It has just been a few months since I got out of a five-year relationship, well, over five years. Before that, I had a collective 6-year experience in serious relationships. That’s more or less around 11 years in total. Jeez. Not that I call myself an expert on men, hello! I’m single, remember? But over the past 11 summers of my life, I have made and learned from so many mistakes. Oh please, I’m not one of those heartbroken women who blame themselves for their break-ups. Duh! I broke up with the guy because he’s a pathological liar—the last time we talked, he still denied ever flirting and continuously exchanging sweet-nothings and god knows what with his ex-girlfriends and, simply put, other girls—and because I learned that he never really had plans for us, not even anything tentative so his biggest crime was in leaving me in a limbo, making me believe when he told me a few years back that we were heading towards something in less than 10 years. Talk about liars!
Hell yeah, I’m bitter. I don’t want to deny something true like that but it doesn’t mean I’m not ok. Hey, that does not mean I am free from any dirt. Haha! I wouldn’t tell you the naughty secrets but I hope every other woman out there can learn from the areas where I did fall short on. These are five mistakes women make in relationships, not the only ones, but definitely, five of the most common.
My point is, I have made mistakes in the past and I know my exes did too. I can’t speak for them so I might as well just talk about the things that I am sure were glitches on my part. I’d like to think that I’ve learned from them but every now and then I talk to myself and ask myself if I haven’t made the same mistakes again. I guess the best thing about learning is admitting that somewhere along the way, we made mistakes. We wallow in misery for a time, try to rectify those errors, and then move on. The beauty of life is that it does go on.
Believing that Men Can Read Women and that We Can Read Them Accurately
When a man says No, most of the time, he means it. So when you ask a guy if it’s all right with him if you don’t go out with him that night, and he says yes, he means it. When he tells you that he’s not angry, he means it.
When a woman says No, she means Yes. When a woman says Maybe, she means No (or Yes). When a woman says Yes, she means No (or Yes). Ask a woman if she’s angry, she’ll tell you no and sulk all through the night. And what fans the flame? The fact that you didn’t get that she’s really angry!
Not quite. This weird mind-reading stuff almost always starts the biggest fights of the century.
Men can be very simple beings with very explicit needs and wants. Um, let me think of a few things that I know of—food, sports/games, food, sex, other men, food, sex, a vehicle or two, action flicks, games, sex, A good PAIR of footwear, food, gadgets, good time, sex. It may not be a combination of all these but most men would tick most of the boxes if I placed one beside each item.
What about us, women? What do we want? Let me break these down into two categories, the tangible and the intangible. Tangible—shoes, bags, jewelry (engagement ring, among others), books, nice little things, love letters, poems, love songs, shampoo AND conditioner, perfumes, flowers (even the most ungirly girl looooves flowers, and even if she says it’s just a waste of money), shopping money, lipstick—yes, we can go on without sex and food for days. Intangible—the #1 spot in your phonebook, or at least a speed dial spot, anniversaries (or the widely fought over “monthsaries” and that’s not limited to when we said yes but also to the first day we met, first time we went to the movies together, first time we kissed, etc), birthdays (ours, our family members, our friends, etc), “quality time” (can be holding hands in silence, sitting side by side in the most uncomfortable places, etc), an SMS everywhere you go (most especially, a Good Morning and a Good Night plus something more after that because if it’s just a greeting, it spells COLD and UNINTERESTED), a call for sweet-nothings, a sympathetic ear for a litany of a friend’s woes, deleting your ex-girlfriend’s memories forever (some of us are ok with you guys being friends with each other but being close friends with the EX is a totally different thing, especially if you still communicate regularly), time to talk about our friends at work, time to talk about whether Willie Revillame is at fault or if Joey de Leon is such a jerk, or if Lindsay Lohan will ever reform or not, patience for our quest for the best pair of shoes in over one million shops over one million times, the chance to say no at your suggestion of where to eat after we ask you where we should eat (and we hate it when you don’t give us your suggestions and tell us, kaw bahala because we think you don’t have a mind of your own), your undivided attention even when we’re talking about the most mundane and senseless things, a ready “no, dear, you look just fine” everytime we say we feel and look too fat, surprise candlelit dinner dates (but don’t make it so much of a surprise because we don’t want to go to a fine-dining resto underdressed). I’m not sure if I listed everything down but that’s more or less it. Yeah, yeah, I may be exaggerating on most parts and while some may say that we are overly shallow, let me defend my group. Most of the time, we don’t know what we want. But one thing’s for sure, we are a bunch of attention-seeking beauties whose emotional stability can easily be rocked by another woman a kilometer away. Oh, and when you’re tired and it so happened that we’re horny and hot and we try to send you signals the way a cat walks through your legs every now and then, don’t ever make the mistake of ignoring us. That is a prelude to a sleepless night anyway so better make it rise and shine and go for it.
When we say don’t call us or don’t talk to us or don’t come near us, please don’t be cooperative. If there’s one thing that we hate, it’s not hearing from you despite what we tell you. Really!
