Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why Do Men Have Affairs? And How Do You Stop? Infidelity in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2

An obviously troubled man writes to ask how he can STOP having affairs and get his life together. Let’s see what we can do for him – and YOU!

Guys and gals, lightning has struck! I have for you today proof that men can recognize and admit that they do not like having affairs, and do indeed want a stable, monogamous relationship, possibly even enough to do what is necessary to make it happen. Only time will tell whether this man has the courage of his convictions, but I’m sensing a very genuine desire and sense of priority in his words, and his language indicates that he’s going to step up and take charge of his life. Meet James:

Good morning,

My name is James and would like to share with you problems in my relationship.
It’s been ten years now with ma girlfriend. The problem is I love her but I’m having affairs.

I’m so insecure, jealous coz I think she’s doing the same thing, I don’t trust her at all.

I would like to overcome my problem and stick to one partner, get married, give ma seven year daughter all the support she can ever get.

I don’t think I’ll cope if she have an affair.

I’m OUTGOING, spend most weekends out with friends, on drinking spree,
Come weekdays, I’m a darling.

The problem has affected our sex intimate life, we get intimate once in a while.
She has feeling and will end up having an affair.

Please help.
James


This is obviously a man who is bottoming out, realizing that he’s at a crossroads, and is deciding that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life the way he’s spent the last ten years. I call that a damned good choice, based on what he’s written about the last ten years. My response:

Hi James,

I cannot help you while you’re pursuing affairs, but if you’re truly ready to stop and straighten up, listen to reason, and get your life on track I can definitely help. Before you can do anything, you’re going to have to identify the reason you are having affairs and eliminate it.

If you’re doing it because you have no self-esteem and are trying to substitute the acceptance and approval of other women for the genuine self-esteem created by achievement, then you’re going to have to start creating real reasons to feel good about yourself and stop thinking that chasing other women is going to make you feel any better about anything. Approval and acceptance must come from within, not from somebody else.

If it’s because you are bored, or because your wife is bored and the two of you aren’t intimate, then you just need to get back in tune, learn about how to create attraction and communicate effectively, and nature will quickly take its course and get you to where you need to be. That’s not hard to do, but you need to know how and you need to want it to make it happen.

Unfortunately, your weekend “drinking sprees” point toward low self-esteem, because a man who feels good about himself doesn’t spend every weekend poisoning himself and looking for cheap thrills with other self-destructive people; a drink or two is no big deal, but you’re describing a binge, and you know as well as I do that repeated bingeing is self-destructive behavior. A man who feels good about himself spends that time enriching himself with his hobbies and enjoying time with the ones he loves, not abusing himself and potentially those around him.

Low self-esteem makes you very unattractive to any woman who spends any time around you, and causes you to seek approval, acceptance, social confirmation, etc., from other women, who may find you charming and witty when both of you are drinking or drunk, which is a huge red flag in itself, but after they sober up and see that you’re swimming in your problems instead of solving them, they quickly move on and the affair ends.

You have some pretty serious work ahead of you, and my book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," can help you if you read and apply it. Its primary purpose is to deprogram you from all the wussy crap that the media and other idiots have heaped on us over the last forty years or more and let the real man within you come out and take over, a man who is competent, confident, attracts and understands women, and is the kind of man that every woman wants to live with, a man-caught in a self-amplifying cycle of self-improvement instead of a death-spiral.

I’d suggest you give it a try before you become an alcohol-related death statistic, because all that is really in front of you is a series of choices to live a better life. The decision is the hard part; following through is easy once you’ve committed to change, because you get to see results and feel good about them, which in turn motivates you to achieve better and better results. Self-esteem-building becomes a self-perpetuating cycle that replaces the cycle of approval-seeking and self-destruction you’re caught in now.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David

I saw a purchase notification from James within 24 hours, and I fully expected it. Why? Because he’s not in denial about his situation. When people finally face the fact that what they are doing isn’t working and start asking for help, they usually go through with fixing it. The exception is that group of people who define “help” as having someone do everything for them instead of providing the information and support they need and then getting out of the way and letting them do what needs to be done so they can own their own achievement and feel good about it.

That, Gentlemen, is where I come in. I’ve done the research with hundreds of couples to find out what makes for good and bad relationship and how you can evaluate your own, what women want and what truly makes them tick, and how to easily return to that natural male behavior that flips their attraction switches and turns up the heat, saving them from their primary enemy, boredom. Do you realize what this means to you?

Do you remember the story about the man who found the bottle, rubbed it, and out came a genie, who granted him one wish, and he said he wanted a bridge from Los Angeles to Hawaii so he could drive his wife, who was afraid of flying, there for a vacation? When the genii said it was too big a request, the man said, “Then I guess I just want to know what makes women tick,” and the genii said, “Hmmm…tell me more about this bridge.”

We were all taught through such jokes and stories growing up that this is something that we would never know, yet here before you is the opportunity to know, once and for all, that most mysterious and seemingly forbidden of all things. Indeed, Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychologist, is famous for saying, “The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, ‘What does a woman want?’” That conundrum being solved, the question now is “Do you have the sense and the guts to reach out and grab this knowledge that evaded even the likes of Sigmund Freud and put it to work in your life?”

Like James, you now have a choice before you. Are you going to continue to sit there in the dark picking up a few crumbs from this newsletter every day, or even worse, in denial about the cause of your problems and looking for someone else to blame? Or are you going to secure for yourself and your family the next best thing to the keys to the universe, the knowledge that will put you on the road to being all that you can be, in your eyes and hers?

