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Are you seeking ways to strengthen your relationship? What is the most important relationship advice for men?
Because men and women handle situations differently, it’s difficult for men to understand what a woman wants from them. This causes unnecessary confusion that can ruin relationships. Luckily, there are many people out there who have written books tailored to giving relationship advice for men to apply to their struggling love lives.
Here’s the most important relationship advice for men, according to experts.
Starting a New Relationship
In the book No More Mr. Nice Guy, Dr. Robert Glover shares one strategy to use when entering new relationships: Shake things up. Instead of falling back on bad habits (like not setting boundaries) or unproductive mindsets (that your needs don’t matter, for example), start from a place of integrity, self-confidence, and vulnerability from the get-go. This will save you from having to “fix” a relationship that’s gone south (or keep you from entering into a toxic one in the first place).
Starting fresh gives you the unique opportunity to look for a different caliber of partner (one who embodies your values). Glover says if you accept yourself and embrace your power, you’re more likely to seek out (and be sought by) those who exude the same self-confidence and energy as you do.
Moving Past a Toxic Relationship
Following Glover’s advice and getting a fresh start after a bad relationship can be a bit daunting. However, The Good Men Project has relationship advice for men to use to start things off on the right foot this time around:
- Remind yourself you’re worthy. You deserve happiness and a partner that treats you well as much as anyone else. But you must believe in your own self-worth as an individual person before you can begin a new, healthy relationship.
- Write down any green and/or red flags you notice. It’s easy to ignore someone’s flaws when you’re just getting to know them, but do your best to recognize and take note of any concerning behaviors. Don’t forget to look out for the positive signs as well—what makes this person seem like they’ll be trustworthy and supportive?
- Talk to your friends and family. If you find yourself over-romanticizing your new beau, ask your loved ones what they think—do they notice any red flags? Or better yet, ask these safe people to set you up with someone they think highly of. This way, you’re meeting someone who’s already been vetted by someone you trust.
- Don’t overthink it. Resist the urge to self-sabotage if your new relationship is running smoothly. Let yourself feel joy and excitement in your new, healthy relationship. Don’t be afraid to lean into someone who is expressing genuine care for you.
Communication Is Key
Many women would say that the most important relationship advice for menis to communicate constantly and respectively. The most effective way for a man to fulfill a woman’s love needs is to communicate with her. Listening is a way to shower a woman with caring, understanding, respect, devotion, validation, and reassurance.
Here are a few ways to communicate with your partner in a positive and supportive manner.
Use Her Language
Most of the time when women generalize to communicate their feelings, they are also hinting to their partner that they need a particular kind of support. In Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray theorizes that men who learn to think and talk like women will know how to respond to the implied request and make their female partner feel truly loved. Before getting any further with communication-related relationship advice, men need to translate their own language into their partner’s.
Here are some examples of common phrases used by women, what women actually mean by them, and how men often misinterpret their meaning:
- Women say: “We never go on dates anymore.”
- Women mean: “I would love to go out with you sometime. We always have so much fun. Would you take me out to dinner soon?”
- Men hear: “You aren’t making me happy anymore. You aren’t romantic. I’m bored with you.”
- Women say: “Our house is always a wreck.”
- Women mean: “The house is messy right now, but I need time to relax. Do you agree that this mess is out of control? Would you please split some of the work with me?
- Men hear: “You make way too much of a mess. I’m always cleaning up after you. If you don’t stop acting like a lazy slob, I don’t want to live with you anymore.”
- Women say: “You’re not in love with me anymore.”
- Women mean: “I feel unloved today. I’m afraid I’m losing you. Will you reassure me of your feelings? It would feel nice to hear you say that you love me.”
- Men hear: “I’ve given you everything, and I don’t get anything in return. You are so cold towards me. I have nothing if you don’t even care about me.”
Can you see why men are often turned off by the things women say? Can you see why women often feel unheard? Before getting any further with communication-related relationship advice, men need to translate their own language into their partner’s.
