As a relationship coach, I’m on the front lines offering dating and love advice to women every day, hearing all the latest and most common ways that otherwise good people mess up their intimate relationships. While there are a million stories in the big city, the truth is that the reasons for breakups usually tend to fall into a few primary categories.
Now before you accuse me of blaming women for all breakups, just know that I have a list of the 10 biggest mistakes men make in relationships as well. And believe me, they are as different as these two genders themselves.
We all have our own unique challenges related to the way we see and interact with the world around us. The good news is that a lot of our issues could be avoided if more people were aware of the huge differences in how men and women navigate the world.
So here they are in no particular order, the 10 biggest mistakes women make In relationships with men:
1. You don’t know your own value
This might be one of the most common issues. Do you chase after the bad boys who treat you poorly and only want them more?
Are you attracted to all the unavailable guys? Are you afraid to ask for what you want? Do you put up with nonsense expecting that “one day” it will magically change? If so, welcome to the club — you are far from alone.
You, my dear, do not know your value. The truth is that there are only two fears in the human condition: one is that you’re “not enough,” and two is that you won’t be loved.
Let’s be clear: this will keep you single until it changes.
Ironically, the thing that will keep you stuck here for years (or even decades) is that no man can really respect a woman who will allow him to treat her so shabbily, so this truly is a self-inflicted wound.
I’m sorry for being so blunt, but the truth will set you free — even if it makes you angry or defensive first. I care enough to level with you so you can actually have all the love you truly deserve.
2. You rely too much on your masculine energy
Many of my clients are highly successful women and well known in their communities. They’re doctors, lawyers, executives and entrepreneurs, but they can’t attract — or keep — a man.
Ironically, their success is oftentimes a result of the fact that deep inside, these women also have huge doubts about their self-value. (Do you see a theme here?) In fact, it’s their over-compensation that often leads to their success.
The problem only gets dramatically worse if they’re divorced or are single parents, because in order to be the sole provider or protector, too, their entire day is spent living in their masculine, achiever energy. While that may be effective in paying the bills, when you spend too much time there, it’s nearly impossible to transition out of that and re-embrace your feminine energy again.
The fact is, if you can do it all by yourself, a man will look at you and see no role for himself; unless, of course, he’s looking for a sugar mama. I definitely don’t recommend that arrangement either.
If you think it doesn’t sound so bad, re-read item #1.
3. You simply don’t ‘get’ or understand men
Women who understand how men work and appreciate them for their masculine gifts have a way of kissing frogs and turning them into princes.
Likewise, women who are jaded, frustrated or have been burned too many times can kiss a good man and turn him into a frog. The fact is, women are far more complex and men are fairly simple creatures who actually are pre-wired to want to serve you — if you know how to inspire them.
Bottom line, most of my clients’ success comes when I teach them specifically how to understand and appreciate men so they can bring out their best, rather than suffer through their worst.
Of course, that’s assuming you want to do what it takes to be his queen.
4. You try to change him or don’t accept him as he is
There’s nothing that turns off a man like meeting a woman he’s trying to impress and then having her immediately try to turn him into her latest “project” that she’s going to fix.
Maybe it’s criticizing the way he dresses, insulting his table manners, or ridiculing his appearance or grooming habits.
Women have a way of doing that because they tend to be caretakers by nature but frankly, it usually doesn’t end well for either party, and it just feels bad all the way around.
At best, un-requested suggestions are usually unwelcome. At worst, they’re insulting and emasculating.
People want to be seen, heard and appreciated for who they are; if you feel the need to change him with your complaints, ridicule, teasing or even un-requested “helpful hints,” let me ask you a question: How would you like it if he did that to you?
5. You don’t really appreciate what men do for you
On the other extreme of women not knowing their value, are the self-centered women who seemingly believe they are “owed” something.
They are not grateful that a man opted to spend his time, talent and treasure with her. In fact, they have an attitude of entitlement. You may be surprised how many women stay in relationships with men — or even multiple men — for the gifts and prizes.
It’s also not unheard of for women to accept free dinners, order the most expensive things on the menu and then disappear or be busy when a man tries to ask them out again. If you think the term “gold digger” sounds bad, consider how it feels to be on the receiving end of that kind of behavior.
