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Handling Bad Behavior in Men -- Pet Peeves

Aug 17, 2007
Bad behavior in a man makes us crazy. Many of the bad behaviors in men are the kind we divorce them over. Others are just annoying or things we call "pet peeves." Below are some of the "annoying" bad behaviors of men and what to do about them.

Bad Behaviors/Pet Peeves We Have Against Men (& Women):
1) When they don't call you back.

2) When they say they'll do something and don't follow through or don't finish what they start.

3) When they take the last of something without replacing it.

4) When they take cell phone calls when they're with you.

5) When they belch or fart or eat with their mouths open.

6) When they curse in every sentence.

7) When they get in a bad mood over nothing.

8) When they always see the negative.

9) When they leave their stuff everywhere.

10) When they brag incessantly.

11) When they say they're just teasing, but you know they mean it.

12) When they invade your privacy, i.e. emails, phone messages, walking in on you.

The above bad behaviors can be handled rather simply. The first rule is not to nag him about them as he will just learn to ignore you and you'll think he doesn't care that it bothers you.

The second rule is not to overstep your boundaries with him (or anyone else). You do not have the right to judge someone and tell them what they should and shouldn't be doing unless their behavior is directly affecting you. Don't say, "You shouldn't take cell phone calls when I'm with you." Instead, say, "It upsets me when you take a cell phone call when we're together. It feels rude to me. Please don't do it again."

What to do:
*Set boundaries with consequences, i.e. "If you eat with your mouth open or burp while you're at the table, I'm going to leave and go into the other room to eat."

"Every time I catch you cursing, you owe me $10." "You didn't call me back, so I made other plans."

"When you start bragging and I'm getting uncomfortable, I'll say to the person, 'So tell me about you,' and that will be your cue to stop bragging so much."

"When you get in a bad mood and don't get out of it in a short time, I'll leave for awhile and go have dinner with a friend until you get over it."

"The next time you 'tease' me, I'm going to start talking about your greatest insecurity until you get my point."

*Make deals: "I know you hate it when I leave coke cans and coffee cups everywhere, so I'll pay you $1 each time you find something I've left out like that.
Also, you know I hate your cursing, so every time you curse, you owe me $1. Deal?"

"Let's make a deal that every time I think you're being negative, I can tell you and give you the most positive outcome possible as well, so you'll get the point. Okay?"

"If you are going to check my emails, then I want your password so I can check yours every day. Although the real deal I want to make is that neither of us invades the privacy of the other. Okay?"

"If you don't finish that project by Saturday like you said, I'm going to call a carpenter to come in and do it and use our joint account to pay for it."

Some bad behaviors are worse than pet peeves, and are often not that easily changed. For instance, smoking, overdrinking, being controlling, being critical, and overspending. These are either addictions or more serious personality issues. You can still set boundaries with consequences and make deals, but you can seldom extinguish these behaviors.

A word of caution here: Do not be judgmental; as your mate will not only resent you, but will often increase the behavior just to rebel against your attitude.

Remember, don't say, "You shouldn't drink so much." Do say, "Your drinking this much is upsetting me and affecting our relationship." Another possibility is: "After you have had 3 drinks, I'm going to leave your presence. I won't be around you when you've had more than 3 drinks. If we're at a restaurant, I'll take a cab home. If we're at home, I'll go to bed."

"When you overspend (according the budget we set), you owe me a day of picking up after me for each $10 overspent."

Bad behaviors of men (and women) can be handled with boundaries and deals, but you must be consistent and stick to the boundary or deal. If not, just like children, they will continue to test you and it will be continuous fighting and a test of the wills. If the bad behaviors are more serious than pet peeves, you may need to see a therapist to get some help setting the appropriate boundary.
About the Author
Carolyn Bushong, a Denver,CO licensed therapist, helps couples and singles in her office, on-line, by phone. Author of: Loving Him Without Losing You, Bring Back the Man You Fell in Love With, The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes. Has appeared on Oprah. http://www.carolynsays.com. 303-333-1888.soul mates
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