They don't necessarily have to have it all together in their 20s, but by the time guys hit 30, they should know and be able to do a few very important things. Dr. Fran Walfish — Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent, and costar on We TV's Sex Box — offers expert advice on the top five things every man should have under his belt before, or by, the time he's 30.
- Self-awareness. By age 30, every man should be well practiced in open, honest self-evaluation, and introspection. He should be comfortable examining his feelings so as not to automatically repeat mistakes of his past. Self-awareness is comforting and leads to a calm state of mind.
- Good communication skills. Good communication includes talking about feelings. Easier said than done! When there is a disagreement and heat goes up, most people have a hard time listening without interrupting, judging, blaming, or shutting down into silence. Wrestling with conflict and hanging in while struggling to work things through with your partner is the stuff that separates success from failure in relationships. Talking is the glue that holds relationships and people together.
- Basic understanding of the female gender. Many of my female patients complain that their man doesn't understand them. Then, they invite their guy to join them in a therapy session and lo and behold, it's true! The guy doesn't have the foggiest notion of how women function or feel.
- Coping skills for dealing with disappointments. By age 30, every man should know that we can't protect ourselves or prevent life's disappointments. The best we can do is equip ourselves with coping skills to deal with inevitable letdowns without raging into a furious tantrum or collapsing into depression.
- Know what pleasures the ins and outs of the female body. By now, men should be very aware that direct pressure on their lady's clitoris is painful not pleasurable. Of course, each woman is different and has different preferences. This is where good communication skills are necessary. But the basics of what feels good and what doesn't should have been learned by age 30.