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Dating A Man's Man

Dear Philippa:

What is it with guys who prefer to spend more time with their friends than their girlfriends? They're all attentive at first, then after you've been together a while you feel like you have to beg them to go out with you. I had it out with my boyfriend recently and he said he'd spend more time with me. Has he changed or am I wasting my time?

�Brit, New Hampshire


Dear Brit,

Some people think men, like dogs, are pack animals. Do you sit around with your girlfriends and blame it on that male/female thing and how men have trouble having intimacy with the opposite sex? Maybe it's how they were socialized. In some countries like Australia, Russia and the UK, men who spend a major part of their time with their buddies is the cultural norm.

Whatever the reason many men prefer spending time with their friends rather than their girlfriends and wives, it seems to peeve both sides. Women crave more attention and get more frustrated; men complain women whine and try to change them. Sound familiar?

I don't think all this analysis changes anything. And I don't think it helps to just blame this on the male/female thing. Why waste your energy trying to change someone? You either accept the differences and learn to live with them or you find yourself someone with whom you are truly compatible.

Try having this kind of conversation with your boyfriend. Tell him you realize there are some significant areas of incompatibility in your relationship. You don't want to change him, but in order to be happy you need more of his attention, etc. What does he need to be happy in this relationship? Ask each other if anything is negotiable. Make sure you negotiate from the perspective of what is best for the relationship. If this doesn't work, consider this:

Compatibility or lack of it is what this is all about. Have you ever imagined the kind of man you would love to bring into your life? What would he be like? Certainly you want someone who likes to balance all aspects of his life and include you in most of them. This is obviously important to you. Why do you have to settle on someone who is obviously so outside what makes you happy? You deserve to have someone in your life that wants to spend as much time with you as you do with him. Expecting your boyfriend to change is not fair either. He is fine just the way he is and maybe he'll be happier with a woman who wants a man like himone who gives her lots of space to spend her time with her friends or career, etc.

The greatest joy of being in the right relationship is being with someone who accepts and likes you just the way you are. Empower yourself. You shouldn't have to beg someone to spend time with you. If they don't want to, they don't deserve you. And you deserve better.


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