There are a lot of smart guys out there. You are successful with a good education and stable jobs and you also respect women. They’re just good guys overall. Yet even these men seem capable of repeatedly and so easily messing up relationships with women that it seems almost deliberate. Why is that?
It seems like an ancient story, doesn’t it? Man meets girl, man and girl have a connection, man immediately (and then again and again) puts his foot in his mouth, does something insensitive or a number of other things that suddenly soften the connection and create arguments. As it turns out, there are some specific reasons for this and very common mistakes that even the smartest men make.
Why men make mistakes so often
Men and women are different. You, right? I mean, that’s why relationships are fun and exciting – and at the same time confusing and frustrating. However, one of the biggest differences between men and women is their emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). Women just tend to score higher.
Emotional intelligence is not synonymous with emotionality. What it really is is how we manage our relationships with others and relate to them. EQ, in its actual definition, refers to emotional and social skills that cumulatively show how efficiently we are able to:
- Perceive our feelings and convey them
- Grow and maintain our social connections
- Deal with difficulties and stress and make decisions
- Use emotional information effectively and relevant
This means that someone with a high EQ is not only attuned to their own emotions, but can also recognize and effectively respond to the emotional state of others. This is one area in which Women usually outperform men.
A higher EQ can be beneficial in many areas, not just relationships. But when it comes to relationships, being able to see, understand, and respond to emotions and the non-verbal cues associated with emotions can prove crucial. Without that ability (um … guys, are you listening?), You can make big, insensitive mistakes and mess up a good cause.
The big five
Okay, we know that even smart men make silly mistakes with women. And not all of these errors are created equal, but here are some that seem pretty universal.
1I try to control everything
This is a big deal, and most of us are guilty of it. We can blame society, stereotypes, or our parents, but men are generally taught to be strong and responsible. Control problems for men can appear anywhere from planning for the two of you without consulting her to trying to “fix” any problem or dilemma she encounters.
Women don’t like to be treated like subordinates, which you may subconsciously do as you try to take control of everything. Remember, you care about her; She may even be smarter than you, and a relationship is a partnership.
2They don’t take their feelings into account (or just ignore them)
If you pay attention and listen, most women will tell (or show you) how they are feeling. If you don’t acknowledge these feelings and respond appropriately, you can be left in a bad place. Because women are generally more in tune with emotions, they want them to be recognized and understood. This will make them feel closer to you and secure in your relationship. And guess what? It’s good for you too.
3You are not expressing your own feelings
Yes, she expresses hers and she wants to hear yours too. The tendencies to answer with a word, to hold onto things, and to try to be “strong” as many men do can make your woman feel unkempt and in the dark. Just like Billy Joel advises “Tell her about it, let her know how you feel.” This also applies if you feel hurt, anxious, or insecure.
This can rival control as one of the biggest mistakes. Never take anything (pretty good advice in general). You can’t read her mind and she can’t read yours. You need to establish good communication if you want things to be strong and healthy between the two of you.
5You don’t feel valued
While the need to feel valued isn’t just a thing for girls (we need it too), women tend to be much better at making us feel valued than they are at making them feel valued to become. Men are notorious for taking for granted the love, affection, and little things that the women we love do for us. Regularly find a way to let them know how much you appreciate them.
While smart men often make silly mistakes with women and their relationships, it should be noted that women can sometimes be just as guilty. By no means am I implying that men are fools who cannot treat women properly. Or that women are generally angelic and are never to blame.
The fact is, relationships are difficult at times, and either gender can make silly mistakes. Often times, men’s mistakes just appear earlier and are more immediately apparent.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the clinical director of Guy Stuff Advice & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping the men and women they love. His expertise lies in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, and anything outdoors, helping those who want to improve their relationships.
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