I asked several male friends over 40 years old, “What turns you off that women have no clue about?” You probably have heard at least some of these turn-offs from men; however, knowing these are issues for men may not have motivated you to stop doing them.
Maybe this article will help you understand the impact to your relationships.
Here are 5 of the top turn-offs men said.
1. You dumb yourself down.
If you are a woman who thinks men don’t want you to be smart, think again. Healthy men are attracted to confident, happy, and smart women. Over the years, men tell me they love a smart woman.
The point of dating is to first find someone you would like to be with, not to find some guy (or any guy) who likes you. Do you want to spend your life with a man who doesn’t value your intelligence (or anything else about you)? If he doesn’t value who you are and appreciate your brilliance, the relationship you have isn’t a real relationship because you can’t be you.
When I was single, men would always tell me I was so busy. It took me years to follow my dream and go back to graduate school while I was working full-time. My husband and I connected during my graduate program. The message is to follow your dream, be your brilliant self and if a man doesn’t find that attractive, move on.
One thing I’ve observed is that sometimes, a smart woman is arrogant and is demeaning to a man. When that happens, a man’s resistance is not to her intelligence but to her attitude and disrespect. Being arrogant is not confident. You don’t want a man to talk down to you and a man doesn’t want you to talk down to him. Most men want a partner with whom he can have conversations about life, work, family, politics, challenges, everything… so he wants a woman who is intelligent.
2. You fake it.
Faking is a game that most men don’t like to play. Faking it is not just about sex (think of the scene in the diner in the movie “When Harry Met Sally.”) One of the examples men spoke about is when a woman pretends to like something he said or did so that he will like her.
A man who is secure will be okay if you don’t think everything he says or does is funny or brilliant, as long as you aren’t rude about it. Acknowledge and appreciate him when it is authentic.
You do want a “real” relationship where you can be yourself and know he loves you for you, don’t you? So does he! Women clients often talk about how they feel betrayed when a man isn’t honest with them. This is a lesson that goes both ways. In the end it won’t work if either of you can’t be yourself.
Here are some examples of faking it: Being happy when you are depressed, acting like you are enjoying something when you don’t, being interested in his work when you are bored, and saying you love to do something when you don’t (like football, fishing, working out all the time, boating, horror movies, etc.).
Pretending you are someone you are not doesn’t work in the long run. You could say another word for “faking it” or “pretending” is lying, and that is not a strong foundation for a true partnership.
I once dated a sweet man whose sense of humor annoyed me. A mutual friend had set us up and she thought he was funny and I would enjoy being with him. He’d weave lines from movies from the 1950’s that I had never seen, and I never got the point and told him.
After a few months, I broke up with him. I explained to him that he was a nice guy, but I didn’t think he was funny and he deserved to be with a woman who would appreciate him. I thought it was better to be honest then just ghost him.
And don’t fake it sexually. During sex, communicate what you like so he knows and hopefully he will do that, too, so you both learn about how to please the other. If you want a satisfying sexual relationship, don’t pretend you like something that doesn’t really turn you on.
3. You feed the drama in your life.
The definition of “Melodrama” is being overly emotional and causing a scene over every little problem. (Sources: YourDictionary.com)
Are you a “(Melo)Drama Queen?” Do you make a big deal about a little problem? Do you gossip about others to make yourself look better? Do you usually make yourself the heroine, victim, or villain of your story (or all three, depending on which will get you the most attention?)
In general, men do not like drama.
Some men have admitted that when dating, they will tolerate drama if they are getting laid. “The hotter a woman is, the more drama a man will put up with. On the other hand, if the drama supersedes her hotness, he will leave.”
What about when you are in a long-term relationship? It depends on how long you’ve been together. Every man has a breaking point. One man said that when drama is brought into a relationship, at some point the man will start evaluating whether he loves the woman enough to stay and if the relationship is worth it.
If you are a “(Melo)Drama Queen”, you may be addicted to the hormones release by being dramatic. You can get attention even if it’s negative. The dramatic retelling of your story can be stressful for you as the story-teller, and it can also stress out the people listening to your story. Your drama can give you a big burst of energy and make you feel good to be the center of attention; however, your body can still go into high stress mode.
4. You are constantly nagging and complaining.
The reason you might not be getting what you want is that your communication skills are not working. Instead of complaining about what you don’t want, ask for what you do want. First, focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. This is for your benefit (so you don’t automatically go into complaint-mode). It also is for the benefit of whomever you are with including your spouse or boyfriend, your date, a child, employee, or neighbor.
Second, notice I said “ask”, not demand. We all have expectations of ourselves and others. When you have an expectation and it hasn’t been clearly communicated, you are likely to react negatively, such as being disappointed, frustrated, angry, or hurt.
