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Health & Sex

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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.

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.

This action-oriented impulse also leads to the all-time most exasperating expression of male affection: Let's call it the quicker fixer-upper. You know how every time you start telling your man about your problems, he keeps jumping in with advice... solutions... surefire fixes? And you know how it makes you feel like the solution to your problem might actually come from shoving his helpful little head through a plate-glass window? Well, take a deep, cleansing breath and consider taking it easy on him.

"Women express affection by listening, but men express affection by giving advice," Farrell notes. "And women need to know that when a man loves her and she's hurting, not helping her directly is, for him, like letting someone he loves bleed to death and just sitting there watching. Giving advice is his way of getting her to the hospital, getting bandages on her, and stopping the bleeding. It's his way of saying, 'I'm going to do absolutely everything I can to save you.'"

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