Here’s a guide to proper man-tenance, written by WGA reader and contributor Dan Palmer…
After all that searching, sifting through the cavemen, mummy’s boys, egotists, and other assorted no-hopers, you’ve finally selected the man you feel is The One™. You love your man, so naturally you want to keep him happy. That’s not always as easy as it sounds; sometimes their logic-based programming can seem a bit confusing and difficult to manage, but if you follow a few simple steps you’ll soon be more than competent at it.
He needs space
Don’t be offended that he doesn’t want to be with you 24/7, we all need a break sometime. His ‘me time’ is important, it’s when he gets to do the things you don’t like without you moaning at him. It can be something as simple as watching TV or a movie that you wouldn’t want to watch, acting out his Star Wars or X-Men daydreams or just having enough time to pick his nose and have a look at what came out. In short, it’s the time he needs to feel he’s still himself and hasn’t lost sight of who he feels he is. If you deny him this time, he’ll start trying to get it in a sneaky way, which will make you suspicious and eventually lead to unnecessary arguments. Make the most of this time to do things you like doing, seeing friends, shopping or keeping up with any hobbies you may have. Don’t phone him during this time either, he’ll feel like you’re trying to check up on him. It’ll also make you look clingy and needy.
He’s with you because he loves the person you are. He fell for the smart, attractive, independent you and just as he doesn’t want to become someone else, he doesn’t want you to, either. That doesn’t mean you should act like you don’t need him, just that you don’t want him to feel like you are merging into one entity. He wants to be with you, not part of you. Remember the simple logic in his head; two can only become one, when one is taken away, regardless of what the Spice Girls said.
Keep making an effort to look good
This doesn’t mean you need to be fully made up at all times, just avoid living a life in sweat pants when you’re at home. If you’re attracting admiring glances from other men when you’re out together, it’ll make him think that he’ll have to stay on top of his game to keep you and will also make more of an effort himself. Make sure his efforts are not wasted, let him know you think he’s looking good or he’ll stop trying. Looking good will also work wonders for your own confidence and self-esteem, which in turn makes you look even sexier to your man.
Say what’s on your mind
Generally, men are not mind readers. If you have a problem with something he’s done, tell him, but do it in a calm manner and explain why it’s a problem. As soon as he can make sense of the issue he can work on making sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t bottle things up only to let them all out in a completely unrelated argument; it’ll just confuse him if you scream about him finishing the milk, when you’re really angry about him smiling back at the waitress who served you the previous night. There’s no connection between the two incidents in his mind, you’ll just make him think you’re moody.
Don’t fake it
This applies both in and out of the bedroom. In the bedroom, avoid direct criticism if it’s not working for you; try suggesting he does the things you want or just take control – he really won’t mind if you do. He will follow the old adage of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, so all the time you’re telling him everything is okay, he’s unlikely to try changing anything. Out of the bedroom, don’t pretend to be into the things he likes, if you’re not. Sooner or later he’ll pick up on your disinterest and assume you’re just tagging along to spy on him, or worse he’ll think you’re being clingy.
We all subconsciously pick up on the body language of others; if he asks you something, it’s because he wants to know. Don’t lie about things like where you’re going or what you’re thinking; it’ll make him suspicious, just as it would you, if the situation were reversed. If he shows enough concern to want to know what’s getting you down, don’t say it’s nothing; to him that feels like you’re rejecting his affection when all he wants to do is help you. Just let it out, it’ll probably make you feel better, too.
Massage his ego
Now and again, it doesn’t hurt to pay him a compliment or do something nice for him. It won’t demean you or set the feminist movement back if you cook his favourite dinner occasionally. When he’s fixed the wonky shelf in the kitchen it’s far better to say something like “Thank you, sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without you” than to say “Well, it’s about time”. It’s a simple connection that’s made in the brains of any trainable animal all the way up to humans; when a good deed is met with a positive response there’ll be more good deeds in the future.
Don’t ask ‘Trap Questions’
These are the questions that raise flags in his mind, warning of an upcoming no-win situation. A classic example would go something like this; he’s watching TV when you come from the bedroom holding up two outfits and say to him, “Which one do you think looks better?”
The alarm bells start ringing immediately; he may well prefer one over the other, but he’s certain that if he picks outfit A, you’re going to demand to know what’s wrong with outfit B – an obvious trap in his mind, one that almost always has an argument at the end of it. That’s why such a question usually gets a non-committal answer like, “They both look good to me, Dear” even if he does think you’ll look better in outfit A. That’s why most men don’t like going shopping, seeing you looking good in a variety of nice clothes is not such a bad thing, but it’s the minefield of awkward questions and the tedious waiting that kills their enthusiasm.
Especially before making any suggestions he may not like. A full belly will make him more reasonable, so give him dinner first. When people are hungry they’re usually a bit moody, so even something he only has a slight problem with will become a big issue if his tummy is rumbling. Be careful not to overuse this technique or he’ll start to associate you cooking a nice dinner with bad news.
If you bear at least some of this advice in mind, you should have a pretty calm and happy man. Your man will also be wondering how he got so lucky to have found himself such a kind and understanding partner, and hopefully this will make him realise how much effort he needs to put in to keep such a fantastic woman by his side.
All the best, girls! xoxo