When it comes to intimate relationships, 20-somethings are severely fucked up. Between commitment-phobia, blurred morals and horrible communication every one of us has quite a few areas for improvement.
I’ve spent some time thinking just how exactly I could delve deeper into the dark waters of relationships. What advice would I give to women in regards to men? What advice would I give to men in regards to women?
It hit me last night when I was running -- What lessons would I want to teach my daughter on men?
No. I am not a father. Hopefully, everything goes as planned and I can put off having a little girl for 8-10 more years. With that said, I thought this would be an intriguing post to write and an effective way to approach the idea of relationship advice.
I imagine the advice we would give our children in regards to the opposite sex, is advice we severely need to hear ourselves.
Men, I am going to apologize in advance because I am probably going to hit you pretty hard in this post. Please understand that I am hitting myself just as hard, a lot of the things I am about to discuss, I need to work on too.
Women, enjoy this. In a couple weeks, we are turning things around and I will be calling a lot of you out for the bull shit I see on a regular basis in A Letter to My Son: 8 Lessons About Women.
7 Lessons to My Daughter About Men
1. Listen to The Silence
Often times, we judge our compatibility with another person based off of how smoothly conversation flows. How often have you heard someone say, “We never run out of things to talk about!”
Talking with your significant other is important, but understand that verbal language just skims the surface of the communication iceberg.
Silence is very much a type of communication, and I would argue it is just as important as verbal communication. Couples who can sit comfortably with one another, silently, share a gift of great rarity.
Can you sit with that boy you really like in silence and feel comfortable? Can the two of you read your own books, or work on your laptops in silence without feeling awkward?
Be careful to never allow forced conversation to mask a connection that is missing. Conversation does not always equate to compatibility.
You can converse with a parrot, but try connecting with one.
2. Watch How He Treats His Momma
Mothers are good at pissing their sons and daughters off. If they didn’t frustrate them from time to time, they wouldn’t be doing their job. I say this because I think it is completely normal for parents and their children to get in verbal disagreements.
With that said, pay close attention to how he treats his Mom. Does he buy her just because flowers from time-to-time? How does he talk to her? Lovingly or hatefully? Does he value their relationship?
I am going to be brutally honest -- If a man can’t show the woman who birthed him the utmost love and respect, he will never show you the utmost love and respect.
I don’t care how beautiful you are or how you don’t knit-pick like his Momma does. You also didn’t carry him around in your womb for 9 months and go through 5 hours of traumatizing labor.
Watch how he treats his Mom because one day that’s how he is going to treat you.
3. Spending Time Over Money
Let's cut the bullshit here. I do think money is important. I think it’s completely normal for a woman to be partially attracted to a man because of his money (***Note I used the word partially). A man’s ability to make money reflects his intellect, drive and passion. It’s also comforting to a woman to feel supported.
With that said, I think women need to be paying more attention to the time a man is investing in them, rather than the money he is investing in them.
When a man is giving you his time, he is literally giving you a part of his life. In a sense, he is giving you a part of himself. Diamond rings and roses are shiny and smell good, but they will never equate to time.
4. Listen to What He Does, Not What He Says
Anytime friends of mine come to me seeking advice regarding the men in their lives, this is a line I always say -- Listen to what he does, not what he says.
The I Love You’s mean nothing unless I Love You is written all over his actions.
In the words of Extreme,
“Saying I love you,
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It's not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me cause I’d already know.”
He says I Love You, but do you actually feel loved? I know I have hit hard on communication today, but I think it is just so important. Men are notoriously poor communicators, and it is easy for them to cover up their true feelings with bullshit.
Again, I am being blunt -- If he says he loves you but doesn’t act like he loves you, he doesn’t actually love you.
I love you, but you’re probably gonna catch me texting other bitches from time to time. I love you, but I fucked around with so-and-so last weekend when I was drunk. I love you, but I am not going to come support you at your event because it’s inconvenient.
You get the idea.
The first step to understanding the way a man communicates is realizing that he doesn’t always say what he means. So, you have to listen through his actions.
5. He Calls You Out On Your Bullshit
When you are fucking up, does he call you out on it?
We have this misconception that relationships are supposed to be rainbows and butterflies 24/7. Plus, 90% of people are God awful at taking constructive criticism. These two factors make for relationships that aren’t very transparent.
I once dated a girl that hated any form of constructive criticism. She wholeheartedly believed she was born perfect and had problems due to imperfect people. The relationship didn’t last long.
There should be points in your relationship where you momentarily hate your partner because he calls you out on your bullshit.
Did you fail the test? Well, I love you babe, but you partied all weekend… do you think you should have passed?
Is your manager being an asshole again? Wait, so is Jan, Suzy and Tamara? Hmm, do you think there is potentially a miscommunication on your end that you can improve with these people?
Strong and healthy relationships involve tough love. There will be times he should call you out when you are slacking, and I hope he has the balls to do so.
6. He Picks You Up When You’re Knocked Down
Now, with all of that said, there is a difference between building and breaking.
I am a believer in constructive criticism within relationships, but there is a time and a place for it.
Destructive criticism is not constructive, it shatters confidence, hinders growth and is hugely unhealthy to an individual's spirit.
Imagine a basketball coach yelling at his players. Picture his face going beet red as spit starts flailing out of his mouth. The basketball community, for some odd reason, finds this type of criticism to be constructive.
When I was in college, my basketball coach was identical to the one I described above. Save for the fact that he was one of the ugliest mother fuckers I have ever seen in my life, the way he treated people made him very difficult to love.
He shattered my confidence, hindered my growth and was hugely unhealthy for my spirit. The coach-player relationship lasted a season, and then I quit.
Get the picture?
When life fucks you up, and trust me it will certainly find a way to do so, your significant other should be there with open arms ready to pick you back up. He shouldn't be looking at your current situation as an opportunity to knock you further downwards.
He should be a teammate, not a coach.
7. He Spends More Time Looking At Your Eyes Than Your Ass
Women are generally smarter than men, but they have a difficult time connecting the dots when it comes to male behavior.
If a man doesn't want to hang out unless you're having sex, what is he most interested in? If his eyes light up when you take off your clothes, but begin to drift when you talk about your dreams, what is he most interested in? If he only shows excitement in your text exchanges when nudes are involved, what is he most interested in? If he is staring at your ass more often than your eyes, what is he most interested in?
If you're just wanting to ride his face, and aren't looking for anything remotely serious, I think you have found yourself the right guy.
But if you're looking for a serious partner that you can build something deeper with, you should probably delete his number and tell him to download Tinder.
There is no right or wrong answer here. You just need to be realistic with yourself and your expectations. Don't try to turn your hookup into your partner -- enjoy it for what it is.
And please don't try to hit me with some bullshit like, "All guys are the same, all they care about is sex!" There are so many genuine men out there looking for something deeper.
Yes, men are always going to be interested in sex, but you'd be surprised at how many would choose a genuine connection over it.
I, for example, think my girlfriend is sexy enough to be on the centerfold of a 1974 Playboy, but I first fell for her evergreen eyes and would choose them above all things else -- they could move mountains.
First and foremost, my daughter will be 17ish before she reads this, it got a little more intense than I anticipated. Hopefully, I got my point across, though.
Don't do drugs, often. Say please and thank you. And set the world on fire.