How to Understand Men and Dating

by Laura Dos Santos

About Laura Dos Santos

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Laura Dos Santos is a marketing manager, culture blogger and social-media maven. Living in Orlando, Fla. since 2004, she has written for a variety of publications and blogs on topics ranging from health and beauty to business.

Dating and understanding the man in your life can be a stressful journey. Building a healthy relationship requires work on both ends. There are a few rules you can follow to help you better understand the man in your life and to ensure that he feels comfortable with you.

Realize that men usually act and speak according to what they are feeling. You won't need to play mind-reader if you're listening to what he says. Communication between you and your guy will be much more effective if you also say exactly what you mean. When you first start dating you don't know enough about each other to make inferences. Being straightforward is the best way to get to know each other.

Stroke his ego. Whether you've been together five years or five minutes, he doesn't want to hear about how many things he did wrong. The majority of men respond positively to your praises and negatively to your tirades. It's a simple concept that is often ignored by women. Stroking his ego doesn't require that you not discuss the things that are bothering you, but it does require that you think carefully about how you express those things.

Study him. Regardless of how much you think all men are the same, they are, in fact, all different. In order to understand your guy you need to watch him. Notice the things to which he reacts positively versus that to which he responds negatively. This observation period will help you better understand him; it will also help you decide if he is right for you. People do change, but you can't go into a relationship expecting them to change.

Be rational. Men behave and communicate based on rationality; rarely are their actions completely dependent on emotions. In order to communicate effectively you must be communicating on the same platform.

Exercise self-control. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve, especially when you start dating. Rarely do men enjoy being smothered and rarely are they prepared, especially at the beginning of a relationship, to deal with any emotional turmoil you are facing. This doesn't mean you shouldn't suppress your emotions. It means you need to understand where and when it's okay to show intense emotion. At the beginning of a relationship, your emotions are better left to be worked out with your best friend, unless you can find a rational way to approach it with your guy. As the relationship progresses your guy will feel more comfortable helping you through the tough stuff, but don't drop it on him too soon.

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Tip

  • When dealing with a new relationship or rekindling an old one you're goal should be to listen and understand. Once your guy feels understood, he is more likely to be receptive of the things you want to say. Be weary of taking advice from friends and family. Every relationship is different and you have to make decisions based on what is good for you as a couple. You don't allow your friends and family to choose who you date, you shouldn't allow them to psychoanalyze your date.

Warning

  • Trying to understand a spouse or a boyfriend if you are in an abusive relationship requires the advice of a professional. These steps are simply guidelines for typical relationships and not the advice of a mental health professional.

References (2)

  • He's Just Not That Into You; Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo; 2004
  • The Rules; Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider: 1995