Thursday, December 31, 2009

Are You Happy, or Comfortably Unhappy In Your Relationship or Marriage? Your Life Could Depend on Knowing the Difference...

Settling for less and tolerating adversity because it’s easier than fixing it leads to the pathetic condition of being “comfortably unhappy.” It kills self-esteem, motivation, and hence, attraction. That in turn kills relationships and marriages. Don’t let this happen to you! Would you recognize it if you saw it? Let’s find out!

Happy New Year to all using the Julian calendar! (Yes, I have readers all over the world, on six of the seven continents -- no luck on Antarctica yet, but I doubt anybody who goes there is particularly worried about a relationship!) Today’s edition is something I touch on from time to time because it goes almost entirely unnoticed but wastes more lives than the words, “Let’s wait and see,” the deplorable condition of being “comfortably unhappy.” Yes, it sounds like an oxymoron, but as you may have seen around you, even in yourself, it is entirely too easy to get comfortable with being unhappy.

People generally dislike major changes in their life, often even positive ones (that’s a topic for another newsletter, but before you think I’ve lost my mind, stop and consider all the people you’ve ever known who responded to things going well for them by finding some way of sabotaging themselves, such as showing up late for work when they’re in line for a promotion, etc.), and will often choose tolerating things that make them unhappy rather than endure the stress of change, especially if it requires a little effort on their part, even though it’s for the better.

Once this choice is made, its effects are insidious, far-reaching, and destructive. It sets a precedent of settling for less than one deserves, which is to live as happy a life as they can earn. Then it becomes easier and easier to choose to tolerate more and more, because the choices are now becoming more radically different, between a little more nuisance, aggravation, or pain and a radical improvement if they get tired of settling and decide to make a major effort and fix what’s wrong in their life.

They get comfortable with feeling worse and worse, until being depressed, frustrated, and just plain pissed off all the time is not only the status quo, it’s the EXPECTED NORM. Feeling good is at this point abnormal, and therefore, as strange as it seems, subconsciously UNDESIRABLE! (What’s REALLY undesirable for most people is putting out the effort to change, but for the comfortably unhappy, they may not even be able to tell the difference.)

It can creep up on you over weeks, months, or even years, and will start with a single choice to settle for less: a home or neighborhood that you settle for because that’s all that’s available at the moment, a job you don’t like but is easier to keep than finding a better one, a relationship that drags you down but is easier than breaking up, dividing up the stuff in the house, and looking for better company to keep, etc. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open, and periodically evaluate what you’re doing and those with whom you’re doing it.

When things could be better, do yourself a favor and MAKE THEM BETTER! Upgrade the job with either a promotion, transfer, or a change of employer. Upgrade the relationship by either improving it or getting out of it, thereby freeing yourself of the restraints and conflict that make you unhappy and creating the freedom of navigation required to find and engage that which makes you happy.

And most important of all, in any situation or relationship, if improvement is impossible because the other party (or parties) won’t be involved in positive change that you’re willing to work for, cut bait and find a better pond to fish in, because you’re fishing in poisoned waters, and it will be the death of you.

Great relationships are uncommon, as are great marriages, but they are far from impossible, or even difficult to find and manage if you know yourself, know your desires, and have the guts to hold out for what you want instead of settling for something you hope you might mold into what you can tolerate. That kind of behavior is precisely the reason why great relationships and marriages are so uncommon. People get insecure and attach themselves to the first person who gives them a smile, approval, acceptance, or most commonly, sex, without checking to see if the rest of the package is something they can live with, let alone enjoy. That’s a recipe for disaster.

You MUST have compatibility and attraction for the relationship to last. If you have the compatibility, the attraction can be created or recreated, but if you don’t have the compatibility, your only choice is to get out and find it. Otherwise, you will consign yourself to a competitive relationship with an adversary instead of a cooperative relationship with someone you truly love and who truly loves you, and the best case scenario there is comfortably unhappy, while the worst one is catastrophic destruction of life as you know it, and in some cases, quite literally your life; substance abuse, suicide, and murder are what some people opt for or have inflicted upon them instead of divorce. Know what you have, what you need, and how to tell if they are the same or different.

If you want a great system for evaluating your relationship, and solid, tested advice for improving it (through better communication and creating attraction, getting her tuned in and turned on to all that is great about YOU) if you find it desirable, as well as solid advice and great contacts for getting the mess cleaned up and getting back into the dating game if this relationship is too far gone to save or never should have started in the first place, it’s in my e-book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at http://www.makingherhappy.com. Download your copy today, because life is too short to spend it unhappy, even comfortably unhappy.

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do Her Chores Include YOU? Curing the Doldrums of a Stale Relationship or Marriage

There’s a word for forced intimacy born of duty or guilt instead of passion: CHORE. Make your sex life – and HERS – a treat, not a chore! Here’s how…

It’s another happy day, Ladies and Gentlemen! I was concerned briefly that I might not be able to find something for you that is as interesting as what my buddy David has been sharing with you for the last four days, but something always shows up to share with you. Here’s another couple who have used "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" to make their relationship one of passion and excitement instead of a torturous, miserable, boring coexistence, and you can learn a lot from them. Meet Marti:

Dear David,

Due to changes in our marriage and the feeling my husband and I had for each other, a few months ago we decided that we either had to make major improvements or call it quits. In doing research for help and talking to friends your book was recommended to us. The couple that told us about you is one of the happiest couples we know, and they said that it is because they have simply used what they learned in your book. So we decided to dive right in and see what you could do for us.

My biggest problem was that I felt as if sex with him was a chore, not something to enjoy or even want. Please close your mouth, yes I said I felt like sex with my husband was a chore. I had even compared it to mopping the floor one time while talking to a friend and she was in shock. Is that not one of the worst things you have ever heard? I guess maybe you have heard it all by now, but I felt like maybe I was not the only woman that had ever had these feelings and in writing you maybe you could share this with other women.

What made it worse was that I tried and tried to tell my husband that the passion was gone and that we were in a rut, but I couldn’t get through to him. I asked him countless times how he felt about our relationship and our intimate life, and he would just say that he didn’t have or see a problem, and that was the end of the discussion, never giving me the chance to tell him what I needed to tell him. I just laid there, thinking about other things, sometimes other people, waiting for him to finish so I could go to sleep.

Since we have now completed your book and have put into our everyday life what we learned in it I can say I shocked myself. Everything in our relationship is better than it’s ever been! There is nothing about sharing myself with him that even comes close to a chore now. In fact is just the opposite. He listens to me, and we really talk now, not just about our sex life, but about everything! When we started tuning into each other it was like our dating and marriage up to that point had just been a practice run. We finally REALLY know each other, all the time, and it’s wonderful!

As for the bedroom, now all he has to do it give me “that look” or touch me in the small of my back or just on my arm and I find myself wanting him as close to me as possible. And when he teases me and cracks that naughty grin I just want to eat him up! Sometimes he starts in on me before we even get out of bed in the morning, caressing and teasing, and then laughs and jumps out of bed and tells me if I’m good I’ll get more when he gets home. I daydream about him touching me, kissing me, enjoying my body as I enjoy his throughout the day every time he does that. Oh God right now just thinking about it I feel like calling him to come home for lunch!

WOW how different our lives are now! Now I am always looking forward to bedtime instead of looking for excuses not to have to go to bed until he is asleep. I do things to get his attention instead of avoiding him, because he is fun and exciting to be around. My friends even comment on how much they enjoy being around him now, and they used to tell me that it was time to move on because he was such a stick in the mud and I could do better. You have saved our marriage in more ways than one and I just wanted to say “Thank you” for all your hard work and for making it easy for us to save what we had and get back what brought us together in the first place - and then some!

Love ya,
Marti


My reply:

Thank you for that, Marti! It always makes my day when I get a success story like this, one in which the couple has followed my recommendation to use my book together, and learned from each other as the process continued. "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" was written for men partially because they have the most to learn, but also because it is the man’s job to take the lead, because taking the lead, even in the pursuit of enhancing attraction, is attractive to his female partner. You’re on the right track; just stay on it!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David

Notice that Marti doesn’t just talk about their sex-life reaching new levels. Their improved communication skills have brought them closer together, making their emotional intimacy more intense in addition to their physical intimacy; you may have noticed that she said she “asked him countless times how he felt about their relationship” and he would say it was fine and end the discussion without her getting to tell him what she needed to say. That’s the “asking questions to make a statement” mechanism at work as I’ve been describing it to you, a statement that she has a problem that she needs to discuss and that she wants the discussion to open NOW. A horribly common problem these days, but one that they will never again make, and one that you don’t have to make now that you know about it.

Being attractive to the woman you love obviously enhances your sex-life, but it also enhances the rest of your life together as well, often being the catalyst in escalating relationships between married couples (being pulled together by attraction makes couples want to explore other aspects of each other) who were functionally just roommates and/or business partners to true LIFE PARTNERS, friends, playmates, adventure partners – even better parents!

Or had it not occurred to you that it would be much easier to be better parents if you could communicate with each other more effectively and prepare a more unified front to present to the kids? And guess what else there, DAD…your daughters are “women-in-training,” and what you learn to communicate better with their mother will also help you to keep from drowning in that estrogen ocean when their hormones start surging and “Daddy’s little girl” turns into “Daddy’s little drama queen”!!! Daughters in their teens grow away from fathers for the same reason wives grow away from husbands, because he doesn’t understand them when they try to talk and they just get frustrated and give up. Don’t let them give up on you!

Gents, there is no downside here, and an unlimited upside. Opportunities like this don’t come along often, so take advantage of this one while you can. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" for less than the cost of a good meal for two, and start reading, right now, before you waste another minute of your life, because life’s too short to be regarded as a chore, and if your wife regards you as a chore for long, she’s likely to tender her resignation, and take half or more of “the company” with her!

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Post-Holiday Surprise Can Work Wonders for Your Relationship or Marriage

Girls love surprises, right? Of course they do! And right now is a great time to give them one because it’s the last thing they might be expecting.

Is everybody ready for New Year’s Eve? Right now you probably think you are, but you won’t really be until you finish reading this. It’s a brilliant idea that one of my students inspired.

He said that he’d had a lot of success presenting a gift to his wife a few days after Christmas, because by that time the expectation of a gift was completely obliterated, and she was like a little kid as she received the unexpected. A great call on his part!

However, not all of you use the Julian calendar, and not all of you celebrate Christmas. So let me broaden the scope here so that everybody can use the idea and then let’s kick it up a notch as well! Ready?

No matter who you are or where you live, this can be used a few days after any holiday upon which a gift is traditionally given – birthdays, anniversaries, the beginning of a new year, etc. It doesn’t matter what the occasion as long as it follows a traditional gift-giving day by no more than a week or two. For those who celebrate Christmas, Chanukah as well, New Year’s Eve on the Julian calendar would be a perfect time, because it’s festive, adult, and potentially exciting.

Caution: DO NOT do this after every holiday, because it makes it predictable. Don’t even do it so often that she expects a gift at all; but it’s fine to do it often enough that she wonders if she will and there’s a little anticipation. Also make sure that you vary the day; don’t always do it on the third day after, or exactly a week after, or in the case of Christmas and Julian New Year’s, always on New Year’s Eve. Keep a little mystery going so that the surprise is heightened instead of spoiled.

