After the honeymoon period ends and all those delicious early-relationship butterflies die down, guys enter full-on panic mode about their relationship. Is this it? Does he stay with one person for the rest of his life? The idea can be terrifying, especially for a man who's always had his pick of women. Some men even leave because they aren't strong enough to handle the transition. Others stick around but start to evaluate their girlfriends more critically. He steps back, shuts off his emotions, and tries to look at the woman he loves from an objective point of view: is she "enough" for him?
Meanwhile, you're ecstatic that you've finally found a man who loves you and whom you can love in return. Your mind is full of wedding plans and real estate listings - extra bedrooms, of course, for the beautiful children you and your man will bring into this world. Why is he suddenly distancing himself from you? Can't he see that you have something wonderful?
This is the time to figure out what he's missing. Once you open a dialogue with him about his needs, you may be surprised at your own unfulfilled desires in your relationship. Read on to learn about the common relationship problems that lead to your man getting cold feet, and how you can address them in a way that's best for you both.
20 What's Missing: He Can't Open Up To You
This might be the hardest thing for him to ask for. From the time they're little boys, men are told to keep their emotions inside and present a stoic face to the world. They have to be the strong ones. A woman can cry on her man's shoulder, but he can't ask her to do the same. He keeps his feelings buried so deep that he may not even realize that he's missing someone to confide in, someone to be strong for him when he's feeling low, who will stand by his side even in the darkest times. For him, it feels a little like being alone even when he has you in his arms. Men who feel like this will come up with any number of superficial reasons why their girlfriend isn't "enough" for them, but it all comes down to being afraid of showing their vulnerable side.
19 How To Fix It: Make Yourself Vulnerable First
Sure, he's probably seen you crying over The Notebook or sobbing from frustration after a terrible day at work. But have you ever told him your deepest fears? Does he know about the awful memories and bad decisions that keep you up at night, and the past joys that give you the strength to keep living? Begin a dialogue with him about your most profound experiences and leave space for him to share his own. Ask questions not about the exact details of his life, but about how he felt and what he was thinking when he was going through times of great upheaval. If he starts to cry, hold him close and let him work through his emotions in the safety of your arms. Once you share your truest and most vulnerable selves with one another, he'll know deep in his heart that you are the one.
18 What's Missing: You Don't Make Him Feel Special
He's not sure you realize what a great guy he is. Every single day, he tells you how beautiful you are and you give him a kiss and a "thank you." But do you ever tell him he's a handsome hunk of a man, and a total catch when it comes to personality and charm? He works out, keeps his diet clean, and is always making you laugh. He works hard to be the charming, attractive guy you're proud to be seen with, but does he ever get any recognition? If his efforts aren't being acknowledged, then no matter how well you two work together, he might think it's time to move on. No one likes to feel unappreciated. He wants a girl who sees how lucky she is to have a hot, hard-working guy like him to come home to.
17 How To Fix It: Up Your Compliment Game
You love your man, no question, and you know just how lucky you are to have him by your side. You know this so deep in your bones that it seems completely obvious on the outside. Why tell him how good-looking and intelligent he is when he's so clearly the most handsome man you know and the only guy you can imagine spending the rest of your life with? But if you want to keep him in your life, you should make sure he knows what you really think of him. Make sure that you compliment him on what you love most about him; his beautiful eyes, the muscular physique he works so hard for, the way his face lights up when he talks to you. Let him know how perfect he is in your eyes. He'll feel appreciated, and that will give him something else to love about you.
16 What's Missing: There's No Passion Anymore
When he first started dating you, he couldn't think of anything other than the smell and touch of you and the wild spark he would get when he's just near you. His work suffered because he spent so much time daydreaming about seeing you later that night and he really couldn't concentrate on anything but that. It seemed like he could never get enough of you. Now that you sleep in the same bed every night and argue about whose turn it is to do the dishes, his ardor has cooled. He misses the days when just the sight of you drove him wild. What you two have is comfortable, and you're his best friend, but sometimes he wishes that he could feel that intense passion that first drew him to you. Is it time for him to find that special spark with someone else?