Talk Through Her Problems
Gray emphasizes that when a woman is under stress, she needs to talk about everything that’s overwhelming her so that she can sort through her feelings. So she reaches out to those closest to her. While stressed, a woman’s primary concern is to talk to someone she loves about every single past, present, and future problem she can think of and get it off her chest. While stressed, a woman is usually emotionally involved, talkative, and sensitive.
Comfort Her During Stress
When your female partner experiences a sudden change of mood and begins to go down into her well of emotions, don’t become defensive or assume that you are to blame.
Here are some of the most important things to remember when helping your female partner through her problems:
- Make her feel safe: Go out of your way to show your partner that you are there to support her. Never judge her negative feelings or make unfair demands during her low period.
- Don’t try to fix it: Remember that you cannot pull your partner out of her low. Don’t offer suggestions or solutions. Just listen and sympathize, even if you cannot understand why she is feeling down.
- Don’t expect an immediate lift: Remember that your support might not immediately make your partner feel better. In fact, your partner might go even deeper into her negative feelings. This is actually a positive step! The closer she gets to the bottom, the sooner she will be able to rise.
- Don’t get defensive: Remember that your partner is working through pre-existing emotions, as well as current ones. Know that most of the negativity your partner is feeling is natural and not a result of your behavior.
Don’t Be a “Mr. Fix-It”
Let’s look at Gray’s reasoning for why a “Mr. Fix-It” causes conflict in relationships and his advice for men to use when they want to fix their partner’s issues.
Men often forget that women don’t talk about their problems to solve them. Women talk through their problems to relieve stress. So when a woman wants to share her feelings, her male partner should be very careful not to interrupt, offer solutions, or invalidate her feelings.
Men should avoid phrases like these, which invalidate feelings or offer unsolicited solutions:
- “It’s not a big deal.”
- “Just forget it.”
- “This is what you should do.”
- “Are you almost to the point?”
Instead, a man must learn to listen with empathy until his partner has found relief. Love and support your woman by trying to understand her feelings and offering her a hug.
How to Address an Overly Sensitive Partner
In Crucial Conversations, authors Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Kerry Patterson share what to do when your partner is highly sensitive to criticism, and their effective relationship advice. For men, it might be hard to take a step back and analyze their next move, but it helps in the long run. The first thing to remember is that when you try to give constructive feedback, your partner might overreact.
When one or both partners in a relationship have short fuses, they may tacitly agree to not say anything about most problems to prevent blowups. Issues have to be huge before they’re discussed.
To start with, STATE your path: Share your facts, Tell your story, Ask about others’ paths, Talk tentatively, and Encourage testing.
- When something bothers you, address it right away.
- Use contrasting statements (what you don’t/do want).
- Ensure the conversation is safe for both parties.
- If the other person still becomes defensive, don’t give up — rethink your approach, increase safety, and try again.
Having a confidante and coach to give you helpful feedback is an important benefit of a healthy relationship.
Talking Through Tough Issues
Crucial Conversations also talks you through how to address an important problem with your partner when they don’t want to talk. If someone doesn’t want to talk about tough issues, it’s because they believe it won’t do any good or they don’t feel safe doing so.
Start with the least threatening issues. Try to make conversation safe. Be alert when your partner becomes uncomfortable. Speak tentatively (“I’m pretty sure you’re not intending to…”). Explore your partner’s path. Practice dialogue skills whenever you can.
Show Your Love
The second biggest piece of relationship advice for men is to understand how to show your love to women. The masculine style of communication is to say exactly what you mean, but it’s not that way for women. The feminine style is to communicate the textural feeling of the moment, not the literal details of the situation. She lives in the now, and her emotions and moods are solid, real things, but they pass quickly and change often.
Her role in the polarity of intimacy is to surrender openly and fully to you and, to do that, she needs to trust you entirely. Your integrity is critical; to trust you with her life, she needs to trust you with yours. Show her that you’re doing everything you can in service of your masculine mission with the five love languages, giving your masculine gifts, and performing small gestures of love.
