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Is He Moving Too Fast? How to Control the Pace of a Relationship

Is He Moving Too Fast? How to Control the Pace of a Relationship

Is he moving too fast? Can you control the pace of a relationship?

You’ve known this guy for fourteen days. He texts every day, makes future dates and even talks about a trip to Italy. You’ve already met his kids and you’re concerned that it’s a bit too early for him to meet yours.

You like him. You think. But he’s moving too fast in your opinion.

What do you do?

Here’s what most women do and why their new relationship subsequently fails. They allow a man to dictate the pace of the relationship.

Unfortunately, men’s mouths get ahead of their intentions.

I’m guilty of this myself. I think I really like a woman, so I go all in. Then, I realize suddenly that I’m headed for a serious relationship with someone I hardly know. Deep down, I know I’ve been selling her my best self and she’s never seen the not-so-great side of me.

Men panic and flake because it’s easier than backing out of the Italy trip. It happens all the time.

It’s not your fault. Your only mistake is letting him determine the pace of a relationship because you like him and you’re happy to be dating a descent guy.

The person who controls the pace of the relationship becomes the attracter. If you slow him down, he’ll be more into you because you hold power. You become a challenge and, as you know, men are competitors who strive to earn your love.

Controlling the pace of a relationship benefits you exponentially. It also becomes a test for him. If you slow things down and he gets angry at you, you just saved yourself months, maybe years, of dating a potential head case!

is he moving too fast

How Do You Slow Him Down?

Slowing him down is easy. You can use this exact template or add your own spin.

“Gregg, I’m having a ton of fun and I like you. I like the direction we are headed in, but I’ve learned that getting to know someone takes me time and I need to slow things down. Okay?”

They key element is that you tell him that you like him and that you like where you are headed and then you state your goal of slowing the pace of the relationship.

You could even kid about the psychology of guys by saying, “Jim, I’ve dated guys before who were this eager only to realize their mouths got ahead of their brains. Let’s chill a bit and take our time. Now, what movie are we watching tonight?”

This example states what you know through your own experience, gives him a nice exit to cool his jets, is humorous, and then gets right back to the fun of dating!

Either example works. Just make sure you use one and use it as soon as you wonder if he is moving too fast.

the pace of a relationship

What Happens After You Tell Him He is Moving Too Fast?

A good guy gets it. He talks with himself and realize he was shooting for the stars too soon. He respects you for telling him, and he wants to up his game to keep you in his life.

The best part is other women will pale in comparison to you! You are the only one who put the brakes on his pushiness and that increases his respect for you.

Let him take the reigns again. It’s okay. You’ve exercised your power and now you can let him continue making plans alongside you. If he still pushes to meet your kids, smile and let him know now is not the time, but maybe soon.

What are the stages of a relationship?

Summary | How to Control the Pace of a Relationship

This is one of the many attraction principles that reel in a guy like a cat to tuna. Few women realize that controlling the pace of the relationship helps attract the man into your life not out.

Controlling the dance is a way of expressing confidence and establishing boundaries with someone you’re interested in.

The next time a guys mouth gets ahead of his intentions, you know what to do!

Ultimately, the success of any relationship is excellent communication. Without it, you have nothing. Learning to control the pace of a relationship is all about using your communication skills.

In The Power to Communicate, you learn these skills! This book isn't written as a relationship building book, and yet, without great communication, no relationship can survive.

Improving your communication skills benefits all your relationships, at work, at home, with friends and family. If you're going to read one book this month, make it this one!

How to Save a Relationship That’s on the Edge

How to Save a Relationship That’s on the Edge

You once had a great relationship, but now it’s flittering on the edge and you want to know how to save a relationship that’s about to fall apart.

Gone are the days when he would call and you’d talk into the wee hours of the morning. Also gone are the moments when you see him and you get that fluttery feeling in your stomach.

He feels distant now and you’re afraid you’re losing him. What can you do? Before we dive into that, let’s first determine if your relationship is worth saving.

Is This Relationship Worth Saving?

Not every relationship has what it takes to succeed. Some are just too unhealthy to be rescued. How do you know which you have?

