I read a lot of crap about relationships and marriage, even though I’m not in a relationship and I’ve never been married. Human dynamics fascinate me, as do the myriad reasons relationships work or don’t work. I figured because of this, it’s my duty to impart my wisdom (and I always try to be objective and not take sides—except when I’m talking about my exes).
Although I haven’t cohabitated with a man in quite some time, I consider my son to be a little man in training with similar propensities. I’ve had to learn what’s important to him, what he responds to or doesn’t respond to, and I’d like to think all this will help me in future relations with the opposite sex. Mind you, we’re taking food and sex off the table here, because if you were to ask me what men’s 3 top priorities were in life, those two would immediately come to mind. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a third, although it’d probably be a toss-up between money and family.
The following rules are the “little things” that seem important to a man.
1. When he comes home, run to greet him with an effusive hello.
I know a few wives who don’t greet their husbands at the door when they come home from work—either because they’re always in the middle of something or because they’re not touchy-feely women in general. Imo, this makes their husbands feel like they’re not happy to see them after a day of being away. When my son comes home from school, I usually see him walking from the bus before he reaches the front door. This gives me a moment to finish typing a sentence or save a document, get up from my seat and wait for him with open arms. I scream his name, the diva barks uncontrollably—It’s pure chaos and my son loves it. He runs into my arms for about 2.5 seconds before disentangling himself from me. Since he’s admitted he looks forward to this welcome every day, I make sure never to disappoint him.
2. When he’s in a bad mood, leave him alone until he decides to emerge from his shell.
This is hard for me. If I see someone in a bad mood, and especially my son, I want to know what’s wrong RIGHT AWAY. Women may be able to talk about whatever their problem is immediately, but I’ve never met a man who could. Men are like beef stew—it takes awhile for the flavors (issues) to come out. I’m not sure what they’re doing while they’re “stewing”—ruminating, perhaps? Decompressing? In any case, if I push my son to talk about what’s bothering him before he’s ready, he’ll clam up. The few times he’s come home, gone straight into his room and shut the door without saying anything are the times I’ve had to sit on my hands, literally, and give him a few moments to unwind alone. It’s tough, but way better than getting my head bitten off.
3. When he wants to tell you something, stop what you’re doing and listen.
My son’s not a big talker. Except when I’m in the middle of very important work or it’s late at night—my least favorite times to chat. Any other time I get one-word answers to my questions, but it’s when he’s in the mood to talk is when I get truly significant information, like what happened on the playground, which girl likes him, and what he wants to do when he grows up (work at GameStop so he can play video games all day). Sure, I could continue staring at the computer screen while he’s divulging deep, dark secrets, or fall asleep, but these times of disclosure are so few and far between that I make the effort to stop what I’m doing and make eye contact. Even if it kills me.
4. Be his biggest cheerleader.
If you’re not, who will be? My son lives to please me. My disapproval crushes his little spirit. Many husbands say they live for their wives’ approval and when they don’t get it, well, they do naughty things in retaliation like cheat and forget your birthday. I’ve been known to take perverse pleasure in playing the devil’s advocate simply because I like to argue, but that never puts me in good favor with a man because then they think I’m against them. Any male, whether they’re 10 or 70 wants to know that the woman who claims to love him most is in his corner. Even when he’s wrong.
5. Be interested in what floats his boat.
Oh, the pure torture when I’m in the car with no place to escape to and my boy’s yapping about the video game, Minecraft. Crap spews from his mouth like, “There were 5 creepers in a hole, so I had to YOLO dive and pull out my sword and then dive into the pit, yelling ‘YOLO!’ to try and kill them.” It would be so easy to tune it out and fantasize about a romance hero instead, but if I don’t show interest in what he’s talking about, he’ll never want to talk to me, ever. Especially when he’s a teenager. Men are the same way. You may not care how the Dow did, or even what the Dow is, but force yourself to listen anyway, because there will always be another woman out there willing to listen about the cam shifter and interrupter your man replaced in the 1988 Olds with the V-6 engine.
Anybody have anything to add to the list?