The Five Love Languages
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman helps readers understand how to love your partner better and create a deeper emotional connection in your relationship. It’s the cornerstone of relationship advice, and for men, it’s important to know what their partner’s love language is. There are five languages of love: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Each language corresponds to the types of actions or behaviors that make someone feel the most loved.
Once you learn which language your partner speaks, you can start to address them through that language and fill up their love tanks.
Word of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation are words or phrases you say to your partner to make them feel good about who they are and what they do. These words can be compliments, words of encouragement, remarks that express kindness, or those that signify your faith in them.
- For the person whose love language is Words of Affirmation, a compliment about their appearance or what they do for the family will fill their tank.
- Telling your partner you appreciate them in your life will make them feel loved.
- Supporting their hopes and dreams by saying, “I believe in you” or “You’re so talented, you can do whatever you want,” will bolster them and give them courage.
- Asking for their help in a way that stresses their skills or the benefit it would bring to your life can make them feel trusted and appreciated.
Quality Time is time dedicated solely to being with your partner without distractions. A person with this language wants to simply be with their loved one. The activity is secondary to the actual act of being together. Time may mean actively engaging in meaningful conversation, participating in an activity that they like, even if you don’t, or having dinner together without watching TV or using electronic devices.
- An evening walk together, whether talking or not, can make your partner feel loved.
- Taking a cooking class or biking together can express a willingness to be with your partner, which translates into a full tank.
- Listening to your partner talk about their day and asking questions to understand how they feel will let them know you care and are willing to be there for them.
- Talking about your past or fears with your partner will tell them you want them to be part of your life completely.
Receiving Gifts represents the act of giving a gift as a symbol of love. A gift equates to thought, and to a person with this love language, that thought is felt as love. The type of gift is less important than the effort to procure it and the desire to give it.
- A small present brought back from a business trip makes your partner feel special because you were thinking of them.
- A diamond bracelet will elicit the same response as a crocheted scarf. The feeling will still be loved enough to receive something from you.
- Sometimes, your mere presence is the gift your partner needs.
- If they are in crisis, being there as a shoulder, sounding board, or comforting presence is enough to represent your love for them.
- Prioritizing a request for your presence over work or previous plans shows them how much their feelings matter.
Acts of Service
Acts of Service are things done to make life easier for your partner. Whether you act to remove a burden from their life, help out, or provide space for them to do something else, these acts of service will tell a partner with this language that they and their time are respected. Even reading articles on relationship advice for men counts as an act of service.
- Not all acts are created equal. Understanding which acts will serve your partner best means understanding their life enough to know how to help and their expectations enough to know what they want to be done for them.
- If your partner frequently complains about a certain task at home, pitching in to remove that task from their day is an act of love.
- If you know your partner hates walking the dog at night, taking over that duty will fill their tank.
- If your partner wants more time to themselves, taking the kids out one night a week will speak volumes of love.
Physical Touch signifies a person who feels love most through intimate contact. Touches can be large or small and intimate or casual. The most important thing to learn about a partner who speaks this language is their specific preference for touch.
- A hand on the shoulder may be desired more than a kiss on the neck.
- Physical intimacy may express love more than holding hands, or vice versa.
- Touching someone in a way they don’t like is a negative touch, a violation, or abuse.
- This action does not communicate love.
- There are endless ways of expressing love through touch.
- Have fun learning what sort of touches your partner likes.
Give Your Masculine Gifts
In The Way of the Superior Man, author David Deida says that as an adult, you’re responsible for your own happiness, health, and success. You no longer need someone to take care of you. Beyond this, you have a responsibility to give your gift. Growing past your dependence on your partner is only one step to true adulthood—the larger step is to grow beyond your need for autonomy and independence. Simply put, the stage in intimacy that comes after independence is mutual, loving service.
As you get lost in the daily tasks of your business and your duties, you might see a decline in your relationship. Advice for men may not seem “masculine” right now, but when your partner is suffering, you must do what is necessary to show her you care. It’s your responsibility to cut through both mentalities: to stay awake to your purpose in living and to remove obstructions to your woman’s connection to the love at her core.