When Not to Save a Relationship | There is Abuse

I don’t care what someone tells you, you never deserve to be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. Not ever. Period.

If you’re in a relationship where you’re being hurt in one of those ways, you need to find a safe and sure way to extract yourself.

One or Both of You Are Addicts

If one or both of you are battling an addiction, that should be your focus, not rescuing your relationship. Right now, you’re not good for each other. You might be again someday, but recovery is a long and difficult road, often taking a year or more.

All your time and attention should go toward being well. Even if you aren’t the one battling an addiction, you’re being negatively impacted and you should seek professional assistance to work on being whole again.

You Probably Can’t Save a Relationship if It’s too Young

A young relationship that feels like it’s in trouble probably can’t be rescued. Since you’re the one researching the topic, I’ll assume he’s the one pulling away.

Why do Men Pull Away?

The reason a young relationship can’t often be rescued is that you probably don’t have enough history and wonderful moments together to bond you. You haven’t had time to build enough intimacy to make the glue you need.

He’s Not There for You

In the times when you needed him most, was he there for you? And by there I mean emotionally there. Your childhood dog died and he went off to play soccer with his friends instead of staying with you.

The company you’ve worked at for ten years is shutting its doors and you’re suddenly unemployed. Is he there with encouraging words or does he ignore your texts and calls?

Sometimes there is a bigger load to carry and you want your partner to help shoulder that load. At times, he may need the support, but when it’s you, is he there?

Don’t Save a Relationship Where He’s the King of Poor Hygiene

I’m sorry but if someone doesn’t value themselves enough to do basic things like brush their teeth and take a shower, they aren’t going to value you much either.

You’re in their life for a different reason and it has nothing to do with love or mutual respect. It’s more likely that you’re cooking for him and cleaning up his Cheeto crumbs while he plays video games.

Is Your Relationship Over?

Do you think your relationship is teetering on the edge of disaster? Has he aleady left? This is a great article for sure, but there are others! Just click the button to read them.

He’s High Maintenance

We all hear about high-maintenance women, but men can be high-maintenance too.

Kim and Reggie had a good relationship until Reggie’s dad came to visit. His dad was a sweet man whose wife of forty years had just passed away after a long battle with cancer. Joe needed a distraction and Kim was happy to play hostess.

Instead, what she got was a clear view of what her future resembled. Joe’s wife had done everything for him. And I mean everything. While he was as sweet as he could be, he was also very high-maintenance. Reggie had exhibited behaviors that got on her nerves but she couldn’t put a label on them until Joe came to visit.

Reggie was every bit as high-maintenance as his dad, perhaps more so and Kim didn’t do high maintenance.

Unfortunately, after that, it was all downhill and Kim got out of the relationship.

The problem with some high-maintenance people is that they put a high value on things that often don’t matter. In that instance, you’re providing him with something that makes him feel better about himself. You’re beautiful or you make a lot of money are usually the two biggies.

For others who are high maintenance, they’re looking for a mommy. Not a mother, a mommy. Someone who will do everything for them. Cook, clean, do laundry, and so on. This guy didn’t learn how to take care of himself for one reason or another and now he’s on a quest to find that woman.

Neither relationship is based on love but on need.

A Relationship Isn’t Worth Saving if You Want or Believe in Different Things

When you first get into a relationship, you don’t discuss things like whether you want children or if you want to travel the world, live on a boat, or become the video game champion of the world.

Then, you get closer, and the relationship continues. Now, you discover that he never wants to have kids or he wants a Housefull while your desires are the opposite.

Sometimes, people change their minds, but it’s not a good idea to gamble on that happening.

If you want different things, you probably need different partners who want those things.

Values present a similar problem. You might not share all the same values, but you need to agree on the big ones, like finances, lifestyles, and family.

You’re Financially Incompatible

When one of you is a spendthrift and the other is financially responsible, things can become frustrating for both of you in a hurry.

Of course, it pays to be financially responsible, but not everyone was brought up that way. Some folks just don’t know how to do it.

You might be able to come together on this one, but it will take patience and a willingness to make big changes.