One thing of caution for us women though, when it comes to love signals, men tend to be a little coy and wary on that department so if you’re just starting to get to know the guy, don’t go scaring him off with lines like, “I think I’m falling for you” or “I love you!!!” because men unconsciously do not welcome those feelings and emotions with open arms. While it is true that men are scared of commitments (come on, admit it, guys) because of their preconceived notions about it (source: exaggerated stories from their friends!), they are not at all closing their doors on it. With the right girl, they can really give it their best, just give them time. And keep watch for those accidental slips of emotional displays from them. Those are gold!
Men are NOT from Mars
While books tell you that we are all aliens, you don’t have to take it literally. Men are earthlings too, like you and your next door neighbor who looks like otherwise. And because men are human beings, they too have feelings of insecurity, inferiority, envy, love, the need for attention and affection and everything else that women feel sans the histrionics and the theatrics.
Men are an insecure lot too. But unlike women, it’s not usually because of competition. Men need to feel that they have a chance with us.
A woman has this tendency to look intimidating and uninterested even when she’s ready to take off her clothes for that uber-hot man across the hall. Men who depend on more obvious reactions and body language take this as a sign that we are not interested. So, if you see someone you like, make an eye contact, smile, and look away if you can’t hold the stare! If you’re not interested, just walk away. If you are then look his way again and smile again. If he likes you, he’ll most likely approach you in the next few minutes. If he’s not, then look around for another hot guy.
If a man sees you and becomes interested in you, he checks out the field. When he sees that you don’t seem to be in-a-relationship, he observes you and tries to catch your eye. If he gets the feeling that you’re trying to turn him into a toad, he will walk away. While men know and like the challenge of pursuing women who tend to play hard to get, being hard to get is totally a different matter. I know, ladies, we tend to project this maldita look when we are in a new environment with strangers but if you want to get hooked up with someone, practice getting rid of that look in front of the mirror. God knows how long we stand before that wonderful invention where we can look at ourselves for hours and hours, so try making REALLY good use of it by practicing a more relaxed and friendly look. If the guy’s not into you, at least you’ll have him for a friend.
If you’re in a relationship, let the guy know that you appreciate the things he does. You don’t have to treat him like a dog-in-potty-training by telling him how great he is all the time. Thanking him for being patient with you while you were shopping for that ever elusive perfect pair of shoes and treat him to a foot massage if you can. Trust me ladies, this is something that he will truly appreciate even if he won’t really show it.
If you’re in a more intimate relationship and you try to physically please one another, a subtle way of showing him what pleases you and showing him just how much it pleases you works wonders for your man.
Seeing Him as the Guy that He Will Be in the Future, Given the CHANCE!
I used to date a guy who is an alcoholic in denial. He was also something else. In time, I’ll probably be able to disclose what “something else” really is. But I continued to go out (and in) with him because in the deepest crevices of my being, I strongly believed that when the right time comes, he will be a better person.
Familiar? I’m sure it is.
I have friends who continued to date married men, drug dependents, nymphos, men with wild political ambitions, gamblers, indolent men who couldn’t keep a job because the boss “picks on them” all the time, sadists, porn addicts, woman-beater, unmarried father of over five kids by over five different mothers, sexually incapacitated and inept men and a whole lot more. My friends believed these men would eventually change and when they do, things will work out just fine. After all, in their (few!) sober moments, they are really sweet and loving and caring and all that bull. Oh, and they always apologize after every storm that come into their relationships.
One of my friends brought to the world a beautiful child by a man who is very-much married with three kids and who used up all the money that her parents gave her only to leave her 3-4 months before she gave birth never to surface ever again. And my friend? She continued to “believe” that something good will come up once the guy recovers from his financial problems and gets an annulment with his present wife. And that is after over a year of ineffective communication with the guy who promises to “be there soon” and whatever else. She continues to tell us that they’re ok and that things really will get better. That is despite the guy who has a high position in the police force, not providing for her and for the kid. Buying formula milk is hell for my friend. She had to sell all the things that she was able to accumulate all these years.
The funny thing is, she always finds a way to justify her boyfriend’s shortcomings. Most of my friends who are in seemingly unpleasant relationships because of unpleasant men, almost always find excuses for their partners.
If you are on the outside looking in, you’d know there’s a problem. What is it? People, especially us Filipinos, are gamblers. We believe that sooner or later we’ll get lucky. That one of these days people will become better people. We don’t base our decisions on what is there before us but on what we don’t see yet.
He’s very smart! (So he continuously taunts you for mispronouncing some words!)
He takes me for who I am! (He calls you a slut for talking to another guy then makes up for it by a good time in bed.)
He’s the only one who truly understands me! (He tells you you’re so stupid for falling for some salesman’s pitch.)
He’s great in bed! (But he hits you pretty hard when you fight.)
He’s a good listener! (But he doesn’t really give a shit about what you say.)
He takes care of me! (He gives you money to compensate for his faults!)
He cares for my family! (He sweet-talks your mom so she won’t notice that you have bruises in your arm!)
There comes a time when we realize that these people will never change but we hang on to them because of the reasons above. We think that going through so much pain and suffering makes every relationship stronger and that because we have gone through so much with our partners, we’ll be stronger in the long run.
