If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then it makes sense that both sexes spend an awful lot of time trying to understand each other. To help align the planets, Mr. Answer Man, authority on all things male, has answered iVillagers' top five questions about mystifying male behavior.
1. Why are men such lousy listeners?
It's not that we're lousy listeners, we're just good editors. If you say something important or interesting to us, especially something about sports, sex or some other topic we hold near and dear to our hearts, we're all ears -- provided we're not busy watching a ball game or reading the newspaper. But when it comes to most other topics we couldn't care less about (fashion, fad diets, your best friend's new boyfriend), we know that if we nod, grunt and otherwise feign listening, it's almost as good and you may not even notice we've tuned out. If you do, we know your anger won't last more than a few hours. Lame? Maybe. But it's the truth. If you want to try to change things, you have two options: Either try tuning out when your man is discussing something you couldn't care less about and see if he likes it (don't be surprised if he doesn't even notice) or choose your topics of conversation more carefully, and save the fashion talk and gossip for your girlfriends.
2. How can I get my guy to be more affectionate?
This is one of those questions that keeps popping up in the world of male-female relationships -- probably because no one has been able to come up with a useful solution. But I think I've got it licked: To get your guy to be more affectionate, use the theory that "men are like dogs" and treat him like the most famous scientific dog there ever was, Pavlov's dog. Find a time, in private, to give your guy a small dose of affection. For example, try a hug from behind. As you hug, make him smile. You might whisper into his ear one of those inside jokes that all couples have, or promise he can watch sports all day on Sunday, without a single complaint from you. He'll associate the affection with something good and, in time, will warm up to the idea of returning this pleasure-producing behavior. I know you'll be tempted, but please don't try to talk to him first about this. I know, I know, you are supposed to communicate in a healthy relationship, but taking the bull by the horns is a better idea in this case. If you mention how much you want him to be more affectionate, it will read like a nag, whine or pester, even though it's not. And that will get you nowhere. Instead, show, don't tell, until it takes. And be patient -- this one may take a while.