That should be the easiest decision you ever made in your life, so jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" right now, before you do another thing, because as they say in The South, “Time’s a wastin!” and life is definitely too short to waste it.

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why Do Women Have Affairs? Infidelity in Relationships and Marriage, Part 1

Why do women have affairs? For the same reason most men do: because there’s nothing exciting them at home. What excites them may be quite different from what excites us, but they don’t deal with boredom any better than we do (in fact, it’s far worse for them!), so don’t expect them to – do something about it before it happens!

I had a wonderful phone call from an old friend (I’ll call her Dina), and I do mean OLD – we went to grade school together and have kept in touch ever since. We had a mutual “crush” in the third grade, became good friends, and eventually got to be so much like brother and sister that “hooking up” was never a thought, let alone an option, for either of us. She got married in the middle of college, had three kids, and the kids are grown now and she and her husband, Danny, also a long-time friend, are left with a great big empty nest and each other. They’d had a major problem develop a few months prior, and she called to give me the details of how things were back on track and better than they had ever been.

Like so many other couples, they had been so involved in their kids that they had grown apart and while they still love and respect each other, their life together was much more like that of casual roommates than a married couple. They didn’t have much to talk about, didn’t sleep together often – I’m really talking about sleeping here; he fell asleep on the couch most nights watching TV, and had “intimate relations” a couple times a year. OUCH!

That’s a whole bunch of problems for two people to deal with, especially when you bring the causes into the mix. Their intimacy was severely hampered by occasional prostate problems he suffered, lack of personal interaction, different interests and schedules, “empty nest” syndrome – the couple had defined a huge portion of who they were as “parents” so when the kids were gone they had overwhelming feelings of lack of purpose and loneliness from the hole that was left in their lives -- and it finally caught up with them.

Dina had been particularly taken with a new employee in her office, a manager, her new boss (yes, that’s about as cliché as it gets, but remember that things become cliché because they are so common), and was working late both for the extra money and something to do. She enjoyed working for him, because he was a strong leader, good motivator, was genuinely interested in his employees’ welfare, and had a great sense of humor. He was also married and quite bored, being in a similar situation to Dina.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what came next, does it? Look at the boss. Strong leader, an alpha male characteristic. Good motivator and great sense of humor, both traits indicative of above average communications skills and very ANTI-BORING. Leadership and motivational skills coupled with his position as her boss put him in a position of defining authority for her frequently. Genuine interest in employees’ welfare coupled with good communications skills is intimacy waiting to happen.

He tripped her attraction triggers nine ways from Sunday, and in her mid forties, she’s still quite physically attractive, intelligent, a good conversationalist, and has always been playful and a little flirtatious, so she tripped his, too. They finally succumbed to the temptation and immediately knew they had done something that they shouldn’t have done and couldn’t undo. Dina called a few months ago to tell me about all of this, and I went to visit them.

She disclosed all of this, and we went through all that had happened over the years (the same process described in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” for determining if you are with someone who is a good match for you, a critical step in fixing any major problems in mature relationships – if they’re bad for you, why fight to keep things together???) and she knew beyond any doubt that he was the man for her and that they had slowly and surely grown apart as they focused too much on their kids and careers and not enough on each other.

She knew she had to tell Danny what had happened, for a number of reasons, and asked me for advice. I gave her a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and told her to go through it with him, to help him prepare for the news he was about to get and be better able to understand what had happened. She was scared, but he was and is pretty level-headed, so she agreed.

When he got home, she showed him the book and told him I had written it and wanted their evaluation of it, which was true (I’m always interested in reader feedback on any of my books), and over the days that followed I got letters and phone calls from him about various things, and when it was obvious that he had a good grasp of what attraction is, and how powerful a force it is in a woman, especially when she is bored and vulnerable, I told Dina it was time to find an opportunity to confess, which she did within a couple of evenings as they were discussing part of the book.

He had read a passage in the book talking about how women get bored and can literally lose their ability to reason and control of their actions when somebody restores that feeling and he said, “Man, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. If you were to get caught up in something like this, I wouldn’t like it, but I don’t think I could blame you, at least not any more than I would have to blame myself.”

Being a bit more direct than most women, and a lot more direct than I was accustomed to her being, she looked him dead in the eye and said, “Danny, it has happened, just once, and I knew the minute it was over that it shouldn’t have. I love you, and I’m taking responsibility for this. I didn’t choose to let you grow away from me, but I didn’t choose to prevent it either. I didn’t know what was happening, and thought it was something that just happened to everyone when they’d been together as long as we have, and didn’t think it would be a problem. I want you, and nobody else. I want to grow very, very old with you. I can’t promise you that I can live long enough to do that, but I can certainly promise you that we can keep this from happening again for as long as we are alive, and you know we can, too. I’m not going to ask for your answer now, because I can see you’re in shock and need time to think things through. You tell me when you’re ready to talk about this.”

He said to her, “I’m ready now. I’m no fool. I know why you did it. We’ve been sitting here talking about it for weeks. I’ll share the responsibility with you, because I’m just as guilty of ignoring both of us as you are. I knew things weren’t right, but didn’t know what to do about it. I love you, we’ve raised three kids and paid off two mortgages together, and frankly, I’m sick to death of the way things have been going. We’re in a rut, and we’ve got a tow-truck here in this book. It may be awhile before I can be with you without thinking of another man being with you, but as long as I know that we’re working on this together, I’ll get over it. I’m going to Randy’s (his brother) for the weekend to do some fishing and get my mind right, and when I get back, we’re going to take back our marriage.”

