Guilt: it’s not a good feeling. It’s a way to let you know that what you’re about to do or have already done is going to result in trouble. Deep down though, it’s an emotion, and normally one of our own making. Something inside of us, whether it’s our upbringing, our personal belief system, or that of society’s, tells us that we’re not supposed to be doing whatever it is that we have planned.
Some people don’t feel guilt at all, like your friend who has zero problems going to the bar and flirting with other women even though he has a girlfriend at home. However, if you try the same thing, you’re a stuttering, nervous mess, unable to get over thinking about how horrible your girlfriend would feel if she found out what you’re up to. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se. There’s not even necessarily anything wrong with what your friend has done. It just goes to show how guilt can affect people differently.
A little bit of guilt isn’t a bad thing. It’s like the proverbial angel and devil sitting on your shoulder, but the angel wins. However, these days in our fast-paced world, it’s so easy to make ourselves feel horrible about every little thing that we sometimes avoid taking care of ourselves so as not to seem too indulgent. Overall, it’s important to differentiate situations that warrant guilt and those that you should be able to enjoy without any harassment or niggling feelings of self-doubt.
10. Cutting out Bad Relationships
So often you’ll read that “toxic friends” are a woman’s affliction, as though the fairer sex are the only ones who have deprecating pals unhappy enough with their own lives that they insist on chopping you down every chance that they get. This unfortunate reality applies to everyone. While women are often pushed to get rid of these bad influences, the media remains mum on the issue for men. The same logic works though.
Whether it’s one of your bar buddies or someone you communicate with through Facebook, don’t be afraid to trim the fat from your friend group. There’s nothing wrong with choosing positive relationships with people who make you feel good about yourself and vice-versa. That is a basic human right that transcends gender.
9. Skipping a Workout
Arm day, leg day, chest day: if you’re trying to stay in shape, there’s a lot that a man has to manage. While it’s alright for women to take a day off if they have the sniffles or aches and pains, dudes are often told to suck it up and work out anyway. However, you too have an immune system and you too have your health that you have to worry about. Pushing too hard through stress, injury, or illness will affect you the same way that it would anyone else: you could end up damaging your body, getting sicker, or worsening an injury.
Look, if you’re just not feeling up to it, you’re just not feeling up to it. There’s nothing wrong with skipping a day at the gym from time to time. You’re not going to magically lose all of that progress that you’ve spent so long attaining just because you only worked out three days this week instead of four or five. Kick back and focus on relaxing. Isn’t that the reason you’re passing on the gym anyway?
8. Playing Video Games
You hear it all the time, that video games are for kids. However, most people that say that are misinformed. Titles like Grand Theft Auto, Super Smash Bros., Halo, Skyrim, and Assassin’s Creed are far from children’s games. While once upon a time you could spend hours plugged into a console playing games by your lonesome, it’s not like that anymore. Gaming is a social experience. Even if you don’t have a couple of buddies plugged in to your Xbox, Wii, or PlayStation, you can connect to the Internet on any of these consoles. PC gamers also play almost everything online.
With your pals all over the world, you can plan raids, missions, and other fun activities. While yes, it’s unhealthy to spend hours upon hours gaming and doing nothing else, as long as you balance the pastime with the rest of your life, no one should give you any flak for playing video games. If your girlfriend doesn’t love your gaming habit, invite her to grab a controller and play a fun title with you. You could just change her mind.
7. Buying Yourself Something Cool
There’s rent and bills to pay, and maybe you’re even saving up for something long-term like an engagement ring, a vacation, or a retirement fund. That doesn’t mean that every last spare cent from your paycheck has to go towards those causes though. If an awesome item has caught your eye, say the newest gaming console, a huge HD television, a brand new laptop, or that hottest smartphone or tablet, why shouldn’t you budget for it? You may set aside chunks of spare change to pay for this extravagance.
The moment that it’s finally in your hands should be a triumphant one. Don’t let anyone take that away from you because you’re buying a toy instead of paying for adult responsibilities. As long as you saved up a bit and didn’t skip paying bills or the rent just to buy a new tech gadget, you were responsible about it. Besides, it’s your money and in the end you can spend it how you want to.
