LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS IN HIGH HEELS: A FRANK DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW MEN AND WOMEN FEEL ABOUT DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP ISSUES
A few months ago, I posted an article where I discussed mistakes women make in relationships and why men might back away. Again, some of the things were based on things I’ve seen my friends do and some were based on my own experiences. (Yes, I am woman enough to admit I mess up quite a bit in relationships.) However, I got to thinking recently, how do men react to this kind of stuff?
I recently talked to my long time friend Sunny, who is a well established professional in Florida. We often discuss relationships and recently got on the topic of how men respond to certain things. It really gave me good insight on my own behavior and how I’ve made several mistakes in the past without realizing. (Apologies to those who have had to deal with this behavior!) Here are the main topics we discussed and both of our reactions to the questions I asked.
HOW DO MEN FEEL ABOUT CLINGY WOMEN?
Sammi: The definition of clingy can be different for different people. For me, it is constantly calling, texting and bugging me, not allowing me to breathe. Granted, there are times we are all like this, but there has to be a limit. If you can’t go an hour without talking or freak out if they don’t text back right away, then you have a problem.
Granted, I am guilty of the multiple text in a row and occasionally getting irritated, but the former is because of the way my mind works—as soon as things pop into my head, I have to get it out and say it—and the latter is mostly when I am having a bad day or PMS-ing. TMI, I know, but we have all been there, ladies. Just don’t make a habit out of it because then you could kiss a potential relationship or actual relationship goodbye! (Sunny: Some people are chatty types and that’s fine…but I think if you’re in that category, you should be conscious of making sure you give the other person their space. And, if they aren’t as chatty of a person as you, understanding that this may be why they aren’t peppering you with responses at the same rate you’re sending them, rather than something nefarious.)
Sunny: There are different kinds of clingy. I think there’s a difference between someone who is attentive and wants to just be a part of your life and someone who is overbearing, controlling, jealous, etc. I don’t mind “clinginess” if it’s the former category; in fact, I think it is a positive. Especially in these days where far too many women are way too passive and just sit there waiting for you to contact them. The key is to not be overbearing, and I think that can be solved easily by having your own day-to-day life.
WHEN A MAN DOESN’T RELENTLESSLY TALK DO YOU, DOES THAT MEN HE ISN’T INTO YOU?
Sammi: This is difficult one, especially because there are SO many books and memes out there saying that if a man doesn’t do A, B or C then he isn’t that into you. (Sunny: There’s a whole industry of people who peddle this “advice” – I’d treat it with skepticism because there’s a giant profit motive here. It’s just like how half the stuff you read in Cosmo and the like is absolutely laughable…seriously, there are times I browse that stuff in the supermarket cash register aisle just to get a good laugh as to how off base it is. Half of it is crazy, the other half induces anxiety for no reason.) For example, I recently heard a podcast where the woman said that if a man says he is busy, then he is probably with someone else or not into you because a man is relentless when it comes to contacting the woman he is into. Yes, to a point. However, again, you need to realize he has his own life. Just because he isn’t talking to you, doesn’t mean he is cheating. Yes, it could happen, but 99% of the time if he doesn’t contact you he is busy or has something else on his mind. Again, if it is a week or two, then take a hint, but chances are you can go one day without talking to your man. You’re a big girl.
I think these memes and podcasts are very dangerous to relationships because they cause a lot of unnecessary drama and expectations. (Sunny: The memes are dumb, but all memes are exaggerations. If you’re basing your perceptions off of memes, you’re probably going to have a bad time.)
Thanks to those memes, and that book/movie, ladies have such messed up expectations on what it means to have a man that is into them—men go about things differently, so calm down! Also, I find it hilarious that these same women are the ones who complain if their men are TOO clingy or they get hit on by men all the time. (Sunny: This happens all the time, and I view it as a significant red flag because there is no winning with such people.) You can’t have it both ways!
Sunny: I would say no, especially these days. Many of us have learned, through experience, that it does not pay to contact a lot, at least early on in the game, especially if we are not getting it in return. There’s a reason the “three day rule” and stuff like that exist. It’s not a literal rule, but the principle is true – women, especially younger ones, seem to take you for granted when you contact them a lot, or stereotype you as trying to rush into a commitment, falling in love, or being overbearing. And as much as the stereotype is that men are afraid of commitment, I think these days a lot of women are too, if not even more so.