Never Save a Relationship When You’re a Secret

When a guy is in love, he wants his friends and family to meet you. Not right away, but eventually. He’s sometimes willing to share your relationship on social media.

When he keeps you a secret from those people after you’ve been together for a while, he’s most likely hiding a bigger secret, like he’s married or embarrassed by you in some way.

It’s also possible he has commitment issues, but the first is most often the case.

Your Gut Says So

You didn’t search for how to save a relationship today for no reason. Your gut is telling you something’s up.

What you’re hoping for is what you’ll find in the latter half of this article – how to save a relationship.

Meanwhile, you’ve read some of the dealbreakers above and you almost feel nauseated. That’s your sign, your gut telling you what your heart doesn’t want to hear.

Your intuition is very nearly always right, so don’t ignore it.

Do Not Save a Relationship Like This

If you experience any of these feelings, do not save a relationship:

  • You’re not being the best person you can be in the relationship
  • You don’t do things together, but instead of owning it to friends and family, you make excuses for why he’s not there
  • One or both of you don’t feel good enough or worthy of the other
  • You don’t like who you are when you’re together
  • You feel as if you’ve lost who you are in the relationship
  • The two of you no longer do things that you once enjoyed
  • You’d rather stick a needle in your eye than spend time with him
  • You give up who you are to keep him happy and avoid conflict
  • One or both of you no longer spend time with friends – they might see what’s wrong and ask questions
save a relationship

Save a Relationship by Pulling Back a Little

Yes, sometimes to get something, you must give something up. Your guy might be feeling a little smothered. Men tend to get a little spooked if the relationship is too constricting or if they feel like it’s moving too fast.

Instead, busy yourself by spending time with your friends or pursuing a hobby. I feel like a broken record when I say that because I feel like I say it all the time. Maybe I do, but it’s a true gem in the save a relationship toolbox.

Too often, people overcommit to a relationship. Attraction is exciting and you both feel this pull to one another that seems inescapable.

He’s having fun learning about you and you’re head-over-heels for him too.

The problem is that it can become smothering, especially for a guy. Guys fear losing their friendships when they’re in a relationship. It’s a cliché I suppose, but men are always afraid that once they commit to a woman, she’ll want to spend all her time with him.

This isn’t a healthy relationship. Healthy is when you both spend time with your outside interests as well as with one another. Even when you’re married, you should maintain outside friendships and hobbies that pull you away from one another. It helps you appreciate your time together that much more.

Focus on the Positive

It’s easy to get bogged down in the negatives of any situation, and negativity breeds, so once you find one negative thing, others seem to stand out. The next thing you know, your whole life is full of negativity, and you can’t see the positive.

Instead, try focusing on the positive things. Appreciate one another. If he does something nice, instead of finding the one tiny thing wrong with what he did, find something nice to say, “Wow, Bob! The lawn looks great and I appreciate how you trimmed up to the flower gardens without ruining the flowers.” Don’t mention the 1” wide, 6” strip of the lawn he missed. It won’t be noticeable in a couple of days.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Both positivity and negativity breed themselves, so if you switch from negative to positive, it will help shift the general mood of your relationship.

If you struggle to find the positive, try keeping a gratitude journal. Find things to be grateful for. During COVID, maybe it was toilet paper. Now, I’m grateful if I find gasoline that’s under $3.50 a gallon!

Save a Relationship by Working on Yourselves Individually

To be great partners, you must maintain your individuality and be strong as individuals. To do so, spend some time getting back in touch with who you are. We’re constantly changing as individuals, but sometimes, we don’t take the time to note those changes and how they might impact our lives.

You don’t need to separate to do this, but you do need to be honest with one another. When you’re both happy, or at least not arguing and throwing things at one another, sit down and talk about your relationship and your need to reconnect with yourself.

Let him know you want to spend some time on yourself and ask him if he’d like to do so as well. Things to do during this time might include:

  • Evaluating your core values and evaluating whether you’re living by them
  • Reviewing your boundaries and establishing new ones where necessary
  • Examining how much time you spend on self-care and perhaps adding more
  • Looking at how your friendships outside your relationship are faring and where you might find new friends
  • Excavating old hobbies or finding new ones to keep you busy; perhaps finding a hobby you can blend in with one of his
save a relationship

Save a Relationship by Learning How to Disagree

There’s fighting and there’s bickering. The difference is in how dirty you play.

