Let's talk about bad habits. And I'm not talking about a nun's clothing, either.
All of us come into relationships with bad habits, or, rather, behavior patterns, and men and women have completely separate lists of bad habits. We acquire these habits by repetition of the behavior until it becomes involuntary. Like smoking. Or cussing. Bad relationship habits often start out as a belief. "If I tell him I don't want to go out with my friends, he will think I only want to be with him, and his feelings won't be hurt." Every man reading this right now is shaking his head, muttering, "This is CRAP." I'll get to why that is crap later.
Today's post will be about bad habits that are generally attributed to women. Again, I realize not all women do all of these things. I realize some men do these things. For my purposes, I'm sticking to generalities. (And if BAP is reading this, yes, yes, I know I have done some of these things in the past.)
Bad Habit #1: Taking too long to get ready. Yes, yes, I realize if we're going out, we want to look perfect or close to, but it is not necessary to make yourselves an hour late because you either didn't start early enough or you couldn't decide what to wear. You are never going to find a man who is content to pace the floor, checking his watch ever five seconds, because you can't decide which shoes to wear. And, if you ask him to pick a pair, put that pair on your feet and go. Don't ask him seven times if he's "sure." Don't ask him if you don't value his opinion.
Bad Habit #2: "Does this make me look fat?" NO MAN wants to ever hear these words come out of your mouth. Especially because we all know it's a Catch-22. If he says, "No, you look fine," chances are you're going to be miffed because he didn't use "stunning," "fabulous," "gorgeous." If he says, "You know. . . " you're going to be pissed because you do, indeed, look fat. And who gets to suffer? Your man. And let's be honest. We all know you've been staring at yourself in the mirror for hours. If you think you look fat, 97% of the time, you're right. Just change your clothes!
Bad Habit #3: Neediness. Ladies, neediness is not sexy. You were able to fend for yourself before he came along, so find your independence and start again. There is no need to be financially, emotionally dependent on ANYONE else after you leave your parents' home. When my grandfather left my grandmother for a much, much, much younger woman (RIP Grandpa, but you were a jerk), she didn't know how to drive. She'd never even tried to learn. She just depended upon him to take her where she needed to go without a second thought. And how many times have we heard about women who allow the husband to be in control of the finances? This is a terrible, terrible idea. Not only will you not know a thing if something happens to him, but you won't know if he is driving you into bankruptcy. I once had a friend who had to ask her husband before she was allowed to spend any money. I am not talking about spending $300 on clothes; she had to ask before she could get gas, groceries, haircuts, etc. Why? Because he was spending her ENTIRE salary and some of his gambling. They had to file bankruptcy and it is my understanding they even lost the house. Take charge of your life. Stop being/playing the victim. And what is it with you women who constantly ask "do you love me?" Uhh, he married you, right? He tells you daily, right? You've now effectively turned your relationship into a job. We should never, ever, ever put someone else at the center of our universe. 'Nuff said.**
Bad Habit #4: Talking too much. Y'all know I talk waaaaaaay too much. But there is a time and a place for that. Talking during a football game (or any sport they enjoy) is not the time or the place. My sister is the World's Worst about calling me in the middle of a football game with nothing to say. WTH. And I can't tell you how many times I've heard men pissing and moaning about how "she" won't shut up during the game. Ladies, he does not need to focus his attention on you 24/7. So shut your mouth, let him spend the whole game admiring his heroes without you nagging or chatting or whatever. Either wait for a commercial* or make a list to discuss when the game is over. Everything you possibly need done or to talk about can wait. And for those of you that either attempt to or actually force your hubs to go shopping with you during a very important game (as they all are when your team is playing), you should be publicly flogged.
Bad Habit #5: Cereal is not dinner. Sure, once in a while is fine, but every person, male and female, should know how to cook. I am not expecting anyone to be a gourmet chef, but you should at least be able to whip up a quick stir fry or chicken enchiladas or something just as easy. In fact, you should know how to make at least five meals. This is especially relevant to those of you that are my age and younger. Just because we are career driven does not mean we shouldn't know how to cook. Cereal might work in your single days, but man cannot live on cereal alone. It's not at all difficult to throw chicken breasts in a baking dish, sprinkle with lemon pepper and bake until done. If you're looking at recipes that are too complicated, go get a copy of A Man, A Can & a Plan. They're usually healthy recipes, few ingredients and they're pretty tasty.
Bad Habit #6: Constant dieting. I understand the weight struggle. In fact, I'll bet no one understands it better than I do. I am not telling you to throw your diet out the window completely; I'm telling you once a month, it isn't going to kill you to eat something other than rabbit food. Trust me; men like that you are trying to be healthy and keep yourself in shape, but they really, really, really want you to just turn it all off sometimes. Have ice cream for dinner. Eat a big greasy burger, with fries. Forget the grilled chicken salad, hold the dressing. Men are strangely fascinated by women who actually eat. Maybe it is because we're letting our hair down, so to speak, which shows them we are willing to step outside our boxes. Carl's Jr. didn't make a bunch of these commericals for no reason. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPc70pG-7tY
Bad Habit #7: People pleasers. One of my dear friends is the worst kind of people pleaser ever (and yes, she knows how I feel). I'm all for not rocking the boat if it doesn't need to be rocked, but denying yourself and your true feelings to "protect" your spouse's feelings is like a Category 5 hurricane headed straight for your house and your house only. It's not going to end well, and it's going to leave a mark. I've heard other women say, "Well, if he's happy, I'm happy." Sure, I can get that. What I don't get is living your life for the sole purpose of making someone else happy. Not only are we responsible for our own happiness on a daily basis, your relationship is now nothing but smoke and mirrors. You've denied yourself the things you really want, for fear of upsetting someone, and the end result is that he loves someone else, not the real you. How unfair is that? To both of you?
Bad Habit #8: Talking on the phone too long. If you live together, chances are most telephone communication is unnecessary. Sure, sometimes you need him to pick up milk on the way home, but calling him to tell him every minute detail of your day when you are going to see him later that night (and regale him with every minute detail of your day a second time) is a huge waste of time, not to mention it is annoying. The majority of men I've talked to admit that multi-tasking isn't a strong suit. When you call him and expect him to listen while he is in the middle of something else, he is going to get annoyed. Then he is going to get angry. Leave the man alone, for Pete's sake.
Bad Habit #9: It ain't all about the kids, folks. I love my son with every single ounce of my being, but my life doesn't revolve around him. Yes, I e-mail pictures every month or so. I am excited beyond belief that he is walking. But I am not going to let life fly by because I am so busy protecting him from the world. Yes, yes, yes, OF COURSE, he needs to be protected from a lot of things, but sometimes, the only way for him to learn is to let him fall. Kids are going to get hurt. As one of the guys so wisely put it, sometimes you need to let them learn what happens when they do that to the cat. They're going to put things into their mouths they shouldn't. They're going to get skinned knees, black eyes, broken bones, etc. I love him, but much like the person I'm involved with, I need some time away from Connor. And guess what? He's going to be just fine. He needs some time away from me, too. Being a parent isn't all there is to life. To treat our children as though it is only creates more irresponsible, spoiled children for the world to tolerate.
Bad Habit #10: Too much jealousy. Women are going to check your man out sometimes. And you know what? This is a compliment! It says that she notices how good your hubby's butt looks in those jeans. It says she notices his sexy little dimples. Unless she's trying to get him out of his pants, realize that yes, your hubby *is* that handsome. Also, you don't get to be jealous of all women from his past. You have a past, too, and wouldn't you be annoyed as hell if he acted the same way? I know I would be. Unless he has specifically blamed her for some bad relationship habit he has, she's his ex for a reason and you need to get over the fact that someone else was with him first.
Bad Habit #11: Most relationships have little things happen that you can tease each other about later. For example, my ex was nicknamed "Crash" because he'd had so many car accidents. In fact, in the first full year we were together, he had three more accidents. So yeah, I teased him about it. I am not a graceful woman. He often teased me about falling down in public (though he's not any better!) However, there's a fine line between funny and hurtful. I know this because I cross it ALL the time. I don't mean to, of course, but I still do it all the time. Ladies, you have such double standards about this. If you pick on him, you're only playing, but when he picks on you, he is being "mean." It's either playing or it's mean. If he tells you you've hurt his feelings, then you apologize immediately. Never try to justify with the "I'm only playing" line. It's no different than them telling us they "forgot" everything important to us or that we've asked them to do. Attempting to justify in this situation only shows them their feelings are inconsequential to us. It saves a lot of time and effort if you immediately apologize and/or make it right.
Bad Habit #12: Stop asking him what he's thinking about all the time. Seriously. He's probably thinking about sports, or cars, or fart jokes, or beer, or boobs. I guarantee you that he's not thinking about what you want him to be thinking about, which is how fabulous/smart/beautiful/fun you are. Half the time, he's just totally zoned out, with nothing on his mind. I promise. And when you ask him, he gets the deer in the headlights look because he doesn't know if he should say wow, I was totally thinking about Megan Fox's boobs or lie to you. Frankly, he should totally tell you he was thinking about Megan Fox's boobs. If you asked, then you have to accept whatever is going on in his mind. Period. So if you think the answer might possibly hurt your feelings, don't ask. Ever.
Gentlemen, you're up next.
*The exception to the commerical rule is the Super Bowl. Half the time men don't care about the outcome of the game; they only watch for the commericals.
**I agree that actions speak louder than words. Some men do nothing but hand out platters full of lip service. It doesn't mean you get to be needy.