Sometimes we all need to be reminded of something we already know - like to go to bed at a reasonable hour, or to say no to that last shot of tequila.
Men and women really do have differences beyond our anatomy, which we all know (of course) but often forget (when our emotions are involved).
Here are five things to remind yourself about men to navigate your single life with more ease:
#1 Men Fear Rejection Just As Much As Women
When it comes to dating, it is easy for women to think the possibility of being rejected is something that men are used to, and therefore unafraid of. Wrong! Some of the men I’ve spoken to about rejection insist men fear rejection even more than women do. When it comes to dating, they might be used to it, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Getting turned down romantically is a painful blow to the male ego. The more selective they are about who they put themselves out there with, the more rejection stings when it happens.
The male fear of rejection spans from being turned down for a first date to having their hearts broken in a long-term relationship. Women know this - but we also have a lifetime of cultural conditioning telling us it’s a man’s job to put his ego on the line in romance.
You want a guy to risk his ego to ask you out? For all the good, non-creepy guys out there, it’s up to you, modern woman, to get your flirt on so he knows you’re likely to say yes! And when you’re not interested, treat him with as much consideration as you would you want to receive if the tables were turned.
#2 A single man can legitimately enjoy your company and find you attractive, but still not want to date you.
It is one of the most frustrating experiences for a single woman - you meet a single guy, you feel an attraction to him, and though he seems to like you as well, he never tries to move the relationship forward.
Sometimes it happens after a great first date - you shut down the restaurant or bar, and end the night with a passionate kiss. You think “I finally met someone I like! What if he’s the one?” And then the next day comes and you haven’t heard from him. You send him a “thanks for last night” type text and he responds with“the pleasure was all mine”, confirming in your mind that he likes you as much as you like him.
But then — nothing. No text, no call, no invitation for a second date. You ask your friends for advice, you debate texting him again, you convince yourself he doesn’t know you’re interested, so you just have to send him one more text...
The truth is something that you know in your heart - he could have had a great time on your date, or he could think you’re great — but he also doesn’t want to date you.
The “why” could be any number of reasons - it could be he’s seeing someone else, that he had fun in the moment but you’re not who he’s looking for, or he knows that you’re not on the same page in terms of what you’re seeking. He could be a charmer who gets his ego boost from getting you to like him and that’s all he wants. Or his “why” could be something completely un-guessable!
The bottom line is, you might never know the reason, but you have to move on regardless. The sooner you do, the sooner you will meet the man who’s dying to date you!
#3 His desire to sleep with you doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to be with you.
From a young age, women are conditioned to equate a man’s desire with his valuing you as a person. In dating, this can get confusing, particularly if a guy is saying all the right things (see #4 below) and he clearly desires you physically.
As a coach, I often talk to single women who assume a man wouldn’t try to sleep with them if he wasn’t interested in something serious, because he knows she wants something serious. In their heart of hearts, these women know better, but sometimes “forget” this truth.
Now hear this: never assume a man is on the same page as you about sex without clarifying it first in words and actions.
There’s nothing wrong with a man wanting you sexually - in fact, it’s a prerequisite for dating! However, if you are indeed looking for a commitment, give him the opportunity to show you with his actions that he’s looking for the same.
This is normally going to require you to put sex off for a while, even if you badly want to sleep with him as well. This is not about playing games or a sexist double standard - it’s about being honest with yourself about what you can handle emotionally.
#4 Men communicate with actions more than with words.
Life experience has already taught you that men aren’t usually as verbal as women, but that doesn’t stop you from expecting or hoping them to be. Most men won’t easily express their true feelings in words (especially as they are just getting to know you), but their actions speak volumes.
This works to both establish his interest in you and also to show his lack of interest in you. If he says “I’d love to see you again” and he means it, he will make concrete plans to see you again. If he says he’ll call you this weekend, and he doesn’t - it doesn’t matter that he told you he’d love to see you. His actions are the communication to pay the most attention to.
Don’t turn a blind eye to a man’s actions towards you, ever - that’s where he’s communicating most authentically.
#5 Men are romantic, in their way.
OK, not all men... However, most men are. They care about the experience of falling in love just as much as women do, as well as keeping the excitement and passion of love going. His romantic gestures might not be the same as yours, but that doesn’t make them any less meaningful.
Men primarily express romance as thoughtfulness - he might not bring you flowers, but he does make a reservation at that new restaurant you mentioned you wanted to try. Or he brings you coffee filters when he comes over because you mentioned you forgot to pick some up at the store.
Be mindful of the ways men are expressing their romantic side to you, and express your romantic side as well! With the right man, you’ll create a cycle of appreciation and romance.
(I originally posted this article in The Huffington Post.)