Dear Sexes: Tell me how to make a girl feel special. My fiancée is always saying that I don’t make anything special, but we just moved in together 3 months ago. I do everything for her, but she keeps saying that I don’t do anything special. What can I do?
That must be very frustrating! The thing is, if your girlfriend grew up here in the USA like I did, she may have been raised with the Cinderella story (and many others just like it). Remember in Cinderella how all she wanted was to go to the Ball? At the ball, she would line up with dozens of other girls in ball gowns and wait to see if the Prince would choose her to dance with.
And what would he be choosing her based upon? Certainly her looks, but beyond that, we know that the Prince will see Cinderella and know that she is special. Something about her will make her stand out from the other girls so that he just has to dance with her, and when they dance, she will be able to speak with him and convince him even more of her specialness.
And that’s our dream. To have someone see us, through a crowd, and choose us because we are so special. Perhaps without even knowing us!
I don’t think this is a particularly healthy thing for young girls to be inundated with as kids… I think the notion that our physical looks coupled with our “aura” or other uncontrollable factors are more important than anything else about us causes us to chase an unattainable vapor for most of our lives.
That’s a pretty tough fantasy to have to live with. In real life, we are all special and unspecial on any given day and to any given person. Almost none of us will ever have anyone see us in a sea of 100 women and say, “You! Yes, you. In the yellow v-neck and skirt. You are the one. The only one. My life has changed because of you… Oh, and what’s your name?”
And so we seek that feeling, because we’ve been told it’s proof that we are good enough, or even that we’re better than all the rest. That we’re special in that way that we so badly want to be. The bad news is that in real life, that flutter of “Will he choose me?” or “Am I special enough for him to love me back?” cannot be sustained (if it was ever there).
And so here we sit, in a home with someone we love, who loves us back, and we think, “What now? Who’s going to choose me now?” In your case, you’ve already asked her to marry you, so she knows that no one is ever going to see her from across that room and choose her out of a crowd again.
So that’s the mythology behind many women’s obsession with being special. They don’t realize that every day that you are faithful, loving, respectful and caring toward her, you are choosing her again and again.
However, I think that even if she is a victim of the Cinderella mythology and that is playing a role in her claims that you don’t make her feels special, we should talk about what you can do to make her feel more special.
The best way to do this is to come to her at a time when you’re not fighting about this issue, when she hasn’t brought it up, and when you’re happy. Maybe when you’re having dinner together or taking a walk. Just say, “You know, you’re so incredibly important and special to me. I’m so glad we’re together. I know sometimes you don’t feel like you’re special to me, and I really want you to know how special you truly are, so I’d love to know what it means to you to feel special. What are some examples of times you’ve felt really special?”
Listen with an open heart, do NOT say—not even once!—“I’ve done that!” or “I do that!” or “How can you say I don’t do that?” Just listen. Observe her. Try to understand. Ask her about scenes in movies where she felt like the character was really really loved by his or her partner.
Just listen. See what happens. Then see if you can add some of those types of things into your life. If she likes the idea of being chosen from a crowd, meet her in a restaurant once after work. When you walk in the door, lock eyes on her, smile and keep your gaze at her as you walk through the restaurant. When you get to her, tell her that she took your breath away when you saw her, or something like that (maybe less cheesy!). Then turn your phone off, and keep it off, throughout the dinner and ask her a lot of questions about her life, her day, her thoughts and what things made her laugh that day.
And remember that if you’re communicating, and you’re non-defensively trying to help her get this need met, and she still feels un-special, this may be an issue within her that needs resolving.
He Said: I can tell you how to make a girl feel special, but I can’t (definitively) tell you how to make YOUR girl (fiance) feel special. Special means very different things to different people. But don’t stop reading just yet, I’ve still got some good advice for you.
For starters, don’t beat yourself up over your girlfriend’s claim that you don’t do anything special for her. It’s clear you care, so you’ll find a way to work this out, and we’re here to do our part.
You said you just recently moved in together, right? Now you’ll be spending more time together, (or at the very least seeing each other more consistently) right? But, because of these changes, in a way you’ll have to work harder at making each other feel special.
Now that you’re roommates, you don’t HAVE to make a date to see each other. But that doesn’t mean you can stop going all out to make your girlfriend feel special. Now, more than ever, you’ll have to try harder to make your fiance feel appreciated.
So what does special mean to your fiancée? Maybe it means you planning a weekend getaway with her. Perhaps it means you making a romantic dinner for her. Or writing a a love poem for her. Or even something as simple as cleaning the house/apartment for from head to toe. Or treating her to a spa day. Will any of those ideas make YOUR fiancée feel special and loved? It’s hard to say for sure, but that’s where dialogue and conversation come into play.
You need to sit down together, and ask your fiancée what makes her feel special. The important thing here is to discuss this, and express your love and concern for her happiness. Whatever you do, be a good listener, (and observer) so you can give her what she wants (whether she asks for it directly or not).
You’re already getting an A for effort (or at least a B+), so stick with it. You can ace this test yet!
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