Have you noticed that relationship advice for men often piggybacks on the implication that men are apparently from Mars and women from an entirely different planet? In Dr. John Gray’s seminal work that we allude to here, he says, “It is not enough to merely be authentic in sharing yourself; to succeed in dating you need to consider how you will be interpreted as well.” So, to make sure that your efforts and intentions are interpreted correctly, it may help to hear from women what they want from men.
Well, nuggets of relationship expert advice from a psychologist and an author, both of whom are women, are as close as you’d come to having that wish granted. Receiving relationship advice from the point of view of the opposite gender can clear up confusion about why certain things in your past may have happened the way they did. But one life advice for a man may not work for the other.
That is why we consulted with psychologist Nandita Rambhia (MSc, Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling, so you know how to deal with similar situations more proficiently in the future. So what should a man do in a relationship? Let’s find out.
Men And Women In Relationships — Key Differences
Table of Contents
Before we dole out relationship expert advice, we thought we’d address these gender differences that everyone keeps talking about, and yet no one agrees on. Dear men, we’re sure you get a lot of free concern and well-meaning suggestions from cool bros and wise father figures who are always ready with political opinions and dating tips for men. So we thought we’d combine the wisdom of both: Experiences of women versus men in relationships. Have a look.
|Women in relationships
|Men in relationships
|Women like it when men are vulnerable with them
|It’s hard for men to be vulnerable due to various societal norms
|Women take the initiative to know each other deeply
|Many men take the initiative to plan thoughtful dates
|Men don’t want to be generalized in relationships and want women to understand that feminism doesn’t make space for many men
|Men don’t want to be generalized in relationships and want women to understand that feminism doesn’t make space for many men
|Women want clarity about their relationship status and regular check-ins
|Men want women to express what they want clearly so they understand each other better
|Women need time to trust the guy in bed, even though they are equally driven sexually
|Many men are ready for physical intimacy before women are
|Women want the honeymoon phase to stay for a much longer period
|Men generally can’t pull on the initial excitement for more than a few months
|Women are able to speak to their close friends, family members, or support groups about their romantic relationship
|Men often don’t go into the details of what makes them happy or sad in a relationship. This leads to them feeling isolated
Related Reading: How Often Should You Text A Girl To Keep Her Interested?
Relationship Advice For Men – 23 Pro Tips By An Expert
“If only we could understand what do women want in a relationship,” men often wish. When a man is embarking on a romantic pursuit, it is a trusted female friend or confidant he turns to for help – be it for deciding the right move to ask her out, saying “I love you” for the first time, asking her to move in, or planning the most romantic proposal.
When it comes to relationship tips for men, a female friend will have far more insightful inputs to offer than his male buddies. But if you don’t have such a trusted friend in your life – or she’s the one you’re trying to woo – deciding on the right course of action can be a lonely journey to embark on. Fret not. We have excellent relationship advice for teenage guys to grown men. Here are our 23 pro tips to keep in mind when dating a woman:
1. Don’t patronize her
This is our top tip on how to be a better man in a relationship. No mansplaining, please. “Let me tell you why that is…” – The moment you open a sentence with these words, your chances of making any progress are nipped in the bud. This tops my list of mistakes to avoid if you want to build a lasting successful relationship with a woman.
Whether you’re looking for the first relationship advice for guys or for those who have loved and lost in the past, the importance of steering clear of patronizing women cannot be stressed enough. Don’t presume to know what’s best for her, be it in relationships or life choices. A Reddit user shares her funny story on mansplaining, “My uncle likes to go off on rants about wildly incorrect ideas about menstruation, childbirth, genetics, or physiological gender differences. If I argue, he insists I have no idea what I’m talking about.”
She adds, “He is a carpenter. I finish my biology degree this year.” Dear men, do you see the issue? Your relationship status notwithstanding, you’ve no business telling her how she should live her life, whom she should socialize with, or what her career goals should be. Of course, if you’re already in a relationship, as her partner, you have every right to offer your opinions and insights. As long as you remember these are not binding on her.
Related Reading: Dear Girls, Please Stay Away From These Types Of Men On Tinder
2. Don’t invalidate her feelings
This is undoubtedly one of the things every man should stop doing in his relationship, yet a lot of men tend to invalidate their partner’s feelings and give them a hard time. Often unwittingly, because they simply cannot relate to them. Hearing you say things like “I can’t believe you’re mad about something so silly” or “You cry at the drop of a hat” is hurtful.