Now, let’s kick it up a notch. Make it an extremely personal gift, something that screams out that you wouldn’t give that gift to any other woman, and if any other woman is getting it from another man, it’s an accident that happened because he’s as imaginative and playful as you are. I’m talking cooking or having catered a somewhat exotic meal, and maybe dining naked by candlelight. Or a se’x toy if she’s into them, along with an invitation to a date in a hotel room where the kids can’t hear the noises she makes as you use it on her. Tickets to the amusement park you went to on one of your first dates, stuck inside a pair of edible undies with a hotel reservation confirmation number.

Some outrageous combination of sexy, loving and fun that shows you put some thought into it is what we’re looking for here, and it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Instead of a hotel room, the phone number for a baby-sitter or a forged note from a trusted friend or relative saying that your children are invited to their house for the evening or the night can work just as well. If her tastes are too conservative for toys or edible undies, maybe a deck of erotic coupons or something a little more risqué than she’s used to but not so trashy that she’s offended or embarrassed. Enlist the help of a female friend if necessary, but again, I will caution you to not use one of her friends because they may be secretly competitive.

The parameters for both the gift and activities surrounding it are limited only by your personalities and tastes, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope just a little. If you’re new to this newsletter and haven’t seen my prior advice on choosing gifts for women, see my free “What Women REALLY Want” report; it’s the last chapter. You can download it at your convenience, and don’t forget to share my free reports with your friends and help them to get their own relationships and lives on track!

So that’s the plan, Gentlemen! Capitalize on some time of the year that she won’t be expecting anything because she just received something, and make it something personal, intimate, loving, sexy, and fun, something that could only come from you and only go to her. (That’s why you combine the exotic place or activity with a mass-produced gift like a sex toy, to personalize the mass-produced gift and make her feel special in receiving it, especially if you’ve wrapped or packaged it in some manner that a department store would never think of doing.)

It doesn’t take striking looks, lots of money and power, fancy cars or boats, or genitalia that look like they were grafted onto you from a horse to sweep a woman off her feet, and as readers of my book, "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," will tell you, a little of the right things goes a LONG way. If you’d like to join us, come visit me at http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and I’ll start you down the road to happiness in the fastest and most effective manner possible!

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bad Relationships and Marriages Can End Well, IF You Let Them

Sometimes people get into relationships that simply never should have happened and can’t be made to work because the foundation just isn’t there. If you’re in one of these, don’t be afraid of letting go, because life does go on, a lot better than when you’re trapped in a no-win situation.

This is an unpleasant subject for a lot of people, and understandably so, but it’s one that I have to address from time to time because it can’t be ignored. There are a lot of reasons people get into relationships, as well as stay in them, and unfortunately, some of them are really, REALLY BAD reasons.

The high and still constantly climbing divorce rates of recent decades bear this out. Couples used to court for a long time to make sure that after the excitement of attraction wore off there was still something for them to base a relationship on, like love, attraction and compatibility, but that has long since past, especially now that premarital sex is the norm rather than the exception.

And I’m not saying that premarital sex is inherently good or bad, or even that it is a cause; in spite of what cleverly misrepresentative statistics suggest, it’s not a cause at all. Indeed, rationally speaking, premarital sex can keep you from marrying someone with whom you are sexually incompatible. Sexual incompatibility is just as big a problem and just as common a cause of divorce as value incompatibility, no matter what your religious affiliation.

Whether or not fornication and divorce are sins and which you would prefer to ask forgiveness for is your concern, not mine. My point is that people get caught up in the emotions of life, a relationship and sexual issues and make ill-conceived and self-destructive decisions about lifelong commitments that they later find they can’t hold to, because after all that excitement is gone and they have to actually start talking, they discover problems, like their values are diametrically opposed, or their personalities or majority of tastes are at odds, or there is some other compatibility problem that makes for too many points of contention in their life for them to coexist.

It’s a scary feeling when you’re faced with the reality of a bad choice like that, because by the time attraction naturally wears off and a problem is recognized an average of two years has passed, and then another few years are spent trying to overcome problems that are too big to handle (because people’s core values don’t change and their tastes seldom change) and everybody starts being angry with everybody else for not trying hard enough or not being “good enough” to handle it.

That’s utter rubbish, because in reality it’s not about being good enough, but about being compatible enough, but it still causes fights and helps attorneys to get rich getting you out of it, especially when you get with one of the less scrupulous ones who tries to escalate the fighting to create more hard feelings and fighting, and consequently more work and more money for themselves. And there’s a much better way to handle the situation when you realize that, like Andy did:

David, Hello!

I wrote to you many months ago about my ex-wife and how she just walked out on me after 20 years of marriage. She actually did me the biggest favor anyone could ever do, and that I had bought your book to learn what I had done wrong in my marriage! Well things have really changed in my life since I read your book and applied what I have learned!

Your book is a Godsend and it has changed my life! I've met a fantastic woman, her name is Shari. She says that I am the most awesome man she has ever met! She is always coming on to me as if she can't get enough! I've never been so happy in my life! What you teach is so true! A man doesn't have to ever ask for sex, all he has to do is act like a real man!

Thanks for helping me change my life for the better!
Andy


Andy was one of the lucky ones. According to his letters, he and his wife were “comfortably unhappy” for two decades before she left, and when Andy sat down and did a thorough evaluation of what his relationship had been in trying to figure out what went wrong with his marriage, it was clear that it never should have happened to start with. He learned from his mistakes, made a few personal improvements along the way, and now has women chasing him, and is able to pick from all of them the one whom he’ll spend the rest of his life with when she finally turns up, which is what dating is really all about.