Dina was weirded completely out. Danny got up, threw some stuff in a bag, kissed her on the cheek as he went out the door, sent her a couple of text messages while he was gone that just said, “Thinking of you…” and came home Sunday night and went to bed. Come Monday morning, he woke her up with a kiss and a smile, and said, “This is it, Kiddo. Time to get back to being us. I’m going to go cook us some breakfast while you shower.”

Danny’s always been pretty much a “take-charge” kind of guy, and he did. He took what was in the book, added it to what he already knew of Dina, and had her swept completely off her feet in about three days. They still have occasional problems; Dina transferred to another department for obvious reasons, and didn’t enjoy the job as much as she did because she was working for her old boss, who was a bit weak and disinterested, and Danny occasionally has a nightmare about her affair, but they’re on track, regularly intimate, and haven’t had any discussions of the affair in several months now. Dina’s now found another job, not to leave the company where the affair happened, but to find something to do she can enjoy. Things are looking up all around.

There was a lot that went into saving their relationship. It took knowing that they were right for each other and that their 22 years together was a good investment that they needed to keep. It took knowing exactly what happened and why, so that there were no grudges, feelings of guilt or betrayal, or especially unworthiness. It took knowing how to fix the problem. These things came from my book, some personal coaching to help them get through the emotional upheaval at times, and their knowledge of each other. The biggest thing that it took was the commitment to do what was necessary to fix the problem, which was much easier to make when they had read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and therefore knew that it could be done, what would be required, and that it was worth it.

Affairs can be avoided if you’re proactive, and they can be overcome if you’re not, as long as you know what to do and just do it. I can give you all you need to know in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but learning it and doing it is up to you. I strongly recommend the proactive approach, because the obvious emotional upheaval of an affair can be devastating, and it’s a risk of sustaining permanent damage that you don’t have to take at all. Sometimes, the easy way out is the best possible way, and you should always take advantage of such an opportunity, because it doesn’t come around that often. Your easiest way out of this situation is waiting for you at
http://www.makingherhappy.com/, so go get it and get started, because life’s too short to do things the long and hard way (unless of course you’re talking about sex!)

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

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time Is On Your Side in Fixing Relationships and Marriage

The rules for creating and maintaining attraction can be slightly to radically different when moving from the “first encounter” scenario (like bumping into a stranger or trying to pick up a stranger in a bar) to a committed relationship. One such rule is the one governing your “window of opportunity,” which is as short as a few seconds when meeting someone new but can be months long when trying to rekindle the fire in a mature but stale or damaged relationship, because the woman would rather have her partner being a “naughty hottie” than being bored or having an affair; she has a vested interest in giving him a chance to enliven the relationship.

I received an interesting letter from an achiever who has not yet bought “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but has subscribed to this newsletter, has bought materials from some of the dating gurus like John Alanis and David DeAngelo, and subscribes to their newsletters, and has noticed a discrepancy between my material and theirs:

Hi David,

I bought books and CD’s from John Alanis, David DeAngelo, and others, and subscribe to everybody’s newsletters trying to find a way to get things back into gear here at home. After 6 years of marriage, things have been in a downhill slide for awhile, and it’s obvious that there is an attraction problem, and they’re all saying that once attraction has died it’s nearly impossible, if not entirely impossible, to rekindle, yet you guarantee I can do it. What am I missing?”

Buddy G.


Well, Buddy, it’s pretty simple. They’re absolutely right, and so is what I’m telling you. The difference is in the context, particularly the timeframe. Remember, they are talking about creating attraction and keeping it going in order to ESTABLISH a relationship. In the dating world, there’s no commitment yet formed and nothing invested; you’re on strict probation before you ever approach her and introduce yourself, and at your first slip-up she’s gone because there are hundreds of other men in her world still left to inspect. She has no motivation to wait around for somebody exhibiting the same nice-guy, loser behavior that every other nice loser exhibits when she could be hooking up with a guy who “gets it” and trips her attraction triggers, giving her that feeling women will kill for.

HOWEVER! As you’ll find in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” the rules of attraction in committed relationships are often quite different from those of attracting someone new. In your case, and the case of anyone in a committed relationship that has survived long enough to get a little stale and boring or damaged, you’ve already made the grade and fallen from grace.

In the meantime, ties have been built, maybe kids, mortgage, and other commitments and/or motivations for further commitment have come into the picture, and it’s to your mutual advantage to put things back together. Nobody likes break-ups or divorces, even when they come out ahead, because they almost always entail fighting, complications, and extreme changes in the way you live. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when that happens. ;-)

Look closely at the two situations, the requirements of the participants, and think with me for a minute. The “chick in the bar” would have no reason to give you a second look or thought if you said the wrong thing because there will be at least a hundred other opportunities for her that same evening, but the woman with whom you’ve been partnered, in whatever capacity, for months or years has a vested interest in the relationship!

She wants you to straighten up because having you “back in true form” (read “that attractive stud muffin you used to be, and even more so if you can do it”) is much more enjoyable and far less scary than dropping back into the dating world and having to go back to defending herself from perverts, stalkers, geeks, losers, liars, philanderers, and others who would either use, hurt, or bore her.

