There are a number of things that nearly all men try to avoid at all costs: chick flicks, drinking out of glasses (seriously, what’s with slurping the orange juice right out of the carton?), and making a woman cry. The latter generally leads men to avoid being straightforward with women, leaving the ladies in quite the “What the heck is he really thinking?” bind. In his newest book, 7 Things He’ll Never Tell You…But You Need to Know, noted psychologist, author and radio personality Dr. Kevin Leman explains what single men really want — and why they often avoid sharing their true feelings with their girlfriends. If you feel as though there’s something your partner is keeping from you, read some of the truths that Dr. Leman says many men avoid sharing with the women in their lives — and why you need to respond to them before your relationship takes a turn for the worse.
1. He doesn’t have friends he shares and communicates with regularly, like you do
“Women are relational creatures by nature,” explains Dr. Leman. “They tell their friends all about the men they date — heck, sometimes they even engage in meaningful conversations with strangers!” However, he says that men simply don’t act this way. Instead, they have what Dr. Leman calls ‘arm’s-length’ relationships — i.e., men bond with one another while watching sports, attending concerts or even through their jobs, but they don’t discuss their stresses, relationships and family dramas over coffee or a long walk, like women usually do. When they’re seriously dating, however, Dr. Leman says that men are seeking the type of partner they can have these intimate conversations with as a facet of their relationship.
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“Because men value these intimate conversations and connections differently than women do, most guys don’t like it when the women they date tell their friends — or even family members — everything about their dating life,” he says. “Men are much more private; they think, ‘What goes on between you and me should stay between you and me!’” When you share these details with your girlfriends, men feel like you have violated the relationship between the two of you, which is why they shut down and get mad. If you must share your love life’s ups and downs with a trusted confidante, make it someone who won’t spill your dirt to anyone else — and don’t tell him that you’ve spilled it, either.
2. He doesn’t care about little irrelevant details in your story — just get to the point
Feeling annoyed by the blank expression on his face when you’re telling him about your day, your vacation plans, or voicing thoughts on redecorating your apartment? “Men speak (and prefer to be spoken to) in what I like to call ‘man-speak’ — a simple, direct language that any other man understands,” says Dr. Leman. “A man also wishes that the woman he’s dating could understand it just as easily.” According to Dr. Leman, “man-speak” is like getting the USA Today version of news — guys don’t care to pepper their stories and conversations with what they believe to be unnecessary details to get their point across. When women do this, it generally confuses, frustrates or even intimidates the men who are listening to them. Therefore, you need to understand that when a man speaks to you this way, he’s not keeping anything a secret, being coldly unemotional or even evasive — that’s just the way they communicate. Meanwhile, it’s a safe bet that any man’s eyes will glaze over when you throw in all sorts of extra details and commentary while trying to tell him something. Again, it’s not because he doesn’t like you — but, as Dr. Leman explains, “more so because he just doesn’t need (or want) all of that info to make what you’re saying any clearer.” So the next time you’re ready to share big news with your date, the best way to hold his attention and ensure he’ll respond as you’d hoped he would is to keep it brief and to the point. Remember: Just stick to the facts and you’ll both be happier.
3. He likes commands, not questions, during conversation
According to Dr. Leman, the quickest way to shut your man down quickly is with a “why” question. Asking him something like, “Why aren’t you talking to me?” or “Why are you mad at me?” will make a man completely exasperated, asserts Dr. Leman. “Asking a man ‘why’ questions will make him feel like he’s in trouble and immediately put him on the defensive. Try giving him a command instead. Remember, men like things to be simple and laid out for them clearly. Think of the guy you’re dating as a four-year-old who also shaves. Most adult men can be summed up like that; they pout, act like kids, and sometimes even throw a temper tantrum. Many of their reactions can be infantile. A man wants to know that he’s attractive, perceived as smart, knowledgeable, and can get things done by you; that’s it.” So instead of asking “Why are you mad at me?” rephrase your question in the form of a command, like this: “Tell me more about what’s upsetting you.” A simple phrasing adjustment will make all the difference in how he responds, explains Dr. Lehman.
4. Making first date chit-chat is painful for him
There’s a reason why all of those crazy skydiving and snorkeling dates on The Bachelor usually end successfully, says Dr. Leman. “Most men want a first date where there’s an activity involved, because they’re not always skilled conversationalists or comfortable with immediate emotional intimacy. That’s why they’d prefer a first-date situation with something for them to focus on, like a ball game or a trip to the amusement park.” If an activity-based date just isn’t an option for you, Dr. Leman suggests planning a “casual cup of coffee” date where there’s less pressure involved with keeping his side of the conversation going. Don’t worry — he’ll open up to you more as he grows increasingly comfortable with you later on.
5. He’d like (and might even expect) to jump into bed on the first date
Dr. Lehman says that the number-one thing a man won’t tell you — but that you absolutely need to know — is his agenda for getting you into the bedroom. “For most guys — especially younger ones — dates are a good time, which usually leads to sex,” explains Dr. Leman. “In fact, many guys that I’ve spoken with expect to have sex on a first date, and a lot of women I have talked with are equally happy to comply.” So is jumping into bed on the first date a good idea? It really just depends, says Dr. Leman: “If you’re a woman who is OK with it, you can probably expect to have a good short-term relationship with the guy. Everything will go smoothly for a while, but eventually, he will leave.” However, a man who’s looking for a long-term relationship isn’t going to like a woman who doesn’t mind sleeping with him on the first date, according to Dr. Lehman, and that he might not stick around after that first night passes. “Instead, he’ll have his fun and keep doing whatever he likes until he finds someone who’s different — a woman who he thinks is a keeper for him.” According to Dr. Lehman, a woman’s game plan for integrating sex with dating shouldn’t involve being coy and playing games with men. Instead, put your focus on being — and dating — smart. “Dating smart means acting in a way that allows you to discern a man’s true intentions — namely, if he cares about you, or is just interested in having sex,” advises Dr. Leman. When you sleep with someone too quickly, you don’t get the chance to figure out who he really is and what he really wants from your date — it is just sex? Or is he looking for a real relationship and partnership with someone who’s his equal? Does he see you as just someone to have fun with, or possibly more? Make good choices regarding how quickly you get physical with a date. By being different from almost all the other women he sees, you’ll make him want to be with you,” asserts Dr. Leman.
When DC-based journalist Chelsea Kaplan isn’t helping you solve your relationship problems, she’s making jewelry. Check it out atwww.chelseabellejewelry.com.