: 08 July 2013

This Turns Your Man Off

This article is for all the women (or men) out there who fall into the trap of over-giving to your partner. The truth is, lots of us do it but we don’t necessarily know why.
Maybe you find yourself chasing men, or you’re overly nice (and it’s not authentic), or you’re doing majority of the work in the relationship. All the above scenarios would be classified as over-giving in a relationship.

Essentially the general feeling of the over-giver is that you do too much and are not given enough in return. If you identify with this dynamic, then I have some surprising news for you. This way of being actually turns your man off!

I know, I know, we’re taught to believe it’s just the opposite; that if we’re nice, good girls everyone will be happy. You can still be nice and good, but if you are over-functioning, the truth is your probably sabotaging the whole deal. Here’s why:

Within a relationship, there is one person who holds majority of the masculine energy, and another person who holds majority of the feminine energy. These poles create an attractive charge between you and your sweetie. The further the poles are from each other–the more feminine and more masculine the energy–the stronger the charge.

For those of you who identify with the feminine in the relationship, it’s important to know that this energy is about being receptive. This means the feminine is happiest when she is sitting back and receiving (wouldn’t you agree?). And, this also means that the masculine is happiest when he is moving towards and providing. The masculine likes to pursue the feminine! But…

Guess what? As an over-giver, you’re taking on the masculine energy in the relationship!

Over-giving creates a constant flow of forward-moving masculine energy towards another person. By over-providing, you’re not leaving room for your man to step up and move forward. What you’re actually doing, unfortunately, is pushing him away.

All that forward energy can make him uncomfortable so he backs off into a more feminine, receptive mode. How about that for sabotage?!

This dynamic is not fun for relationships. If you’re the femme in the relationship and you find yourself in this mode, what can you do? Take a step back and allow yourself to receive (it’s easier said than done). Both of you and your masculine partner will be much happier as a result.

Please leave a comment below about your experience with over-giving. I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. pearl on July 9, 2013 at 12:09 am

    This is tricky for powerful women to deal with. I do a lot, I expect a lot, and for the most part, I know what I want. You think HILARY knows how to do this? I doubt it, or she so boss that she gracefully transitions from power bitch to bo. It is PAINFULLY difficult to quiet down especially when changing my behavior doesn’t immediately inspire my fella. Truth is I need to do this and I also need more chill time (yea, doing less!), but it will take practice. Lots of practice. Wish me luck.

    • Shelly Bullard on July 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      I’m incredibly masculine in my work, which I love. But I get to soften and be more feminine in my relationship, which I also love. I find that practicing this gives me the best of both worlds. 🙂

    • September on July 10, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Some women, albeit a small percent of the population, don’t need to power down they need to attract someone who accepts a woman with an alpha brain… We r out there. Yes it’s tough but what part of authenticity isn’t?

      • Shelly Bullard on July 10, 2013 at 4:24 am

        Yes, if that’s what feels best for you, go for it. But the point is, most women want to be taken care of–they actually feel better in the feminine position. So they have to initiate embodying more feminine energy. I think why many women end up feeling dissatisfied in relationships is because they are over-compensating and taking on too much masculine–this typically doesn’t feel good.

        • Sarah on September 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm

          I identify with article so much, Shelly. Thank you. I currently “do too much” and “expect too much in return” without leaving space or time for my man to provide it. We have vary different styles of approaching things: he is very slow and deliberate, and I am a fast-paced multi-tasker.I’d really like to allow him more opportunity to step-up. I think we both desperately need it to create more balance in our marriage. Your examples of how to ask for what you need in your communication articles are always so helpful… Do you have any specific suggestions for how to stop over-giving/ how to allow him to provide more??
          Thanks again for your insight.

          • Shelly Bullard on September 4, 2013 at 6:05 pm

            I am finishing the content of my eCourse that specifically addresses this issue–there will be lots of examples in that, so stay tuned! xo

  2. Leslie on July 9, 2013 at 12:38 am

    UGH, I am always the over-giver! Must be why I’m single!!

