Making it my business: I’ve unlocked the mystery that is the human male!

Look inside this magical treat to find out two things that men *really* want. It’s not what you think, pervs.

This it folks. If you don’t send more questions NO ONE WILL GET ANYMORE ADVICE. Thanks.

Shall we begin? Why yes, we should.

Dear Valerie,

Ok so, I’ve got an issue with my boyfriend. I think he spends way too much time with his friends. I know it’s important for him to be around his guy friends, but he needs to invest in our relationship, too. Whenever I bring it up, it turns into a fight. Any ideas?

Galled Girlfriend

While I can sympathize with your plight, GG, I cannot emphasize the importance of guy-only time enough. They’re boys! Hanging out is what they do best! And I can tell you from firsthand experience that your boyfriend’s bros are giving him something you could never, ever give him. Or want to. Allow me to tell a little story to illustrate my point…

My husband and I go to a party. Three other guys ride with us to the party. We all chat it up whilst at the party, and then all pile in the car together to leave said party. Then we all go get something to eat. All told, we probably spent about six hours together that evening. Four guys and me.

During our time together, I witnessed epic battles of Rock-Paper-Scissors over who was gay, heard endless jokes that made me cover my face with my hands and blush (which is almost IMPOSSIBLE – I mean, I’m married to ROSS), and listened to a 30-minute conversation debating whether people from India prefer to be called “Indians” or “Asians” – keep in mind that none of the people in this conversation were Indian and therefore had little insight into the matter. And then there were some more Rock-Paper-Scissors battles to round out the evening.

The time I spent watching these gentlemen that evening made something very clear to me: boys need boy-time just as much (if not more) as girls need girl-time. It’s important that they have the chance to take a break from the often-sobering realities of their relationship and just go out and be ridiculous – not irresponsible, ridiculous. And believe me, if there’s a chance that these hang outs will cut down on the grossness and riffraff that my husband tries with me, I’m all for it.

This isn’t to say that your bf shouldn’t spend time with you. He should! But, I’m gonna be honest here, if you spend all of your time together talking about how you wish he’d spend more time with you, it doesn’t seem like so much fun. This doesn’t mean that you don’t get to voice your concern, just pick your battles.

Here’s a quick tip that will help: suggest to your boyfriend that he go spend time with his friends. Saying something like, “You haven’t hung out with [insert friend’s name, which is probably Matt or Chris because boys in Richmond can only be named that] in a while. You guys should hang out tonight,” will blow his mind. Not only are you taking notice of what he’s up to, you’re also encouraging him to work on his relationships with his friends just like you would encourage him to work on his relationship with you. Believe it or not, he’ll more than likely want to spend more time with you just because you’re showing that you value his relationships with his friends, too.

Valerie! Help!

My husband does nothing around the house. NOTHING. He says he’d do chores if he knew what needed to be taken care of. I don’t understand why I should have to tell him. He should *want* to help out, shouldn’t he?

Bitter Better Half

I fought the “You should want to help” battle for years. Yes, I know I’ve only been married for a little under 5 years, but approximately 4 years and 7 months of that was a constant struggle over household tasks. He kept saying, “Just tell me what you want to do!” to which I would hiss, “Youshouldknowcan’tyouseethatthisplaceisdisgustingIamNOTyourmother!”

And then I realized something. Why should I want my husband to *want* to clean up the living room? I don’t want to do it, so it’s not fair to ask the same of him.

Also, he was telling me he would do whatever I asked him to do! What the mess was wrong with me? It wasn’t like he was saying, “No way, vacuuming is for ladies, now go put on a cute skirt and make me some pie.” He was trying to be a modern husband, but I wasn’t letting that be good enough.

And then we made the chore chart.

I know. It’s sounds childish and perhaps a bit emasculating. In fact, I was a bit nervous about bringing it up. But I did. And he was thrilled.

Of course there was some adjustment. I had to accept the fact that he wasn’t going to do his tasks in the exact way or at the exact time I would have. But done is done. And him doing it means I don’t have to.

What I’m saying here, BBH, is that you’re not allowing yourself to solve this problem. I know it’s frustrating that he’s not being proactive, but that’s not necessarily a male thing. Some people just don’t see (or just aren’t bothered) by messes. Even though I would love it if it occurred to my husband to clean the living room, it doesn’t make him a bad husband if it doesn’t – and it certainly doesn’t make the living room less clean when he checks it off of the chore chart.

Maybe a chore chart isn’t the best for you, but there’s sure to be something that works. If mapping it out day by day doesn’t appeal to you, try making a list of daily, weekly, monthly, and as-needed tasks for your household. Then divide them up between the two of you. No rules over when items are completed. Your tasks are your responsibility, his tasks are his responsibility.

And the most important thing you can do? Notice when he follows through and say thank you. From my experience, guys just want to know that you’re proud of them and that you appreciate what they do. Think about it. You like knowing that someone is grateful for what you do – why wouldn’t you show the same sentiment to the person you share your life with?

Did you pick up on the two things, dear readers? In my experience, guys want two things:

1. Encouragement
2. Appreciation

What do you think, gentlemen? Ladies?

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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