You and your guy should be able to tell each other anything if you have a healthy relationship, but some conversation starters tend to lead to trouble. Stop and think before you say one of these common things that your boyfriend definitely doesn’t want to hear.
“I don’t need your help.”
Communicating your independence can feel really liberating but to a guy, this outright rebuff of his support comes across pretty harsh. It’s not that he wants you to be a damsel in distress, he just wants to know you’re working as a team. If you are doing something that you legitimately want to handle solo, try to break it a little more gently. A more chill “I’ve got this” could make all the difference.
“We only need each other.”
On the other hand, tying your whole identity to your relationship puts on too much pressure. Try not to imply that he’s responsible for your whole identity and social life. It’s great that you’re together, yes, but you need to know you’re also great by yourself.
“I don’t like any of your friends.”
Not that you have to love every beer-guzzling college buddy he hangs out with but if all your commentary on his bros is strictly negative, it’s going to wear him out. A guy’s friends are as much an extension of him as your girls are an extension of you. If you have a serious concern, articulate it. If you just think they’re immature doofuses, keep it to yourself.
“I don’t care where we eat.”
Come on, you definitely care! It’s fine to care! Whatever you’re in the mood for, just say it upfront and save hours of hangry squabbling.
“Do I look bad in this outfit?”
It’s an absolute cliche, sure, but this is your partner’s nightmare. Unless a shared love of fashion experimentation is part of your bond, leave this question for your platonic pals. Let your guy be uncritical of your appearance and dress for your own happiness.
“Do you think she’s pretty?”
He thinks you’re incredibly sexy but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped noticing that the world is full of beautiful women. (Have you stopped noticing the world is full of hot guys?) You’re both allowed to find other people attractive. Don’t make him feel like he has to deny that.
Can you grow your hair out / shave your beard?
You might think you’re showing a lost boy how to up his game but a guy’s look is deeply personal. If he’s being a straight-up slob, give him some beard oil for his birthday, but don’t ask him to wildly change a style he’s chosen to cultivate.
“Do you always have to…?”
Literally nobody always does anything. Our behavior varies depending on the situation and our own feelings in the moment. Being defined by one annoying habit is enough to grate on any dude’s nerves. Do you want him to make a change? Try focusing on the good: “I love it when you…”
“My ex never did this.”
You might think you’re emphasizing how great he is in relation to the person you dated before him, but those reminders of life before him just reinforce that you’re still thinking about the past. Focus on the future instead. Positive or negative, take the comparisons with the partner before him off the table.
“Did you and your ex ever do this?”
Let him keep his history in the past too. Asking passive-aggressive questions about past partners might seem like an innocent way to gather intel but it actually just leads to jealous comparisons. Why go there?
“I’m not mad.”
You’re definitely mad and he can tell. Shoving the feelings down or pretending they don’t exist shows him you don’t trust him. You don’t believe he’s capable of a mature conversation about emotions. Next time, give him some credit. Think about why you’re upset and address the issue in a blame-free way, focusing on your own emotions, not accusing him of doing wrong.
“Get over it.”
So he’s pouting because his favorite show got canceled or he lost at Scrabble. He’s being ridiculous. Maybe. He’s also a human with complex emotions, and sometimes those feelings crop up in weird ways. Instead of dismissing his feelings, try to discover their source. If he really is just being a whiner, ignore him until he’s ready to be more adult.
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