Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quitters Never Win, and Winners Never Quit: Attitude for Fixing Relationships and Marriage

A profound demonstration of an attitude that can kill a relationship in a heartbeat, from a man who will likely never be able to fix his relationship or anything else. Don’t make his mistake…

I get a lot of material for lessons from readers’ letters because most ask really good questions, but every now and then, somebody’s comment on the “unsubscribe” (how I hate what computers are doing to this language!!! Would anyone care to discuss the use of the word “input” as a verb? Try conjugating it, and let me know what you think when you get to the past tense, “inputted”! LOL!) form opens the door for a great one as well. Observe the comment at the bottom of this form:

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 2:28 AM
To: David Cunningham
Subject: AWeber mhh_tips: This Lead Unsubscribed:

This lead has unsubscribed by following the link at the bottom of one of your AWeber messages, and decided to provide comments. Why did I receive this email?

Name: XXX
Signup Date: 05/05/06 05:06 AM EST

your wasting my time

We’ll ignore the poor spelling (“you are” is “you’re,” not “your” which is possessive), lack of capitalization and punctuation, and the ridiculous notion that I’m wasting his time when the choice of how to spend his time is his own, not mine, and look at the communication issue, which is relevant to all kinds of relationships. I sent him the following reply, and after you read it, we’ll draw parallels into committed and other relationships:

Hi Wes,

Really? How so? What would make this worth your time, and why did it take you almost three months to come to this realization? Has there been something change recently that you dislike? Tell me what's making this a waste and I'll try to address it, or are you one of those people who sits and waits for validation of the bad choices they've made and when they don't find it, move on to another source? People who want information ask for it; they don't just turn their back on it and walk away. So tell me, what is it that you want to see and know?

David Cunningham

Yes, I goaded him a bit, hoping to wake him up and make him realize that he did have an input channel (he’s never written once in nearly three months to ask a question or make a suggestion as to how I could better serve his needs), and to possibly provoke him into taking a hard look at himself and determining if he was indeed looking for validation instead of information.

(Yes, Ladies, we guys can do stuff like that. We also jab each other with mild insults about our weight, signs of aging, etc., to help us thicken our skin a bit and be a bit better at handling criticism, and at least some of us know that it doesn’t work the same way with you, especially after I did that “What to Do When She Gains a Few Pounds” newsletter a while back.)

He never responded, but look at what we have here, because there’s plenty to learn from it:

How many times have you seen relationships end like this? Everything seems to be cruising along for months, no questions, no discussions, seeming like everything is on a pretty even keel, and suddenly, BOOM! A huge fight, or worse, a break-up or divorce, without there ever having been a word of discussion about a problem?

How many times have you found yourself being irritated or confused and wanting to say something, but didn’t? Or found yourself not understanding something and frustrated and wanting to ask something, but didn’t? We get pissed off at women for appearing to expect us to read their mind, but how many times have you been guilty of doing the same thing? Expecting her to “just know” that you need to say something or ask something, need her to do something, need se’x, or whatever is just as ridiculous, if not more so, than her expecting you to, because as a man, your job is to initiate and lead discussions and actions, remember? Demonstrating strength and leadership skills is one of those attraction-building activities we’re constantly discussing.

Your lesson for today? If you have an issue that involves your partner, don’t walk away from it, and don’t expect them to “just know” that there’s an issue. Talk to them about it – don’t whine about it, yell about it, or act needy or controlling because of it. Just put it out there and talk about it, and invite her to remain engaged and to discuss it with you, otherwise you’ll come across as just lodging a complaint and nothing more will happen.

Yes, I’m serious! If you need an answer, keep her talking until you have it. If you need her commitment to a goal or behavioral change, negotiate it. And if something comes up that you really do need to work on, suck it up like a man and fix it if you expect her to ever engage in any other discussion with you. Problem-solving is a double-edged sword; sometimes you find out that YOU are the problem, and that YOU are the only one who can act to fix something. Sometimes it’s going to be her. Sometimes it’s something both of you have to work on. Even on occasions where neither of you really did anything to contribute to the problem, both of you may need to contribute to the solution. Speaking of which, enter into problem-solving seeking the best solution for the problem, not the best solution for your convenience, or validation for your mistakes.

Women love to talk, as long as somebody is listening, and they love to listen as long as they will also be able to speak. They are, after all, far and away the more social gender of the two, and also far and away the most active and aggressive when it comes to managing relationships, so as long as you are talking and listening, you can usually expect her to do the same as long as you conduct yourself with respect, for yourself and for her. And you may be surprised at how adept many women can be at solving problems, too, especially if you can stay focused on the problem and stay away from discussing the people involved and the drama that comes from that. Focus on WHAT the problem is and WHAT can be done about it, not WHO caused and WHO needs to act.

“But how do I talk and listen to her?” you say? Thanks to the cooperative and combined efforts of several hundred women, it’s all laid out for you in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," which you can download at right now with little more than a couple of mouse clicks. Hop on over and get yours and start having answers and resolution instead of confusion and frustration.

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

David Cunningham

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