When you fight, you play dirty. You’re name-calling and pulling out the most hurtful criticisms you can find. You’re intentionally trying to hurt the other person.

Bickering is different. Bickering means you don’t agree with something and you go back and forth on it, but you don’t allow the disagreement to dissolve into petty old hurts.

The challenge with a disagreement isn’t in the disagreement itself but in whether you resolve it. Leaving issues unresolved means they’ll come up again, and each time they rear their ugly heads, it’s a little worse because it’s like a festering wound. It just sits there and goes from bad to worse without any attention.

A little bickering is healthy. You aren’t always going to agree on everything, and if you are, someone isn’t being genuine.

Once you realize you have a disagreement brewing, stop. It might be helpful to create a funny sound or establish a funny word you use when you find yourself bickering.

This helps to quickly diffuse the situation. From there, sit down and listen to one another. Allow him to speak without forming your own statement until he’s done. Once he’s done, you state your position. Speak without malice or meanness. Your goal is to resolve the issue, not make things worse.

Most of the time, people just want to be heard. You want him to know where you’re coming from and he wants the same. It’s in the calm of the discussion that you find a resolution, and that’s the important thing.

Plan a Regular Date Night

This is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Life gets crazy and you may find yourselves being pulled in different directions. If you have a weekly date night already penciled in on your calendar, you automatically have time for one another.

Many people put this on their calendar and it’s an immovable object. Nothing can supersede date night, except possibly a medical emergency.

When you’re enjoying date night, you have a few goals:

  • Avoid technology as much as possible unless one of you is on call or there are babysitters involved
  • No discussion of hot-point topics is allowed
  • Try to stay away from heavy-duty work stuff as much as possible
  • You each choose where you go or what you do on alternating weeks
  • Your focus is on your relationship and one another

Date night is a chance to check in and make sure things are bumping along as smoothly as possible. If you have something serious or heavy to discuss, maybe save it for when your “date” is over. This can be a time to address potential problems and deal with them before they get worse.

Save a Relationship by Celebrating the Wins

Your guy got a promotion. That’s worth at least his favorite cookies, if not his favorite meal or dinner out at his favorite place. There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate one another and any accomplishments you might enjoy.

If it’s been a dull week, celebrate not turning anything pink while doing the laundry or the fact that the dog did all her business outside.

Make this something fun you do together. It’s not a daily thing, or it becomes routine or boring, but maybe once a week or at the least, once every couple of weeks.

This goes along with focusing on the positives. Sometimes, there are just crappy weeks, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something you can celebrate.

This helps both partners feel heard and validated instead of ignored and dismissed. Stay tuned in to what’s going on in his life so you can plan for these little celebratory moments. Not every celebration needs a special meal, but they all require acknowledgment and a tiny celebration dance if nothing else.

save a relationship

Learn One Another’s Love Languages

Gary Chapman did the world of love a big favor when he wrote The Five Love Languages. Essentially, what he defined are five ways in which we all best receive love.

If you each take a few moments to take the quiz on his website, you can discover your love languages.

This enables you to speak to your partner and show love to one another in the way you best receive it. For example, if your partner’s love language is touch, you can show your love for him by holding his hand or providing a gentle touch on his arm. They’re small things that mean so much.

Knowing how you each best receive love helps you show one another in meaningful ways just how much you care.

Save a Relationship by Keeping the Attraction Alive

When was the last time you just gave your guy a peck on the cheek for no reason? When did you last hold hands?

Affection is something that’s all hot and heavy in the early stages of a relationship but tends to fall off as the relationship ages.

But it doesn’t need to. Let him know you’re still attracted to him. Sometimes I hear from women who think they have the market cornered on not feeling as if their partner is still attracted to them.

Men feel this too. Smack him gently on the behind from time to time. Whisper something sexy in his ear when you’re out with his friends. Wear that sexy black number that he loves so much.

