Dear Gallant Girl,
I follow Gallant Girls on Facebook. I really appreciate the things you write and think you are a deep thinker and thoughtful person. I have been worried about my relationship lately and I thought maybe you could give me some advice.
I have been with my girlfriend for 7 years. Lately she has been saying that she feels restless. The “It’s not you, it’s me” bit. She also tells me not to worry and says she’s not going anywhere. “She just feels like our relationship is lacking something and she is bored.” The trouble is that she doesn’t know what! I am wracking my mind to figure out how to help our relationship but I do not know right now.
It has nothing to do with marriage. It is her who does not want to get married until she is done with her studies. I would marry her tomorrow.
Thanks for your thoughts,
Ciudad Granja, Mexico
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Dear Gallant Guy Seth,
Thank you for writing in! I’m sorry it took me so long to respond, but between technical difficulties and it being summer break for my daughters, well, I’ve been in and out a lot lately. I appreciate your patience with me.
Obviously, I cannot answer the questions only your girlfriend has the answers to, but I can tell you what I know through my own experiences and from the gathered knowledge I’ve collected during many, many conversations with people over the years. In this particular case, (via) women; but this applies for any gender or orientation because it’s relatively universal to humankind. No two people are alike, so these 5 things couldn’t apply to everyone, but it’s definitely a start to opening up the discussion with your girlfriend. If she looks at you cross and tells you that you’re acting peculiar and preposterous after exercising some of these things, than I apologize in advance for the advice I’m about to give!
Here are 5 things I believe all partners in relationships need to be reminded about and need to put effort into to keep the love from fading:
1. Never Quit Surprising Her — Though I often think it is more commonly talked about that men are the ones who get bored in relationships (as we read about midlife crisis in men more often than women, and how more men cheat than women do, etcetera), I do not believe this is true. In all my conversations and counsel, women are just as likely to get bored or feel stagnant in a relationship as men are, if not more. Many of the men I talk to are pretty happy with their basic needs being met, everyday creature comforts, and actually really crave routine. It is more widely believed that this is what women want, but I have not found that to be true in my research and experiences—women want adventure, romance, excitement, and even spontaneity. You have to change it up for the woman you love! This doesn’t mean you should redo the bedroom or trade in the minivan for a sports car without involving her, or anything dramatic like that (this would work the opposite, as a matter of fact!), but continue to think outside of the box and remember her. Leave her a flower from the garden beside her purse. Give her a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for no reason; something like a handcrafted necklace or a bottle of the perfume she wore when you first met. It doesn’t need to be more than a few bucks, so long as it is thoughtful. Get the two of you tickets to a musical, concert, or ballet without even asking her if she wants to see it as it comes through town; just tell her that you wanted to give her a reason to get dressed up because you wanted a night to be on her beautiful arm. This might all sound cliché and corny—and maybe it is—but it’s about nothing more than her feeling respected and not taken for granted. When a woman is in love, she is perfectly content curling up in bed with a bowl of popcorn and Netflix, so long as you’re right beside her. Even so, if you go out of your way to remind her that she’s more than just someone who deserves you bringing her favorite ice cream home from the store or putting her favorite mug back in the front of the cabinet for her, this will go from her life being wonderful to her life being extraordinary. Not every day has to be grandiose or over the top, but once in awhile step it up a notch. Keep surprising her! Most women notice every little sweet and thoughtful thing you do for them because women pay attention to EVERYTHING, but no matter how many sweet gestures there are in a day, women do not like to feel ordinary, routine, or bored.
2. Don’t Stop Being the Guy She Fell in Love With — All relationships go through phases. Not everything can stay the way it was during the “Honeymoon Phase”, right? Wrong! Why the heck not? Don’t forget all the things you did in the beginning to swoon her off her feet; THIS is why she chose you. If you cease to be all those things you were when she fell in love with you, you cease to be the same person to her. I call this the bait and switch. If everything she did was important to you when you began dating, than it should stay important to you throughout the relationship. If you left her love notes on her car windshield, than you should continue to leave them for her once you live together, possibly get married, or it takes you a half hour to get there with your walker! If you texted her, emailed her, or left her sweet nothings on her timeline constantly, don’t stop now just because you’ve won her heart and it seems nonsensical since you already got the girl. Believe you me, there ain’t a lease or vow that can hold her heart in place if it starts to feel like another piece of furniture in the house or merely an aforesaid “basic need”, if you know what I mean. Whatever you did to help her fall in love with you, that’s precisely what you need to do to keep her in love with you. Letting things get mundane makes both men AND women feel common. Feeling common is a death sentence.
