We all understand that relationships are complicated, that communication is important, that men and women have different wants, needs, and desires that they bring to the table when entering a monogamous relationship…
What we don’t always understand, though, is the fundamental nature of those we are interested in and the best ways that we can connect with them, learn about them, and love them.
Now, of course, each individual person is different and unique, and must be treated as such. Just because one person feels valued by a certain action, doesn’t mean another person will.
That being said, there are some valuable life lessons that I’ve found to be universal truths over the years. Ways to understand others on a deeper level and, as a result, build richer, deeper, and more meaningful connections with them.
Men, of course, have a reputation for not understanding women (nor seeking to). Those who fall into this stereotype find themselves frustrated, confused, and disillusioned when it comes to their intimate relationships. Their level of true connection with their partner is limited, as they don’t (or won’t) fully understand their wants and needs, even if it’s being directly communicated.
In this article, we’ll discuss valuable — some may say necessary — lessons for a man to strive to learn if he hopes to maintain a healthy, happy, monogamous relationship with a female human.
1: Being a good man is a strength, not a weakness.
Men have been conditioned for generations…dare I say centuries to believe that “nice guys finish last.” The key here is in the terminology itself, and what we really mean when we repeat this cliche’ over and over again.
In the most common context, the term “nice guy” is referring to someone who is, in reality, a people pleaser.
He bends over backwards for everyone around him, he sacrifices his own values and morals if it means being socially accepted, he lives his life on everyone else’s terms because he thinks that’s the only way people will actually like him.
As a result, he’s just sort of…there. Molding himself to the world around him, not really building or maintaining his own identity. It’s no surprise then, that most people don’t even know who he really is. Hell, he doesn’t even know who he really is!
Naturally, this type of guy has a hard time maintaining relationships, building a life of fulfillment, or pursuing professional or personal success. He doesn’t have the internal strength or clarity of self in order to do any/all of the above.
That is the plight of the “nice guy.”
A good man, though, has strength of character. He is clear on his values, his morals, his beliefs, his code. He lives in accordance with what he feels is right and wrong, and doesn’t sacrifice what’s important to him for the sake of social or intimate approval.
As a result, he holds himself (and the people around him) to a far higher standard than the “nice guy” does.
This is where the two differ:
The nice guy will sacrifice his values for social approval.
The good man will sacrifice social approval for his values.
One type of man is attractive, the other is not. Can you guess which is which?
2: She doesn’t care what you say if it conflicts with what you do.
A lot of men are so concerned about projecting the image of a certain personality or lifestyle that they forget to actually make it a reality.
They’re so busy “selling themselves” on dates or in social situations that they’re not thinking about what happens when that person actually does get interested and starts to get to know him…they’ll find out, eventually, that it was all talk and no substance behind it.
Women are perceptive and intuitive, they can tell if something is “off” and they’ll distance themselves because of it.
What she’s really looking for is how you’ve been living your life before she came along.
How do you show up in your community? How do you treat your employees or customers? How do you treat the people around you that you’re not trying to impress? What have your patterns been like?
If your words and actions are maligned, she’ll notice it.
Subsequently, if the life you’ve built reinforces and is constructed upon the values that you say you have, she will know that you’re honest and live with integrity.
The words mean nothing without the actions to back them up.
3: Things have to move at their own pace.
When I was younger, I had a 100% failure rate with dating. It wasn’t until my twenties that I really began to understand the principles behind attraction and connection, even though I grew up in a healthy, stable, and loving family environment.
As a result, I’d latch on to any amount of interest I got, and hold onto it too tight for fear of it disappearing.
Of course, these very actions are the ones that pushed people away, leaving me even more confused.
What I learned over time is that attraction, love, affection, adoration — none of it can be manufactured or rushed before it is ready.
It must have space to breathe.
It must be allowed to evolve on its own.
It must move at its own pace and develop naturally, over time.
