Ask any bookstore owner; women buy and read more self-help books on love and relationships than men. Women are more likely to hire dating and relationship coaches and go to therapy. These women want a deep authentic happy relationship. They’re willing to work on improving themselves in order to attract the love they want. As a dating coach for women over 40, I often hear these women complaining about why they have to do all the work. Why don’t men work on themselves, too?
I tell them that many men are doing the work. I’ve had numerous conversations, both in person and online, with men who want to understand women better. These men want to learn their blind spots in dating and relationships. And I think that’s fantastic. I wish everyone would be more aware of what they’re contributing to the success (or failure) of relationships.
For the women who are dating men who are not doing this important inner work, what’s the best strategy for getting the men they’re dating to work on themselves?
My radio guest, Ken Bechtel, has some good insights about this topic. He is the host of the Speaking of Partnership podcast. For over 15 years, he has shared his wisdom as a speaker and educator to help women and men understand and appreciate each other so they can develop deep connections and healthy, life-long relationships.
I loved interviewing Ken on Last First Date Radio in the episode, How to Get Men to Do Their Part in Relationships. Loosely transcribed highlights of our interview can be found below.
The #1 Secret to Getting Men to Work on Themselves in Relationships
How can a woman get a man to want to change?
Part of what gets a man to change is to know he’s okay where he is. I call it being complete in the moment.
Assure him he’s done the best he could with the information he had. Otherwise he’ll be stuck. He’ll wonder how to get it right so he can move forward. If you make a man guess, everyone loses. Men are the worst guessers. You’re better off telling him exactly what you want. Start with the positive, then make your request. Instead of “Why do we never go dancing?” say “I loved having dinner with you, and I’d love to go dancing, too.” Start with appreciation—and it’s got to be sincere.
What is the #1 barrier to having men “work on themselves”?
In every class I’ve ever taught, women want to know why they have to change, and men don’t do the work. Often times, women are looking for men to change in the exact same way as them.
You think, if men are not doing what you do, they’re not doing anything.
Men work differently. They don’t act like a perfect women would. They’re not wired that way. First, understand that they are different. The masculine is results-oriented. Feminine looks for emotional connection. Realize that men won’t look or act like you. Don’t criticize them for that. You’ll have to ask your man what works best for him in ‘working on himself’.
What is the biggest mistake women make that is keeping the men in their lives from seeking relationship guidance?
Complaining. If someone complains, you resent it. What you don’t understand is that men have four layers of protection against complaints. You think he should respond instantly because you would. Instead of complaining, motivate a man through internal motivation. It has to meet the criteria: right time, right space in my life, etc.
Appreciate a man, and that gives him the fuel to take action. Set him up to win. A man can’t guess. Women might think it’s romantic if a man guesses what she wants. If he guesses right once in a while, your mind says, “See, he can read my mind. He’s been holding out on me.”
If you lay it out clearly, what would make you happy, and set him up to win, you get what you want, he doesn’t have to guess, and the action takes place.
Women and men, what do you think about getting your partner to do the inner work in order to have deep authentic relationships?
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This post first appeared at LastFirstDate.com
Photo: Flickr/Roxanna Salceda