Communication between the sexes. It's always been difficult, and even as the workplace and the world in general open up more and more to women, we all still know that men and women are a little different. We think differently, speak differently, and expect different things. But when we share these differences, we can dramatically improve communication and relationships.
Guys, whether you're married with kids, a newlywed, or just looking for love at the moment, read this list of eight things most women wish you knew, and remind yourself of them often. If a man can get these eight things right, he'll definitely notice a difference in his relationship with just about any woman.
1. You don't have to fix all our problems.
Whether it's because of nature or socialization, women tend to be more relationship and feeling oriented creatures than men. While men like to solve problems with concrete solutions, women need to talk things out and be understood. Numerous studies have confirmed this, including one recent study through the Harvard School of Medicine. This study showed, that women and men were happier in their marriages when both partners made an effort to understand the feelings of the other partner. Of course, the study showed that this affected women more, and that women particularly needed their husband's to understand their negative emotions.
So, when we come to you with a problem, don't immediately give us a solution. Let us talk it out. Try to understand all the emotions that we're feeling, and listen well. Then, and only then, can you possibly offer us a solution – and only if you have a really, really good idea.
2. Being nice counts.
While the image of the good girl falling for the bad boy is often seen in Western culture, for most women, falling in love with the bad boys is just a phase. In fact, it's a phase that many women never go through at all. In reality, we like nice guys. Men who are nice to their mothers (without being mama's boys, please.), kind to their dogs, and even generous when leaving tips at a restaurant are attractive because these men are more likely to be nice to us in a relationship.
3. When it comes to all things sexual, it's okay to ask.
Way too many guys get their idea of what counts as good sex from pornography, which is created to look good – not necessarily portray reality. It's definitely true that you can't believe everything you see on television (or the internet, as the case may be). If you have questions about what to do, what works, or how to do something in the bedroom, just ask. We don't expect you to know exactly what turns us on every time, and asking about it shows us that you really want to please us, too.
After you ask, though, make sure you actually listen. Women's bodies are way more complicated than men's, so what works for one woman could be completely off base for another. Heck, what feels amazing one day may be simply annoying the next for the exact same woman.
4. It's okay for you to take charge.
While the modern woman is typically pretty independent and go-get-'em, it's still okay for you to take charge once in a while. That doesn't mean you need to order our meal for us on the first date, but it does mean that most women like a man with a plan. That could mean that you have a plan for what to do on our first date, that you plan the honeymoon all on your own, or even that we create a five-year plan together.
Women like it when men know how to take charge of their own lives. So if you're single and looking for a girlfriend, showing the women you're interested in that you have a job and a direction in your life before you meet your match, could help you get those dates rolling in.
5. Your words are important.
Most guys know this on some level, but they tend to forget it during everyday interactions. As women, we need to hear you saying affirming words over and over and over again. If you love a woman, then tell her so. (But don't use "I love you" as doublespeak for "I want to sleep with you." That just makes you a sleazebag.) Tell us when you think we look beautiful or when you appreciate a meal we cooked or when you noticed we got a haircut. It's really not that difficult.
6. But sometimes actions speak louder than words.
On the flip side of the coin, though, don't take advantage of the fact that words have so much power for women. A guy who consistently tells his girlfriend he loves her even while cheating, failing to meet her basic needs, or just generally being a jerk is going to land himself on the curb pretty quickly.
If you say that you love a woman, then act like it. If you tell her you're going to do something, then do it. Following through on your words with actions that match up to what you're saying is one of the best ways to attract and keep a great woman.
7. It doesn't count as "babysitting" or "doing a favor" when they're your own children.
If you've got kids, remember this: they are your children too, even though you didn't have to go through the entire pregnancy. Actually, the fact that you get out of the whole pregnancy bit should make you bend over backwards to help your significant other during that long nine months and the tiring few months afterwards.
Too many guys these days are stuck in an old paradigm where the women took care of the children, and the men went to work all day. This is simply not how things work in most modern families, since two-income families are more common now than ever before. But even if your wife does stay at home with the kids, they aren't just her responsibility, and you aren't doing her a favor by watching them so she can go to yoga class one night a week. It's called being a parent.
8. Handling money well is more important than making a lot of it.
A recent study cited on CBSNews.com showed that after about three years of a marriage or committed relationship, many people start to get frustrated with relatively small matters that didn't seem to matter in the beginning. One of the leading causes of frustrations like these is money and over-spending. Most women don't really care if you make six figures. If we want to live the high life, we can go develop our own careers, thank you very much. But being responsible with the money you do make (and, by extension, the money we bring in if we have joint accounts) is huge.
Living on a reasonable budget and staying away from massive debt lets us know that you're responsible in other areas of life, as well, and that you care about the future rather than just the moment. Guys who look at credit card reviews carefully instead of signing up for every card they're offered, who control their spending, and who practice a little delayed gratification so they can be more financially secure are simply attractive for most women.
While these eight things are certainly not the only things women wish more men knew, they are some of the most important. If you, as a man, can make your words and actions show that you get these eight things and that they're important to you, too, it will make a world of difference in your dating prospects and/or long-term relationship.