Yes, really! Dating is not about trying to “catch” somebody or find somebody that you can make enough compromises with to get them to marry you. It’s about exposing yourself to enough candidates that the right one is finally exposed for you to select! And in the meantime, it’s about learning and having fun, not sitting by the phone wondering if you were “good enough” to get somebody to call you. But…and it’s a big but…

If you don’t feel good about yourself and have the self-esteem, sense of adventure and natural comfort that comes from being happy with yourself, dating is a nightmare scenario, because as these candidates are exposing themselves to you, you’re also exposing yourself, the self that you are not comfortable with, to them. You have to HAVE a life to SHARE a life, right? And you have to love, respect and enjoy yourself before you can love, respect or enjoy anyone else. But as you will see in my book, that’s the easiest part, once you find out how.

So where are you today? Are you happy, or comfortably unhappy? Or are you just plain miserable and scared to death to move on because you think that being unhappy with somebody is better than being unhappy and alone? No matter what shape you’re in, good or bad, it can be better, and as people like Andy will tell you, it doesn’t take much to make it better. Think not? Come to http://www.makingherhappy.com and I’ll prove it to you!

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Really BIG Announcement! More to Help YOUR Relationship or Marriage

Due to popular demand and the persuasiveness of a couple of really sharp readers, I’m loosening security and adding some services that will benefit a lot more readers, including those just out of a marriage.

I have an announcement to make, one I find rather exciting and many of you will, too. For several years I have kept my telephone number private because of stalkers, people who didn’t respect boundaries, etc., and have conducted telephone counseling by a rather rigid process that ensured that my telephone number wasn’t disclosed.

It has worked well, and a lot of good people have gotten help they needed. But, some of you have convinced me that it’s time to try to loosen things up a bit and be more accessible because sometimes a person just needs to talk to someone immediately and the process of arranging appointments causes windows for action to be missed.

I also realized that I spent nearly four hours answering reader e-mails on Christmas day, and that I spend up to eight hours on average every day doing it. While I like to help people who are having trouble and am exceptionally competent at doing so, it’s reached the point where it is impeding other projects and businesses that also need my attention.

Some of you will be delighted to hear that “these other projects” includes my building desire to respond to men who are still dating or have recently divorced and are in or needing to step back into the dating world for the purpose of finding a serious relationship with a high-quality woman, one with whom they share sufficient compatibility to have a lasting relationship; there are plenty of people addressing the needs of those who are only dating for sex, and I don’t want or need to play in that sandbox. Until now, I have been spending so much time advising men who are still in their marriages that there was just no time left to help those who had moved on, or who were trying to date with a long-range view of a great marriage in mind, and their requests for continuing help after their unsalvageable marriages were dissolved have become too compelling to be denied any longer.

So I’m revamping some things, and what I’m currently considering is offering not only the traditional half-hour and one-hour block of time from which so many have already benefitted, but also virtually unlimited access to me (during waking hours, not just business hours) via my private telephone number for a period of a month, a quarter, or a year for a fixed fee. To address my e-mail overload, I am also considering offering very affordable subscription packages for e-mail support as well; phone packages will include e-mail and text message support.

Since I can’t expect anyone to know that I know what I’m talking about without some exposure, I’m also currently considering answering the first e-mail gratis and allowing subscription after that. Many initial e-mails are just simple questions with brief answers and I don’t want to jack somebody up for a fee or monthly subscription charge for that any more than I want to do another eight-hour run of answering e-mail. E-mails commenting on newsletters, touching base, or asking questions about newsletter content (as opposed to questions about one’s personal situation) will of course be excluded, and as always, answered as quickly as possible.

So here’s your chance to get your two cents’ worth in. If you have any comments or ideas about what I am proposing, other than to tell me that I don’t deserve to get paid for time I spend helping people improve a marriage, end an unsalvageable one with dignity, or improving their life in general, I’d love to hear them.

And for those of you thinking I have a lot of nerve complaining about spending four hours on a family holiday doing unpaid work for anonymous people and expecting to be paid for my help, I suggest you check that attitude, because it is the kind of attitude that will guarantee that you will never be happy, no matter what you do. Successful relationships of any kind, as well as marriage, are based upon trade and sharing, not give-and-take, compromise, or charity, and self-esteem is based on achievement and earning your way in the world, not having everyone around you take care of you and remaining dependent upon alms to survive. Until you grasp that and incorporate it into your values and your life, there's nothing that anyone can do to help you.

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

Reader Responses to Asking for Intimacy in Relationships and Marriage

Some female readers respond to yesterday’s lesson on not asking for sex. Pay attention, Gentlemen, because this is the real deal, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak…

I love the women who subscribe to this newsletter. They’re smart, funny, and I can always count on them to keep my horizons broadening and help set the things I teach in stone by demonstrating to you gentlemen that I’m giving you the facts, not just some hyped-up theory or opinion. I received a bunch of letters from the women on yesterday’s “Don’t Ask for Nookie” lesson, all of which contained a resounding “Amen!” in one form or another, and I’m going to share a few of them with you right now.

First, meet Teresa:

Hi David,

All I can say about being asked for sex is “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” It creeps me out.

Teresa


For those who don’t speak girly-ese, raise “yuck!” “sick!” or “gross!” to about the 23rd power, and you’ll be getting close to the meaning of “creeps me out.”

Now meet Rhonda,

Hi David,

Men just don’t understand how repulsive it is to be asked for permission to do something that they should be doing. If you want to kiss a woman, you should already know whether you can by whether she lets you get close enough to kiss her. And for God’s sake, don’t make an announcement like, “I’m going to kiss you now,” because that comes across as asking. For me, I like the way Will Smith said to do it in that movie Hitch. Come 90% of the way and make me come the other 10% to kiss you. If I don’t come the other 10%, either I’m not interested or you’re going too fast.

Love your stuff. Get these guys into shape for me, will ya? I want a real guy so bad I could just die, and there’s none to be found around here, so hurry!

