Relationships are a lot of work, as anyone who has ever been in one can tell us. And they change us in many ways. They can boost our confidence, give us new experiences to use or remember later on and make us look at the world in a new light. We might have spent our whole life looking at orange as just another color, but now that we know it is his favorite color — suddenly we see orange everywhere, and it makes us happy because it makes us think of our man. Or, maybe we were always interested in music, but our previous boyfriend wasn’t, so we shelved our dream. But now our new guy is all for it and encouraging us to pursue our interest. He is causing a positive change in our life with his support and encouragement.
In relationships, there are a lot of little things that women do — consciously or unconsciously — for the man in their life. Some of us do some of these things on purpose, while others do them thinking they are doing it for themselves when it is really all for their man. Most are harmless little things, but others are bigger deals. Here is our list of 20 things women do in relationships.
Part of our shower routines pre-date is to shave our legs to achieve that silky smooth, flawless look. We generally do it for the more promising dates, still knowing that if the date flops, we at least get the satisfaction of having nice smooth legs when we tuck ourselves into bed. Besides that, men seem to prefer smooth, flawless legs, right? After all, it was Mr. Gillette who started the trend. According to Bustle, “And the rest is history. Miniskirts and mod shifts soon came after, bringing itty bitty bikinis trailing after them. And the more layers women were allowed to remove, the more hair that had to go with them.”
Makeup is often a controversial topic. Should we wear it? Why do we wear it? How bold is too bold? Whatever our personal stance is, many of us can agree that when dating, we do up our faces three hours ahead of time in a routine ritual very similar to warriors gearing up for battle. And if our man just happens to like this shade of red over that one, so much the better. According to Glamour, “It’s about a different element of femininity. It recalls that crucial rite of passage from girlhood, when I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, to womanhood, when I make my own choices about what is beautiful.”
A lot of women have enough cooking skills to survive on their own, but when we start dating, we suddenly realize that we have always wanted to make Italian or French cuisine and check out a cookbook or two. We say it’s all for us (and we do get the added benefit of learning new recipes) but we also instinctively know that guys like it when we cook. As Your Tango says, “Making a good meal takes effort, you know? Guys see that, and they actually get turned on by the fact that a girl will work that hard to make something nice for them.”
We each have our own personal clothing code. What we wear at home for ourselves differs from what we wear around friends, relatives and especially our sweeties. Many of us aren’t always aware of these differing fashion choices, but once we take the time to really analyze our closet, we can see the patterns emerge. As Bustle describes it,
“My wager is that it comes down to something as simple (or as complicated) as this: feelings.
Maybe the way we change our look hasn’t so much to do with the people, but with what feelings we’re trying to get our hands on.”
When we are dating a nice man and want to impress him, we tend to buy the things he likes. If we know his favorite color, our clothing choices will reflect it. If we know his favorite candy bar, suddenly that’s the one in our purse all the time. We might not be aware of these trends — especially in the clothing department. As one woman told Bustle, “My husband, however, is not as much a fan of the head-to-toe, crazy vintage looks, and when I dress for him I get softer, more floral (he loves a good floral on me). Maybe I go a little bit more subtly, and I pretty much always curl my hair.”
When we are in a relationship, we learn about our partner’s interests, and many of us show interest in what he likes simply to keep him interested. But some of us are genuinely intrigued by his hobbies and want to learn more — to the point where it becomes a shared hobby. Date night then has a new element of shared activities. According to Bustle,
“Obviously you shouldn’t feel pressured to drop all of your interests and adopt new ones when you get into a relationship.
But it’s only natural that the more time you spend with someone, the more invested you could reasonably become in the stuff that person likes.”
If we have an opinion on something mundane like dishware or what color socks are best, it doesn’t take much to change our minds. When it is something more important to us, it takes considerably more effort and influence to sway our opinion. And we often change our minds for our men without realizing that that is what we are doing. According to Huffington Post, “Women often pride themselves on their ability (or prerogative) to change their mind time and time again because, well, they're a woman. However, changing your mind isn't always a good thing to be proud of, or to do.”
We may listen to a variety of music or just our favorite artist on repeat. When we first start going out with someone, eventually, the topic of music comes up. We can spend hours discussing our favorites or arguing about why our love of opera is superior to his love of hip-hop. Eventually, we will find that we like one or two of his awful songs and he might find himself listening to love songs. We have rubbed off on each other and can tolerate the weird musical tastes. As Bustle puts it, “Your conception of love will change, but it will become more real and, perhaps, even better than it was before.”
Ever since we started dating, we have added green smoothies to our breakfast routine and started jogging again. We find that we are more health conscious than we used to be and we can’t quite decide if that is because he is a fitness expert or because we want to look and feel our best — for him and for us. Either way, we definitely are enjoying the results, and so is he. According to Bustle,
“When you sign up to be with someone, especially in a long-term way, your health affects that person’s life and vice versa.
So why not try to take better care of yourself?”
