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Ten Common Mistakes Women Make With Men

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Posted by Jenn Clark on November 4, 2010 at 4:26 AM

Sometimes I wish there was a pocket manual for relationships.  When in a confusing situation, we could just whip it out and refer to it at a moment's notice.  The truth is, most relationship issues are unique.  They differ vastly based on the people involved and their individual experiences and behaviors.  However, there are some problems that are fairly universal and those are the ones that I try to deal with in my "Relationship Advice" articles.

Generally speaking, I think women are often more introspective when it comes to relationships.  We're the ones who buy the majority of the "self-help" books (which is why it's never a good idea to leave those on your coffee table for a guy to see).  We're the ones cruising the Internet for answers to questions like "Why is my boyfriend being such an a-hole?"  and "How can I get this guy to like me?"  We're often looking for ways to improve our relationships and, in turn, improve ourselves.  It's for this reason that I bring you my latest "Relationship Advice" post.  By figuring out what we're doing wrong with men, we can figure out how to do it right.  So here's some common mistakes that we, as women, make with men:

1.  We pursue them- Alright, ladies.  This is my #1 dating rule.  Never ever pursue a guy.  Here's the honest truth:  If he's interested in you, he will make it known.  Don't get caught up in the belief that he's just "being shy."  (Some of the men who will pursue you the hardest are the "shy" ones.)  Don't think things like "he's too 'busy.'"  (No man is ever too "busy" to go after the girl he wants.)  If he's lukewarm (or cold) about pursuing you, then he's lukewarm (or cold) in his feelings for you.  And who wants that?  Trust me on this.  You won't change his feelings by calling and texting him, by posting cute messages on his FB wall, or by hanging around him too much.  In fact, if a guy is "not that into you," doing these things will end up pushing him away.  Remember the movie "Field of Dreams" and the famous line "If you build it, he will come?"  Well, here's my version of that quote when it comes to men:  "If you chase him, he will run."  I believe our job as women is to stand still in the center of our own lives.  Busy yourself with the business of being you.  Embrace your life.  Immerse yourself in school or a job you love.  Develop a hobby or interest you are passionate about.  Cultivate your relationships with friends and family.  Be complete and whole and watch who comes your way.  After all, when our lives are full and we are happy, we are a lot more attractive to others.  Men included.  And when that cute guy notices you and starts to call, isn't that a great feeling? 

2.  We aren't picky enough- Two of my favorite things in life are men and shopping.  And, if you think about it, there's an analogy to be made here.  Imagine you are going to a party and you need to find that perfect dress.  More than likely you'll head to the mall and probably check out several different stores.  You may very well spend an entire Saturday in dressing rooms trying on fifteen thousand different possibilities.  And, if you are anything like me, you won't settle until you find just the right outfit; the one that fits perfectly and turns you into the goddess you are (or at least close enough).  If we wouldn't settle for a sub-par LBD, why in the heck would we settle for a man who isn't up to our standards?  So often it's as if we think to ourselves, "I just want a guy!  Any guy will do!"  Don't let your desire to be with someone cloud your judgment.  Don't be afraid to be alone for awhile.  I've made this mistake more times than I care to remember.  I am now learning to be even pickier with the men I date than with the clothes I wear.  Which is pretty freakin' picky. 

3.  We move too fast- Does this sound familiar?  In the beginning of a relationship, a guy usually wants to spend a whole bunch of time with you.  And I'm sure you've noticed what invariably follows - he suddenly stops wanting to spend a whole bunch of time with you.  I like to call this signature move the "guy pullback."  And when it happens, it sucks.  This is why it's very important that YOU set the pace.  As hard as it is, your long term results will be much better if you go slow.  Do not spend every night with him (or every night he wants to see you).  Do not text him all day long.  Do not spend hours upon hours on the phone.  Of course you'll want to.  But don't do it.  The slower you go in the beginning, the less he'll pull back later.  Keeping him wanting more is the key to keeping him interested.  Think long term, sisters.  After all, delayed gratification is a sign of maturity. 

