I was thinking about this question recently after a conversation with a friend. She was involved with a guy for several months that turned out to be emotionally unavailable, though it didn’t start out that way. Initially he seemed to be together, showed her he cared, was attentive, but then he changed. He became distant, hard to pin down, wouldn’t respond to calls or texts for days with barely an excuse. She began to feel as though she did something wrong to turn him away.
But was it her or him? Was he just emotionally unavailable?
Well, the short answer is: maybe a little bit of both. Maybe the guy she fell for seemed like a great catch, but he was just not in the right emotional space to be in a relationship. Or he may have been a not so good guy; the kind of guy that plays mind games. Or maybe she just wasn’t his type.
Most men are good, honest, and not too complicated. Good, loyal men say what they mean and mean what they say. Men are pretty simple creatures when it comes right down to it. And, when they commit their heart to a woman there are three qualities, I believe, that they truly want and cherish in their woman.
So, that is my take on what men want. I would love to hear from you, both women and men if you think I missed anything.
If you have ever been in a relationship, then you know that relationships are complicated. There are moments of pure joy, and then there are times when you question everything. Through the highs and lows, it’s hard to be certain whether or not you and your significant other are meant to be, or not. Sure, in every relationship, you need to be able to work through the “bad” together. But, when do you say enough is enough? At what point do you draw the line between rough times and simply just settling?
After every toxic relationship ends, many people say they wish they could have seen the signs. As a divorced person, I can promise you there are always signs. The problem is our “love can conquer all” glasses won’t let us see them until they are so blatantly obvious they create an avalanche.
So I came up with a little reminder of signs that might be pointing to the end of a relationship. But just remember, just as the glass is half full, the heart-breaking end of something is just the beginning to a fresh start and a new love.
You called me what?
Words hurt, and they hurt relationships. Name calling and hurtful words sting, leaving an indelible print on the relationship that no apology can truly wash away. It is hard to go back and respect that person you love after they called you horrible names. It will always leave the question of doubt in your mind of what’s around the corner.
Where’s the sex?
Sex is crucial in a happy and healthy relationship. And when sex isn’t on the table anymore (literally or not), it’s a sign something bigger is happening. It may be that you have both grown distant, emotionally and physically.
Where’s the trust?
You need to be able to trust your partner. Checking each other's phones, social media accounts, and emails is not the foundation of a healthy, trusting relationship. If your relationship is starting to look less like a romance novel and more like mystery book, then you might want to make a run for it.
When is bad is not good?
Sometimes being bad can be a good thing, especially in the bedroom, but when the bad outweighs the good in all things, there is likely a big problem. For instance, if you can’t even remember the last time you were happy, that would be bad. It may be that you are simply not compatible and it’s best to figure that out before you say “I do.”
Spend time together much?
When you’d rather spend a night out with friends every weekend instead of your partner, it’s apparent that there is an issue. If you are happy in your relationship, you will want to spend most of your time together — not the opposite. If you’re making excuses to not see your partner, then perhaps you need to re-examine why you haven’t ended things yet.
How much fighting is too much?
Arguing in a relationship comes with the territory. Each couple is bound to have everything from insignificant fights to explosive, can’t sleep for two-day fights. But when your relationship becomes like, “Wow! We made it a day without fighting,” you might need to take a look in the relationship mirror. If you even have trouble staying civil on vacations when you are in a beautiful hotel with room service, then it might be time to say goodbye.
Fantasizing of others?
It’s all fun and games until you can’t stop thinking about other men or women. In a happy and strong relationship, you should be thinking about your partner. When unhappiness starts to creep in, so do thoughts and fantasies about other people. This is maybe the point where attention from other men or women fills an emptiness you’re feeling from the relationship. Flirting on social media or drunkenly texting your ex, are clear signs that something is missing. It is normal to fantasize about other people, but when you are in a bad relationship it is easy to get to the point of no return.
I remember when I was in marriage counseling many years ago discussing the end of my marriage, it was one of the most difficult periods of my life. I had spent a lot of time contemplating divorce before I actually initiated it. I was the one who was filing because I was at the point of no return and just had enough. I couldn’t live the way we were living a second longer. At the time, my therapist told me a fact I had already known, that the majority of divorces were initiated by women. But interestingly, she also told me the number one reason she believed women initiated divorce more often: because the women felt alone in their marriage. The men were there, but were not present in their wives lives.
