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“That’s just how men are.” A sentence that pretty much every woman who fears asking for what she wants, or who doesn’t even know what she deserves, says to excuse her boyfriend’s inexcusable acts. But it’s never just how “men” are—it’s how that woman’s man is. Don’t ever believe that all men are like this, and that your only option is to deal with it.

Unconstructive Criticism

Men speak harshly to each other—it’s true. They say, “You’re a dumba**” and that’s the end of that conversation. But, any smart man knows that’s not how you communicate with a woman. A man should never criticize you purely for the purpose of being malicious. If a man criticizes you harshly and constantly, ask yourself this: “Did he end it with a suggestion of how I could be better? Or how I could make my life easier if I made certain changes?” If he just says it out of malice, then you know what you’re dealing with. He wants to make you feel bad about yourself so he can have some control over you. He doesn’t want to improve you or your life.

Feeling like a burden

When you invite your guy to a family dinner, a work event, a friend’s birthday party, etc., he shouldn’t have a hint of “But do I have to?” in his voice. And he sure as heck shouldn’t just come out and say that. He should appreciate every opportunity to become a bigger part of your life, even if he can’t always make these events or shindigs. He shouldn’t make you feel like a burden for asking him to. Don’t make excuses for him like, “Well I know the office party will be boring so it makes sense that he doesn’t want to come.” He should want to be there to make it fun for you!

He looks for a threesome

People have different opinions on this, but my opinion is that if a man straight up requests that the two of you have a threesome with another woman, he is basically asking for permission to cheat. If you suggest a threesome with another woman, it’s like you are offering your man a gift—that’s different. But, don’t think it’s okay and that it’s just “how men are” when your man wants in any way shape or form to sleep with someone else, and he actively seeks it out.

He thinks you’re dramatic about everything

If your man instinctively rolls his eyes anytime you get upset, or when you say you need to talk to him about something serious, essentially the communication in your relationship is out. He does not want to do the work it takes to make you two closer, and often that work entails unnecessary arguments or difficult/uncomfortable conversations. If he treats you like you’re a drama queen and makes you feel silly for getting upset, it’s not just that he doesn’t want to fight—it’s that he doesn’t care enough to work on your relationship and doesn’t care whether or not the two of you are drifting apart.

He rarely gets in touch

A man who wants and understands what a real relationship is calls you before his drive home from the office, texts you from the toilet, and emails you from his phone under the table at a conference if he has to. He keeps you in the loop, because that’s what being a partner is about. Don’t accept a man who you have to wait to hear from. This isn’t high school.

He won’t talk about your goals/problems

When you bring up an aspiration or dream, having your guy say “That’s great baby” and then turn the volume back up on the TV doesn’t cut it. When you bring up a fight you’ve had with your best friend, “That’s a bummer” followed by the above behaviors isn’t okay either. It means he doesn’t think he should be fixing your problems. The truth is, he should see your problems as his problems too and get on the case of helping you resolve them. Of course, he doesn’t have to get bent out of shape about them, but a wise word or two to offer wouldn’t hurt. Don’t make the excuse, “Well, I know it’s a stressful subject and a lot to think about—I can see why he wouldn’t have an opinion about it.” He isn’t 8 years old. He should be able to talk about life’s issues, be a good ear and help you come to a resolution.

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