Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Conversation with a Very Sharp Woman About Men in Marriage and Relationships

Sometimes readers don’t catch on to concepts the first time through, and when this happens, I like to publish the clarification in case there are others who need it. Such readers often have wonderful experience and insight to share themselves, and it’s always worth the read.

We’re going to have something like a Monday morning meeting today, a meeting that will help everyone get on the same page, get focused, and get ready to get with the program and get results. Unlike most Monday morning meetings, this one won’t be boring at all, nor will you have to be stressed with a presentation. Patty, an absolutely extraordinary woman, and I, will take care of that for you.

I say she’s extraordinary because she really does go after what she wants, to an extent few would dream of; she has a son on military duty in Iraq, and in order to be close to him, she went to work as a civilian contractor there! That’s results-orientation, folks, the mark of a true achiever. What follows is a somewhat long but very intense and revealing conversation we’ve had, and you can learn a lot from it. Meet Patty:


Your newsletters have provided some valuable insight; however, there are many things with which I fail to relate. As a woman, it is comforting to be in the presence of a man who is "alpha" as you describe. I know I am vulnerable in this world. However, anyone, male or female who exhibits confidence, excellence in their profession, along with good character inspires respect of me. It would be very selfish to expect the man in my life to "always have the answer." The testing attributed to women and examples you quote leave me with a feeling of indignation.

I have no desire to "test" my boyfriend. I would not "set him up" to monitor his response and would greatly resent the same. Cooperation, honesty, and mutual respect are the components of a good relationship. There will be times when we both are required to take the lead.

Presently, I am working in Baghdad, Iraq. It is amazing how many men are marrying women from the Philippines, Thailand, and other third world countries. They say that American women are too demanding. They want a woman who "knows how to take care of a man. "Any comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

I'll continue to read the newsletters and promise to buy your book for women! Thank you in advance for your response…


Good morning, Patty!

I’m glad you’ve been able to get something useful out of my newsletters. I’m going to try to help you get more by explaining a few things that apparently I have failed to make clear, and may end up turning this conversation into a newsletter or two to help clear these points up for anyone else who is bothered by the same apparent contradictions as you.

Let’s start by addressing the issues of alpha personalities and testing. It doesn’t matter if you are vulnerable or an alpha personality yourself, the attraction mechanism is biological, not logical. Traits like confidence and excellence do inspire either respect or envy in everyone, depending on whether they are smart enough to see someone of superior capability as a resource to follow and learn from or a superior competitor whom they need to destroy to create the illusion of bettering themselves.

However, attraction is not the feeling of respect or admiration for another person; attraction in the context in which I speak is purely sexual, and because it is biological, not logical, is not a matter of choice. It is the result of a cascade of chemical reactions in the brain; as you may remember from high-school biology, all nerve activity, thought, etc., that uses or is the result of a nerve impulse is in fact the result of chemical activity that causes electrons to move between nerve synapses, and this is no different.

The same thing goes for testing, because it is a part of the attraction mechanism, not a conscious action for most women. There are some women who are complicated, insecure, and conniving, that do make obvious efforts that Machiavelli would have envied to try to investigate and even manipulate men, but the testing I speak of is much more simple, such as when a woman smiles at a man or tosses her head in a flirtatious manner to try to get him to approach. That is a test, to see if he is available, gutsy enough to approach, intelligent enough to pick up on and respond to the signal, etc.

You have probably tested men thousands of times in your life without ever realizing it, because it is a biologically-driven response that does not require conscious thought or conscious response. It feels so entirely natural that you most likely never notice it happening until someone calls it to your attention. I’ve had this same discussion with many women, all of whom denied ever testing a man until the testing mechanisms were pointed out to them, at which time they all agreed, some with amusement, some with embarrassment, that they did indeed test men, and frequently; they also noticed that the more insecure they felt about anything going on in their life and the more bored they were, the greater the frequency of testing, even to the extent of saying, “I love you,” to their partners, not for the sake of expressing love, but to hear their partner express it. This is also a test, and I’ll spare you the explanation, because at this point, I’m sure that you already see it.

You are quite right in your assertion that cooperation, honesty, and mutual respect are components of a good relationship. However, these components are not even close to the only components required for a long-lasting, exciting, and fun relationship that can lead to things like 50th wedding anniversaries. These components are all subcomponents of love (value, friendship, loyalty, trust, respect, etc.), the result of deep compatibility, and manifested as the deep friendship that occurs between mates. They are entirely independent of those components that are inspired by attraction, which are things like sexual excitement, fun, naughty intimacy, spontaneity, etc.

You can love someone for a long time and still be bored and lured into an affair with someone who trips your attraction triggers. You can be swept off your feet by someone whom you not only do not love, but in fact despise and are terrorized by, hence women who would defend their wife-beating husbands to the death, and wait for them to get out of prison to come home and beat them again. This is not the product of love, it is a response to alpha male characteristics manifested by these men who, in the absence of good character, use attraction as the tool of a predator, not something to enhance a loving relationship.

