When it comes to building relationships, young men often struggle to find their footing. Whether they’re new to dating or are trying to keep a relationship going, young men can often find themselves tripped up by common pitfalls that leave them confused and unfulfilled.
It doesn’t help that society is constantly bombarding young men with negative messages about what it means to be masculine, making it harder for them to figure out how to relate respectfully with women and build healthy friendships with other men.
But building relationships doesn’t need to be so complicated for young men. With the right guidance, anyone can flourish in all areas of their life: friends, family, and romantic partners alike.
Here are 18 pieces of advice from a thirty-something-year-old man(me!) who eventually found his way to succeed in romantic relationships. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not an expert. I would simply like to share some lessons I learned along the way that I wish someone had told me.
01 Be mindful of your own behavior and the behavior of others
It’s easy to get caught up in a moment and lose track of your own behavior, especially when you’re in the throes of a new romance or rekindling an old flame.
And you need to be mindful of how you treat the people you date and how they deserve to be treated.
If you find that you aren’t treating the person in your life with respect—whether they’re a casual fling or your future spouse—that’s a sign that something needs to change. You need to recognize that your actions can be harmful, even if they aren’t meant to be.
02 Don’t make everything about sex
It’s important to remember that not all relationships revolve around sex. You’ll want to approach dating as an opportunity to meet new people and explore the different types of relationships that you might have in your life—friendships, lovers, mentors, etc.
However, if you start every interaction by making a sexual advance, you’re likely scaring the people off. A woman who is interested in you sexually will let you know.
If she’s not, though, you need to back off. Not every woman wants to have sex with you, and not every woman has the same sexual expectations or desires as you do.
03 Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
Being open about your shortcomings and fears is scary, but not doing so will likely push people away from you. Eventually, you’ll have to be honest about your weaknesses if you want to find a partner who is compatible with you on a long-term basis.
But you shouldn’t confine yourself to the idea of finding a romantic partner, either. It’s important to cultivate strong relationships with family members, friends, mentors, and other role models.
Being honest about the challenges you’re facing, and how you’re dealing with them, will help you forge strong friendships that can last a lifetime.
04 Take care of yourself so you can take care of others
This may seem basic, but it’s an often-ignored truth when it comes to building healthy relationships.
If you’re constantly taking on other people’s problems without taking care of your own mental and physical health, you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure.
You need to make sure that you’re getting enough rest, eating properly, and pursuing activities that you enjoy so that you have the energy to deal with your loved ones’ problems and challenges.
If you don’t deal with your own issues, you won’t be capable of truly helping the people you care about.
05 Be present and listen
This is an easy one: just be there for the people you care about. You don’t have to be the one who always has the answers or the best solution to their problems. In fact, it’s often better if you don’t.
Despite many men being ‘doers’, many women don’t want partner who is always trying to solve their problems. They want someone who will sit down and listen to them, who will understand where they’re coming from and why they’re feeling the way they are without trying to fix it.
You don’t have to have all the answers—and you don’t have to solve the problems of other people. Just be there for them, and let them know that you support them.
06 Don’t be ashamed about expressing your feelings.
This is a tough one, especially if you’re young and just starting to date.
Dating is a great way to test the waters and figure out what you’re looking for in a partner. It’s a way to get out there, meet new people, and figure out what you like and what you don’t like in a romantic partner.
However, dating is also a way for people to try and find someone who they want to get serious with. Don’t feel pressured to jump into a relationship if you don’t feel ready for it, but don’t let that fear of being “too picky” keep you from finding the right partner.
07 Don’t blame women for your own failings.
This is a big one. If you’re constantly blaming women for your bad dating experiences and failures, you’re doing yourself no favors.
It’s important to remember that not every woman is going to be into you, no matter how charming you think you are. You may want a serious, committed relationship, but not everyone is going to feel the same way.
If you’re constantly blaming women for your dating woes, you’re not going to be able to learn from your mistakes and move forward. Instead, you’ll just be stuck in the same place, blaming everything but yourself for your shortcomings.
08 Learn to enjoy being single—and use it to discover who you are and what you want in a partner.
Being single is an important part of every person’s life—even people who are dating. You need time to discover who you are, what you like, and what you don’t like.
You need time to experiment with different kinds of relationships and situations so that you can figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.
If you spend your whole dating life trying to find a partner, you’re never going to figure out what you want in a partner. You need to take some time to get to know yourself before you can get to know someone else.
