Are you constantly surprised and/or confused by what your boyfriend is saying to you? The following comprises an irreverent analysis of what he REALLY means when he says…
as in “I adore you.” Variations: “I worship you … I would do anything for you …I think you are the most wonderful person on earth … They threw away the mould when they made you.”
At first glance, this is an obvious compliment, suggesting deep feelings for you. Surely when he tells you this he means only one thing. That he loves you That he has never been happier. That he wants to be with you forever.
If only men were so easy. Usually they are incapable of “adoring etc…” outside of their favourite hobbies.
Note two things. One, the exaggerated language. Those bits about the “best, most, above all, etc, etc”. You know they are true, that they fit you, but is it the kind of language he would normally – sincerely – use, outside of sport and cars?
Secondly, the tendency towards clichés. All that stuff about “they threw away the mould … a face you could launch a thousand ships with … “. Such clichés may be his stock in trade, natural to him, but they aren’t right for deep feelings, are they?
More likely he is trying to coax you into a better mood, offering something you want to hear, even if he doesn’t quite mean it.
Also it makes him feel warm inside to say it, giving him the comforting impression that someday he might actually appreciate someone that much.
Of course, he may well be trying to get you to tell him you adore him, which he would like – then, his own ego massaged, he could at his leisure decide exactly how much he does like you.
There is some comfort in the fact that men rarely say such extravagant things at all if they don’t actually like you at least a little – although not that much. Whatever, it is very unlikely to lead to a marriage proposal.
But, hey, it’s a cruel world and sometimes a girl has to be happy with what she can get. These may be only words but they do have a nice ring to them.
as in “I’m busy tonight.” Variations: “I’ve got a meeting …. Some friends have dropped by … This report is taking longer than I thought it would.”
An excuse, usually suggesting a desire for time off.
It’s very possible that this is the truth. Men do get busy from time to time. On the other hand, there are more occasions when they aren’t busy but, being men, think they are.
Like they think they are in good shape, when they are not.
Or funny, when they are not.
Or … oh, what the hell, you get the picture.
Then there are the days when they simply want to be alone – to “chill out” as they so endearingly call it – but are afraid of hurting their beloved by telling them such distressing news. Bless them.
(If only they realized how pleasant it is to have some peace and quiet without them sometimes!!!
But you wouldn’t want to tell them that for fear of hurting them, would you?)
In any case, a facility with words not usually being among their most treasured assets – you know how often men feel they are misunderstood (like, all the time, maybe!) – they do find it easier to say simply, ‘I haven’t got time’.
Full stop. No details. End of conversation.
On the less charitable side, they may want to keep you out of their life – have a few secrets – and to get up to no good.
Advice: check his credit card receipts the next day.
as in “I’d like to make you happy.” Variations: “Why can’t you be happy? … What is it going to take to make you happy? … Most women would be happy.”
A simple rule: boys like to imagine themselves as St.George riding to the rescue of the damsel in the clutches of the dragon. Never mind that there is no dragon lurking and that you are not actually in distress but actually already happy – well, relatively happy. Or at least happy at the moment that he is telling you he wants to make you happy. He can only imagine a relationship in which you need to be saved and he is the saviour.
Looking at his offer more closely though, you may get the impression that rather than “making” you happy – smiling, laughing, over the moon – he would just like you to “be” happier etc simply from knowing him.
For when it comes to the crunch, he is a knight without a horse and, it must be said, without even the stomach for facing dragons. So when he does ask, “What will it take to make you happy?” he is not so much looking for tips as signaling the absolute impossibility of ever achieving such a gargantuan task.
“Me make an effort to make you happy? You must be joking!!! Me change my character or my behaviour or even my socks to make you happy? Why should I have to undergo a transformation like that?”
Paradoxically, much as he fails to bring happiness into your life, he may demonstrate an uncanny ability to make you miserable. Again he can do this with no effort on his part at all, although perversely he may actually show a will to bestir himself when it comes to making you unhappy.
How do you think the damsel got into the dragon’s clutches in the first place?
as in “You’re not listening to me.” Variations: “You’re not paying attention … You’re not hearing what I am saying … You never seem to get the point.”
So you are not “listening”. Not “hearing”. Not “paying attention.” If only that were possible! Trouble is that he is going on at you like a manic drill sergeant with a gaggle of new recruits. Screaming. Yelling at the top of his lungs. The same thing over and over. Again and again. You can’t not hear him. The whole neighbourhood can’t not hear him.
But frankly, his volume and repetition aren’t much help, are they? It’s a little like those key announcements the train and tube operators make on their public address systems – the louder they go, the less information you get.
The best action is to stay calm because, when he is talking in this tone of voice, whatever he means is almost certainly not what he’s saying. It’s not his fault – poor lamb – he simply doesn’t know what’s upsetting him.
If he is going on about what he says he told you he wanted for dinner, he is probably actually talking about the fact that his team lost some obscure match last week.
If he is ranting about wanting you to pay him more attention, he is probably actually talking about the fact that one of his mates has a new girlfriend who sits doe-eyed watching him wash the car without ever questioning his most outrageous opinions.
It may even have occurred to him for the first time that life is not perfect – that he can’t always have everything he wants his way – and that he expects you to sort that out for him. What good are you if you can’t alleviate global suffering, climate change, human mortality and the club’s three game losing streak?
If you wait long enough, the tempest will pass. He won’t expect any less from you but his sudden insights will be forgotten and his expectations reduced. With luck, his team might even win, just as a train or tube will probably turn up. Sometime.
as in “Can’t you be more spontaneous?” Variations: “Why won’t you let yourself go once and awhile?… Don’t you ever feel like doing something wild?… I want you to be free.”
Talking about sex again, is he? Perhaps not explicitly. Perhaps you are only having a meal and he is suggesting you be a little more liberal with the salt and pepper. “Go on, baby, indulge yourself, let your spirit take over, go with the flow.” But at the back of his mind, sex is lurking.
Perhaps he is complaining about your attempts to get him to commit to a programme for the next two or three months, battling your plea to know what the two of you are going to be doing, at least for the next day or two, perhaps even the next hour or two, him answering, “Relax, don’t think so much, don’t put so much pressure on yourself.” But at the back of his mind, sex is lurking.
Oh, at times he also means literally what he is saying. Since he thinks of himself as some god-like figure who responds instinctively to the huge ebbs and flows of the world- (Oh? Just ask him to switch over from his favourite programme for a minute and you’ll see how spontaneous he is!) – he probably does want you to open your mind and let yourself go a little.
(Note: this is only as long as your liberation doesn’t lead to you neglecting him. What he is advocating is a kind of selective wildness – if you asked him he would probably give you a list of when and when not to be rash, spirited, unleashed.)
Even so he is mainly talking about more freedom for himself, not you. For you to stop telling him not to do things rather than for you to get on and surprise him.
Except, of course, when it comes to sex. Boy, does he mean it when he calls for spontaneity there!