10 Things Men Wish You Wouldn’t Take so Seriously

For him they're NBD, so don't stress. By Anna Davies, REDBOOK.

"If I ask if she's going to the gym today, she'll bite my head off. I'm not asking because she looks fat, I'm asking because I'm trying to figure out our schedules." There's a scientific reason why husbands and wives often feel like they're having completely different conversations. It's called the closeness communication bias, a theory that suggests the tighter you are with someone, the more you assume you know what they're saying. For instance, if you checked with a friend about whether she planned to go to the gym, you'd probably add that you asked because you were wondering if she wanted to hit the same yoga class or get a post-workout smoothie. But couples often leave out the explanation, which can lead to misunderstandings. If one of his questions irks you, simply ask why he asked before a potentially innocent conversation spirals into an argument, suggests licensed clinical social worker Marcia Naomi Berger.

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"The porn thing. She gets mad if I lie and say I don't watch it, and mad if I admit that I sometimes enjoy it. I don't know which is worse."
A lot of happy, sexually satisfied husbands watch porn. Statistics suggest 70 percent of men between ages 18 and 34 have visited a porn site in the past month. And for that matter, so do plenty of wives. Acknowledge this, and try watching a clip together, suggests Emily Morse, a sex and relationship expert and founder of the podcast Sex With Emily. That way, the behavior isn't a secret, and you'll quickly see how silly and over-the-top some scenes can be. It may even help facilitate a conversation about turn-ons, turn-offs, and how you and he can make your relationship even better. And remember: Just like you and Ryan Gosling are never really going to settle down in a lakeside cabin together and watch The Notebook every evening before you engage in sweet sex, porn is in no way replacing you or an image of who your husband wishes you were.

"Whenever I say something about a female coworker, she'll get suspicious, as if I'm planning on having an affair."

Turns out, if he's casually dropping her name in conversation, it's a pretty good sign they're just friends, says Seth Meyers, author of Dr. Seth's Love Prescription. "If he was truly into her, he might try to change the subject or say something negative about her just to throw you off track." So if he claims this woman is awesome, take it at face value--and mention that you'd love to meet her sometime. Not only does this give you a chance to meet someone cool, but seeing her and your husband's friendly coworker banter will likely stop your paranoia in its tracks.

"I never know what's okay to joke about with my wife. Sometimes, I'll say something about PMS when she's moody and she'll laugh. Other times, she'll pick a fight."

"He's probably not trying to hurt your feelings," says dating and relationship coach Marni Battista. And mixed signals from you can be understandably confusing. Be careful of using a jokey comment as an excuse to pull the trigger on a brewing argument, instead letting him know immediately when and why something bothers you. For example, maybe you hate when he calls something you do "silly," because that was the word your dad used to deride you when you were a kid. Explaining your reasoning makes it clear that you're not just being emotional, and will make him remember your request in the future, Battista adds.

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"I had a threesome. Once. And she won't let it go."

Both of you come with pasts--but they're over and done. In general, threesomes are fantasies some people choose to try once (even Orange Is the New Black star Jason Biggs admits to having tried one with his wife!) but don't want to turn into a habit, says Morse. Telling you about his experience speaks to the high level of trust in your relationship--not that he wants to try another round. And if he says it was awkward, uncomfortable, and that the highlight of the night was when the three of them put their clothes back on and ordered pizza, trust him.

"Sometimes, I'm not in the mood for sex. It doesn't mean I don't love her or am no longer attracted to her, it just means I'm sleepy."

We're primed to think men want sex all the time, but that's simply not always the case, says Morse. If you've ever turned down your husband's advances because you had cramps, had been touched all day by your toddler and were simply done with skin-on-skin contact, or just wanted to chill out and watch Dexter without interruption, you know it's nothing personal. He likely feels the same way, especially if it happens once in a blue moon. That said, making sure you're both happy with the amount of sex you regularly have is essential, so if either of you are often too tired to do the deed, it may be time to get creative and, say, set the alarm an hour earlier so you can start the morning on a high note.

"A lot of my guy friends are getting married, and whether or not there will be strippers at the bachelor party has become a huge issue. She doesn't get that seeing a stripper perform is nothing like coming home to my wife."

For better or worse, strippers and bachelor parties go together like drunk uncles and weddings. And even if your husband was told this was a naked-lady-free affair, that's no guarantee. Instead of getting angry or making him feel as if he needs to lie, figure out what bothers you so much about him encountering strippers, says Morse. Do you feel like he's cheating? Does the profession seem icky? Once you've sorted out your thoughts, it'll be much easier to have an honest discussion about expectations, meaning there won't be any misunderstandings when he comes home.

Related: 10 Lies Men WANT You to Tell Them

"Whenever a woman friends me on Facebook, I get the third degree from my wife--especially if it's someone attractive. But I'm not going to get involved in some Internet affair."

You're right to be a little concerned--Internet infidelity is a rising trend. And expert opinions on how to deal with it are mixed. Some advise couples to share passwords for social media accounts, while others say that's excessive. But when it comes down to it, too much fixation on each other's online habits may mean it's time for both of you to reassess your tech time. For example, the real issue may not be that a blast from the past showed up in his newsfeed, but that you're spending hours in your individual worlds, which is cutting into your together time. Instead of demanding your husband unfriend his ex, plan a tech time-out during which you can focus on new ways to connect with each other.

"My wife is a health nut, and she thinks I'm betraying her if I get fast food. She freaked when she saw hamburger wrappers in the backseat of my car."
For a lot of us, food choices are deeply entwined with self-image and self-esteem. But many men don't have the same sordid relationship with double cheeseburgers, says Battista. That said, sneaking snacks can be a gateway to other duplicitous behavior, so if you and your husband are committed to getting healthier, set some guidelines you can both follow. Maybe it's making your cars a neutral zone, or having a few cheat groceries a week. That way, neither of you has to lie and you're both honestly working toward the goal.

"If I don't text her back within 10 minutes, she'll start texting and calling a million more times. I will call her back, just not this second."

Texting should make communication easier, but it can lead to some serious misunderstandings. That's why it's key that both of you are clear on its role in your relationship. Knowing you'll check in with each other a few times a day and that no response likely means you're swamped can help avoid feeling text-neglect. Another option: Try a couple-based app like Avocado or Couple, which put all your texts in one place. Plus, on both apps, you can "thumb kiss" by causing a vibration when you both put your fingers on the same part of your screen--a no-words reminder that even on the most crazy-busy day, you and he are still connected.

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