  3. Linda Aguirre on July 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    All of this is very true. Ladies, make sure you don’t fall into the trap where a man makes you think you don’t give enough, that you are selfish, all you think about is yourself. If you even start questioning yourself. DON’T. Believe in yourself. Follow your intuition and don’t try to please him if he is making you feel guilty. This eventually leads to loss of self esteem, your spirit and he eventually leaves you. It’s called narcissism.

    • Amy on July 10, 2013 at 2:25 am

      I would love to hear Shelly’s reply to your comment. I believe I have been in relationship with a narcissist. I never felt “cared for” and I eventually became an over-giver, ruled by my masculine nature yet craving to reconnect with my feminine. How can we (I) break this cycle of overcompensating for the lace of care we (as the feminine essence) desire? A narcissistic male essence never seems to be “moving towards and providing”.

      • Shelly Bullard on July 10, 2013 at 4:35 am

        I don’t believe in accidental relationships. If you date narcissists, then there are some lessons in there for you–probably most importantly to value yourself. Relationships mirror what is happening inside of us. When we are deeply connected to the love within ourselves, we don’t end up in relationships with men who don’t give to us or connect to us. It just doesn’t happen. So the answer is: you break the cycle by finding love within yourself.

        • Nicole Lindley on July 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

          Thank you, Shelly Bullard! I stumbled upon this by mistake, and I SO deserved to hear this message right now! It was perfect! THANK YOU!

          • Shelly Bullard on July 14, 2013 at 2:28 am

            You’re welcome! XO

  4. Ali on July 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Infinites thanks for sharing your wisdom Shelly!! What you explain and comment is really helpful, and is guiding me to make a big shift in my life.
    You are amazing!! I admire you a lot. All the best and much love and success. 🙂

  5. susan on July 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    very interesting, but what i would really like to know is how this would work out for a female/female relationship?

    • Shelly Bullard on July 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Great question. Masculine and feminine are about energetic qualities–not male and female. Typically in same-sex relationships there is one person who embodies more of the masculine energy, and one who embodies more of the feminine.

  6. Annette on July 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Shelly, good heavens, until it is pointed out you go with flow of being a giver, runs in the female side of the family, taken on board what you say and will adjust my relationship accordingly, thank you
    Annette Goodwin.

    • Shelly Bullard on July 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm


  7. Jim on July 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Wow, Thank you, thank you, thank you! You did did a great job in putting this concept into words as it has been something of a concern for me over the years. This truly helps me understand to a greater depth what I have been feeling.

  8. Denise Pyper on July 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    This is very Easier said than done! This blog fits me to a tee right now. I guess I’m scared that if I do back off, that our relationship will start to sink. I know my guy loves me, just has very aloof feelings. I KNOW I deserve better and to be more happy, just scared and don’t want to be alone when everyone around me is in a relationship.

    • Shelly Bullard on July 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      I know. It is scary to back off and trust he’ll come forward. Stay tuned for my online course, Become His Muse–it will teach you how to deal with this dynamic! Lots of love, XO

  9. michelle on July 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you for your insight, Shelly. How much and for how long do you take the backseat and allow your partner the space to step-up? What if he doesn’t step up? I despise running the “business” part of our relationship (ie financials, major purchases, major life decisions etc) but if I don’t, he doesn’t and that’s unproductive and hard for me not try not to control. How do you encourage the masculine to do the masculine role without spelling it out?

    • Shelly Bullard on July 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Perhaps in your case it means having a conversation with him about what you will continue to handle, and what duties you are passing on to him. Rather than “spelling it out” (which is very masculine thing) you just tell him, and then (this is key) you let it go. If he drops the ball, it’s on him. The problem is women will manage everything (out of anxiety) to make sure it happens. What if you just stopped doing that? It would definitely be an interesting experiment. The thing is, if you aren’t willing to give up control, there’s no way he will step up and take it from you. You have to stop before he’ll even be willing to start. Good luck. XO

  10. Jess on July 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks for this post, I never really looked @ it this way? How do I stop being an over-giver? I guess I am worried that if I stop being the perfect girlfriend, he will look elsewhere, argghh even typing that me want to vomit a bit! When you say to take a step back & receive, can you explain this a bit?

