I date a lot, and, as a woman, I am pretty sensitive to the stereotypes men attribute to women regarding their behaviour in relationships. You see it time and time again, it pops up on the front page of my yahoo account almost daily (yes I still have a yahoo account), it is on the cover of magazines, in blogs, etc etc. You know what I am talking about – ’10 Dating Mistakes Most Women Make’ and ‘Behaviour That Frustrates Men’. They might as well read, “Hey you, with the vagina, stop screwing everything up or you will be alone forever”.
When I read these things I find myself asking, is this really gendered behaviour or just human behaviour? Or am I the only one who sees men doing these things?
I have a short list of things that frustrate me to no end. I call them relationship gender myths. Here goes:
Myth #1 – Mind Reading
I have heard it again and again. “My girlfriend expects me to read her mind; I wish she would just tell me what is going on instead of making me guess.”
Holy lord, if I have to guess what is bothering one more man one more time, I am going to lose my mind. This last autumn I was dating a guy in Bangkok, and things were pretty casual, but going fine; he was a really great guy and I was content as things were. Then one day he just drops off the face of the GD Earth. Finally, we meet up again and I enquire where the heck he has been. Oh, something is bothering you? Well that is news to me! He was worried I was getting too attached and that we wanted different things, so he just established a shit ton of distance that left me confused, thinking- “wtf, I am sure things were going fine.”
Guess what, we were on the same damn page and EVERYTHING was fine. Stop making me guess what is up, and use your damn words!
Myth #2 – Being Passive Aggressive (related to myth #1)
“Women are so passive aggressive. My girlfriend walks around the house and huffs and puffs and I ask her what is wrong and she says, ‘nothing.’”
Another ex liked to get mad at me for not knowing what he was thinking and not responding appropriately. He would then hang up the phone abruptly or snap, and I would sit, stunned thinking to myself, “what the heck was that?”
The one before that would just wake up one day and start treating me terribly. His shortness and under-the-breath comments would suddenly commence and continue for days or sometimes weeks. Invariably, he would blow up and I would find out that he was mad about me spilling the milk on the floor like six months ago. Very healthy.
Not to get too repetitive, but, USE YOUR DAMN WORDS!
Myth #3 – “I just want to talk, I don’t need you to fix things” AKA It’s Not the Nail
We have all seen THIS video, right? It is pretty funny, and I have done that. But when did men start believing that women are the one gender that just needs to unload? I hear men across the world sitting at pubs and bars saying, “my wife this…” and “my job that…”. Their comrades in alcohol consumption responding with “totally dude, I get what you are saying.”
So why is it that when I am having the shittiest day known to man, you have to tell me how to fix it, when I just want to unload!? Then, when I don’t want your advice, I am “just like a woman, doesn’t want to hear it.” GRRRR!!!!
Myth #4 – Nagging and Trying to Change Your Partner
Only women do this. Men never do this.
You know, I have had a number of quasi serious and serious relationships over the years, and no man has ever bugged me nonstop about anything. No man has ever asked me to do things in the bedroom I am not comfortable with, bugged me about the tidiness of my bedroom, wanted me grow my hair out, make an effort with his friends, stop flirting so much, stop going out so much, stop working out so much, start working out more, stop smoking, go out more, start smoking, cut my hair, etc etc.
All men magically think women are perfect. They don’t want them to be anything but themselves and they love them for exactly who they are. This is just something women do. This is why women need so many blogs, magazines, and online articles about how we can be better girlfriends.
Ok, sarcasm aside, I am not saying I don’t do any of these things, I am just saying EVERYONE DOES THEM. We get insecure and don’t know how to act or communicate. We over-think things and try to make people change because we get anxious about what this behaviour might look like in 5 months or 5 years. It happens, but blaming a gender or stereotyping is just not conducive for healthy communication in a relationship. So let’s stop the stereotyping and start USING OUR DAMN WORDS!