Three Suggestions for How to Keep from Screwing Things Up
Congratulations! You have a new relationship, one that might be serious. It’s too soon to tell, but you do really like her, might even be close to loving her. You’re not saying it, though, not this early, definitely not before her. Not until you’re sure. And besides, you could still screw it up and send it all to hell with one really bad argument, even if it seems like it’s over something stupid. There’s subtext, there always is, even if you can’t see it. She can. That’s what matters. And that subtext can totally screw you over, so it’s better to avoid it if you can. Here are some of our ideas on the subject.
Suggestion the First: Put the Seat Down
You’re not a single guy who only has his bros over now. We’re betting that even when you knew your bros were bringing their girlfriends and wives over for a barbecue or whatever you didn’t bother putting the seat down.
We don’t mean just the seat, though. We want you to look at all the little things you do—leaving your boxers and dirty socks on the floor; letting a set of gym clothes marinate in stench for days before you get around to washing it with the rest of the laundry (you can spare the quarters to wash those things separately); failing to keep anything other than bacon, canned chili, and steak around; anything like that that’s pure Bachelor Frog behavior. A stupid fight about not having broccoli to go with the steak could really mean she’s worried about your health because of how you eat and you fighting back means she shouldn’t worry. Do you really want to break up with your girlfriend because you have too much bacon?
Suggestion the Second: Keep the Romance
You’re all coupled up now. You’ve done the job of winning her affection enough for her to put up with you and to have sex with you. Good job! Except now you have to keep her interested. That means no slacking.
Don’t drastically change it from before, though. If you never bought her flowers when you started dating, but you want to now, do it a couple of times a month, not every day or even week. If you hate Italian but she likes it, take her there once a month or so.
There are some things you need to definitely do, though. Compliment her, and make it more than a wolf whistle or, “Babe, looking fine!” Remember important dates, like your anniversary, her birthday, and Valentine’s Day (if she’s into it). Always, always treat her well. Try to make her laugh in whatever way you’re best at, even if it’s stupid.
Pay attention to her for more than making out and sex. That’s most important. And when you’re sure you love her, tell her—if she’s said it first.
Suggestion the Third: Keep It Calm
You’re going to argue. It’s human nature. There is not a single couple in all of human history that has never argued. But the key is how you argue.
When something provokes one of you into snapping, do your best to keep an ear on your tone. Don’t let yourself sound threatening. You’re a guy, you’re probably bigger and stronger than her, and women know that threatening men can do serious damage to them. You don’t want to be that guy to your girlfriend. Pay attention to your body language, too; if you’re making fists, force your hands to relax. If you’re snarling, step back and calm down. If your shoulders are bunched and arms are raised, it makes you look bigger, and you need to not do that.
And try not to yell. Yelling is when people lose control. If she starts to yell, take a step back and tell her you don’t want to fight, so you can talk about this later. Yelling is when one of you can shout, “I don’t want to be with you!” and mean it for a split second—which is just long enough to destroy your relationship.
So when you inevitably argue, keep it calm and quiet, as much as you can. But do everything you can to avoid it.