man_self_esteem_main.jpgMen do communicate differently from women. This is the reason why, sometimes, even the best of men can say things that come across as insensitive to the woman they love, when all they were really trying to do was “talk about facts” the way men usually do.

On the other side of the spectrum is the man who (consciously or unconsciously) uses emotional abuse and wounding words to “keep women in their place”—which, to his mind, is under his control.

Then there are also those guys who've read too many seduction manuals, and believe that "negs" (i.e. negative comments about a woman designed to make her want to 'prove her value') are part of getting women interested in them.

At some point, women in relationships with these men will start to wonder how to tell the difference between an unintentional slight and a recurring pattern of meanness, and what to do if it's the latter. While there's no clear-cut formula for accurately knowing someone else's intentions, here are some telltale signs to distinguish between these three types of men:


- Is more of a doer than a talker; he believes actions should speak louder than words.

- Is more used to being with guys than being with girls.

- Might sometimes confess to not wanting to say anything, in case he says the wrong thing.

- Will apologize and really make an effort to be more careful, once you tell him you don't like what he said or did. But being human, he still can make mistakes.

This is the kind of man whose heart is in the right place... but he will need your patience, honesty, and sense of humor to help him keep finding the best ways to express himself. Help him along and don’t ask questions like "Does this dress make me look fat?" or “Do you think she looks pretty?” These are the kinds of questions he knows he’ll never have the right answers for… which just might discourage him from trying to answer other, less loaded, questions with tact and honesty.


- Is actually rather gifted when it comes to expressing himself. He might even be using his communications ability in his career.

- Might tell you he loves you sooo much one moment, but in the next moment makes you believe no one else could ever possibly find you attractive—much less love you—if you ever choose to leave the relationship.

- Calls you derogatory nicknames regularly, and doesn’t stop when you call him out on it.

- Uses guilt (“You’re so selfish.”) and put downs (“You’re so immature.”) to manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do or aren’t ready for, making you feel like you’re wrong for making your decisions.

- Puts you down when you give him feedback that you don't like what he's doing or saying. He may counter with something like “You're just being too sensitive,” or “Don't be such a crybaby.”

This man loves himself too much to really love anyone else, and relationships are just a means for him to feel superior to someone else while getting his needs met. He may or may not consciously know that this is what he’s doing… but unless he’s paying you to be his shrink, this is the kind of relationship you’re better off without. After all, you need a partner, not a patient.


- Can be a rather smooth talker at the beginning of a relationship, since he's studied the kind of language patterns that bring out emotional reactions in women.

- Will alternately use flattery, subtle put-downs, and lots of engaging questions and stories during your first meeting, and maybe a few more times afterward.

- Usually becomes inconsistent with his communication patterns when you’re already moving towards a real relationship, because his seduction manuals don’t really cover these kinds of situations.

If you think he’s worth it, you can give this kind of guy a chance. Most guys who rely on seduction techniques, after all, initially start out as insecure shy guys who don’t really know what to do around women, and latch on to their “proven techniques” in an effort not to get hurt. But be warned that some of these guys have been mired too deep and too long in the player mindset that they won’t really recognize a good thing when they see it.

AILEEN SANTOS is a counselor, life coach, and trainer who helps women create more love and happiness in their lives. For more information on her relationship workshops, visit

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