Guys’ one-minute guide to love
By Dave Singleton
Times are ‘a changin.’ Guys are now giving dating advice on the frequent,
Are guys suddenly more open to getting — and giving — dating advice? It seems so! For whatever reasons, more men are weighing in with real advice for their fellow men.
In my article titled “Dating advice books for men,” I scoured the self-help and nonfiction bestseller lists and found a plethora of dating advice books written specifically for women. But I found only a handful for the guys, which I found troubling. Given the men I’ve spoken with recently, it seems that the male point of view on romance is rather underrepresented. So I took to the streets to interview real men, aged 18 to 66, to get their best dating tips.
We’ve come a long way from the days when men were silent on matters of the heart. Some of my interviews took only a minute or so, but as Long Islander Eddie, 32, told me: “Sometimes the best advice is the quickest advice, you know? It doesn’t have to be a soliloquy if it makes sense. Guys might actually prefer hearing quick tips — especially if they’re straight from the heart, from [another] guy who’s been there.”
So without further ado, here is my guys’ one-minute guide to love, including 10 top tips from men who share the one crucial piece of advice they believe other men need to know:
1. Don’t settle, but don’t commit halfheartedly, either. “My one piece of advice is this: Don’t settle, but don’t commit half-heartedly, either,” says Los Angeles native Larry, 45. “If you’re in, be all in. It’s easy to look around and think there’s something better to the point that it stops you from making a real commitment. But that’s immature; real men grow out of that.”
2. Don’t take love for granted when you find it. “Realize what you have when you have it,” says New Yorker Ethan, 32. “That’s really the key. So many guys just play with love and at love, not realizing sometimes when they have it in the palms of their hands and letting it slip away. They are either careless or disloyal. You have to hold on tight to a good thing — not too tight, but tight enough to keep it in your grasp.”
3. Life’s too short to fight constantly with your partner. “Limit the fighting,” Says Marylander Walter, 66. “My first marriage ended because we fought all the time, over mostly little things. Over some big things, too, but I’ve learned that life’s too short. I was a guy who was told to always win a fight. But the truth is that men also know how to be good losers with a mate. Being right doesn’t always get you what you want. You can win the fight, but lose the war.”
4. It’s up to you to make dating more exciting. “Keep it exciting,” says San Franciscan Matt, 18. “It’s up to you to not get bored. Don’t be a bore, either; plan stuff, keep your dates surprising, and have an occasional ‘wow’ factor — something over-the-top special.”
5. You don’t have to understand a woman in order to love her. “Loving her doesn’t mean you have to understand her,” says North Carolinian Al, 51. “Whoever told us we needed to understand our partner? I’ve learned that you can talk a problem to death and never solve it. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. Sometimes, [just] listening is enough. Acknowledging that you heard [what she said] doesn’t mean having to say you understand.”
6. Know what you want. “Know what you want,” says Washingtonian Mike, 39. “It takes a while to figure out what you want, but that’s what you have to do on your own. Figure it out! Only you know what will make you happy. You learn what your basic type is, who can make you happy — and also, you learn who you can make happy. That’s important, too.”
7. In relationships, having a space that works really matters. “Create a space that works for you and your wife or girlfriend,” says Florida resident Andrew, 35. “My dad told me the secret to his marriage of 40 years was [having] separate bathrooms. And now, after being married for five years, I agree with him. You have to create space where you both are really comfortable. Shared space is good, but you need your separate space, too. You want to know where size really does matter in a relationship? When it comes to where you live!”
8. Make sure you really know a woman before making a commitment. “Before you commit, make sure you really know her,” says New Yorker Frank, 44. “Make sure you see her during all moods, times of year, occasions, and with different people, your friends and family and hers. Because you never really know each other until that happens. Go slow, despite your wanting to have it all right away. It takes time to see each other in every light.”
9. Just be yourself. “Be yourself,” says Washingtonian Adam, 32. “It’s simple, but it’s true. Guys spend too much time trying to act the part and being comfortable when their dates act the part, too. It’s important to just be honest. If you want to date casually, say it upfront. Don’t hedge on important stuff like that. Let her know who you really are so she can make an informed decision for herself. Believe me — it’ll work out best for you in the long run if you do.”
10. Know when to walk away if things get bad. “When it’s bad, know when to walk away,” says 37-year-old Ken from Los Angeles, CA. “If it’s not right for you, don’t pretend that it’s OK. If your gut says something is off, pay attention to it. If you need to address something, address it. And if you give it your best shot and it’s not working, don’t beat your head against the wall. Don’t stay with a partner out of guilt or because you’re trying to be a nice guy. In the end, it never, ever works. You do no favors for the other person — or yourself.”
Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.