woman for more than a month, trust me he won't be with you either. If he has always cheated on his girlfriends, he'll do the to you. If he has children with other women that he rarely if ever sees and doesn't show much interest in, he will treat any baby YOU make the mistake of having with him exactly the same way. You say you love him but he lies, cheats, abandons you, emotionally or verbally abuses you? He stands you up and dogs you out just because he feels like it? But you stay with him and keep giving to him anyway because you claim "I know he treats me bad, but I love him though!" What exactly is it that you are in love with girlfriend?
- Having sex too soon. Yeah I know this is past the sexual revolution and all that, but men haven't changed their mentality since the stone age. They still judge women by how quickly those panties come off. We have to also factor in the emotional connection many women develop with a man they have sex with, especially if its really good sex. Y'all just lose your minds when the sex is bomb. So it's smarter for a woman to wait until she knows the man has an emotional connection to her, and wait until she trusts him before become physically intimate. Once you have sex, understand that what you have now from him is ALL you are going to get. Before sex is involved you should also know the answer to #1 above.
- Assuming a man will "fix" your life or make you happy. In spite of the fact that many women feel they are nothing unless they have a man, reality is that a man is not going to be a magic fix-it pill for your jacked up unhappy life. Relationships are work and if you select someone incompatible, you may have more problems than you do joys. If you are not already reasonably happy with your life, a man will not miraculously change that.
- Listening to what a guy says vs. paying attention to what he does - actions are more important than words. Really, you should be paying more attention to what he does than what he says. Men can lie with words all day long and half the night. But they aren't going to do a whole lot or invest time, money and energy in something they aren't truly interested in. Understand that if he is not spending time with you, calling you, or trying to be around you that he is not interested. Whether you've dated him just once or for five years - if he isn't trying to be with you then his interests lie elsewhere.
- Making things too easy for men. Mainly by doing the heavy lifting of keeping the relationship working. You do the calling, you arrange the dates, you ask for intimacy, you hold his hand, you kiss him, you drive, you pay. Or dude is unemployed living with you, eating up all your food, running up your electricity playing video games all day or burning up your gas driving around profiling and posing instead of hunting for a job. When you do everything what you are essentially doing is having a relationship with yourself! Where is he investing any of his assets or energy into developing the relationship? All he is doing is coasting along taking a ride in the boat while you do all the rowing.
- Ignoring their intuition. You meet a guy and a little voice starts talking to you. It says "there is something wrong with this guy he's kinda creepy, I need to leave him alone" but you give him your phone number to "be nice" instead. Or the little voice says "I think he's lying and is not really who or what he says he is. This doesn't feel safe" yet you let him drive you home. Or the little voice says "He says he is looking for a job but I haven't heard him talk about where he interviewed or what type of work he had before" but you agree to go out with him anyway. These women call themselves giving the man "the benefit of the doubt". A grown man should have his crap together have it going on in all aspects of the world. There should never be a question about his goals, his purpose or your feeling of safety or comfort. Trust yourself! Move on from that guy immediately. You don't OWE a man anything. Even if it later turns out you were wrong, better safe than sorry.
I repeatedly have to share this information with women over and over and over again. Trust yourself, establish boundaries, and maintain standards for the men that come into your life. Never chase men either. If a man is really into you, he will let nothing interfere with having you by his side. Women who have to wait on a man should know they are not a priority for him. Women that have to struggle to "make" him be the man you want him to be should know he is not the man for you.
Avoid Mr. Wrong
Stop making excuses for men you know are wrong for you. Don't pick a man for his potential or simply because you have 'feelings' for him. If he isn't meeting your emotional and psychological needs, then he is not the right guy for you.
Suspiciousness and jealousy
Intimacy should be a part of a serious relationship. Worrying about where you stand with a man, who he is talking to, what other women he is seeing or what you have with him are ineffective ways to handle your relationship. These are things you should be confident of before you ever sleep with him.
Single and Available
There is nothing wrong with being single. Just because all your friends have a boyfriend doesn't mean you should throw your standards to the wind and accept anyone just to alleviate your singleness. The goal is to smartly choose the right man for you, not just any man.