BETWEEN LADIES AND GUYS: 3 RELATIONSHIP INJURIES
By Jessie Knadler
You don’t have to buy into her predictions, but at least you’ll have a good laugh.
You pretty much know when you’re being blatantly rude, mean, or crazy around your guy. It’s those moments when you use seemingly innocent but actually harmful lines that you can cause the worst injury to your relationship. “He may not consciously realize how much they bother him, but they can cause a guy to shut down,” says Diana Kirschner, PhD, author of Love in 90 Days.
To avoid unwittingly triggering that kind of reaction, we compiled the six shadow phrases that can upset a guy. We suggest you eliminate them from your vocabulary…like, now.
1.”YOU’RE SO MUCH BETTER THAN ALL THE OTHER JERKS I’VE DATED.”
Absolutely, it seems like you’re paying him a nice compliment. But when a guy hears this, alarms start going off. “It sounds like something a girl who’s had terrible luck in relationships would say,” explains professional matchmaker Rachel Greenwald, author of Why He Didn’t Call You Back. And since guys tend to be pretty rational, he’ll figure out that the one constant in all those awful relationships was you…so you must be the problem.
That’s not all. He’ll also assume that since you think everyone you’ve ever dated is a jerk, you will eventually think he’s a jerk too, which provides very little motivation to try to build on your bond.
How do you let him know you value your relationship above all others? Simple. “Don’t mention your exes,” Greenwald says. “Most men don’t want to be reminded of the other men in your life, even or especially if they were all jerks.” Instead, keep the focus on the present relationship by saying something like “I’ve never met anyone like you before. I’m having such a wonderful time.” That way, you come off as empowered.
2.”CAN YOU REALLY AFFORD THAT?”
If he’s blowing money he doesn’t have on cutting-edge electronics, an expensive car, or pricey gifts for you well, a couple of those are okay it would seem only natural that you should point out the error of his ways. But most guys tie up a huge part of their self-worth in their finances, so criticizing his money-handling abilities is, to him, the same as calling him a loser. Furthermore, it’ll make him associate you with the least sexy, least desirable woman in his life: Mom. “When you communicate a maternal ‘I know what’s best for you’ attitude for long enough, he may even start treating you like his mother,” says Jan Hoistad, PhD, author of Romance Rehab.
He could react by morphing into a clueless man-child (think of pretty much any dude at the beginning of pretty much any Judd Apatow movie and you’ll get the idea). And if that happens, you’ll find yourself trapped in a vicious cycle in which you annoy each other endlessly: He’ll act out, which will make you nag, which will make him act out, which will make you nag some more, etc.
So if you’re engaged, married, or involved in a large joint purchase, pick a neutral time to discuss money with him in other words, not when you’re seething about the five new video games you just spotted on a credit-card statement. Then sit down together, and make a budget with the help of a Website like mint.com.
If, however, you’re just dating, what he spends on himself is generally none of your business. Unless, of course, he then proceeds to mooch off you, in which case, you need to question why the hell you’re with him in the first place.
3.”SO WE’RE RUNNING A LITTLE LATE. RELAX.”
It’s almost never good to keep people waiting, but as far as he’s concerned, that’s not the point. The real issue is that it sounds like you don’t care about a pet peeve of his. “It’s as if you’re telling him he doesn’t have a right to be annoyed, which makes him feel like you’re rejecting or ignoring his feelings,” Greenwald says. What’s more, by implying he’s the one with the problem, you’re triggering an argument. How did you react the last time you were upset and he brushed it off by telling you to chill out?
A better way to handle his pet peeves whether it’s tardiness, slovenliness, or driving too slowly in the left lane is to make sure that he knows you heard what he’s saying. Tell him, “I’m sorry I know this is important to you. I’ll try to be more aware of it next time.” Not only will it disarm him enough to avoid a fight, but it’ll also reassure him that his feelings are important to you, making him far less likely to feel defensive or hold a grudge.