Was I Wrong in Trying to Help My Guy Become a Better Conversationalist?

Was I Wrong in Trying to Help My Guy Become a Better Conversationalist

I am curious about what things a woman may do (unintentionally) that lead a man to believe she is trying to change him or has the potential to turn into that chick down the line. Case in point, a guy I was dating for 3 months was great at first. One issue was his conversation was a bit bland via text and phone. He professed to be shy and said he needed to work on his conversational skills. Weeks later I attempted to play a game in which we ask each other an unconventional question. I did it to try and liven up the convo. He agreed, however, it only lasted two rounds and he would answer mine but acted like a deer caught in headlights when it was his turn saying he couldn’t think of anything and felt put on the spot (even though he agreed to play). I explained it was cool and that I was just trying to liven up the conversation and dropped it. We had sex prior to but not immediately before this (like 2 to 3 weeks). My question is would something like that be a red flag to a man? He did profess having a big issue with someone not accepting him for him (but most people feel that way). I feel like he did the slow fade after sex and we no longer talk but I was curious about this as I re-examine my dating habits and assess my approach.

This may seem like an insignificant question but I wonder if it’s these kinds of small details that have been keeping me single as everyone else seems to adore me and yet I am single. Hope this email finds you well and thanks for your thoughts!

Antoinette

Okay, Antoinette, pretend you’re my girlfriend. The first few months we’re great. You’re attractive. You’re engaging. You’re sweet. There’s only one thing nagging me about you: you’re not that great in bed. I don’t actually say this out loud to you for some time, but at some point, you notice that I seem a
little dissatisfied after our latest encounter.

You’re wrong for treating your boyfriend as if he’s your pet project.

You confess to me that you’re not that sexually experienced. You’re a bit insecure about your body. You want to be a little wilder, but you’re just not that comfortable with sex, bodily fluids, new positions or anything mildly kinky. Although you appreciate the idea that I want some feedback during intercourse, it seems unnatural to make loud noises or talk dirty in bed. You’re doing the best you can and you’re trying to open up, but it’s just not that easy. It’s not who you are. Thankfully, I have an idea:

Let’s play a game! (Don’t worry; it’ll be so much fun, you won’t even realize it’s a blatant attempt to steer you into becoming better in bed!)

Here’s how the game works:

It’s a simple role play. I get to be the naïve and inexperienced guy and you get to play the confident, sexy seductress. You slowly undress me, give me a lap dance, tie me to the bed and have your way with me.

Stop worrying, you’ll do great!

Oh, wait, I’m sorry. Does this upset you? Are those tears in your eyes? Because you kind of look like a deer in the headlights right now. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad or make you uncomfortable. After all, you’re my girlfriend and you told me you wanted to be able to let loose in bed. This was just my attempt to help you.

Don’t try to change him to be who YOU want him to be. Someone else will love him just as he is.

Okay, I get it. I’ll drop the seduction game.

Even though you’re admittedly a dud in bed, you need to be accepted as you are, and I will continue to support you (while subtly trying to bring out that freak inside you. I know she’s in there!)

Wait, where are you going?

What did I say?

In other words, you’re not wrong for wanting a better conversationalist, Antoinette.

You’re wrong for treating your boyfriend as if he’s your pet project.

Find a guy who is more interesting to talk to; don’t try to change him to be who YOU want him to be. Someone else will love him just as he is – introverted and all.

Join our conversation (11 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    Adrian

    Thanks Evan!

    As a male version of Antoinette I needed to hear this.

    I never saw it from the other person’s point of view before; I’ve always been so great at conversation that I automatically assumed that a person who was not very engaging was just not really that into me.

    I do believe that this is a HUGE blind spot in the “a person who is really into you” mantra that is often quoted as if it was gossip in the dating world.

    Sometimes a person can be really into you, or really like you, even if they don’t ooze excitement or whatever your ideal of what a person who really likes you be like.

     

  2. 2
    Muffy

    I LOVE YOU EVAN!!! You are SO different from all the Relationship “Experts”. I appreciate the way you say things, it’s a straight forward no BS approach, there’s no sugar coating with you. In this particular story you make it so easy to understand with the role playing and humour and it’s so true!

    I’ve also noticed that with all the advice you give it’s based more on logic, experience from your own life, common sense and a bit of other things mixed in which is great because I don’t believe relationships or relationship advice are only one way and only black and white. You’re about making the reader come to their own conclusion when it comes to advice, rather than saying this is how it’s supposed to be. Other writers make things all pretty in pink and then you’re left even more confused than when you started looking for answers! Haha…. Thanks for everything you do Evan and keep on keeping it real!

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Aw, thanks. That’s always nice to hear. Appreciate you taking time out of your day to say something thoughtful.

      1. 2.1.1
        Muffy

        Aaww…… I’m sure you’re a lot busier than me so thanks to you also! And you’re welcome! It’s nice to know you read the comments 🙂

    2. 2.2
      Persephone

      I agree with Muffy. Thank you, Evan. I am trying to get out of a very unsatisfying relationship, but at the same time figure out what went wrong, and what is still going wrong.

      I felt so defeated, was drained of energy, and even my work was suffering horribly from the effects of constant conflict. Since I am an attorney, I drew up papers for our uncontested divorce, for which his response was that he would think about it.

      My husband said he agreed to move out, but then played games to try to convince me to try one more time. He showed me the receipt where he had paid the deposit on an apartment. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, thinking I could finally relax, have a weekend without this energy-draining conflict, and rebuild my law practice.  I failed to ask for a copy of where he signed the lease, and in his true deceptive form, he had never signed it, and subsequently he never moved out.

