Remembering to be manly is a challenge for some men when they find themselves in a relationship.
I'm sure you know of a guy who was once a cool dude, until he moved in with his girlfriend.
Then everything changed. He never hung out with the boys anymore and became a shadow of his former self.
He was a changed man, but not in a good way.
It's easy to laugh at those guys and say it will never happen to you. Until one day down the track you realize that exactly that has in fact happened to you.
It's important to be manly in a relationship for two main reasons. Firstly it maintains your sanity and self respect.
Secondly it keeps you attractive and exciting. Women may have a sub conscious drive to emasculate a man in order to keep you by her side. But that sniveling weak emasculated man is completely unattractive to her. By staying strong and keeping manly you will remain a powerful and attractive man in her eyes.
Living with a person, any person, has its challenges. Even if it was your brother or your best mate it would be testing at times.
Living with your girlfriend presents its own set of challenges. Here are my 12 pieces of key advice on how to keep your sanity and your manhood.
How To Be Manly In A Relationship
1. Have Personal Time
You can't be in each other's pocket all the time, particularly if you live in a small space.
You will go your separate ways to work or to class during the day and that will provide some much needed space. But that's not enough. Don't spend all your free time together.
You need time to pursue your own leisure activities, your own interests and spend time with your own friends.
You need to keep a life of your own outside the relationship, in order to make the relationship more sustainable.
2. Have Personal Space
The man cave is a famous stereotype for a reason. Men through the ages have always needed a physical space to retreat to and recharge their batteries away from women.
It's important to have an area of the house to call your own, to set the boundaries and to use it.
If you live in a small space you might not be able to have a whole room as your man cave. Instead make sure you have a couch, a desk, a table or an area outside where you can signal to your girlfriend that you are going to your man cave. You may not be able to physically remove yourself from her but you do what you can to mentally go into your own bubble.
3. Work Out
It's easy to get comfortable in a relationship, stop going to the gym and put on a few pounds.
For me working out is not about getting massive, getting ripped or even keeping weight off for the missus. For me it is about setting goals, building habits, being disciplined and going through the pain to get somewhere I want to be.
Being in a relationship doesn't reduce the need for discipline or goal setting. If anything it increases because a relationship is one extra thing in your life that demands attention and energy.
Going to the gym is also an excellent way to get some personal time and keep some parts of your life outside the relationship. It is a little ritual that you do for yourself.
4. Have A Window Of Time For Couple Time
This is important, particularly on weekdays and particularly if you are both busy people. You need to time to connect with each other, but you have your own things to do so you can't let couple time take over.
It's best to agree upon a window of time each day where you will sit down, talk and connect then you can make sure you are meeting your relationship needs. This way you avoid having couple time take over your whole evening.
Good practical times are when you come home from work, during dinner or right before bed.
This way you know you can meet your girlfriend's needs but it also gives you the freedom to pursue your own needs as well. That way you can go to the gym, read a book, watch TV, play games or do whatever you want without worrying that your girlfriend is fuming because you haven't paid her any attention.
5. Connect On Your Own Terms
Before you were living together you would see you girlfriend at a mutually agreed time. You would set aside that time for her and she would be your focus when you were together. You would have prepared yourself to be in the right frame of mind.
When you live together you see her all the time. Yet you may not want to connect or engage with her all the time. You aren't always in the right frame of mind.
She won't want to connect or engage with you all the time either. But the challenge is when she is demanding of your time and attention when you aren't prepared to give it.
Sometimes you have to be selfless and realize that her need for your time and energy is greater than your need to recharge your batteries.
But at other times you need to be firm and withhold your energy if you need to. Set boundaries and encourage her to respect them. You need time to recharge your manly batteries so that you are ready to actively engage with her when you want to.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Upset Her
People all have the ability to be angry, irritable and unpleasant. Yet when you are living with your significant other these can be tricky waters to navigate.
She's going to be twitchy on a regular basis at that time of the month. But there are also going to be many other moments where she is horrible to be around or she is on your case about something, justified or not.
To keep your sanity and your manliness you have to be careful not to accede to every demand. You have to stand your ground. Sometimes you will have to give in, but make sure it is not every time.
Weak men bend over and accept their girlfriend's will. All this does it set a tone where she knows she can get her way anytime regardless of how silly or irrational she is being.
Whether it is an issue around the house or an issue in your relationship you have to be prepared to stand firm on occasion even if this means upsetting her.
7. Speak Your Mind And Make Decisions
Don't allow yourself to become an extension or an accessory of your girlfriend, where she leads you around and makes all the decisions on behalf of the couple.
You must freely and often speak your mind, take your fair share of the lead and make your fair share of the decisions.
You may be the natural leader in your relationship, which is great.
However it's still okay if she tends to be the natural leader most of the time, yet you must speak up and stand your ground on the occasions that demand it. You can't blindly follow every time.
My best friend's parents once explained to me how the decision making works in their relationship and I rate their system. The woman is the more talkative, direct and energetic of the two. She tends to do a lot of the decision making. The man is the strong silent type who doesn't say much and is happy to be in the background.
On the surface you could mistake him for being a weak man led around by his wife. But this isn't the case at all. Their system is that she will make most of the decisions and he will go along with it. But when he feels strongly about something and speaks up his word counts and she won't fight him on it.
