Sunday, March 09, 2008

Are You Looking for Success or Attention? Being a Man in a Relationship and Marriage

Do you do what you do to enjoy doing it well, or to be seen doing it? Attractive behavior isn’t just an act to try to mimic an alpha male. It’s the result of BEING the alpha male, which virtually any man can be. It’s both his birthright and responsibility, and for the vast majority of men requires only shedding some programming and attitudes that are oppressive, stressful, and lead to gross insecurity and stagnation in all parts of a man’s life.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t watch much television, and the little I watch is either informative (news, how-to, or self-improvement) or mentally challenging, and when I find an on-screen example of something readers can watch to get a clue about attraction and attractive behavior, I write about it, because a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Having been deeply involved in alternative medicine for all of my adult life and more, the NBC series “House” (about a doctor who’s supposed to be the world’s best diagnostician and determines what’s wrong with people when nobody else can) is challenging (the writers rarely make a medical mistake, but when they do, it’s hilarious, such as when Dr. House had a sinus allergy and claimed to take 1,000 mg of diphenhydramine, the little pink pills that most of the rest of us know as “Benedryl,” and are dosed out at 25 mg per tablet, meaning that he took a dose of 40 of those little pink pills, which would likely ruin an elephant’s day and knock a human out for a week), and the governing dynamics of the personalities of the characters on the show are diverse, well-conceived and fascinating.

Dr. House is an alpha male, but with a twist. He’s brilliant, strong, funny, cocky, etc., but somebody on the writing staff apparently is intimidated by alpha males because they gave him a permanently damaged right leg and chronic pain to go with it, and a hydrocodone bitartrate (Vicodin, et al, regarded as “morphine-like in all respects” according to
http://www.streetdrugs.org/hydrocodone.htm) addiction to go with the pain, which I find somewhat perverse, but it does make for some interesting twists in the plots.

One episode featured a doctor who spent his entire career treating tuberculosis in remote parts of Africa, contracted the disease himself, but with a pancreatic tumor that caused life-threatening symptoms unrelated to the tuberculosis. What was interesting about the character, and what both the character of Dr. House and I took exception to, was that this doctor didn’t present the appearance of doing the job to do it well, but to be seen doing it; he was constantly courting the media, even to the extent of refusing treatment for his own tuberculosis and calling a press conference to call attention to it.

The script writers did a good job of keeping it unclear as to whether the character’s main motivation was altruism or a need for attention, but it made me think about some of the letters I’ve received from readers of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and this newsletter, complaining that it was hard to keep up the image of an alpha male and call sufficient attention to themselves without being too obvious. That’s an understatement if ever there was one; one that makes me want to pull my hair out. I’ll explain…

First, putting on an act for a woman, especially in the long term, is a practical impossibility. The sheer fear of being caught putting on the act creates insecurity that gives it away, and no matter how many times I state that to some people, they still don’t get it. Attractive behavior is not the result of some theatrical effort; it’s the result of BEING attractive, having the confidence, attitude, wit, and competence to naturally be in this attractive state. You can fake it a little and for a short time in an emergency, but the successful on-going presentation of alpha male behavior depends entirely on the successful attainment of alpha male characteristics, which is not difficult, and a lot of fun.

So you see, the “trick” isn’t to act attractive and find a way to call attention to it that doesn’t give away the fact that you are trying to call attention to yourself. Indeed, there is no trick, and the solution is far easier to pull off. You must simply understand what it is that women respond to with attraction, which turns out to be confident, fun, intelligent, “cock of the walk” behavior, realize that there are some things in your life that you can take pride in, develop them so that you can fully enjoy that pride, and let nature take its course. While nature is taking its course, you learn all you can about women, especially what they enjoy and how they communicate, so you can recognize the feedback that they’ve been giving you for years but you were never able to interpret because you didn’t realize it was feedback. What???

Yes, they have been giving you feedback for years, but most of it is non-verbal, and the verbal part is very indirect. For instance, when a woman says she wants a man “who just knows what she wants,” she isn’t speaking of a psychic (unless she’s a complete idiot just “parroting” something she’s heard other women say). She’s saying, “I want a manly man who does manly things, and pays enough attention to me to learn how to communicate with me so I don’t have to explain everything to him like I would a three-year old.” She saying that she wants a guy who is a guy, but who knows to talk to guys like guys and talk to her like a woman, recognizing her social nature and need to negotiate instead of stating, reporting, and dictating as men do. Where’d that come from?

You’re right. Most women would never come out and explain that to a man, but a few of the very smart ones are always on the lookout for men who want to communicate effectively with them, and I had 118 of them respond to a survey I ran before researching “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” They taught me everything they could think of about how women communicate with each other and how that affects the way the communicate with men, and when we finished that training, we talked – in “girly-speak” – about what they thought they wanted in men and what they actually respond to, and exploded many, many myths, especially about the “nice guy.” (You’ll be shocked to find out the one version of the “nice guy” that women do respond to, and you’ll have to read the book to do it.)

As we made lists upon lists of good and bad behavior and what caused it, we got their male partners (husbands and boyfriends, for future reference) involved, and tested everything we’d found. Some we fine tuned and improved, some wasn’t as consistent as I wanted because it was affected by culture or personal taste and was culled; what made it into the book worked for 90% or more of the couples, and in the end, everybody’s relationship was improved to the point of being fun and exciting again, not because the men learned how to act, but because they learned how to be and live as “real men,” which creates – BY DEFAULT – the very behavior that women respond to best, because it’s genuine, stress-free, fun and exciting for everyone involved.

There were even unexpected benefits of improved sleep, motivation to diet and exercise, children doing better in school, and a closer-knit family because the parents were feeling better about themselves, setting better examples for the kids and creating a more nurturing environment for them. (How nurturing an environment is it when parents are bored, frustrated, and scared of their family coming apart at the seams?)

The bottom line is that there are no tricks, no magic bullet, no cute lines or secret potions (or positions!) that will save a stale relationship, but the solution to the problem is far easier and more enjoyable than employing any deception could ever be. It’s in my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s waiting for you at
http://www.makingherhappy.com, ready to Fully tested, proven and ready to deploy. Go get it and get busy, because life is too short to spend it enjoying your relationship even a little less than the most it can be enjoyed. Don’t settle; SUCCEED! (And you’d be doing yourself a favor to make that your personal motto, too!)

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

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