The men were either working many hours, golfing constantly on their time off from work, watching TV, or basically not paying them any attention or giving them much of their time. I am not saying that this is right or wrong or relegated to a problem only men are doing since many women do it too, but I do know that all people need to feel loved and if their partner is rarely around it can leave the person on the other end of that feeling cold.
When one of the spouses leaves the other out in the cold (man or woman) they leave their spouse with few choices: endure the loneliness, possibly have an affair, or leave the marriage.
Some marriage partners decide to cheat instead of leaving the marriage as a kind of testing ground to their attractiveness, since a disinterested spouse leaves the other spouse feeling insecure about themselves. According to M. Gary Neuman in his book The Truth About Cheating, both genders cheat primarily because of emotional dissatisfaction in the marriage. Well that certainly dispels the myth that for men, cheating is all about sex. At one time infidelity was a fear that women predominantly held regarding their marriages, but today cheating is nearly at equal footing between men and women.
Doesn’t it do your heart good to see women are catching up to men in that department?
With the rise of two-income families in the workplace, women have the same external pressures as men have always had, but the women still tends to do more within the family then their spouses, giving them even more stress. This may be one explanation as to why women cheaters are on the rise.
Let’s face it: when one of the spouses feels underappreciated, neglected, or ignored it is going to cause a problem between the marriage partners. Falling in love is easy; remaining in love isn’t always easy; sometimes it takes a bit of attention and effort. Some people equate effort with work and if there is one expression I despise that has become a mantra for many couples (and therapists) is -- “good relationships require work.” I believe that statement to be a misnomer. Relationships require time and attention, not work. When relationships, i.e. marriages, start becoming work, I believe that it is only a matter of time that it is nearing the end.
If you feed your partners soul by touching them when you are near them or listening to them when they speak instead of shushing and rushing them to finish a story, then they will feel your love. If you show your spouse that you appreciate them and they are an integral part of your life, they will want to spend time with you.
However, if partners assume their partner will always be there like a potted plant or the TV and does nothing to nurture the relationship, they should not be surprised one day that their partner took their focus and attention elsewhere.
Remember: Your presence and attention is truly required for the relationship to flourish.
So if you are in a relationship that you want to stay in, ask yourself if you give your partner the gift of your time and attention they need and deserve? If not, it’s not too late to start paying more attention to them and in return you will get it all back and more.
For those of us unfortunate enough to have gone through a divorce, we know it is a tumultuous time in everyone’s life. For you, your ex, both of your extended families, and mostly your children. In fact, you may find yourself thinking and doing things that are out of character of your true self. If you talk to anyone who has gone through it, it is astounding how you will always hear “I don’t know who this person is anymore.” Sadly, they are right! Divorce is life altering and the person you once thought had your back, is the same person wanting to stab you in the back, at least in court.
It’s a fact that people going through divorce are usually more emotionally off keel (temporarily) due to the stress they are under. Because of this they don’t always make rational decisions. However, when children are involved it is imperative to keep as much normalcy as possible for their sake and their long-term stability.
Below is a partial list I found online in an article from Lois Misiewicz (2011). This isn’t her complete list, I made quite a few additions and deletions. Keep in mind, these are not always easy to follow, but in the end taking the high road, even when you know your former spouse isn’t, will send clear signals to your children that they can trust and rely on you. Some of these may sound simple, but again, nothing is simple when it comes to divorce.
4. Your children should not know the details of your divorce… regardless of
their age. They still have a right to love the other parent. Less is more here.
5. If you are in a new relationship don’t expect your children to fall head over
heels for that person just because you have. Keep your emotions at bay. In
fact it would be best for your children to only meet people you see a future
6. If you feel the need to talk trash about your spouse don’t do it when there is
even a remote possibility your children will hear you (another very hard thing
7. Don’t question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse. You
are both done, so move on!
8. You can't change what has already ready happened so don’t continually
rehash the past. Try instead to learn from it for your future relationships.
9. Your children are not messengers. Aside from putting them right in the
middle, you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse
correctly and in the manner you meant it. Do your own communication.
10. Don’t stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.
I know during the process I myself made a few blunders and did things I shouldn’t have. But as time wore on, I realized the only people I was hurting were those I loved the most: my children. If you try to adhere to this advice, you will find your behavior shifting toward rationality and maturity daily. Yes, it is easier said than done, but your child’s well-being is really on the line here, and in many respects, so is yours.
I would love to hear your stories or your comments.
Has been writing most of her adult life on various topics important to women and children. If you are contemplating divorce, then you should check out her e-book.
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