There are indeed times when a woman is required to take the lead, and to make unilateral decisions. That doesn’t mean that women enjoy it, and in fact, usually do not. Again, due to a biological mechanism, the attraction mechanism, even the most fiercely independent women enjoy watching a man take the lead. It’s not because they are not capable of it, it’s simply exciting to watch. Women are social in nature, and critical unilateral decision-making is often stressful for them, not because they are incapable, but because their social nature tends to drive them to manage by committee rather than taking the lead.

You may have noticed this in yourself and/or women around you, who before taking any significant step, want to discuss the situation and obtain the input of all their girlfriends. A woman generally doesn’t need the input to know what to do, she is simply driven to obtain the input of others before acting, as it feels improper to do otherwise because it is anti-social, as if she would be disrespecting the others by not asking for their input.

Don’t get me started on these lame-ass, lazy, chauvinistic wussy boys, parasites, users, losers, abusers, and predators who want to be kept by a woman. They aren’t looking for a partner, they are looking for a foster mother to do their laundry and cook for them, and if you look too closely, that makes them incestuous jerks, don’t you think? It brings a whole new meaning to the vulgar “MF” variation of the F-word, does it not?

A real man doesn’t need or want somebody to take care of him, and generally will pitch in and help with any sort of household chore at which he is competent and well-suited. I myself handle all the cooking and a share of the cleaning and laundry duties in my own home. I’m no good at dusting, because I can’t see the dust, so I leave that chore entirely to my wife. Conversely, she loves to do the yard work, which I don’t enjoy at all. So, rather than being a macho idiot who does all the yard work and then complains about it, I let my wife do it, because she enjoys it and is good at it, while I cook.

When my neighbors make snide remarks about how I have it made, and they wish they could make their wives into gardeners, I set them straight in no uncertain terms; she does what she enjoys and is competent to do, and I do what I enjoy and am competent to do. It’s a matter of suitability to task, not control. I wouldn’t give a nickel for the whole lot of the men you are talking about; to me, they are not men, and I am insulted by the very idea that they would refer to themselves as such. At best, they are needy little slacking adolescent boys, and need to grow up.

I hope this has clarified things enough for you that we are now on the same page. I’m not one who is in any way interested in being right; I’m one of those dry, philosophical maniacs who is only interested in what is right. That’s why I sought the input of a great many women in learning everything I could about women before writing a word about how to get along with them. Indeed they were involved in the writing of my book, and continue to be involved as I produce newsletters and even some reader responses to keep me accurate and focused, able to fully consider the female perspective at all times. I have had three women, including one of my best friends, who is a very girly girl, on the phone with me throughout the composition of this letter to make sure that I didn’t fail to address any part of your concern or conflict with any part of general female perspective. They say “I did good;” what say you? If we are still somehow at odds, please write back and let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it.

Best wishes to you and yours, and be careful over there. The first objective of any mission is to return home in one piece; failure is not an option.

David Cunningham

Good morning, David!

Thank you for your prompt reply. When one thinks of a test, (ladies in particular) think of those horrible word problems in math...if truck A was traveling at X speed and truck B was traveling half the speed of truck A How long...you know!

The woman who decorated her bedroom without consideration for her husband was the example that upset me the most. That test seemed to be very conscious behavior. You did an excellent job of clarification and I am indebted. I definitely test men and it is ongoing. In this environment, it is essential to make quick assessments observing body language, eye contact, and other behaviors to evaluate risk.

We lost one of our young truck drivers today to an IED [Improvised Explosive Device, like a pipe bomb or booby trap]. Last month I lost a dear friend, an Alpha male for sure to the same. Just his presence reassured me. He was a man with conviction, impeccable character, and very proficient in his work. Thank you for your kind wishes, I plan on returning home with all my parts intact!

In my early fifties, after a divorce that was terribly underhanded, I started over. My youngest son served in the National Guard and their unit was deployed to Iraq. You know Moms...there was no way my youngest son of five children was going to Iraq alone. So, I applied for a job with a contract company and have been here 20 months. My son accuses me of ruining his war stories!

When you speak of weak men, it rings true. I notice that some men, especially when they enter mid-life become fearful. They haven't accomplished what they hoped and think with tunnel vision. They focus on their losses instead of setting goals to succeed. They retreat into television or a hobby and refuse to take the necessary steps to improve their live with what they have left.

In retrospect, I wouldn't trade this experience. I've learned life can bring you down; but it is up to you whether you are out. I've accomplished in 20 months by the grace of God; what usually takes 20 or more years. I refuse to allow fear to stop me from really living. The character flaws of my ex-husband won't affect my view of the entire male race. I am using what I have learned and am learning to assess my current relationship.

Thank you again for your kindness and I'll look forward to purchasing that book!

Good morning to you too, Patty!

Sometimes unconscious testing can be very sophisticated, even conniving. There is also a lot of intentional testing that goes on with a lot of women, especially those who are of extremely low self-esteem and those who are of the “gold-digger” persuasion; it’s funny to watch what happens when a gold-digger gets hold of a skilled male predator and they start trying to rob each other, but I never feel sorry for either of them because they both deserve what they get.