4.  We sleep with them too soon- I always feel like I need to make a disclaimer when I talk about sex.  I'm not preaching abstinence (although if that's your choice, I support you) or being a prude.  The bottom line is after we sleep with a guy it's highly likelythat we'll connect emotionally and also get blinded by the "sex haze."  Let's face it:  We'll want a relationship.  And if we haven't taken the time to get to know the guy, we may find ourselves wanting a relationship with a man who is not right for us.  And I'm just going to say the thing none of us ever want to admit - if we sleep with them too quickly, there's a possibility he won't see us as someone he wants a "real" relationship with.  (I hate to be the one to call it out, but somebody has to...)  Very few women are content with being some guy's booty call.  Being used for your body is degrading and demeaning and often makes us feel like shit.  Having your body and your sexuality appreciated is a wonderful thing.  When a man has to wait a bit and work for it, he'll value it that much more.  And taking things slow will also give you time to determine if he's someone worthy of that gift. 

5.  We believe the fantasy- A few days ago, my good friend "N" and I were talking about this.  She asked me why I thought women bought into the dream of the White Knight and Prince Charming.  I thought about it for a few seconds and said, "I think every girl wants a little Disney."  Sisters, here's the truth:  Disney is a movie.  It's a "land" (or a "world" depending on what part of the United States you are in).  Disney is not reality.  No man will ever, can ever, be your knight in shining armor.  You can't expect him to kiss you out of a coma, rescue you from your hag step-sister, or slay a fire-breathing dragon and then climb up your hair extensions to get to you.  It just ain't happening.  Men (just like us) are human.  One minute your guy will be a prince and the next a frog.  (Just like every one of us is part princess, part bad witch.)  Don't expect him to be perfect.  And if you are hoping for the "fairy tale" ending, it's best to wake yourself up and realize that life (with or without a man) is filled with as many pumpkins as it is horse-drawn carriages. 

6.  We try to change them- I'm sure you know the saying "You can't change a man."  I 100% agree.  Oh sure, you could probably encourage him to wear a certain cologne or to style his hair differently, but that's not what I'm talking about.  The cold, hard fact is you can't change who a man is on the inside.  You cannot change his character.  And you can't really change how he treats you.  Any change he does make must come from him.  And you can't count on that happening.  I believe men come with an "as is" policy.  You either have to accept them and love them as they are, or move on.  It's really that simple.  If you try to change your guy, more than likely it won't work and he'll end up resenting you for it. 

7.  We ignore our friends- Wanna know what I think when I see a girl who's ignoring her friendships to spend all of her time and emotions on her boyfriend?  A girl whose relationship is going to get really shitty really quickly.  Or at the very least, unhealthy and unbalanced.  Maintaining our friendships is integral to maintaining ourselves  in a relationship.  If there's one major lesson I've learned over the years it's that my female friendships are one of the most important parts of my life.  My girls support and encourage me in the way only another woman can.  They make my life richer and, as a result, my relationships better.  I cannot even tell you how lucky I feel to have the friendships I do!  From my "Army of Bitches" (you all know who you are), to the various ladies I am continually learning from and growing with, to  my new "Circle of Sisters" - YOU, my readers.  Every time I receive an email telling me how much something I've written has meant, an FB wall post saying how much you enjoy my blog, or a heartfelt question asking my advice, I am filled with overwhelming joy and humility.  And I ain't givin' that up for no man... 

8.  We make excuses for their behavior- Here's the typical life cycle of a relationship:  Guy and girl meet.  We are both on our "best behavior."  We are pretty sure that the other is the closest thing to perfect we've ever encountered.  We get comfortable.  Our flaws begin to reveal themselves.  Reality hits.  Uh-oh.  Why is it that we as women so want to believe that the guy who presented himself in the beginning is the guy he actually is?  And it seems like we'll go to great lengths to keep the dream alive.  We'll say things like, "He flirts with other women because he's friendly. Not because he's a cheater."  And "He's just really stressed out with school/work/family/etc.  That's why he's so distant."  Like I've said continually, no one is perfect.  But if your man exhibits "dealbreaker" behavior, it really is best to take off the rose-colored glasses and see him for who he actually is.  Only then can you determine if he's someone you can live with.  Without excuses. 

9.  We expect too much- What happens when we make a man the center of our universe?  We expect him to act like he's worthy of being the center of our universe.  And this is way too much pressure to put on another human being.  No one person can be our "everything."  No man can fill all of our needs.  Here's another Jenn X-ism (Are you sick of them yet?):  "A man is not the solution.  He's an addition to the equation."  If we make a man (or finding a man) our whole reason for existence, not only will we resent himwhen he disappoints us, but he'll resent us for putting those kinds of expectations on him. 

