I’ve come to find that one of the mistakes women make in relationships early on, is allowing things that disturb them about a man’s behavior to go unaddressed. They’re so anxious to find true love that they’ll often overlook or pretend to overlook behaviour that really gets under their skin and goes against their core values.
The methodology seems to be that speaking up would cause him to think you’re a nag or insecure. That you may be, though there are plenty of issues that arise in a relationship that need to be addressed if you’re going to grow and develop a healthy connection.
Also, if you’re anything like how I used to be and at times still am, you may worry that if you share what’s important to you, you might lose him. You’d rather sit in silent anguish than be true to yourself.
The truth… not speaking up can actually end up shooting you in the foot and creating much larger issues in the long-term.
Imagine that you’re at the beginning of a relationship and you’re allowing the guy you’re dating to treat you any way he likes. He thinks that you’re perfectly happy with how he is with you – then after a few months you try to switch it up, you’re tired of feeling let down and unappreciated.
Chances are, when you brush things under the carpet, getting him to change is going to be a challenge. His response will likely be, “I’ve been doing this without an issue? Why the change now?”
This doesn’t mean he won’t address your concerns, this simply means that you’ve set a precedence, which can confuse the one you’re with. You also run the risk of being with a man who’s not a long-term match. Going against your core values and pretending to be someone you’re not is often a recipe for heartache.
Many of us forget that people fall in love with authenticity. This means that men who truly desire a healthy loving relationship hunger to be with a woman who knows who she is and how she deserves to be treated. She’s a woman of high value who’s looking for a man of high value.
Men who don’t want to be the best person they can be, and men who are not invested in finding real love, may disappear when you share what’s important to you in a relationship. But, hey, isn’t that okay, when looking at the big picture of what real love is?
Remember real love is supposed to feel good, not like you’re been walked over or taken for granted. Even though these feelings can arise in any relationship, a loving couple will work through them when these concerns are approached in a healthy way.
Deciding What to Speak Up About
The best thing you can do for yourself and the guy you’re dating is to be upfront from the very beginning.
Now I’m not saying that you should nitpick at every single thing he does that rubs you the wrong way, because there are certainly things that can bother us that have nothing to do with the other person. These things could come across as petty or even “anal”, and rather than developing the relationship these inconsequential issues can ruin what you have. After all no one is perfect.
However, if he’s doing something that really hurts you or goes beyond your realistic standards and morals, you need to speak up.
This might include:
- He says he’ll call but leaves you hanging for days (he says one thing does another)
- He openly flirts with other women in front of you
- He tries to control the dates (choosing where you’ll go, ordering what you’ll eat, what movie you’ll see, etc.) without any regard for your interests.
- He raises his voice when in a heated conversation with you
- He jokes about your religion or beliefs
- He’s unnecessarily jealous of other men or even your female friends
- He puts you down on a regular basis, what may have started out as playful teasing has become common play (that doesn’t feel good)
How to Address Your Concerns
The best way to talk with your guy is to be direct. One of the mistakes women make in relationships is assuming that he will be receptive to a long, drawn out conversation. Trying to express your every feeling and concern might make you feel better, but quite frankly, all he hears after a while is, “blah, blah, blah”.
To get your point across keep these communication tips in mind:
- Remember He’s Not Your Girlfriend
When you’re venting to your girlfriends about all the crazy things your guy is doing that’s driving you up the wall, you can get as detailed and emotionally charged as you please In fact, I believe we women love a good story and will listen with inquiring minds. However, when you’re talking to your guy in this way, he’s likely to lose track of what you’re trying to say and zone out. Try as best you can to stay on point and only stress details that are relevant to your stance. It has been proven that men have shorter attention spans so the sooner you can get the message across the better it will be.
- Be Mindful of Your Emotions
I’m not saying you shouldn’t express any emotion, but you don’t want to overdo it. Many guys will shut down or react in anger/frustration when placed in an emotionally charged situation. Though this doesn’t mean that men are incapable of sympathizing with your emotions or opening up, but they do so in a way that is very different from women. When dealing with an emotional topic, the best way to communicate with a man is after some time has passed. Talking about the topic after you’ve had time to process your own emotions will warrant the best response from your guy. This way you can still share your heart felt feelings, though you’ll be doing so in proactive, clear and graceful way (versus a reactive, dramatic and confusing way).
- Delivery And Space To Think
The words you choose to express yourself will make a huge difference in the way he perceives and responds to what you share. The moment you start pointing your finger at him and making him wrong is the moment you lose common ground. If you want him to receive what you share then you can’t approach it like a battle between two countries – you must approach the discussion from a one-country approach with two states; each state has to work together for the country to prosper.
Rather than telling him how bad his behavior is, let him know how the situation made you feel. Share you perspective and understanding and then ask him to share his. The key here is to let him think and then speak. For example:
– I felt sad and also confused when you left the party abruptly
– It would feel great to work this out together
– My feeling is…. of course you may feel very differently. How do you feel about what I just shared?
If he pauses and says nothing for a while then give him the space to think and respond. Hold the space with love and don’t fill in the silence. Respectfully give him time to gather his thoughts. He will speak… and when he does, what he shares may surprise you.
- Try Communicating While Participating in an Activity
Another mistake women make in relationships is saying these god awful words, “we need to talk.” Saying this and then turning off the television and expecting him to give you his undivided attention is likely not going to happen. When a man hears those words he automatically assumes he’s in trouble and may begin to shut down. Take another approach to communicating with him. Take a drive, go for a walk, or even hit the gym and have a conversation with him about it. While you may think he’s distracted, men actually respond better when they’re doing something active. Don’t forget there’s also the option to have a little “pillow talk”.
- Try to Keep a Neutral Tone
Yes, you want to get your point across, and yes you want to make sure that he understands the pain and/or confusion that you feel by his actions. However, trying to talk to a guy by yelling, hollering, or being condescending can really turn him off. Try to come from a place of positivity in addressing the matters. The best way to communicate with a man is to create an environment in which he feels safe to express himself.
I Stated My Feelings… Now What?
After you’ve expressed your concerns for how you feel he’s been treating you, you have a few things you’ll need to do:
- Give it Time
Based on his response from your conversation, you should be able to quickly discern whether he’s receptive to trying to change or if he simply doesn’t care. If he wants to make the change then give him time to do so. Depending on what you’re asking of him, it could be habitual behavior that he needs to correct over time. For instance, if the issue is he raises his voice during heated conversations, this could be something he grew up experiencing in his own home. That may make it challenging for him to make the change straight away, so give him time to integrate this (Of course if he is physically aggressive then safety is your number one priority. Sometimes no amount of talking will see him changing his ways.)
- Show Appreciation
If your boyfriend or spouse is willing to make the necessary changes, you can best motivate him by being encouraging. When you see that he’s making an effort, thank him for it. If he realizes that his changes are making a difference in how you feel towards him, he will be encouraged to continue doing the right thing.
Speaking Up Benefits The Relationship
Addressing your feelings when your partner is doing something that really makes you feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or unloved is the best thing you can do for yourself and for the relationship going forward. Your man will respect you for having the backbone to say what’s on your mind as opposed to hiding it and blowing up on him later. You will also feel better about yourself in knowing that you have standards and values that you actively honor and won’t let anyone cross.
Being in a relationship with someone who is treating you in a manner that you don’t approve of is never beneficial. While you may feel like speaking up would cause more harm than good, at the end of the day speaking up benefits the relationship as a whole.
When you address the matter in a way that is best when communicating with a man, chances are he’ll be receptive. If he’s not willing to make the changes, at least you know now as opposed to wasting years of your life on someone who will never treat you right. Set the bar and stick to your guns as you are the first example of how others should treat you.