How to be a good man in a relationship? Simple. Whatever you do, don’t blame her feelings on PMS. This relationship tip is for you married men too. A guy I was dating had a tendency to casually enquire if my period date was around whenever I got upset over something. It annoyed me to the point that I bought a t-shirt that said, “It’s not PMS, it’s you!” Even if you cannot fathom why she is reacting to something the way she is, at least, acknowledge her emotions. “I’m sorry to see that you’re upset. It wasn’t my intention to hurt you” works a lot better.
3. Don’t try too hard to be cool
Another common tendency among men when they’re trying to impress a girl or win her over is that they go overboard in their effort to come across as Mr. Cool. A majority of women don’t care for it. You end up making a fool of yourself. So here are some relationship tips you sorely need: Do yourself and your romantic interest a favor, just be who you are. Even if that is nerdy, geeky, or dorky, it won’t put her off as much as a fake act will.
This is an especially crucial nugget of first relationship advice for guys. I can understand that if you’ve not been in a relationship before, first-date nerves can be through the roof but being disingenuous won’t do you any good. Nandita says, “In your bid to make sure that the girl you’re crushing hard over likes you back, you may try too hard to impress her. That can backfire.” She adds life advice for a man with low self-esteem who is about to go ask someone out: “Take a deep breath and be who you are.”
Related Reading: 15 Red Flags In Women You Should Never Ignore
4. The devil is the details
Develop a keen eye for detail. If you pay attention to and remember the little things that matter to her, you will hold the strings to her heart in no time. Nandita says, “It may earn you a lot of brownie points if your eyes don’t meander here or there, and if you’re not looking at other women. Mind your body language. Focus your attention on her.”
A simple gesture such as picking up her favorite milkshake on the way to meet her or remembering to order extra olives on her pizza is enough to melt her heart. Let me give you some relationship tips from my own marriage. My husband, for instance, religiously checks in with me every night if I’ve had my endometriosis meds. I find it adorable.
When I was visiting him once back when we were dating, he had painstakingly stocked up the house with things I love. From my favorite coffee to sandwich spreads, multigrain bread, and even my go-to shower gel and body butter, it was all there. The gesture moved me to a point that I couldn’t stop tears from streaming down. And just like that, I knew he was the one! You see how the little things can show your kind and caring side. That’s what most women seek in a partner.
5. Be honest about your dating goals
If you’re actively looking to date, be it through online dating apps or IRL, being completely transparent and honest about your goals is always advisable. Whether you’re looking for a long-term partnership, a casual fling, or just a one-night stand, make it a point to put it out there right in the beginning. Nandita says, “Guys who are genuine have found the best way to be attractive to women. Honesty is a value and speaks volumes about a man’s character.”
On the other hand, there couldn’t be a worse put-off than a guy pretending to be interested in a woman when all he wants is to get in her pants. Toying with a girl’s heart and making her feel you’re as emotionally invested in her just to get yourself some action is among things a real man should never do. A solid tip on how to be a good man in a relationship: Man up, tell her what you want, and learn to take her answer, whatever it may be, on the chin.
Related Reading: 11 Dating Tips For Beginners – Make Sure You Follow These!
6. Always prioritize consent
A Quora user says, on point, “If you cannot respect consent, you do not deserve to so much as date anyone.” This is especially crucial relationship advice for teenage guys but holds for men of all ages. Don’t let the hormonal rush take over your senses and push you to a point where you unwittingly abuse someone sexually. Those few moments of fun can have life-long devastating consequences for the one who doesn’t want it.
Married men should be wary of this too. Whether it’s your first time with a new partner or your 100th in a long-term relationship, always seek her consent before getting intimate. If you want to show that you are strong, show strength in restraint. And remember no means no. No matter at what relationship stage of intimacy and connection you’re at.
Nandita has some deep relationship advice for men, “If your partner wants more, she will ask for it. Consent before sex is non-negotiable. A lot of romance that happens today is in the online dating world. Taking care of virtual boundaries is vital as well. And do maintain dignity even on online platforms. This hard work is worth it, trust me.”
7. How to be a better man in a relationship: Stand up for her
What should a man do in a relationship to show support for his woman during hard times? Well, the opposite of what Grace’s partner did. For Grace, a claymation artist from Arizona, one incident of not finding her partner standing by her side when she most needed him became the undoing of a 3-year-old relationship. She was driving to his place when a bunch of guys started trailing her car. She called Eric over and over to see if he could meet her halfway but he didn’t answer his phone.
