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What does "High Maintenance" mean?

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Hey everyone. I've heard this expression for years about a woman being "high maintenance," but I've never actually known what it means.


I used to think it meant a woman wanted a guy to buy her a lot of material things... gifts, diamonds, hair extensions, etc. Then for another while I thought it meant she wanted a lot of attention, wanted him to fawn over her while she just basked in his adoration, or that she wanted to be endlessly wined and dined and wooed, (kinda like "you gotta constantly prove you love me"). Then I thought it meant she was a drama queen with a lot of emotional baggage, possibly abusive, and would take a huge toll on the emotions of any guy getting involved with her. At some other times I've thought it meant she just expected the guy to be fair and decent and that required more effort than some guys were willing/able to bring to the relationship. Now I realize I have no idea what it really means. I'd appreciate hearing the thoughts of others on this one.

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Actually, there are a few different ways it is used. I have known many male friends to use the term for all sorts of scenarios.


I have heard it used both in the "monetary" sense...in that she wants to be pampered and so forth. Be given lots of gifts and spa treatments.


I have heard it also used for women whom do put a LOT into their appearance in terms of hair, makeup, nails..the kind of girls whom won't be much for roughing it in the forest kind of thing.


I have seen it used for women whom have high relationship "demands" in terms of dinners, dates, time spent, whom envisions romance all the time for all time.


And then the one where there is a lot of EMOTIONAL maintenance - someone with baggage whom is very insecure, clingy/needy, needs to have someone "prove" to her how much they love her and so forth.


Some men love high maintenance women of some sort, some will think anything that requires any effort is high maintenance, but most times I heard it used is when someone is definitely more demanding of those things...not so much they enjoy them, but that they EXPECT them.


I think a woman whom expects a man to be fair and decent and treat her with respect would not be considered high maintenance by most men, just by those whom are perhaps a little selfish and disinterested in her. I see the term used for more "extreme cases".

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There are lots of different kinds of high maintenance, which is why DN's definition is good....it covers all of them.


Basically it means a woman who takes more than she gives in a relationship.


Somehow, I always get the image in my head of a woman who has to be perfectly coifed, made-up, accessorized and dressed to the nines before she'll even consider stepping out of her house. She expects...nay, demands appropriate & pricey present(s) on Christmas, her birthday, their anniversary, Valentine's Day, etc. and he'll have hell to pay if she doesn't get the right thing(s). The word "shallow" leaps to my mind.


Now, I'm pretty much the opposite of all those things...if it's not cotton, it's not in my wardrobe, (as the late Gilda Radner said, "My fashion sense consists of what doesn't itch.") I figure "clean & covered" is good enough to leave the house. I can't remember the last time I wore or owned any make-up, and I gave up on my hair a long time ago. I wear jewelry so infrequently that if I remember to put on my wedding ring every day it's a big deal, and I'd really rather not get any presents on the socially designated gift giving days.


Yet, I've been called high-maintenance by at least one ex because I expect a good deal of regular, meaningful interaction with my siginficant other. By that I mean actual conversations where both people speak and listen to one another about more than the mundane details of daily life. "Honey, did you pay the electric bill?" doesn't cut it as scintillating conversation with me. Apparently he would've been content enough to foot all the bills if I'd just shut up (unless I was going to be entertaining & amusing), cook, clean, and get dressed up to be trotted out to various social functions every once in a while.


I broke up with him. Go figure.

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Confident and dominant. She knows what she wants and expects you to get it for her. She is number one and thereforeeee needs to be treated like a Goddess.


God help you if you mess up, she will have you wrapped around her little finger so tightly your eyes will bleed, and you will cry out and beg for her forgiveness


And when she cries, she cries like a child in your arms.

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Thanks all. This helps a lot. And it seems I wasn't always off-base about the definition. The "perfectly coifed" woman was one I forgot to mention, but yes, that's another type who has gotten that label.


And it also seems that the definition changes depending on who's doing the talking. For instance, a loser, abuser, or a player who labels a woman that way can definitely put a different spin on it than someone who is kind, generous, fair and level-headed. And I can't remember being labeled that way, (at least not to my face). But most of the time it was put on another woman in my presense, and sometimes that really confused me because each time it was a totally different type of woman being described.


And some men who prefer the "less adorned" women will use it to refer to a woman who wears a little lipstick, earrings, and nail polish, (i.e. not excessively "coifed"). While other men think those types of small "enhancements" are a turn-on. I've gone both ways... sometimes completely "un-enhanced," and then switched to wearing a few interesting trinkets, lipstick. (And overall I do find that small sparkling earrings dangling from the ear lobes definitely have an interesting effect on men. )


DN's definition is a good one too... I don't think I had considered that one before. But also, like others have mentioned, I've even seen someone put that label on a woman who was just the opposite... a woman who gives a lot to the relationship, has a career and house and car, is intelligent and knowledgeable... IOW she has a lot to bring to the relationship, and she is also called HM because she has plenty to bring to the table. And she intimates men who can't match what she has going on. She becomes "high maintenance" because they can't measure up to her.


So, I guess no matter where a woman is in regards to her emotional or material needs, there's a guy out there who could label her as "high-maintenance"... hmm.


But think about it - wouldn't it almost be insulting if a guy said to you, "You know, you're really low maintenance."

Scout, you made me LOL. That's really a great way to think about it too. I've known a LOT of guys who didn't put it in just that way, but yes, they specifically chose me because they thought I was "low maintenance", absolutely. And you're right, I was insulted. It seems they didn't expect that I had needs, or preferences, or requirements. And they thought that because I'm generally easy-going, and accomodating, that I wouldn't complain or talk back, and that I would put up with neglect and mistreatment. So after saying for the umpteenth time, "just what did you take me for?" I stopped dating all of them so I could try to figure out what kind of signals I'm sending.

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Like most labels it can be used and abused. In this case a lot of abuse I think. I agree that the definition can be used by men who wouldn't have a hope of being with the woman in the first place.


I think there are high maintenance men as well.


Does anybody remember the Carly Simon song "Your so Vain"? That would fit a high maintenance male. BTW - who knows which Hollywood star she was rumoured to be referring to?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a friend who gets dumped because her boyfriend's say she was high maintaince.


Here are the scenarios:


Guy 1-


sees she dresses extremely well, takes very good care of herself, prides herself in her etiquette, very elegant, independent, self sufficient..He's ok with this.


Starts having more sucess in her business, goes out to dinner parties, begins to be more independent in terms of organizing huge events, pulling off a lot of exceptional parties, then she buys herself a brand new car- a beemer, nonetheless. Relationship dwindles off because she is "high maintaince"


The other guy also became overwhelmed with her sucess and with the attention she would attract from men at these events and in her business, claiming her high maintaince.


lol it's an excuse!!!

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A person is described as high maintenance if they require a large amount of support in order to function at their usual level. This person is seen as being similar to a high maintenance car that requires frequent repairs. Most frequently, high maintenance is used to describe a woman and the attention she pays to her appearance.

Examples of high maintenance behavior are getting one's hair/nails done excessively, shopping excessively, and any other way of spending excessive time and or money on vanity.


A couple could rightfully each consider the other partner as high maintenance, as in the example where one person overly requests money, and the other overly requests emotional support.


A high maintenance person usually relies on other people, but that's not always the case. Someone who earns a lot of money, and spends too much money on his or her own vanity could be called high maintenance. It is also not necessarily an insult.


Some people are proud to call themselves high maintenance.

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