'Expert' advice for better relationships

Before I get started, let me say thank you to all the students who came to me about my last article. I did get mixed reviews, but in general it was all good. I ask all those who may still have questions and/or comments to talk to me if you see me around campus. I'm a nice guy and I won't bite, despite how "thugish" the picture may look.

Today's topic is relationships what are they and how they should work. We can all agree that when it comes to relationships, men and women bring to the table a different set of ideas of how and what makes a good relationship work. Well, you are about to get some sound advice from the self-proclaimed Relationship Expert ... me. Please keep in mind that the following does not include all women and men. I do understand that there are exceptions to all rules, but this only has to deal with the experiences I have encountered in my life time.

Dealing with the opposite sex is difficult enough on a friend level, but when the feelings of romance and love are tossed into the bowl, that's when things get real sticky. What is it that each of us is looking for in a relationship? Is it someone who will be caring, sensitive and humorous? Maybe it is a person that will keep the passionate fire lit forever and a day. Well, what I do know is this, women want to find a nice guy, but more often then not, they wind up with the jerk. Men become too comfortable in a relationship and forget what they did to get the girl to fall for them. As another wise man and myself have deduced, men are overly simplistic, but women are unnecessarily too complex.

In all my years of experience with women, I've noticed that they do want a man who is very respectful, caring, honest, funny, etc. Only problem is, most women will find a guy who treats them like crap and will stick with them over and over again. What usually occurs next is the girl's friend will begin to comfort her and give her advice on why she should leave him. I know that leaving someone is not the easiest thing to do, especially if there is a lot of time invested into the relationship, but the question you should ask is this "Is my self-worth more valuable then staying in this relationship in which I put in 90 percent of the effort while he barely puts in 10 percent?" The answer should be yes! No man is worth spending time with if it causes you to feel second-rate or wondering why you're in the relationship in the first place. Take stock in yourself, and in doing so ask yourself these questions. Are you always excited to see him everyday? When you talk on the phone, does the time just slip away? If he couldn't "perform" any more, would you stay with him? And the most important question of them all, can you say to another person that he is your best friend? In my opinion, these questions help set a strong foundation for a true relationship. You may ask, "How the hell does he know?" My parents have been married for nearly 40 years, that's where I get my knowledge.

Now for the guys. We (even though I already know) have got to learn to be more understanding of women. I know that they can be a bit confusing at times with the way they communicate, but at this level we should be able to see the signs. Getting a gift for your girl on holidays is expected, but why not get her a gift just for the hell of it? Show some affection when she is least expecting it. If you ask her what is wrong and she says, "Nothing!", ask her again and again until she finally tells you. We'll never know why that is just do it! Make sure you are a part of her life and make her a part of yours. Hanging out with the guys is cool, but offer her the opportunity to go along; even if you know she won't go, it is always nice to be considerate and ask. You shouldn't have to, but make time for her and do something special. Movies and dinner can be a bit redundant, so be creative. I can tell you that I've taken girls out with less than $10, and had a great time. It is possible.

"Remember son, your best lovers are your best friends." Thanks, Mom and Dad, I'll never forget. If you want to know more, just ask me!

Eric T. Watkins is an industrial psychology senior. His column appears every Tuesday.

Read Next Article