Men who are too anxious about forming a relationship will rush through the steps because they figure once they’re at step 4, or 5, or 6 — they’ll be committed and she won’t leave.
The reality is that rushing to those steps will only knock the entire relationship off balance and it’ll fall apart before you even get there.
Sometimes, the easiest way to lose someone is to want them too badly.
4: TRUE intimacy is emotional BEFORE it is physical.
This one causes mass confusion among the men because we experience intimacy in different ways than women do.
Generally speaking, men need physical intimacy in order to feel emotional closeness.
Generally speaking, women need emotional closeness in order to desire physical intimacy.
One can easily see how these two realities coming together can present challenges. One person will be “feeling it” sooner than the other in a different way.
As a man, I can attest to the strength of the physical “pull” that we feel.
As a married man, however, I know that real intimacy is emotional. It’s based on connection. Openness. Communication. Safety.
These feelings will cultivate and strengthen the physical connection.
Without them, the physical desire can wane as well. Two people who don’t feel safe, or connected, or “seen” by each other may very well lose their physical spark as a result.
Physical attraction, as strong and real as it is, is heavily influenced by emotional intimacy, whether or not men are willing to admit it.
5: The small things really do matter the most.
Some pithy adages stick around for so long because, well, they’re true. And, this is one of them.
Why is it, though, that the small things matter most?
I believe the reason the small things are so powerful is that they require a level of effort and attention to detail that cannot be manufactured or faked.
Anyone can go out and buy a ton of gifts for a special occasion.
Anyone can perform a grand romantic gesture on Valentine’s Day.
Anyone can “do the big things” when the occasion calls for it.
What about, though, when there is no occasion?
What about when you do something special on a random Tuesday just because you were thinking of her?
What about when you offer to run that errand, or have dinner prepared, or go pick up the kids because she was slammed at work?
What about remembering the small details about a day that’s important to her, and marking the occasion in a meaningful way?
Those things only happen when you pay honest and true attention to her and what makes her unique.
Those are the building blocks that form trust that you’ll be there for the big things. If she can’t trust you with the small things, she certainly won’t be able to count on you for the big things either.
6: Your personal insecurities are your own responsibility, as are hers.
We all have things we’re insecure about. For some, it’s appearance. For others, it’s financial success. For others still, it’s rooted in being accepted, or feeling worthy of love, or professional performance.
No matter what it is that we each feel insecure about, those insecurities can only be addressed by ourselves.
Sure, someone else can shower you in compliments, or tell you everything you want to hear, or love you in ways that you don’t even feel that you deserve…
Those things can all be genuine and real, and you can still feel the same way about yourself…why?
Because INsecurities must be solved from within, as well. They are your responsibility to acknowledge and manage, and you cannot (should not) put the responsibility on her to relieve them for you.
Conversely, her insecurities are not your job to “fix,” either. You should be there to support her, and encourage her, and remind her of all of her points of greatness — but don’t get frustrated if she has a hard time believing you. She must feel it within herself in order for it to be real.
This isn’t a “her” thing, it’s a “human” thing, because all of us struggle with it in our own ways at our own times. The only universal truth of it is that we all feel it along the journey of life.
7: She still wants you to “be the man.”
When I make this point it usually comes along with more cheers than it does jeers.
We live in a world where (Finally, thankfully, rightfully) equality reins supreme. We must respect, cherish, and value each other equally as human beings — no matter what our race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or sexual orientation is.
What we shouldn’t do (in my opinion) is to confuse being equal with being the same.
We are not the same and that is what makes the world a beautiful place to live. The variety, the uniqueness, the beauty in the human experience that we all bring to the table in our own ways.
This reality shines brightly in our intimate relationships. If you’ve got a heterosexual man and woman forming a romantic connection, there are biologically different desires and needs they’re both going to have.
Sure, it’s socially progressive for women to ask men out, and even to propose (one of my friends did that, they’re happily married now).
