Saturday, November 22, 2008

Do You Want to Be RIGHT, or HAPPY? Conflict Resolution in Relationships and Marriage

Many people get so hung up on WHO’s right that they can’t see WHAT’s right, making them push a bad position to “win” instead of focusing on getting the right answer in everybody’s head and moving forward, alienating everyone around them. That’s bad enough when at a social gathering, even worse at work, but what if it’s going on in your relationship or marriage? Just how long do you think such a relationship can last? Luckily, the condition is treatable with a little self-injection of self-esteem and an attitude adjustment.

This has been the week for phone calls from very disturbed people. I just got off the phone with a consulting client who bought “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and he was frantic. His relationship with his wife was on the rocks, she had filed for divorce, and it didn’t take but a very few minutes to see why she was divorcing him.

First, a little background: The poor guy has such an extreme self-esteem deficit that no woman would ever have him for long (I questioned whether his wife married him for his money because he described her as coming from a rather “low-maintenance” background, he’s loaded with “old money,” and there’s just no way this guy was ever able to spark attraction in anyone through any means other than dressing well and exhibiting the trappings of money and power), and every part of our conversation was about “who was right” instead of “what will work for him.”

You’ve probably met people like him, and if you haven’t, ignore them when you meet them. Don’t bother trying to get to know them, because they will try to get to know you by telling you that they know more about your life than you do before you’ve said much more than, “Hello.”

His wife had apparently had enough of it and was bailing out after only two months, and he maintained that she knew nothing about herself, what she wanted from herself or him, didn’t have a clue what relationships were about, and he couldn’t get her to understand that he was smart because he was wealthy. Attention all disciples of the Church of Cause and Effect…all together now…1…2…3…CRINGE!!!

I’ve heard a lot over the years of being a business consultant and executive coach, but this guy beat anything I’ve ever seen in terms of being in denial, having a sub-zero self-esteem level, and having absolutely no concept of cause-and-effect relationships. He actually believed that inheriting a large estate made him intelligent! Being intelligent gives one the ability to build a fortune, but receiving an unearned fortune obviously does not include a brain infusion or transplant.

Now that you have the background, picture the fun part. He calls up, introduces himself, describes in great detail all of the above, and after agreeing to a $250 consulting fee for a block of my time, proceeds to spend the first hour trying to first justify everything he did and then trying to tell me why nothing in the book he purchased could possibly help him, and that since he was wealthy, he could afford to spend time with me to suggest changes that had occurred to him as he was reading the Table of Contents – he had NOT yet read the book!

Now, in case this is your first edition of this newsletter and you’ve not heard it before, a team of 118 couples helped me conduct and test all the research that went into this book, and anything that was less than 90% effective was not included; things that were between 50% and 90% effective were noted for discussion in this newsletter to see if there might be a way to fine tune them for acceptable performance to be added to the book, and anything less than 50% effective was consigned to individual circumstances or personal tastes and omitted entirely. Now, think about that for just a second…

…a 118-page book full of advice and concepts, each of which at least 90% of 118 women agreed on being effective with them, and at least 90% of men agreed were easy and enjoyable to do. There have been only two refunds in nearly five years, and both were the result of some misunderstanding about the purpose or content of the book (one of which had inadvertently purchased the same book twice and wanted one of them refunded!). I also have unsolicited testimonials from almost everyone who has ever bought it stating that it works wonders. That kind of thing is unheard of with information products. Most authors brag if they can keep their refund rate down to 10%, and mine is currently under 0.004%.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for error, does it? It has worked to improve everyone’s lives, but this guy, who’s bought this book to try to head off a divorce and starts the conversation with the words, “My name is XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX and my wife is divorcing me and I don’t know what to do,” is going to be charitable and spend an hour of paid consulting time telling me that everything in my book, which he has not yet thoroughly read, is wrong and then asking me for help. Sound familiar?

Are you like this guy, more interested in being heard or being “right” than in being happy? Is your partner? Can you see what a strain it’s putting on your relationship? If either of you are like this man, you can bet that at some point it will end your relationship if it’s not fixed. The first steps in fixing any problem is admitting there is a problem, defining it, and taking responsibility for fixing whatever part of it you can impact. Only after those three things are accomplished can an effective solution be developed.

And, by the way, taking responsibility does not mean taking the blame; it means committing to act in solving and eliminating the problem. Indeed, people who won’t take responsibility are very prone to focus on blame and point the finger everywhere but at themselves, making it impossible to show them how they may have contributed to the problem and determine how they might modify their behavior to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. As you might expect, this was the hardest part of this phone call – getting this man to see that his self-esteem deficit was the vast majority of the problem so that he could begin building self-esteem through genuine achievements and eliminate the problem.

It took two hours of him yelling and screaming and arguing with me, and me countering every argument with the very irrefutable facts he had given me, but finally a light came on (“No bad idea, no matter how popular, can withstand the onslaught of logic.” – Aldous Huxley) and he was able to see that he had spent the entire call rejecting the help he had paid to obtain because he wanted to be right.

There was no way to shorten the process. I kept asking, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” and he kept answering “I want both!” It was when he finally realized that if he could be both he would have never needed to call me in the first place that he finally had a revelation that made me think he’d had a heart-attack. He didn’t speak for about five minutes and there were all manner of stressful sounds on his end where he was trying to either hold back or silence his crying so I wouldn’t hear it. I mercifully let him get it out of his system without asking if he was alright, and he finally said, “Okay, I’m a clean slate. Tell me what I need to know.”

I said, ‘What you need to know first is that everything in that book you bought has worked for everyone who has used it; within the last week a young man in your predicament pulled his literally out of divorce court, his wife is back home, and they’re making long-term career and family plans now. Go back and read the book, thoroughly, this time looking for answers instead of validation and expecting to be happy in the future instead of expecting to be right throughout your history, and then call me if we need to talk further. Now that you have come this far, I have every confidence you can go the distance.” Tear ‘em down and build ‘em back up the right way…facing reality and embracing it with a fury.

(Update: He did as I instructed, and he eventually turned out to be one of my star students. It turned out that he was quite intelligent, not because he was wealthy, but because he had an analytical mind and the ruthlessness to learn anything, once we got his ego out of the way; emotion and rational thinking don’t mix. Congratulations, J.G. – you still hold the title as my biggest challenge of this project, even bigger than finding a whole book full of facts about women that over a hundred women agreed upon!)

As I said, this situation can destroy your relationship if it goes on continuously, but I didn’t mention that you can do extreme damage to your relationship in a single argument with this mistake. As tempers rise, things are said that can be apologized for, but not taken back. When there is a disagreement, focus on WHAT is right, not WHO is right. You’re partners, and supposed to be a team, so the important thing is not to win an argument (competitive), but to score a win for the team in the situation (cooperative), is it not?

So why do we do this to ourselves and our partners, the people whom we should love and seek cooperative and mutually beneficial existence with the most??? As with many people problems, low self-esteem puts us in a competitive mode, thinking that we’ll feel better if we beat somebody at something – anybody at anything! How much self-esteem will you be garnering by making an ass of yourself and putting your relationship on the rocks? Think before you open your mouth, because you can certainly get your foot in it much easier than you can put back into it any words that came out of it. Keep things in perspective, and you can keep things moving in the right direction always.

So, are you going to concern yourself with what’s right, or with who? Have you ever heard that old ditty, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got…”? There’s a little more to it, but that’s the gist of it.

I’m telling you, straight up, achiever-to-achiever, I have what you need, right here. Solid, factual information, tested by over a hundred regular couples in long-term committed relationships, most of them married, all of them long-term enough to have developed significant problems that threatened their relationships, before this book was every published, and thousands more since..

It’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s just a few mouse-clicks away. Download your copy today at
http://www.makingherhappy.com, because with information like this and a little study and desire, you can start putting an end to silly little traps like this one once and for all within minutes of downloading it. And I have a whole bunch readers who will tell you that you can’t get results like you’ll get with this information, anywhere or at any price.

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

David Cunningham

Friday, November 21, 2008

Girls and Their Toys -- What's a Guy to Do, Especially in Relationships and Marriage?

Some men get terribly insecure about women’s “toys,” responding with such nonsense as “How am I supposed to compete with THAT?” You’re not, and you should be glad that it’s a toy and not another man. Why not “grow a pair” and join in the fun?

Sometimes I get letters from readers that are truly upsetting. I’ll spare you the details of those emotions, but eventually I have to look past the gross insecurity and ignorance expressed in the letter and remember that my job is to help people learn to be smarter and better, and that they think the way they do (or FAIL to think at all) because that’s what they have been taught, and my beef is with the teacher, not the student. Meet Brent:

Hey David,

Man, I’ve got a problem. My wife has discovered “toys,” (the adult kind) and I can’t get her to leave them alone. Every time I come home when she’s been here alone, they are laying out and it drives me nuts. I mean, how am I supposed to compete with that? I’ve got to get her to stop, but I don’t know how. I’ve tried everything I can think of, and she just gets madder and madder at me when I try to tell her that she doesn’t need them. What can I do?

Thanks,
Brent


My response:

Yes, Brent, you have a problem, and it’s not your wife’s toys. It’s your attitude. What makes you think you are “competing” with her toys? And what makes you think that she needs to stop using them? If there’s something lacking in the bedroom, would you not prefer that it was her toys taking up the slack instead of another man, or had that occurred to you?

I obviously don’t know your wife, but every woman that knows me, including your fellow readers, will tell you that I know women well enough to say this: Whether she’s using toys because there is something lacking in your performance or because she just likes toys is irrelevant, and you’re showing a sickening level of insecurity by feeling you have to compete with them and an equally sickening level of arrogance or stupidity to think that you can decide for her what she needs and doesn’t need. So what’s up?

She’s leaving them out as an invitation for you to join her in using them! She’s mad because you’re being insecure and trying to shut her down instead of listening to her, taking the hint, and letting her share with you something that she enjoys! Get a clue!

Like it or not, that’s reality, and if you think you’re choking on that dose, this one isn’t going to go down very well, either: If you don’t get a grip, grow a pair of testicles worthy of a man, and stop acting threatened by some masses of inanimate plastic, there will be another man involved, either before or after the divorce, and he will likely be chosen partially on the basis of his willingness to share her toy pleasures with her.

It’s like this: your manhood is not a function of how big your “organ” is or how many orgasms you can give her through “traditional” intercourse, or any other kind for that matter. That’s machismo, ego, and chauvinism at its worst. Your manhood is a function of how well you handle the job of being a man! How much you act like the alpha male – smart, confident, witty, comfortable being in the lead and making decisions (NOT forcing them on others, as you want to do with her toys), and letting that naughty inner child out from time to time to show her a good time.

How do you think you come off asking her how you’re supposed to compete with a few ounces of latex?

Like a freaking wuss!

The only way that toy can be used as a lethal weapon is to choke you with it, yet you’re acting scared to death of it. How manly is that? NOT!!!

Now straighten up, think like a man instead of an insecure, grab-asstic adolescent, and next time you come home and find your wife’s toys laying out, put on your best naughty boy grin and tell her that if she’s going to leave her toys lying around where you have to look at them, she’s going to have to let you play with them too, so it’s time to get naked and show you how they work, else she’s going to get a spanking. Yes, I’m serious!

She will be stunned at first because you’ve acted like such a wuss, and then she’ll get a little cocky to test you to see if you mean it. Pick up one of her toys and give her a good-natured swat on the behind with it, and crack wise with something like, “That seems to work, but I’m sure there’s a better use for this than that,” and dial up the naughty level a few notches.

Let her show you, and you pay very close attention to things like speed, pressure, direction, etc., then you take over and allow her to continue to coach you, which she may do with her hands or other body parts instead of spoken words, i.e., raising her hips to press toward you means more pressure, etc. – use your head and keep your cool, and everything will be fine. It’s a learning experience, a damned pleasurable one too, not a contest, so put that competition nonsense away and leave it there before it gets you hurt. This is about cooperation, not competition.