Remember what your masculine gifts are:
- Your ability to lovingly intervene. Your woman can get lost in her moods and find it very difficult to escape them alone. Don’t be her therapist; be her wake-up call. Open her eyes and heart, remind her of how deeply she’s loved, and lift her out of the dark, shrunken perspective her moods drag her into.
- Your ability to set a goal. You know where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. If your woman is stressed, unhappy, and unfulfilled, examine that. Find out where she needs to go and how she can get there. Share that vision with her and help her accomplish it.
Before you can give your woman the gift of direction, you must find your own. Take control of your life and align it around your purpose. Your laziness, your addictions, and your lack of clarity are your own responsibility—try whatever techniques are appropriate to eliminate them.
In every moment, love through your woman and the world. Embrace every instant of your experience as a lover, and trust the direction in which love moves you. Give your gift so open-heartedly that you don’t even realize you’ve lost your need to be self-centered.
Perform Small Gestures of Love
In relationships, men and women perform gestures of love for each other in the hopes of earning points from their partner or earning favor. But because men and women are from different planets (as John Gray theorizes in Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), they award points based on an entirely different set of rules.
Gray says that once you understand how your partner awards points, you’ll be able to direct your energy towards the gestures of love that your partner will appreciate the most:
- Men need to focus on performing small loving acts for their partner.
- Women need to focus on showing a loving attitude toward their partner.
To a woman, every gift or gesture of love, no matter the size, is worth one point. The little things, like taking out the trash or bringing home flowers, are just as important to a woman as the big things, like a new car or a fun vacation. This is not just a woman’s preference—it’s a true emotional need. Every expression of love makes a woman feel cared for, validated, and respected.
Here are some examples of the kind of small gestures you can do every day to keep your female partner’s love needs fulfilled:
- Hug her first thing upon arriving home from work.
- Compliment her.
- Notice something that needs fixing and offer to do it. Don’t forget.
- Offer to complete something on her to-do list for her.
- Call her from work just to tell her you love her.
- Make a point to show her some non-sexual physical affection.
- Call on your way home and ask if there’s anything you can pick up for her.
- Comment on how she seems to be feeling—say something like “you look happy today” or “you seem upset, are you okay?”
- Treat her the way you used to at the beginning of your relationship.
These might seem like small gestures, but each one will count as a point to your partner.
Have a Healthy Sexual Relationship
Overcoming feelings of fear and shame is integral to having a satisfying sex life. However, this isn’t the only way to improve your sexual experiences. The third piece of relationship advice for men is to have a healthy understanding of sex, and what you want out of it. These three tips will help you have a great sexual relationship with your partner: don’t accept bad sex, ejaculate consciously, and be open and educated on porn.
Don’t Accept Bad Sex
According to Robert Glover in No More Mr. Nice Guy, men who settle for bad (incongruous, passionless) sex will likely keep having bad sex. If you continue to accept lazy, passive lovemaking, it will become the default.
To start having good sex, reset with a temporary freeze on sex. This may sound counterintuitive, but Glover challenges men to stop seeking out sex for a set amount of time. This will allow you to learn how you use sex (as a distraction, ego-boost) and how you go about getting it from others so you can develop a healthier relationship with your sexuality.
If you’re not a fan of Glover’s advice, other experts have suggestions that don’t involve cutting sex out of your life.
Tips for Good Sex
What can you do to have better sex? In addition to Glover’s sex ban, some other experts weigh in with their own relationship advice for men’s sex lives:
- Communicate with your partner. Mental health journalist Beth McColl encourages you to discuss your sexual likes, dislikes, fantasies, and fears with your partner before, during, and after sex. Open communication is key to understanding each other’s needs and desires.
- Try something new. Social psychologist Dr. Justin Lehmiller encourages you to experiment (with positions, boundaries, location, and more) so you keep things exciting and don’t get stuck in the same routines.
- Get out of your head. According to the Good Men Project, distractions take you out of intimate moments and away from your woman. So, don’t think too hard about orgasms, chores, or impending deadlines while you’re seeking pleasure. Instead, let yourself be fully present and connect with your partner.