      Out of frustration and just being worn down, I agreed to a trial period to solve our problems. Yet again.  I had resolved this time would be different.  My husband never being one to allow me to have my turn to talk, I started sending him links to your videos and articles, privately via social media. While it has not magically transformed our relationship into a fairy taol love affair, your articles and videos helped him understand what behavior hwase displayed that hurt me so bad, that it was destroying me as a human being.

      After two weeks, he is reverting back to his old habits. A leopard cannot change his spots. He can want to change his old negative habits of reacting to day-to-day life with me, but without professional intervention it is unlikely he can change, because his tactics rise to the level of being emotionally abusive.

      Yes, I want him to “change.” The difference here is that I am not trying to turn him into a better conversationalist, or into a country boy, or make him enjoy my outdoor activities–I am merely telling him his treatment toward me is abusive and I will take no more of it. That I am now enforcing boundaries.

      He wants to change who I am as a person. He wants me to not like the outdoors as much, sell my family land that I inherited, and move to town so we can be near shopping malls and cafes. He wants our activities to be sitting in coffee shops on a nice Sunday afternoon, while that is torture to me to be inside when I can be in paradise at my beautiful rural home situated on a riverbank.

      So this illustrates two different types of “change.”

       

       

  3. 3
    Noquay

    When something bothers you about a partner you have only two options; accept the issue unconditionally or leave, that is all.

  4. 4
    ScottH

    It seems like you guys just weren’t a fit for each other.  And that’s ok.

    I kind of disagree that either you  accept the issue or leave if you have an issue with your partner.  I think it depends on what the issue is and whether it’s an innate characteristic of the person but you have nothing to lose by talking about it.  If they care to change, great.  If they can’t or won’t change, then you’ve learned that it won’t work and that’s ok too, time to move along.

  5. 5
    Michelle

    Personality and energy I have found are really hard to negotiate and potentially dealbreakers. I dated a guy who looked great on paper (and vice versa for him) but he didn’t like my sense of humor, which is a key component of who I am! I couldn’t imagine “toning it down” for someone, even though we clicked in other areas. My current bf loves me just as I am and also has the same goofy sense of humor and hyper energy. It’s much easier to negotiate things like who does the dishes or where we want to travel on our next holiday than have to monitor our moment to moment interactions.

  6. 6
    Clare

    I feel like something which is almost universally overlooked when examining these kinds of scenarios is the fact that people, all people, open up over time. The deeper you fall in love, the better you get to know each other, the more shared experiences you have, the more you bond, the better your conversation becomes. People feel safer, they let down their walls, they become best friends… this takes a lot longer than 3 months to achieve. At least 5 or 6 months to even begin to have that level of comfort. Now, I understand that many people don’t want to invest that kind of time to find out if they’re compatible, but that is the nature of human relationships. They are created, they don’t generally just spring out of the ground fully formed.

  7. 7
    Just a Guy

    This part:  “We had sex prior to but not immediately before this (like 2 to 3 weeks)” makes me think the relationship was not that intimate to begin with.  I realize that everyone has their own libido level but sex once every 2-3 weeks seems rather infrequent especially in the beginning, it may be frequent after you’ve been married for 10 years, but not in the initial honeymoon stage.

    As to the original question, playing a conversation game is not what most men call trying to change them.  Evan’s example is a good analogy if the guy is deeply socially anxious where his very sense of self can feel threatened by not keeping up with a conversation.

    What I understand men to fear about women “trying to change them” is when they start being told (or being punished with pouting, distance, sarcasm, etc. if they don’t get the hint and change on their own) how to dress, what to eat, when and how to see their friends, what hobbies they should or should not have, what political views they should have, the music they listen to, their décor, etc.

    We all need to adjust to some degree how we spend our social time when a new person enters our life, be it a friend or girlfriend.  And certainly it’s OK telling someone you like them in certain clothes better than others (in a positive way that makes the person feel good) or help someone who may be culinary challenged.  The dreaded “change me” fear comes about when you are made to feel you can no longer do those things in life that provide you joy (the above list is just some of them and they vary) if you want to be with this woman.

    I find you need to accept those things you’d like to change as you are unlikely to change them much, a bit but not get rid of them.  Unless there is an area that they really are not so wrapped up in and would like to try something different.

    For example, for me don’t try to change my music or hobbies, but on clothes I’ve always wanted a more stylish wardrobe.  I love my tee shirt and jeans but want more,  I know what I like but have a hard time finding it and would love a second opinion.  So someone who wanted to help me “change” how I dress would be welcome, but you start dissing my music or hobbies…a real potential deal breaker.

     

  8. 8
    Lisa

    It may have nothing to do with what she said or how she tried to help.   Or it could be.   I think there is a difference between criticism and someone telling you they would like to work on something and you helping.  He brought it up not you?   And Evan I don’t agree that helping someone who tells you they are not that great of a conversationalist and playing word games is the same as trying to turn someone out in bed? The latter involves a lot more of a sensitive subject.  I think the confusion is that if a woman expressed an area she needed to work on and a man helped her she would be appreciative and it would not hurt her ego.  The male ego is far more fragile than the female one!  I will leave you with one example.  I am a lawyer who when I was younger dated an older more experienced lawyer.  I loved the ability I had to learn from him and never took offense. But when I dated junior lawyers who asked for help say with writing something, I would give it and they would get angry and offended. I even dated one guy who would ask me for free legal advice on his business and then got mad and said I talked about my job too much!!!!

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