All joking and rib-poking aside, if you have a problem with this because of some kind of childhood sexual trauma, stop hiding from it and get help, because you’re cheating both of you out of a lot of things, including fun, trust, intimacy, etc. – things that no committed relationship can ever get too much of, right?

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


This mess could have been avoided if Brent just knew a little more about communicating with women and was comfortable with himself, two things that a whole lot of men have a huge problem with. If you are one of them, it’s time to give yourself – AND YOUR PARTNER – the gift of a break from all the stress.

Inside every man is an alpha male, and if he’s not in the lead in your life, he’s been suppressed, oppressed, or somehow pressured into the background, but he’s there, waiting to come out. Yes, he is! He’s been there ever since you were given that “Y” chromosome at conception! But…

Unfortunately, there’s not likely to be a hyper-skilled communicator that can rival any woman hiding in there with him unless you are an effeminate gay male that is so girly that every woman wants to go shopping with you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to do much better than you are doing – so much better in fact, that she thinks you’re reading her mind at times.

Neither are hard to do, if you just apply a little time and effort to clearing out some bad programming and engaging in a little self-improvement, which is a whole lot easier than trying to put on an act for a creature that has about 100 times the capacity for sensing and interpreting non-verbal communication than you have. You can’t just ACT like a man, you have to BE a man. But the good news is that you just need to know what works and how to make the parts of what work that appeal to you a real part of your life, which is one of the most enjoyable processes a man can go through at any point in his life.

It’s all laid out for you, step by step, in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s waiting for you at
http://www.makingherhappy.com. Download it and give it a shot, because life is too short to miss out on the good parts, and unless you and your partner are truly enjoying your manhood (literally and figuratively) you are missing out on a LOT of good parts.

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

David Cunningham

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So She Says She Has a Headache: The Oldest Lie in Relationships and Marriage

A reader asks about the age-old lie, “Not tonight; I have a headache,” and its other iterations. He may not like the answer, but if he’ll accept it he can fix the problem, which is not her; it’s him.

I’ve wondered for a long time why I seldom receive a letter on this subject, because in the research phase of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” it was one of the first things to come up: the ages-old lie, “Not tonight, Dear. I have a headache.” It has other iterations, such as cramping, nausea, too tired (an extremely common one and easy to fake), menstrual discomfort, etc. Sometimes these complaints might be legitimate issues, in others they won’t. There is a pretty good way to know the difference, and a fool-proof way to eliminate the bogus ones. We’ll discuss all that in a minute, but first, meet Randy:

Hey David,

I have run into a stone wall with my wife and was hoping you might be able to shed some light onto a problem that is driving me straight to the sofa. It has to do with what else, sex. I know women think that is all a man thinks of, but how can you not when you never get it!

Every time lately I want to have sex with my wife she always has a reason that we can not do it. I have heard them all at this point, I am on my period, I have a yeast infection or bladder infection, I am too tired I have had the kids all day. Hey I am not a heartless SOB, but enough is enough how can a woman have a problem all of the time? I need some help here dude, how do I get her back in the bed with me and have sex instead of fighting for half an hour and ending up on the sofa every night?

Randy


My reply:

Randy, Buddy, let’s talk. There are two possible reasons for your wife’s behavior, those being that she’s really having that much trouble and that she’s not having that much trouble but it’s easier to fake something than to argue and fight about sex. It’s simple logic. She’s complaining of a problem, so the problem either does or does not exist. If the problem exists, there should be some signs of attempted remedy, and if not, she’s bound to slip up sometime.

When she claims she has a headache, is her behavior consistent with having a headache? Taking some form of pain reliever, wanting you to rub her neck if it’s tension or taking antihistamines or decongestants if it’s sinus or avoiding bright lights and loud noises if it’s a migraine?

Incidentally, last I heard, the AMA was still saying that the average person has 6 headaches a year. That’s really ironic because that’s also the number of times the average couple who has been together longer than two years has sex in a year (if, of course, they’ve not discovered "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage", in which case they’re having sex several times per week to several times per day!)

Is she saying she’s too tired for sex and then going to sleep or sitting on the phone with a friend, sitting at her computer, or watching TV for another two hours? Are there wrappers from feminine hygiene products in the trash can when she claims to be having her period?

Is she going to the doctor and/or drugstore and bringing home prescription or over-the-counter treatments for bladder infections or yeast infection when she claims she has one?

The point is that there is behavior that can be logically expected if someone has a genuine ailment, especially if it’s frequent. If their actions are contradictory to their words, they’re faking it to avoid sex. There is no other explanation.

Now the big question, why would she want to be avoiding sex?

There are very few people who don’t enjoy it, and their problems are pretty severe. If she has enjoyed sex with you in the past, it’s unlikely that she would have developed one of these major problems (like being raped) without you knowing about it. That leaves only one conclusion.

She’s no longer feeling attracted to you! Get this:

The slow-down of sexual activity a year or two after your marriage may seem normal because everybody complains about it and there’s a chemical change that stops forcing you to want it constantly, but it’s actually the first major symptom in the slow decay of a relationship. It doesn’t mean the relationship is over, but it’s now, not when you or she gets busted in an affair or somebody gets served divorce papers, that is the best time (other than before trouble starts, as a preventive measure) to start learning what you’ve needed to know all along and doing what you should have been doing all along to set things right while it’s still easy to do so. At this point, her feelings are still mostly positive, right?

Loves you? Maybe, even probably.

Loyal to you? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on whether someone else has created attraction for her and she’s responding to them. A woman will have sex with a man to whom she is attracted, and will not with a man to whom she is not attracted, at least not without resentment. It’s just that simple. There is also a strange tendency for people having an affair to refuse to have sex at home because they’re having feelings of fidelity for the person they’re involved with. So what do you do?

First, you forget about trying to find out if she’s sleeping with another man. That is irrelevant, and nothing good can come from finding out. She’s living with you, and that’s all that matters. Any woman would rather feel attraction for a man she’s living with, especially if she loves him, than any other man on the planet. It makes for a nice, tidy, secure, and enjoyable environment that is not possible under any other scenario. That is your edge. Don’t blow it by making accusations and digging around to find out something that you won’t want to know afterwards anyway. If you handle this right and your wife has any character at all, she’ll end up confessing sometime in the future anyway, or else her past will come back to haunt her. Forget about it. (Or “fuggidaboudit” as they say in New York City!)