The Way of the Superior Man explores not only relationship advice for men’s emotions and communication, but the practice of conscious sexual intercourse. Ejaculation without conscious choice or control weakens you physically, spiritually, and relationally. Your addiction to ejaculation prevents you from experiencing the full union of sexual love.
When your woman sees that you’re satisfied with a quick release—that your goal is release, rather than a perfect union—you show her that’s your priority. That in all things, you will seek release over completion, and you will lose her trust in life as you have in sex.
During sex, relax the front of your body and keep your breath full. Don’t focus on a particular sensation; feel fully and openly, and feel outward—even beyond your own sensations and those of your partner. Feel out toward infinity.
When you come close to orgasm, stop moving, pull your pelvic floor in and up, and breathe the energy of your orgasm up your spine. When you combine the pulling contraction with the breath up to your spine, you should feel the strength of your erection as well as your need to ejaculate decrease slightly. Repeat this as often as necessary during sex to extend your connection with your partner until you achieve the perfect union you desire.
Be Open and Educated on Porn
Robert Glover isn’t opposed to pornography in theory, but believes it negatively affects men by creating unrealistic expectations and increasing feelings of shame (especially when consumed in secret). In the grand scheme of things, this may not seem like relationship advice. For men, however, your idea of porn can have a profound impact on your relationship with your partner.
If you are going to consume porn, Glover says you must do so openly and without shame. This ensures it won’t become a compulsive, guilt-inducing habit.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
The last piece of relationship advice for men is to watch out for red flags in the relationship. If these statements apply to you and/or your relationship, your partnership has become harmful and possibly abusive, and you may need to end it:
- You don’t want your friends and family to witness how your partner treats you.
- Your partner has a reputation for being a wonderful human being—but this doesn’t match up with what you see.
- Your partner is more concerned about how strangers view him or her than how you do.
- Your partner is nicer to other people than he or she is to you.
- Your partner dismisses your opinion or insults your intelligence.
- You don’t really know much about your partner’s life, so you feel you have to spy on them to find out.
- You don’t feel confident that your partner would be there for you in an emergency situation.
How to End a Relationship
If you need to end a toxic relationship but don’t think you have the will to do it, rely on these strategies. These nine tips can help you get through a tough breakup:
- Take a hard look at how your partner treats you. Does he or she treat you like you’re the most important person in their world or like you’re the enemy? (If you’re not sure, refer to the list of questions above, “How to Know If Your Partnership Has Become Toxic.”)
- Build a support team in advance of the breakup. Tell your friends and family the truth about your relationship, and let them know you’re thinking of ending it.
- Have a cozy, safe place to go for the first few nights. If you can, stay with family or close friends. If you get the urge to go back to your ex, they’ll be there to talk you out of it.
- Find comfort wherever you can. You need to calm your overexcited attachment system, so indulge in whatever feel-good activities appeal to you (perhaps eating ice cream, getting a massage, or talking to a therapist).
- Don’t feel ashamed if you “rebound.” Since the dawn of time, heartbroken lovers have performed embarrassing stunts in the wake of a breakup. It would certainly be better if you didn’t phone your ex in the middle of the night (or drop by his or her apartment), but if you do, don’t beat yourself up. That will only further activate your attachment system rather than calm it.
- Don’t feel guilty for feeling deep pain. You may start thinking you should stop “moping” and get on with your life, but be compassionate and patient with your pain. It’s real.
- When you’re overwhelmed by wonderful memories of your ex, ask a friend to weigh in on what the relationship was really like. Your perspective is distorted, so get an outside opinion.
- Make a list of all the reasons you left. Write down what exactly occurred during some of the ugliest scenarios. This will help you to combat all those rosy memories that keep flooding your brain.
- Remember that this too shall pass. It may not seem possible, but someday your broken heart will heal, and you will fall in love with a much more suitable partner.
It can be difficult to change your way of thinking, but it’s important to understand your partner and fulfill their needs, along with your own. If your desire for love is strong enough, it can be accomplished. Take this relationship advice for men and see how it changes your relationship.
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