3. Never Take An Electronic Device to Bed — I get it that it becomes too easy to just crawl under the covers and reach over for your phone or tablet, but DON’T. When it’s time to go to bed, it times to reconnect, catch up with one another, and be intimate. Bringing your phone or laptop to bed is like inviting your friends, neighbors, other family members, and acquaintances into your bedroom. (Are you picturing how absurd that would be in your head right now? You’re welcome!) By doing so, you are not only choosing to connect with other people over your partner in the place meant to be solely yours, but you’re also telling that person where you’d rather be and who you’d prefer to be with. This is even if it’s a news article, game or app, inane YouTube videos, or Instagram photos you’re spending your time with; anything other than your significant other! You’ve had the whole day to interact with other people and things, but once it’s bedtime, it’s Loved One Time. Even if you watch a silly sitcom together, everything you need to do from that moment you climb into bed needs to be with your partner. Nothing will make a woman’s love fade faster than feeling like she rates second to someone or something else (other than children, of course, but you did not mention having any!). Even worse, if she is only good for one thing. Again, if you know what I mean. The quickest way to lose a woman is to get sloppy or lazy in this area: the bedroom area.
4. When a Woman Tells You What She Wants, LISTEN — I can’t stress this enough: When a woman tells you what she wants, listen, because here’s the translation: It’s what she needs. Even if she jokes around about it, have the volume in your emotional hearing aids turned up because this is real. Even if it’s outside of your norm or you think it’s kind of ridiculous, to her it is not. By writing it off, not making it of importance, or simply saying no to it without at first trying, you are running a serious risk of telling her that SHE is not important. It’s like this for everyone. Not to mention the fact that rejection is the #1 silent love killer. Every time a person, no matter what gender, feels rejected in any way, it’s like one more shirt or memento gets thrown into the suitcase that will eventually move you out of their heart. Whatever she’s telling you, if even in jest, do not take it lightly! She means it. She doesn’t just want it; she needs it. Everyone has a personal hierarchy of needs, and everyone will eventually find a way to have those needs met.
5. Stop Appeasing Her — Let’s just call a spade a spade: Appeasing someone is just a diplomatic, dignified way of saying you’re lying to them. Woman know when they are being mocked. Even if we don’t say anything upfront, we smell BS on the breath of any appeasing answer or statement. The biggest misconception about women is that we just want to be told we’re right and that we want to hear what we want to hear. That’s a very harmful myth. Women loathe anything that is not genuine. All that is disingenuous is a lie to us. Anything that is a lie causes us to lose trust. Any trust we lose, we begin to lose respect. This is dangerous territory! I have a line in a poem I published in my first book that said, “You can lose love and find it again, but if you lose respect, it’s gone for good because not even love cares enough to go looking for it.” So don’t pretend you didn’t check out that girl in the underwear-cut jean shorts. Don’t tell your significant other that your buddies drug you to that club and you didn’t enjoy yourself. Don’t tell your girlfriend that you never click on those slimy links your friends share in their newsfeeds because you think they’re gross. Don’t pretend that you don’t like basketball just because your partner hates it, or that you think potty humor isn’t hilarious just because she finds it insipid, or that it bothers you when your friends make lewd comments about waitresses in sports bars if it really doesn’t, or you love tofu because she’s a vegan. I hear these complaints every day from women—these exact ones! DON’T. APPEASE. HER. You may think you’re avoiding conflict, but you’re really just lying to her and destroying her faith in you and the relationship. I mention this to you because it’s the first thing you want to check in with her about because a lot of times women use cryptic code words like “restless” or “lacking” when they’ve already begun to check out. In my experience with women, love is usually the last thing to leave. Trust is first and respect is second.
Therefore, it is good that you are taking it so seriously and putting the effort in right out of the gate! There’s hope if you are willing to work; chances are that’s precisely what she’s craving is more attentiveness and genuineness. Don’t let worry get the best of you……let concern bring it out in you! Keep noticing and saying it out loud. Keep showing her affection and make sure to translate to her how magnetic she is to you. And most of all, hold her as much as humanly possible. Inside someone’s arms, oftentimes words aren’t needed to make the heart feel at home and cherished. The human touch is medicinal. This is not hocus-pocus; it’s science.
Owner/Founder of Gallant Girls