Second, start creating attraction for her. You apparently did it for her at one time, or she wouldn’t have married you (even if she married you because she was pregnant, she slept with you – drunken daze notwithstanding – because you created attraction for her), so you have to bring it back, which is nowhere near as hard as creating it for a stranger, for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into here, but are fully explained in the book that will tell you how to create attraction for her, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” She lives for it, yearns for it, and wants you to be the one creating for her, of all the men on the planet. Give her what she wants!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David Cunningham

Gentlemen, that feeling you get that you would describe as “I’ve just got to have her,” is the same feeling women get when in the presence of an alpha male who creates sexual tension for her by flipping switches and withdrawing in a “two-steps-forward-one-step-back” dance that can go on for minutes to days. They’re not visually stimulated like we are with the human physique, it’s behavior that gets them fired up more than anything, the confident, cocky, almost swaggering arrogance of a man who knows he can do anything balanced with the intellect to do what he chooses, the authority to pull it off, and the sense of humor to make it all enjoyable.

Putting on the act won’t do it, at least not for long. You might get way with it for a date or two with a stranger, but with your committed partner, it’s got to be you, the REAL you, not just an act you can put on and constantly be stressed out over the possibility of having her see through it. Help is instantly available if you’re ready to be the man you can be.

“THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” teaches you, as it has taught thousands of men, what you need to know and helps you to incorporate it into the real you, making you that confident alpha male you takes care of business and has fun in ways that drives women wild with desire.

It also teaches you the difference in how you communicate and how women communicate so that when she tries to tell you what she wants you’ll be able to hear and understand it. Believe it or not, many women have reported having affairs and getting caught in them so that their husband will see the example that “the other man” sets, because she’s tried to tell him and the message didn’t get through! The boyfriend wasn’t a boyfriend, he was the illustration in a “how-to” manual she tried to give him!

And, since women need love for security and attraction to feel alive, it teaches you what attractive behavior is, and the personality that causes it to happen naturally, the alpha male personality, and how to develop it so that you can enjoy the confidence that it brings you in all walks of life, not just in your relationship. It’s not just about relationship improvement, it’s about MALE improvement, about being a real man, and doing the manly things that real men do, and loving every minute of it.

The coolest part is that the manly things that manly men do and women love to see them do are fun! They’re things that men just naturally do, but in that idiotic fiasco of the 1980’s when women said they’d like for men to be more sensitive and men took that to mean sensitive INSTEAD OF manly and not sensitive IN ADDITION TO being manly, as the women wanted (they never state “the obvious”), men have just stopped doing and turned into a bunch of wusses.

Kill that inner wuss and let your inner manly man and inner naughty boy come back out to stay. I’ll teach you how. Click over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com, download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and let’s get started, because life is just too short to spend it being a wuss, not to mention celibate and on the couch!

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

David Cunningham

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where Have All the Real Men Gone? Fighting the Extinction of Great Relationships and Marriage

Real men, alpha males, are nearly an extinct species, in spite of all the information available to help men avoid drowning in a sea of wussitude. Why? What can you do to protect yourself and reverse the damage that has been done? Will the woman in your life appreciate it? (You BET she will!)

There is something I have to talk about from time to time because it not only bugs the hell out of me, but out of every woman alive. Women and the dating gurus are also mentioning it, so it’s not just me. Men are rapidly deteriorating into miserable wusses at an accelerating rate, and it’s getting scary.

During conversations with men, the most ridiculous things keep coming up. Fights over things that wives have found out from non-family members that they should have found out from their husbands, leaving decisions about outings, dates, etc., to the women, total indecision about career and asking their wife not for input, but for decisions about what they should do! Men being afraid to be men!!! It’s a disgusting and unfortunate by-product of a lot of miscommunication in the 80’s and 90’s.

I still keep tabs on the gurus in the dating world, and Shelley McMurtry has reported that she went into a bunch of bars in a major Texas city where men and women used to “hook up” with regularity, and it was the same story, singles style – the bars full of women, dressed to the nines and obviously looking for action while the men are playing pool, talking to each other in hushed tones with slumped shoulders and drinking, sneaking a peek at the women and mentally undressing them but rarely if ever walking up to them and introducing themselves, let alone initiating a conversation. Again, disgusting!

Being married, I’m seldom in a bar, but on the rare occasions I’m in a bar, coffee house, or anywhere else that single men and women are, I see the men eyeing the women, looking sheepish, and not approaching; the only ones who appear to be taking any action are the nerdy-looking pick-up artists, sporting their peacock gear a la Neil Strauss, in “The Game,” and as Strauss describes finding out at the end of his book, that’s all just a show to get women’s attention, and has nothing behind it worthy of a relationship or that could ever sustain a relationship, and women are so aware of this that they refer to the pick-up artists’ approach as “running game” on her.

("The Game" is a great book, by the way, and while you won’t learn much about long-term relationships other than what to avoid doing if you want one, it’s still fascinating to see how far wusses will go to try to make up for not having alpha male characteristics they could easily develop in themselves.)

When I’m out and watching couples interact, I rarely see a man walking with his head up, smiling and looking confident; he’s usually looking either angry or lost as his wife or girlfriend seems to be leading him around and making all the decisions, and when she stops to talk to another woman, you can see the looks of “yeah, I’m out with stupid wuss-boy here again, and I’ll call ya later and give you a good laugh about his latest stupidity” from across a shopping mall. Double disgusting!

Gentlemen, it is our station in life to make decisions – not to force our decisions on everyone else, mind you – but to be decisive when we have information; strong, and confident to the point of being benevolently aggressive and even a slight bit arrogant, and having the gonads and intestinal fortitude to talk to women about whatever we want or need to discuss with them, looking into their eyes, not at our feet. We are born and bred to lead. There is no excuse for failing in this regard. Nor is there an excuse for being towed around a place we don’t want to be like a little red wagon, or more appropriately, a child being led by the nose or ear to a place to be punished for his bad behavior.

Yes, we’ve been programmed by our mothers, our teachers, ex-girlfriends, Hollywood, etc., to be “nice,” to “share our feelings,” to be “sensitive,” and do a whole bunch of ridiculous crap that literally annoys women to death, whether they realize it as they are doing it or not, but we are not born or built that way. We are born male, with the capacity to be “alpha male,” and it is our natural state. No matter how long and how severely you have been programmed, you can deprogram yourself with a little knowledge and very little effort.

By the way, how are women responding to all these candy-asses? They’re getting more and more bored and frustrated with them, and pushing them harder and harder towards an emotional explosion in hopes of just getting a glimpse of their maleness. They want us to be real men, to the extent of risking a huge fight to see us do it, and when they don’t get what they want, they continue to escalate until your worst nightmare begins: they decide you may be unsalvageable, and then either affairs or divorce proceedings start, because such things will either get your attention and finally call you to action or at least provide them some relief in the form of drama and a change of scenery. (The one partial exception I’ve noted is in marriages where there is a high level of religious involvement, in which cases the woman “wears the pants in the family,” and both parties to the marriage are obviously unhappy, usually stuck in that “comfortably unhappy” state I warn you about.)

At that point, they have nothing to lose either way. It takes time, and they don’t like going through it, and if they see you suddenly start trying to improve, they will cautiously encourage you while skeptically testing you to see if you have the courage of your convictions and will see it through, or just shrug it off and consign yourself forever to terminal wussitude.

You can fix this, starting right now, if you have the desire and guts and of course, know how to read. That’s all it takes. You’re reading this, so you’re one third of the way home already. Go for broke. Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” right now. Fix this before it gets out of hand, and be one of the few and the proud instead of one of the many and lame.

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

David Cunningham

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Power of Negative Thinking in Your Relationship or Marriage

Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” has been required reading in any self-improvement curriculum since the 1950’s, but have you ever thought about its antithesis, and how you might be inadvertently creating your own insecurities and failure?

This time of year I look through a lot of catalogs for small but highly personal gifts for friends and family. I was looking through one that had a lot of gag gifts and unusual memorabilia and there was an item billed as a “Motivational T-Shirt” that said “I didn’t come here to lose…” on the front of it.

I thought, “What an idiot!”

You see, there is a big difference between “I didn’t come here to lose…” and “I came here to win!” But a lot of people make this mistake and consequently program themselves for failure.

When faced with a new opportunity, they ask, “What if I can’t do this?” instead of “What do I do after I succeed at this?” Believe it or not, it’s been proven that this “framing” of situations plays a huge role in how you get along in your own environment, you self-esteem and confidence, and your chances of success in anything that you pursue.

(If you want to pursue it further, start with Maxwell Maltz’s “Psychocybernetics,” in which he describes the mental mechanisms that move us toward whatever we focus on, whether it’s good or bad for us.)

This kind of negative programming can turn you into an insecure wuss in a fairly short time, no matter how tough you are. The subconscious mind doesn’t discriminate between positive and negative and doesn’t process terms of negation in your speech or thoughts (it ignores words like “not”); it merely works very hard to bring you toward whatever you are focused on, so if you focus on “not failing” instead of succeeding, you’re actually focused on failure instead of success.

To bring this closer to home, if you’re sitting there reading this newsletter because you are having problems in your own relationship or marriage, you’re reading a lot of advice. If you’re reading multiple sources, you’re reading a whole lot more advice. And if every time you read something you think, “I’d like to try that, but what if I fail?” or “That sounds okay, but what if it doesn’t work?” you’re programming yourself for failure, frequently and effectively, even without regard for the advice you are reading.

You must question the advice you are given. Only a fool would follow blindly everything he reads. But when you question it, do so in a way that doesn’t sabotage your efforts. Ask, “Does this make sense?” “Can I see myself succeeding and moving on to the next step if I do this?” These are reasonable, direct questions that need to be answered and are in the proper context…

…after all, you’re looking for something to help you succeed, not something to help you fail, right?

So why concern yourself with failure??? Your questions should be about what will bring you closer to your goal, and nothing else. And anybody with advice worth using should be able to tell you how it helps and why it should help by virtue of having proven that it works, preferably with their own success among others, so if you can’t find answers to those positive questions, it’s time to look at something else, is it not? It’s the output (the RESULTS!), not the input, that is important, right?

Who cares how many copies of a book have been sold? That doesn’t tell you how many people it helped! Would you care to guess how many books have been sold that advocated crying with a woman at a chick flick and leaving all decisions to her to make sure she felt like her position had been considered? Or how many books have advocated lying to a potential partner to get them in bed or even worse, marry them?

Who cares how many degree titles somebody has trailing after their name? That doesn’t tell you whether they’re giving you proven, repeatable reality or some pet theory that hasn’t been tested and proven to work. (And yes, in case you’re curious, I do have fun little academic acronyms after my name, so I can say that.) I don’t know about you, but when I was looking for help, I found lots of theories in lots of books, and they were such utter hogwash that I ended up having to research and write a book just to have something to use myself! Strange, and pathetic, but true!

And when you get right down to the nitty gritty, should you even care what it costs? According to a recent study, the average divorce in the U.S. costs $27,000 excluding alimony, child support, etc. Indeed, I received an e-mail today outlining a settlement of $275,000 up front, plus $150,000 per year, plus he has to maintain a $750,000 life insurance policy with her as the beneficiary so that she still gets future payments if something happens to him. And who knows what the lawyers got out of it! Most self-help products, mine included, are way under a hundred bucks! Indeed, mine’s presently under forty! Compared to the cost of a divorce (and we’re not even going to get into the pain of a divorce), that’s pocket change, and I can also tell you why it works, why you can expect it to work, and how many people it’s helping, including myself!

So the short answers are that my information was researched and tested with a fairly large group of women and then double-checked with the help of their husbands and boyfriends. To the best of my knowledge, based on testimonials I’ve received, it’s helped everyone who has used it, and that in turn is why you can expect it to work for you, as long as you do actually use it instead of getting it, reading it, and then talking yourself out trying with questions like “What if this doesn’t work for me?” or “What if I can’t do this?”

Until very recently, I was even able to say that I have never issued a refund! In the last three years, I have now issued two refunds. One was to a girl who claimed that she thought that she was buying dating advice (even though the advertising is pretty clear that it’s for people in committed relationships and marriage). The other one was to guy who missed the e-mail announcing the book’s title change and thought that I was releasing another book and he wanted it because he’d had such success with the first one.

I refunded his duplicate purchase and we both had a good laugh out of it. He commented, “Thank you, I am more embarrassed than anything else, the good news is that I found the book very informative and was sold twice so to speak. I had failed to sign up for the newsletter the first time.”

So there it is. This isn’t rocket science, or some 12-step program. It’s just the real story on what women want, what makes them tick, how to communicate with them, how to be fun and exciting without being a clown or a flake, how to feel good enough about yourself that your self-esteem and confidence levels make you a man that she loves being around instead of a man she feels like she has to raise and protect like a mother would do a child, and how to choose and hold out for a good woman or know if you have one already. I’ve not yet met a heterosexual man who couldn’t do everything in it, easily and naturally, within a short time.

So what about you? Are you sitting there in front of your computer staring at this newsletter and thinking, “What if it doesn’t work for me?” or are you thinking, “What will life be like after I get through this?” If it’s the former, there’s not a thing in the world that I or anybody else can do to help you. But! If it’s the latter, get your butt over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get busy, because this is what you’ve been looking for, real answers proven by real people.

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Most Important Skills in Building, Maintaining, or Saving a Relationship or Marriage, Part 2

A reader writes more about his success and discoveries in reviving his marriage in the post-affair situation that many of you have written me about. He’s already identified playful behavior and a positive attitude as necessary, and we get to the really big issues today, the ones that must come before all others. Do yourself a big favor and learn from him…

We started yesterday with Mark’s first letter to me and my response, in which he demonstrated how a playful attitude went a long way toward reestablishing trust and intimacy in his marriage as he and his wife work to recover from a crisis, one resulting from the slow decay of a good marriage inducing the wife to have an affair. Today we continue with a partial transcript of several e-mails that have passed back and forth between Mark and me. Today he gets into the real meat of his discoveries, or rather confirmations of my own discoveries with his own experience. Let’s continue…

David,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.

Yes, I did catch that email about the guy who pulled his wife's pants down; in fact that's part of what convinced me to try the pillow fight. And I did try the pulling the pants down thing, too. It worked as well, I think my wife is starting to realize that she has no idea what I'm going to do next - and it’s exciting to her.

I also wanted to tell you about a great conversation I had with my wife.

You see one of the most beneficial aspects of what you teach is showing us men how women communicate. Throughout our marriage I was always frustrated and upset because my wife never would just come out and ask me a question about a topic. It always seemed she would just make a statement and expect me to realize that it was a question. Or she would ask a question and stupid me thought it was really a question. This led to all kinds of fights because I wanted her to communicate the "right" way - namely my way or a man's way.

Anyway, the other night my wife is telling me that she really needs to just express herself more directly to me. Smart me realizes that this statement is a question or at least a request to open a dialog. So I didn't just agree, I started a conversation with her. I told her that sure there were times that I wish she were more direct, but the one thing I realized through this learning process (yes I told her that I bought your book) was that I had learned a lot about her communication style in the past few months. I told her I no longer felt the need to change her behavior to suit me because I had been taught (by you) about her communication style. I tell you it was a beautiful sight to see the sparkle in her eye when she realized that I got it - finally.

I think the best thing that's happened in our marriage recently is that we've both opened up because we realize that we are free to be ourselves instead of what someone else or society thinks we should be. I am free to be the fun-loving, strong, confident and naughty boy husband I was meant to be and she's free to be the drama queen (I mean that not in any negative way) she was meant to be.

Boy is life fun, when you really start to get these things figured out.

Thank you so much for all your help.

Mark


Powerful stuff, huh? We’ll discuss this in detail in a minute, but when I told Mark that I wanted to share this with all of you and why, he came back with more very insightful commentary that we also need to talk about. So here’s the brief reply that opened him up further:

Hi again!

This is great, and it would make a great newsletter, too. I have a hard time getting "non-believers" to accept that communications is more important than anything else in such crises because it's the tool for solving problems and creates trust and intimacy, which in turn buys you the time to work on attraction. Do you mind if I use this anonymously? I'll call you "Mark" or something like that in the newsletter.

Thanks, and take care,
David

To which he replied:

I just thought that I would add a little in case you wanted more to use.

I remember many instances in our past where I would absolutely know that she was trying to hint around at something. I always called it circling around the issue. I mean I knew exactly what she wanted to talk about from the first statement or question. But because I wanted her to communicate "my way" I would ignore it or answer in short one word responses in a vain attempt to infuriate her enough to finally get to the point. I mean it was incredible. Here I was hearing the message and understanding it but because it wasn't delivered in the manner I wanted to hear it I would play a game of ignoring it until my wife finally was mad enough to just say it - or usually scream it!

So in a way I won the battle, but lost the war. I finally got her to communicate "my way" but I did it in a way that destroyed any intimacy or attraction. You know she had to be thinking that I was the biggest jerk in the world for doing this - and in reality she was exactly right - I was being a complete jerk.

And the really weird part is she knew it too! She wanted me to communicate "her way" and wouldn't try to hear me either. So we had in effect painted ourselves into a corner where we were convinced that everything would be fine if the other person would just change.

Mark

So how much of this soaked in?

Let’s start with something that Mark touched on and I elaborated only slightly on. Of all the things that you can do to improve a relationship or marriage, communication is second only to being in a highly compatible relationship in terms of reasons that relationships and marriages last or disintegrate. Compatibility gives us common ground upon which to act, discuss, and have fun, and communication is the tool with which trust and intimacy are built. All of these things are components or constituents of the primary relationship emotion, love.

When love is elevated through heightened trust and intimacy, the protective walls come down and women will then not try to fight off the attraction they feel for a playful, confident man. Feeling safe, especially in terms of her emotional well-being, is such a huge issue to most women that I don’t know if the average guy even has sufficient frame of reference to understand it, let alone empathize. Suffice it to say that if she has trust issues, everything else will be moot, because women know just how easy it is for them to go overboard and get lost in an emotional storm.

Then we get to another HUGE issue: Competition. Doing it “his way” or “her way.” Focusing on WHO is right instead of WHAT is right. The tendency to compete or cooperate is what determines whether she and you are truly “partners” or merely cohabitants of the same residence.

Partners cooperate. They seek out the best solutions to problems for the couple. It’s true that individuals must maintain some level of independence to preserve their identity, but if you find yourself frequently competing with your wife or girlfriend instead of cooperating to act in your mutual best interest, you can take it as a sign of severe compatibility problems, self-esteem issues, or some mixture of the two, and you can be assured that you are in a relationship with the wrong person if love and partnership are you reasons for being in it.

This isn’t rocket science, Guys. You don’t even have to know how to pronounce the phrase “governing dynamics” to understand that there are real-world constraints, tendencies, and issues that are common to men and women, know what they are and understand how to make the best of them instead of constantly fighting against them.

Do you remember yesterday’s remark about the genie who thought it would be easier to build a bridge from California to Hawaii than to tell a man what makes women tick or what women really want? That story is hilarious when you first hear the punch line, but then comes the “double-take,” that sudden realization that it’s funny because it seems so true, and then that sense of futility sets in as you acknowledge that the genie is probably right. But he’s wrong!

And what’s more, if you think about it, right now you ARE the genie. With what you know right now you’d have a better chance of being able to build that bridge than to solve the many riddles and mysteries of womanhood. They’re simply unsolvable; the answers must be revealed, and the good news for you is that they have been!

I tried to solve them just like every other man, and with an IQ in the top 1% of the whole world’s population, I failed, miserably, so don’t feel bad. There are ways in which we are deceptively different and deceptively alike, and we’re just not equipped to see them. So I did the unthinkable:

I gathered a large group of women and asked them!

That’s right! And they told me everything, because they want us to know! But, being an engineer and scientist at heart, I didn’t just take their word for everything, I collected it, identified everything that was common to virtually all women, and then tested it by turning it all over to their husbands and boyfriends and listening intently to the feedback from both genders.

Sure enough, we found some rather common misconceptions among the women, instances of thinking that they wanted something they had never had, and being grossly dissatisfied when they got it. There were also common instances of instinctively responding negatively to behavior they had previously said they wanted to see in their men.

When all was said and done and we were all on the same page, so to speak, the final draft was formalized and THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” was born, and real men and women have been saving, reviving, and improving marriage and other committed relationships with it ever since. It’s now your turn, so go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy, right now, and be the guy who knows all about women instead of the genie looking to build a bridge half-way across the Pacific.

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

David Cunningham

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Most Important Skills in Building, Maintaining, or Saving a Relationship or Marriage, Part 1

A reader writes about his success and discoveries in reviving his marriage in the post-affair situation that many of you have written me about. Do yourself a big favor and learn from him…

I love letters like the ones I’m about to share with you. They prove just how much a guy with genuine desire, a little courage, and the right information can accomplish.

The following is a partial transcript of several e-mails that have passed back and forth between Mark and me today. He inspired a few noteworthy remarks from me, but his insight and achievement are the real stars today. This is really long, so I’m going to break this up over the next couple of days to keep from overloading your schedule. Join us now…

David,

Well I've been subscribing to your newsletter for a couple of months and bought your e-book, but I was really having some trouble putting your ideas to work. You see I had let my marriage get to a point that my wife was bored enough to have an affair. We've fought our way back from the brink and through your help I could see that I needed to take action, but I just couldn't figure out how to do it. So the other night I figure I'm going to make my wife notice that I'm different.

We're sitting on the bed watching TV and I just think I have to do something right now! So I sit up and lean over and look very serious. And I say, "you know, there's something that I've always wanted to do to you in bed." The look on her face was priceless. I could tell she thought that I was about to suggest some kind of sexual act and she obviously didn't want to play. But instead I grabbed the pillow and smacked her over the head with it and yelled "pillow fight!"

Talk about fun, we spent a couple of minutes rough housing on the bed and laughing so hard we woke up the kids. She was so surprised that her mood completely changed from somber to happy. This led to us having all kinds of fun that night. So I am totally getting the cocky and fun aspect of what you suggest.

The only thing that I am having trouble with at this time is that I am a stay-at-home dad. I am in the process of changing that but I'm still a couple of months out from getting the necessary training I need to get back to work. What specific ideas could you suggest for me to keep my wife attracted while I go through this transition?

Thanks,
Mark


My reply:

Hi Mark!

The pillow fight was a masterful move, so you're really getting it. That kind of fun is what makes intimacy happen, especially when you initiate it. And you can turn it up a lot hotter than that, too.

For example, one reader’s wife is one of those women who have a compulsion to pick up anything you point at. He sets her up by dropping something in the floor, and later when she's in the vicinity, he looks over at it and says, "What's that?" When she bends over, he gives her a playful little pinch or swat on the behind, or some other kind of mildly sexual "gotcha" maneuver. She laughs and tries to act mad because he got her again and can't stop herself from laughing.

The thing is to dream up things that are fun for you and not somehow degrading, humiliating, or painful for her (which would kill the fun for her instead of making it happen). That has a two-fold benefit. First, it takes the pressure off of you because you're having fun and she's along for the ride, and second, a woman will go along with just about anything for fun as long as it isn't somehow disrespectful, painful, or downright scary.

Case in point, consider the "wedgie." If you do it just far enough for it to be called a wedgie and surprise her, or just gently snap the band on her panties when it's exposed as she bends over, it's a shock, and when she sees that naughty boy grin she can't help but to laugh, where if you pull hard on the wedgie you can hurt her, or if you give her elastic the extreme snap it might sting that sensitive skin to the point of pissing her off.

(By the way, that’s the reason most women don’t like having their bra straps snapped. It’s been done excessively, too hard, and disrespectfully, and they have bad memories associated with it. Once you’ve earned her trust by doing these other things in a way she finds fun and trusts you not to hurt or disrespect her, the bra straps become fair game, too, but make sure you earn that trust before going where she’s likely to have bad feelings from the past.)

Stunts like wedgies and snapping elastic are much more about insinuation than achievement; "I could have really burnt you up if I wanted to, but I didn't because I love you and want to have fun with you, not hurt you," is the underlying message. (Be careful about pulling hard on elastic with the intention of letting up to only a gentle snap as well, because sensitive skin or tissue in the breast or groin area can be hurt as much or more by the pull than the snap if you catch it just right.) And you can have a lot of fun and excite her with anything that conveys that message.

You may have caught the e-mail a few days ago in which a guy interrupted his wife's bratty rant by pulling her pants down and walking out of the room grinning. That works great if she's just in a bratty rant and not genuinely pissed about a legitimate issue, and as long as it's just you and her in the room. Change any one of those variables and it's an act of disrespect instead of fun.

And by the way, there's nothing wrong giving her a playful nip on the breast or neck or something when nobody's looking, either. The earlier in the day you put a sexual thought in her head, the more she'll stew on it through the day and the easier it will be to ramp her up to the point where she's ripping your clothes off of you at bedtime. As you read in my book, anticipation is the name of the game, remember?

As for your home situation, it's not so difficult as you might think. Being a provider is part of the biological trigger equation, but so is being a protector, and being fun, intelligent, self-respectful, etc. If you get anxious and depressed about not having a job, it will have a negative impact.

If you treat your training as a job, and get excited about the training and the job prospects, that attitude and confidence will come across as heroic, and build trust and intimacy, not to mention be exciting to your wife. Women like to live vicariously through other people at times because it provides an emotional lift, and if she sees you striving heroically through a career change, it excites her and makes her feel safe.

In contrast, if you get insecure and anxious about it, you become a high-maintenance problem like a girlfriend and her confidence in you drops like a rock. You also point out how at the moment you are not a provider, but a dependent, and that’s really bad in the attraction equation. So in short, as long as you go through that transition with confidence and continue to look forward to success and remain fun and dedicated in the meantime, you're golden.

Just keep the communications lines open so that she gets an occasional taste of your confidence and excitement. Answer her questions with real answers instead of just "okay," or "It's going well," and then shutting up.

Give her a few details of things that you're learning and things you're excited about -- not verbose descriptions of technical processes that will bore the hell out of her, but stuff like, "I learned how to operate such-and-such today, and it was tough, but I enjoyed it. I'm getting really excited about this."


If it's not enough, she'll ask you specific questions, and if it is enough, she'll say something like she's happy for you that pretty obviously moves toward a new subject. And by the way, best wishes for whatever it is you're pursuing...

Take care, and keep in touch!
David Cunningham


Mark’s reply to this advice carries some insights and reports of further success and experimentation that you will not want to miss tomorrow, so don’t. But let’s take a closer look at this and make sure you catch the most important parts of today’s lesson.

First, women love to play just as much as we do, and sometimes I suspect that it’s more than we do, but I don’t have any way to objectively measure it. They can get just as wild, crazy, bold, raunchy, and irreverent as any man, given the right circumstances. They don’t tolerate disrespect any more than we do, and pain isn’t any more fun for them than it is for us. Don’t be afraid to be yourself; if you go too far, switch gears fast and find a new way to play. Don’t dote and start apologizing all over yourself.

If you do trip over some hot button that you didn’t and couldn’t have known existed, apologize, once, not many times like a wuss would, cuddle her up and tell her that you’re there to love and protect her, not to deliberately say or do anything to hurt her, and as soon as you feel her tension wane a bit, start back in on her with something else. You’ll find that “two steps forward, one step back” applies to a lot more than just attraction-building.

Second, take a close look at what I said about his career situation. That’s a general formula for dealing with any kind of adversity. If you act all distraught and whiney, you appear weak and feminine, and in the back of her mind, an alarm sounds that says, “Warning! Warning! Another drama queen to manage!” You lose man points, lots of them. And if you allow her to see you as a dependent instead of a partner, the clock starts running faster and faster as you move toward the point where she’s done with you.

But, if you keep the attitude that adversity creates opportunity, deal with the situation with an air of looking forward to success, and talk with her about how you see that success and your effort to reach it, you will inspire her to trust you and support you, possibly to a degree you would have never expected. Heroism is a form of romance, and when you take the heroic approach to dealing with adversity, you put your wife right in the middle of epic romance – an outstanding opportunity in the midst of adversity when you think about it.

It doesn’t take a whole lot to be the guy who pulls this off all his life with grace and very little conscious effort. A little knowledge will go a long way, knowledge about what women want, need and respond to, about how they communicate, and what flips on the fun, excitement and attraction switches. Sound like a lot?

Sure it does. It has all our life. We grew up hearing the story about the genie who thought it would be easier to build a bridge from Los Angeles, California to Hawaii than to tell the man who’d rubbed the lamp what makes women tick, or what women really want, depending on which version of the joke you hear. Apparently I’m a lot smarter than that genie, because I did it in 118 pages, not with the help of a genie, but of a whole bunch of women and their men.

When you want to learn something, you go to the source, plain and simple. I went to the source, learned everything they could teach me, translated it into man-speak, and gave it to their husbands to test on them. There were some discrepancies where the women thought they wanted things and didn’t like it when they got them – the old “be careful what you wish for” scenario. But we got it all ironed out and on paper, so to speak.

Actually, it’s in an Adobe PDF file, called "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and you can download it right now at
http://www.makingherhappy.com if you want to be one of us guys who knows all that mysterious stuff about women that you’re not supposed to know – and your wife or girlfriend WANTS DESPERATELY for you to know. Give it a shot, and in a couple weeks you’ll be writing me letters about success instead of sitting there in front of that computer wishing you had a success to write about.

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

David Cunningham