I do believe though, generally speaking, if you asked women if they’d prefer to be the pursuer or to be pursued — most would rather be pursued.
Likewise, most men would rather do the pursuing.
Flame me in the comments if you must, but I believe this to be true.
It follows, then, that similar preferences perpetuate themselves into the relationship. Being romantic, planning dates, caring for each other in our own ways, initiating intimacy…
Many men make the argument that they don’t think women still want “men to be men” because women are planting their flags in society. They’re outperforming men in the workplace and in higher education. They’re out-earning men…how, then, do they still want men to step up to the plate romantically?
Because none of this affects our human biology. It doesn’t change a woman’s desire to be pursued romantically, nor does it change a man’s desire to pursue her.
She can run the show in the boardroom all day and still want to be swept into the bedroom when she gets home. The two areas of life are not the same.
Remember, equality is not sameness. We’d be well-served as a progressive civilization to keep that in mind.
8: She wants substance over success.
“James, women only want men for their money!”
…Usually said by men who don’t have enough money for women to want them for.
But, I digress…
The truth is that women are looking for men who have a lot more to offer than just a fat wallet.
See point #7 above — women are outpacing and out-earning men at every turn. Why, then, would they be looking for a “sugar daddy” if it means taking a pay cut?
What they want is a teammate. A man who has ambition, drive, passions, purpose, and a firm sense of who he is and what he stands for.
A woman who’s pursuing her own goals and dreams needs to be with a man who operates on an even playing field so they can understand each other.
They can operate as a team together. They’ll share a similar set of values and ethics. They’ll be able to communicate, collaborate, give, and receive input from each other.
Whether you’ve already “made it” or are working towards it, whatever “it” looks like for you…takes a backseat to what kind of person you’re becoming in the process. That’s what she’s really looking for.
9: She’s not always looking for a solution.
“James, if she tells me about a problem or complains to me, she wants me to help her solve it.”
The correct answer is: She might just want you to sit and listen while she vents and figures it out herself.
As men, our tendency is to immediately spring into “problem solving mode.” We want to be helpful, we want to contribute, and we want to feel useful. These are the times that we feel like we’re bringing value to our partner’s life, which is great!
The truth is, though, that might not always be what she wants or needs.
At times, she just wants you to be supportive and let her talk through something. Listen. Engage. Respond. Ask how you can help.
The key is not to just assume she’s looking for an answer. IF she is, though, she’ll ask for one.
10: She wants you to have a life outside of the relationship.
Here’s another thing I used to do when I was a teenager before I understood relationships — I’d think that we had to spend every waking moment together because, if I’m being honest, I had a constant fear of being forgotten or abandoned if I wasn’t in direct line of sight.
Decades later, it sounds silly, but it felt very real in the moment and, as I’ve heard from private clients, not everyone grows out of this mindset.
Some men (typically of the anxious attachment variety) will feel that their best bet of winning a woman over is to, well, revolve their entire life around her.
He’ll start to sacrifice his passions, hobbies, and even his own dreams and goals in an effort to show her “how serious” he is about the relationship.
He’ll stop spending time with friends and doing the things he loves. He’ll always be trying to be in her presence.
Let me be clear about something here — of course, life changes when we get into a relationship. Some things we did when we were single are no longer appropriate or acceptable, and should be ceased.
That’s not what I’m talking about here, though.
What effectively happens with the above illustration is that a man will end up throwing away some of the very things that drew a woman to him in the first place.
For example, if she loved that you play the Ukulele on the weekends down at the local gastropub, but you’ve stopped practicing and performing to spend more time with her — you’ve given up a piece of yourself that she really liked, which could risk lowering her level of attraction to you rather than enhancing it.
She wants you to be well-rounded, my friend. She wants you to do the things you love, to live a life of passion, to be a happy, stable, and productive person and partner.
11: She needs you to trust her and her independence in return.
