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How to Keep Your Boyfriend Happy by Avoiding These Dating Mistakes

Ms. Meyers watches single women making the same dating mistakes. She's sharing her insights for those with want to land a man and keep him.

The  man you're dating wants to be seen, loved, and appreciated as he is.

The man you're dating wants to be seen, loved, and appreciated as he is.

Common Dating Mistakes Women Make

1. Asking for advice but never taking it

2. Trying to change him

3. Marinating in their problems

4. Talking too much about feelings

5. Being high-maintenance

6. Giving the silent treatment

7. Abandoning their own interests

Each of these dating mistakes that can drive men away is described fully below.

Can You Handle the Truth?

“Does this dress make me look fat?” It's a question that a woman utters without really wanting a truthful answer. She asks it to get reassurance for her wardrobe choice or to fish for a compliment about her appearance.

The same is true when a single gal asks her girlfriends: “Why can't I keep a man? Why am I so bad at dating?" She's not wanting a well thought out, constructive reply. Instead, she's looking for unconditional support and comforting words from her posse: There's a lot of losers out there, It's them, not you, and Don't give up hope. Some day your prince will come.

As a confidant to many single ladies, though, I'd love to tell them what I really think without risking the loss of their friendship. I see so many of them making the same dating mistakes again and again. If they could accept the brutal truth and change their behaviors, though, these women would have guys entering their orbit and never leaving.

7 Common Dating Mistakes Women Make

1. Asking for Advice But Never Taking It

An astute woman in the dating world knows that a man is flattered when she asks for his advice. She understands that most guys take such a request seriously and give it a lot of thought. Therefore, she’s careful to ask for his counsel only when she intends on listening intently and weighing it carefully. While certainly not obligated to take his recommendations, she’s respectful of his time, wisdom, and effort.

An oblivious woman, on the other hand, makes the critical dating mistake of asking willy-nilly for a boyfriend’s advice. Not mindful of the emotional energy that he’s investing in the task, she ignores his suggestions time and time again. In the process, she insults, exhausts, and frustrates him. In fact, clueless gals such as this have even earned an unflattering moniker: askholes.

Today, savvy guys have caught on to these askholes and avoid them at all cost. They realize they’re often drama queens who ask for guidance as a way to get attention. As Glenn Stok details in his article, “Five Reasons Why People Don’t Listen to Advice,” these folks who seek guidance but never take it can cause untold grief. A wise man knows that being in a relationship with an askhole will never bring him peace.

2. Trying to Change Him

A secure woman on the dating scene accepts a man “as is” with no intentions of changing him to fit her needs. She’s confident in her ability to choose a partner who’s a suitable match. Moreover, she’s strong enough to walk away from a guy who’s not a good fit, even when it’s hard.

A less confident gal, though, makes a crucial dating mistake by being attracted by a man’s potential and wanting to change him. She dreams of molding him into what she desires. She might, for example, imagine turning a laid back dude into an ambitious businessman who'll earn big bucks. She might envision turning a guy’s guy into a sensitive soul who will talk for hours about his feelings. She might fantasize about transforming an extrovert, who loves to hang out at bars and go to parties, into a house-husband who only wants to be with his wife and kids.

This, however, is bound to fail for two significant reasons. One is the cliche that says you can only change yourself, not another person. Two is that a man wants to be loved and appreciated for who he is. Upon discovering that his lady-love sees him as a fixer-upper, he's wounded and insulted. Not wanting to be anyone’s pet project, he looks elsewhere for unconditional love and acceptance. Therapist Terry Gaspard details these issues in “10 Reasons You Need to Stop Changing Someone.” The bottom line, she says, is that trying to alter a partner is deadly to an intimate relationship.

3. Marinating in Their Problems

Many women have at least one girlfriend who has problems that never seem to get resolved. Her issues, in fact, may drag on for weeks, months, or even years. Whether she's engaged in an ongoing battle with a coworker, an unending conflict with her landlord, or a festering dispute with the neighbor, she frustrates everyone because her ordeal never comes to a close.

