This is not what a committed relationship should feel like.

I’ve had a number of female friends over the years ask, How can I tell he loves me? I’ve answered this question a lot of different ways but when it boils down to it, the best way to tell if a man loves you is to STRESS. HIM. OUT.

I’m serious.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Stress him out? That’s ridiculous!” That’s because you’ve been brainwashed. 1) A man has to care about you enough to even let you stress him out. 2) If a man really loves you, a little stress is not going to make him leave. An oft glossed over fact of life is that relationships take work. If a man is willing to work on your relationship, it’s because he cares. If he runs at the first sign of hardship he didn’t value you or the relationship very much.

You know the type of women that get caught up in years and years of pseudo-relationship with no commitment or direction? The laid-back woman. The woman that causes a man no stress what-so-ever is the type he keeps around but never commits to. Sure, they may never fight because what do they have to fight about? The relationship has no substance. She is perfectly content holding on to the hope of commitment instead of facing the reality that it may never come but she fo-damn-sho won’t “stress him out” by asking a simple, yet pertinent question, “where is this relationship going?”

Unfortunately, it is the women who follow the men’s plan – even if it is completely contradictory to their own – that end up frustrated and confused when he suddenly leaves because he was never emotionally vested in the relationship.

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Just as women prefer alpha males, men like women with a backbone. If you let a man get away with all kinds of non-sense he shouldn’t get away with, consciously or subconsciously, he will lose respect for you. And no, I’m not saying (or excusing) he will treat you bad. He just has no incentive to treat you great, let alone put a ring on it. If his minimum has proven sufficient, why put in the excess effort of giving you his best?

Too often, my lady friends are willing to change their entire make up as a person simply to be with a man they like because she’s afraid if she’s herself  that same man won’t like the “real her.” She’ll change employment, residence, personality, religion and the list goes on and on to make her fit the mold she thinks this man wants before she’ll do something as crazy as be herself. In reality, a man doesn’t want to fall for the woman you’re pretending to be – you won’t be able to keep that farce up anyway – he wants to fall in love with the woman you are. In other words, be yourself, so we can fall in love with you not your representative.

Assuming you have reasonable expectations, standards and goals, then voice them to us. Give us an opportunity to figure out if we can and will love the real you. Important to you, let us accurately assess if we can be the man you want and need. Don’t get me wrong, you should remain open to negotiation but you shouldn’t bite your tongue either. That comes off as weak. It also comes off as fake. Otherwise, we’ll both be unhappy when you “change.” But technically, you never changed. All you really did was become your self after the guarantee of commitment…well damn…it’s nice to finally meet you.

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If you religiously watch VH1 reality shows, talk during Tyler Perry movies, drink 40 malt liquors, curse like a sailor and smoke cigarillos, then don’t go to the opera, keep your mouth closed during a Kevin Smith marathon, choke down wine and never curse simply because you’re hanging around us. Changing on your own accord is one thing, faking changing into someone you are not to obtain someone’s affections is misleading. If you have a tough question, ask it. If something’s bothering you, voice it. If in being yourself, you stress him out and he leaves. F-him! It’s his loss, not yours. He couldn’t accept the real you, which only means he doesn’t deserve any of you. Point. Blank. Period.

When a man doesn’t care about a future with a woman he retreats at the first sign of stress. You ask where this relationship is going? He disappears. You ask if he wants more than sex from you? He stops calling. You want to know why his ex-girlfriend keeps calling at 3am? He tells you you’re trippin to the point where you actually believe you are trippin. YOU ARE NOT TRIPPIN. These are perfectly reasonable questions that any logical person with half a brain should ask and should receive an honest response. Do not let some man tell you they are not. Reverse psychology is older than the words of the Bible. Don’t fall for it. Know your worth and expect, if not demand, he honor it. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

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I’m not saying you should run into the next room and slap your man upside the head. I am saying you shouldn’t have act like someone completely different than who you are naturally in order to get a man to fall in love with you. Doesn’t that mean he isn’t really in love with you?

It’s possible he may leave you, but what have you really lost? A man that never respected you enough to commit or respect you as a person? That doesn’t seem like much of a loss to me. It seems like a gain. When a man loves a woman, he doesn’t abscond as soon as the relationship is tested. He looks at it as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship. This is the man you should have in your life instead of settling for someone willing to remain simply because you never stress him out. After all, that might be the only reason he’s keeping you around.

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