6. Not Liking the Same Things as Your Girlfriend
You may think that in a perfect world, you and your girlfriend would have every last hobby in common. In reality though, that would be extremely boring. Variety is the spice of life, after all. While you two should have some intersecting interests, the way that you both spend your spare time does not need to be identical. Really. It’s okay. In fact, if you have different activities that you’re into, you can introduce each other to those and broaden each of your horizons.
So really, if your girlfriend doesn’t like sports, video games, or your other hobbies, there’s no need to freak out. You definitely don’t have to end the relationship. As long as you two can be tolerant at best of your different interests then you are both in good shape. There’s no reason to feel guilty about this since a lot of couples have different ideas of what they find fun.
5. Watching Sports
It’s a bit of a blanket statement, but the majority of men like sports. Whether that’s hockey, baseball, football, basketball, or even golf, you probably love unwinding at the end of the day or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with the game on and some snacks on the table. While having friends over is a great way to watch these events, you’re just as content hanging out on your own with the TV on. However, you may have a girlfriend who doesn’t understand sports or is bored by them.
That’s perfectly fine. If your sweetie happens to sit on the couch beside you and root for your favorite teams, you have yourself a keeper. Just make sure that your girlfriend does not make it feel like you’re committing a cardinal sin by watching sports, because that’s not cool. If you don’t fault her for enjoying reality TV, she should give you some space to watch the game without any problems.
4. Watching Adult Entertainment
Just like with sports, more men enjoy adult entertainment than women, but that doesn’t mean that only guys watch it. However, if your girlfriend doesn’t, she may perpetuate some stereotypes: that you’re more attracted to the film actresses, that you think that sex is really like that, that you’ll develop some crazy fantasies from your viewing habits, and that you’ll prefer the websites and videos to real intimacy.
These are all extremes. While some men do indeed get addicted to adult entertainment, they are few and far between. Most guys watch it on nights when their girlfriend isn’t around or they turn it on just because. It has nothing to do with how much a man loves his significant other. It’s just a momentary thing and after that it’s forgotten about. While of course the actors in those videos are attractive, that’s part of their job. It doesn’t mean that you would rather be with an adult entertainment starlet than your girlfriend.
3. Going to the Bar
The bar is this big, devious place where single women go to hit on men, even if they’re taken, right? Nah. Sometimes this may happen, probably even rarely, even though some women may believe otherwise. However, you know that when you’re going to the bar, it’s just to have a few drinks with the guys and watch a sports game on a huge screen while you all root for your team. You’re not paying attention to the other women there unless they’re your friends.
This all comes down to trust. Your girlfriend should know that when you’re going out to a bar that it’s not to scan for other women to sleep with but just for happy hour drinks, appetizers, and some good entertainment. This shouldn’t be a point of contention in any relationship. Just as your girlfriend can hit a club with her friends, you should be able to spend an evening at a bar every now and again with your crew. Don’t feel bad about this.
2. Spending Time Alone
Sometimes though, you don’t even want to see your friends or your girlfriend. It’s not that you don’t care for these people or that they don’t mean anything to you. Quite the contrary. However, everyone needs alone time, you included. Whether you live with your girlfriend or you just see each other often, you two do not need to spend every last waking second together. Not only is that suffocating and clingy, but it also prevents you from having anything to talk about. If you do everything together instead of exploring life alone sometimes, you have nothing to bring to the relationship table.
Never feel bad for canceling on your friends if you need a night to recharge alone with some Netflix and your bed. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for asking your girlfriend for an afternoon or evening where you two don’t see each other. In a good, lasting relationship, having somewhat separate lives lets you both keep your individuality and avoid ever becoming so desperately attached that you’re dependent on one another for happiness and entertainment.
1. Hanging out with Your Friends
Before you were in a relationship, you had friends and your girlfriend had hers. Just because you’re part of a twosome doesn’t mean that that should change. Even if you’re only in the dating phase, no woman should dissuade you from seeing your pals. These people are your support system, your shoulder to lean on, the ones you can vent to about work or other life frustrations and celebrate with. You need a circle of confidants besides just your girlfriend, but too many people become an official couple and then forget all about their pals.
Of course, if you’re seeing your buddies more than your girlfriend, she may have a point, but as long as you balance your bonds with everyone, there’s no reason you can’t spend your Friday nights out with your boys and then the rest of your weekend with your girl. Let your social calendar be as full as you want and ditch the guilt.