Nor did he care to call her back even after she’d left 15 or so frantic voicemails. Needless to say, a huge argument ensued. He made a veiled suggestion that perhaps it was the length of her dress that made those guys follow her. She called it quits right then and there and never looked back.
If you’ve gone looking for relationship advice from a woman’s point of view, you probably know how important this is. There are many ways to respect a woman in a relationship: Women want and expect their partners to stand up for them. This doesn’t just hold for physical fights, but emotional too. Your emotional support, you standing right beside her, as opposed to telling her to let it go, back down, or worst of all, blame her for “asking for it,” means the world to her. And that brings us to the next point.
8. Believe her when she tells you about past abuse
This is basic decency and it doesn’t matter which side of the #MeToo you fall on. There’s no real benefit for her to lie about this to you. She simply wishes for you to know what she’s been through. You can be there for her, by first believing her. Here are some relationship tips for you in the form of research, “Many people who have been raped don’t recognize it as rape, even when it fits the legal definition, a finding revealed in a review of 28 academic studies.” Note how it says ‘people’, not women. This is why we say “believe survivors” because so often, they don’t even believe themselves.
Related Reading: Reasons Why Women Keep Going Back To Abusive Partners
9. Understand her before you make a move
Is there a girl at your workplace that you just cannot take your eyes off? Or perhaps, you’ve connected with someone on a dating app who’s making your heart skip a thousand beats. The impulse to act on these initial feelings of attraction can be very strong. My relationship advice for men in a new relationship is to hold their horses at this stage. Here’s why:
- It bodes well for you both to take the time to get to know each other before taking the plunge
- It will help you understand her likes and dislikes, and see if you’re a good fit before asking her out
- This reflects sensitivity and a will to forge emotional intimacy on your part
My friend, Sheena, had to call things off with a guy she really liked and had been on a few dates with because he was terrified of dogs and she had two giant ones at home. “I thought we both asked the right first date questions and took things forward because we hit it off instantly. Somehow, the topic of pets just didn’t come up, and eventually, turned out to be the deal-breaker!” she said.
10. Accept her sensitive side
This is one of the most important things a guy should do in a relationship. Many women are emotional, sensitive beings. Even the ones who’ve been hardened up by their circumstances. If you want your relationship to flourish in true earnest, take these dating tips for men seriously and learn to accept her sensitive side.
Better still, celebrate it. By encouraging your partner to wear her heart on her sleeve, you’re fostering an atmosphere that allows her to nurture your bond to the best of her ability. Who knows, with time, some of this sensitivity might rub off on you. Or might help you get in touch with and channel your sensitive side. And together, you can build a wholesome, holistic, and happy relationship.
11. Build a friendship with her
This is hands-down the most valuable advice. If you want a solid relationship that will stand the test of time, base it on a genuine friendship with your partner. Think beyond romantic dates, lavish gifts, and hot action in the sack. Then what should a man do in a relationship? Invest time and effort in bonding with her over things that you both care about. Because you’ll never lose interest in each other if you’re friends first.
As someone who fell in love with and married her best friend of 11 years, I cannot stress enough how beautiful it can be to share your life with someone you share a genuine friendship with. This friendship will sustain your relationship and pave the way for a deeper love when the initial spark of romance fizzles out.
12. Deep relationship advice for men: Open up to her
If the table were turned and you were the one doling out relationship advice for women, you’d probably say, “Don’t make us talk about our feelings.” We get it too. Drowning your feelings in a pitcher of beer, bottling up, and moving on is a lot easier than being vulnerable. Even so, relationship advice from a woman’s point of view would be the exact opposite of this.
Let her in. Open up to her. Talk to her about your fears, apprehensions, reservations, and doubts. Nandita says, “You need more feeling words. You have to actively try to broaden your vocabulary in order to aim for more emotional intimacy.” She gives examples:
- Happy: “You awaken my positive side,” “You make me feel on top of the world,” “I feel calm when I am with you”
- Upset: “I am worried,” “I am concerned,” “I feel that you don’t care”
It’s nice to touch base with each other’s innermost thoughts every once in a while. That’s what pillow talks are for!
Related Reading: 20 Valuable Tips For A First Date After Meeting Online
13. Don’t run from the “where is this going” conversation
One of the bad things guys do in a relationship – most of them anyway – is treat conversations about the future like some sort of taboo. But know this: If you’re in a long-term relationship, this conversation is inevitable. For instance, if you’ve been dating for a few months, she’d be wondering if and when you’re going to say “I love you” or ask to be exclusive.
