Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

tel: 07588 931 401

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Don’t expect these things from your man

In a serious relationship, couples will always need support from each other, whether it's emotional or practical.  But some expectations can be too demanding and/or controlling and will eventually harm the relationship. 

Here’s where the line needs to be drawn:

1. Making him choose between you and his mother

Whatever your issue is with your mother-in-law — maybe he sometimes puts her first, or your personalities just clash, it's best for you to really make an effort to resolve the problem. She is, after all, the reason he exists in the first place and if he’s a man who knows how to treat a woman well, she’s probably been instrumental in that.  Plus, allowing little squabbles between the two of you - like for example getting frustrated because she insists on sitting next to him whenever possible - to become a bigger issue, puts the burden on him, and that could make him feel resentful.  It'll eventually drive a wedge between the two of you, not between him and his mother. 

When your mother-in-law starts to get on your nerves, take a minute to get things in perspective. Will it kill you to let her sit next to him? It may feel slightly demeaning in the moment, but if it's not that big a deal, maybe it's one thing you can sacrifice. If things aren’t quite so simple, then talk to your partner in private about working together at coming up with a solution. 

2. Expecting him to listen like a girl friend would

For sure your partner should hear you out in tough times. But he shouldn't necessarily be the person you turn to for absolutely every situation or every time you just need to vent. Men and women tend to communicate differently. Men are concerned with fixing problems, and women express feelings to connect emotionally.

So if you just want to get something off your chest and don't want someone to offer advice on how to fix it, then consider asking one of your female friends instead. Otherwise, expecting him to stay silent and not offer his advice will not get your needs met and will leave you feeling frustrated and him feeling useless. 

3. Wanting him to never notice another woman

Now be honest! Don’t you not notice attractive men? of course you do. The guy in the coffee shop, or at the gym? How about the guy you saw shopping in Sainsbury’s? Just because you're committed to your relationship doesn't mean your brain can’t compute good looking people around you. So if you notice handsome men, you can't expect your partner not to notice a good looking woman.

Looking is natural and it's not even unhealthy as long as it's just looking. Of course, if your partner is doing more than that, like gawking, flirting, asking for a number, or cheating, then you need to confront him about his behaviour and his obvious lack of respect. But if your man is committed to you and the relationship, let his one-second glance slide.

4. Asking him to give up his passions

Your partner’s interests are likely part of what attracted you to him in the first place, so resist resenting the time and energy he spends on those things now that you’re together.  If you loved his muscular arms and toned abs when you met, he didn’t get them from sitting in front of the tv every night, so you can’t now moan when he wants to continue with his fitness routine. His passion shouldn't deny you regular family time or a weekly date night, so if there’s no couple time and he’s only interested in work and his own passion, calmly talk about where the balance can be found.

5. Expecting him to be a different man

When you've been together a long time, it's natural to occasionally wonder, "Why in the world am I with this person?" But remember that a trait you loathe in your partner may be the flip-side of one you love. For example: You hate that he has trouble staying on schedule, but love how spontaneous he is. The two character traits may go hand-in-hand, so you may need to pick your battles. So, yes, it's important that he pick the kids up from soccer practice on time, but his habit of being 10 minutes late for dinner may not be that big a deal.

As for the truly crucial tasks, explain to him where the duty fits in for the family's overall plan for the day, then discuss your individual responsibilities, that way he feels like he's a part of the decision and taking accountability, rather than simply feeling like he's being nagged.

6. Wanting him to ditch his friends

You know that best buddy your man had when you were dating? yeah, the one who got on your nerves and you figured you could phase out once you were married? Is he still around? Thought so. Because no matter how long you've been together, your partner needs outside confidantes just as much as you do. He also needs people who are "his friends" rather than only having couple friends that you double-date with. He needs pals of his own gender; ones he can be a guy around. If you cut off those resources, he's going to be less and less happy and chances are, he's going to connect those unhappy feelings with you.

He doesn't automatically have to ditch his female friends, either. It's one thing if the female friend isn't able to honor boundaries or is inappropriately seductive. If that's the case, then it's time for him to give her a fond farewell and let her know that this isn't right in the context of his relationship, but if she's respectful, friendly, and doesn't pose an actual threat, there's no reason to give her the boot.

7. Expecting him to remember every moment in your relationship

While you can pinpoint exactly what you were doing when you realized you were in love, he’s likely to only know that he felt the same way. While you remember the time and location of your engagement, your man probably only knows the date. But his forgetfulness isn't because he doesn't care. It goes back to male and female brains being wired differently; women tend to retain emotional memories better than men do.

That said, if a milestone matters to you, instead of quietly holding him on a pedestal that you know he'll fall off of when he forgets, tell him how important the memory is to you. Mark it on his calendar. Schedule it in his phone. If he still overlooks it, be direct and calmly explain why you're disappointed. It's not fair to guilt-trip or expect him to telepathically understand how an oversight affected you, it’s unrealistic to expect that he interprets the deepness of your sigh, so open communication is always more productive.

8. Wanting him to share all of your interests

He may have gone with you to that chick flick because he knew you really wanted to go, but if he's not into that movie genre himself, don't make him to go to every one of them.

"Give him the chance to feel your absence from time to time, he'll react by getting back into courting behavior and letting you know he appreciates you. That's because enjoying time apart with your separate passions strengthens a relationship bond.  It gives you both room to breathe and grow, so that you can come back and do something fun with a refreshed spirit.

9. Always making him the Grown-up

Nobody acts like an adult all of the time, but if you act childish more often than you act like an adult, forcing him to be the adult all the time, then that could drive your partner to start retreating. Acting childish doesn't have to mean throwing tantrums on the floor, either. It can be more subtle, like giving him the silent treatment or withholding affection (especially sex) in order to get your way. But your behavior could very well backfire. So make adult-to-adult communication a priority at all times. 

If you think your relationship could benefit from some professional guidance, please call Samantha De Bono on 07588931401