Romance Basics for Men 1: Communication is the Key

What is romance? Dictionary.com defines romance as an, "Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love," and while this might be technically correct, it misses the fundamental problems associated with miscommunication and problematic expectations that have caused romantic problems for ages.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to help. While I'm not any type of romance expert, I have enough practical experience in my own lengthy relationship (nine years) to know what I'm talking about. This article will be the first in a series of articles discussing hints for men and women to communicate more effectively. This first article will discuss how men can be better listeners, so that everyone can be happy and satisfied in the end.

For Men, We Need To Watch and Listen

Men, as a sexual species, don't listen very well. We usually have one thing on our minds, and our behavior is usually geared toward that singular goal...sexual procreation, rather than romance. Women want and need romance in their lives, and we all need to learn how to be more romantic in order to keep our relationships healthy and happy.

Now I hear many of my fellow men saying, "Hey, I'm very romantic! I buy my girl flowers and take her out to dinner...", but let me stop you right there. Romance involves more than money or gifts...it's an attitude that needs to permeate our entire behavioral structure in order to be successful. While this may sound daunting, it's actually simple. It involves listening to our mate's spoken and unspoken language.

What do I mean by this? To keep it simple, I'll break it down into the two types of communication/language, spoken and unspoken. Spoken language is by far the easier of the two, so it's where we'll begin.

Men, let's face it, women talk a lot more than we do, due to their better developed vocal skills.  We use merely a fraction of the words spoken by women, and this can naturally lead to barriers in communication. To better understand women, we must open our hearts and ears to them.

Women, however, will usually give us subtle verbal hints that they expect us to pick up upon. Unfortunately, one thing we men aren't good at is subtlety, so this will need to improve.  This will require us to become better listeners in order to pick up on these cues. How do we become better listeners? One thing I do know from experience that a key component to listening is patience. We need to understand that proper and loving communication takes a large amount of time and effort, but the rewards are incredibly worthwhile.  Even if you're willing to take time out of your day to listen to her talk about her day, this will go a long way toward fostering romantic relations between the two of you.

We now come to non-verbal communication. This is much trickier because of the many forms it takes. It can come in the form of a wink, a nudge, or countless other possibilities. It's also as important, if not MORE important, than verbal communication. Yet, this doesn't mean that keeping an eye out for these subtle communiqués need be a daunting task, on the contrary. If you know where and when to look, you can get all the information you need. The most obvious place to begin looking for non-verbal cues is the face. Facial expressions are a key component to good communication, and understanding them isn't that difficult.

Facial expressions can cover some of the widest range of human emotion around, and can compliment vocal communication very well. Through the combination of eye movement, mouth shape, and so on, the face can tell us a lot about how a person is feeling, what they're thinking, and what their current intentions could be. We men usually don't pay much attention to such subtle details; therefore we must become aware of these subtle hints in order to gauge how our partner is feeling. The simplest of these hints involve paying attention. This goes back to us not listening very well. When our partner is talking to us, we should look them in the eyes (except when driving, of course), in order to fully gauge how they feel. This will also help facilitate better listening skills if we keep constant attention on their eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, and so on.

Beyond facial expressions, the entire body is a conduit for non-verbal communication. Shoulder shrugs, hand gestures, tapping toes, etc., all go towards giving us a larger, more complete picture of how our partner is feeling. Heck, even their entire physical stance will let you know their intentions; you just have to look for it. These are usually less subtle than facial expressions, and therefore easier to spot.

There are two general types of body language, open and closed. Open means just that, an open invitation to initiate a greeting, a chat, etc. This can involve a loose, inviting stance, inviting hand gestures, subtle eye movements, and more. Closed is, of course, just the opposite. Closed arms, a retreating stance, a lowered head showing non-interest, can all be signs that this person is either bored with you, does not want to talk to you, or wants nothing to do with you.

The main issue here, however, isn't just detecting non-verbal communiqués from our partner, but reacting to them accordingly. While that will be the main focus of our next article, I can give you a few hints to start you off. First off, try and remember what causes positive and negative non-verbal reactions from your partner. If you keep track of these facts, it'll help you repeat positive actions and avoid negative actions. Secondly, it might be handy to keep a journal, not only to help you remember, but to keep track of your progress. While it might seem like only women keep journals, they're excellent ways to monitor personal growth and enhancement. Finally, don't be embarrassed to ask for help, if not from your partner, than a female friend, or even your mother. I've learned that some of our best information comes from people close to us, so if you find yourself confused, ask questions and be sure to listen to the answers.

Conclusion

Now that men have received tips for better communication, the next logical question is, "What do I do with this new information?" That'll be for the next article. For now, concentrate on improving the communications between the two of you, because this is a big step towards a more romantic and exciting relationship. The goal of these articles is to eventually break down the barriers between you, your partner, and a romantic life.

A romantic life is possible if both partners learn to communicate their ideas, expectations, and goals, and this is what we'll be working on together in future articles. I hope you've enjoyed this first article in the series, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. I'd also love personal examples of your romantic or unromantic lives together for use in future articles. For now, and until next time, have excellent days filled with fun, romance, and excitement.

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