Rhonda


Hitch was a pretty good movie if you ignore the part where Will Smith wussed out at the end. Rhonda has a great point: if you’re moving into a woman’s space bubble too quickly she’ll back off immediately, and if you’re being so aggressive as to creep her out she’ll break off contact, so talking about kissing or sex or anything else is pretty silly. And besides, if you are generating attraction as you should be, she’s often going to be the one invading YOUR space bubble to get a kiss. Just ask Barb, who includes a LOT of great detail:

David,

I completely agree with your response to "asking" for sex. I can't think of a bigger turn-off than a man asking me if he can hold my hand or kiss me or asking me if we can have sex now. It's like a child asking permission to do something. It's a sign of weakness and insecurity to have to beg for sex.

It's a lose/lose situation. If she says yes, she's doing you some huge favor/chore. If she says no, you're going to feel rejected. Either way, you're setting yourself up for disaster because you're handing her your power on a silver platter.

My suggestion to Marcus is that he needs to do some serious inner work on his attitude and beliefs. Then at some point, take a leap of faith, believe in yourself and your power and trust that this stuff really works. Real men don't have to "ask", they just "do it". I think you'll be shocked and very pleasantly surprised to find that a woman just can't stop herself from responding positively to strength, leadership and personal authority in a man. I am a strong woman, but I want a man who is stronger than I am. I want to be able to surrender to his will. That's what gives me butterflies in my stomach and makes me weak in the knees.

A man may be aroused instantly, but that doesn't mean a woman is. We take longer since we don't have an on/off switch. For us, sex starts in the head, when
we begin thinking about the feelings. The anticipation. The suspense. The stimulation of not just my body, but ALSO my mind.

David's book has an entire section called "Great in Bed" to help build confidence in your lovemaking skills. And it is a skill we have to learn since we're not born knowing how.

I wish I'd had this book when I was still in my 25 year marriage, we could have either salvaged our marriage or I'd have known to move on much sooner.

Barb


I couldn’t have said it better myself! And note that Barb confirms that achieving attraction and arousal is not a near-instantaneous thing like it often is for men. We are largely visually stimulated, where a woman’s mind must be engaged to some degree with mystery, adventure, fun, etc. The alpha male attitude gets you noticed and ultimately cranks up the heat, but that “fun” element common to all men with self-confidence has to bridge the gap to get you there.

Notice that Barb says that she “wants to be able to surrender to his will. That takes trust, and if you don’t trust yourself enough to be confident, how the hell is she supposed to trust you at all??? I keep telling you gentlemen this isn’t rocket science…and there’s a pretty obvious reason for that…

Also note that she points out that “making whoopee” (the things I have to do to hide from the spam filters! LOL!) is a skill that we are not born with. We are born with an instinctive capacity for the raw act of procreation, but not for the pleasure that surrounds it if it’s done right. That requires knowing one of those things that Sigmund Freud was talking about when he said he didn’t know what women want. (And yes, I DO, because women tell me these things!)

So that’s it, the women have spoken, and have confirmed for you that I gave you the facts. And I have a lot more of them for you too, including the whole scoop on what women want, so if you want to get your marriage and relationship back in gear and get one up on Sigmund Freud in the process, come see me at http://www.makingherhappy.com/ right now.

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trick Question: How Do You Ask for Intimacy in Your Relationship and Marriage?

A reader asks about the proper way to ask for physical intimacy. The short answer is, you don’t!

I hope this day is going as well for you as it is for me. As I write this, it’s a typical Saturday at my house. The air is thick with the smell of testosterone as project after project, the kind that require a quick mind, strong back, and power tools, has been completed and celebrated with a satisfied grunt and a wipe of the brow before changing tools to start the next project.

Being a guy is easy for me, because I’ve learned that it’s something to aspire to, not something to apologize for, just like being human. There is very little that annoys me any more than to hear someone try to cover a mistake by saying, “But I’m ONLY human.”

We are the most highly-evolved species on the planet, the only one capable of sophisticated engineering, fabrication, and decision-making, not to mention art, cooking, music and dance, etc. We have the power of volitional choice, and hence can develop and raise our standard of living well beyond what is required for mere survival, unlike any other species on Earth.

In spite of this status, some of us just don’t get it. We shy away from doing what comes natural, as if there’s something wrong with being human, or with being a man or a woman. Meet Marcus:

Hi David,

I’ve been following your newsletters for several months now, and haven’t yet seen you speak of the proper way to ask a woman for intimacy (sex). Is this something that you cover in your book and just don’t want to discuss in your newsletter or what?

Regards,
Marcus


Marcus, Buddy, if the truth were a snake it would have bitten you. You’ve not seen me speak of it because YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO IT! If you were to ask any woman – WOMAN, mind you, not some high school girl who still has a head full of poetic mush from reading too many fairy tales – how she liked to be asked for sex, she’d most likely laugh at you and walk off without an answer. The question is truly that pathetic to women, as it marks you as an “un-man,” a loser.

You should have noticed that what I DO talk about, frequently, is how to flip a woman’s attraction switches on by acting like a man, being a leader, the alpha male who, instead of being wussy and boring and hiding from the world in his easy chair channel surfing with a beer all evening and then asking for sex at bed time, projects an image of confidence because he’s good at the things he does and enjoys being a man leading an active life, who has a fun, playful, flirtatious sense of humor, and can put a smile on a woman’s face by jumping in and out of “leadership” mode to crack a naughty grin and playfully tease and create enjoyable sexual tension for her.

This is what women want (Pay attention here, Sigmund Freud -- he's famous for saying, "The Great Question, which I have not answered, is ‘What does a woman want?'"): They want to be excited. They want to be surprised from time to time. They want to feel safe in investing their emotions. They want to have fun. They want to dance that “two steps forward, one step back” dance with you as the naughty fun and flirting ramps up tension, eases a bit momentarily, and then shoots to new highs, until such a high is reached that they pounce on you, wanting to be “taken.” THAT’S why you’ve never heard me describing the proper way to ASK for sex. It doesn’t exist.

And before somebody jumps to a really stupid conclusion and sends me a nasty-gram saying I’m promoting rape, no, I absolutely am not. “No” means “no” and your desire or need is not a rightful demand on another’s life or person. What I’m telling you is that if you do what you should do in flipping the biological switches to create attraction and excitement, you’ll never hear “no” because she will be coming after YOU, or waiting with bated breath and quickened pulse to be taken by you and making it plain that she wants you. “No” is only an issue when you’re either not creating attraction for her or being insensitive and pushing her for sex when she has other problems.

Whether or not she wants to have sex with you is her right to choose, but if you do what you should be doing as a man, which is creating attraction for her by simply being a man and knowing how to communicate with her, she will be consistently choosing to unless she’s in pretty bad shape, because she’ll be biologically driven to it and you will in fact be holding her off a bit to heighten the tension and excitement!

Attraction is biological, not logical, and there is no request or argument that you can make that will excite her enough to do anything more than tolerate you. Flip those switches off, and you will hear “No” every time. Flip them on, and you’ll not only hear “yes;” you’ll see it and feel it as she pounces on you.

And how do you go about learning and evolving into a man who does this naturally, without the stress of trying to “fake it until you make it?” Come to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and find out, like many before you have!

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Why Is Breaking Up So Hard? Surviving the End of Relationships and Marriage

We’ve talked about stopping a break-up in my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report, but what about those times when a break-up really is the best thing for both parties? Specifically, why is it so bloody hard? Would you believe it doesn’t have to be?

This is one of those newsletters that had to be written; one that a fool would hope that none of you would ever need, but which reality says nearly all of you will find useful, either in surviving your present or some part of your future, or in understanding something very painful in your past, the difficulty of breaking up, even when it’s the best thing for both parties and everybody, including the two parties in the relationship, know that it’s best.

Some people get into relationships that are based on things like faith and hope instead of reality. Others based them on need, attraction, or simple lust instead of a combination of love and attraction. These couples ultimately find themselves painfully mismatched and moving apart is the only solution to the problem they have caused themselves. You can’t put a mongoose and a snake in the same place and expect them to just bend to meet each others’ needs and get along, nor can you expect incompatible men and women. Compatibility doesn’t come from the choices you make, but from the values and tastes that cause you to make the choices you make. Those things just don’t change that much over the course of an entire lifetime, and they certainly don’t change because somebody else wants or needs for them to.

I’m not like most of today’s “relationship guru’s.” I won’t tell you that all relationships can or should be salvaged, and have no respect for those who would. That’s why you’ll find the list of other relationship gurus I do respect and endorse very short. I maintain a list of those who have been recommended to me by my readers in this newsletter and in the margin on my main blog at http://blog.makingherhappy.com/ and those are the only others offering advice on the emotions and issues of relationships that I would have any of you read, because they do embrace this self-evident truth instead of trying to convince you to buy what they are selling to have you save that which should not be and ultimately cannot be saved, playing on your emotions to sell something that won’t help.

Notice that’s a very short list of resources taken from a very large pool of authors. Sad, isn’t it? And by the way, feel free to help me add to it by letting me know if you have had a positive result with any product. Word-of-mouth isn’t just the best advertising; it’s also the best way of weeding out the charlatans and bad ideas that sound good “on paper” but don’t work in the real world.

I’ve been working closely with one of your fellow readers, one whom at this point is facing the possibility that the break-up his wife initiated may indeed be the best thing that could happen to him because they are so grossly mismatched and she’s carrying a ton of baggage that she may well choose to hang onto, in spite of the fact that right now she’s facing the greatest opportunity of her life to drop all that baggage and make some incredible improvements in her life.

I’ll spare you the intimate details of their problems, but the bottom line is that he’s on solid ground, logically, morally, ethically, and every other way I’ve been able to observe, while she is hyper-creative and therefore rejects reality with impunity, is morally ambiguous, and is thirty-nine years old going on about seven.

He’s highly analytical and disciplined, knows what’s before him and how to react to virtually any word or action from her now (he read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and we’ve been talking as well), and yet, there are times when he still has a hard time accepting what he knows to be reality, that in all likelihood, they never should have come together and he made a bad choice, because his wife appears incapable of growing up and becoming responsible enough to rejoin him as his wife, or indeed as anything more than a chronic, irresponsible and dangerous dependent.

He asked me why he was having a hard time accepting and emotionally committing to that which he knew to be irrefutable reality, and why people generally found breaking up so hard even when it was painfully obvious that it was the only option that could allow either of them to ever be happy.

I answered, "We all make bad choices, and being human, we tend to try to make the best of them and pick up a lot of good memories along the way that end up confounding us when we finally are faced with the reality that our bad choice is working against us."

It struck a chord in both of us. I did not, until the moment I wrote that to him, understand why I had had trouble with break-ups in the past, and those who know me closely would describe me to you as the most ruthlessly logical person they have ever met. I never stopped to ask myself while I was going through it why it was so hard. I was too busy asking myself another ridiculous question: “Why does this have to happen?” when I already knew the answer.

His reply to that pearl was as profound as the pearl itself:

“That needs to go in the evaluation section of your book - over and over! The main struggle in deciding whether it [salvaging his relationship] is a go or no-go is in sifting through all the wonderful memories to decide if they were ‘real’ or not...”