Loving is never painful. To love is to suffer every now and then but it does not mean being beaten to a bloody pulp. It does not mean being neglected and being verbally abused. If a guy truly loves you, he will never make your life a living hell.
It has been said a million times before and I’ll say it again—if a guy loves you, nothing can keep him away. But if he doesn’t he’ll always have an excuse not to be around.
Being an Easy Prey, Come Hither Milord, Bite Me!
While my previous tra-la-la recommends not being hard to get, it doesn’t mean that you have to offer yourself to the first guy that you find attractive. Men are by nature predatory and regardless of how many books and articles write about this, women just don’t seem to get it. Men like to hunt. And no hunter wants a prey who doesn’t need to be chased. Well, unless for lamers who can’t catch a prey anyway. And you don’t want to be stuck with someone who’s a loser in the field. No offense meant to losers out there but really, if a guy wants an easy lay, that’s fine. But if you’re looking for someone who will want you the morning after and the 20 mornings after, don’t give your all to him the first time your eyes meet his.
Guys somehow have an idea on what to do with a woman he likes—or so he thinks. A little novelty helps. Routines are never good for men. I’m not saying you have to break a comfortable routine every week or so but a little surprise here and there keeps your guy interested.
Men are by nature curious. They want to know everything about something—or someone. And if they see that there’s still something about you that they don’t know about, they linger, and remain interested. So girl, keep the mystery veil on. Give him bits and pieces every now and then but don’t tell him everything.
I don’t want to generalize but let’s put it this way. Men—especially those between 17 to 49—have an attention span of 5-year-olds. For you to catch their attention, you have to offer something better than a fried chicken leg within that time span. I’m not saying men are dumba**es, well, some of them are, but if it’s something as mundane as something that you already discussed the previous day where he already gave you his take, then don’t be surprised if he all of a sudden hums to himself. If you want a guy to be interested in you for the longest time, do not stop nurturing your own self. It’s not just for the guy. It’s for you. A man likes a woman who feels good about herself, feels confident about herself and finds success in the small and big things that she does. And when you’re happy about yourself because you continuously reinvent yourself and break barriers, your guy will like having you around for a looooong time.
Carrie broke this rule in Sex in the City when she tumbled into bed with Big on their first date—yes, I know, that was absofu**inlutely kilig—but don’t ever break it. Big and Carrie never made it. And more often than not, couples who hit the bed together on their first date will most likely not make it to next date or next decade. Really, while sexual revolution tells you it’s all right to have casual sex anytime you like, I tell you, if you want to have a real relationship other than something purely sexual, play baseball without Babe Ruth. It’s better to just go by the bases—first base, second base, and so on. While homerun gets the fans jumping up and down their seats, it’s the not same for relationships.
I’m not saying you hold everything in! But at least try to bid your time. Sexual tension makes us giddy and liking someone who seems to like us back makes it giddier but give it time. If it eases up in the morning, it’s not really there. If it’s stil there the next time you go out with him, it might really be there but you can never be too sure. The next base isn’t so far away anyway. Besides, if it gets to strike three and you’re still in the first base, wouldn’t you feel great that you never made it to the next base much less a homerun?
You Complete Me
This worked for Renee Zellwegger in Jerry Maguire and when a guy tells you that, it sure would make your heart melt and your knees into jelly but STOP! You should also hear the warning bells!
This has been one of my greatest guiding rule in every relationship. Whether it has led to broken relationships or burned bridges or broken down walls, I believe this is something that every woman—and man—consider. Ask Momma Oprah. She’ll agree with me. Let me shatter one of the greatest myths of all time.
NO ONE COMPLETES YOU BUT YOURSELF.
Settle your own issues before getting into a relationship. If you come from a broken family or if you have a bastard for a dad, work these issues within yourself first and make yourself whole. If you just came from a really bad relationship, get over it first and remember that the next guy is not the same as your ex-boyfriend or husband. Even identican twins differ. So do not generalize.
Damsels in distress, while sometimes appealing to men who have knights-in-shining-armor issues, are not in fad. Really girls, whiny whiny females are nothing but whiny whiny females. Men—and women—hate them! So drop the act and be true to yourself. If you get into a relationship just so someone can make you happy, whole, financially-stable or whatever reasons other than wanting to be in that relationship, then steer clear of it until you fix that crazy mind of yours. While sympathy can get you somewhere with men, it won’t last long. Men’s saturation points are quite shorter than women’s so see a shrink if you must, although that’s not really something very “in” in our country. Well, the next best thing to a shrink is your friends. Pick one, or two. No one understands women better than other women. Hell, only other women would understand why you can’t have enough black shoes, and shoes of other colors and shapes for that matter!
I have news for you. There are men—and women—who seem like they can coddle and nurture your “small issues” and make you whole but when it gets too broken-recordish, they will also disappear and trust me, it will just make your small issues really huge.
Don’t get me wrong. Men, whether he loves or simply likes you, can be really caring and protective of you. Men are not stupid. If they feel like you could use some help, they’ll be there even before you know it. But to make it the main agendum in your quest for a partner—eeeeenk—wrong move.