It works for her because she gets to make most of the decisions without opposition and only has to concede on the rare occasion he speaks up. It works for him because he is happy to offload much of the responsibility for decision making to her, but knows he will be respected on issues he feels strongly about.
And it works for the relationship because it avoids conflict.
So whether you are the natural decision maker or the natural follower just make sure your voice is heard.
8. Don't Let Her Set The Routine Around The House
One of the hardest things in life is learning how to co habitate with your girlfriend.
It's hard enough trying to live with other people, let alone other women. It's even harder with the woman you love.
I'll get in trouble for saying this but women are arguably the more domestic of the two sexes. They like to set up and maintain the house.
There's nothing wrong with that and it's probably something you are happy for her to take the lead on. But you need to guard against her becoming a dictator and you becoming a mere assistant who does what he is told and is scolded when he doesn't.
This is an area where you need to stand your ground and make her realize that you aren't just fitting into her routine but you are both coming together on this.
The best way to do this is to be an active contributor. You still need to chip in as a responsible roommate, but if you want to maintain your manliness you have to avoid becoming a lackey.
For me, I do most of the cooking and, as I've got a thing about clean floors, I will often clean the floors and the bathroom. By getting out in front of the problem and actively contributing I am setting the tone for my contribution to domestic responsibility and I avoid becoming her assistant.
9. Don't Depend On Her For Your Wellbeing
It sounds romantic to think of your girl as the only important thing in your life and someone who you couldn't live without.
The reality is that you could live without her if you had to and you need to remind yourself of that on a regular basis.
Part of keeping your manliness and independence while living with a girl is not depending on her for your wellbeing.
Weak men need their girlfriend to validate them and are always looking for approval. If they don't get that fix on a regular basis they become insecure.
A strong man loves and cherishes his woman. But he knows that she is responsible for her own happiness and he is responsible for his own happiness. He doesn't go looking for approval or validation from her. He derives his sense of wellbeing from areas other than just the relationship and he knows he would get by just fine if she wasn't there.
This is beneficial because it takes pressure off the relationship and means it's not the end of the world if you go through a bad patch. It means you both know you are in the relationship because you choose to be and not because you have to be.
10. Lead The Relationship
Generally men take the lead at the start of the relationship. They are the ones to ask the girl out, to set up the first few dates. Men initiate physical contact and sex for the first time. Somewhere down the line if you get married it will be the man to propose.
A quick way to feel emasculated in your relationship is to exert no leadership and let your girl run the show all the time.
As a man you should be exercising leadership in your relationship. That isn't to say you should be an autocratic leader or that you should lead all the time. But at the very least you should be contributing to the leadership.
A relationship is a team and every team needs good leadership. Think of yourselves as co-captains. You have to share the load but at the same time you need to pull your weight and do your fair share.
This can be in anything from progressing the relationship, to dealing with domestic duties, to raising children, to making life decisions.
Be a teammate and be a leader.
11. Don't Complain
Children complain and whine. Men don't complain.
If you have a problem in your relationship, communicate it with respect and set about rectifying it.
Whining, complaining and bitching won't help you solve your problems. Only open and respectful communication can do that.
Building a life with someone is difficult, with a lot of hard choices, compromises and clashes.
At times the overwhelming urge to complain will be there. But you have to tame it. It's inevitable that things won't go your way on a regular basis. That is the nature of compromise.
She will experience the same frustrations and urge to complain overtime she compromises something for you. You want her to swallow it with good grace, so be a man and do the same for her.
12. Take Pride In Being A Man
A lot of young men only try and be manly for the sole reason of dating and picking up girls. Once they settle down with a girl they feel like it's mission accomplished and any pursuit of manliness goes out the window.
This is a great way to lose your masculinity in a relationship.
Manliness is a life long pursuit. The best way to keep your manliness in a relationship is to take pride in being a man and continue to develop yourself as a man.
This is crucially important as you go about building a life with a woman. The closer you get to her, the more important it is to maintain your own sense of identity. You need to grow the relationship but you also need to grow yourself.
It's also crucial in maintaining attraction over a long period of time. It's normal for the spark to wane as the months and then years go by. But if you began the relationship as a strong, decisive, confident man and then regress into a weak and insecure man naturally it will be harder to maintain that level of attraction.
If you sustain your manly behavior and manly character and even grow it, then you will have an easier job of maintaining your girl's attraction and interest.
Don't fall into the trap of pursuing manliness as a pick up tool and then abandoning it as soon as you have snared yourself a girl.
Manliness should be pursued for it's own sake, not because it helps with the ladies. That is of course a wonderful side effect, but not the main focus.
It's important to stay manly when you are living with your girl to keep your own sanity and self respect but also to keep the attraction levels strong.
Do this by maintaining your own space and identity outside of the relationship and by being a leader inside of it.
- Manly Behavior That Never Goes Out Of Fashion
- How To Become A Man In The Modern World
- The Secret To Keeping Your Girlfriend Happy
- 4 Reassons Why Giving Your Girlfriend Space Will Make You A Better Partner
- What To Do When Your Girlfriend Wants Space