1. Not fighting fair–Happy couples don’t necessarily fight less, they just fight better. They do it by describing their own feelings and needs instead of labeling their partner as “faulty”. Research shows women are more likely to bring up problems for discussion, while men are more likely to withdraw at the first sign of an argument. When this keeps happening, women tend to start conversations on a negative note, which only makes things worse. Stick to “I-statements,” like “When (this happens), I feel (frustrated, angry). What I needed was…”
2. Treating him like a child–A big issue in couples is a man resenting his partner because he feels she talks down to him. This can leave him feeling “less-than,” and nothing brings about resentment faster than that. So avoid threatening his independence. No one wants to feel “managed” by a partner.
3. Involving other people in your relationship–What you might think of as harmless complaining to friends and family can actually break your man’s trust. It threatens the safety of the “couple bubble” you’ve created together. Men find it humiliating and hurtful. If you really need to vent, consider talking to a doctor or therapist to keep things confidential.
4. Not showing appreciation for things he does right–Men will never ask for it, but regular doses of praise are important. They need to hear that their women are proud of them. Men tend to be more action-oriented than women, which means they show affection in different ways. He might empty the dishwasher as a way of saying he cares about you. Pay attention to what he does and let him know you notice.
5. Withholding sex as punishment–While women generally need emotional intimacy to make love, men express emotional intimacy through sex. When a woman turns down sex, in her man’s mind, she’s turning him down as a person. Using sex as a bargaining chip to get your needs met isn’t negotiating-it’s emotional blackmail. Withholding sex could make your partner feel less love from you and give you less love in return.
6. Trying to change him–Every person can change, but it’s better to focus on our own changes, rather than our partner’s behaviors. Studies show that married men tend to eat healthier and have fewer problems with drugs and alcohol than single guys-but avoid creating a relationship in which your man can’t be himself. When a man feels his home is not his castle and he can’t just be a guy, he’ll feel like he’s been put in a box where he has to act proper all the time. Sometimes, it’s smarter to let the little things slide.
7. Making important decisions without his input–Research shows that money is a top source of disagreements among couples, even those with bigger budgets. In a lot of ways, money equals power and balancing power is important to harmonious relationships. Whether you’re considering booking a vacation or buying a dishwasher, your partner deserves a say. The same goes for decisions that affect how you and your man spend your time.
8. Acting jealous when he looks at other women–Men are visual creatures, so it’s not surprising that a typical heterosexual man would notice a good-looking woman. Women who understand this and don’t take it personally minimize fights about jealousy. When a woman overreacts to a situation, her man will feel defensive and eventually resentful. So chill out.
9. Expecting immediate forgiveness after you apologize–Studies show that seeking and granting forgiveness contributes to relationship satisfaction and longevity. But beware of empty words. Apologizing manages conflict, but a simple “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. To truly earn her man’s forgiveness, a woman needs to show that she understands why her man is upset. Be specific about what you’re apologizing for, accept responsibility for what you did, acknowledge that you what you did was harmful and ask what you can do to make it up to him. If you’ve gotten to the first three steps cleanly, most men will say “forget about it” to the last question.