Let’s not pretend that point #10 (or any point in this article) can only go one way and actually be effective.
You can’t go off and do the things that you love while simultaneously questioning and being suspicious of everything that she does.
Healthy relationships are best comprised of two healthy people. Two individuals that come together and intertwine their lives. Two people who maintain their own identities while walking the same path together.
This is where trust shines through. Neither of you do something that makes the other uncomfortable. Neither of you keep secrets. Neither of you lie about what you’re doing or who you’re with.
You both need to have full faith in each other and you both need to honor that faith without betraying it. In doing so, you won’t need to “complete” each other, but love and accept each other completely.
12: There is no “part time” commitment. You’re in, or you’re out.
Any woman who’s looking to build a solid and stable future with a man needs to know that he’s all in.
She’s envisioned this future. She’s imaged you as a husband, a life partner, and maybe even a father (if she/you decide to have children).
She’s thought about what the next 5, 10, or 30 years may be like.
She cannot be having these thoughts and visions with a guy who’s just moseying along, figuring things out as he goes.
I’m not saying you need to have all of the answers right now — none of us really do — but to be fully committed to the process, walking the path together, taking the next step together — is essential.
You don’t need to map out going from point A to Z together, but building a solid foundation from A to B will give you strong footing to grow into C, D, and all of the rest.
You both need to put in equal effort and commitment to earn each other’s emotional investment. Otherwise, one person will always be left feeling undervalued or unappreciated.
13: Communicating is a skill — learn it.
We all know that men are notorious for being lousy communicators. Whether it be failing to remember things, or being unwilling to communicate feelings and emotions, our reputation (or lack thereof) precedes us.
I believe that this is largely a product of our social conditioning.
Reverting back to our conversation in point #7 about biological realities, it is true that men are “wired” to be worse at communicating than women. The “communication center” in our brain is substantially smaller, and we’re not as well equipped to express ourselves effectively.
That, however, is no excuse.
Communication is a skill. Taking the time and putting in the work to understand ourselves and others is a worthwhile venture that will yield exponential dividends in life and in love.
It’ll strengthen your relationships, help you to be more productive and respected at work, and help to avoid and solve conflict in all areas of life.
There is simply no downside to learning to become a better communicator.
14: Trust takes years to build but only seconds to break.
This point speaks for itself. Trust will remain strong, stable, and sturdy for as long as it is consciously maintained by two people. One instance of betrayal, though — can tear it all down, no matter how long it’s been sustained previously.
15: You must BOTH love and accept each other as you are today, while supporting the journeys into who you’ll grow into.
Life is dynamic. Humans are ever-changing. Every moment of the day (quite literally) we are changing on a molecular level. We’re experiencing new things, learning new lessons, making decisions, changing our mindsets, growing and evolving…
When you bring two people together in an intimate setting with the prospect of staying together forever, this comes with the understanding that massive change is bound to happen over the coming decades.
Some change will be intentional and good. Other change will be unpredictable and possibly not so good.
Commitment, though, makes the pledge to be there through it all.
It says “I see you today as you are. I love you, accept you, and embrace you — and I dedicate myself to supporting your growth into the future.”
When we, ourselves, commit to growing and evolving, it gives us the ability to grow alongside our partner.
We grow as individuals, and also as a couple.
We maintain the space necessary for expansion.
We don’t restrict, we don’t hold back, we don’t discourage or suppress.
We plant the seeds of personal development and water them together. We may not know how those plants will blossom over the years, but we do know that they will grow over the years.
Witnessing and experiencing that mutual growth alongside another person is what makes the relationship beautiful.
You don’t just fall in love with one person for the rest of your life — no — that’s not what monogamy is.
Monogamy and real love is rooted in falling in love with the same person over and over again.
Each new phase of them — each new phase of you — is a chance to fall…no…grow into a new phase of love together.
Understand that, and the “honeymoon phase” of your relationship will last for the rest of your lives.
