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Decoding Men's Oddball Love Signals

His gifts are terrible. He talks when you want him to listen. His idea of a date is take-out pizza on the couch. Is this your guy's notion of affection and romance? Well, actually, yes.

What, This Isn't a Date? continued...

Take the tale of Brian and Sarah, and the spring, seven years ago, when she moved in. "I've always been a bit of a homebody," Brian says. "So I was skittish about letting her know that, for me, a good time often meant staying in and watching sports. I loved her enough, though, to want to share my great passion with her. Besides, one of the things I like about sports on TV is that it lets you carry on a conversation — you could even call it couples therapy." Today, they're happily married with a 2-year-old son, and Sarah loves baseball — and the Yankees — every bit as much as Brian does. Which is either a testament to the power of manly love or a classic example of Stockholm syndrome.

And while we're on the subject of dates, let me put this plainly: Your man might moan, might whine, might flee to the restroom 14 times — but the mere fact that he agrees to go with you to any type of chick flick should always be seen as the gargantuan male sacrifice that it is.

"Believe me," says Rob, "any man who's willing to do this is merely doing it to show his woman how much he loves her. And if he is willing to do this for you, rest assured, he must really, really love you."

HIS TAKE:
"I grew up with three sisters, so I enjoy doing things with my wife that other husbands might not — like talking about how we want to furnish our house. But as for movie night, I'd much rather see Transformers or Star Trek than some romantic comedy." —George Lee, 37 Dallas

We Fix Because We Love

decoding_mens_love_signalsWarren Farrell has started or led, by his count, more than 390 workshops with lovelorn guys, making him a veritable Wikipedia of the various ways guys try to put the man in romance: "Taking out the garbage. Fixing your computer. Working on the taxes. Driving on the vacation. Setting up the campsite. Carrying things from the car. Researching the best new portable barbecue thingy. These," Farrell points out, "are how a man says, 'I love you.' Actions, for men, speak far louder than any words."

Indeed, men learn early on that the shortest way to a woman's heart is always through doing. Whether it was the fact that you let Jimmy Pierson get to first base just because his fort on the playground was bigger, or how often you fell for the guy who gave you a lift to class or helped you lug your 100-pound suitcase into your third-floor walkup dorm room, males know that action is your aphrodisiac.

"The way a man learns to get a woman's love is by doing, not by thinking," Farrell explains. "So when women make long to-do lists and her guy crosses items off them, what he's really doing is saying he loves you." Now, that's not to say he never misses the mark — like when he helpfully (he thinks) picks up some industrial-looking track lighting for your living room at Lowe's, not realizing that you had your eyes on a set of 1920s brass wall sconces from the local antiques shop.

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