What men really wish they could tell their partners without getting into trouble
If you could read your partner's mind, would you really want to see what's going on in there? Right down to the tactless stuff that they're thinking but would never say because they know that it'll make you feel horrible - or earn them a cold shoulder?
If the answer is "yes" and you currently share your life with a man, then read on. Men and women often share the same bottled-up wishes and irritations, but whilst men tend to stay silent about things they feel would hurt their partner's feelings, women are often more likely to speak out.
Honesty is vital in any long-term relationship, so if something is niggling at you and affecting your relationship, it should be dealt with - just not by blurting it out in a way that hurts your partner and does more harm than good. Here are a few things that men avoid saying for fear of inciting their female partner’s wrath.
1. That outfit looks awful on you
It's a very brave man who tells his girlfriend that her new dress is unflattering. He may think that he's criticising the frock rather than the girlfriend, but she won't hear it that way. What his girlfriend will hear is: "wow, you look really porky – you must be eating more than usual."
We women aren't nearly as affronted by sartorial criticisms from a female friend. A female friend can say "it makes you look bigger than you really are," because we don't care whether she wants to sleep with us or not. She's being (relatively) objective. Our male partners are supposed to find us sexy and attractive, so any critical comments on our appearance can be utterly crushing.
Guys, the advice for you is to stay schtum. You're wise not to get involved in matters like this, because it can only end in tears and insecurities. However, do feel free to tell us how incredible we look when we're wearing something that you like.
2. Yes, you have gained weight
The point here is not that men mind when their partners have gained a few pounds. It's that they wish that their girlfriends or wives would not feel so self-conscious about it, whether they're in clothes or out of them. The men we spoke to said that they were frustrated about having to walk on eggshells about their partners' body issues, while they themselves claimed to be happy to admit that they'd added a bit of padding over the years.
Women remain unconvinced that men don't mind when we put on weight, so "yes, you've gained weight" would indeed be a pretty unhappy thing to hear. Unless, that is, it's followed immediately and sincerely by "...and curves makes you look far younger and sexier. You are gorgeous."
3. I'm not in the mood
Not all men want sex all the time, but their egos are too embarrassed to admit it. This is a shame, because it's one thing that women would love to hear once in a while. Not because it lets them off the hook, but because it would help to explode the myth that women are sex-witholding prudes and men are poor frustrated stallions.
Men like sex and women like sex. But men don't always want sex and women don't always want sex. It's just a fact, and more men need to own up to it. Women will welcome their honesty - not least because it helps put the relationship on a more even footing.
4. I'm scared that you'll turn into your mother
Men seem to love it when we take care of them, just as long as we don't take too much care of them. And definitely not in a voice that sounds a bit like your mum's.
Men are probably safe to speak up about this one, as long as they don't turn it into a slanging match about how much they loathe your mum. Calm his fears by showing him how very unlike your mother you are in other ways.
5. I don't want to move in with you
Men often complain of being "snowballed" into settling down, but as with sex it's rather an unfair stereotype. Many women are hesitant about rushing into drawing up domestic arrangements with a new partner, and many of them feel pushed into it by a male partner who has more to gain from living together.
If you think things are moving too fast in a relationship, then talk about it. It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman. If you're scared to broach the subject for fear that it'll hurt your lover's feelings or lead to a row, then ask yourself why on earth you're thinking of setting up home with this person.