(And if there are kids involved, her drive to protect her children from a destabilized environment will make her want you to work with her to work things out ten times more than if there were no kids!)

Think about that! If you screwed up with the chick in the bar and she would say, “What for?” when you asked if you could try another date and attempt to make up for your transgression, the woman who has been in your life and enjoyed it would usually try to help you get it done! (To wit, the last several times I have checked, one third of my book sales have been to women!) She wants that feeling back, and would do about anything to have it back, and her choices are to:

a) leave you and find somebody else who gives it to her, or
b) don’t leave you, just find a “toy boy” and cheat
c) wait for you to get it done
d) help you get it done so she can have it back faster!

Now, which one do you think she’s most likely to choose if she has a choice of the four options above? Where most men screw up is only offering her “a” and “b,” and a few more will offer her “c”. You have before you the option of buying a book that, according to a while bunch of people, will give you the knowledge you need to get the job done if you’ll just do it, and if your wife knows you’re genuinely trying she’ll help!

Seriously, if you were trying to date this woman, I’d say forget it, but you’re married to her, and she doesn’t want to have a boring marriage any more than you do. Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” Read it. Study it. Learn from it. Have a laugh or two along the way, too.

If you get through the evaluation section and you know that you’re with the right woman, get her to read it with you. That way she’ll know that you’re trying to make things better for both of you and that the positive changes that she’s about to see in your behavior are because you’re committed to making things better with her, not because you have a new girlfriend making you feel sexy again. (Yes, they really do that!) Get it done, and get on with your new, sexy, exciting life with your wife. Why? Because it’s a whole lot easier and better than being bored or risking getting caught in an affair. You love her, so treat her like you love her! ‘Nuff said…

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sharing the Drama of the Day: Emotional Feeding in Relationships and Marriage

This “must-read” issue explores a specific issue and scenario that is addressed more generally in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," the issue of “How was your day, Dear?” and how women want to share in the bad as well as the good like they do with their girlfriends, while men, at least alpha males, don’t want to relive a bad day by going through it, and prefer to skip it and move on to something positive. A real eye-opener!

I hope you’re having a great week. I’m having a blast with reader e-mail. Lots of good questions with good lessons for all to learn, so keep them coming.

Once such letter is this one, which demonstrates the difference in the emotional make-up of men and women, that being that a woman’s emotional scale goes from zero to infinity, without regard for positive and negative, where a man’s scale goes from negative to none to positive, and the emotional upheaval that can come as a result of not understanding those differences and that both scales tend to run in the middle.

What exactly does that mean? What’s in the middle of a woman’s scale? A significant amount of emotional energy being absorbed and expended. What’s in the middle of a man’s emotional scale? Neutrality! Women need to have something going on pretty much all the time or they get bored stiff (their emotionometer goes to the far left, at zero emotion), where men don’t mind deviating from the middle a bit on an on-going basis, but the farther we stray and the longer, the more we’ll try to push things back toward that calm and simple state somewhere near the middle.

Note that on the “left” side of our emotionometer is the most negative, and to a large degree, both men and women exhibit a lot of the same symptoms when the needle moves to the left; extreme boredom makes a woman as agitated and physically uncomfortable as fear, anger, and pain to a man.

Without further ado, meet Alyson:

Dear David:

AAAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!! I need some help. I am totally frustrated! My husband and I have been married for a year now. We are happy and communicate wonderfully except in one area. When we sit down to dinner, that is our time to talk. I ask him how his day was and get the standard answers, fine, ok, good, rotten...etc. That's it, except when he is having an incredible day and tells me of the rewards. I want to know the good and the bad, but he won't talk about them. If he did tell me it would be great, I would continue to get to know him and how he functions and solves problems.

All other aspects of our marriage are great, he is kind, courteous and an incredible Alpha male but that one area drives me nuts. I have tried to prod and probe and he just says "leave it alone, I don't want to talk about it". What can I do to make him talk or am I going about it the wrong way, the nagging wife syndrome?

Can you help me?

Alyson

My response:

Hi Alyson!

I’m going to give you the answer that you need to hear, probably won’t like too much, but will have to accept because this is just how it is in the real world.

Men of action, achievers, the strong alpha male that women respond to with overwhelming and magical-feeling attraction, don’t like to dwell on problems, they like to fix them and get them out of the way. We learn whatever lessons these problems and solutions present and put the events behind us, taking only the lessons forward with us. This is part of what makes us who and what we are, because it is a huge influence on self-esteem and self-confidence, things which you and all women admire and want in a man.

We don’t like living through these events the first time, and to discuss them as women do, as an accounting of the day, as you no-doubt go through with your female friends, is like living through the problem a second time, dwelling on it, and having that negative influence of that frustration and aggravation eating at us all over again. It’s not that we don’t want you to know about the day or how we handle problems or anything else. We simply don’t want to relive a bad day and unnecessarily expose ourselves to those negative influences all over again, which can erode confidence and expends time and effort that could be spent in spending quality time with you or doing something else we enjoy, building achievements that we can celebrate with you, etc.

You’ll also notice that your husband does share his triumphs with you. This isn’t to brag and pound his chest; it’s an act of intimacy. When a man of action relives a victory with you, he’s inviting you to share in and celebrate something that is special to him: ACHIEVEMENT.

