- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Men in Relationships
For the guys--be confident!
Confidence is sexy....self-doubt is not
Men, us women love you. We love how you are there for us when we need you, how you help out with the daily chores, how you comfort us when we are scared. Being the man in our life, loving us and being who you are is sexy. What's not so sexy though is when you completely doubt yourself, in ways that don't have a lot to do with anything the woman in your life is doing or saying, and has a whole lot more to do with your lack of self esteem.
For example, my ex-boyfriend was a very insecure person, inside our relationship anyway. To just meet him you'd think he was totally secure, cool as a cucumber. But then there would be times when he and I were alone when he would show me just how self-doubting he really was. Forgive my lacking memory, for I can't think of an exact example. But generally, usually the situation would be as follows: I would say something that was just meant as a benign comment, in the context of the conversation, in a calm but firm tone, and he would freak out. He would flip my words around, making it seem as though I had just ripped him a new one. Over and over again throughout our relationship I had to remind him that I was NOT his enemy, that I indeed did care about him and that I was not out to make him feel horrible about himself.
Reading this, you could think that I'm just going easy on myself, that perhaps I was being harder on him than I let on. But even if that were so, his reactions were still WAY over the top of what the situation called for. The unfortunate outcome of a man having such an insecure reaction is that it puts his woman in a position that is less his partner and more his mom, forcing her to say things like, "No honey, I DO love you, really." A woman wants her man to be strong and sure of himself. It's really awkward when a girlfriend, wife or life partner is put in the position to have to reassure her man, as though he is a scared child thinking he is never going to be enough for her, even though she has never said he is not enough for her. The other problem is that when a man takes something so incredibly the wrong way, it puts her in the position to be defensive, having to say things like, "It's ok baby, I didn't mean it like that," so that she has to explain what she said in a completely different way so he will understand her. The fallout is a situation that causes her to be defensive, which she most likely resents him for since what she said in the first place was practically nothing that he simply blew way out of proportion.
My current boyfriend has on occasion taken what I said the wrong way, and assumed I meant something hurtful instead of what I really meant. This did annoy me because I then had to calmly explain that I actually did like him blah blah (this is especially annoying if, like me, your woman has had to deal with the same situation from a former boyfriend). But the thing my current boyfriend also does is get into little bouts of self-doubt spurred on by nothing other than his own lacking confidence, that I then have to deal with, which, if we are in a social situation, can get a little awkward. Take the time we were at the bar playing pool with a few friends--another female friend and two male friends. Everything was going fine, we were playing teams, having a good time. But during the moment everyone left to get another drink I saw a look on my man's face that seemed not so happy. I asked him what was wrong, and at first he tried to play it off like everything was fine. But then when I pressed him, gently, he started talking about how he feels left out and listed a few of the physical things he doesn't like about himself, none of which anyone had said a single word about. That no one had said anything about any of the things he had mentioned let me know it was nothing any of us were doing that set him off, but that he was having a random bout of insecurity brought on by who knows what. Despite me not having caused any of his insecurity in that moment, because I was the girlfriend I was the one who had to do damage control. So while everyone was gone, I talked to him about how everyone liked him just fine, and how no one had mentioned any of the things he had mentioned, so he was just doing it to himself. I was glad to see him get over it pretty quickly, 'cause had he not, a very uncomfortable social situation would have occurred once everyone got back from getting drinks. And I wouldn't have appreciated having been made to feel responsible for making sure he was feeling good about himself and about being with everyone we were hanging with, since it's not my fault he was feeling down and not my responsibility to make sure he was having a good time.
One situation that comes up from time to time in relationships is when the couple is out together and the woman is getting attention from some other guy at the bar, or wherever they are at together, while the boyfriend is not standing with the girl. The boyfriend eventually notices that the girlfriend is enjoying a conversation with another guy. Now, an insecure boyfriend would see his lady enjoying the company of a strange man to be an instant threat, and possibly react in one of three ways: 1. Get up to join his lady and "causally" butt into the conversation, introducing himself as her man, just in case the girlfriend hadn't told the strange man she has a man. 2. Wait until she returns to their table and freak out saying "Who's that guy you were talking to? Looks like you were really liked talking to him!" in a not so subtle jealous tone. 3. (The least desirable option) just walk up to the strange man and tell him to get away from his woman, and stop trying to steal his woman from him.
Men, let me tell you that all of the above mentioned reactions are really not cool. You may think that the first option is socially acceptable, but any intelligent woman will see right through your "subtle" actions as an act of desperation and see right away that you were feeling threatened by the fact that your woman was merely speaking to another guy! Even if he told her some joke and you see her laughing, that doesn't mean that in that instant she made up her mind to ditch you and start seeing the new strange man. Think about it; if she really were on the hunt to meet someone new or to see what her options were, you think she would have brought you with her? That doesn't really make any sense, now does it? Here's what you could do that would be really sexy: wait until she gets back to the table and either act as though you hadn't seen her talking to the guy at all, or just very casually say something like, "Took you a minute to get a drink," or even better, "Hey, glad you're back," while smiling. If seeing her with someone else really bothered you, and you just can't stand not telling her, then I suppose you can tell her it bothered you to see her talking to someone else (even though this it itself sounds somewhat ridiculous). But if you are really going to say something to her, make sure you OWN YOUR OWN FEELINGS and make sure you DO NOT under any circumstances make it her problem. If your relationship is sturdy and things have been generally pretty good between you two, there is no logical reason to realistically feel she is going to leave you for anyone else. You feeling insecure in certain moments is your deal, not hers. If you are secure about your relationship and about how she feels toward you, then her momentarily enjoying the company of someone else shouldn't bother you one bit. If you seriously feel threatened by your lady talking to someone else, it means there is either a problem with you or a problem with your relationship with her. In either case, while you two are socializing is NOT the time to bring it up. Talk about it later, when the two of you are alone. That way your discussion is private, like it should be, and you don't risk making her feel awkward around everyone else you are with.
Something to keep in mind men, whenever you are feeling threatened by her interactions with another guy, is that she is with YOU, not anyone else. Every day you two are together, she is consciously choosing to be with you. If she is a decent person, if she decided not to be with you she would break up with you first before trying to talk up some other guy. But for now she is with you, which means she cares about you and her relationship with you. So to approach her with an attitude of, "You must be wanting to leave me for that random guy you were talking to when I wasn't there," is just simply ridiculous...so just don't do that. You will only come off as crazy, jealous, insecure, and definitely NOT attractive. I guarantee that the more you approach situations in this poor manner, the more she will think about leaving you, because at some point she is going to get the idea that no matter how much she reassures you, you will never feel secure in your relationship with her. And that, my friend, is YOUR problem, NOT hers.
One last quick note: just as you will always think other women in the world are attractive, she will always think that other guys in the world are attractive. But just because she thinks other guys are attractive does not in any way mean she doesn't think you are. You can't possibly go around your whole life thinking that the woman you are with thinks you are the only attractive guy in the world. If she ever does say you are, she is definitely lying, though she may just be saying so to be romantic.
Overall, if you are a guy who is prone to insecurity, I say read her signals and how she treats you and your relationship before letting all your insecurities show. Simply because you feel insecure doesn't mean there is a logical reason for it. Any insecurities you have about your relationship should be based on true existing factors. Any insecurities you personally have are ones yo had before you met her, and though you can talk to her about them, at no point should you ever blame her for them. They are your issues that you need to work through so that you can be a stronger, more confident, more sexy man for the woman you love.