15 How To Fix It: Spice Things Up
Isn't the passion supposed to taper off after the first few months of dating? You were expecting it, but he seems to think it's the end of the world. You can't dream of losing him over something so small. Except it's actually pretty important - the physical component of a relationship plays a big part in how two people relate to one another. It's like every self-help book and relationship guru always says: you can never stop working on yourselves. Fortunately, the work required in this case is also incredibly fun. Take advantage of how comfortable you are together to test boundaries and try new things in the bedroom. You may find new ways for him to please you as well as for you to please him. Get creative!
14 What's Missing: He Feels Like You Don't Pay Attention To Him
He comes home from a long day at work, takes off his coat, and sinks down onto the couch next to his girlfriend. She offers him a quick, "Hey, what's up?" before going back to her Instagram feed. He starts venting to her about his insane boss, his lazy co-workers and the office printer that went on the fritz, like, who prints anything these days except the new client, and she says, "Uh-huh." and "Oh my god!" at the appropriate times. She's not looking at him, though. He knows he's not boring, his jokes are always on point and he knows how to tell an engaging story. He thinks he deserves a partner who listens to him about his day with her full attention. If his girlfriend isn't willing to do that, he can find a woman who will.
13 How To Fix It: Practice Active Listening
You don't see why this is a problem. You can unwind on your phone at the same time as you listen to your man telling you about the same problems he has every day at work. The thing is, it's not about whether he's talking about the same old problems, it's about whether or not you support him. When he's talking to you, put down the phone and look him in the eye. Really listen to what he says and ask him relevant questions. Always ask him about what he thinks and what he is feeling - don't just jump in with your own story because it relates to what he was talking about. Don't stop telling him about your own life, but if he comes to you to talk about himself then let him lead the conversation.
12 What's Missing: You Live In Two Different Worlds
He invites his girl to hit the gym with him after work, and while he makes a beeline for the free weights she pops in her earbuds and hops on the elliptical. The supposed love of his life has her back to him for his entire workout and misses out on seeing him flex his hard-earned biceps, lats and delts. She doesn't even turn around when he starts doing one-handed pull-ups. Even when he jumps on the elliptical next to her to get his cardio in, she only takes out her earbuds to say, "I don't get what you like so much about this place, it's like I'm a hamster on a wheel." Then it's earbuds back in and a pouty expression on her face. Can he be with someone who doesn't understand how lifting made him the man he is today?
11 How To Fix It: Find A Hobby You Both Love
There's no way you're going anywhere near those sweaty weight racks your guy loves so much. You can barely stand going to the gym and vastly prefer to jog outside or take a yoga class. But what he's missing out on here isn't gym-specific. He wants to have interests and hobbies in common with the woman he loves. Find something you can do together that will fully engage the both of you. Maybe you both love food and can craft delicious meals together. Take on a couples DIY project and work as a team to make your home look fantastic. If you share a challenging and fulfilling experience you'll become closer to one another and add more love to your relationship. Romance will blossom as you become better friends with your man.
10 What's Missing: He Has No Space
She follows him everywhere he goes. He goes to the café downstairs and so does she. Even on game night, she follows him out to the bar with the guys! He used to think that he would love to have a hot chick with him everywhere he goes but sometimes, he wants time alone. Or time to have a drinking contest and check out other girls. Look but don't touch is okay, right? He firmly believes that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but she seems to think that plastering herself to his side constantly is the best way to build a solid foundation for their relationship. He doesn't know how much longer he can take it. Does he have to lose her completely just to get a moment to himself?
9 How To Fix It: Go Out With Your Girlfriends
When you're with your man, you can't think of being anywhere else. Even when he goes out with his guy friends you can't resist following along. Lately, though, he seems to be avoiding you. He doesn't come straight home after work. Once you found him in the café downstairs, eating dinner by himself and playing Candy Crush on his phone. Does he even want to hang out with you anymore?
There's a simple fix: if he's asking for distance, give it to him. Hang out with your girlfriends and revisit interests you've dropped since you stopped being single. Once you're living your best self, with and without the boyfriend, you'll become totally irresistible to him. Taking time to grow as a person separate from him will remind him why he fell in love with you in the first place.
8 What's Missing: It's Always The Same Old Thing
Things at home are perfect, so why does he feel like something's wrong? Every day when he gets home from work he has a beautiful, charming, intelligent woman to talk to, and to share a bed with at night. The problem might be that even though the conversations are always pleasant, they talk about the same things night after night. Work is repetitive enough. Does he really need to have a dull routine at home as well? He starts to fantasize about leaving everything behind. Forget the grind of a nine-to-five job, a girlfriend who's hinting that she wants to become a fiancée and a house with a mortgage. He's still young, and he should be out on his own, searching for adventure with nothing to tie him down.