However, when her girlfriends take a step back, they realize that these problems are central to her identity. She discusses them with anyone and everyone who will lend an ear. They make her feel special because others are investing in her and her dilemma. Her girlfriends understand this and, therefore, continue to listen and empathize.

Many men, on the other hand, don't get this at all. They're problem-solvers who strive to eradicate issues from their lives and the lives of others. Therefore, listening to someone discuss a complication that never gets fixed can be beyond maddening to them.

In "How Gender Differences Make Decision-Making Difficulties," Dr. Susan Heitler warns that a woman's ongoing predicaments can frustrate the man in her life and be a major dating mistake. She writes, "when men address a problem, they tend to head straight for the finish line. They view success as finding a solution, preferably asap." When their gal's difficulties never go away, guys can see this as a personal failure. They may eventually get discouraged, give up hope, and look for a different situation where they can be of more use.

Most men are problem-solvers who want to eradicate conflicts, not embrace them.

Most men are problem-solvers who want to eradicate conflicts, not embrace them.

4. Talking Too Much About Feelings

Many women love talking about feelings, whether their own or others. Their delight in speaking about the inner world is unsurprising given that research shows how skilled they are at doing it. According to a University of Montreal study, females have a superior ability to understand emotions and read facial expressions compared to their male counterparts.

Therefore, a sensitive and enlightened woman knows that she’s at an advantage in this arena but doesn’t lord it over her man. If her boyfriend can’t go toe-to-toe with her, she doesn’t think any less of him. Instead, she accepts his limitations and saves these conversations for her girlfriends, mom, and sisters.

A foolish woman, on the other hand, weaponizes her advantage. She pummels her guy with emotional insights, leaving him battered and defeated. It’s a miserable experience for him and one he can’t imagine enduring for a lifetime with her. That's why a woman who overwhelms her partner with talk about feelings is making a crucial dating mistake.

5. Being High-Maintenance

Being high-maintenance is a monumental dating mistake and the surest way for a woman to scare away a suitor and end a budding relationship. While initially attracted to such a gal with her perfectly manicured nails, coiffed hair, and exquisite wardrobe, he quickly discovers that she’s way too demanding and way too much work. He knows that he’ll never live up to her lofty expectations. Moreover, he knows that he’ll never make her happy and, quite frankly, doesn’t want to try.

Kara Oh is the author of a book that I highly recommend to any woman who’s struggling to keep a fella. It’s entitled: Men Made Easy: How to Capture His Heart Forever. I’ve even given it as a gift to girlfriends who’ve expressed their desire to find a life partner but don’t know what they’re doing wrong.

Oh says guys see a high-maintenance woman as a bottomless pit. They’d much rather be with someone who’s down-to-earth, easy-going, and flexible...even if she’s not nearly as stunning. She advises these women to abandon their rigidity and their need for things to be perfect. Instead, she encourages them to become more spontaneous. While guys find high-maintenance women exhausting, they delight in gals who act on the spur-of-the-moment and make life invigorating and fun.

In this video, a relationship expert explains how a demanding, high-maintenance woman scares off a man.

6. Giving the Silent Treatment

Giving a man the silent treatment is not only a colossal dating mistake but a giant red flag. In a best case scenario, the woman is merely immature and lacking self-confidence. Her communication skills are weak so she clams up, not wanting to say the wrong thing and make matters worse. Without an open and honest dialogue between them, the guy knows the relationship is doomed.

In a worst case scenario, though, the gal is not a lousy communicator. Rather, she’s using the silent treatment as a weapon to punish her man. Dr. Sharie Stines, a counselor and educator, writes:

"At best the silent treatment is an immature behavior used by spoiled brats and manipulative individuals. At worst, it is a weapon used by abusers to punish their victims...Whether the person in your life is using the silent treatment immaturely or abusively, one thing is for sure, it is infuriating to receive; problems cannot be dealt with, conflicts remain unresolved, simple conversations are thwarted, and in the end, relationships employing this tactic become either toxic on nonexistent."

