Most relationships don’t end with a bang; instead they fade away through creeping indifference and a loss of the will to keep the flame between you alive. In these cases, the end is called overwhelmingly by the woman, who decides that ‘there must be more to life than this’; and sets out to find it.
Quite often the end comes as a surprise to the man, which only confirms to the woman how right she is to leave; because his obliviousness to her unhappiness and discontent is so complete. If this is you, then you will need to convince your wife or girlfriend that you are able to change before you have a chance of winning her back.
If you are unaware of her feelings then you will certainly have grown apart. Creeping indifference or even dislike usually goes hand in hand with leading increasingly separate lives. Having ‘me’ time and your own interests is great, but not when there is no ‘us’ time to keep you together, and remind you of what you mean to each other.
Many women feel that men fail to pull their weight in relationships. Feelings of resentment gradually build up in them, which can lead to the dreaded ‘nagging’ or sometimes ‘the silent treatment’. But unfortunately many men bring this on themselves by their failure to contribute, making their women feel that they are being taken for granted.
Here are five ways men tend to cop out of doing their bit. The fact is that real life is often not glamorous and exciting, but no-one is entitled only to partake of the good bits. Your girlfriend or wife needs to feel that she is still one of your top priorities.
They ignore the chores
The dreary necessities of household chores are always there. Many men start out with the best intentions, but somehow these fail to last. It’s unfortunate that many women have a lower ‘mess threshold’ than men, and find even a small amount of untidiness unbearable. And many men use this as an excuse never to do any housework, because ‘it’s never dirty enough’.
These sorts of household wars can simmer for years, making a couple increasingly unhappy and resentful. Deciding who should do what around the house can work for some couples, as long as both sides stick to it. But what women want more than anything else is for men to help out without having to be asked. You’re a grown man. You’ve lived in a house all your life. Pretending that you don’t know what needs to be done is unconvincing and infuriating.
Your life together should be a joint effort. So make it one. Thoughtful gestures around the house can make all the difference.
They Go Deaf
Conversation is very important to women, probably more so than it is to many men. And women hate feeling that you aren’t listening to them when they are talking to you.
This can actually be a tricky one to negotiate. Women have two infuriating habits when it comes to conversation; talking too much, and talking at the wrong time. Unless there is an emergency, you are entitled to ask her if you can have the conversation when you have finished what you are doing. But getting her to be less verbose is probably impossible; so if this is likely to drive you mad, then just don’t choose a chatterbox. Not all women are unable to stop talking.
What’s important is not to let her feel that you don’t care about her concerns. Not taking things that matter to her seriously tells her that you don’t care about her. And that is a dangerous thing to convey. She doesn’t always expect you to have the answers, but she does want you to be willing to listen.
They Go Dumb
Listening and talking are the complementary sides of communication. Women hate it when men never talk to them. There are two kinds of ‘not talking’, and both can damage your relationship.
This first is the ‘sitting in silence’ kind. When you were first dating you had plenty to talk about: you were getting to know each other and you didn’t see each other all the time. But when you move in together, it can be surprising how quickly there seems to be nothing left to say.
While men can be happy sitting for long periods in silence, women like a little social conversation at times to ‘oil the wheels’. To a woman, a man who sits is silence while he eats and then watches the television all night is an oaf, and a very unsatisfactory partner. Try learning a few rudimentary social graces. You don’t have to talk all night, but ignoring her (which is how she will see it) is just plain rude.
The other kind of ‘not talking’ is when problems are allowed to fester because they are never discussed or resolved. Being able to talk about what’s bothering you is crucial for intimacy to flourish. If you can’t discuss things together, you are undermining the whole relationship.
They Get Into a Routine – and Leave Out the Fun
At first you probably did lots of things together. But as time goes on you can find you are splitting you life into sections. You do things with your wives or girlfriends. You do things with your mates. And guess where you are having all the fun?
Sometimes though, you can just get into an utterly predictable routine in which fun ceases to figure anywhere. If you have fallen into either of these habits, then you need to shake your life up a bit and start introducing some changes.
People who play together, stay together. Although you don’t want to live in each other’s pockets, it’s important to have things you enjoy doing together. Spending time with each other shouldn’t be a chore. Being a couple should mean that you are also a team.
They Start Thinking the Grass is Greener Elsewhere
When things are not going great at home, it sometimes seems that everybody else is happy – except you. Your mate has a new girlfriend and starts bragging about having sex five times a night, every night. You other mate has just married a PhD who is a Cordon Bleu cook. Why don’t you have a woman like this?
Being a man yourself, you should know how much men like to brag – and how little of it is actually true. There is no such thing as the perfect woman – or man. And you’ll never know the real truth about other people’s relationships either.
But you do know that real life isn’t a fantasy. The grass on the other side of the fence still has to be weeded and mown and watered to look its best. Your mates’ relationships are probably no better than yours in reality, and they may be a lot worse. If your partner is loyal and loving and warm, then you are a lucky man and you shouldn’t waste your time dreaming about phantoms.
It’s also a bit feeble to blame someone else if you are feeling that life has lost a bit of its glamour. If you want to pep things up a bit, your partner will probably be delighted at the thought of doing something different for a change. And if you are the one who is always turning down her suggestions, then try taking her up on them for once. You may be surprised how much you enjoy it.