Men are like wild horses: they scare easy. There are lots of things women do that can set blokes off at a gallop, but luckily the man-whisperer is here to help. Match.com’s relationship expert Kate Taylor reveals the top five frights you might be giving men, and how to avoid them
Women often say that men are scared of commitment. Newsflash: they’re not. What they’re scared of is commitment too soon, and “too soon” simply means “before he’s thought of it himself”. You can’t be the one leading the way when it comes to anything like spending more time together, becoming exclusive, moving in or getting married. All you can do is set your own personal time-limit and then quietly leave when it’s time to get out.
This starts right from the beginning. When you meet a new man, never make the mistake of letting him feel you have a boyfriend-shaped vacancy in your life that he can just hop straight into. Don’t start calling to say, “Hello” and “Good night” every day, or immediately start inviting him along to all your plans. It’s not flattering to him, he wants to feel he’s having to win you over by his sheer amazingness. Let him feel your life is full and fulfilling already – and if it’s not, slap yourself and go get busy — and that he has to create a boyfriend vacancy by himself, by thinking of ways to please you.
The first three months of a relationship should be easy and fun, happy and light-hearted. It’s not the time to tell him your thighs are completely different sizes, you’ve always hated your hands and that you can’t get through a day at work without crying. We’re all insecure but your boyfriend is not the place to seek comfort and reassurance in the early stages. To understand this, you have to realise that men and women bond in different ways. Men only tell problems to one another when they’re looking for solutions – we do it as a way to break the ice. If you confess everything you secretly dislike about yourself to a new man, he’ll assume you’re wanting him to “fix” it all, and feel overwhelmed. He’ll start thinking, “Wow – this girl seems to have a lot of stuff going on at the moment. I can’t cope with all this, I have my stuff too.” Instead, act as if you truly like yourself.
3. Be too nice
“Whatever you want!” “I don’t mind which film we watch!” “I’ll have what you’re having!” When a woman really likes a man, she sometimes stops voicing her opinions and begins blending into his world as much as she can, to keep his approval. (This often happens after nookie.) Instead of being the sassy, independent-thinker her man originally fell in love with, the girl begins to turn away from everything she likes, and turn towards his interests instead. She swaps her TV dramas for his sports shows, wears the clothes he likes her in and forgets all her hobbies because HE has become her main hobby. Attractive? So, so not. Turning yourself into his Mini-Me will take all the fun out of the relationship. You’ll lose confidence, stop pursuing your goals and he’ll start distrusting you – if he doesn’t know when you’re unhappy, he won’t know when you’re happy. Keep your spicy edge. If he teases you about watching Come Dine With Reality Tattooed Brides every week, ignore him – and keep watching it. He wants to date an equal.
4. Try to make him jealous
Occasionally, if you feel your man is losing interest in you, you might feel tempted to make him a little bit jealous. Should you give in to this temptation? Very, very cautiously. Truth is, if a man loves you, he will automatically feel you’re pursued by other men all the time. He’ll think you’re so beautiful that you can’t get on a bus without men circling your seat like slavering wolves. So if you bring this to his attention too obviously, he will think, “What’s she really trying to tell me here?” He’ll see it as a game and it’ll irritate him. Imagine how you’d feel if he came home from work saying, “Woah – the new PA just couldn’t keep her eyes off me today!”
Instead, just look your very best and keep your life as happy and busy as possible. Occasionally be busy at weekends. Keep going out with the girls. Keep working-out at the gym. Go away on holiday without him sometimes. Take every opportunity to meet new people. Keep putting yourself in places where he’ll worry you’ll meet someone better than him, and he’ll keep on his best behaviour around you.
Men like a spirited, strong woman, that’s for sure. But they see “strong” in a very specific way. To men, a strong woman is not the girl who shouts at him every time he looks at another woman, lets rip when he comes home late or lectures him on how he’s let her down. A real sign of strength is poise – don’t let him see that he gets to you. He’ll be far more concerned about losing you if you calmly and briefly tell him what’s wrong and say you’ll see him again when he’s fixed it (then leave him alone), than if you yell and threaten and cry but remain right by his side. If you keep reacting emotionally, he’ll see you as out-of-control and weak and he’ll retreat.
At all times, keep your eyes focussed on your goals in life aside from him. Work, work out, see your friends. Do this even when you want to be with him all the time – do it especially when you want to be with him all day. Keep your life moving. Give him space and freedom naturally by being happy in your own skin whether he’s there or not. That’s when you’ll frighten him in the best way – that one day you might disappear – and he’ll work to secure you forever.