Andrea Schneider, a licensed clinical social worker, says that refusing to speak is a form of emotional abuse that’s frequently used by those with narcissistic tendencies. They shut up in order to manipulate, control, and demoralize their partners, leaving them confused, off-balance, and isolated. A clear-sighted guy knows a narcissistic woman who weaponizes the silent treatment needs professional help and is someone incapable of being in a healthy relationship.

7. Abandoning Their Own Interests

An invaluable mantra for a woman in a relationship is: You do you and I’ll do me. It’s a reminder not to lose herself in the coupling even when she’s crazy in love. It helps her stay mindful that this union is healthier, sexier, and more exhilarating when the two of them retain their own friends, hobbies, and interests. They can go out into the world and enjoy their separate activities. Then, they can re-engage with new, exciting things to discuss and their latest adventures to relate.

Some women, though, make the terrible dating mistake of letting their own pursuits gradually slip away as they become overly focused on the romance. This, though, can make them less appealing to their guys. Their men begin to see them as clingy and not nearly as independent and interesting as they initially seemed.

Dr. Ellen Kenner, a clinical psychologist, cautions women to preserve their “me time.” She says: “So many relationships fall apart down the line because partners get so wrapped up in the relationship that they lose track of what makes them tick as individuals. While it’s good to think of yourself as a pair, having some separate interests maintains the individuality and uniqueness that drew both of you to each other in the first place.”

What do you think?

Questions & Answers

Question: Why does he keep saying he wants it to work and then the next day says he's done with me?

Answer: There are many reasons why he may do this: he's emotionally immature and not ready for a relationship, he fears commitment and wants to keep his options open, he's impulsive and speaks before thinking, he enjoys playing with your emotions because it makes him feel in charge. The real question, though, that you should be asking is: Why do I put up with it?

It's always easier (and more enjoyable) to look at another person's “stuff” rather than shining the light on ourselves. It's a distraction from making the tough choices and doing the hard work that's necessary to build a meaningful life. Focusing on someone else stops you from starting the next part of your journey toward self-discovery.

Do you enjoy the emotional roller-coaster ride that you're on together? A lot of women do and would find their lives too boring without the drama. Are you consciously or unconsciously with this guy because you fear commitment/marriage? Is this man's erratic behavior emblematic of a pattern you have in romantic relationships? Are you choosing men to fix the past with your father?

These are some heavy-duty questions to ask yourself as you reflect on why you tolerate this behavior. If you want a commitment, it seems like you're wasting time with this man and need to move on from him. You certainly wouldn't want to be married to someone who behaves like this.

It's a good time to take a break from relationships and work on yourself so you'll be ready for someone who's more reliable. Focus on yourself. Take classes, read, study, exercise, and challenge yourself in new areas. Figure out what you want in a man and what you won't tolerate.

Question: Is it OK to see a guy who is already seeing someone because I believe it might work out in the long run?

Answer: No. Romantic relationships come and go, but your character, integrity, and reputation last a lifetime. You never want to sacrifice those for a guy. Whether it works out with him or not, it's too high of a price to pay.

Besides, why do you want to date a man who's willing to date two women at once? What does that say about him? What does it say about you? Perhaps, it would only be okay if he made it perfectly clear to both women that he was dating the other one and was not interested in an exclusive relationship. However, that doesn't show a lot of maturity or depth of emotion.

With that being said, there's no harm in being perfectly straightforward with this guy. You could say, “If you ever find yourself single, I'd very much like to go out with you.” He would be very flattered and appreciate your frankness. You could also add a few sentences about why you think the two of you would work as a couple.

Then, back off and see what happens. In the meantime, put your focus on meeting other guys. This one may seem especially desirable to you because he's unavailable. It's human nature that we covet what we can't have.

The former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, famously stated “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” The older I get, the more this rings true to me. Dating a guy who's seeing another woman is not classy and not at all respectful of her. It teaches men the wrong thing about women.

© 2017 McKenna Meyers