Ladies: Know Your Worth. Men: Make Us Feel Supported.

In the past, I’ve stressed the importance of dating a strong woman. I’ve also given some (semi-funny) advice on how dudes can do a better job with online dating. But what about once that online dating dude has landed his strong woman? How do you keep it from crumbling? Dudes: how do you ensure that strong lady (that doesn’t necessarily need your money or validation) still feels your love and support? Ladies: how do you let a man in to support you without crushing his soul and while also keeping your standards high? Yeah, it seems tricky, but it shouldn’t be.

 

As you’ve seen in my other posts, I’m not some relationship expert. I’m unmarried and I have no children. If that makes you want to stop here – fine. But I’ll say this, I’ve been in some long-term relationships as that “strong woman”. I’ve learned my lesson on what works and what doesn’t (well, kinda). I’ve learned what really makes me sad and how there are certain things that I just need if I want to feel supported and loved. I also know that this is sometimes hard for men because I’m so independent and I may seem like I don’t need support. Maybe I don’t have it figured all out, but I may have some insight into how us “strong women” tick.

 

Honestly, now that I think about it, they’re really “tricks of the trade” for dating any woman (and being open to being a good partner). So yeah, open your ears wide here. You know what? I’ll even put it in list format. Easy-to-read FTW.

 

1. Listen to us. I mean really listen to us. If you do, we promise not to drone on. Instead of a half-listening “uh huh” or “ok”, how about a “tell me more” or “how does that make you feel?” You may learn more about us than you ever thought. It may provoke deeper conversations. It may take our communication to that next level without forcing it to happen outside of usual conversation. We don’t want to bitch to you about everything, but we do want to feel like you’re invested in our lives outside of the time you spend with us.

Ladies, don’t bitch about everything. That is what wine and friends are for. But seriously, let them in. Don’t pretend everything in your life is awesome when it’s not – he wants to know what is going on with you. And if he doesn’t, find someone that does.

 

2. Make us feel loved and wanted. Seems simple, right? It should be, but it seems as though it’s not always instinctual for a lot of dudes. We don’t need you to buy us flowers or take us to fancy dinners* to get this feeling. It’s more about holding us tight if we’re upset, giving a little ass grab as we walk past, leaving a little note on the counter for us in the morning, sending a card in the mail when we least expect it, looking into our eyes when you say, “I love you” and occasionally affirming how much we mean to you or enrich your life. This is where that saying “it’s the little things” comes from. Give it a whirl – it’s cheap/free and can be executed anytime. I bet it gets you laid a lot more.

 

Chicks, let him make you feel loved. Don’t expect fancy gifts or dinner* for this, but some real, human emotion. Oh, and totally let him grab your ass when you walk past – it’s fun and not degrading. Promise.

 

3. We need your moral/emotional support. Please give it to us. Sometimes life is tough. We have our girlfriends to bitch to and we promise (ladies, try to do this) to have those lengthy vent-seshes over wine with them (have I mentioned this yet?). But if we’re really down and out, give us that shoulder to lean on. Sometimes we have family stuff that we just don’t feel like exposing to the world – be there for us. Occasionally, we ask you to have our back and attend things that we know aren’t the most fun. But it’s probably because we want to show you off, we’re not comfortable, or we just want to share that experience with you. Just do it, ok? We most likely do a bunch of shit that we don’t want to because we know it makes you happy. We just don’t bring it up because it’s kinda in our DNA (I don’t have real numbers here, sorry. Just what I observe. Could be totally wrong – feel free to correct me). It just comes down to being a good partner – which is what we all want in life, right?

 

Womenz, even though you’re independent you instinctually want to be there for your person. You try to balance everything – work, friends, man – and it’s fucking hard. But don’t give it away if he’s not willing to give it in return. And let him give it in return. Let him in. Let him be someone you can lean on. It’s actually more liberating than anything else.

 

4. Make us feel like ladies sometimes. Sure, kinda a double-standard. We’re independent and “we don’t need no man”/”we’re equal!”. But let’s be real, we know we’re crazy and we want to feel special sometimes. *Buy us dinner or surprise us with flowers (I know, I said you don’t need to do that up there. Like I said, we cray.) Make the plans for the night. Take us out to drinks and put your arm around us to show all the other gorillas in the bar that we’re yours. Open the door for us. Carry our purse if it’s heavy and we’re worn out (GASP!). Tell us we look fucking gorgeous when we get dressed up. GIVE US A REASON TO DRESS UP.

 

Females, we get it – you’re a boss lady. You give orders all day. You are the glue that holds shit together. But now, it’s time to let someone else make the plans and treat you. Sit back, relax and let him shower you with his love. Be able to let go.

 

5. Let us know this is going somewhere. Not every woman is traditional and wants marriage and kids – some don’t want either, some want one, some want both. We’re all different. But you know what we all have in common? We want to know that you see a future with us in some form. Maybe it’s just living together. Maybe it’s marriage. Maybe it’s all the traditional bullshit. MAYBE IT’S JUST GIVING US A KEY TO YOUR PLACE OR INTRODUCING US AS YOUR GIRLFRIEND. Regardless of what that step is exactly, we all want some sort of validation that there is a future together. We want to see forward progress. I swear to you – if a woman said she’s not interested in that, she’s lying. And it’s very, very unfair to hope that she will never want that. She deserves it. Never make her feel like she doesn’t.

 

LADIES – you deserve it. And if he makes you feel like you don’t deserve it – move-the-fuck-on.

 

Those are really the keys and they’re not that difficult. Dudes – do those things. Ladies – you’re worth those things.

Of course, if either party is feeling shitty about any of the above, talk about it. Have a real and open conversation. Because, you know, communication is the most important part of any relationship. No one is a mind reader or ever expected to be. So, make sure your needs are understood and work through them as much as possible before calling it quits.

 

I’m sure you all have thoughts here. Feel free to comment and let me know why I’m a crazy bitch.

 

Sam works in advertising/marketing by day and moonlights with freelance writing, startup consulting, dating profile overhauls, and event planning. She lives in Columbus with her two dogs and spends her free time writing, drinking coffee and local beers, getting zen with yoga, catching a good concert, and laughing with friends. She doesn't give a shit if you're offended by lewd language, so #dealwithit.

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