Most of us who have been in an honest and intimate relationship know that sometimes it's good, even excellent; and sometimes it's bad. Really bad -- as in Titanic bad. And when it's bad that's when we have the capacity to do the most harm. Repeatedly, actually.
Is there an easy solution? No, not if you're Romeo Montague in "Romeo and Juliet." His situation is complicated. Yes, if you're any other man reading this who does want to have an excellent relationship with a woman.
Ticket punched. Step aboard!
I think of great relationships as bank accounts. You can't keep deducting without depositing. The more you deposit, obviously the better it is and the less noticeable the withdrawal will seem. As the Greeks taught us, everything in moderation. Everything must balance out. We don't want our checks returned for insufficient funds, right?!
This then is written to the men out there who silently scream, "Look, just tell me what to do and I will do it!" Voila, my testosterone filled, confused amigos! Here then is what to deposit in advance.
What To Do:
1. Kiss us passionately. In the kitchen every morning with no sexual intentions involved. Then walk away and head about your merry way. Kiss us passionately in the living room every evening you see us, first thing. Women love to know we are wanted outside of sex too. Hey, maybe it will actually lead to sex and that's great but it's not the main point, which is my main point.
2. Do small things for us on a consistent basis. Women don't care if it's big or small. Small things probably pack more punch over time. Sure, you buying some expensive item or splurging on us is nice but so is the small gift: filling our car with gas, writing us a sexy note, making coffee. The important part is that it's coming from you. And that's all we care about ultimately. For me personally, I like to be touched, often and gently. Touch me all day long, innocently and without design. That's the greatest small thing any man can do for me.
3. Listening is sexy. Just listen to your partner without offering advice. Yep, that's it. If we want advice we will ask you for it. And we set it up this way in advance where you know and I know that if I really can't figure it out I will ask for your help. The fact that you're listening is sexy enough for us. And, just so you know, pretending to listen is not listening. "Uh huh, I see, Uh huh" don't cut it.
4. Be a best friend. Treat us as an equal partner in the relationship. Think of how you give your best friend the benefit of the doubt every time, how you trust them - then treat us this way also. It's a beautiful thing to know we have someone who loves us and who has our backs.
5. Tell the truth, always. Tell the truth even if you are scared it will drive us bat s**** crazy. (And yes, the omission of the truth is in fact a lie.) We might not like the truth but we will appreciate you more for it. If you lie you kill any or all intimacy and trust. Good advice is to preface the truth with a disclaimer. "I messed up. I didn't tell you the truth. I want to fix that. I'm sorry." No truth, no real trust.
6. Stay and support us if and when we get emotional. We are looking for understanding, not solutions. Yes, our emotions are scary and make you want to run away. Ironic part is if you sit there, silently, and just listen to us the outbursts get fewer and far between each time. The man who can sit there and say, "I'm not leaving. I am going to ride this out" is f***ing amazing in my opinion. We just want to know you understand why we feel like we do, we don't care if you don't have a solution.
7. Continue dating us. Yes, continue wooing us even after we are committed to you. Nothing kills a partnership like taking someone for granted. Remember what you liked about me in the beginning and how you acted. Don't lose sight of that. And I won't lose sight of that for you.
8. Honor any agreement you make. Guess what, kids do well with consistency. Everybody does. Consistency and reliability. Women (just like kids) like to know that we can hold you to your word. We watch that stuff. If your words don't match your actions, it makes us sad and makes us doubt your integrity. It makes us lose respect for you.
9. Encourage our goals and direction, at times. Never underestimate the power of, "You go, baby" or "I think you're a rockstar." We will do the same for you. You have no idea what a compliment from you sounds like or feels like. If you did, you would do it more often.
10. Reconsider the disappearing act. At least how you stage it. When you need to sort things out in your head, when you normally would tell us you are not angry you just need space and you disappear that is shutting us out emotionally. It's not what you do but how you do it, how you phrase it. The important part is how you say you need space, if you do. Tell us what you are angry or upset about and then we know it's not us. Ask us if you can process it some more before we discuss it, and come back later and actually discuss it. That way your disappearing act doesn't create a divide.
BONUS. Say "I'm sorry" when you know you have f***ed up, when you know you have done something you regret or know was hurtful. It works. Saying sorry shows you have emotional maturity. And it works, if you are sincere.
I am confident I left so many other important items out. If you think of it these are just ten things that can automatically improve your relationship. Think of all the other things I didn't mention.
Yes, we are all different creatures with different and varied interests but some things are as universally understood as Shakespeare's sonnets or Elizabeth Browning's line and sentiment: "How do I love thee/ Let me count the ways." How do we love you, our partner, our hero, our best friend, our protector? If you employ any of the above 10 actions items then let us count the ways. And there will be many.
Being kind and thoughtful and considerate is never lost upon anyone. It will help our relationship in ways we can't even understand. (Perhaps you picked the wrong partner in the past who couldn't appreciate you but you didn't mess up by being loving and considerate. You practiced perfectly for the right partner, this time or next time.)
A relationship will either work or it won't - but doing some of the above gives it a much higher probability that it might or else why are you in the relationship to begin with? This is precisely how best friends should treat one another.
We should deposit often and know that during difficult times we can afford to withdraw (ha, no sexual pun intended). If you can't treat your other half like this at least some of the time it's probably because nobody ever taught you. Try the above. See if you can't surprise yourself with how immediately you see an improvement.