He needs to feel that you’re as attracted to him as he is to you.

Dig Up Something Fun You Did Together Previously

Dating is all about finding out more about one another. The more you date, the more you discover. There are some activities you did together that were tons of fun and you still remember them months or years later.

Dig up one of those activities. Go hiking in the woods or rock climbing. Rent a canoe and spend an afternoon on the water. Go watch a cheesy horror flick or revisit that milkshake shop you both loved.

These activities help you focus on one another and your relationship, if only for a little while. They also conjure up fond memories of something you shared previously. Those memories are valuable. I like to call them pennies in the jar. The more of them you have, the better your relationship.

Those types of moments build intimacy. Many believe, and even say someone was intimate as another word for sex but think about it. Hookups aren’t intimate. Moments you share with your guy where you both end up laughing hard, or tender moments shared doing something together are intimacy.

Save a Relationship by Trying Something New Together

While resurrecting an old activity is a great way to build intimacy, so is trying something new. Exploring something new or trying something one or both of you are fearful of is another way to bring you closer.

These activities put you in a similar place of feeling adventurous and sometimes a little nervous. You share those feelings and you overcome them together.

You can extend this into trying a new hobby together or combining one of your hobbies with one of his. One of you cooks and the other likes to blog and voila, you have a cooking blog. He might love old cars and you love photography so now you can go to antique car shows and museums and take photos.

These activities also put pennies in that jar for you and are great for relationship-building.

Take Mini-Vacations – Separately

You know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. In this instance, absence gives you both time to move past whatever is bothering you. One or both of you are harboring negative feelings about your relationship right now and the distance will help you in a few ways.

First, it gives you time to assess the situation without living through it 24/7. With distance, you often gain clarity. You can see how your own actions and his are negatively impacting the situation.

Next, it allows you both to cool off. Don’t leave out of anger or leave abruptly. Agree to take a short break from one another with the understanding that you want to work on yourselves. During that time, whatever anger was lingering is likely to fade and a clearer head can prevail.

Additionally, once you cool off, your rational mind can kick in, which is an impossibility if you’re both angry, or otherwise emotional. Your mind can’t function rationally when you’re feeling overly emotional, so this gives you a chance to gain that clarity.

And finally, once you’ve both cooled off, assessed the situation, and done some thinking about one another, you’ll likely miss each other again. That’s when you know you’re ready to rediscover one another.

Save a Relationship by Seeing a Counselor or Therapist

Not everyone is open to seeing someone, but if you’ve tried the steps above and nothing good has come of it, and you both are invested in saving the relationship, then your next bet is professional help.

Professionals are objective. They’re not friends and family who have an emotional investment in one or both of you. Counselors also have experience and a whole lot of college under their belts. They’ve seen this before and they know just how to help.

If your guy refuses to seek professional help, you can go by yourself. We can always benefit from the advice of someone in the know. They can help point out things that we don’t see in ourselves and that our friends are too afraid to point out.

How Can You Save a Relationship?

Just like it takes two of you to make a great relationship, it will take both of you to save a relationship.

Never try to discuss something while one or both of you are angry. No good will come from that. Ever. Instead, give one another distance to cool down. Go for a run or head out for a window-shopping excursion with a friend. When you come back together, calmly discuss the problem.

I never suggest sitting down to discuss something when emotions are high. As I just said above, your mind can’t work with rational thought processes if you’re too emotional. The emotions overrun those logical thoughts.

You both must want to save the relationship and if one of you doesn’t, it’s time to consider splitting up, at least for a while.

You can’t force him to want to be with you. All you can do is show him how much you care. If he leaves, it’s time to change gears and work through the Five Step Process to Get Him Back, assuming you want him back that is.

*Note* There are a couple of books linked below. Pennies in the Jar is the first and is for couples who want to stay together. It provides strategies to strengthen your relationship and make it withstand the test of time.

He’s Gone Now What is the book for you if you’ve decided to end it and you want to move forward in a healthy way.

If you're ready to move on from this relationship, you're ready for He's Gone, Now What? This book walks you through the many aspects of dealing with a breakup, even if you're the one who initiated the breakup. Regardless of who started it, as they say, your body becomes addicted to the chemicals associated with being in love. The withdrawal process is as daunting as the withdrawal from cocaine.

