Whether you're a boy or a girl, straight or gay, this gets old. When it comes to the person you're dating, they don't need to hear about your exes. It's one thing to mention one or two things, but don't make it a habit of saying, "my ex used to..." "I ended things with a girl who was notorious for [this]," says Jeremy, a 30-year-old single man. "If he had nothing to do with me, why bring him up all the time? Your focus should be on me now."
Or anything that solicits a similar reaction, for that matter. Ladies, don't ask your man, "Do I look fat?" if you're going to hate a particular answer. "My girlfriend asks me if she looks fat in almost everything she puts on before we go to a big party or something, and it always ends up starting a fight," says Alex, who's been with his girlfriend for two years now. "It's not like I call her fat, but the question gets old after awhile, so when she asks, I just don't answer anymore." The silent treatment Alex gives his girlfriend infuriates her and they end up arguing before every big party or event they have to go to. "It's not fun," he says.
"My mom, my sisters and my girlfriends used to all do this," says Jim, who's now happily married. "They'd knock themselves down or talk down their accomplishments. For awhile I didn't understand what it was all about, then I realized they just want me to tell them how great they are." Jim says this annoyed him more than anything -- he prefers a woman who's not passive-aggressive and tells it like it is. "My wife is a straight shooter -- she tells me what she wants to hear, so there's no fishing involved," he adds. "It's heaven."
As it turns out, gay or straight, this one bodes for everyone. Mike, a gay man, was in a car with three other gays and a straight man when we asked him "what guys hate to hear." His committee of friends answered as a collective: "Guys hate to hear 'you're like a brother to me.' It means [you're not getting any] booty," they say. "If you're on 'brother status,' it's time to move on." So ladies, if you really like the guy you're dating, don't compare or liken him to your brother. That's relationship suicide in guy world -- gay or straight.
For Purnell, who's currently on a girl hiatus, it's not so much about what girls say. It's about what they've left out. "It's usually what you don't hear that ends up complicating things, right?" Purnell points out. "Once I dated a girl who, after we stopped dating, revealed that she had been on anti-depressants throughout our short-lived relationship." For Purnell, this information would've been significant and useful when they were dating. "The patterns I noticed -- lethargy, passivity -- that eventually turned me off may have been induced by [medication] and may not have reflected her true character," he realizes. "I'll never know."
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