7 How To Fix It: Head Out On An Adventure Together
Your guy used to be content with your town, your love and the house you two worked so hard to make a home. Now he's talking about transferring jobs to a different city or even a different country. He brings home a new travel guide every few days. Are you about to lose him to a strange new city? You can let your man's itchy feet pull him away from you, or you can take charge of the situation. Pick one of those travel guides, break out your budget spreadsheet and start planning an adventure to an exotic location. Traveling together will broaden your horizons and help you work together as a couple to achieve a common goal. Don't lose out on an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone with the man you love.
6 What's Missing: He Feels Stuck
Until he met her, he never wanted a family. He was happy to go home with a different girl every Saturday night, focus on advancing his career and spend weekday evenings drinking with the guys or playing video games. Now that he's finally fallen in love, however, he finds himself wanting more than just the woman he loves coming home to every night. But when they started their relationship, they'd both agreed that they weren't ready for being real, married adults with a house and kids. They wanted to keep things fun and light. If he keeps feeling like he wants something more serious, is he going to have to leave this woman and find someone more family-oriented?
5 How To Fix It: Take The Next Step
You feel warm and happy when you're in your man's arms, and you can't imagine asking for more. The thought of marriage and kids is terrifying. He's never showed much interest in either, much to your relief - though it is a little bit disappointing. Lately, he's making more jokes about how good a mother you would be and how he would be a good dad, and lapsing into long, sad silences every time you pass the window display at The Children's Place. You might want to ask him if his thoughts have changed on the kids-and-family question. It's impossible to predict whether you'll want to start a family with someone you only just started dating. Once you've been together for a while, you both will want to take the next step.
4 What's Missing: It Feels Too Easy
His girl agrees with him about everything. At first it was fun to have a girlfriend who was always down for anything, whether it was making dinner for him and all his friends or giving him a massage because he'd messed up his shoulder at the gym. Now he's starting to wonder if she has a brain of her own at all. If he really needed a personal masseuse and chef, he could pay for one. The woman he fell in love with had wants and desires of her own. Where did she go? He feels bad about leaving someone who has devoted her entire life to him, but he can't let this continue. If his girl is going to lose her entire identity in taking care of him, he wants to get out and have a real relationship with a woman who knows what she wants.
3 How To Fix It: Start Asserting Yourself
You give your man everything he wants. He's the best thing that ever happened to you, and you are determined to show him that with your every action. But the more you cater to his whims, the more he seems to chafe at your presence. If you want to keep the man you love, you need to take care of yourself as much as you take care of him. Think about what you originally wanted out of the relationship and whether your man delivers. Once you have a clear idea of your needs and desires, sit him down and tell him what you think is missing in your relationship. You'll not only get what you've wanted but been afraid to ask for, you'll earn your man's respect and gratitude for finally asserting yourself.
2 What's Missing: He Wants A Fantasy
She was a vision when he first saw her. Ruby red lips, a perfect figure underneath her lacy summer dress, and legs that went on for days. He ran through traffic to beg for her number. Now that they've been together for a few months, he rarely sees her wearing anything other than leggings and an old hoodie. She put on a few pounds over the holidays but she's too busy to lose the weight. He knows that if she just cooked dinner every night and spent a few hours in the gym every day, he would be happier and she would be skinnier. He's sick of seeing her without makeup and eating takeout every night. How did the perfect woman go downhill so fast? He offers her an ultimatum: shape up or get out.
1 How To Fix It: If He Can't Handle A Real Woman, Leave
Your man was so kind and loving at first, but now he's nitpicking all your flaws. You get bloated from Chinese food and he starts nagging you to go to the gym. You stay up until five AM to meet a deadline, get three hours of sleep and look like a zombie the next day, and he starts bugging you about letting yourself go. Dressing well and staying fit are important to you, but sometimes you have to let things slide so you can get your work done and have a social life. If he isn't willing to cut you some slack, you probably don't want to salvage this relationship. No one can be perfect all the time, and no girl should be with a guy who expects constant profession. Get out and find someone who can love a real woman.