We know all about rearranging our schedules to squeeze in those last minute dates, but we don’t always consider that our domestic routines change, too. We might find ourselves cleaning the house more — so we can find things easier, of course — but really, it is because we know he likes things clean. Of course, he has his own weird habits that will change, too. As Bustle says, “If, for example, you’re a total neat freak and your partner really isn’t, then you might just have to learn to tolerate a little clutter (just like they might have to learn to pick up their dirty clothes off the bathroom floor, I mean, honestly, it's not even that hard).”
Wearing high heels is something almost every woman does at some point. They increase our confidence and make us look good. But if we had the choice, would we really wear them for ourselves, or are they just for the look? We know our man likes them. One doctor tells MSN, “When you walk in them, you lose heel strike (having your heel hit the ground first), which tilts the pelvis, sticks out the buttocks, and stresses the lower back with every step. Though this creates a visually slimming effect, the spine becomes hyper-arched — and the end of it can even be pinched, causing sciatica.’”
We’ve done the shopping and bought the super tight dress in his favorite color. Now it is time to squeeze into the Spanx and wiggle into the dress two hours before he is supposed to pick us up for dinner. A year ago, we never would have dreamed of owning — let alone wearing — Spanx, and now here we are. Did we make this change for us or for him? According to Bustle,
“No woman needs to wear Spanx in the same sense that no women needs to wear makeup.
They're simply a strange, excellent way to make you feel more confident if you need that extra boost to wear a skin-tight dress or skirt.”
At some point in the relationship, we all encounter the question of whether or not we should live together together. If he likes the idea, but we aren’t too sure about it but move in anyway, we obviously made the change for him. But sometimes a move can be great for us too — especially if it’s somewhere new and exciting. It gives us a new adventure to tackle together. As Bustle points out, “But if you are in a long-distance relationship, and it feels like a positive, proactive choice for you to do so, making the relationship work might mean moving to a new place.”
One sneaky little change that can appear in our lives is the use of fillers. Many of us say we use it for ourselves, but we if are honest, it usually has something to do with that seemingly ageless handsome guy in our lives. We want to look our best for him for many reasons, and this is one way to do so. According to Vogue, one woman said, “I spoke to a make-up artist friend and she said that a little bit of Botox was fine, but that I should stay away from fillers as they tend to look a little less natural.”
Many men wonder why we paint our nails. Often, we do it in their favorite color to attract them to us subconsciously. Usually, we do it just because it makes us feel pretty. And a few of us are in touch with our ancient inner goddess and paint our nails to remind lesser mortals of our status in life. It all started in 3200 B.C., so why not continue it? According to Today I Found Out, “Around the same time, Ancient Egyptians were also painting their nails, this time in accordance with their social classes; richer Egyptians painted their nails a darker colour, while poorer Egyptians painted them a lighter colour.”
We say we like to be all sleek and smooth, to look good in our swimsuits and feel great. But really, many of us get a wax because we have a date coming up or it’s our anniversary, and we want to look stunning for our man. One woman told Elite Daily, “Ironically, since then, I've noticed that I'm much better about keeping up my wax routine when I'm single. I think it's because when I'm in a relationship, I get so comfortable that a little stubble really doesn't faze me. Luckily, it's never bothered any of my partners, either. I honestly think I enjoy the feeling more than they do.”
Usually in a relationship, at some point, we discuss pregnancy. Most of us use it so we can avoid an unwanted pregnancy — especially if the potential baby daddy hasn’t proved his reliability yet. But some of us use it for a nice little bonus of not having our monthly flows. Of course, it benefits the guys too, but this one is really just for us. According to The Atlantic, “Getting rid of women’s [monthly cycle] is just a bonus.” Too bad very few people are discussing the risks of taking preventative measures, like causing menstrual disorders and inflammation in the uterus, costing some women their fertility. We just might be putting ourselves at risk for our partners while telling ourselves it's for our benefit.
Hand-in-hand with preventative pregnancy is the conversation about children. Usually, we women want children at some point, but a few will only agree to children because he wants them, and we want him for the long term of things. A fun fact from The Guardian says,
“On an average day, women who have children spend 54 minutes less of their time on job-related work than women who don’t have children.
But men with kids work 25 minutes more each day than men that don’t. In other words, children seem to take women away from the office but drive men towards it.”
Many of us women like to do whatever we want with our hair whenever we want. But when we are in a relationship, we need to take our partner’s opinions into consideration. Ultimately, his stance on pixie cuts won’t affect the outcome of our salon visit, but it is nice to know where he stands all the same. If we like short hair but he likes long, we might start growing it out just to try it. According to Bustle, “Clearly, he or she already finds you attractive, or you wouldn’t have gotten into this whole relationship thing in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be influenced by your partner’s opinion.”
Many of us love the idea of lingerie and feel powerful in the shimmery outfits we keep tucked into our closets. But some of us also feel insecure in the often uncomfortable get-ups and wonder what the point is. And then, we have the middle ground ladies who wear it because we think our man likes it. Most men do, but they have preferences like silk over leather and lots of lace or no lace. Thought Catalog says, “Lingerie can be used as a refuge for who you are on the inside, as it allows you to express who you really are no matter what brand or style of clothing you are wearing on top.”