One of my close friends, let’s call her Mary, was dating this guy, we’ll refer to him as John. At first, Mary and John were talking frequently, texting throughout the day, and then decided to meet in person to see if there was any real chemistry and compatibility. Shortly after spending a few days together, Mary realized she no longer wanted to pursue anything with John. She found him immature, insensitive, and selfish. Instead of saying this directly to John, she communicated it to me (as her friend) and then proceeded to slowly become ‘unavailable’ for talks, texts, and time with him. Finally, after a couple of weeks, John mentioned the distance to Mary and they decided to go their separate ways.
When I discussed the situation with a guy friend, he didn’t understand why Mary refrained from telling John what was wrong versus being cowardly. I respected his position but realized a huge flaw in his thinking. Women are wired to provide feedback/input/analysis, etc. (Note: I’m a woman so it’s apparently acceptable for me to make these generalizations.) As much as we’d like to avoid the uncomfortable task of telling you how much we don’t enjoy it when you leave the toilet seat up, urinate with the door open, check social media during cuddle time, or act like a twelve-year-old with your friends, we do it. However, in order for a woman to give a man feedback, she has to see potential in the long-term. If she doesn’t say anything, a guy should be worried. Not simply because she may be searching for the nearest exit, but also because it could be a sign of deception. This isn’t in reference to things the specific woman could live with either. I’m referring to more glaring issues a woman knows she doesn’t want in her relationship or with her man yet she chooses to keep silent. This is how I broke it down to my guy friend.
If a woman is not being upfront and giving a man feedback it’s because:
1) She doesn’t see herself dating you in the future so why cause friction. Men may not like this but a woman’s feedback is a blessing. It means she recognizes potential in the relationship and knows if she doesn’t point out the flaw/issue/annoyance, it will become increasingly more unbearable. However, when she fails to mention it to you, she’s already decided it was better to slowly eject you from her life versus expending energy to educate you on the problem. Why spend valuable time addressing something you don’t plan to deal with in the future?
2) She’s waiting for a more appropriate time – like after marriage. Some guys wonder why women seem to change after titles are introduced or rings are exchanged. Well here is the/a truth. In some instances, we’ve decided it best to be quiet until we have to say something. Yep, the good ol’ bait-and-switch. I know women don’t want to admit it and guys can’t believe it, but it’s true. I was speaking with a divorced male friend a few weeks ago as he pondered the drastic change he saw in his ex-wife when comparing pre-and post their exchange of vows. She went from watching football with him every Sunday, Monday and Thursday night to complaining about him watching even one game. Apparently, she wasn’t a football fan but used his love of the game as a ‘way in.’ Then after they’d spent a few months as husband and wife, her mindset and position on several key topics, including football, shifted right before his very eyes. Note: she didn’t actually ‘change,’ she simply stopped pretending.
I’m not condoning this lack of transparency but I thought it appropriate to point it out. Guys don’t fall into the trap of disregarding feedback or input from your woman because you see it as nagging. Don’t get defensive because it’ll make her want to share less with you which could also create issues. My advice: celebrate the fact that she’s not playing games with your head and heart.
Just my two cents! What do you think?
Originally published October 31, 2013.
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