It’s not easy for a man to tell his wife or girlfriend what she does to irritate him. But sometimes it’s important for couples to healthily air their grievances. . Think of it more as the things that will bring us closer … by you not doing them.

Second-Guess Yourself – You know that colleague who you think is deceitful? Or that girlfriend of yours who can be condescending? Well, sometimes face value is, well, valuable. While it’s true that men can have knee-jerk reactions, women tend to overdo it when it comes to giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Not Look Out For You – Yes, you could chalk your co-worker’s attitude up to his insecurities or blame your friend’s tone on her manipulative mother; but, instead, why not look out for your own feelings first? That’s what men are doing when we offer a simple opinion on your dilemmas — we’re trying to take your side. It would be nice if you did the same.

Assume We Get It – This is one of the reasons men can be squeamish about women’s emotions. For example: If you have plans for the day, please don’t tell us to enjoy ourselves at home if you really want us to get to items 1 through 5 on the honey-do list. It’s more than a little irksome to have you return, hug us, look around the house, and then say with that pinched smile, “Did you have a nice, relaxing day?”

Smother Us – Women can confuse mothering with smothering. One elicits gratitude in men, the other, orneriness. Smothering says we’re five-year-old boys who have no idea how to take care of ourselves. Ask yourself if you’re making a gesture to ease our suffering or to show how much we should appreciate you. The first is genuine; the second is manipulative.

Act Superior – We’re not sure if you’re aware of this, but there appears to be an increasing trend among women to equate being male with being dumb. For instance, when we’re at a dinner party and you recount a story about us that ends with this punch line: “Well, you know [insert name of your dim husband here], he was just being a typical man.”
Second-Guess YourselfYou know that colleague who you think is deceitful? Or that girlfriend of yours who can be condescending? Well, sometimes face value is, well, valuable. While it’s true that men can have knee-jerk reactions, women tend to overdo it when it comes to giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Disrespect Us – Sure, every guy has his off moments — even blunders worth lampooning — but making us the hapless straight man in an ongoing comedy routine is disrespectful. And we think you’d hate it if we did the same to you.

Over Share – Sometimes opening up to you also means opening up to your sister, your mother or even your college roommate. Men value loyalty and confidentiality. Keeping the things we share between us — and only us — builds trust and will encourage even more communication.

Not Really Listen – It may be cowardly, but men will stop talking rather than risk a woman’s passive or outright wrath. So, by taking a backseat and letting your guy unburden himself — even if the subject is controversial or delivered in halting fashion — you create space for a more candid, and therefore truer, intimacy.

Devalue Our Feelings – Along those lines, many women believe that their interior lives deserve a singular spotlight and an endless theatrical run. Our emotional lives are often as turbulent as yours, but whenever we talk about the tough stuff, we measure the changes in your face or shifts in your intonation to gauge when you start to judge us.

RSVP for Us – Any man can relate to this moment: You’re on your way home from work, imagining the weekend ahead … the relaxation, the freedom. Then you arrive home, only to learn that you have plans. Here’s the deal: If you’re determined to make plans that include your husband or boyfriend, ask him first.

Over-Think the Future – Women enjoy imagining the future. The story as it will be, as opposed to the story that is right now. That can be a wonderful, romantic quality. It can also be an irritating, annoying quality. Having dinner together this Valentine’s Day is beautiful enough, without scripting the Valentine’s Day we’ll have when we’re both 75.

Obsess Over Details – Enjoying the new sofa that we just bought is great, without having to obsess over all of the other things that we “need” to make the living room look complete. Living in the moment provides its own vitality, which is more than enough to sustain our future together.

Take Us For Granted – We know it’s disappointing that we men aren’t great at expressing ourselves verbally. But in the same vein, we’re disappointed that you can’t seem to acknowledge the nonverbal acts of caring that we perform. Like changing the oil in your car, for example, or staying up late to make sure you arrived home safely from your business trip.

Scoff at Chivalry – The art of being a gentleman doesn’t have to mean the end of feminism. Paying for dinner, holding the door open, standing up when you walk into a room … these are all gestures that demonstrate our awareness of others. Our awareness of you, specifically. This courtesy is often how we show our feelings — don’t be so quick to rebuff it.

Devalue Our Friends  -While the value of sisterhood is extolled for women, the male equivalent is often vilified, and much of that is because women regard male friendships as being at odds with their romantic relationships. These shouldn’t be mutually exclusive — and encouraging our time with our buddies would be a welcome change.

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