Saturday, August 30, 2008

Being the Protector in Relationships and Marriage: When Should You? Part 2, Reader Lessons

Readers respond to the August 30 edition about knowing when to be a protector and when to let someone learn their lesson the hard way. I found their insight fascinating and adept, and you should find it useful.

In the August 30 edition, I shared with you part of a discussion I had with a student/client/friend, who has correctly identified himself as too mismatched with his wife to be able to salvage a failing marriage. If you missed it, please
read it now before continuing so you can be up to speed as we discuss these reader responses, because this is some really good stuff!

The gist of the lesson was that we as men are biologically wired for behavior that in some ways differs significantly from that of women, and that a tendency to be over-protective of everyone around us (as opposed to the natural female focus on protecting their children) and that there are times when we would be serving those we care about better by letting them make their own mistakes so they can learn from them, and make their own decisions in general so that we don’t communicate a lack of confidence to someone who needs our support as they try to mature and evolve, or to demonstrate to us that they have ALREADY matured and evolved.

What follows are the more interesting letters I received regarding that issue, and I must admit I’m rather proud of those who wrote them, because they are good questions that show analytical minds at work looking for answers, tools and opportunities for improvement. Meet Terry:

David,

You mentioned “a pretty typical story of an extremely intelligent and analytical male hooked up with a not-so-intelligent and overly creative female.” Could you elaborate on what is typical? My wife read that and said you were saying that it was typical for men to be smart and women to be stupid, and I didn’t take it that way at all.

Thanks,
Terry

My reply:

Hi Terry! You’re quite right. I meant nothing remotely resembling what your wife thought she read. It’s common for men to be more analytical and women to be more creative because of the neuron density in the left and right hemispheres of the brain that you find common to gender. There are exceptions, and there are also cases where you see things like a highly analytical man or woman who is also quite creative. The “norm” is for men to be more analytical and women more creative, but that does not mean that predominately analytical men have no creative ability or that predominately creative women cannot solve a problem.

I also did not imply that it was common for the man to be more intelligent than the woman; it is common for one partner to be a little more intelligent than the other, but if that gap is very wide, it creates a pretty serious incompatibility. What I was saying was typical was that when there is any kind of big compatibility problem, intelligence or the analytical vs. creative mismatch, problems are significant and difficult to handle without a lot of competent help.

In short, I was speaking of general tendencies in partner dynamics, not certainty in gender dynamics. I’ve met some incredibly smart and incredibly moronic members of both genders, as I’m sure everyone else has.

Thanks for writing, and keep in touch,
David

Margot’s insight here is impeccable. I’ve written on “red flags” before and neediness being one of them, but she pulled it out of this lesson as well. Check her out:

Hello David,

I couldn’t help but wonder how long this man had been trying to save this woman if he was trying to fight the urge to save her now. I should think that both a person’s need to be saved and an overwhelming urge to save someone are indeed both big red flags in a relationship. It’s one thing to want to love someone and engage in mutual nurturing, but it’s quite another to be driven to spend your life bailing someone out of one tough spot after another. If my husband were to get in a jam I’d certainly want to be there for him, but a pattern of choices that kept him in a jam would make me at least question how much importance he placed on his life and mine. I’ve found, as you may have, that people who make consistently bad choices aren’t stupid, but rather don’t care enough about themselves or the people around them to exercise the discipline to think and make good choices, which in my mind is a gigantic sign saying “DANGER!”

Cheers,
Margot

My reply:

Hi Margot, and you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. Finding yourself drawn to people in trouble is not a sign that you love them, but that you are for some reason attracted to their frailty – codependence is a very bad basis for a relationship to say the least. Lasting relationships are built on love and attraction, which in turn creates friendship, trust, loyalty, fun, excitement, and sex, not on the guilt or need that causes you to want someone to be obligated to you after you’ve bailed them out.

Good to hear from you again, and do keep in touch,
David

And this from Daphne, one of the women in the test group that helped with the research for "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and a regular contributor:

Hey David,

As usual, I have stories about things my girlfriends have done to capture a man that would make your hair stand up on the back of your neck. One they all talk about is the lengths they’ll go to in trying to make a man feel dependent on them to keep him home, and how they’ll create a crisis from time to time to make him feel good about having saved them. Three of my friends got married to men who fell for fake emergencies. They were looking for someone to give them a house and children, and somebody who would run to the rescue was an easy mark. Tell your guys to watch themselves!

Daphne

No, neither Daphne nor I are saying that every woman does that, or even the majority. However, women, especially young ones who haven’t learned they can take care of themselves and developed the means to do so, and who want to get away from an abusive home or who are enamored with the idea of making a baby may go to extraordinary lengths to make it happen, to include ensnaring and marrying a man who will be tolerable to live with and a good provider in order to facilitate her desires of escape (possibly from oppressive parents or an abusive parent) and/or motherhood.

Such relationships can last for years, but they are not happy ones, and are usually focused on the children instead of the whole family. When the children start leaving the nest (if not sooner – often MUCH sooner), one or both parents will start succumbing to the pressure of trying to suppress and work around their incompatibility, and then the frequent fighting, frustration, disrespect, distrust, affairs, etc. start coming into the picture. Could this have – OR DID THIS -- happen to you?

People unfortunately see these emotions and fights as the cause of their marital problems, but they’re merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. The cause was a bad decision to get together in the first place. That’s why I stress so vehemently in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" that before a man starts working on fixing a broken relationship he thoroughly evaluate the relationship, check for compatibility and other markers of a strong foundation for the relationship, and make an informed choice before proceeding with anything else. Trying to put off the inevitable is a fool’s errand; if it has to end, end it quickly, and with dignity for all involved if possible, instead of escalating the pain until everybody is too engaged in fighting a war to clean up a mess that never should have been made.

"THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" is truly THE man’s guide to any kind of great relationship with any woman, and it’s become the new title of this book because it’s so fitting and reflects its true scope. Do yourself a favor and go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy today, and start getting things squared away in your life. Even if you’re in your 70’s or 80’s, there’s still time left in your life to be happy; don’t waste it trying to delay the inevitable when you could be enjoying the time of your life.

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

David Cunningham

Friday, August 29, 2008

Being the Protector in Relationships and Marriage: When Should You?

Men are often over-protective of women. It’s in our biological “wiring” in our brains; we’re compelled to do it. However, there are times when that urge must be fought off…

I’ve been working closely with one of my top “students” as he makes a dignified exit from a situation in which he and his soon-to-be-ex are grossly mismatched and have determined that there is just not enough common ground upon which to try to hold it together and be able to treat their differences as complimentary tools.

It’s a pretty typical story of an extremely intelligent and analytical male hooked up with a not-quite-as-intelligent and overly creative female. During good times they get along fairly well, but when trouble comes, she grossly over-reacts, and then gets caught up in that emotional validation thing that women fall prey to, wanting to believe that an emotion justifies itself and demands repentance, atonement, and a permanent change in behavior on the part of the man.

She becomes very morally ambiguous and even hypocritical in trying to defend the bad choices she makes because she over-reacts instead of either thinking things through or relying on his analytical skills to cut through the emotional madness and restore order. She went too far, then painted herself into a corner, and exposed a weak and deceitful character that he has chosen to stop supporting and enabling.

She continues to make very bad decisions and is digging herself a deeper and deeper hole, and he’s having a hard time not stepping in front of the train to try to save her. She’s about 40 years old with the emotional maturity of a 15-year old, and her biggest problem is that she needs to grow up and take responsibility for her life and achieve a thing or two to have some sense of self-esteem, so bailing her out of problems would work against her in the long run.

Now that you have the situation, let’s dig into our correspondence a little for a lesson for you to ponder, one which applies to not only to ex’s and soon-to-be ex’s, but often to a partner in a good relationship, children, other family, and friends:

Him: “I wouldn't dream of sacrificing my future in a doomed attempt to relieve HER heartbreak, but through all of this, I have never wanted one bad thing to happen to her. She may well deserve it, but I'm not that guy - revenge only interests me for fleeting moments. Part of being rational, I suppose.”

Me: “If she's earned a bad time, stepping in front of it to save her from it is just as bad an idea as giving her an unjust punishment in the name of revenge."

Him: “Thanks for mentioning that - I needed to hear it. There may be a newsletter in there somewhere, because I see men doing that almost as often as parents do it for their kids. It's going to continue to be difficult, particularly since she's [the mother of my son] and I'm reasonably generous, to let her wallow in her own mess. But I'll manage."

Do you see the point? It’s part of a man’s make-up to be a protector, and sometimes we work too hard at that part of the job of being a man, so much so that we undermine the development of those around us, or weaken their self-confidence by inadvertently making them think that we’re trying to “save them” because they’re not up to doing it themselves.

There are times when we want to help and try to help that our help really isn’t wanted or needed, and is in fact offensive, as our wives and girlfriends, our children, our other family, extended family, friends, coworkers, etc., try to meet challenges and grow. Think about that…

If I could teach you only one thing in the rest of my life about relationships, it would be this: Self-esteem and independence come from only ONE source, and that is ACHIEVEMENT. Meeting challenges and coming out on top builds the confidence to stand alone and have a life, allowing a person to enjoy your company and share a life. Anything you do that impedes others’ ability to rise to meet the challenges of their life puts them one step farther from independence and one step closer to being a dependent, not to mention resenting your involvement in their becoming less independent.

So what do you do?

No, you don’t just say “screw the world” and become a hermit so you don’t impede anyone’s ability to grow. Don’t’ be silly. What you must do is be patient enough to let others ask you for help before you go jumping in. If you can tell that somebody is in a bind, but don’t think they will ask because they are too proud, you can subtly offer: “Man, that looks tough (or “fun” if you think you can get away with it). Can I do something here?”

Asking in that way doesn’t force them to say they “need” your help; it allows them to say that you could be of help, which is far less demeaning if they are trying to remain independent. It also allows them to say something like, “I think I can cover it, but if you’ve been through this and have any tips or tricks to make it easier, I’m interested,” or something like that. Whatever they say, they mean it, so if they refuse, just acknowledge their choice by saying something like “very well,” and DON’T add on something that expresses a lack of confidence like, “You know you can call me if you change your mind.” If they change their mind, you’ll be the first person they call because you offered to help.

The hardest part about being a protector isn’t the protection, it’s knowing WHEN to protect and when to let somebody take their lumps and learn their lessons so they can grow. As far as your relationship with your girlfriend or wife goes, unless you are indeed with a dependent, they will appreciate you not smothering them and allowing them to give things a try before jumping in. It’s a vote of confidence in both their ability to perform and their ability to assess a situation and be adult enough and responsible enough to ask for help if they need it.

By and large, women are neither weak nor stupid, and they resent the hell out of us when we treat them as if they are. They may not do things the same way we would, and at times may not even come close to doing them the best way if it’s something mechanical, but they usually can get it done, and being social in nature, they have no problem with asking for help because it turns it into a social event. However, when we let them see just how far they can get on their own and they make something work, they feel better about themselves, and they have not only a boost in their security and self-esteem as a result, they also have BRAGGING RIGHTS, which is not something we men have a monopoly on by any means. And bragging is by nature a social activity, right?

And what are bragging rights to a woman? RELIEF FROM BOREDOM THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO PROVIDE! So wise up and take advantage of one of those rare and wonderful things that makes something good happen without you having to work your ass off to make it happen.

In some ways, women aren’t that different from us; in others, they seem like they’re from another planet at times. (An old friend of mine used to say that there’s something on that extra leg of an “X” chromosome that really messes women up!) Understanding our similarities and our differences are equally important in the quest for a happy and lasting relationship and/or marriage. There are some things that are very masculine, some that are very feminine, and some that are simply and supremely human, and knowing these differences can make the difference in you being with a great woman for a lifetime and you being alone and strapped with alimony and child support payments while everybody in your former family except you enjoys the house that you worked (and are still working) to provide, so I strongly suggest you get wise, and fast!

The fastest path to such wisdom is "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," waiting for you in an instant download at
http://www.makingherhappy.com. Get it while you can, because you never know what tomorrow may bring…but you can always hedge your bet with good information, if you can find it, and this is it!

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

David Cunningham

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Female Perspective on Political Correctness, Wussification, and Its Destructive Impact on Relationships and Marriage

A female reader speaks out on behalf of many others against “political correctness and the castration of the American Male” (according to other readers this is going on EVERYWHERE!). There is a solution, and it’s a great idea, no matter where you live.

I got an e-mail last night from a reader who sounds like she’s about as fed up and downright pissed off as a woman can get. She’s got a beef with the world’s over-reaction to feminism and political correctness in general, and is issuing a wake-up call. Meet Gail:

Hi David,

I’m angry right now, very angry, and it might have been better if I had waited to share this until I was a little more composed, but I’ve been angry for months, and I’ve shared this repeatedly with my girlfriends and realize that doing so is not accomplishing anything because I’m SO “preaching to the choir” that it’s ridiculous. I’ve got to share it with someone who can help me do something about it, and I’m starting with you.

My husband of 28 years is a wuss. He wasn’t a wuss when I married him, or for years after I married him. He’s a production manager at a large manufacturing company, and got to that position because he was an excellent leader, strong and decisive, but always fair, and tried to be a good motivator. If he doesn’t straighten up soon, he’s going to lose his job, and he may even end up losing me, if I don’t kill him first!

You see, he went to this seminar that was supposed to help him be a better manager, and from what he told me, it amounted to a pep rally for touchy-feely people and about the only thing he came away from the seminar with was the idea that he needed to pay his employees personal compliments to make them feel like he was interested in them as people, not just employees. I think this is ridiculous, because you show people you are interested in them by asking them questions, not saying flattering things, but that’s beside the point.

There was a woman who worked under him – I call her a woman, but she was a gold-digging hussy just watching for a chance to sue somebody – and when my husband complimented her on a nice hairstyle one day, she went to the HR department and filed a sexual harassment complaint! He spent the next six months being raked over the coals by corporate attorneys, HR consultants, attending “sensitivity training seminars,” etc., to finally get the bitch satisfied and still be able to keep his job. He’s now been so mentally and emotionally battered that he’s afraid to talk to women, including me!

He used to be so very strong and confident. He walked into a room like he owned it because he did. Now he walks into a room looking as if he expects to be attacked if there’s a woman there. We’ve talked about it, and he says the problem is that the legal threats and the threat of losing his job after 31 years with the same company made him realize what would happen if he were to suddenly lose his job this late in life, and how little it might take, and it “spooked him” as he says.

I’ve just bought your book for him, and if it has everything in it you say it does, I’m pretty sure he’ll be okay. He or I may have questions; will it be okay if we contact you? If so, how?

Thank you in advance for your help,

Gail F.

My reply:

Well, Gail, to say I’m feeling your pain would be an understatement. What you describe comprises one of my main motivations in writing “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” I’m not an antagonist or provocateur, but I am as disgusted with all this politically correct nonsense and the wussification of both men specifically and people everywhere in general that I could about puke. There was a time when I would have offered an apology if the word “puke” offended anybody’s fragile sensibilities, but today, I just really don’t care. I say it to get the message across, not to try to offend people. (Indeed, Gentlemen, if it offends you, grow some skin or find another newsletter to occupy your time, because becoming an alpha male is definitely not in your future.)

Getting back to the subject at hand, congratulations! I see all kinds of corrective action being taken here. Discussion with your husband and nailing down the problem is a huge and wonderful step in the right direction, one that, unfortunately, many couples couldn’t pull off. Identifying a path back to your husband’s old alpha male (and therefore highly desirable and effective leader) self and taking the first steps down that path are also commendable.

To answer your questions, I read all e-mail, answer as much of it as I can and still remain productive, and any questions and answers that can benefit all readers, as you know, appear here in this newsletter with the senders’ consent. If your husband needs a session or two with a personal coach to speed up the process he can e-mail me at
support@makingherhappy.com, but it shouldn’t be necessary. You’ve made an excellent start with my book, and I’m going to suggest to you that in your case, you skip the beginning material on evaluating your relationship, at least for the time being, and have him start with the communication section. He is one of the few whom I would say should complete the evaluation after he has cured this crisis of confidence; your relationship is obviously on a solid foundation if you are taking this route to try to help him.

In your case, the communication section will help him regain his confidence in speaking to women because he will be better prepared to pick up hints and signals, which will in turn help remove that “vulnerable and lost” feeling, one of the main reasons I put it before the attraction section. Then have him continue through the attraction section, and work with him as he goes through it. If you want to be really supportive, read a bit ahead of him and try to round up copies of books, movies, etc., that are mentioned as good examples so they will be convenient for him. It will speed his progress, which you’ll both appreciate, and the two of you will thoroughly enjoy watching movies like “The Fountainhead” and “Don Juan DeMarco” together.

Speaking of examples, there is one that is not yet in the book that I need to add, and while it is about U.S. Americans (I personally hold all people in this hemisphere as Americans, since we live in “North,” “Central,” and “South America”), it is an interesting read and full of good examples for all men to follow, regardless of where you live. The book is called “The Greatest Generation,” by Tom Brokaw. I never cared for Brokaw’s politics or the political slant in a lot of his reporting because there’s a big difference in reporting the news and trying to influence the public’s perception of it, but the details in this book about the men very often describe heroic alpha males, and regardless of your feelings for Brokaw or U.S. heroes of World War II, the role models found there are effective, and it makes for interesting and productive supplementary reading.

One other thing that I need to bring out and that you need to point out to your husband is that “sexual harassment” is only a workplace issue as far as legalities go. It is a workplace issue because you are compelled to co-exist there for the sake of your employment. That doesn’t give you license to be chauvinistic, rude and obnoxious everywhere else, but that does mean it is the only place where you may have to actively avoid any kind of sexuality, so if you are concerned, contain your concern to the workplace and be yourself – your respectful but assertive and naughty, and therefore FUN self – everywhere else.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David

There you have it, folks. If you (Gentlemen) or the man in your life (Ladies – it’s just wrong that I even have to say that, but I know I’ll get a ton of smart-ass comments from you jokers if I don’t! LOL!) are feeling castrated, there is a fix, guaranteed effective, in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” Download your copy today at
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get back to being the man you were born to be.

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

David Cunningham

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Banter, a Woman's Best Friend and One of the Secrets of a Great Relationship and Marriage

A key ingredient in any fun, sexy relationship is the fun, flirtatious, innuendo-filled, anticipation-building ritual of “banter.” Women refer to it by name, while most guys have no clue. If you want to kick things up a notch, read and learn…

I had a revelation this morning, or an epiphany if you prefer. I was milling some new cabinet doors and drawers for my kitchen, which makes my wife nuts because my power tools both excite and scare the hell out of her, not to mention the anticipation of seeing the kitchen redecoration complete, and started going over the week’s conversations and events looking for another good lesson to give you guys. And sure enough, I found one.

I received eight e-mails this week from women mentioning the word “banter.” Do you know what it is? You can bet the women in your life do, and they’re looking to you for it, especially the one you’re living with, so you’d better learn quickly.

American Heritage Dictionary defines “banter” as: n. 1. Good-humored, playful conversation. v. ban·tered ban·ter·ing ban·ters v. tr. 1. To speak to in a playful or teasing way. v. intr. 1. To exchange mildly teasing remarks.

What is all that? Yup! Naughty, teasing, playful building of anticipation, a.k.a., “verbal foreplay!”

One of the better kept secrets about women that shouldn’t be a secret at all is that where we are easily stimulated visually, they are easily stimulated through engaging their imagination and letting it run wild. That’s why I keep telling you guys that foreplay starts in the morning before you leave for work, a naughty word here and a naughty gesture there will have her thinking naughty, sexy thoughts about you all day, in anticipation of her reward later in the evening for being so patient.

For women, it is the anticipation that is the thrill of the chase, and they enjoy the chase far more than the kill. This seems to be a very difficult concept for men to embrace, but where for us orgasm is the highlight and purpose of sex, for women, it is simply the end of sex, no matter whose orgasm you speak of. That’s why every sex therapist, marriage counselor and relationship expert that has ever spoken or written about sexual relations has stress the importance of foreplay, and being ignored by the vast majority of men is the reason so many women are sexually frustrated and ripe for an affair.

Stoking her up once this anticipation is started is most easily accomplished with banter. Let me give you an example. When I’ve visited Texas, I’ve frequently ran across this really interesting concoction the Texans call “JalapeƱo ketchup” or in some places, “Texas ketchup.” (In other parts of the country and world, it’s spelled “catsup,” but it’s the same thing.) This stuff isn’t just plain bottled catsup with some pepper juice added for heat. It has some extra onion, some cumin, and bits of jalapeno swimming in it and tastes like a good, spicy taco sauce or salsa picante, and sometimes it’s pretty hot, too.

Now, imagine you’ve been to Texas and you’re coming home, and you’re passing text messages or one-liner e-mails back and forth with your wife.

You: I’m on the way home!
Her: Can’t wait to see you!
You: I’m bringing you a surprise…
Her: Am I going to like it?
You: I’ll bet it makes your cheeks get flushed
Her: How cum?
You: It’s pretty hot…
Her: Yeah?
You: Might make you wet, too…
Her: I’ll bet I know what it is ;-)
You: I’ll betcha don’t!
Her: I’ve had it before!
You: Nope, not like this!

Do you see what’s going on here? You’re talking about the pepper in spicy catsup making her cheeks get flushed and making her break out in a sweat, she’s thinking you’re talking about body parts and getting her to lubricate, or at least wondering if that’s going to be involved, then you set the hook by making her guess what it is. All the innuendo has her mind on sex, and she’s going to be thinking all those thoughts as she tries to figure out what you’re talking about, which just adds to the tension.

Now, remember the “two-steps-forward-one-step-back” dance I’ve mentioned in the past, ramping up and then easing back a bit before taking her even higher? You break contact for awhile, whether you’re traveling, working at the office or whatever, and give her a couple of hours to stew in her own juices, then another message goes out:

You: Figured it out yet?
Her: Of course!
You: Nope. I’ll guarantee you’ve never had it like this or even thought about it.
Her: You sound mighty sure of yourself!
You: That’s because I am!
Her: So you’re really gonna give me something like I’ve never had it before, huh?
You: Yep, and it’s guaranteed to make you wet even if I’m in another room…
Her: You are so bad!
You: Maybe, but you’re the one that’s going to get the spanking… ;-)

You’re still talking about catsup, she’s still on the sex channel…

Now, banter doesn’t have to contain all that innuendo. It can be just for the fun of it, picking at each other in a very good-natured way.

You: Watcha doing?
Her: Laundry
You: You got a license?
Her: What license?
You: One that shows you can run all that heavy equipment.
Her: What heavy equipment?
You: Whatever you’re using to wash my underwear. It must be pretty heavy to handle it!

Her: Did you mow the lawn yet?
You: Nope
Her: Are you going to?
You: Nope
Her: Why not?
You: It needs seeded next month, so if I don’t mow it until then, it will seed itself right on time!

Her: Can you hand me my black shoes with the straps? (She has very tiny feet.)
You: No, I’m sorry
Her: What’s wrong
You: I’m not breaking my back lifting those things!

A note on playing with a woman: NEVER say something like this last example if she has big feet and is sensitive about them. Only talk about her feet being big and ugly if they are small and pretty. The idea is to make fun of an exaggeration or absurdity, not to make fun of her. If she’s gorgeous and confident about it, hand her a bag to put over her head (but not when she’s spent two hours getting ready to go out!) If she’s thin and fit and confident in her looks, tell her she needs to go on a diet and work out, again if she knows she’s hot, not if she’s insecure or anorexic. You’re looking for comedy, not control via brow-beating.

Get it yet? Something that is obviously satire, exaggerated to the point of total ridiculousness, not something that she is sensitive about, and always delivered with that naughty grin, or at least followed pretty quickly with the naughty grin before she has a chance to realize that what you just said could be taken more than one way and she does what women naturally do, which is to take anything ambiguous that you say in the worst possible way instead of the best.

If she has spent a couple of hours getting ready to go out with you, when she says, “How do I look?” you can crack a naughty grin and say something like, “I guess you’ll do…” and give her a few seconds to respond before slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her up close and saying, “yes, you look great, and you will most certainly do.”

You MUST MUST MUST understand that playing with a woman isn’t like playing with a man in some respects. We tend to pick at each other and make remarks about each other’s beer bellies, big ears, receding hair line and getting gray as a sort of bonding ritual in which we help each other stay thick-skinned and able to laugh at ourselves, but women don’t do this, and they don’t take it well when we do it to them. Indeed, you’re quite likely to be on her bad side for quite awhile if she’s feeling insecure about her hair turning gray and you make a remark about it.


I’m not saying that women are so fragile that they need to be coddled, but they do tend to take things like that a lot harder than we do, so know your partner’s hot buttons before you start getting into this kind of play and don’t press them. The whole idea is to have fun together, not for you to have fun at her expense. Making her laugh keeps her from being bored, and anything that keeps her from being bored makes her happy, and anything that makes her happy makes your world a much better place to live in.

Yes, parts of this are a little complicated. They require knowing your partner, knowing her hot buttons, knowing what she’s confident about and what she’s insecure about, knowing what makes her laugh and what ticks her off. Some of that comes from careful observation, some from conversation. Both require knowing how to read a woman, and listen to her, and what makes her tick, all of which are required to lead her in a way she finds fun and exciting instead of scary and controlling, or worse yet, BORING.

You need an edge, a thorough course in understanding all these things. Something that not only answers all these questions and needs, but trains you to be that guy that every woman wants and yours is proud to call her own, the guy who keeps her on her toes and afire with anticipation and enjoys doing so because all the has to do is be himself. Does such a course exist?

Of course it does! Why else would I tell you that you need it??? It’s called "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and you should go right now to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy so you can get started. You think not? How long has it been since your wife gave you a dirty look for no apparent reason, or you heard the words, “You never listen to me?” I rest my case…

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Thank You Notes with Great Lessons on Relationships and Marriage

Talk about extreme! There are even some great lessons to be learned in some of the “thank you” notes I got from some of the "King Arthur and the Witch" contest winners! Check them out:

In case you’re curious, here’s a couple of interesting excerpts from “Thank you” notes from the winners of the King Arthur and the Witch contest, in which you’ll notice a common thread:

Hi David,

Thought I'd write and say thanks for my prize. I've started reading your book and it's exactly what I felt was the missing piece in my 'studies' - And It turns out you used about 90% of the same experts as I have been for the last few months.

Much appreciated,

Karl.

Incidentally, after my comment about Karl’s period after his signature being a mark of a confident man, a reader asked me if not putting a period after my name meant that I was not confident. No, it doesn’t. It just means that I adhere rigidly to the rules for formatting correspondence, as everyone should. ;-)

Hi David!

Thanks for the gifts and I am reading "THE Men’s Guide..." now. Boy I should have gotten this some time ago! I have some of David D.'s stuff, John's stuff, Shelley's stuff and get Mary Jo's newsletter. I also have F.J. Shark's Jerk book and have looked at other folk's goodies as well. You could say I'm a lot like you in the sense I have this intense drive to go after things I'm interested in if they catch my attention and fascination.

I have been in 2 marriages of about 8 years each and decided I've got to find out what is really going on before I ever do this again. The pain is just too much. Now I'm learning, observing and watching and yes practicing different things. Yes I have "seen the light" in the sense I was way too much the wussy man trying to please and take care of my little princess.

I guess the big light came on when I finally started understanding, like the story, women want a man who can be the man and be a partner at the same time. Thanks Again BIG TIME!!

Time to get back to reading so I can flush out some more garbage and replace it with pearls.

Take very good care and keep up the truly special "work" you do.

Thanks David,

Dave

Did you notice the recurring theme? They’ve been reading advice from the dating gurus and others, but it didn’t come together until they read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" because the rules are different in committed relationships than when you’re dating. The basic principles are the same, but the definitions and applications change, radically in some regards.

If you’re in a committed relationship, stick with me. If you’ve been in a committed relationship and trying to figure out what happened so you don’t repeat the mistakes, stick with me. If you’ve never been in a committed relationship that worked and you’re dating now, use the dating gurus advice to meet people, and use the evaluation section of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" to help you choose from among the many candidates you’ll be dating. After all, dating is a time of finding and exploring options, not homing in on one option and trying to convince them and yourself that they are “the one.”

Forewarned is forearmed, and as you have seen if you’re past puberty, there are countless pitfalls in a relationship, but you can be ready for every one of them. Whether you are in a committed relationship or wanting to be, you need to know what’s in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and you should go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com right now and download it. The Boy Scouts have it right: BE PREPARED!

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

David Cunningham

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Can't You Just Let Me Feel Bad for Awhile?" -- Understanding Female Emotions in Relationships and Marriage

Sometimes women say they want to feel bad, and it drives us absolutely nuts, because we don’t. What’s happening, and what can you do about it?

As you might guess, the women in my life (wife, mother, sister, friends, readers, etc.) are usually a great source for material for these newsletters, as are their husbands and boyfriends and my male friends on occasion. One such occasion was one day while she was having her lunch and was watching television.

My wife, and a lot of other women, because they are inherently attracted to anything where they can see authority figures, will watch just about anything that has a cop, a lawyer or judge, a pilot, or a doctor in it. (They also like mysteries because they enjoy the anticipation and suspense, so take the hint!)

I walked into our living room to join my wife for lunch as the end of an old episode of “Judging Amy” was on television, and saw a woman jump off the ledge of a tall building after letting her daughter loose to run to the judge. My wife says that Judge Amy had refused to alter a custody agreement due to lack of evidence, and said that the woman had contrived the “drama of the issue” as part of an ongoing fight. Witnesses has described her as “paranoid,” and “dramatic” during the proceeding.

The scene then changes to Judge Amy sitting in front of a fire in the dark drinking something that looked like Scotch on the rocks and her mother, the social worker, walks in looking concerned and sits down, and starts telling Amy how the woman was unstable, she’d made the right decision, sounding very much like a man would sound under the circumstances. (There’s nothing masculine about Tyne Daly, even in her “golden years,” but there are times when her character is quite direct and masculine, but in a matronly kind of way.)

Amy interrupts her by saying, “Mom, I feel bad because something bad happened today. Can’t you just let me feel bad for awhile?”

Yes, that sounds crazy because no man would ever say something like that, unless of course he was pretty effeminate, but I would bet the farm that eight out of ten men reading this will have heard a woman say that at one time or another because I’ve heard eight out of ten of the women I’ve ever known well enough to want them to feel better say it. Why?

It’s that same problem of our differing emotional scales. (See this article
for details.) Ours runs from negative to positive, with neutral in the middle, while a woman’s runs from zero to extreme without a lot of discrimination between positive and negative. They would prefer to feel good over bad if handed the choice of two doses of equal intensity, but there are times when a woman has a choice between feeling a little good and really bad that she’ll choose to feel really bad just to feel SOMETHING intensely. Again, why?

We both tend to stay near the middle of our emotional scales, which is our comfort zone. Men don’t like to stray too far from neutral in either direction. Feeling bad creates an urgent need to fix something, while feeling too good makes us irrational (it will be a long time before the world forgets Alan Greenspan’s words, “irrational exuberance” and the fallout from that) or makes us paranoid, wondering so intensely when the good time is going to fall apart that we cause it to fall apart.

Women, on the other hand, have a higher level of emotional involvement and energy at the middle of their scale, and if they go too low, they get bored (and start exhibiting a lot of the same behavior we exhibit when we’re at the low end of our scale – scared, hurt or angry – including in extreme cases nausea, trembling, disorientation, feeling of desperation, etc.), or if they go too high on the scale, they tend to get irrational and get lost in the emotional overload, unable to return to the middle of the scale until they bleed off that excess emotional energy.

So what does this have to do with Amy? She was trying to bleed off that excess emotional energy by just experiencing it and letting it burn her out and make her bored with the issue to sufficient degree that she could get back in balance, recentered, and refocused. So what does this mean to you?

First, that when one of the women in your life is feeling bad, giving her logical, rational reasons why she should feel good isn’t going to do anything but frustrate her. She’s not stupid, and she likely already knows most or all of the reasons available to feel good and has tried thinking about them. Throwing them in her face is the equivalent of telling her she’s too stupid to think of something like that herself.

Logic and reason can very rarely be used to bring a woman out of a heightened emotional state unless you are a very strong leader, so with a low chance of success and a high risk of insulting her and royally pissing her off, just don’t go there until you have mastered alpha male leadership and can jolt her out of her distress with a strong, alpha male maneuver that will cause a massive and rapid bleed-off of all that emotion. As a novice, there are really only two things you can do.

The first is to do as Amy asked, and just let her get through it. Be supportive if you can without acting like you’re trying to be a father or coddle her; otherwise just let it go. Or, there’s a better option, if you’re a pretty strong leader…

In some circumstances, especially when she’s feeling bad about something that happened to somebody else, such as a friend’s mother dying (as opposed to her own), you can convert that negative energy to positive energy by finding something utterly outrageous to do to distract her, and when she acts pissy and says something like, “Can’t you see I’m upset?” you just turn it up another notch with something like, “Do you think I’d be acting this ridiculous if I couldn’t?” and crack the big naughty grin.

She might smack you a good one, but she’ll be pouting and smiling at the same time, a sign that you’ve won, so keep it up and lead her out. If however, she says something like, “I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I’m just going to have to get past this myself,” give her a hug and tell her that you’ll be somewhere doing whatever you’re going to be doing when she’s over it or if she wants to talk.

Be perfectly clear on this point: You can lead her if she wants to be lead, but you cannot force her out of a bad mood or pain, so forget any notions you have to the effect of “I have to save her or die trying.” No, you don’t, and if you try to save her when she doesn’t want to be saved you’ll just make her mad. Besides, as her partner, your job is protection and nurturing, not salvation. Some would say that’s the job of religion, not men; I say it’s the job of the person needing saved. In any case, give her the respect of assuming that she can save herself when she’s ready and will at most let you help a bit. Women who can’t save themselves from their problems aren’t partners; they’re dependents, just like men who can’t save themselves.

As I’ve been saying, lessons are everywhere if you look for them. Some of us are better at identifying them and organizing them than others, and we tend to be counselors, trainers, consultants, and teachers. I’m all of the above, and an author as well, so you lucked out!

I’ve put a whole lot of these kind of lessons in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," so go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now and have the benefit of all the testing and experience that went into it now, while it’s easier to do something with it than after everything blows up in your face. (You can fix it after the blow up, but why do it the hard way when you have an easier choice???)

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

David Cunningham

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wow! A Late Contest Winner Shows He Knows How to Have a Great Relationship and Marriage!

I found a late entry that was so well-analyzed, well-prepared, and well-presented that I had to reward its author. He has a GREAT story to tell about his own life and the best analysis and teaching presentation of the King Arthur and the Witch story that I have seen to date, and I’m calling this one a “MUST READ.”

We interrupt the regularly scheduled newsletter edition today to bring you one that I really never thought I would present, and am SO proud to do so. One of you has moved straight to the head of the class with a great success story and the best analysis of the King Arthur and the Witch story I have seen or heard to date, bar none. Indeed, he covered every significant point that I found and even small one that I didn’t spot myself. Meet Stan:

David,

I am one of those guys who lost their wife of twenty-three years because of not knowing the signs that you teach of. I worshiped the ground that "SHE" walked on and it killed all of her attraction for me. She filed for divorce and I went into a depression after she left and became a sniveling flubber. A wimp who begged her to come home and love me. You were right, this only repulsed her and she would tell me that she was going to find a "Real Man" and told me that I made her sick.

Well, her "Real Man" turned out to be a homeless drunk without even a driver's license whom didn't compare to me in any way. Looks, money, character or morals. She bought him things and helped get him a place to live, drove him around and had sex with him while suing me for divorce and trying to take everything that I worked for, which brought me down even further. When he was done with her, he, of course, dumped her. All within a matter of a few months.

I have two children (One a teenage boy) the other a nine year old girl of whom the courts gave me custody from the beginning but with supporting them and loosing work because of my depression I still haven't been able to afford your book yet. However, using your advise (received via your E-Mail letters) I have met a quality "LADY", whom is even more beautiful than my ex and way more of a lady to me and my children Than "SHE" ever was.

I have learned a lot from your letters and I thank you for everything, for until I found your site I had given up and had all but crawled under a rock to die. From you I learned how "I" had a major roll in her actions and infidelities and as such, I also have to accept some of the blame. Now "SHE" is begging "ME" for love and to let her come back but I have learned from you what to look for in a quality woman and she has none of the qualities of a good wife or partner or sad to say, even a mother.

I am an adamant reader of your E-Mail articles now and so appreciate your help getting me through my "Wuss Syndrome". I thank you for teaching me to be (and helping me to realize that I am) an "Alpha Male" and as such, I am a better man, father, and inspiration to my friends and family and especially my son.

That being said, Here is what I learned from the story: "What does a woman really want?"

The first lesson in this story is that Arthur should not have sought out the wisdom of the wise or priests, because this particular question had nothing to do with spiritual wisdom, but pertained more so to a woman's nature. The princess wasn't truly qualified to answer the question because she would have probably had everything handed to her since her birth and wouldn't comprehend the true meaning of the word "Want."

Arthur probably didn't go to the witch at first, not based solely on the fact of cost (He didn't even ask the cost yet) but because he, neglecting the fact that she IS a woman, didn't think that a woman of her stature would have the answer to a question so pertinent, for she lacked the looks and finer qualities associated with regular women for whom society sometimes associate looks or appearance with quality. How would a woman of her stature know what "REGULAR" women want?

The witch, however, did have the knowledge of what she or "Women" wanted, because she in fact WAS in charge of her own life. She had the choice of being whatever or whomever she wanted. The witch was perceived as ugly by others but they all respected her and knew that she would have the answer for a reason; she was a powerful woman who was strong within herself. She did not have to prove to anyone who she was because she already knew who she was. She was “it,” so to speak. Thus the exorbitant costs she required.

She wanted Lancelot, who stood out from the crowd, as her booty because she new that she deserved him and would not settle for less than the best. As the "Most noble of the knights" He had already proven himself an "Alpha Male" which had already triggered her attraction switch knowing within that she was also a quality female.

Retaining her looks through the wedding ceremony was probably a test to see how much of a man he was and he passed with flying colors. It didn't matter to him how anyone else felt or what they thought, Lancelot lived for and answered only to himself. He was willing to do what was right for his people, again showing leadership qualities and selflessness by taking the initiative and being a leader for his king, continuing to trigger attraction in her.

On their wedding night the witch offered Lancelot part of what she "COULD BE" not so much as a reward only, but possibly as a continuing test. She rewarded him and partially submitted to his authority by giving him part of what she knew he, as a man, would want while posing yet another test of when he would want it; Is this about pride (The way other people see you) or is it about you? (What you want?)

By accepting her gift and graciously granting her the authority back, to make the decision as to when he would receive it, he gave her the security of letting her know that he believed that she was capable of making her own decisions and that he was going to stand by her either way continuing to trip her attraction triggers thereby causing her to want to please him, turning her into what he wanted her to be, naturally.

Thanks for letting me thank you.

Stan

Well done, Stan. Well done indeed. Enjoy your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and keep in touch. If you can learn that much and do that much with my newsletters, I can’t wait to see what you can do with my book.

And what about the rest of you? Maybe you’re getting a lot out of my newsletters, and I’m pleased as punch that you are, but has it occurred to you that as good as what you’re getting out of these newsletters is, you’re not getting anything close to what’s in my book? If you’re getting more smiles than you used to, you’re really talking again, and things are starting to heat up in the bedroom again, great, but you’re catching crumbs, so to speak. How about a nice big steak? Can you imagine what you could do with that? And don’t you deserve to treat yourself and your relationship better?

I love this work, I love helping you folks, and I love every one of you for making the effort to try to make your life better, but I’ll be the first to admit that I do this for a living and I’ll never put more than 10% of what I’ve researched and proven into these newsletters. It was a lot of hard work for a lot of people, especially me. And you’ve seen that I put a whole lot more useful information in these newsletters than most authors put in their premium reports and books, so can you imagine what’s in my book? And what you could do with it?

So are you a crumb-catcher or a beef-eater? Have a steak, hot off the grill. Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and see what I mean, see what you can do, and see how great YOUR life becomes because of it.

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

David Cunningham