Do You Over-Analyse?

Your cross-examination of him could be ruining your relationship.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Your cross-examination of him could be ruining your relationship.
Corbis/Click Photos
Corbis/Click Photos

We’ve all spent hours with our girlfriends going over (and over) every minute detail of our boy traumas. But what does he mean when he says, “See you later”? Why did he put one kiss at the end of his text when yesterday he put two? Why the hell didn’t he kiss you goodbye?

Trouble is, it’s easy to make yourself so paranoid that you actually wreck your relationship – often before it’s even started. So if we can recognise a pattern here, why do we keep doing it? “Overanalysing is all about ego-protection,” suggests behavioural expert Judi James. “This works two ways: when we’re not feeling very confident, we’re scared to face difficult truths, like he doesn’t want to be with us 24/7. We also find it hard to believe a man really likes us, so we tend to brush him off before he can hurt us.” So rather than ask your girlfriends the same damn question 20 more times, take our two-part test to work out if you’re reading too far into the situation.

Part one: his texts

What to do:
Read these common guy messages and tick the one that best describes what you think he really means.

“What r u doing this weekend?”
You think he means:
+I’m asking because I’m bored or have been blown off by my friend.
+I really want to see you this weekend.
+I think you’re probably busy, but I’m asking in case you’re not.
“I just can’t talk right now.”
You think he means:

+Let’s catch up later.
+I’m with another girl.
+I don’t want to take up too much of your time.
“Amy says you’re out tonight.”
You think he means:

+I guess I’ll just see you some other time if that’s OK.
+I was talking to Amy today. She’s really hot.
+I want to know where you are so I can see you later.

Part two: his words

What to do:For each statement, tick the one that best describes what you think he really means.
“I can’t meet up. I’m busy.”
You think he means:

+I don’t want to see you.
+Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
+I’ll call you later.
“I know I’ve had a beer or two, but I do love you”
You think he means:

+I love you.
+I actually just want sex.
+I’m drunk and I don’t mean it.
“You look nice.”
You think he means:

+You look hot.
+Isn’t that what men are supposed to say?
+You look way better than you usually do.
“Are you going to wear that?”
You think he means:

+You look a bit fat.
+Don’t know ‘bout that outfit.
+Can we please go now?

Calculate which shape you ticked the most, then read below.

You tend to over-analyse.

“While we overthink things to protect our egos, it tends to make us paranoid,” says Judi. “Not knowing the truth can be unbearable, so you try to get your man to explain exactly what he meant when he said he was meeting up with his friends/ staying in. But guys generally start to look for a quick exit when you push them like this.”

How to make your relationship better:

1 If you can help it, don’t offer every little detail of your relationship with your friends for their analysis. Learn how to trust your gut.

2 Try your best not to share your paranoid feelings with your man, either. If you do it too often, he’ll feel accused and hurt.

3 Whenever you feel overemotional, pause to write down the facts of the situation – not what you feel or think or guess, just what he said or did.

You’re totally balanced.

Congratulations! You’re sensitive without getting carried away, and straightforward without being abrupt. But don’t get too comfortable. The key to staying cool is to keep an eye on your own behaviour to ensure paranoia doesn’t creep in. Also, watch out for your man being the over-analytical one in the relationship.

How to make your relationship better:

1 Empathise with your man if he’s feeling insecure. Give him reason to trust you by making sure you do exactly what you say you’re going to do.

2 Re-reading his texts for “hidden” meanings is a sign that you’re starting to over-analyse. Write down what he’s written and imagine you sent it.

3 If you think your guy is taking you for granted, keep a diary of things he does, says or writes that make you feel uneasy and talk to him about it.

You under-analyse.

The problem with playing it cool all the time is that you risk coming across as being cold. “At first, men often like girls who keep their emotions to themselves, but there needs to be a cut-off point where you open up and show you care,” says Judi. If a man thinks you don’t have feelings, he won’t bother having consideration for them.

How to make your relationship better:

1 Don’t ignore clues that he might not be that into you; this will save you from heartbreak later on. Early warning signs? He’s always busy or you’re always the first to call.

2 For every night you spend with your mates, spend at least one night alone with your guy. The more you begin to understand each other, the less you’ll under-analyse.

3 Tell him you like him, so he knows you’re keen. It’s easier if you link it to things that you specifically like about him, such as the way he makes you laugh when you’re down.


Two guys reveal what they really mean when they text, or say those things that leave us absolutely stumped.

He texts: “What r u doing this weekend?”

He means: I want to see you this weekend.

Chris says: “When I send a text like this, it usually means that I like the girl, but I’m a bit scared of asking her straight out on a date as I’m not yet sure if she likes me too. It’s a way of testing the water.”

He texts: “I know I’ve had a beer or two, but I do love you.”

He means: I love you.

Andy says: “I’ll admit to having said this when I’m drunk, but I still meant it. These are three very scary words, so sometimes a drink is necessary. I don’t know any bloke who would say this for the sole reason of getting a girl into bed.”