The Egotistical Man

The Egotistical Man

Fern Robinson (29) briefly dated Simon Black (32). A local DJ, Simon was more interested in adding another fan to his name than having an equal, communicative relationship. 'He was sexy, confident and smooth, and he was used to getting what he wanted,' says Fern. 'He thought he was special and he would turn down day jobs because "they were beneath" him.'

When he cooked dinner for her, he'd boast about how well he looked after her. He took his ego to bed too. 'After sex, he'd say: "It doesn't come better than that",' remembers Fern. 'And if I had an orgasm, he'd say "that's what I'm known for."'

If she wanted some time alone or had had a bad day, he'd accuse her of being selfish - yet he expected her to cater to his every whim.

Dealing with Him

Remember that each of you brings something to the relationship, and that one person is not more special than the other, says Arden. An egotistical man may also be overly sensitive. Refuse to walk on eggshells, says Arden. Address his ego issues directly but sensitively: 'Don't confuse his oversensitivity with legitimate hurt feelings.' And if he calls you insensitive, ask him to explain why he thinks that - in this way you're forcing him to take part in 'direct, mature communication'.

The Traditional Man

Lee-Anne Woods (45) has been married to Tim (50) for over 20 years. Although her career in counseling is important to her, Lee-Anne is expected to be a full-time mother, wife and homemaker too. Trying to compromise, she started a business from home, but Tim continues to resent the fact that she works at all. He regularly compares her to his friends' stay-at-home wives, calling her selfish, and accusing her of putting her work before her family. Lee-Anne refuses to quit her job, but is left feeling immensely guilty and confused about her decision to work

Dealing with Him

It is very difficult for women who challenge the traditional role to remain in a relationship where the man believes rigidly in traditional roles. The solution? Let your partner know that you expect mutual respect and nurturing despite the traditions of the past. He's not going to like it, but consider his complaints simply as 'barks' and stay firm in your expectation that his privileged position needs to change. Establish a support system, even if it's outside the family, church or mutual friends.

Most importantly, you need to hold him accountable for his behavior, even if it makes you unpopular. Do it consistently. If his explanations are vague or defensive, stay calm, press for details, and point out the inconsistencies.

But, you need to do this without blame or criticism. By setting limits and accepting only the truth, you are teaching him to take responsibility and be home with you. And. remember, don't be charmed by his sweet-talk; recognize that it is a tool to disarm you.

Remember too, that it's your take on him that matters most, not what others think. 'Sometimes I sit at dinner parties and I look at those women who're married to solid and reliable men who have regular incomes and who are probably very dull, and I'm jealous of those women - they can do whatever they like - potter around in their garages making bad art, or drink tea,' says Sarah.

To them, Yves is the most exciting man in the room. And it's true - he really is. But trying to work out where the next bond payment is coming from is very boring in the end.'

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