Source: James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.
Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.
James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.
Love Beyond Tribal Borders
In the heart of Ghana, where tribal traditions run deep and cultural boundaries are well-defined, lived two young individuals, Nana and Ama. They were from different tribes, the Ashanti and the Ewe, and their love story defied not only their families’ expectations but also centuries-old tribal norms.
Nana, a charismatic Ashanti man, was known for his warm smile and strong sense of community. He had grown up in a small village in the Ashanti region and was deeply rooted in his cultural traditions. On the other side, Ama, an Ewe woman, had a passion for education and had moved to Accra, the capital city, to pursue her dreams.
Their paths crossed at the University of Ghana, where they were both studying economics. Despite their different backgrounds, they connected instantly, bonding over their shared love for education and their dreams of making a difference in their communities.
As their relationship deepened, Nana and Ama knew they were in love, but they also knew that their love was considered forbidden by their families and tribes. The Ashanti and Ewe tribes had a history of rivalry and conflict, making relationships between members of the two tribes extremely rare and often frowned upon.
Nana and Ama decided to keep their relationship a secret, fearing the repercussions it could have on their families and futures. They knew they had to find a way to bridge the gap between their tribes and prove that their love was stronger than any tribal differences.
After graduating, Nana and Ama returned to their respective villages, but they continued their relationship in secret. They spent years working tirelessly to improve their communities, hoping that their dedication to their people would eventually earn the respect and acceptance of their families.
Slowly but surely, their efforts began to pay off. Their families, witnessing the positive impact Nana and Ama were making in their communities, started to reconsider their deeply ingrained prejudices. Elders from both tribes eventually agreed to meet and discuss the relationship.
In a powerful and emotional gathering, Nana and Ama’s families came together to celebrate their love and acknowledge that it transcended tribal boundaries. They realized that the love and commitment their children had shown to their communities were far more important than any tribal differences.
Nana and Ama’s love story, once considered forbidden, became a symbol of hope and unity in their communities. Their wedding, which incorporated elements from both the Ashanti and Ewe traditions, was a joyous occasion attended by members of both tribes, symbolizing the breaking down of old prejudices.
Nana and Ama’s love story serves as a reminder that love has the power to transcend cultural and tribal boundaries, and that when people come together with genuine love and respect, they can bridge even the deepest divides.
This real-life story from Ghana showcases the challenges and triumphs of a forbidden love that ultimately brought two tribes together in the name of love and unity.
Now That I Have A Second Chance At Love, I Am Not Messing It Up
In the enchanting city of Accra, Ghana, a love story unfolded, filled with second chances and newfound hope. Meet Nana, a resilient and introspective individual, who, after going through heartbreak, found a renewed appreciation for love. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, Nana embraced this second chance at love with open arms.
Nana had learned valuable lessons from his previous relationship, realizing that true love required effort, understanding, and a commitment to growth. He recognized that he needed to embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth before fully embracing a new love.
During this transformative period, Nana focused on cultivating self-love and self-acceptance. He engaged in activities that brought him joy and nurtured his well-being. Through self-reflection and introspection, he gained clarity about his values, desires, and the kind of partner he aspired to be.
With a renewed sense of purpose, Nana crossed paths with Akua, a vibrant and compassionate soul who shared his vision of a meaningful and authentic relationship. Akua had also experienced her fair share of heartbreak but approached love with an open heart and a willingness to grow alongside Nana.
As their connection deepened, Nana embraced the opportunity to create a healthy and fulfilling relationship with Akua. He recognized that love required open communication, trust, and vulnerability. Together, they embarked on a journey of mutual understanding, committed to building a solid foundation of love and respect.
Nana took the time to truly listen to Akua, acknowledging her needs, dreams, and aspirations. He recognized the importance of emotional support and made it a priority to be her rock, standing by her side through life’s ups and downs.