Likewise, if you’ve been together for a couple of years, she may have questions about the next step – moving in together, talking about marriage, future, and kids. Even if these conversations scare the living daylights out of you, know that there is no way around them. By being evasive, you’d only cloud her mind with doubts. Perhaps, even send her spiraling down the path of overthinking.
Brace yourself for discussing future plans, if you’re in it for the long haul. The more you avoid this conversation, the more it will loom large on your relationship like some sort of an invisible ghost.
14. Dating tips for men everywhere: Communicate, communicate, communicate
“You have to listen to your partner’s problems, suggestions, and advice, and accept that you’re not always right. Conversation is the key to a successful marriage,” a solid piece of advice from a wise woman and one of the best actors, Meryl Streep. Her relationship tips are, in fact, for everyone. Communication problems are the root cause of many relationship issues. Rather than just expect your partner to know and understand what you want from the relationship, communicate your needs and desires clearly.
This is one of the most basic women’s needs from a relationship. Because just the way men can’t read minds, women can’t either. One of the things a man should never do to a woman is bottle up his feelings when talking about them seems too difficult. When you do this, your partner will feel confused, disoriented, and on edge. This will only augment any issues you may be dealing with.
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
15. Don’t shut down
This piece of relationship tips for men is essentially an extension of the previous one. Disagreements, disappointments, and differences of opinion are part and parcel of relationships. It is how you react to these that counts. If your partner has done or said something that has upset or hurt you, don’t shut down or resort to stonewalling.
A Reddit user shares, “When he gets frustrated, angry, or is having a tough time at work, he totally shuts down, stops all communication with me except for the absolute bare minimum necessary. And I never know if it’s me, or something else. This can last for a few hours, a few days – once even for 2 months. (That one WAS about me.) When it’s over, he never explains or apologizes – it just ends.”
Stonewalling her or resorting to the silent treatment won’t magically make your relationship problems go away. If anything, it’ll only compound them by adding misunderstandings and presumptions to the mix. So, a good dating advice for men is this: Irrespective of how serious or trivial the issue is, if something is weighing on your mind, talk to your partner about it.
16. Relationship advice for men: Your emotions are not your weakness
For centuries, men have been conditioned to withhold their emotions and feelings. The whole “men don’t cry” stereotype has made generations of men suffer in silence. One of the most precious nuggets of dating advice for men I have to offer is that there is no glory in this false sense of machismo.
Nandita shares more relationship tips to win her heart, “Men love to be strong in the literal or physical sense of the word. While that is great, men need to believe that being vulnerable, opening up, and letting their emotions show is also strong.” So keep these things in mind:
- Real men CAN and SHOULD cry
- Shedding a few tears is not what you should worry about. Being abusive is what a real man should never do
- Men who can own up and talk about their feelings are increasingly being seen as more attractive than the quiet, brooding type
- Embrace the notion that your emotions are not your weakness, and you will be able to connect with your partner on a whole new plane
Related Reading: Is It Okay For Men to Cry?
17. Be proactive in keeping the romance alive
Looking for some first dating advice for men? Well, we have got just the one for you. “Learn the art of romance”, says Nandita. Don’t let the onus of keeping the romance alive fall squarely on your partner. If you do, she will get tired, burn out, and eventually give up, thinking these things don’t matter to you. So, take the initiative to plan romantic gestures, like date nights, taking her out, pampering her, and making her feel good.
My friend Arina is the envy of our entire girl gang because of what a mushball her husband, Jacob, is. He whisks her away for a few moments whenever we’re all together, just to steal a kiss or two. Takes her out for quick coffee dates in the middle of a workday. Brings her flowers, just because. He doesn’t even think this is hard work. These are the things a guy should do in a relationship. Take the lead to romance her and she will reciprocate manifold.
18. Respect what’s important to her
If there is one slice of relationship expert advice that shouldn’t be overlooked, it is this, it is this, it is this! No matter what your woman does or where her passions lie, as her partner, you must respect the things that are important to her.
Be it her hard work at her job, her family, her passion for fitness, a penchant for cooking, a zest to learn new life skills, and unwavering commitment to her children – if it matters to her, it should matter to you. A crucial relationship advice for men: Don’t undermine her by saying things like “You just balance sheets in an office, it’s not like you’re going to change the world” or “Why can’t you miss your workout one day?”.
19. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice and help
Remember you’re both equal partners in a healthy relationship.