10.  We are too needy- This is a huge complaint I hear a lot from my male friends.  Men often feel that we are too needy with their time and their emotions, and (most importantly) that we feel the "need" to talk about the relationship much more than they do.  When your life is whole and balanced, you are less likely to be needy with others.  When you are self-sufficient and content, you'll have the confidence necessary to be an asset rather than a liability in your relationship.  Think about it in terms of your girlfriends.  We've all had that "friend" who takes our time and our emotions while giving little in return.  Exhausting, isn't she?  Neediness and "clinginess" are major turn OFFS.  Do I "want" a man?  Sure!  But do I "need" a man to validate me, be my emotional life preserver, or to complete me?  Nope.  

So girls, tell me this:  Do you see yourself on this list?  I sure do.  In fact, I've made every single one of these mistakes.  Every.  Single.  One.  Crap!  But, like you, I'm learning.  I'm figuring out what works and what doesn't.  And I'm living out the results in my life.  Which is truly an amazing thing.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Jenn X is a writer, blogger, and all around "sex-pert" when it comes to men, dating, and love. She began writing at the age of six when she created a newspaper, wrote articles about her family and pets, and attempted to sell copies to her neighbors for a dime. Around the same time, she began offering relationship advice to anyone who would listen. As a trusted counselor to many women over the years, Jenn has experienced the gamut of relationship blunders, both first and second hand. She recently put her two passions together and now writes relationship advice columns, both on her blog and for various websites.  She doesn't mince words when it comes to matters of the heart, but always tempers her viewpoints with wit and humor. One fan describes her like this: "If Carrie Bradshaw is a cosmopolitan, Jenn X is a scotch on the rocks." Jenn received her B.A. in Journalism at the University of Southern California and was a columnist for the Pasadena Star-News when she was only 17 years old. She currently lives in Los Angeles and is just now starting to take her own advice.

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Jenn Clark is a relationship advice expert and author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About…).” You can find it on her Facebook page or on Amazon.com or on Twitter @JennX30

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  • Posted by Anonymous on January 8, 2012 at 9:41 PM
I agree with most of these.
I'm dating someone now, we usually txt or talk online if we dont see each other, but generally most of the time, i wait for him to initiate it and for him to organise things.
Also as we met through a friend, we have very few mutual friends, we might meet the other's friends, but when we discussed where we were going, we decided to not make the other person, our entire world and to have friends outside of the relationship and hang out with them, which makes things easier.
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  • Posted by Anonymous on January 8, 2012 at 9:40 PM
Okay I thought this article had a few valid points, but was mostly dated an stereotypical. Firstly, men and women can pursue EACHOTHER. While I agree clingy girls who are calling every 5 seconds are bad, it doesn't mean you shoulsn't pursue a guy at all. Also, not all girls want a relationship because they had sex with a guy. Like what sort of BS is that? Sometimes it happens but it's not a rule. Continuing, if a guy loves you, and something they do really bothers you, they will change, unless it's something very important to them. Next, not all women are clingy and over emotional and want to take things too fast. My boyfriend always wants to talk anout our arguments and I don't. I also don't make excuses for him, I know he is accountable for his actions.

Finally, there can be a fairytale ending. Maybe no big ball, but you can be with a guy who loves you unconditionally, who wants to be with you as much as you want to be woth him, one who calls you beautiful everyday and is home every night, someone you never hink anout cheating, and of course your best lover and friend.

A woman who follows these rules will have to follow them forever because she will be dating forever. Which is cool if that's your thing but my guess is that if it is you wouldn't be reading this for advice.