You'll also learn about the stages of grieving a relationship and how to begin moving forward. You'll walk through the steps of preparing yourself for dating again and gain an understanding of how you can do so in a healthy, happy relationship.

You can learn more about the book here or you can purchase it by clicking one of the buttons below.

Once you find true love, the key is keeping it! In my best-seller, Pennies in the Jar: How to Keep a Man for Life, you'll learn many things you and your guy can do to maintain a healthy, happy relationship. The pennies you put in the jar are shared memories. You add pennies when you do things together like exploring a quaint little town nearby or relaxing in a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon. They're added when you make a game out of grocery shopping or have a cooking contest for dinner.

Learn how to put pennies in the jar, how to communicate effectively and how to fight fair, all inside this great book!

To learn more about it, click here. To purchase the book, click one of the buttons below.

How to Apologize to Your Boyfriend

How to Apologize to Your Boyfriend

The Do’s and Don’ts of Apologizing to Your Boyfriend

You know I’m not a big fan of apologies unless you purposely ran over your boyfriend’s dog – which I know you would never do.  I prefer acknowledging the mistake, fixing it and moving forward.

But, there are times when you mess up big-time. Maybe you had too much to drink and you flirted with the waiter, or you called out your mother-in-law’s bitchy behavior.

I get it. So what are some tactics to apologize to your boyfriend?

It’s as much about what you do say as what you don’t. Check these out.

How can I make it up to you?

Acknowledge that you were wrong and do something good to make your boyfriend happy. Maybe it’s under the sheets, or it could be making his favorite chili.

While executing something nice, make it clear you were wrong, and that it won’t happen again.

Put yourself in his shoes

This can really help. Say, “If you were flirting with a hot waitress I would have reacted just like you did. I understand and now I see where I was wrong.”

This type of language diffuses the situation quickly.

How to apologize to your boyfriend: Don’t explain away your behavior

This gets dangerous. The very moment you start to justify your actions, you’re preparing to start an even bigger argument.

“Somebody had to tell her that her chili sucks”
“You were flirting with the bartender earlier, remember?”

These will never work. Apologizing to your boyfriend by putting it back on him will backfire. Swallow your pride, own your mistake and move on.

Leave it be

Once you apologize let it go. Do not keep apologizing! This just reminds him of the incident and puts him back into his bad mood towards you. Now, he will get jittery the next time you are out drinking in public.
I see this often – a woman will feel so bad that she keeps apologizing over and over. Her apology becomes meaningless, and it’s a signal of low confidence. Show your strength by saying it once and letting it go.

Be your best

Get back to being the woman he loves. Laugh, have fun and do the things he likes to do. Get his mind off his anger. Displacement works very well in these apologetic times!

But, don’t go overboard or be fake about it. Overdoing it won’t help either. It just becomes an empty gesture.

Fix the issue

Many people apologize the right way but do the very same thing again and wonder why the relationship ends abruptly. If you drink again and overtly flirt with another waiter, I’m gone!
Instead, handle the apology and then have a talk with yourself. Do I have a drinking problem? Do I need help? Am I flirting because I am not happy with him? Am I a hot, jealous mess and therefore I feel I need to flirt? Is my confidence in the dumpster?
He doesn’t need to know this part, but you do – and you need to fix it before it bites you in the ass again!

How to Apologize to Your Boyfriend Conclusion

These are very simple but powerful tactics! Don’t underestimate the damage you may have caused to the long-term health of your relationship.

Take time to own what happened, put in the energy to fix what might be broken inside and move forward to a healthy, happy relationship.

Ultimately, the success of any relationship is excellent communication. Without it, you have nothing. Learning to control the pace of a relationship is all about using your communication skills.

In The Power to Communicate, you learn these skills! This book isn't written as a relationship building book, and yet, without great communication, no relationship can survive.

Improving your communication skills benefits all your relationships, at work, at home, with friends and family. If you're going to read one book this month, make it this one!