That’s the real rub, isn’t it? Were all those “good times” born of real love, friendship, respect, and loyalty worth celebrating? Or were they just born of two people trying to make the best of a bad situation they had created and didn’t want to face? Or was it something somewhere in the middle? Was it just two people with raging hormones having an adventure with no way to follow through in the long run, a good time that couldn’t be the basis for a life? Trying to resolve those questions, and cope with the reality the resolution presents, is what makes breaking up so hard when every available fact tells you both that there is no other alternative.

So in the event that you have to go through this torture, what do you do?

Look at the whole relationship and weigh the good and the bad. Identify what can and cannot be repaired, and how important those things are to you. In the end, if the relationship can’t be fixed, get out, but do it like a civilized adult, with dignity, and leave the other partner room to do the same. Indeed, LEAD HER to do the same. And if a friendship can be maintained, by all means do so; you may not have enough compatibility to live together happily, but you may still have common interests that you can enjoy together. Think about that...

Not being able to live together happily is by no means an indication that you can’t have an enjoyable conversation or dinner from time to time, help each other with a project or hobby on occasion, or do any of the other things that friends do. It takes a lot more compatibility to live together than it does to visit, as the focus of a visit is much more narrowly defined and creates boundaries that protect you from the things that caused trouble while you were married – if you pay attention to them, that is.

Don’t ever let things fall into the context or perspective of who is or isn’t good enough for the other. It has nothing to do with that. People are who and what they are, and have spent a lifetime becoming so. Thinking that you can or should be “good enough” to induce someone else to change for your sake that which they would not change for their own sake is foolish, arrogant to the point of being narcissistic, and just plain childish!

(Pay attention, Ladies, in case you’re thinking that you’re going to rebuild your man as you want him. If you do manage to accomplish it, you won’t respect him precisely because you were able to change him. A man who can’t stand up TO you can’t stand up FOR you, right? The attitude that "he should love me enough to change for me," has broken more women's hearts than men ever could.)

Admit that there have been problems, and that those problems have been caused by the two of you having too many fundamental differences to be compatible. You gave it a good shot, you had some fun and good times, made some money and accumulated a few things, and have a few fond memories, but the stress of walking on eggshells trying to keep from tripping over your differences is killing you both.

You’re good people, just not good for each other, and if you are the type who needs to or enjoys being married, you need to get out and find someone whom you are good for and who is good for you, compatible with you, and whom you can enjoy living with as your natural self. Work together to divide the rewards of your combined efforts fairly and help each other get a fresh start by introducing each other to friends that are more like them. You may not be worth a plug nickel together as husband and wife but may be great assets to each other in starting over. (This is all assuming that your problems are differences in your values, preferences, priorities, etc., and not that one of you is an abuser of some sort.)

There is no point in your life where being able to evaluate a relationship will not serve you well. You need to know yourself as well as your needs and desires, and you need to be with someone who can naturally fulfill those needs and desires while being fulfilled by you. That in turn requires that you know other peoples’ needs and desires with regard to you, does it not? You don’t want to enter a relationship in which you have no chance of fulfilling the other’s needs and desires, do you?

That means knowing before you get into a relationship what the relationship should look like if it’s good. It means knowing after you get into a relationship if it is going to work based on how well you meet each others’ needs and desires. It means being able to communicate factually and honestly to express those needs and desires to each other, as well as how well those needs and desires are being met.

Contrary to how it often appears, relationships and marriages very seldom fail after ten or twenty years or more. What really happens is that they fail at their inception due to bad choices and that failure isn’t conceded until years later, when every option has been exhausted, there is no longer anything to hide behind (like children), and both partners have become miserable spending so much time and effort trying and failing. If you have a good foundation for a relationship, it’s not hard to tell; there’s little if anything fundamental and significant that you’d want to change about your partner, such as their values, political leanings, etc. You can talk and get along, and have probably just become a bit bored because attraction is waning. That’s fixable.

But…

If you’re in one of those relationships where the only place you get along is in the bedroom, and especially if you find yourself fighting to have an excuse to make up because that’s the only part of your relationship that IS working, you have a serious problem, and believe it or not, there are people with whom you can get along both in and out of the bedroom.

And since so many of you have asked, yes, it is still a good idea to learn about attraction and try to create it for your partner even if you are breaking up. Being attractive is about being a leader, being smart, being fair, handling tough situations and being able to keep your sense of humor about you. Stirring up a little attraction in your partner as you are splitting up will help ease the transition for her and you both, because it tends to keep tempers at bay. It will help her to feel that you are being strong and supportive during this crisis, and make her feel good that you are making the effort to help her hold herself together emotionally while you go through the process together. Nothing bad can come of that for either of you, and may indeed help you to part friends instead of killing each other in a war that never had to be fought, a war in which the only victors are the lawyers.

There you have it, the dark side of relationships and marriage. It is my sincere desire that you never have to go through a break-up, and that if worse comes to worst and you do have to go through one, that you can get through it with your dignity (and assets) intact and help each other to move on to a better life with someone better matched to yourselves by understanding what it is that you’re fighting: the basic human tendency to try to make the best of even the worst situation, no matter how inappropriate or even self-destructive it might be, not each other.

No matter where you are in your relationship, from looking for one to having been in one for 40 years or longer, there’s help waiting for you in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and it’s just a few mouse clicks away at http://www.makingherhappy.com/. Go check it out, and get the straight story while you can; there are very few of us around who can and will give it to you, and your life is too short to fail to have and use it.

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Avoid Domestic Holiday Violence in Your Relationship and Marriage

Police say that this time of year is when they get the most domestic violence calls. It doesn’t have to be that way…

I hope everyone who is celebrating Christmas is having a great one. According to the following letter from a reader and friend, it appears that some certainly don’t. Meet Dave:

Merry Christmas David!

