To all of the good men out there: WE SEE YOU. We think you’re great and respectful and loyal and attentive. This essay is not for you. Most of us women have, unfortunately, way more experience with the bad guys of the world than we do with the good ones. The challenge of a bad boy intrigues us and once we get hooked in, it’s way too late. We have to see it out, through all of the heartache, tears, disappointment, and anger. But it makes us appreciate the good ones even more once we finally realize that we deserve that kind of treatment. Please be patient with us as we adjust.
To all of the not so good men out there: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? Do you want to be alone forever? Do you want to meet your match that is just as shitty as you are and bang around and be miserable together? Do you hate yourself that much? Do you just enjoy sabotaging things for fun? Or are you incapable of experiencing real human emotion and empathy?
Keeping a relationship happy and healthy takes more than just good communication and an unconditional commitment to one another. Those are the absolute basics for a steady foundation. Tell me what you’re thinking and don’t cheat on me. But it takes more than that to stand the test of time. A plant has to be watered every day and can’t survive without it. After a certain point men stop watering the plant, get comfortable, and start to slack on expectations and think that since women are such loyal creatures that we will stick around through all the bullshit no matter what. A woman with a lot of self respect won’t though. It is really awful to break up with someone and we will give our significant other many, many chances to make things right. But repeated offenses of the same things over and over again can get to the point where they are unforgivable. And the men don’t even realize what hit them until it’s really truly over and she’s over it. Because they think, I answer when you text, I show up when I can, and I haven’t put my dick inside anyone else. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?! They’ll say. Well, I’ll tell you…
The most egregious offense is a lack of attention. Women are like dogs: we need constant petting, to be taken out, played with, fed well, and loved. Our relationship is not a part time obligation and the amount of interaction we receive needs to be as consistent as possible. We can’t handle seeing you 3x a week one week and then barely speaking to you the next. That is how you handle a friendship, not a relationship. When there is an emotional attachment involved any changes in behavior or a sudden drop in attention is going to cause anxiety for us. We understand that you have lives and that you need to keep up with your daily obligations separate from us. But there has to be constant effort to be in communication everyday and in making plans to hang out. This is obviously a two-way street, but women don’t usually need to be reminded to keep it up. We CONSTANTLY think about you, want to see you, text you, and tell you how we feel. We’re amazing multi-taskers and can handle having a job, kids, appointments, meetings, hobbies, friends, and still make you our #1 priority. Men can become one track minded, especially when it comes to work, so just REMIND yourself constantly that attention must be paid. Honestly, a woman could have zero feelings for someone and if he shows her constant attention she could very likely fall in love with him. That’s how important it is.
The next worst offense, in my opinion, is bad listening skills. Obviously some of us are just more blessed with a better short term memory than others. But when you really truly care about someone you genuinely want to know every thought that goes through their head, every emotion, every childhood memory and story, and every experience and 9 times out of 10 will remember it unless you’re zoning out. A person that you don’t love could tell you a story and it would be normal to zone out during the details, or have to have them repeat it again once or twice. But with someone you love, it gets absorbed into your mind. If that’s not happening, it’s showing us that you don’t give a shit. I dated a guy once who I would quiz on certain details about my life that I was 100% sure I had told him several times. I would ask him when my birthday is, how many siblings I have, what I majored in in college. And when he struggled to answer those basic questions I knew that he wasn’t really that into me. Or maybe he was and he just wasn’t making listening well a priority. It needs to be a priority. Drink gingko biloba tea, do more crossword puzzles, or meditate to clear your mind so there is more space for your girls’ details. We remember all the dumb shit you tell us. We love to surprise you with a Christmas gift that you mentioned liking in the store that one time. We want to buy you tickets to see a game with your favorite sports team. We want to remember all the names of your family members so that we can impress you (and them) when you take us home for the holidays with you.
Which leads me to my next point. Not spending holidays, birthdays, special events, and social engagements together is unacceptable. How many times do we have to make excuses for you when you bail on us for things that you, “don’t like” doing. I don’t like going to all of the parties and celebrations that I’m obligated to go to either but it’s a chance to spend time together and be social. I was in a relationship with someone for years when he said he couldn’t come to my best friend’s birthday party with me because he had a wedding to go to. It was the double whammy of leaving me to go solo for the 3rd year in a row to my friend’s party and also not taking me as his date to the wedding. This is something that women will never be able to comprehend. How could you NOT want someone there with you that you can whisper to about how the bridesmaids’ dresses are ugly or use as an excuse to leave early or dance with? Women never want to go to a social function alone especially when everyone else is coupled up. When we have that moment of discomfort when no one is really talking to us we have to anxiously check our phone instead of find you and insert ourselves in your conversation. If you’re the type of guy who wants to go everywhere and do everything alone then be alone. Why be in a relationship with someone you don’t want to share the special moments in life with?
The last, most hurtful offense is not talking about the future. A good guy with available emotions who cares about you will talk about this subject endlessly. A not so good guy will skirt around it at every opportunity. We’ve all been hurt, we’re all afraid of rejection, we all understand that sometimes things don’t work out. That’s life. If we’re not in this relationship with at least the POSSIBILITY of settling down together then what is the point? Seriously! Are you dating us to pass the time? Are we just a pit stop on your way to the person who you really want to be with? Are you unsure about us? Because when you scoff, laugh, or make light of the subject that is exactly what you are communicating to us. We don’t need to see a detailed sketch of the engagement ring you’ve been planning for us since the day we met, but we need some indication that there can and will be progress. Meeting your family/friends, going on a trip, and discussing moving in together are all good indicators. There’s no time frame for these types of things to HAVE to happen but if it’s not happening in a reasonable time frame then you will know by how your girl starts to behave. Insecure. Anxious. Nagging. These are some of the lovely labels she will get honored with once you start to drag your feet. There is only so long we can “date” you before we get restless. Before we want to insert the Judge Judy gif where she’s tapping her watch and slapping the bench into all of our conversations. You will wear her down at a certain point to where she will let it go and just cruise along. But that bit of resentment will still be festering in the back of her head until she unleashes it again at, probably, the most inopportune moment. So shit or get off the pot.
I’m obviously generalizing greatly about what most women want and need but I feel pretty confident in saying that the MAJORITY feels this same way, whether they are being honest about it or not. It’s really not rocket science and it really doesn’t take THAT much to keep us happy. It seems like common sense and yet this is a common issue that I and my friends have experienced with countless men. You’re going to keep losing people you care about along the way if you can’t manage to at least PRETEND to be one of the good guys. Women can easily do all of this stuff without questioning any of it, why can’t you?