Ever wondered what things make for a bad relationship?
I’ve been married for a grand total of almost-6 months today, which means I’m obviously a relationship expert and have all of the answers when it comes to dating and marriage (in case you didn’t get it: that was sarcasm). However, even though I don’t have all the answers—and even though this may sound a bit creepy—I have always been an avid people-observer. I’m in psychology, I can’t help it. I watch people’s behaviours, try to understand their personality, and often catch myself thinking about how their background or past experiences may be influencing what they’re doing now. It’s fascinating, really. People aren’t nearly as creative and unique as we’d all like to expect—we’re actually pretty predictable.
Unfortunately, what we’re not good at predicting is how our actions affect other people, especially those people that we’re in love with. Through my extreme interest in human behaviour, I’ve seen the same things happen again and again that pretty much always lead to an unstable or unhealthy relationship, and unfortunately I see it a lot among girls here at college.
Healthy relationships are wonderful, but they don’t happen automatically. We’re selfish people, and relationships take work, and they take us changing some of our bad habits. From my own personal experience with my relationship with Connor as well as from seeing many other women I know and love in both good and bad relationships, I have compiled 5 things that women in relationships need to stop doing to their poor man. Ready? Let’s go.
Flirting with other guys
Seriously, just stop it. You’d get mad if you caught him staring at the waitress’s butt, so don’t flirt with other guys whether you’re alone, with your man, or with a bunch of girlfriends.
The problem with flirting for girls is that it often doesn’t start off meaning to go to a bad place. Let’s be real: we all have self-image issues and when a guy hits on us it makes us feel really good about ourselves. It’s extremely flattering, even if he’s creepy. There are two problems with this. First, even if flirting starts out just as you having a bad day and wanting to feel pretty, it can lead somewhere else. You can cheat emotionally, and we all know that you can cheat physically. Even though not all flirting leads to cheating, I can pretty much guarantee that all cheating starts from flirting. So don’t even put yourself in that position.
Second, you shouldn’t be looking for self-worth in flirting with guys, anyway! There are so many reasons for this, but the two main ones I think are that (a) if your self-worth is wrapped up in whether or not guys find you attractive, as soon as you are no longer at your A-game in looks you lose a bit of your self-worth, and (b) looking for validation that you’re pretty from other guys is telling YOUR guy that what he thinks of you isn’t enough! Imagine if he said that to you—that would make me pretty hurt.
The bottom line: just don’t do it. Instead, show him respect while learning to find your self-worth in healthier places.
Talking about man-candy
Believe it or not, girls aren’t the only ones who are told countless messages about how we “should” look. Guys get a lot of these messages, too—more muscular, less fat, tall, broad shoulders, strong jaw… the list is endless.
I find it so crazy that women are openly allowed to discuss their “man-candy” crushes, but imagine if a guy had Pinterest boards called “bikini babes.” They’d be labelled as a pig. But women are allowed to do the same thing to men…? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Your guy needs to know that he is #1 in your eyes, including that he’s the most handsome man in the world. Think about it, you want him to think you’re the most beautiful woman on this planet, so why shouldn’t we give our men the same courtesy? When you drool over man-candy in front of him, you’re telling him that he’s just not as handsome as that celebrity you’re obsessed with. You’re saying he’s second-best!
Using their man as an Instagram prop
This is more for the dating girls, not really the married ones.
Girls: Please don’t date someone just because they look cute on your Instagram feed.
But in all seriousness, girls, you need to be dating someone for more than just their looks or because they’re the guy you “should” be going out with. No matter how great a guy looks on paper, if you two aren’t making each other become the best version of yourselves that you can be, stop using him for the status.
Men aren’t accessories. Don’t treat them like one.
Thinking about “what if”
I think that this has got to be the #1 joy-killer in relationships.
Here’s the thing: if you’re dating, and you’re constantly thinking “what if I had dated John instead?” or “What if he wasn’t so much like this, but was like this instead?”, maybe you should take that as a sign that you should break up. You’re only dating—it may be serious, but there hasn’t been any real commitment, and if you’re already dissatisfied with the relationship, maybe you should consider ending it.
If you’re married, however, and you find yourself thinking “What if…” STOP. I cannot stress this enough. You married him for a reason, and you committed your life to him. Fantasizing about what could have happened is comparing the reality that you have with a man that you love to a fantasy of something that may have never even happened, even if things were different! It creates this false comparison that can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction and disillusionment in your relationship, so stop it. You’ll thank me later.
Continuing needing to be won over
What I find strange is how so many women are constantly testing their guy to see if he loves her enough. You know, the mind games of “how much can I get from this relationship without having to give anything myself?” And you know what? When the guy is pursuing you, that’s wonderful! It’s fun! Guys enjoy the chase, and girls enjoy being chased! But when you’re in a relationship, well, in my opinion you’re on common ground. You’re in a relationship, he shouldn’t have to prove himself to you. Rather, you both should be working together to create a healthy and happy companionship between two people who love each other.
Yes, he should continue to try and show you how much he cares about you whenever he can. Being in a relationship does not mean he’s allowed to get lazy, but it also means that you need to be giving as well. Just as much as you want to be wooed and loved, your guy wants to know that you just adore him, and that he doesn’t need to work anymore to get you—he’s secure in the relationship so you two can just grow together, rather than constantly working at this power struggle of “who has the upper hand? Have I proven myself to her today?”
So there you have it. Those are my five best nuggets of wisdom for you all today. Relationships really all come down to being nice to your partner and treating him the same way you would want to be treated. Even though it’s not complicated, though, it can be pretty hard to master, that’s for sure. I’m the first one to admit it.