This celebration reinforces his feelings of strength and independence, and makes him better prepared to face the next day’s challenges. Bear in mind that being an alpha male and loner by nature, a genuine male achiever doesn’t need anyone else’s recognition or approval of his achievements; telling you about it is purely an act of sharing, of trust, and of intimacy, and not to be confused with the bragging of a man who one-upped someone by some trick of cunning or stroke of luck instead of through competently performing whatever tasks were at hand.

All of this is in stark contrast to the female social practice of sharing and even dramatizing everything that happens, indiscriminately reliving everything that has happened and trying to milk every last drop of emotional energy from it, regardless of whether it was a positive or negative event, and hence, whether they are bombarding themselves with positive or negative emotions.

(Gentlemen, you need to understand that they are not being nosy or trying to rub your nose in a bad day; this sharing is a reaching out for intimacy and when you just stomp on them for asking it’s a severe rejection, which we’ll discuss further in a minute, and it’s just as natural and automatic a drive as your own drive to bury negative things once they’ve been resolved and move forward.)

Women are frighteningly effective and efficient at this, and I must wonder how damaging this practice must be to women, and how much better their lives could be if they didn’t spend so much time and energy digging into negative emotions and drama and milking the emotion from it the way they do.

Take care,
David

I’ve never seen what I’m about to discuss in print, or heard anyone discuss it in any venue or forum, but it is statistically ridiculous that nobody in the 10,000 years of recent history has ever noticed it. I can’t help but also wonder if it’s never been mentioned in public because those who noticed feared the outrage that women might voice at the mere suggestion that negative emotions and negative drama could be bad for their psyche, self-esteem, and by virtue of the chemical impact of stress on the body, their health in general.

Nonetheless, you heard it here first, I have a hypothesis that I sorely want to test: that if women acted as men do in filtering out negative influences like those encountered in the ritual sharing of problems, especially those marathon drama-fests where the same problem is iterated over and over until everyone in the conversation gets bored with the repetition and moves on, this would leave them with time and energy to spend planning, achieving, celebrating and reaping the benefits of much more positive energy and influence on their psyche, emotional balance, and physical well-being, not to mention the boost in self-esteem and confidence and proportional drop in insecurities this would create.

This hypothesis is based on observation of a limited number of women, under 300, and of those, the ones who do not get bogged down in negative emotion are indeed much more happy, motivated, and successful than those who do. The evidence says that negative emotion creates physical stress in both males and females. I’m still looking for a way to test this hypothesis on a very wide scale, and if anyone hears of an existing study, I’d like to know about it immediately. I’ve also noticed that highly successful women who would be easily recognized as “achievers” don’t tend to spend time in “drama-fests” or conduct their affairs in the typical “management by committee” style that many women use, involving a dozen girlfriends in every question or crisis that arises. What I’ve seen doesn’t yet support an absolute conclusion, but it does beg the question, and you can look around you and see what you see just as easily as I can.

A word for the ladies reading this: Please think about this, Ladies. I realize that the concept sounds like suggesting you cut off your arm, more accurately, like you cut out a piece of your heart, emotionally speaking, but look at your own life and assess how much time you have spent in the last day, week, month, year, etc., indulging in negative emotions to milk the rush from them before setting to the task of solving and eliminating the problem, and try to get some feel for how much time you spent that you could have spent doing other more positive, productive and rewarding things, and what your life might be like right now if you had spared yourself all that negative influence and had those extra achievements and decreased stress from less time pressure. Also consider what impact that might have on your self-esteem, and hence, your level of security or competitiveness. If you feel comfortable talking about it, I’d love to hear from you, and would love to eventually do a formal study of a group of women, but this is strictly for your benefit, and I’m sure that if you are objective in your assessment, you’ll find that you could have done a lot with that time and positive energy.

Now that everyone hopefully understands where everyone else stands on the issue, and the origin and nature of the behavior, let’s talk about what can be done to bring everybody closer together. Ladies, don’t feel like a man is being closed off or rejecting you when he doesn’t want to relive a bad day. Be glad that you have a partner who is an achiever and is strong enough to do this instead of doing what many men do: whining and acting weak and pissy, and sometimes getting caught up in the frustration and abusing you to release the frustration that something or somebody else caused. That makes him look like a girlfriend instead of a man, and kills your attraction and respect for him.

Gentlemen, be aware that any time a woman is asking you questions about yourself in any non-accusatory, non-confrontational context, she’s trying to learn about you, trying to be closer to you, so don’t just stomp on her if she’s asking about something you don’t want to talk about. Give her the gift of a little understanding and dignity by telling her that it was one of those days that was bad enough the first time you lived through it, and rather than going through it all over again and reliving all that negative emotion, you would rather put that part of the day behind you and give her the best part of your day, the enjoyable part, and rather than rehash bad memories it would be far better for both of you to use the time to make some new, positive memories. The idea is to lead her to a better subject to discuss than to bully her away from the subject she is trying to discuss.

When you do tell her about things, tell her as much as you can about the emotional aspects of it, the details that let her feel what you felt, and while it is still not good to rehash the really bad stuff, you could share the neutral to positive things with her to give her some part of the day. It may not have been something you thought worth celebrating, but it’s still something that she can examine to get to know you better (even after several decades of being together, this is still an issue, believe it or not), and it helps eliminate that illusion that you are trying to shut her out. This was the best compromise found by our test group, but is by no means the only possible compromise. If you can find something that works better for you, write about it, and we can possibly discuss it here. If readers were more active, it might inspire me to set up some blog or discussion forum software on the website to allow you interact and exchange ideas and success stories directly, but I won’t be going through that trouble and expense without seeing that those resources, if provided, would be used for the benefit of a significant group of people, so if you want it, get involved by e-mail or my newsletter blog at
http://blog.makingherhappy.com and let’s see where it goes.

