| || || Do you ever look at your man and wonder what became of the guy you used to date? What happened to all the flowers, romantic dinners and six-hour-long conversations about your dreams? The truth is that for many guys, settling into a committed relationship means the hard work is over and it’s time to kick back, put their feet up, grab the remote and start flipping. |
On the contrary, when a woman gets into a relationship she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. She sets about figuring out ways to improve communication, spend more quality time together and keep the spark from fizzling. She clocks countless hours comparing notes with her girlfriends, taking quizzes with titles like “What’s your Relationship IQ?” and pouring over relationship self-help books.
I decided to do a little experiment to gather further evidence of this phenomenon. To that end, I picked up a widely read women’s magazine along with a popular men’s magazine. I flipped to the section in the women’s magazine devoted to “Love and Relationships.” Articles in this section included “Marriage Makeover: Work is Taking over our Marriage,” and “Playful Positions to Spice up Your Love Life.”
The men’s magazine didn’t appear to have a section that focused on relationships; however, it did have a section called “Sexy Time.” But, the “Sexy Time” section was not filled with advice on how readers could improve their relationships. If anything, the articles could be potentially damaging to a relationship. One was titled “This Lovely Latvian will make you want to Dump your Girl” and another promised a peek at “Ten of Television’s Naughtiest Nymphos.”
So, why the disconnect? Why are women so eager to work on their relationships, while men seem to be content to rest on their laurels?
The answer lies in the differences between the way the two sexes are wired. Men are goal-oriented, while women are process-oriented. In other words, for men, the goal is to get the girl. Once the girl it’s got, it’s time to move on to the next goal. Why dwell on a situation where the goal has already been accomplished? Women, on the other, view the relationship as a project that needs constant and ongoing attention.
The truth is relationships are works in progress and do need constant attention to survive. However, when most men see their partners “working” on the relationship, they automatically assume they are unhappy or have a problem with the relationship. This instantly puts them on the defensive. So, how do you get your guy to refocus on the relationship without making him feel like he is under attack?
The best way to accomplish this is to get him to think competitively. This doesn’t mean that you should threaten to leave him for someone who will put forth the effort you are looking for. The danger of this approach is that if you’re not prepared to back up your ultimatum, you’ll lose credibility.
The trick is to tap into his competitive fire without making him feel threatened. A great way to do this is to put him in competition with the guy he was when you were dating; the one that wined and dined you and showered you with compliments. In order to avoid putting him on the defensive, sit down with him and ask him what he liked best about you when the two of you first began dating. Then tell him what you liked best about him. By giving him this information, you’ve given him a new goal: rekindle the flame he helped set at the beginning of your relationship.
And don’t let the info he gives you fall by the wayside. If he confides that he liked how hot you used to look when the two of you went out on a date or how you would dress up in sexy lingerie for him, take that as your cue to throw out the “comfortable” clothes you’ve been wearing out with him lately along with the boxers and T-shirts you’ve been wearing to bed.
If he is unwilling to communicate about the topic, it may be time to seek counseling. There’s a big difference between being lazy about working on your relationship and stubbornly refusing to change anything about it. Whatever the situation, be sure to address these issues sooner rather than later.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA