Saturday, July 19, 2008

You Can't Kill Time Without Injuring Eternity -- Taking Action in Relationships and Marriage

What could it be costing you to put off dealing with your relationship problems until tomorrow? I’ll wager that it’s a lot more than you might think…

I was out running some errands one afternoon and noticed a sign in front of a church that read, “You can’t kill time without injuring eternity.” I don’t know how they may be looking at that sentence, or if they fully realize its meaning, but the instant I read it I was reminded of a bunch of letters I’ve received from people who were having problems. I’m not going to disclose their names or anything personally identifiable because being in such a predicament is stressful and embarrassing enough for them, but I want you to see the kinds of things that can happen when you let little problems go unresolved (each paragraph is from a different reader comment or letter):

I filed for divorce after he physically abused me, so poor choice in mate, he wouldn't take your site seriously, so wish you all the best of success. You have some great advice and wonderful readers.

Question: we split up and now she is seeing someone else ... any advice on how to win her heart back?

issue 2: my wife starts sex when she wants & not when I want this has gone on so long that I don't even bother trying to be sexy with her, once again we have spoken but this ends up in a shouting match

Question: My wife and I have been married for 18 years. We haven’t had sex more than once every few months since our second anniversary, and I’m sick of it. Can you help us?

Issue 1: for years my wife won’t kiss me I tell her it hurts but she says there’s no need. My wife thinks I am odd because I want a kiss & cuddle from her but she wont when I tell her how I feel she ends up shouting at me then crying then sayings things will change & they do for a day or two then she is the same cold person with me, can I go on for the rest of my live feeling so unloved by her, I am 42 after 17 years marriage.

issue 6: after reading the above, even though I am not sure that I could leave her as we have 2 children but is there any point if feeling so low all the time & never seeing the light should I leave whilst I am able to start a new life, this would be the hardest ting that I have ever even thought about.

You need to know that my wife of 4 1/2 yrs (dated for one, lived together for one, then married) has decided to divorce me. We have a two year old son. She says she's lost her feelings for me, she doesn't hate me, she still cares about me, she still likes me as a friend, but the love is gone. There are some side issues, but nothing that I believe is the real problem. I have been coming to realize that I have been "weak" not asserting my "alpha male" thing. I suppose I have always wanted to please her, and when we have a problem (fight) I always give in, or she always "wins". I think that I need to get stronger, before this divorce is final. How can I win her back? How can I show her that I am attractive (physically, emotionally, etc.) How can I trigger the emotions I believe are still there? We had a fantastic dating life, we had a great marriage, then after my son was born I assumed the "father role" and quit all the romanticisms, and stopped helping out around the house and didn't help out with the child-care. I have come to grips with the fact that I lacked in those areas, and am willing to change, but I need to "win her back" first. What can I do before it's too late? Oh, I hope you can give me some good advice. I hope there is something I can do before it's too late. Please, help! I love my son, and my wife, I want this family to be unified again!

Do you see what’s going on here? These people have let problems fester for months, and even years, and there are some things that should be jumping off the page at you. First, and most important, is that they steadily get worse. You’ll also notice that it doesn’t matter if the deterioration of their relationship is fast or slow, the result is the same; they are either terminally unhappy and holding on out of fear, or they’re divorcing, and it’s not so easy to get out of or get over a 20-year relationship and start over in your forties or fifties, and one of these readers is in his sixties, and the wife he refers to is his second wife.

They’re all reaching out for help now, and most of them have chosen or will choose to accept it, but look at how many years they’ve spent being miserable that they could have spent being happy with each other if they had addressed their problems early and corrected them at that time. What’s the old saying? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

Financially speaking, with divorce and the burden of legal fees, settling estates that may value as high as in the millions and more, alimony, child support, etc., an ounce of prevention would seem worth hundreds or thousands of tons of cure. Anybody want to compute the return on investment there?

Emotionally, it’s the same story; you can make a few small changes and live happily or fail to maintain your relationship properly and live miserably for years before finally either trying to undo the damage you’ve done or getting so sick of each other you go to war, pronounced “divorce court,” and then have to start over, and be miserable and alone during what should be the prime of your life.

Every minute you spend putting off a solution holds the potential for one more mean-spirited and vengeful remark that can never be taken back, one more vengeful or stupid act that can’t be undone, one more bell that can never be unrung. And the more pain you inflict and endure, the harder it is to fix the problem. Any takers on the prevention offer?

The offer is this: Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and read it, learn a few really important things about relationships, women, and how to get along with them, and do a few cool and fun things as a result. Then watch what happens! It will save you years of misery and a small (or maybe large!) fortune that you’ll get to spend in your retirement with your wife instead of giving it all away to her and her lawyers to go somewhere else and enjoy while you sit around heartbroken, financially ruined, and wondering what happened.

Life is short, too short to miss a chance, and second chances rarely come around. If you’re reading this, you’re looking for a second chance, and it’s here, staring you straight in the face. Jump on it.

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

David Cunningham

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kissing Ass Never Saved a Good Relationship or Marriage

About any trained salesperson will tell you that to resolve any conflict, you should always agree. That’s ill-advised when a woman is involved. Why? Do you relish the idea of wearing the label of “WUSS”?

I generally try to focus on what works and avoid discussion of what doesn’t, but over the years I’ve run into some advice that has the potential to be extremely dangerous, based on what I’ve observed and proven in my own research. Over the next two days, I want to talk about that advice and show you both the pitfalls of following that advice and a much safer tactic that I found to be entirely effective in real-world application.

Today’s issue will concern the advice to “always agree” to resolve conflict, and tomorrow’s will be the idea of trying to stop a divorce (or any kind of break-up) before thoroughly evaluating a relationship to see if indeed it should be stopped, because a great many relationships that break up do so because the participants are horribly mismatched and should have never come together in the first place.

Now, let’s talk about this business of always agreeing to resolve conflict. This is a very old basic tactic used by sales people to overcome objections to a sales pitch, and has been taken out of context for use in relationship problem and dispute resolution. The idea is to agree to get the other person to calm down and let you disagree peacefully while you steer them around to your point of view.

There are a couple of big pitfalls in this premise. First, holding a relationship together is a matter of cooperation, not of salesmanship. Women communicate on a level that is so far above men that they will immediately recognize this as just a tactic more often than not (it has always been known to work better on men than women anyway – remember, I’m also a marketing and management consultant, and this was something I used to be intimately involved in and teach almost daily). To make matters worse, when you give in to a woman to quell a stressful situation, you are instantly labeled a wuss! Really! You think not? You’re gonna love this:

I got several of the women “advisors” on the phone and told them about the “always agree advice,” and the most common response was a tie between “You’ve got to be kidding!” and “Oh my God! They didn’t say that!” Their overwhelming consensus was that a woman will lose any respect she still has left for a man who deploys such a tactic because women hate it when a man just gives in instead of holding out for what’s right. Now, notice I said “holding out for WHAT’S right,” not “holding out to BE right.” Hang with me here…

As a little background, while the biggest cause of rocky relationships, fighting, and destructive competition in relationships is incompatibility, the biggest cause of break-ups and divorce is lost attraction. This happens to a woman when a man just stops being manly, fun, and interesting, and the woman gets bored and wants out, or gets bored and plays around and gets caught. (Women do things that cause men to lose attraction for them too, but I’m writing to the men today.)

The last thing in the world you want to do under those circumstances is something wussy like always agreeing with her every gripe, because some of her gripes are not going to be real gripes, but rather tests to see if you are going to remember that you are a man and stand up against an obvious falsehood. A woman’s first criteria in evaluating a man is “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me.”

The next big thing you want to avoid is use the words “I” or especially “YOU” at the beginning of a sentence during an argument or while the problem is being identified. Once you start pointing fingers, talking about people instead of issues, the conflict escalates and everybody loses. What’s the right move?

First, you must understand that women don’t speak to report information. Everything with them is a negotiation. They make statements to ask questions and ask questions to make statements, and will seldom if ever state the obvious. It’s all very diplomatic, even when they are just angry as hell. To keep from escalating what’s already a very delicate and volatile situation, you must shift the focus from “I” or “YOU” to “WE,” and then to the actual ISSUE. “WE have a problem, and it is [whatever the problem is], so what can WE do to fix it?” You must absolutely shift the focus from “WHO” is the problem to “WHAT” is the problem as much as possible to address the issues instead of the blame for and emotions caused by the issues. For example…

Let’s say you have the stereotypical male habit of grabbing the TV remote and starting to channel surf every time you come into the room, and she resents the hell out of you being so disrespectful of her to interrupt something she is watching without asking. She starts out by saying, “You really make me mad as hell when you just start flipping channels when I’m watching something.” (That’s the statement she’ll be making with the question that you’ll actually hear: “How would you feel if I changed the channel while you were watching TV?” Or she might take the opposite tack, saying, “Didn’t you see me sitting here watching that?” meaning, “You inconsiderate jerk! I was watching that, and now I’m pissed off at you.” Statements are questions and questions are statements, remember?) If you respond with, “Well then why didn’t YOU tell ME?” it comes across as blaming her for your ignorance and disrespect, and that won’t fly.

If you respond with, “I’m sorry. I’LL let YOU be in charge of the remote from now on,” you’ve probably just ensured that you won’t have sex again for about 2 months, whether she does or not, because you just gave in. Something like, “Well, it’s MY house and MY TV and I’LL change the channel whenever I feel like it,” will get you more punishment over the coming months than you could ever fathom, and you won’t know that most of it hit you.

She wants you to take the lead in decision-making and be a stand-up guy, but in trade for sanctioning that position of leadership, she reserves the right to an input channel, in ALL negotiations, and you have to respect that or pay a price that you will invariably find you don’t want to pay, so you’re only option is to recognize that a negotiation has begun, and negotiate cooperatively, responding with something like, “Then WE obviously need to come to some kind of agreement here so that WE don’t continue to have this problem.”

Now you have her attention, and respect, because you have followed the form that she needs to follow to ensure involvement and a fair hearing. At this point it becomes okay to say “I” and “you” as long as you aren’t slinging mud with them. The purpose here is a peaceful and equitable settlement, resolving a problem, not winning a battle, remember?

Follow up with something like, “I didn’t realize that you were interested in that show, and to be honest, I probably never gave it due consideration. In the future, I will make sure that you aren’t enjoying a show before I change the channel. Will that satisfy you?”

Now, there are several really big things that you need to notice in that. First, you will notice that nowhere are you directly apologizing. You are indirectly apologizing by saying “never gave it DUE consideration,” and that is important, because you are acknowledging the mistake without being a big mushy wuss about it. Believe it or not, the words “I’m sorry” should rarely if ever come out of your mouth; acknowledging your mistakes in a manner that says that you should have performed better or with more consideration of her input is almost always enough and even preferred because it refers to something specific instead of a generic apology that everybody gets all the time. (If there’s ever a time that it’s not enough, she’ll let you know.)

Next, you are offering the first suggestion for the resolution, again, taking the lead, but not dictating terms. It doesn’t matter whether your idea is perfect for her or not, just as long as it’s not asinine. It’s a negotiation, and she will let you know if she sees any part of your suggestion as unsatisfactory. Taking the lead like this is a HUGE deal to a woman; a man who won’t lead, can’t make decisions, and can’t consider the input of others in decisions isn’t worth having around, just as any man who can’t stand up TO her can’t be expected to stand up FOR her. It’s really that simple.

Also notice that you ask if your suggestion will “satisfy her.” You are not asking if it is “okay for her,” or anything that sounds even remotely like you are asking her permission to proceed in this manner, which is also good for several months of celibacy as you shatter any respect for you she may still be holding. You are asking for her input, inviting her to take part in the negotiation in which she expects to engage. Incidentally, she will punish you severely for shutting her out of it or giving in to avoid it. What’s next?

Chances are, in this simple example, she would have been satisfied with this plan because it fully addresses her issue, but you’re not done yet. She cannot have the last word, because whomever has the last word makes the decision, and you must be the one to formally declare the decision made. After she says, “Yes, that will do,” or whatever, then you must wrap it up with the formal declaration, something like, “Then that is precisely what I will do in the future, and if you catch me slipping, I expect you to remind me of it and let me fix it instead of jumping down my throat about it. I will do my best to treat you with the same respect. We are adults and partners and we can both do a much better job of handling problems. I don’t want us to be one of these couples that fight all the time over everything any more than you do.”

That’s leadership, and it gets you more than a solution to your problem, it gets you respect and trust, which in turn creates attraction, which breeds intimacy, and starts an upward spiral that may last anywhere from minutes to years, depending on how diligent you are about acting like a man – a REAL man.

Relationships aren’t always easy, especially when they start coming apart. Indeed, they’re a lot like houses. If the relationship has a solid foundation, it can usually be repaired; if not, it’s better to tear it down and start over. We’ll be talking about how to determine that tomorrow.

For today, just realize that as a man, to make any relationship work, you have to be able to assess the relationship to see if and how well it is working and compare that to how well it can work. You have to be able to communicate with a woman in a way that is considerate of her communication style, which is grossly different from a man’s to say the least; otherwise you can never even identify the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship, let alone fix them.

You also have to understand what it is that makes a woman tick -- what she wants, out of life, her relationship with you, etc., and what flips her switches, especially those that trigger sexual interest and excitement and create that emotion that women will literally kill to have and maintain, full-blown swept-off-her-feet sexual attraction. Sounds like the Holy Grail of relationships, doesn’t it? While it’s true that men have searched for centuries to find such knowledge, this grail has been found, it’s been right under our noses the whole time, and to make things about as embarrassing as they can possibly get, the women have been trying to tell us where it is!

Well, I finally listened, wrote it all down, gave it back to the women it came from to see if I had translated it right and then gave it to their husbands to use to make sure it was accurate. It was then refined and tested again until it was working for everybody involved after we found that there were a few things that women thought they wanted that they didn’t want at all after they got them.

No matter what you have tried, no matter what the state of your current relationship, there’s a lot of information in this book that will help you make it better. Readers have busted their own divorces with it in as little as a week, others have kicked their relationships up to notches previously unknown, while some have found that they have been in the wrong relationship with the wrong person and that getting out was the first step in getting on the real path to happiness, for EVERYONE involved.

This book is called "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and you can download your copy now at
http://www.makingherhappy.com. Don’t wait, don’t sit there wondering if it will work for you, and don’t waste time asking me if it will work for you. It will, so just grab it and growl, because life is too short to spend it unhappy, scared, frustrated, bored, celibate, angry, or any of those other nasty things that bad relationships make you feel.

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

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Can Your Kids Teach You About Building a Great Relationship and Marriage?

Did you ever notice a couple of teens getting hot and heavy in a public place? Ever wish you could go back to those days? You can, if you’ll just let yourself…

Those of you who have read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” understand how and why a small boy knows more about attracting a female than most adult males seem to. Have you ever wondered what else you might learn from children about how to be an adult, or at least how to enjoy being one? Ask Dawn:

Dear David,

I am not sure how to word this so it does not sound like I have been spying on my daughter. The truth is at 16 I do watch her closely, probably a lot more then most parents.

There is one major thing that I have noticed about her and her new boyfriend is how they look and talk to each other. At such a young age they seem to understand many of the things you talk about better then most men who have many more years on them. Its just seems so open and honest and that the attraction between the two of them is not only red hot but that it is what as an adult I want in a man.

How can it be they know at their tender age so much about attraction and all the older men I know seem to know nothing?

Dawn

My reply:

Well Dawn, it’s not what they know, it’s what they don’t know. In fact, it’s what they’ve not yet learned: inhibition! Their hormones are raging and their youth and inexperience is making the exploration of themselves and each other exciting, so once they get past the awkwardness of the invitation to the first date and get into each other, they could care less about whether they’ve gained a couple of pounds, they have a little razor stubble, whether the kids might walk through the bedroom door and catch them, what might be going on at work next week, what that noise downstairs might have been, whether the dry cleaning has been picked up, what their friends or family might be doing, or any of the other things that men and women allow to interfere with their “quality time.”

They just let go, and do what comes natural. When was the last time that you tried it? You say you want that kind of heat and passion, but who’s keeping you from having it, other than yourself? Don’t worry about two pounds you gained during the holidays; when the lights are out or his eyes are closed, he’ll never be able to tell the difference, except you might feel just a little better pulled up close to him.

I’d just as quickly chastise the men for letting things interfere with passion in this manner. Lock the damned bedroom door, for crying out loud! Worry about what’s going on at work next week when next week gets here, or while you’re at work tomorrow morning. Unless that noise downstairs is followed by a scream, a barking animal, an alarm bell, a crash or explosion, or the sound of an adult voice cursing, it can wait until after you and your partner have enjoyed each other.

There is no aphrodisiac in the world that will guarantee good sex tonight or tomorrow night (or in the morning!) like good sex last night! Don’t let the world put a damper on your sex life. Get yourself up to Alpha Male standards, fire that woman up, and get into her and let her get into you like you did when you were teenagers. If you need a little help turning the clock back, go to a drive-in instead of renting a DVD, or get a room in a cheap hotel, not the kind you would rent today, but the kind you rented when you were a teenager and weren’t supposed to be renting a room! Add that seedy, naughty flavor to the mix, and play up the mischief, nostalgia, and “getting away with something” angles. Have fun with it – and each other!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David Cunningham

Gentlemen, everywhere you look is something that can help you to revive and enhance your relationship if you know what to look for. Knowing what to look for comes from having that romantic, can-do hero’s attitude and knowing what women want. You don’t have to be young, rich, powerful, or drive a fancy car to get your wife’s attention; you just have to be a man, a REAL man, the man she went crazy over and married. If you want to keep her attention, you keep her guessing, not at whether you’ll be around tomorrow, or have a job next week, but at what kind of excitement you’re going to create for her today. Will it be walking into a room like you own it, telling a grand tale, or whisking her off to some fun place or activity? The choice is yours, and she expects you to make it.

Women have affairs because they are bored, not because they don’t love their husbands anymore; lost love comes well after lost attraction, if it comes at all (ever heard that bit, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore,”?). All you need to become a master of attraction and supreme boredom-fighter, the confident ultimate male who knows what women, especially his partner, want is contained in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and you procrastinate at reading and using it at your own peril. Get ahead of the curve and stay there by going to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and downloading your copy right now, and bring back that passion, intimacy, and honeymoon, because life’s too short to spend it playing catch-up.

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

David Cunningham

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Believe It Or Not, Your DIET Can Destroy Your Relationship and Marriage

There are some foods that should never be in a man’s diet (and probably nobody’s diet) because they block testosterone uptake and make him develop female characteristics and tendencies, as well as kill his libido. Yes, I’m serious, and you may be eating a lot of one of them in particular, the worst offender of all…

Those of you who have read my bio know that I’ve got a strong medical background for a non-physician; I’ve also been an herbalist since my teens and shell out about a thousand dollars a year on subscriptions to the best medical newsletters in existence, most of which are written by doctors and researchers who blow the whistle on the fallacies and frauds of mainstream medicine.

One topic that keeps coming up in ALL of these newsletters is that study after study is PROVING (not SUGGESTING) that plant estrogens attach to testosterone receptors and keep testosterone from being utilized in the male body, which in turn causes men to become less masculine, and in too many cases start becoming feminine, even to the extent of having their voice rise in pitch and developing female-like breasts and lactating in extreme cases. And, since testosterone promotes libido in both men and women, blocking the utilization of testosterone decreases libido! BAD IDEA!

(It does the same thing in the female body, which decreases a woman’s libido, and since she already has all the estrogen her body can tolerate, is also being proven to promote cancer, since estrogen’s main purpose in the body is to cause the proliferation of cells, which is normally is balanced by other chemicals in the body until a surplus is created by overactive adrenal glands – which if healthy, can produce as much or more estrogen than a woman’s ovaries – or ingestion of excess estrogen in food, birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy – which has also been proven to promote cancer in too many cases and some doctors are now recommending against.)

The biggest of all offenders is…brace yourself, especially if you are a vegetarian, SOY! Yes, that funny little green bean that tofu is made from, that is served as a sort of trendy Japanese delicacy called “edamame,” that is used to replace carbohydrates in a lot of low-carb foods (my wife tried the Nutrisystems diet for awhile, and I read the labels and was appalled at the amount of soy protein added), and is erroneously promoted as being more healthful than anything else that you can eat.

Don’t take my word for this. A Google search for “soy and testosterone” will give you a little over a million pages on the subject, including a most excellent book by Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel, a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, called “The Whole Soy Story,” which really blows all the myths about soy being healthful to bits. If your wife is fond of soy and trying to feed it to you for every meal, you can at least bring this to her attention and get her to stop pumping you and your sons full of estrogen. (Now there’s a hard thought, having your son’s voice go UP instead of down in his early teens!)

Gentlemen, I couldn’t be more serious if I tried. The evidence has been solid for several years, and I’ve abstained from writing about it because most people just won’t accept facts when they conflict with “common knowledge,” but there is so much overwhelming factual evidence now that it can no longer be ignored, just like people eventually couldn’t ignore that the Sun didn’t orbit the Earth, or that the Earth was round, or that two objects of different mass dropped from a height will strike the ground at the same time as long as wind resistance is constant across both objects, or that men can’t expect women to get excited about them if they’re acting like a woman instead of a man.

There’s not one word about soy or even your diet in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," but I’ve covered everything else that women want you to know about them, and a lot that many of them DON’T want you to know. So to make yourself everything the woman in your life really wants you to be (if she likes men, that is!) get the soy out of your diet and jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage."

(Or keep doing what you’re doing, and when your wife keeps ignoring you in the bedroom, just double up on the soy and then you can fondle your own breasts! LOL!)

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

David Cunningham

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Relationships and Marriage Take Work, But Not As Much As You Think, IF You Work SMART!

If your natural personality is such that you can’t attract and/or keep someone in a mutually fulfilling and enjoyable relationship with you, you need to spend your time and effort on self-improvement, not honing your hunting or acting skills and trying to learn a new way to fake it.

Well Gentlemen (and Ladies!), I’m on fire again. It never ceases to amaze me how people will believe that the hardest and least effective of all options available is the only option when they have a problem. I keep running into people who want to argue that relationships take a lifetime of hard work if they are going to amount to anything.

Never has so much time and energy been expended shoveling such a load of crap!

Indeed, if a little work is done on the front end, a good relationship can be almost maintenance free if a couple gets in tune and is well-matched.

Well-matched. What is that? Quite simply, if your values are similar, interests and ambitions are compatible, and you speak anything close to the same language, you’re well-matched. Being together is then natural, because your personalities and motivations are compatible and even complimentary. You cooperate instead of competing, and it feels good to be together, so much so that you look forward to it. Being well-matched isn’t a product of reinventing yourself; it’s the product of being yourself during the dating period so that you attract someone with whom you are compatible and therefore don’t have to walk on eggshells and jump through hoops to get along with them. Been there? Done that?

So you say, “What if I’m myself and nobody wants to be with me after the third date?” or “I’ve been married three times and none of them lasted longer than a year!” That’s where the work comes in! Not in faking your way into having someone keep your company, but by going through a self-evaluation and self-improvement period.

You may need to hone your evaluation skills. I’ve counseled clients who are really great people, but they tend to make very bad choices in a mate, being attracted to some trait that has a high probability of bringing with it something destructive, such as being attracted to the excitement of risk-taking behavior, which can be a mark of an achiever or someone bent on self-destruction. Or being attracted to someone who is very involved in charities, which often brings with it a tendency to be unavailable too much of the time and a heavy guilt element that dampens them and the relationship. You may be hung up on a particular type of woman, like the codependent that is constantly getting into trouble so that somebody can save her.

You may need to determine who you really are so that you can identify someone who is compatible with you in terms of your values, tastes, etc. Some people reach middle age and later without ever knowing who they really are, what they want from life, what they want out of a marriage, partner, or job, etc. You can’t pick a compatible partner if you have no idea what you’re trying to match up to.

You may find that there are things about you that can be improved, maybe even easily. You may need to do whatever is necessary to gear up and truly become somebody that you can be proud of and that other people will enjoy being around. Sometimes people don’t get enough direction, mentoring, and exposure to the right things to choose goals, achieve, and develop the necessary self-esteem to attract people or even enjoy being around others.

You may indeed find that what needs the most improvement isn’t your self, but your self-image, and that you’re “bottom-feeding” because you can’t believe that a good woman would have you. Shyness and any other mild form of social discomfort is a huge symptom of self-esteem deficit. Drug companies want you to think that you need a pill to meet people, while bartenders recommend alcohol, but the truth is that except in the most unusual of circumstances, all you need to do to feel at ease with others – of either gender -- is to feel good about being yourself. It’s really that simple. And when you make these genuine changes, there is no stress to try to maintain a façade.

Whatever you find as the problem, the solution will require REAL change, not a repackaging, not an illusion, not a smoother act or a better line. Not a magic bullet or wonder drug, but a real, workable, and sustainable solution.

I know this sounds simplistic, but folks, I can show you more real-world examples of this working than you can shake a stick at, and I challenge anyone to present a genuinely happy couple that is faking anything to get along or a genuinely happy person that is faking anything at all. One of your fellow readers just went through this exercise, and went from being near divorce proceedings with his wife moved out of the house and negotiating visitation rights to having her moving back in the house and making plans for relocation and career change in a little over a week! (And there have been several of these guys getting these dramatic results. It’s not an isolated incident or one those cases of “results not typical, yours may vary” you see disclaimed in fine print.)

They were well-matched, and still loved each other, but had both picked up bad habits since their son had been born and couldn’t stand being around each other because it was too stressful to try to be somebody they weren’t. He was being overly accommodating, and the stress was getting to both of them. What’s sad is that he had every reason to see her as unappreciative of his accommodation, and she had every reason to be bored with his seemingly wussy attitude, because neither knew the real story.

He made a decision to be strong and decisive, and return to the alpha male behavior that was natural to him in years past, and BOOM! She was instantly back into attraction, stress was eased for both of them, and life was suddenly very good, because they were doing what came naturally and it worked. No faking, no worrying, no wondering how long they could endure keeping up the façade.

A little work on the front end to become or realize that you are someone you enjoy being and whom others enjoy being around will save you a lifetime of having to live under the stress of living a lie and feeling inadequate. The same goes for finding someone that you really enjoy being with, and especially TALKING with – you have to have something to do to pass all the time between se’xual encounters! Having a strong self-image and finding a good fit in a relationship makes you feel confident and worthy of the attention of others, and also makes you feel that the burden of proof, with regard to worthiness, is on everyone else; you’re worth having and can afford to wait for a good match instead of doing what everyone else does and settling for what’s available at the moment, scared to death that if they get away there will never be another chance.

Finding a good relationship isn’t about being liked, or being popular, and your quest to find a good relationship should be spent as a time of self-assessment, not assessment by others, as well as a time of exploration, during which candidates will be presenting themselves to you for you to evaluate. If you’re not attracting the kind of people that you feel good being around, it doesn’t mean that you’re bad, or inferior, or any kind of depressing crap like that. It means that you need to either get a more realistic image of yourself or grow a bit to mesh with the kind of people you like, and personal growth is ALWAYS a good thing, something to make you feel like you have achieved something worthwhile.

There is no downside; just do it, because you can be supremely happy with others only if and when you are happy with yourself. The same goes for loving and respecting yourself, which must come before you can extend those feelings toward others or they can extend them to you. Sounds like it’s all about you, doesn’t it? Well, it is, so get busy. ‘Nuff said.

Improvement, like life or a great relationship, is a journey, not a destination. Yes, here we go with another travel adventure metaphor, because it’s entirely accurate. You need to know where you are and where you want to go to plan the trip, and your travel guide for this trip to a great and lasting relationship and total understanding of women, which will hopefully be a very long one, is “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.”

It shows you how to figure out where you are by evaluating yourself and your relationship, then takes you down the right roads to understanding and communicating with each other and doing all the great and fun things that keep attraction alive, and therefore restart and/or keep the honeymoon going. Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now, because it will get you where you want and deserve to be.

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

David Cunningham

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cute or Cruel? The Fine Line Between Play and Abuse in Relationships and Marriage

One of the easiest ways to learn how to do something right, including creating attraction, is to model the behavior of someone who is already skilled. However, you still have to know enough about the process to know whether the behavior you are thinking about modeling is the right behavior to model.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend as much as I am. In the July 4, 2008 edition of this newsletter I wrote to you about playing with women, and how many of the things we do with each other as men to bond and help each other develop “a thicker skin” are perceived differently by women, cruel in fact, because they use the same behavior to attack each other and therefore misconstrue some of our joking as an attack as well. This is obviously not well-received from a person who tells her that he loves her. That lesson inspired the following letter from Nina, who notes the difference between ignorance and abuse (and yes, there are valuable lessons here for those of you whose relationships don’t involve abuse, so please stick with me here and you’ll see what I mean):

Hi David,

My husband and I have been reading your newsletters since my we started having trouble last summer, and your book has made a world of difference in our life. We were in a bit of a death spiral, bored and frustrated with each other and had begun picking and sniping at each other in retaliation against what we both thought were deliberate attacks and disrespect, and I need to thank you for helping us get that all sorted out.

He’s back to being the man I married, and I feel better about our marriage and my life now than I’ve ever felt, because Karl never bores me anymore. He’s fun and playful one minute and strong and decisive the next, and in spite of his growing “spare tire” around his middle and his receding hairline, he keeps me in the clouds, if you know what I mean. And by the way, thanks so much for teaching him about the value of anticipation and taking it slow. We’re both enjoying that part of our life more than we did our dating and honeymoon periods combined.

I wanted to tell you about something I saw today, and have been seeing since our new neighbors moved in, but didn’t realize what I was really seeing until your newsletter about how men and women play differently. I thought that this was what our neighbor Gene was doing to his wife Carrie, but I think I was wrong. Every time we’re over there, no matter who is around or how Carrie really looks (she’s usually very slender and fit but sometimes she puts on a couple of extra pounds when she has to work late a lot at the hospital here), he’ll walk up and say to her, “You’re looking pretty chunky in those shorts (or pants or whatever). We’re going to have to get that weight off of you!” And then he’ll swat her on her bottom or pinch her or grab her and pull her skin to make love handles. It embarrasses her so badly that she’ll start crying and walk away, and he just laughs.

I thought for a long time that he was really that stupid and insensitive, but I’ve noticed other things lately. She never leaves the house without him, and very often when we’re all together and she’s asked a question, she’ll look at him before answering, and won’t answer until he makes eye contact with her and twitches some part of his face. I’ve never seen him hit her, and haven’t seen any bruises, but I think he’s controlling and abusing her, because she never looks happy and often the only way I can describe the way she looks is “trapped.” Is there anything that I can say to her to do for her to help her through this?

Thank you so much for your help, and for listening,
Nina


My reply:

Hi Nina,

I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband have had such success, and I’m equally sorry to hear that your neighbor is having such trouble. There is nothing to help her through, except exiting the relationship, unless she wants to risk going to jail by cracking him in the head with an iron skillet next time he abuses her.

Seriously, this is probably out of your league and hers. She needs some professional help to help her understand that she doesn’t have to tolerate his abuse and should in fact give him an ultimatum to either stop or leave, and that’s obviously not something that can be successfully handled by e-mail or phone, so she needs to find a local counselor.

What you can do for her is to point out to her that her accepting his behavior is self-destructive and unnecessary, and that if she is uncomfortable facing him down herself that she should get counseling from someone who specializes in abuse cases and start getting the problem handled. But be warned, she may try to suck you into her problems, and getting involved in your neighbor’s domestic disputes and relationship problems can land you in all sorts of trouble, including emotionally draining you to the point of damaging your relationship with your husband, so don’t let that happen.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David Cunningham


Now, what can the rest of us learn from this situation? First, some women are just as capable and skilled at this kind of controlling, demoralizing behavior as men; indeed, some of them are even better at it than we are. They may not even make a pretense of playing with you; they may just attack you outright in public, airing your dirty laundry, discussing your mistakes and failures, describing in detail your embarrassing moments, complaining about things you do, etc.

But not every attack is abuse. Now, pay close attention here…

When a woman does this infrequently and it’s limited to a single issue, like some on-going disagreement that you’re having, it’s a sign that the two of you are having a communication problem on that issue, she’s frustrated, and thinking that she may get you to work harder to listen to her if she gives you a dose of embarrassment and frustration as punishment. Not the best solution in the world for sure, but malice, control, and abuse are not the motivation behind the problem. She’s merely getting desperate for communication and trying to bully you a bit to get it and punishing you for making it rough for her. HOWEVER…

If the attacks are frequent, and not related to problems, but to things that destroy self-esteem, like overtly trying to embarrass you over your receding hairline or recent weight gain, being passed over for promotion at work, etc., hitting hot buttons that have nothing to do with anything in dispute, you have a spouse abuser on your hands, seeking to control you and keep you close to home by destroying your self-esteem and making you seek their approval.

On the issue of abuse, we have it just a little easier than most women. Most of us don’t generally have to worry about our wife beating our ass to a pulp and putting us in the hospital. But that’s about the only advantage. They can still hurt us financially in any number of ways, including burying us in debt and keeping us there, relentlessly putting us down in front of people to the point that we withdraw from the outside world to keep from being embarrassed in front of anybody we know, acting seductive toward other men in our presence or even bringing them home, and in extreme cases, even mixing things like mild poisons, things we’re allergic to (peanuts, shell fish, etc.) in our food in just high enough a concentration to make us miserable without endangering us. Abusers, male and female alike, don’t want their victim dead, they want them utterly submissive.

If you are with such a person, you can leave or throw them out. There may not be any criminal charges to file, and life may be a bit rough for a little while as you get used to being on your own again, but the truth is that no matter how insecure your abuser makes you feel, you don’t have to take it, and there are others in the world who will treat you with love and respect. It may take you awhile to heal and regain both your self-respect and your ability to trust women again, but you can do it, and I and thousands of others are capable of helping you through it, so you don’t have to do it alone, either.

Being well-matched is one of the cornerstones of a great relationship, and something I devote a lot of time and energy to explaining and helping you to understand in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and being strapped to an abuser for the rest of your life is definitely NOT what anyone would call “being well-matched,” unless of course you are a masochist.

Getting away from an abuser first requires ascertaining that you are indeed with one, then either quashing their abusive behavior or separating yourself from them (almost everyone ends up doing the latter), and then going through a process of healing and regaining your manhood and self-respect. It also requires that you recognize that the odds of being struck by lightning are better than the odds of finding some way to reform an abuser, and accepting that they’re not going to change for you or anybody else, nor are they likely to change for their own sake.

This must all be followed by overcoming any lingering fear you may have of future abuse, and then gaining a complete and working understanding of what a high-quality woman looks and acts like, how she thinks, and what she wants, and then evaluating yourself to see if some part of you needs to grow in order to satisfy such a woman.

The growing part is actually easy, because nearly all of us are born with a hero within, a part of us that wants to do better, have better, and be better, and the only thing that suppresses that part of us is bad programming that we pick up from the world around us. Remove the bad programming by accepting your true nature, and self-improvement comes very naturally and aggressively, because you suddenly realize that you both want and deserve it, and nothing can get in the way of you having it.

Great relationships don’t happen every day, but it’s not because they’re not available. It’s because even with all the school we attend and everything else we go through in growing up, very, VERY few of us are ever taught – by example or otherwise – what we need to know to find, build, and maintain a great relationship or marriage. We do what we’ve been programmed to do, or worse, what our insecurities, caused by our lack of understanding of the opposite sex, force us to do, and screw things up royally, and it doesn’t have to be that way at all.

As I said, I and thousands of other can help you, to varying degrees depending on our expertise and specialty, with any problems you have, but you have to first admit there is a problem and then choose to do something about it before any of us can do anything for you. I’ve been helping people with all sorts of problems my whole adult life, and I’m not a bit shy about saying that I’m one of the best you’ll find to help you, because I have thousands of business and individual clients to back me up on it, and nobody will ever tell you that I couldn’t help, at least to the extent of referring them to other competent help if their needs were outside my area of expertise. You can argue with opinions, but you can’t argue with history.

So what are you going to do about your problems? Are you going to just continue to wallow in them and hope somebody gives you a magic wand or powder or pill that makes them go away, or are you going to take the bull by the horns and get some help to get things going your way quickly so you can get back to (or get around to, if you never have) enjoying your life?

If you’re tired of things being touchy, rocky, scary, boring, tense, lonely or celibate in your relationship, stop tolerating it and let me help you fix it, a lot quicker and more easily than you would ever imagine, because I have the one thing above all others that you are lacking: good information that has been tested and worked for EVERYBODY who has used it, and it will work for you, too. Just jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and get your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and you’ll see what I mean.

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

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Winning Her Back From Somebody Else: The Holy Grail of Saving Relationships and Marriage?

What do you do when the woman you love is with somebody else?

I’ve been talking with some people at another web site that tries to help people out of divorces and I’ve been getting a huge number of questions from them over the last few weeks. The most common one by far is “My wife left and is now seeing someone else (or is having an affair and refuses to stop). How can I win her back?” No big surprise, right? Do you want to know what IS surprising?

It’s not the answer to the question by a long-shot; indeed, the possible answers to that question are few and simple:

  1. Stop abusing your wife

  2. End your substance abuse, gambling, or fidelity problem and try to make a life with your wife instead of feeding your addiction

  3. Buy a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and learn how to evaluate and manage relationships, communicate well with your wife, and fire up her attraction mechanisms beyond the point the other guy has to get the honeymoon going again so that she is only interested in you.

One or more of those answers will take care of virtually all cases. But the big question isn’t what you should do to bring her back…

The big question, and the very first one you should ask, is WHETHER you should bring her back!

That’s right! I’ve spent hours and hours cruising relationship and marriage help web sites over the past several years, and everyone is frantically begging for help to bring their spouses back (and being advised on how to do it by others who are apparently still in the same boat, giving a strong appearance of “the blind leading the blind,” at least as far as the bulletin board threads and blogs go), but nobody is asking whether it’s the right thing to do!

Right now, a great many of you are having a knee-jerk and responding, “Of course it’s the right thing to do! She’s his (or MY) wife!” If you stop to think about it, there will be some cases where it may not be!