Besides, a lot of us have our own day-to-day lives too. I tend to be pretty busy with lots of stuff going on and I like having my own space. (Sammi’s comment: AMEN to that, bro!) Lack of constant contact isn’t an indicator of my interest; I think a better way to evaluate it would be to look at the quality of the contacts that do take place. I’d evaluate it the same way I evaluate how women contact me. Are most responses one or two words? Does it take forever to them to respond every time? Do they go radio silent for a very long period even after you’ve been out several times and after you have attempted to contact them? (Sammi: Yes, yes and yes! This is what I always thought, but was brainwashed by those memes and podcasts!)
HOW MUCH CONTACT IS TOO MUCH?
Sammi: It depends. If you’re constantly calling, texting and blowing up my social media, I am going to tell you to dial it back about a thousand notches, but if you text me throughout the day and call me, then that is fine. Granted, I am not much of a phone person, but I don’t mind a phone call from my man. I just draw the line at twenty calls a day followed by a million texts. (Although, I am guilty of the multiple texts sometimes, not so much because I want attention, but because of the way my mind works or I am trying to express myself/say something that is hard to do over text.)
As for seeing each other, as much as I am a quality time person, I understand that a lot of times that isn’t feasible with the way life is these days. I’d rather see you less and have you do your thing than see you constantly and have you miss out on work, family, opportunities, etc. Also, that makes the time we have together that much sweeter.
Sunny: This varies based on the circumstances. I tend to be an “in-person person”; I don’t text a lot and I don’t like phone calls. But I’m also not going to see it as a bad thing if someone tries to do those a lot – again, assuming they aren’t trying to be overbearing, controlling, jealous, and the like. (All big turn-offs!) Maybe the key is expectations – contact because you want to, not because you’re demanding or expecting something, and it’ll never be too much.
ONCE YOU’RE COMFORTABLE IN A RELATIONSHIP, DO YOU STOP CONTACTING AS MUCH? (WHEN THE ‘HONEYMOON’ PERIOD IS OVER)
Sammi: Kind of. I mean, once I am in a relationship, I of course want that contact, but I also understand that it might not be feasible. (Okay, I am totally guilty of NOT being understanding in the past, but looking back on my behavior, I want to beat myself in the head with a wooden spoon!) Once the honeymoon is over, you get comfortable and sometimes take people for granted. While you don’t want the latter, the former is totally normal. Being comfortable is a good thing, you’ve probably established trust and know you can rely on that person. You know that just because you get a text that says ‘good morning’ instead of ‘good morning, beautiful’ doesn’t mean he stopped thinking you were beautiful. Just because he forgot to text you at 10:30 in the morning doesn’t mean he forgot about you.
However, it doesn’t mean stop altogether! Just realize that if he forgets his usual morning text, he still loves you and cares about you, he just probably knows he is going to talk to you later!
Sunny: With non-in-person communications, I’d tend to say yes. At that point you’re established, you presumably trust the other person, and you presumably have enough in person contact with them anyway.
DOES BACKING AWAY AWAYS MEAN A MAN’S FEELINGS CHANGE OR DO THEY ALSO NEED SPACE?
Sammi: It depends. Some men back off if their feelings change and aren’t man enough to tell you, but some also need space if things are moving too fast. You just need to really talk to him—CALMLY— and tell him how you feel and LISTEN when he shares his feelings. It might take awhile and you might not get the answer you were hoping for, but communication is key.
Sunny: Well as I said above, I tend to like having my own space and I suspect a lot of us do. That being said, “backing away” can of course be a red flag that something is wrong. I’d look at the context. If it is a sudden or even gradually but consistently tapered off change in how you two communicate, something may have changed. If it’s a one-off thing, I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. (Also an added tip here – when it is a one-off thing, don’t assume the worst and project insecurity. I see that happen a lot these days, and it does nothing good for the situation.)
But I’d also like to highlight something else here. The “something” that changed may not necessarily be feelings. We may “back away” simply because we think you’re not into us, not taking us seriously, or just using us for attention or something similar. (Sammi: and us ladies do the same thing!) As I mentioned above, many women are very passive these days and just wait for stuff to happen to them. It gets frustrating at times to always be the one doing the contacting, keeping the conversation going, making the plans, and making all the moves. (Sammi: Again, it goes both ways!) (Sunny: That’s interesting as I always thought guys were the ones making all the moves these days. This should be a topic for future discussion; and if it is really the case, I wonder what the cause is.)
DO MEN GET SCARED IN RELATIONSHIPS TOO?
Sammi: I can’t speak for men since I’ve never been a man, but I can say us ladies are TERRIFIED. At least, I am. I know once I get to a certain point in a relationship, I get hurt, so I back off and try to avoid it, causing even more problems. If I’d learn to listen, it would be helpful, because I could have avoided a lot of heartache. However, that fear is something real and it takes someone special to help knock down those walls and make you face it head-on! (Sunny: Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I know tons of people who rush into relationships or make hasty decisions within them; more often than not it doesn’t end up so well for them.)
Sunny: Absolutely and I think the modern “Tinderized” era of dating, combined with all of the awful stories we hear about marriage and divorce and family courts, has made it worse.
I think all of us have been horribly burned at some point from being “all in” to a relationship and letting our guard down. This is especially so when we are younger and more idealistic and romantic about things. So over time you find yourself slowly “hardening” as far as your dating personality goes, and that means you’re increasingly skeptical about an all-out full commitment with someone. Not necessarily because of that person, but because of the direction all of society is going in with this stuff, and our own past experiences. I can say for a fact that I’m far more tentative in getting into an exclusive committed relationship or a marriage at this point than I used to be. Do I wish it was that way? No. But experience and culture frames things for us, and they do give rise to fears.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT COUPLES WHO SPY, SHARE FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS, CHECK PHONES, SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES ETC?
Sammi: First of all, if you’re sharing a Facebook page, you really need to reevaluate your relationship. (Sunny: I’d add here that you’re going to be subjecting your dude to a mountainload of flak from the guys if you make him do this – and you’re also inviting the entire “drama world” into your life. Imagine what everyone will say if, for some reason, all these FB, Instagram, and Snapchat bombs of your magical relationship disappear for a day or two. And this stuff definitely opens the door to jealousy and controllingness by either or both sides.) Granted, you have some of the same friends, but I highly doubt you share all of the same friends. Let your partner have their own page to follow their own friends. Also, if you’re using FACEBOOK to cheat, then you’re a freaking idiot.
As for checking phones, my phone doubles as a business phone, so that is a no-no in itself. As for my partner’s phone, I don’t give a crap who he is texting. I might tease and be like ‘ooh, who’s that?’ or ask who they are talking to, but I would never go as far as to steal their phone or demand to look in it to see who they are talking to—why would I do that? I wouldn’t want it done to me! (Sunny: I don’t think there’s anything wrong in being observant as to how their messaging and the like is, especially early on; but flat out spying is another thing entirely.)
As for other social media, if you use it to cheat, then you’re an idiot. I know people who check Snapchat to see their partner’s scores going up and while I can see why you might wonder who they are talking to, don’t let it get to you, don’t assume and again, you’re an idiot for using social media to cheat. (what the hell is this Snapchat scoring thing anyway?) (Sunny: I was just about to ask this. If Snapchat has “scores” is is even worse than I thought.)
Sunny: Spying is an absolute no go except in a blatant situation of cheating, abuse, etc. (Sammi: well, that is totally different! Then you hire a PI to do the dirty work. ) If it’s something done often in a relationship I think it’s a giant sign of insecurity or someone being overly controlling/jealous. I think the same of people who demand that you plaster your relationship all over social media. (Sammi: Do NOT get me started on that. I can see saying you’re in a relationship and posting pictures, but people go so overboard with their posts and it is WAY TMI!)
SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Sammi: Communicate!!! Closed mouths don’t get fed. Have a calm, frank conversation with your partner and let them know what is bothering you. It may not work out the way you want it to, but you need to keep those lines of communications open. (Sunny: It is also important to make sure your relationship is framed correctly before you do this – exclusive, dating, formal relationship, etc. That significantly affects what is expected of both parties, and thus what is and is not an issue.)
Also, be honest and take your time. Don’t rush, don’t obsess and trust them!
Sunny: I don’t have a definitive answer, but I think that helps me is to just have no expectations or demands about things and just let things play out however they do. I now enjoy things for the journey and not the destination. (Sammi: A valid point! I’ve learned rushing makes things worse) Things will work out in the end, and if they don’t, it probably wasn’t the right situation anyway.
Thanks Sunny and be sure to stay tuned for part 2!