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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 continued...

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.'"

Dramatic? Perhaps, but not to Don, a 55-year-old CFO in Portland, OR. "When a man asks a question like, for instance, 'What was the problem at work?' there is a legitimate desire for an outcome that will lead to some sort of action," he says. "But — and this has taken me a lifetime to figure out — when women begin ruminating about something, such as, 'My boss is really mean to me' or, 'I just don't have anything to wear,' there is, apparently, a fine line between actually wanting our input and simply wanting us to look interested. This runs counter to my every male instinct; right or wrong, I feel that I must find a solution."

In other words, when we say to you, "Hey, I'm just trying to help," we really are just trying to help.

HIS TAKE:
"I always want to be able to provide for my wife, and actions are a lot easier than words for me. When I try to put my love into words, it often comes off as cheesy and awkward, whereas when I do things for her, it feels better to me." —Rob Myers, 36 Marion, MS REDBOOK's 2009 America's Hottest Husband winner ( check him out at redbookmag.com/hothusbands)

And Yes, Sex Does Equal Love

decoding_mens_love_signalsA friend of mine, a 41-year-old restaurant owner in Rehoboth Beach, DE, is the father of two and the husband of a nurse. "I honestly believe she is the most beautiful woman in the world, and I frequently let her know that," he says. "The problem is, sometimes she gets home after a 14-hour hospital shift and an hour commute in each direction — you know, just your typical 16-hour day of death, drama, and trauma. So when she walks in the door and I greet her with a, 'Honey, you're beautiful,' it's often met with a growl. The problem, if you asked her, is that no guy ever says or does anything nice for any woman unless they're trying to get laid — and she's probably right about that. But I still don't see why that renders the compliment moot."

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