- It’s not your job to care and provide for her or always be on top of things and vice versa
- If you find yourself stuck or lost in a certain situation, don’t hesitate to ask your partner for help
- Be it something as simple as taking her help with directions or asking for a loan to pay off a debt (after you’ve both entered a serious relationship), it’s okay to be the one relying on her
- She’d be happy to lend a helping hand. In fact, by turning to someone else for help when she’s perfectly capable of offering it, you make her feel like a lesser partner
Now heed this advice from a wise woman: Our expert. Nandita says, “You don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to show that you have more knowledge, are more resourceful, or are superior.” Being too proud to ask for help when you truly need it is also one of the bad things guys do in a relationship. Make a conscious effort to break this pattern by seeking her help in the little things. Treat her like an equal, and she will love and cherish you all the more for it.
20. Relationship advice for men in a new relationship: Be consistent
You’re texting her through the night one day. Waking her up with a phone call the next. Then, you just vanish for days. There she is wondering what the hell could’ve possibly gone wrong. Then you come back behaving as if it is business as usual. The guy before and the guy now are two different people for her.
Nandita says, “Saying or doing things that are diametrically opposite at times can confuse your girl. Consistency in how you behave and what you say shows that you are confident and self-assured. Anything otherwise is a sign of insecurity and reflects poorly on you.” Did you write down this relationship advice for men? Because this one was a little hard to swallow.
Love bombing her and playing hot and cold will not take the romantic relationship anywhere. These petty mind games will only put her off and raise many red flags about your viability as a partner. If you truly care about her, let your feelings shine through your actions unabashedly.
21. Don’t take no to sex as a personal attack
Though the ‘expression’ of desire varies because it’s stigmatized for women, Sarah Hunter Murray, PhD, author of Not Always in the Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationships, says here, “Multiple studies show that men’s and women’s sexual desire levels are more similar than different. Gender norms about sex drive are outdated in a lot of ways.” This is one great advice from a wise woman and doesn’t fit your regular feminine energy vs masculine energy debate.
There will be days when she may turn down your sexual advances and say no. Unless it’s a case of mismatched libidos, learn to take a few nays in your stride. It’s not that she doesn’t want to make love to you or find you attractive. It could well be one of the million things going on in her body that’s putting her off the idea of sex. Perhaps, she is PMS-ing, feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Maybe she is just bone-tired after a long day and wants to crash for the night. Or maybe she’s simply not up for it. Period.
Related Reading: Navigating The Complexities Of Consent In Modern Relationships
22. Don’t ghost her
One of the most fundamental women’s needs from a relationship, and also the best relationship advice for the online dating era. There is no way to predict how a dynamic will pan out. Perhaps, you’ve been dating for a few weeks or months, and then, you realize that it’s not working out for you. Maybe you’ve been together for years in a serious relationship and now you feel as if you’ve fallen out of love.
You’re well within your right to pull the plug and move. When you do, keep this nugget of relationship advice for men in mind – DO NOT GHOST HER. No matter what the circumstances or how unpleasant the conversation is likely to be, ghosting in a relationship is a big no. Man up and accord her the courtesy of being told that you’re done and want to move on. Nandita adds, “Even when you must be away, do inform her that you are not going to be able to connect. It’s that simple.”
23. Ask the woman what she wants
Confused about why a woman didn’t call you back? Ask her. Can’t understand what she needs today, on a particularly dark-cloud day? Ask her. Should you give your opinion when she talks about a toxic family member, or just listen? Ask her. Trying to figure out your boundaries with regard to touch? ASK her. Relationship tips don’t get easier than this.
No offense to John Gray, but to split women and men neatly in between and demarcate gender roles between them is probably not a great (or scientific) idea for a happy relationship. There’s no enormous mystery to be solved here. If you want to know what women of all strata and identities go through, read and listen to what they have to say. The same goes for understanding men.
- There are key differences in the way men and women operate in relationships, and the way they see intimacy and connection
- We have some relationship advice for men: You can be respectful of a woman by ensuring you don’t patronize her, don’t invalidate her feelings, don’t ghost her, and are mindful of consent in dating
- Being sensitive toward her and appreciative of her will take you far in your happy relationship
- Live life with honesty and showing honesty in your relationship will not seem hard work anymore
- Some deep relationship advice for men is to build a friendship with your woman partner, open up to her, and even allow yourself to be vulnerable with different people whom you trust
- Be proactive in keeping the romance alive
Every woman is different and unique in her own way. So, relationship expectations can vary from one to another. Even so, this rundown on relationship advice from a woman’s point of view will help you sail through comfortably in 9 out of 10 instances. Before signing off, Nandita shares a bonus relationship advice for men. “A guy who can cook will definitely sweep women off their feet.”