Beware of The Bully Lurking in Your Office
Eight Things You Should Never Say To Your Partner
Here's help to steer you clear of communication minefields!
George Bernard Shaw was wrong saying the English language divides two great nations, Britain and America, because it actually divides the two great genders - men and women. From Danielle Lloyd saying that Teddy Sheringham didn't want to talk about the Celebrity Big Brother House fiasco, to Hilary Swank leaving husband Chad Lowe because he'd never discussed his addiction troubles, men and women often face a vast communication divide.
For example, research shows women give more detail than men do in conversation. And that men often find such detail irrelevant and annoying. They then tune women out, which in turn annoys women. Neither wins!
Another key difference in communication is that men take some things more literally than women. Meaning that if a woman says something in the heat of the moment he'll actually believe it. But if he says something hurtful, when things have calmed down, she's more likely to write it off as something related to that argument.
Bear these things in mind when trying to make a point to your partner. Or when you're angry and liable to say things you can’t take back. The following are typical things women say that can undermine or damage relationships permanently. Utter them at your peril!
1/ "My ex could do X, Y or Z!"
If you want to make your partner resent you then compare him unfavourably to your ex. Even if you’re not directly comparing him, but instead you're saying how good your ex was at something, he'll still take it as a comparison. The golden rule when it comes to exes is never mention anything they were good at. Tell him what he's good at.
2/ Avoid at all cost using the "D-word" as in, "Well, let’s get a divorce, then!"
Remember, he thinks literally. If you put "divorce" into the mix he may think, "Yeah, she's right." Before you mentioned it, it may not have been in his mental-landscape. But once on-the-table you can’t claw it back. Couples’ research shows those who bandy the D-word about tend to divorce quicker. Anyway, divorce is a decision you should make when not angry, have cooled down, thought things over, and tried everything.
3/ "You never satisfy me in bed!"
The quickest way to make sure he never satisfies you is to issue this sweeping claim. This emasculates him to the point where he won't care about satisfying you because he's so angry with you. Or he feels so threatened that he's paralysed with anxiety about sex. Maybe you've lost that loving feeling but at some point he must’ve turned you on. And he can do it again if you’re tactful about it. Effuse about the things he does do right so he does more of them! Then tactfully suggest trying new techniques.
4/ "You don't care about my feelings!"
Of course he cares about you and men hate being accused that they don’t. He just might not show it in the way you expect. Ask him for that extra hug when you've had a hard day. Or to make consoling noises when you’re having a bad-hair day and no matter what you do it looks awful. Explain your feelings in a non-emotive way (calmly!) and he’ll be more comfortable handling them.
5/ “You’re never there for me!”
By saying this when the big stuff happens (e.g. falling out with your sister, gaining a stone in weight) you give him a "get-out clause" - an expectation that he'll never understand so he won't bother trying. Don't give him a "get-out clause". Men find it hard when they can’t “fix” something for you, particularly the bigger things. Tell him you just want him to literally “be there” to listen and that you’re not asking him for a solution.
6/ “You’re useless at DIY, let’s just get a builder in!”
Even if he’s rubbish at DIY give him a chance to learn or give him the jobs you know he won't mess up. Deep down all men have an "inner builder" so if you must get a proper one in make out that it's the last thing you want.
7/ “Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Orlando Bloom, (your favourite Hollywood star) is the most gorgeous man in the world!”
No, your partner is the most gorgeous man in the world! You'd hate it if he said that about Angelina Jolie or Sienna Miller but for some reason women think men don't object to these remarks. They do, keep that Hollywood hunk as a private fantasy.
8/ “You’re such a wimp!”
Emasculation No. 2! Outside of "bedroom criticism", men hate this word. Such remarks about his general strength of character/manliness are crushing. From when he lets his boss walk over him (and you want to shake him into action) to when he bangs his thumb making a big fuss (and you’re thinking, "why don’t you try childbirth?!"), boost his self-belief with carefully chosen words.
If in doubt about something you want to say, exercise caution. Ask yourself if he'll take it literally, if it's justified, or if he'll simply tune you out.
Published in The Express Newspaper
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