Fortunately, there are very few real predators around, far less than the Hollywood sensationalists would have us believe. Most losers are parasites, not predators, and they’re easier to spot, because they usually have a crappy, unattractive loser’s attitude. Some women have a problem with having their maternal mechanisms engage when they encounter one, because there is often the air of a helpless teenage slacker about them that makes them appear helpless and “sweet” that sucks some women in; I’m helping two such women get out of marriages to such men at present, one in Florida and one in England.

As I’m guessing you have surmised by now, I’m not a bigot, sexual or otherwise; I’m an Objectivist, someone who accepts nothing less than stark reality because problems can’t be solved with fantasies, and sometimes reality just doesn’t want to jive with what people want to believe; In any conflict between fantasy, hope, and/or faith and reality, reality will always win, so it must be embraced at all times if one is to succeed at anything. You can’t sail around the world if you hope or believe that the world is flat. One of my favorite literary quotes is by Aldous Huxley, who said, “No bad idea, no matter how popular, can withstand the onslaught of logic,” and to deny the profoundness of that statement is to invite one’s own demise. If you found yourself toe-to-toe with an Al Qaeda terrorist and you were armed, would you want to believe that he had some goodness buried within him somewhere that would just let you pass, or would you accept the reality that as he raised his rifle or knife that he did indeed intend to kill you and raise your own weapon to defend yourself?

The same choice is made every day when you look at others around you; they may not be armed with machine guns, but every one of them has the capacity to either add to or take from your life, and fantasies like, “there’s some good in everyone,” or “there’s no way he’d treat me badly after I’ve been so good to him,” are as dangerous to you as thinking, “one man has hurt me, so all men will hurt me,” or “this man has hurt me once, so he will always be trying to hurt me.” Character differs from person to person, and unfortunately, a few are entirely devoid of it.

By the same token, men and women are built differently from each other in some ways, and those ways must be acknowledged and used to our mutual benefit in productive and enjoyable relationships. Men are also different from each other in many ways, as are women, and we must try to see and understand those things which are common to all members of a gender and differentiate them from things that can vary from person to person regardless of gender, so that we may choose better company to keep and protect ourselves from those who would take from us what we earn, whether it be happiness, security, respect, wealth, or whatever.

These things are our right and responsibility as people, and they are what I have built my work upon. Luckily, most of the people who seek me out are people like you, who when they see something that doesn’t set well, they ask for discussion and we always find that in the end, we are on the same page. The others rant and rail without having any clue of what they are saying or thinking, because I have touched some hot button, and they leave nasty messages when they drop their newsletter subscription, calling me things like “elitist” and “chauvinist,” which is laughable, because I spend a lot of time in my books attributing the sorry state of things today to the foolish and very unfortunate oppression of women by men over the last five millennia or more.

I don’t bother to reply to them, because they aren’t looking for discussion, facts, or truth; they’re simply looking for attention while they grind their ax, and I have far better things to do than feed their fragile ego. I have intelligent people like you, who are looking for facts and truth to use to improve their lives, to teach and to train in how to get along better with themselves and others, and it’s the greatest job a man could ever have, because I get to see the results of my work daily as my own achievement is echoed in the achievements of hundreds of others who write to me to tell me how they have used what I have taught them to improve their life, and even to learn new things on their own that are specific to themselves and their partners, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It takes me 8-10 hours per day every day just to answer reader e-mails, plus the time to write another book, conduct seminars, manage the business, and have time left to spend with my wife, and I wouldn’t trade it for all of Solomon’s gold; I get paid to make people able to secure their own happiness for all time, and a job just doesn’t get any better than that.

Come home in one piece, and bring your son with you; America is a little less right now than what it would be if you were here. We need all the good brains and good women we can get here at home.

Take care,

I know this is long, but there was really no way to effectively deliver it broken up into pieces. I’ve noticed that some who publish newsletters and include reader letters will spend several days giving you a piece of a conversation each day, but I’d rather give you the whole thing and let you take it at your own pace than to send it out in pieces and lose part of the message in the process. I’d rather have the achievers, who are looking for something to learn, get all they need than to lose the impact of good information in trying to cater to those casual readers with a short attention span and don’t have the smarts to realize they can come back to it later if they have to.

In any case, I hope this has been helpful in clearing up some things that are well-explained in my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but may have been less clear in this newsletter. I do normally try to keep these brief because I know that too much information is as bad as not enough, but finding that fine line between too little and too much for a large group of people is truly an impossible task; one must simply make their best effort and then make improvements where required, very much like relationships.

Speaking of which, what are you doing? Are you making your best effort with insufficient information, or are you not making the effort that you could? Maybe both? There’s no time like the present to put things back on track.

Jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and start getting your relationship (and marriage, if you’re in one) back on track. There are a lot of reasons that honeymoons end, but very few (like death of a spouse) are permanent; you can bring it back easily with some good information and a little time and effort, and believe it or not, it’s FUN! Start this week off right by making the best move you can make to put your relationship back on track and kick it up notches previously unknown to humankind, because life’s too short to settle for less.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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