09 Don’t rush into anything—especially marriage—too soon.
Building a relationship isn’t like building a house. You don’t have to rush into it, start construction as soon as possible, and finish as quickly as humanly possible.
Sometimes, putting a ton of pressure on yourself to find The One and have the perfect relationship will just lead to disappointment. Instead, take your time, and make sure that you’re dating for the right reasons.
Figure out what you want in a partner, and make sure that you’re dating in a way that will help you find the right person.
10 Women don’t owe you anything, don’t treat them like a vending machine or a prize to be won.
Building relationships is a two-way street. If you want to build healthy, long-lasting relationships with other people, you need to put as much effort into it as they do.
Relationships aren’t built on one person getting something out of it. They’re built on two people getting something out of it. If you find that you’re only getting out of a relationship what you’re putting into it, it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing.
12 Learn from your past relationships so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
You might be making one of the most common relationship mistakes out there: expecting too much from your partner or not communicating your expectations clearly from the get-go.
How do you know if you’re doing this? One big red flag is if you find yourself constantly feeling frustrated or discouraged in your relationship without knowing why.
If you’ve had a few relationships that didn’t work out, it’s worth taking the time to reflect on what went wrong so you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Being honest with yourself about any issues that arose in past relationships can be really difficult, but it can also be incredibly empowering to gain a better understanding of where things fell apart.
13 Don’t shy away from talking about difficult topics.
If something is bothering you, talk about it.
One of the most important qualities in a healthy relationship is honesty, but we often don’t know what to say, or we’re afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings.
That doesn’t mean you need to get into heated debates about religion or politics every time you see your partner — but simply bringing up a topic that is important to you and finding a way to talk about it in a respectful way can be a great way to strengthen your bond.
Talking about hard subjects — like death, family issues, health, money — can help you get to know one another more deeply. It can help you to maintain an open and honest relationship rather than keeping things buried because you think they’re too hard to talk about.
14 Don’t expect perfection from anyone
Instead, focus on building a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and transparency with another person.
We all make mistakes, but when you expect perfection from yourself or your partner, it’s easy to get bogged down in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
It’s important to keep in mind that no one is perfect and that you and your partner will both make missteps along the way. Instead of focusing on who did what wrong, take the time to build a foundation of respect and honesty between you and your partner.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting your expectations for each other become a source of resentment between you. Create a culture of respect and openness between yourself and your partner, and you can avoid this trap.
When your relationship is based on mutual respect and honesty, you can tackle anything that comes your way as a team: no matter what your partner does or doesn’t do, you’ll be able to communicate your needs and build a stronger connection with each other.
15 Don’t settle for bad treatment from people who don’t respect you; don’t be afraid to walk away when necessary.
If you’re in a relationship that’s making you feel bad about yourself, it’s important to walk away.
This may seem harsh but mo relationship is worth sacrificing your self-worth — no matter what society tells you.
If you feel like you’re in a situation where you’re being mistreated by your partner, whether it’s physical abuse or emotional manipulation, don’t be afraid to get help.
Your partner should be someone who supports you, not someone who tears you down.
If you’re in a situation where you feel like you don’t have the power to walk away from a destructive relationship, it’s important to reach out for help. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
16 Don’t be afraid to be a gentleman
When I was younger, I was afraid of what my friends might think if I behaved too much ‘like a gentleman’ towards women. Turns out I and my friends, were just operating from a place of insecurity.
Being a gentleman can go a long way. A gentleman will offer to pay, open doors, and hold the door open for you and give a woman his coat when it’s cold.
17 Make time for your hobbies
Just because you are committed to a girl doesn’t mean you give up doing things on your own.
You two should have things you both enjoy doing together that you could do by yourselves. This way, you’re both happy.
Let’s say you really like to go fishing and your girlfriend goes hiking. You can go fishing with your friends one day and hit the trails with her and her friends the next day. The key here is to always be respectful of each other’s interests and be willing to compromise a little bit on those things.
18 Make time for your friends
Similar to the last point; don’t forget to keep in touch with your friends and see them regularly.
Having and spending time with friends is important for both men and women. In the long run, it will make your relationship with your girlfriend or future wife better.
To conclude, in this article, I have just given you some pointers to keep in mind in your relationship as a boyfriend or husband.
Although I have listed these points above, these are only some of them that I wish I’d known earlier.
You are sure to discover more. If there are some I have missed that you feel might be beneficial to other considered young men, feel free to post them in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our article on How To Spot A High-Value Woman or If you have found that special someone but are unsure how to the conversation started, you may find our post on topics to talk about with girls helpful.