Take Control of Your Relationship By Understanding Men! Part 9: Men Need to Feel Appreciated!

Take Control of Your Relationship By Understanding Men! Part 9: Men Need to Feel Appreciated!

Excellent relationship communication is at the root of all great relationships and poor communication is the cause of many breakups. Today, I want to share some of the best keys to great relationship communication.

Relationship Communication and Appreciation

One of the most powerful tools you can use in your relationship shouldn’t even need a mention – appreciation.

It’s cliché to say that women want appreciation. Comedians have joked about it for years, but men want to be appreciated too and it’s often overlooked.

It’s crazy if you think about it. Why wouldn’t a man want to be appreciated for something he does? He’s human, just like you.

And I’m not talking about the fluffy meaningless appreciation that seems to be big in our culture today. I’m talking about genuine appreciation. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Your families are coming over for a meet and greet. Now that you and your guy are serious about one another, you want your families to get to know one another. Without being asked, your guy brings home a beautiful bouquet for the table and offers to help get your home ready.

It’s easy to take these actions for granted, but instead, be sure to let him know how much you appreciate the flowers and his help. While a simple thank you might suffice, go a step further and spell it out, “Gregg I appreciate your help tonight, and the flowers are beautiful! Thank you.”

See? How hard was that? Here’s another quick one.

To avoid painting fees, you need to repaint your apartment before moving in with your boyfriend. While you thought you had a full day of painting alone ahead of you, your boyfriend surprises you by showing up with his paint supplies in hand, ready to help.

Be sure to tell him you appreciate his help! He could be off watching football with his friends, but he chose to help you instead.

relationship communication

Why is Appreciation Awkward?

“Surely he knows I appreciate what he does.” I bet you’ve said this to yourself a few times before, right? It’s an excuse for not showing your appreciation or gratitude for something your guy does for you.

In a 2018 University of Chicago study, researchers evaluated why we’re all so reluctant to show our appreciation.

The researchers cited what they called egocentric bias. The best way to describe it is with their examples:

  • You think you’re happier when you spend money on yourself, but you’re happier when you spend it on others
  • You think talking to a stranger will be unpleasant, but most people report those exchanges are positive
  • When introverts are instructed to pretend they’re extroverted in a social situation, they later report that they enjoyed the experience more than those who remained introverted during the same experience

What Does it Mean?

The egocentric bias means we underestimate the positive value of social interactions. When it comes to appreciation, the bias is two-fold.

First, since our gratitude is obvious to us, we assume everyone knows we’re grateful and therefore don’t need to express it. Psychologists call this the curse of knowledge. If we know something, we assume others know it as well.

Expressing gratitude is also challenging because it can be an uncomfortable emotion and one we might not be familiar with. You may struggle to find the right words to express exactly what you’re feeling. Because you’re uncomfortable, you assume the other person is as well.

What this really boils down to is that you’re afraid you’ll say the wrong thing or upset the other person, so you avoid saying anything.

The Experiment

In the University of Chicago experiment, participants were asked to write a letter of gratitude to someone who’d made an impact in their lives.

Immediately after they wrote the letters, they were asked questions about their mood, how they felt after writing the letter, and how they expected the person receiving the letter to feel when they got it.

Then, the researchers contacted the recipients of the letters.

The Results

After writing and sending the letter, the participants indicated that their mood was improved and that expressing gratitude had been a positive experience. However, they underestimated how surprised the recipients would be.

When asked, the recipients of the letters were pleasantly surprised and happy to have received the letters and by the content of the letters. They didn’t realize the impact of their actions on the person who wrote the letter and were pleasantly surprised to discover it.

While the letter writers felt uncomfortable writing the letters, the letter recipients were deeply touched by the expression of gratitude.

What’s in it For You?

The lesson you can draw from this study is not to assume that just because you might feel a little uncomfortable in expressing your gratitude doesn’t mean the person receiving it will feel the same way. What the recipient of your gratitude appreciates isn’t the words you use but the warmth and genuine appreciation you express.

Don’t get stuck in wanting to use the perfect words. Just go for it!