There you have it, the answer to one of the toughest problems in any good relationship. In my men’s book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” men are instructed about women’s social mechanisms and their need to share, and encouraged to be sensitive to those needs to whatever degree possible, as well as many other critical topics and skills in the areas of relationship evaluation and understanding, communications with women, and a wealth of knowledge about attraction, that magical feeling poets refer to as “being in love,” including how it works, how to create it, and how to kill it (like making your partner feel shut out!), which is the beginning of trouble of paradise and the end of more relationships than you can imagine. In case it’s not obvious, these are all the very things that women REALLY want from a man!

Relationships can survive without a lot of things, even without love to some degree, but they seldom survive without effective communication and attraction, so don’t let it happen to you. Jump on over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy today, because life is too short to spend it bored, fighting, or worst of all, lonely.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reader Concerns with Lie Detection in Relationships and Marriage

A reader questions whether I may be over-emphasizing lie detection in relationship evaluation and improvement efforts. Not at all. Read and see why…

Have you ever met a true optimist? Somebody so intent on seeing the positive that they refuse to see the negative even when it’s there? I got a letter from one today that brings up an interesting point. Meet Karl:

Hello David,

I read your article about lie detection techniques a few days ago and it’s been on my mind frequently ever since. I’m a trusting person by nature, and while I’ve been hurt several times by people who have lied to me, I still prefer to try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I just can’t live my life going from minute to minute being paranoid about whether everyone is lying to me. If I did, I would surely lose my mind.

Karl

(Karl is referring to the article on Lie Detection in my free 45-page “Break-Up Busting 101” report, which you can download
along with my free 50-page “What Women REALLY Want Report”. Both are streamlined and printer-friendly in PDF format, and feel free to share both of them with your friends!)

My reply:

Me too, Karl. But because I know how to tell with near-100% accuracy when someone is telling me a lie, I also know how to tell with near-100% accuracy when someone is telling me the truth! Hence, I’m never paranoid or even concerned about whether anyone is lying to me.

If you know and practice lie detection, it becomes second-nature, very automatic. Lie detection is also, by definition, truth detection, as one cannot exist except in contrast to the other; there is no state in between “true” and “not true,” although some politicians would love to have you believe otherwise. Can you see the very positive ramifications of this?

If you’re feeling a bit stressed about how things are going at work, and someone says to you, “Well, I know you’ll pull through,” what do you do? Most of the time, nothing, because you don’t know if that person is just being polite, really has that much confidence in you, or knows something bad is about to happen and wants to see you fall on your face or doesn’t feel comfortable sharing it with you. But…

If you are a competent lie detector, and hence a competent truth detector, you can take their statement as a vote of confidence or as a sign that they know something you don’t and that things are going to work out. If you knew that they were lying, you’ve identified either an enemy or somebody who knows what your enemy knows.

What about at home, where the stakes are even higher? Forget the petty suspicions about infidelity for a minute and let’s focus on common, every day practical issues, like you’re unsure that what you are wearing is attractive or appropriate and you ask for your partner’s input. If they say you look nice and you can tell they are telling the truth, it helps your self-image and makes you more confident, which in turn makes you more fun and attractive. If you detect that they don’t like it and they are lying to try to protect your feelings, you can try something else instead of continuing to be guarded and uncomfortable for the remainder of the evening, constantly wondering if everyone who sees you is mentally laughing at your bad taste.

There is absolutely no downside to being able to know when anyone is telling you the truth or a lie, and the upside is virtually boundless, especially if you look at the more positive aspects of acting with more confidence when you know that you can act upon what others tell you.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


Trust, confidence and accurate communication are indescribably critical to a long-lasting, fun and exciting relationship. Without them, you can continue on auto-pilot for awhile, pretty much as long as the attraction and the novelty hold out, but if you don’t know how attraction is made or destroyed, you can bet you’ll end up inadvertently destroying it, and then you’re in a pickle to say the least – no fun, lots of trouble, and insufficient communications skills to discuss everything and work out a happy ending.

They’re also critical to getting out of a bad relationship with your dignity and at least a fair share of your accumulated wealth intact. Yes, it is possible to trust someone you’re splitting up with, if your communications skills and lie (truth) detection skills are such that you can come to an agreement about leaving a bad relationship instead of making someone feel crappy about it and want to punish you for it. So no matter what you do, you need to develop these skills.

And, there’s great news! In my book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," you will learn all of that and more. There’s no need for your relationship to ever fall into crisis due to boredom, lack of attraction, poor communications, or fights that never seem to accomplish anything except driving you farther apart. Get over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get what you need to get your relationship on track and then kick it up to notches previously unknown, because fighting for your relationship is infinitely more rewarding than fighting over your relationship!

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

There's a Time and Place for Naughty Play, If You Want it to Enhance Your Relationship and Marriage

There are times and places for the naughty play that gets a woman into that excited state that eventually leads to sex, and there is are times and places where it’s counter-productive to say the least. You’d best learn them if you want to create attraction instead of killing it.