Ladies, you’re not the only one who can develop trust issues. If you’ve treated a man this way before, just know that some of your dating struggles might be dating karma coming back to you.
Taking advantage of others for your own gain is not only unattractive — it’s indefensible.
6. You don’t share your gifts
The gift of the masculine gender is his ability to protect and provide. In fact, he takes great pride in it and will oftentimes even willingly risk his health or life in order to do that effectively.
In fact, elderly men who seemingly “lose their purpose” or ability to provide as effectively after retirement may spiral into depression, suffer anxiety or even die prematurely when they no longer feel “needed.” Those two things are that hard-wired into masculine energy that they are a matter of life and death.
So what, you may ask, is the gift of the feminine gender?
The essence of femininity is the innate desire to nurture or look after your man. It’s about reciprocation and putting one another first. If you’re not doing that, you’re more interested in taking than giving, and healthy relationships aren’t about taking.
They’re about giving. You need to figure out what exactly you bring to the table for him and then understand his love language to see whether he even values what you’re offering.
7. You create drama instead of memories
As I said earlier, men are relatively simple creatures who navigate the world via logic and reason — it just doesn’t make sense to be all worked up constantly.
They love to prove their value by solving problems and making things easy. They tend to be laid back and easy-going when they’re not working, and they also typically hate to waste effort if they can’t see a potential upside.
That’s why men quickly tire of the drama that arises when women gets caught up in emotion and upset. Just be aware that if you kind of like the attention you get when you stir things up, it just might turn into a very short-term gain, if you know what I mean.
8. You either don’t build trust — or you break it
If a man is going to consider a future with you, he has got to believe that you respect him and have his back while he has yours.
Inside every little boy is a desire to grow up and be a hero and a good man who feels connected to you will give his all to be your hero. In fact, he may even give his life to protect you.
His commitment is that deep. In return, he must be able to trust that you have his best interests in mind also. Men also tend to strongly resonate with the concept of honor which is the backbone of the military code.
Bottom line, a good man has high standards and you’ll have to as well if you’re going to keep him.
9. You try to tie him down too soon
This may be one of the biggest mistakes women make over and over again. After one date, one kiss, or even one intimate encounter, women often seem to think they’re now magically in a “relationship.”
Actually, not so fast. First of all, that’s not the time to negotiate your terms, and masculine energy has a very different criteria for that designation.
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The truth is men have an almost primitive drive and preference for the concept of freedom that practically lies in their DNA. Add to that it’s basic human nature that as soon as you grab someone quickly, they instinctively and reflexively pull away. While that may sound like men have no interest in monogamy, that’s not exactly true.
Masculine energy will absolutely commit and voluntarily give up their freedom, but only after they’re convinced that you offer something better.
The key is — timing is everything. Let a man pursue you and never try to take his freedom; it can only be surrendered.
10. You don’t inspire him enough to see a future with you
Here’s the truth: dating is a competitive environment.
Every one of us, men and women alike, wants to be with a partner that makes us feel like we definitely got the better part of the deal when it comes to our partner. In fact, it’s ideal when both partners have such a strong appreciation and gratitude for one another that they both feel blessed to have attracted their partner.
Basically, it’s about finding someone who just “gets” you and resonates with you. Believe it or not, this isn’t as rare as it seems; you can learn how to get better at attracting this, and I help my clients dramatically increase their odds of finding this kind of partner.
The bonus mistake that didn’t make the list:
I had one more that’s quite common, but it wasn’t prevalent enough to make my top 10.
That’s partly because it’s more of a misunderstanding that leads to a belief or attitude than a mistake.
You’re looking for a man to “complete” you when that’s your job.
Those who invest in themselves and do some personal development work have a huge advantage when it comes to attracting and keeping all the love they deserve. They’ve done the work to heal their wounds.
They understand how to elegantly, effectively and efficiently connect with another human being. Like anything else in life, it all comes down to the right amount of preparation and perspiration to have what you want in life.
Dave Elliot is a neurostrategist and relationship coach who is known for getting results with a variety of techniques that enable rapid transformational change.