He made a conscious effort to demonstrate his love through actions, both big and small. From surprise gestures to heartfelt conversations, Nana ensured that Akua felt cherished and valued every step of the way. He learned to appreciate the beauty of compromise, seeking solutions that honoured both their individuality and their shared goals.
In their journey of love, Nana and Akua never shied away from the lessons of the past. They acknowledged their imperfections and celebrated their growth, understanding that mistakes were opportunities for learning and deeper connection. They embraced open and honest communication, resolving conflicts with empathy and understanding.
As their love story unfolded, Nana found solace in the fact that he had learned from his past and was actively applying those lessons to create a beautiful and lasting relationship. He cherished the second chance he had been given and vowed to nurture their love with tenderness, dedication, and authenticity.
And so, dear reader, the story of Nana and Akua teaches us that second chances are gifts to be treasured. It reminds us that the key to not messing up a newfound love lies in personal growth, self-reflection, and a commitment to learning from past experiences. In the enchanting city of Accra, Nana and Akua celebrated their love, knowing that their second chance was a precious opportunity to create a love story that would stand the test of time.
My Wife Came Home With Another Man’s Pregnancy
In the picturesque town of Tema, Ghana, a love story unfolded with unexpected twists and turns. Meet Kwesi and Esi, a couple whose lives were about to be forever altered. Their relationship had been built on a foundation of trust, but one fateful day, everything changed when Esi came home with another man’s pregnancy.
Kwesi, a devoted and caring husband, was taken aback by the news. Confusion and hurt washed over him as he tried to make sense of the situation. Esi, on the other hand, carried a mix of guilt and fear, aware of the pain she had caused her beloved husband.
In the midst of their tumultuous emotions, Kwesi and Esi knew that they needed to confront the truth head-on. With heavy hearts, they sat down and engaged in an honest and emotional conversation. Esi explained the circumstances that led to the pregnancy, confessing her mistake and expressing remorse for her actions.
Though devastated, Kwesi recognized that their love was built on a solid foundation that could withstand even the most difficult challenges. He understood that forgiveness and understanding were necessary for their relationship to heal and move forward. Despite the pain, he chose to stand by Esi’s side and find a way to navigate the complicated path ahead.
Together, they sought guidance from a counselor who specialized in helping couples overcome infidelity and rebuild trust. They embarked on a journey of introspection, exploring the underlying issues that might have contributed to Esi’s actions. They learned to communicate more openly, addressing their fears, desires, and expectations within the relationship.
Throughout the process, Kwesi and Esi discovered the power of empathy and compassion. Kwesi had the strength to extend forgiveness, recognizing that people make mistakes, and that love has the capacity to heal even the deepest wounds. Esi, in turn, felt a renewed commitment to their relationship, vowing to rebuild the trust she had broken.
As Esi’s pregnancy progressed, Kwesi wrestled with conflicting emotions. While the child was not his biologically, he understood that a life was being created, and he chose to embrace the child as his own. With time, he found solace in the idea of becoming a loving and supportive father figure.
Throughout the pregnancy, Kwesi and Esi leaned on each other for support. They attended counseling sessions together, seeking guidance on how to navigate the challenges that lay ahead as they prepared for the arrival of the child. They engaged in open and honest conversations about co-parenting, setting boundaries, and establishing a harmonious environment for their growing family.
In time, the wounds began to heal, and a newfound sense of trust and understanding blossomed between Kwesi and Esi. Their love story took an unexpected turn, but their commitment to each other and their willingness to confront the difficult truth allowed them to find a way forward.
And so, dear reader, the story of Kwesi and Esi teaches us that love is not immune to challenges or mistakes. It reminds us that forgiveness, understanding, and open communication are vital ingredients in healing and rebuilding a fractured relationship. In the picturesque town of Tema, Kwesi and Esi defied the odds, embracing the complexities of their journey and finding strength in their love to overcome the unexpected and create a future filled with hope and redemption.