There are two very old sayings that a man needs to keep in mind when creating attraction for the woman he loves, or any woman for that matter: “Moderation is the key to all things,” and that old real estate and business charm, “Location, location, location.” Meet Thad:

Hello David,

I’ve been reading your newsletter for awhile, and I’ve picked up on what you say about building sexual tension throughout the day with doing naughty things and picking at her, and sometimes it makes her look at me like I’m dinner and other times she gets mad and won’t talk to me until the next day. Like a few days ago, she was standing in the kitchen and I snuck up behind her and made a slightly lewd remark about her getting my dinner ready or I was going to have her behind, and gave her a playful spank to reinforce the sexuality of the comment, and she grinned and picked right back at me with something to the effect of if I messed with her I wouldn’t get any dinner because I’d be doing her in the kitchen. But today I picked her up for lunch and she wanted to go to a fast food place because she was in a hurry, and we were standing in line about to order and she asked if I knew what I wanted. I squeezed her butt and said, “Yeah, some more of this,” and she gave me a drop dead look, walked out of the place, and jumped in a cab. I tried calling her twice at work and she wouldn’t take my calls, and when she came home I asked what was wrong, and she said if she had to tell me we had a bigger problem than she was willing to continue to live with, and would be leaving, so I’d better be figuring it out. I’m lost. Do you have any idea what I did to tick her off and what I can do to fix it?

Thanks in advance,

Thad

Well, Thad, I can tell you what you did wrong, and what to do to fix it, but I’m not going to make any promises about how well you like the answer. What you did wrong was arm yourself with just enough information to get yourself in big trouble instead of getting the all the information you need plus how to use it, and you humiliated your wife or girlfriend (we’ll talk about that issue momentarily, by the way – you don’t even mention which she is, which smells a bit of disrespect for her), bad enough that I’m frankly surprised she’s giving you a chance to correct the problem.

First of all, you were apparently insensitive to the fact that wanting to go to a fast food joint because she was in a hurry might have meant that she didn’t really have time to go out with you for lunch at all, and was either trying to be polite or you didn’t give her a way of negotiating her way out of lunch by asking her if she still had time to do it. That tension alone can put a woman on edge enough to make her react badly to a small thing, and this was no small thing by any stretch of the imagination. Grabbing a woman’s behind in public, especially using the language you did, and double-especially if anybody overheard you, is just about as disrespectful and demeaning as you can get; indeed, your average prostitute might even have more self-respect than to tolerate what you did.

Naughty attitude and sexy playfulness is an integral part of intimacy, which by definition, means deeply personal and private. Imagine if you were being goofy, and did that idiotic thing guys do by hanging a towel or piece of clothing on your erect organ, or maybe a sock puppet, something that was meant for nobody in the world but her to see, and she posted a video of the whole act on a web page for everyone on the Internet, including some people who knew and respected you (there may have been one or more of her coworkers in that restaurant!!!) to see. Do you think you might want to crawl under something and hide for about 20 years until everybody forgot about it? That’s how she felt when you did that.

You took something intimate out of context, and that made it cheap and disrespectful, and now that you’ve done that, touching her behind in any context is liable to fire off a mental anchor and bring back that memory and feeling of humiliation for her. You’re standing on your toes in a cesspool, the sewage is over your mouth and about to go up your nose and drown you. Count your blessings. Men have died for less.

I don’t know if your problem is entirely ignorance, or if it is also born of general disrespect for women. You don’t provide enough information to deduce that, but do you realize that nowhere in your letter do you disclose whether this woman is your wife or your girlfriend? It sounds as if she’s just really not important to you; indeed, you not only omit her status in your life, but her name as well, referring to her only as “her” and “she.” If “she” were to read that, you might find yourself living alone very quickly. Relationship status is EXTREMELY important to women, and they are constantly evaluating them, which is what gives rise to the vast majority of the testing they do. And make no mistake; you will NEVER have a satisfying relationship with a woman if you don't respect her, because respect is part of love.

The first thing you need to do in attempting to rectify this situation, which I don’t know is even possible at this point, is to apologize to her and explain that you’ve been trying to learn to do things to improve your relationship and acted on something you read but apparently took out of context, that you now realize how grossly disrespectful it was and that it will never happen again. If you still don’t see that it was disrespectful, you’ve got a lot of personal growth to accomplish (read “growing up to do”) before I will be able to help you further.

The other thing you can do is what a great many people reading this newsletter need to do: Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and read it, follow the instructions and examples, and incorporate everything it describes into your true self so that relationship assessment, effective inter-gender communications, and creating (instead of killing) attraction aren’t just second nature, they are FIRST nature to you, things that you do so easily and naturally that you no longer have to think about them, and which make the woman you love know beyond any doubt that no matter how many men there are in the world, you are the one for her. Do this, and you will find that she will richly reward you with all the nurturing, support, and intimacy that she can muster, automatically! “Making Her Happy” is the key to making you both happy. Try it and see.

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

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nice Guys, Naughty Boys, and Bad Boys: Which Makes for a Great Relationship and Marriage?

A reader letter sparks a discussion of the differences between “naughty boy,” and “bad boy.” He was a nice guy and lost his wife to a bad boy while he was learning to be a real man with a naughty boy side that comes out to play when appropriate.

Letters like the one I’m about to show you are a bittersweet challenge; bitter because they attest to someone being in real pain, but sweet because they show someone taking responsibility for their life and making improvements, even in the face of hardship. Meet Todd:

David,

Six months ago my wife and I separated because it was just to the point I could not live with her and all the fights we were having everyday of our lives. We agreed to part company and get lives of our own. So I decided to work on improving myself in hopes that I could find out once and for all if I was the cause of our breakup as she claimed I was.