PS: this writer a man and relationship and sex guru? Riiiight...
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A man is not the solution. He's an addition to the equation.
~~ Very well said :)
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  • Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2011 at 9:00 PM
I agree with this. I think it's ridiculous that some people still believe that women shouldn't chase after men. Why should they always have to do it? We're capable of doing anything men can do!
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Great List!!
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Welcome to 2010 when initiating conversation, flirting and pursuing are done by BOTH sexes. Some men are, in fact, shy. If they aren't interested in you, then watch his body language, the way he talks to you (you should get the hint if you aren't totally clueless), or just be a grown-up and say, "Hey, do you want to go out this Friday?" And, here's a tip, if he says, "No," then there's your answer. I'm not a militant feminist, but girls we can't just wait around for The One. If you like someone, then take the leap of faith rather than pine over him until it's too late. At a party in college a guy pushed another guy towards me and told him to dance with me. We talked for bit and over a few weeks I developed a crush and began to pursue a relationship with him. Out of that random meeting, me making the first move, and over five years of dating we're now getting married next Fall. Same thing goes for my parents and his parents, the women took the first step and initiated the relationship and are both couples are still very happily married.
Also, if you are actually THAT desperate that you will say, "Yes" to every Tom, Dick and Harry that asks you out, then you have more problems than being "not picky enough".

I think you wrote a good article, but it's not applicable to all women (or all men) as far as relationships go. Each and every point you make is flawed in one way or another and men just as easily do the same things. If it was titled "10 Mistakes I Made With Men" I think I'd view it in a better light, but as a type of guide for all women it just seems wrong.
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  • Posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2010 at 11:47 AM
Jenn X, you give some fantastic advice to women. It's true, you can't change a guy, well why would you want to? They are great the way they are. If they aren't, well then, they aren't the guy for you. (lol) simple enough. The nice thing I have found about relationships, is that they may come as a surprise, they aren't what you figured, and when it is the right guy, and they pop the question, that is when the magic begins. So, it can be a fairytale too! :) (can you tell I am married?) but you may have to kiss a lot of frogs to get there.
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  • Posted by Anonymous on December 16, 2010 at 3:49 PM
I agree with you.
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  • Posted by Anonymous on November 7, 2010 at 6:32 PM
I think I'm going to put that down to a generation gap. I'm Gen Y and almost all the guys I know don't think badly of a girl who will sleep with him 'too soon'. All the relationships that I see basically started with him like her, her liking him, and one day the hooked up and got off together, and decided to stay together. But maybe him saying he loves her is just his way of saying "i'm definately going to leave you because your easy and slept with me too soon, the last 2 years were just to make you feel less cheap..."
And maybe I'm strange, but just because I have sex with someone, doesn not mean that I want to marry that person instantly. Its just sex, and I think you need to calm down about it.
This whole "sex and the city" Gen X thing is getting old fast, all these "mistakes" and "how to make him love you" BS is really just a big joke. There is no art to catching and keeping a man, and maybe the reason these men have left is because the way you all act is obsessive, like you need to be in a reltionship or you have failed at something. I see it alot with my older cousins and their friends, and it looks pretty foul.
Homestly, I think that women in general just need to relax, if you feel like you have to trick him or follow guidelines to make him stay, it was never going to work out, and it will never work out. Move on
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  • Posted by Anonymous on October 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM
I think there is a bit of confusion about what the author is stating here. This isn't a guidebook or advice on how to make a man love you. No where did she say that if a woman sleeps with a man she will want to have a relationship, get married, have babies... she stated that it is "highly likely" that women may get "emotionally connected" after sexual intimacy. Also, the author completely agrees that you shouldn't make a man your top priority or enter life, that was points 9 &10. There is no art to catching and keeping a man--perhaps not, but there are certainly ways that will push him away/make him think your crazy/clingy. It is not about games, it's about understanding human behavior. Because of society (not genetics) women and men (for the most part) have been raised differently, therefore they think, feel, and act differently (not any better or worse, but different) The author is suggesting that the way women have been raised to have relationships MIGHT not be working, and those are her 10 reasons why. And just because it's not a game, doesn't mean there aren't rules--there are rules for every relationship in society. Rules for friendships, parents, bosses, colleagues, and yes, boyfriends and girlfriends. I think that some of these comments are a bit aggressive. If women (and men) wish to seek advice on things that are important to them, let them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, a situation or see something from a different perspective.
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  • Posted by Anonymous on November 6, 2010 at 7:30 PM
I need to save this because I'm guilty of all of these things. I can not put in words how helpful it is to read this. It gives me such clarity about the mistakes I've made and things to be aware of in the future. I just went to Jenn X's blog and added it to my bookmarks. LOVE IT! You're such a great writer and your writing is so easy to relate to. I feel like you're speaking to me (or all of us) on a level that isn't preaching but in girl talk. I love GirlsGuideTo and I love it even more now that you're writing for it. Keep it up ladies! You rock!
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