I have been writing about relationships for nearly 10 years now and impressively, I don’t really get a lot of negative feedback even though I have the difficult job of telling people what they don’t want to hear a lot of the time.
However, there is one thing that tends to come up over and over again. I have been accused to “putting it all on the woman” and often hear things like this:
“Why do I have to be the one to try and understand him and his needs? He should try harder to understand me!”
“Why can’t he just accept me as I am? Why do I have to change anything?”
“Why don’t you tell this stuff to men?”
“Why do I need to change anything? He should be the one to change!”
Now when I say change I don’t mean change who you are in order to be what he wants a-la Sandy from Grease. I’m talking about personal growth, about deeper understanding, and about bettering yourself.
In terms of why I don’t tell this stuff to men? Because men don’t usually read relationship advice. However, if a guy asks my advice, and many of my guy friends do, I break things down in the same straightforward manner.
And in terms of the underlying question, why does the woman have to change? Well she doesn’t have to do anything, but working on yourself and developing a deeper understanding of your partner and his nature will help your relationship … and the reason people usually read my content is that they’re having relationship issues.
The reason you “have to change” is you are the only person you have complete control over. You can try forcing your man to change, but I guarantee it won’t work and instead you will most likely find yourself alone.
The truth is, the way you act has a major impact on the way the other person responds. As a result, learning how to modify your behavior can lead to a much better, much happier, much more fulfilling relationship… and isn’t that the ultimate goal here?
No one likes this part, but we do need to take responsibility for what we bring into our interactions, this applies to romantic relationships as well as friendships and interactions with our family.
I write a lot about changing your mindset — which, in turn, changes your behavior — because these things can ultimately change your life and your relationships for the better… as long as you can see the bigger picture without getting frustrated by the effort you will need to exert.
The way you think doesn’t only affect you and your self-esteem, it can have a big impact on the people around you.
Just look at your own life for proof. When you’re in a good place, things typically will go your way. When you are in a bad place, things often go from bad to worse– you get in arguments with your friends, you’re distracted at school or work and miss important deadlines, you yell at your boyfriend for something stupid, you stub your toe on the very heavy door.
When we have complaints, we usually don’t realize how we might be causing those problems. It starts by looking deep within yourself and figuring out what place you’re coming from.
When you come from a place of ego/insecurity/fear, it can cause the other person to feel attacked and when any person feels attacked they will immediately go on the defensive.
For instance, if you whine to your boyfriend that he’s never there for you or that he is acting cold or distant, he will be put on the defensive. He will see it as you not appreciating him and he will act even more distant. Also, if he feels like your blaming or attacking him, it will block him from being the great boyfriend that he can be.
When you’re in a good place, you will be better able to speak with integrity and compassion. This usually will awaken this value system in others and they will be more likely to give you what you want.
We all have egos to protect. When you criticize harshly, rarely does it inspire someone to be better. It just puts them on the defensive and makes them point out your faults and turn you into the problem.
The good news is we all have an innate desire to be our best selves. When you can come from a place of confidence, understanding, and just the right amount of compassion, you will inspire the other person to bring their best self to the table, the side that wants to do good and reach their potential.
Becoming aware of your own sensitivities can show you that you can give the gift of putting someone else in the best place.
What does this look like in relationships? It comes down to recognizing and appreciating the other person for who they are and not placing demands on them that stem from your own insecurities.
It entails being in a good place emotionally because when you bring your best to a relationship, most relationship problems solve themselves.
The worst thing you can do when you’re unhappy in your relationship is to blame the other person for making you feel a certain way. It may be the easier option, but it certainly isn’t the most effective.
If there are problems, the best thing you can do is look within yourself and see how you can be better, both in the relationship and overall. If you’re bringing your best to the table and problems persist, then it might be time to assess whether this is a relationship you want to continue.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t what you say, it’s the way you say it that causes the majority of conflict in a relationship. And what dictates how we come across? Our internal state, duh. It always comes back to that.
Again, I’m not saying your boyfriend or husband should sit back while you do all the work. The fact is, you’re reading his article, not him. That means the power lies with you.
Women really do set the emotional tone in a relationship. There’s a reason behind the expression “happy wife, happy life”… it’s the truth! All a man really needs in order to be happy in a relationship is for his woman to be happy.
And I also want to add my mission is never to side with the guys or excuse their behavior, but rather, I try to explain it because it’s an area that causes a massive amount of hurt, pain, and confusion for countless women and giving advice like, “All men suck!” won’t really help anyone.