What A Woman Wants From A Man: Bond!
OK, so you just haven't been feeling like the Justin Timberlake to her Jessica Biel lately. Or maybe you have a friend who's so into his relationship that it's making you wonder what's going on with your own. Seems like you may need to do some bond-boosting recon -- but why, and how?
Whether you're going from zero to 60 in the romance department or just want to improve upon your preexisting moves, remember: "There is no one-size-fits-all approach to women," says professional relationship and life coach Amy Schoen, MBA, CPCC. However, the benefits of showing her that you care far outweigh those of keeping that information to yourself. Connecting with another person means "depositing into a relationship bank account," says Michael A. McNulty, Ph.D., LCSW, senior certified therapist with The Gottman Relationship Institute. "This kind of positivity gets stored in this account for when something more stressful comes up." More good news? Research shows that the romantic type of bond-building can improve mental and physical health for both of you. (Score!)
So, what is it that you're doing now -- or not doing at all -- that could use some work? Consider the fact that women like to talk. (Let's refrain from the obvious jokes, mmkay?) The average woman speaks, on average, 6,000 to 8,000 words per day, while the average guy speaks only half that number. There are ways you can reconcile this difference without engaging in a verbal triathlon -- namely, by putting on your listening cap. "There are a couple of gestures that you have to try out and see which gives you the best response with the woman in your life," says Schoen.
Here's how to boost your connection:
Good: Give Her A Daily Nudge
If you and your love interest don't have daily interactions already, it's time to change that -- but start off small. "Text her a compliment of how you thought she looked terrific in that dress she wore last weekend," suggests Schoen. (Whatever the compliment, be sincere and make sure the message has no other agenda.) You can also try giving her a call at work during the day (if that's allowed), or scheduling a time to check in and say hi at night. Try using Skype or Google Hangout -- you'll build a stronger bond if you have a visual of the other person.
If you come home to the same address every evening, "greet your partner when she comes home by stopping what you're doing and giving her a big kiss and a strong embrace," says Schoen. Even if you do so without a word, make it a point to pause the DVR and acknowledge her.
Better: Make Her Life Easier
Now that things are moving in the right direction, improve your connection further by doing something every week that makes her life easier, suggests McNulty. The trick here is to pay attention, so you get an inkling about what she loathes and what stresses her to the core -- and then look for ways to help shoulder that burden.
If she hates to take the car in to get serviced, for example, offer to switch cars with her and do the dirty work. Or choose a task -- such as laundry -- and offer to do it for a week. Get creative, and "give her a 'take a load off' coupon," suggests Schoen (or think up your own clever idea). If she legitimately has no household chores she hates, cook her dinner when you know she had a busy day at work. Equally as thoughtful: ordering and picking up her favorite takeout dish.
Best: Do What She Wants… Really
After you've tackled "good" and "better," it's best is to set aside time to do what she wants -- in an enthusiastic, real way. Does she love a certain type of music, or has she discovered a new band? Schoen advises that you be the one to suggest going to a concert as a date, or create an impromptu mix (a la iTunes) for her.
While tapping into your phone minutes or buying songs costs just a few dollars, "it's the time spent on the endeavor and the forethought that captures a woman's heart," says Schoen. (Note: That's not a free pass to skimp on buying your partner nice things. Just sayin'.) Let's say she's excited about you accompanying her to a party, spending time with her creepy Uncle Andy or making an appearance at her office's Christmas party. Instead of griping about the people, the long drive or the fact that you're missing the game, "go and try to have fun with it," says McNulty.