These same lessons apply to other uncomfortable areas of your life like asking a guy out on a date or expressing your condolences. People remember your emotions and warmth more than they remember whether you used exactly the right words.

relationship communication

Relationship Communication | Taking Things for Granted

It’s so easy to take things in your life for granted. You just expect your mother to call and check on you once a week or so, your sister to step in when you need help, and your boyfriend to pitch in with the chores.

We don’t often see the value of something until it’s taken away. We take great health for granted until we experience a serious illness, and we take mom calling once a week to check on us for granted until she passes and leaves a gaping hole in our lives. Doing the dishes by yourself after a breakup makes you not only miss your ex but appreciate the time you spent together.

If health improves or your ex decides to return, you temporarily experience a period of appreciation, but soon, it’s gone again.

While desensitization helps you overcome fears, it also makes you oblivious to things you take for granted. You become accustomed to having your ex around to help and it isn’t unique anymore. The newness of something becomes the ordinary.

If you make a conscious effort to appreciate those things you’ve taken for granted in the past, you’ll not only find your relationship communication is improved and you’re happier.

The Value of Appreciation

When you show appreciation, you’re telling someone they have value in your life. Whether you’re thanking your best friend for bringing you soup when you were ill or your boyfriend for mowing the lawn, you’re saying not only thank you but that you value their contribution to your life.

This is huge in relationship communication because it’s something so simple but meaningful. Nobody wants to be taken for granted and everyone wants to feel special.

A man often shows his love through the things he does for you, rather than with words. Therefore, when you take the time to acknowledge his effort, you’re receiving his gift of love.

Science tells us that when you express your appreciation to your partner, your relationship is stronger and more likely to last. It indicates a higher level of commitment to one another. It also makes you both more likely to share your vulnerabilities and concerns.

Relationship Communication | Making Appreciation Easier

Since we’ve previously established that showing appreciation can be difficult for some, there are some steps you can take to make it easier. There’s a formula of sorts you can try.

First, name the thing or strength you appreciate, “I love how creative you are in the kitchen.”

You’re identifying a strength this person has, something they’re good at.

Next, justify or clarify your statement. It helps give heft to your statement and goes something like this, “Your unique spin on Paella the other night and the way you add flavor to your meals helps me enjoy eating.”

Lastly, you can express your appreciation, like this, “I really value your cooking ability and your willingness to help with meals. It takes a huge load off and it’s fun to cook with you.”

Sometimes, you can express your appreciation in other ways, like baking his favorite cookies or preparing his favorite meal. You can bring home his favorite beer or get him tickets to a favorite sporting event.

Relationship communication doesn’t always need to be verbal. Sometimes non-verbal communication has just as much, if not more power, depending on what you do and how you deliver it.

But…Be Careful

Now you’ve read this whole article on relationship communication and appreciation and you’re gung-ho. You want to show your guy all kinds of appreciation.

Slow down.

Just like anything else, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. There are two important things to remember.

The first is not to use appreciation too often. If it happens every day or multiple times a day, it loses its meaning.

The second is to be genuine. Don’t say you appreciate him for something if you don’t. When he does something that you truly appreciate, let him know. It’s fine to say thank you for the things he does when he does them, but it’s also a great step from time to time to go the extra mile and show true appreciation.

Take Control of Your Relationship by Understanding Men | The Entire Series

The remaining twelve articles in this series are linked below. Each covers a nuance of being male that many women don’t understand. They highlight the differences between men and women and hopefully help you enjoy a successful relationship.

Series Introduction

Winning

Competition

Rejection

Feelings

Money

Status

Challenge

Appreciation

Cheating

Providing

Once you find true love, the key is keeping it! In my best-seller, Pennies in the Jar: How to Keep a Man for Life, you'll learn many things you and your guy can do to maintain a healthy, happy relationship. The pennies you put in the jar are shared memories. You add pennies when you do things together like exploring a quaint little town nearby or relaxing in a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon. They're added when you make a game out of grocery shopping or have a cooking contest for dinner.

Learn how to put pennies in the jar, how to communicate effectively and how to fight fair, all inside this great book!

To learn more about it, click here. To purchase the book, click one of the buttons below.

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