    • Shelly Bullard on July 10, 2013 at 1:39 am

      Hi Jess. You can’t be a perfect girlfriend because no one is perfect. You striving for perfection is in fact a turn off–he can probably pick up on your anxiety about doing and saying the right things, which leads to discomfort in the relationship. Strive for being authentic, not perfect. Authenticity leads to connection, because it’s real. There’s nothing sexier than being real. Here is an article I wrote on this subject a year ago: http://shellybullard.com/who-are-you-really/ Good luck!

  11. Evie on July 10, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Thanks Shelly, I completely agree with you. All my past relationships I was the giver and I was very unhappy until I met a nice guy a year ago. He says that he likes that fact that at work I am strong and in control, but in our relationship I’m soft and a receiver. Unfortunately, we broke up two days ago, because I found out his active on a dating site. I will move on and be happy with myself just as you advise us on your posts. 🙂
    Thank you Shelly!

  12. Lydia on July 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you, as always, Miss Shelly! You have excellent timing and it is beautifully written. I have really enjoyed learning about the masculine/feminine energies in a relationship, the yin & yang energies. My favorite part of the article ,”Within a relationship, there is one person who holds majority of the masculine energy, and another person who holds majority of the feminine energy. These poles create an attractive charge between you and your sweetie. The further the poles are from each other–the more feminine and more masculine the energy–the stronger the charge.” The idea of strengthening your pull between each other by truly embodying your femininity (or masculinity) is beautiful & I look forward to implementing it! xoxo

  13. Viridiana on July 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    HiI’d like to know how I get more femenine energy? Sometimes I feel whith too much masculine energy for insecurities about be less independient

    • Shelly Bullard on July 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      You can google feminine energy to find out more of what it is. 🙂

  14. Lynn on July 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Your posts are very practical and thought-provoking at the same time. Thank you! . I’ve been thinking a lot about this one and the way you describe feminine energy as receiving. Personally, I’ve hit a road block with this because I’m not sure what I can receive or need from a man. Like most women nowadays, I’m highly self-sufficient in all areas of my life. I feel very fulfilled in all areas of my life. How can I make a man feel needed when in fact I don’t really need him?

    • Shelly Bullard on July 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you, Lynn! To answer your question, it’s not a matter of needing him or not needing him; it’s about being receptive to him. Allowing yourself to sit back and let him take the lead. Because we are trained to be in our masculine energy in most areas of our lives, it makes sense that we bring this to our relationships, too. However, this doesn’t feel good to us! We like it when he takes control. Problem is, many of us don’t make room for him to do that. Unless we lean back he can’t step forward.

  15. Rachel on July 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I’d like to hear more about this when the partners in question are parents and the female role is much more the giver to not just the children but the family as a whole in that dynamic.

    • Shelly Bullard on July 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      I would evaluate how you define “giver.” If you are controlling all the plans and the way the household runs, this is very masculine way of being. Of course you have your responsibilities to your family, but I would encourage you to take an honest look at the ways you are overly-controlling your relationship, and strive to make adjustments to let-go (so he has more room to step up).

  16. Safi on August 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hi,I’ve been in a relationship for long time and I’m beginning to encounter this problem. I like my partner to take charge, but when we go out I tend to be the one who plans and organises things, as I prefer doing it. How can I change the balance of our roles and still ensure that we have fun days out!

  17. Regina on November 2, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I’ve had problems with this in regards to behaviour management with the kids and making all the decisions for our family and for our future. I despised my husband’s weakness! It was very hard to keep our marriage together. Then I learnt that I was in fact a part of the problem in not being willing to let go and make room for my husband to take on more of a leadership role, especially with the kids. The overwhelming burden that I carried for so long does not feel so heavy anymore and our marriage is becoming much more equal and happier!!

  18. Regina on November 2, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Shelley I’ve written down ‘Strive for authentic, not perfect. Authenticity leads to connection because it’s real.’ Brilliant! I’m making that my goal. Thankyou for sharing your experiences and wisdom with us, it has made a huge difference in my life.

    • Shelly Bullard on November 9, 2013 at 1:50 am

      Thank you for sharing Regina!

  19. Ananya on April 5, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Is it masculine to compliment or show appreciation to a guy for traits like his kindness etc. whenever you interact with him especially if you arent getting as much compliments and appreciative words in return?

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 5:37 am

      No. That sounds loving to me. 🙂

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