Here’s a great question from a reader that just about sums up a common difficulty in many relationships:
“How do I get my man to stop doing all this stuff he does that hurts our relationship, and start paying me more attention instead of spending his time doing things like going out with his guy friends (and not even telling me beforehand)?”
I don’t know why he’s doing this (whatever he’s doing) but the real issue I hear is:
“Why can’t you two talk about what’s going on?”
Here’s the thing: Guys like to fix things.
Men Like To Be The Solution To Problems And In A Relationship, It’s Very Hard For Them To Hear That They Are The Cause Of The Problem.
So in order to have a constructive conversation where you can hopefully make it clear to him what is on your mind and what is bothering you, is for you to keep the focus on what’s going on for you – YOUR experience of the situation happening.
Give him a chance to respond in his own way without having to defend himself.
I know you’re just giving me a specific example – he didn’t call you before he went with the guys for dinner, and you may have said it any number ways.
But I want you from this point forward, to take a look when you’re talking to him, are you talking about him to him?
Are you telling him that you disapprove of what he’s doing?
Are you accusing him of doing things that you don’t like?
And if you are it’s going to be very difficult to have a conversation that will get you the result that you want – which is for him to be more attentive to your needs.
I talk in depth about how to approach these conversations in my book, “How To Talk To A Man.”
I understand your frustration in these conversations. On some level, you feel it’s all his fault.
There’s no question that if he is not taking your feelings into consideration before he makes dinner plans – that is an action that he has taken, on his own.
How you choose to react to it is what you have control over.
No Matter How Long You’ve Been In A Relationship Or Marriage With Him – You Cannot Ever Control Him
When you’re able to navigate the situation in a way that makes him want to open up and connect with you how you’d like him to, you begin to shift the entire relationship.
And, obviously what you’re doing now isn’t working.
Are you willing to shift how you approach the situation?
If you’re in a relationship where the communication hasn’t been good for a while, it’s not something that’s going to turnaround overnight.
You are going to have to make a committed effort to approach the problem a little differently in order to elicit a different response from him.
Jeffrey Levine is a corporate coach and trained mediator (and Rori Raye’s husband) who works with both men and women to improve their communication, deepen their connection and remove the blocks that keep them from feeling and expressing love. He is the author of “How To Talk To A Man,” which contains invaluable advice, tools and solutions to help you avoid common relationship pitfalls, and clean things up when they go south. “Every moment presents a new choice for you: a decision about what you want – and what you believe you deserve.”