By focusing on what you want you will bring the best out in your man. Most men want to please us. It’s no fun for him when he is trying to please you and take care of you, but all you do is complain. (Of course, we want to be appreciated, too.)
Even on your best behavior on a date, you might find yourself complaining about the food or service at the restaurant, the traffic, work, friends, your family, whatever. If you don’t want a man with baggage (and especially if you post that on your dating profile), then do not complain about your exes!
Most men want a woman who is happy and complaining and nagging indicate you are not happy.
Women often assume that because a man doesn’t express his deep feelings that he doesn’t have any feelings, or that he does, but he is purposely holding back. Men feel emotions deeply, even if they don’t show them.
Nagging him to get him to talk has the opposite effect! If you want to know something, find a time to ask when he is not doing something else.
Let him know you have a question, ask it, then be quiet, don’t interrupt and wait patiently for his answer. Men who don’t express their feelings regularly may take time to think about their answer.
If you are just starting to date someone and you ask personal questions, if he doesn’t answer the way you want, don’t interrogate (nag) him. If you want someone who is more open, and he doesn’t share openly after several dates, let him know that open communication is important to you and you wonder how he feels about that.
Maybe he isn’t comfortable sharing emotions with someone he doesn’t know or trust early in the relationship but as time progresses, if he’s not forthcoming, then you need to decide if you can accept his communication style or not.
If you are in a committed relationship and your partner doesn’t do things that you ask, I’m sure you know that nagging doesn’t work even though we still do it!
Trust your partner is doing his best and if he isn’t doing what he promised, find out how what’s going on. Create a safe space to talk by sharing with him your commitment to creating a loving relationship and partnership. Share what’s not working for you and ask him (and listen without defending yourself) what’s not working for him.
Explore how you both can work together and support each other to make things work for both of you. You bathe the kids and he reads them a story. He pays the bills and you go grocery shopping.
What would it be like if you could make requests that could be heard by your man? A man who cares about you will want to please you so when you are gracious, asking not demanding and appreciate him, he will want to help you.
If you have been nagging him in the past, you may have trained him to not listen to you, so when you change the way to speak and act, it may take him time to catch on and catch up with you!
5. You acting masculine instead of using your feminine energy.
In a couple, one person typically has more female energy and the other more masculine energy. Both types of energy are a part of all of us and different circumstances can bring one out more. The stereotypes of the past do not hold anymore.
If you are woman bringing masculine energy to the relationship, but you want a strong man, there’s no room for a man to be masculine without trying to dominate you. This is a common challenge for my female clients and something I’ve learned in my marriage.
Tony Robbins says that the more different the energy, the more passion in the relationship. When you both have the same energy, you may have more in common but lack passion. Robbins also says when women are stressed or tired, they go into protection mode and become more masculine … leading to zero possibility of passion in the relationship.
Men often compete to be the “Alpha” or lead male. When a woman is bringing her masculine energy, she may be consciously or unconsciously competing to be the alpha male. Maybe this works if you are in a leadership role in your organization, especially if you are in a highly competitive male-dominated environment.
On the other hand, many women have feminine energy we deny or suppress, especially at work, and that creates stress for us because we are not being who we really are. (You may not realize this because masculine energy – male and female – is all you’ve seen demonstrated in your workplace.)
When you are being more forceful and not tapping into your feminine energy, you may not only be denying a part of who you are, you may be suppressing your gifts of feminine energy, including emotional IQ, collaboration, listening, appreciation, and connecting.
As a former HR Director, I can tell you that when it comes to work, our feminine energy is often the source of higher employee satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.
Feminine energy is powerful, but it is not dominating. One of the men responding said “I want a strong woman who can allow me to have my authentic emotion.” Men need for us to hold the space for them to express themselves and listen.
Do you see any of these patterns in your interactions with the men in your life?
Love is a two-way street and when you listen to what a man wants, you have a choice of providing that or not. If you withhold until he gives you what you want, your relationship won’t work. Get to know your partner step-by-step, even when you think you already know him, and don’t take him for granted.
If you want a loving relationship, you have to be willing to be yourself and accept him for who he is. Meet him where he is and see if he meets you where you are.
When both people are committed to the relationship (“we”) instead of their own concerns (“me”) then you can work things out but relationships do not start there. It takes time.
If you know a man is not for you, don’t pretend you care more than you do. If you are dating a man you don’t really care about, you are less available to connect with a man who would be a great partner for you.
You deserve to be with a man who appreciates you and cares about you … and he deserves to be with a woman who appreciates and cares about him.
P.S. If you are inspired about being more aware of how you show up with men, whether you are single or in a committed relationship, you can request a Breakthrough Session. Life is too short to “stifle yourself” when the world is waiting for you to show up as your beautiful brilliant self!