The fist step I took was reading up on relationships and other vital parts of a good marriage. I read all lot of crap before I found your book and I have to tell you it made the most sense of anything I’ve read. The problems you describe seemed like a roadmap to how my life fell apart, and the solutions were certainly doable. After making some changes in my life I realized just how much I loved my wife and that our marriage fell apart because I had become the "NICE GUY" so I put a big stop to that at once.

I wanted to try and work things out with my wife and to become a family again, but to my surprise she has gone off the deep end. She has been going out with a real "BAD BOY". He is unshaven, unclean looking, and every word out of his mouth is “the f-word” or some variation of it. He treats her like his very own slave, always ordering her around and telling her what to wear or not to wear and acting like he is her lord and master. I know she is a grown woman, but I truly think it has gone on for so long now she is scared to break it off.

What I am saying is I want my wife and family back and I am not afraid to fight for them, I am just not sure how to make the first step to let her see I am still responsible and take my family obligations serious, but I am no longer that nice guy pushover I use to be. Have any suggestions as to how I can get her out and show her the new man I am now without causing this bastard to either hurt her or cause me to have to hurt him?

Todd (x nice guy, and yes, you can print this)

My reply:

Damn, Todd! That’s a mess, and my heart goes out to you, really. I’m at a bit of a loss here because of a few missing details, so I’m going to take a stab at it based on some deductions and inferences and if I miss the mark somewhere you’ll just have to write back and clear up a detail or two. First of all, you say “separated,” not “divorced,” and you say “family” as if it were a separate entity from “wife,” implying that there are kids, so it would seem that you should have frequent opportunities to see each other under guise of visitation. Believe me, if you are indeed the new man you feel that you’ve become, she’ll notice. The big question is…

…do you really want her back? I understand that you have my book and have read it, but have you been brutally honest with yourself in the relationship evaluation and found that the two of you are indeed a great match, or have you been caught up in some idea of “proving yourself,” “winning her back,” etc., and haven’t inserted the new data into the equation?

If my wife had left and I found that she had taken up with such a man as you describe (and she wouldn’t because she does demand both respect and self-respect of a man), I’m pretty sure that I would not want her back, because even in spite of the power of attraction, a woman of any quality should be able to at least insist on decent personal hygiene (because it’s a sign of self-respect) and being able to form a sentence without a sexual vulgarity before getting close enough to a man to allow the other, more driving factors of attraction, such as his defining authority and exerting authority over her, to come into play. Attraction doesn’t happen for a woman without interaction; she must first experience curiosity and then intrigue before true attraction takes hold at a level strong enough to cloud her thinking severely, and she had plenty of time to make a choice.

Also, If you do “win her back,” will you want her back? Will you be able to live with the idea that she chose this scumbag, slept with him, and allowed herself to be treated in this way? And that she exposed your children to him? Indeed, at this point, your best option might be to renegotiate your custody agreement or whatever to try to protect your children from this seemingly controlling predator.

People make mistakes, and can be forgiven, but forgiving and forgetting are as unrelated as love and attraction, and you’ve got to try to determine how often the thought of the two of them together is going to weigh on YOU. You must decide whether you can live with that without feeling like YOU are settling.

Your choice should be about what is BEST FOR YOU, not proving something. Wusses do things to prove things; real men do things to get them done and enjoy the benefit of their completion. Check your motivation, and if you can be honest with yourself, your next move should be self-evident. Write me if it’s not.

Take care,
David

Gentlemen, before you make the mistake of thinking you wish a woman would respond to you the way this woman responded to this bad boy, think again. You could not possibly respect a woman behaving in this manner, and without respect, there can be no love. The personality you are after is not that of a “bad boy,” as described above. He’s insecure and has no self-respect, which is what causes him to be dominating, constantly vulgar and abusive. Who wants to live like that??? Do you want a woman, especially one you love and therefore value, to fear you or to love you in return, to serve you or to enjoy you? This “bad boy” character is an alpha dog, not an alpha male.

The alpha male is confident, and people follow him because the projects competence and they respect him because he respects himself. He defines authority and exercises it through leadership, not despotism or dictatorship. And when he’s not being a “great guy,” he’s being “naughty,” not “criminal.” People want to be around him and want to follow his example; they don’t fear leaving his presence or his disappointment. He’s fun to be around when the naughty side shows up, not simply tolerable when things are going his way like the bad boy is.

You’re smart (else you wouldn’t still be reading this!), so I’m sure you get the picture, but do you know how to become and live as – not just act like – the alpha male? Do you know how to know if you’re paired up with a good partner who will appreciate you being all that you can be? Do you know how to effectively communicate with your partner so that you don’t end up in a mess like Todd did when his wife tried to tell him what was happening and he didn’t speak “girly-tongue” well enough to understand that she was trying to tell him something that would help? Logic dictates that if you did, at least to an effective degree, it’s unlikely that you would be reading this, so do what a real man would do:

Take responsibility for your life, and act to improve it, for your own sake and for that of your whole family if you and your partner have built one. Start by jumping over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and getting your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” because it works, and life’s too short to mess around guessing, wondering and experimenting when a group of intelligent people have already come together, figured it out, tested, proven it, and a guy with a knack for telling it like it is has put it in an instantly downloadable electronic document that you can read on any device that will display or print a PDF file. C’mon! I dare ya… ;-) And for you Southerners, I double-dog-dare ya…

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