Rules to Keep Her Happy
1. Build Capital
Flowers, foot rubs, and any
other gestures of goodwill are best extended when they're least
expected. Spontaneous and unwarranted acts of kindness come next in the hierarchy —
she'll feel reassured that the relationship is sound — but it's when
she just plowed your car into a shopping cart that your kindness will
pack the most punch. Use the high ground wisely and buy yourself a
get-out-of-jail-free card for when you mess up.
2. Flirt Like She's Watching
veterans have learned the limits the hard way. Here's a simple rule:
Never say anything to another woman that you wouldn't want your
significant other to hear. So, what if you're at a party and you realize
you've been talking to a smoldering brunette for 20 minutes? Consider
the line crossed. Cut off the hot chick (midsentence, if necessary) and
move back over to your lady. Fess up (a simple "sorry" is enough) and
make nice. Acknowledging a mistake starts to undo it.
3, Be Angry, Not Pathetic
one-word indicator that a relationship needs a defibrillator?
"Whatever." Conflict sucks, but it's actually a sign of an engaged
relationship. It's far worse when one — or both — of you shuts down
4. Don't Coach Her
great at snowboarding, and she stinks. How can you teach her without
causing her to hate you? You can't. In fact, she might already hate the
fact that you're better than her at something — and she's continually
reminded of that fact every time she bites the fluff in a flurry of
limbs and fiberglass. Smart money buys her a lesson and doubles back at
the end of the day for a few coed runs. Compliment her on what she's
learned, and massage all those sore muscles on her backside.
5. Clean to Her Peeves
flash: You don't have to keep everything clean all the time. You just
have to keep the mess out of her hot zones. Collect intel: Figure out
what she cleans first — the kitchen counter, the toilet seat — and make
sure you're never the source of messes.
6. Help Assess Her Dress
formal event or social engagement involving friends or family she
hasn't met means you have to pony up three crucial pieces of
information: who will be there, what they will be wearing, and what
everyone will be doing. Tell her at least a week in advance. Want extra
credit? Look up the weather.
7. Don't Force Your Friends on Her
hates Joe. But Joe is a great guy — I mean, come on, he's the friend
who took down that bottle of Goldschlager and streaked through the
dining hall your freshman year. Exactly, she's thinking. So compromise.
You can go out with Joe; just don't bring him home. And meet Joe out
with her once in a while. But agree in advance that when she's had it
with him, she can give you a signal (the ear tug, the hair toss, the
neck rub) and you'll acquiesce. She'll love that you let her take the
8. Choose Jealousy Wisely
Odds are, she's not
thinking of her ex-boyfriend every time she wears the sweater he bought
her 5 years ago. It's just warm. It's cashmere, for Pete's sake. But she
also probably wasn't just looking for companionship if she stumbles in
at 4 a.m. after a trip to his apartment to return some CDs. Ration your
response: Suck it up if you're inventing the cause of jealousy; stand
your ground if you're not. Remember: She loves you more than you know.
And she definitely loves you more than she loves her ex.