For instance...

What if you are the host in a codependent pair, and she is a substance abuser that has sucked the life out of you for years with the cost of feeding their habit, legal and medical costs, worrying you sick, making you feel responsible for all their bad choices and sucking the life out of you?

What if she’s not a substance abuser, but still codependent and has kept you busy 16 hours a day every day of the week just to keep her out of a jam?

What if she’s a spouse abuser, and married you to have someone to punish because the person who traumatized her is not available and you were both available and easily manipulated into taking and holding the job of whipping boy?

What if she’s always exhibited a fidelity problem because she’s a gold-digging hussy that married you for your money and has just moved on to somebody with more money?

What if she’s always exhibited a fidelity problem because she has a self-esteem problem that she refuses to address, and would rather seek the attention and approval of other men because it’s easier and more palatable than to admit the reason she feels crappy about herself is that she hasn’t done anything in her life to feel good about?

What if the two of you got married because she was pregnant, never did get along and weren’t happy, but comfortably numb and unhappy, and she was just the first one to wake up and realize that you never should have been married to start with and wasn’t rejecting you, but making the same move that you should be making to rectify that age-old mistake?

What if she wasn’t pregnant, but the two of you just were young and lonely and desperate, thinking that nobody else would have you?

What if one or both of you were trying to escape your parents’ abuse and married the first person that came along that provided a way to get out of the house?

What if you’ve had such philosophical or value system differences that you’ve always fought and never been happy together and really don’t know why you ever got married or stayed married?

What if you have compatible values, but your tastes are so different that you have never been able to find a way to spend quality time together, and sleeping, sex, and an occasional conversation are all you really share?

What if you’ve suddenly become disabled somehow, and she’s the one who thinks she’s the victim, ignoring the fact that you haven’t let yourself become a victim and are still a great husband because she’s just too enthralled with the drama and attention? Or just too stinking bigoted to give you a chance to show you that you’re still worth having around?

There are a hundred more scenarios like that, but surely at this point you get the picture. The first question that needs to be asked when things look like they are breaking up isn’t how to stop the break-up...

It’s whether there is any reason for you to expect to be happy with that person if the relationship were to continue!

If there is no expectation of happiness, why continue? There is no productive purpose in trying to save a marriage when the underlying relationship that defines every aspect of that marriage is not a happy one and has no history or chance of being a happy one. The whole purpose of marriage is to bind yourself to a person for your mutual benefit – love, nurturing, friendship, watching each others’ back, companionship, exclusive (and hopefully therefore safe!) sex, etc. -- is it not?

On the other hand, if you have been truly happy, and have just drifted apart, there’s a most excellent chance that you can get things back on track, especially if things have just been in a rut and one or both of you have become “marritally bored”: It’s not at all rare for women to have affairs, leave home, and even file for divorce as a way of communicating to a man that he’d better straighten up and act like a man and be strong, fun, and interesting like he used to be instead of the chronically beer-swilling remote-jockeying couch potato who never pays any attention to her that he’s become. And it’s easy to tell the difference…

A woman who’s completely done with you moves on immediately and completely. The divorce papers are delivered with a restraining order, and there are instant barriers up everywhere.

A woman who’s done with all parts of you except your checkbook still strings you along keeping you in approval-seeking mode and continues to be a drain on your resources, and may accept phone calls, go to dinner, etc., but you’ll notice that you pay for everything, and she keeps having money trouble that you need to bail her out of, even if she makes better money than you. She’ll also be chipping away at your self-esteem to get you deep into approval-seeking mode, making herself physically unavailable while talking about the future and getting back together, etc., trying to make you so utterly desperate for her attention that you’d spend your last dime trying to buy it while she’s out partying with others and secretly (or not) living it up at your expense.

It’s the woman who leaves or files papers, but continues to talk and especially to say things like, “I still love you, but I’m bored/not ‘in love with you’ (how I hate that convoluted expression!)/I can’t be with you right now/I can’t go on like we are and you’re going to have to show me you can change some things/etc.,” that has acted badly to get your attention and is wanting to come back home to the guy she wants to live with. She will tell you what it takes to win her back, and if you speak “girly-ese” you’ll hear her when she does and know just what to do.

Like when she says she loves you, but the guy she’s having an affair with makes her laugh, or is spontaneous, or anything about him that you are not, she’s giving you the laundry list of things you need to fix. Those things are not said to create competition or belittle you, but to communicate what is missing from your marriage. If she’s moved out and/or filed for divorce, and talking about the things you used to do together or the way you used to behave toward her, she’s telling you what she misses and what it will take to bring it back.

But again, you have to speak “girly-ese” to understand, because she probably won’t just say, “you used to pay attention to me and make me feel special,” she’ll refer to things you did, like picking her a bunch of wildflowers, or cooking supper on the night that she had to work late, things that demonstrate how you did what she missed, and you have to be able to connect the dots to see what she’s really saying, because women never state what to them is “the obvious.” And more often than not, they will make these statements in the form of a question; “Do you think our marriage is good?” is in fact a statement that she thinks there’s a problem that she wants to talk about, and the next thing that comes out of your mouth could quite literally make or break your marriage.

How do you learn to speak “girly-ese”? The same way you learn how to evaluate and manage relationships and learning how to be that alpha male that every woman wants and your woman will be thrilled to have, by downloading your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at
http://www.makingherhappy.com/ before you do another thing, and especially before you take any more relationship advice from somebody whose own marriage is on the rocks, because this information has worked for everyone who has ever used it, and it will work for you, too.
In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham