All Woman

Turn your boy into a man

By DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE All Woman writer

Monday, November 22, 2010    

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THEY say a good relationship is like an investment — you can't use impulse when buying, you have to put time and effort into making your investment work for you. The same rule applies to having a good man — especially if he is immature and childish — you have to spend time helping him to shed his boyish behaviours and make him act more like the man you want him to be.

So while some men are cute and sweet (OK qualities for a boy), this isn't exactly what makes a good relationship, especially if you are the settle down type. So do you love him and don't want to lose him, but can't deal with his behaviour? Is he a mama's boy; as jealous as a high schooler, or thinks chivalry died years ago? Do you think he would do better with a little polish?

Here are some ways in which you can help him shed his boyish behaviour and be the man you want.

1. Is he a joker? Sometimes men are afraid to face up to their responsibilities and so will hide behind the guise of humour. No matter what topic you bring up for discussion, they will joke about it. To deal with this, ensure that you keep a straight face and let him know that you want to have a serious discussion. Tell him if he is not willing to talk to you about it, you will take the matter to someone else, preferably a family member or mutual friend. More often than not he will try to discuss the matter rather than having someone else intervene.

2. Does he spend his money without thought for tomorrow? While he may still be acting like a boy without responsibilities, guide him by helping him to budget and open an account, even if it means adding your name to that account so you both have to sign before money can be withdrawn. Sit with him and make a list of the things that he needs for the week/month and encourage him to walk with only enough to cover his needs. This should curb his bad spending habits.

3. Does he dress like a teenager? Shop for him or accompany him when he goes shopping to avoid those underpants-exposed embarrassments. Tell him how great he will look in clothes that actually fit his waistline and that do not have cartoon characters. Also help him to pick out clothes each day. Even if you are not living together, this can be done over the phone or Skype.

4. Does he feel spending time with friends is better than being with you? Again, this requires communication and explaining to him how this affects you and how it can damage the relationship. If he doesn't wish to lose you, he will endeavour to change.

5. Is he a man flirt? Some men, despite being in a relationship, will ogle at every woman who comes their way, sometimes even in the presence of their partners with the excuse of 'only looking'. While this may be OK for a single man, it doesn't speak well for those already involved and even worse for the women as it can crush their self-esteem. Tell him the effect his behaviour has on you and explain that his attitude encourages other women to look down on you.

6. Does he throw jealous fits? There are men who will instigate arguments — real break-up type arguments — over the fact that they spotted another man looking at you. This is not only unhealthy for a relationship, but it kills the excitement of being with such a man. The solution? Sit him down and let him know straight, that he's the one you're with and the one you love. If this doesn't work, he may need an intervention — this can come in the form of an objective male friend of his, who can point out just how silly he's being.

7. You can't get between him and mama. Does he regard you as the second best thing next to his mother? You're the second best cook he knows; the second best mom he knows; the second best housecleaner... Nip it in the bud before it gets to the point where his mother is called in to offer you house cleaning advice. Let him know plain and straight that you're a different woman with your own rules, and he has to bend, or go back home.

8. And the door just slammed in your face again! Chivalry is something you should never bend your expectations for. If he's not a natural door opener, chair puller or umbrella holder, remind him of the need to treat you like a lady, always. Insist, insist, insist until he gets it. This is one time when nagging is OK. Don't bend the rules one bit when it comes to the need for him to be a gentleman.

9. Are bills not his thing? Despite living together, he feels it more important to spend money on new Clarks for just about every stage show and party rather than contributing to the everyday running of the house. If talking does not always help him to shed this carefree attitude, enforce tough love. As hard as it may be, allow the bills to go unpaid for a month or two and have him suffer the consequences of disconnection. When he can't watch sports, he'll get the message.

10. Let him take care of you. Nothing works better in making a man feel like a man like having him take care of you. Call him in situations where he can "be a man" and help you out with something that no one else could. Then tell him you don't know what you would do without him. However, be careful not to overdo this or you will come off as being needy.

11. Finally, pull away. When he does something bad, especially something you have spoken about over again, pull away from him. Keep him thinking that he could lose you. If he feels he will lose you, he will do whatever it takes to ensure this does not happen.

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