I was talking with one of the Sheriff's who come in on a regular basis and he was telling me they have the highest rates of domestic violence this time of year. Sure, they have the usual party animals and drunks, but by far their top call and worst ones are the domestic violence ones.

It's so sad when you think how close they can be to getting the right info and changing things around like a couple of recent testimonials you’ve recently shared have said. It just makes you want to shake them silly and get them to wake up. You can lead a horse to water...

Have yourself a GREAT Christmas!
Dave


Testimonials? Those I have, in abundance. I just received this one today, from another reader. Meet Jackie:

Hi David!

Merry Christmas!

We're in full-on Christmas swing here, but I wanted to take a moment and send loads and gobs of gratitude your way for your role in what has been a stellar Christmas for Stephen and me this year. We are all about the lovey-dovey stuff today, and I also wanted to tell you that Stephen was shining star in the gift-giving department for me. A+ across the board. :-D I told him I was going to send you a good report about that, and he grinned and said, "You'd better."

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas. The barbecue sounds wonderful. I can smell it from here...LOL!

Jackie


These two were at each other’s throats in near-constant frustration, not to mention celibacy, just a couple of months ago, and they’d spent years looking for help, with only very limited success. It wasn’t until they learned a few basic things about communication, attraction, and each other that it was possible for them to improve, but when they did learn, well, I’ll just say that this is one of the more “tame” letters I’ve received from this couple recently.

Holidays can be a terrible source of pressure and resentment, or they can be a wonderful time of celebration, love, and intimacy. Which one they turn out to be for you is entirely your choice, too.

New Year’s is a week away; what’s it going to bring you? Are you going to get drunk to try to forget about your life and your wife, and end up in a fight or in jail? Or are you going to celebrate having completed a good year and having another one ahead of you?

Or maybe just celebrate having stopped a divorce that was trying its best to happen before the end of the year? I’ve had several readers turn things around that quickly, and if you’re in such a predicament, I strongly recommend you join them! Come see me at
http://www.makingherhappy.com and let’s see what I can do for you…

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Parties: How They Can Make or Break a Relationship or Marriage

Have you ever thought about what might be appropriate or desirable post-party behavior when you’re in a marriage or committed relationship? Gentlemen, lend me your ears, because there is indeed more to it than you might expect…

I wish I could gather all my “students” in one room for a day for a caucus. The ideas and observations that some of them e-mail me explaining what they have learned and especially what they have figured out on their own after reading my book are stunningly brilliant. Get this:

Hi David,

Here's a newsletter idea for you: It occurred to me recently how different men and women communicate when it comes to classifying their experiences. A man and woman can spend the day, the weekend, or a lifetime together, and at the "end" (of whatever), the man will know that he had fun, think it's obvious [because it IS], but a woman will ABSOLUTELY need to review the experience and HEAR him say: "I really enjoyed myself with you today". KEY communication issue, particularly with those in a troubled or "young" relationship, but still important at any stage. It might be partly because men are less talkative about their emotions, but there's something more basic to it than that. So there's your newsletter:

"Guys: on the way home from the Christmas party, tell her how much fun you had with her, how nice she looked, and then listen while she relives the best parts. Then go home and have sex, because you've done the prework. Oh, and don't forget to flirt with her while you're there."

There might be a whole "Christmas Party Newsletter"
needed, since I'll bet about half of them (family or otherwise) end up in fights. Maybe you could make it a New Year’s Eve Party newsletter.

Johnson


This is the kind of thing that happens when a man tunes in after reading "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage." He no longer has to sit around wondering what the right thing to do or say is because it all just becomes naturally obvious. I’m proud of every one of them, too.

So let’s look at Johnson’s observation. He’s spot on. It’s not good enough for a woman to see you enjoying anything with her; her social nature demands that it be verbalized, just as she still needs to hear that you love her and are committed to her to believe it, no matter what she sees. And yes, that’s why all those relationships from your youth that you thought were going great for two or three months suddenly ended without you having a clue as to why. You didn’t verbalize the love and commitment you felt and she didn’t believe it was there.

When it comes to parties, especially the kind where she puts on the little black dress, she takes extra pains to look good. Granted, part of that is because she wants to compete with all the other women there, but she still wants to know that you noticed and that you appreciate the effort, because part of what she is competing for is your attention. She also wants to feel like you were glad to be there – WITH HER. That’s the important part.

Yes, really. She wants to share your fun by hearing the accounts of the fun you had with other people, but the icing on the cake for her will be the feeling that going with her was better than just going. A girl likes to hear that if you hadn’t taken her to the party you’d have damned sure picked her up if you’d found her there, if you know what I mean.

And she wants to share her good time, her conversations, etc., to relive them and feel the rush again. Believe it or not, this is a privilege of sorts; remember that women snub and shut out people they don’t like. Most of the time their accounts will be fun to listen to, but if they stray into uncomfortable territory like telling you about so-and-so’s menstrual problems or some gossip that you really don’t want any part of, don’t be afraid to encourage her to save that part for her girlfriends because you’re not stepping out of the husband role to indulge in it. Just make sure you say it with a smile and try to be fun about it; that’s not a maneuver that can be aided with whining or irritation. For example:

“Hey! Hey! Hey! The gossip window is closed! (Laughing) Save that for when you’re talking to Charlotte tomorrow and tell me about So-And-So-I-Saw-You-Talking-To-By-The-Fireplace.”

A diversion, a laugh, and leadership into some other topic, got it? Fun, not cranky or whiney. And that’s not hard if you allow yourself to be amused by her excitement over some juicy piece of gossip or the drama of something that you couldn’t possibly be interested in because it’s just too girly for words.

Now tell me something. Why am I telling you all of this? Why aren’t you part of this army of men that I’m building who “get it”? Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychiatrist/psychologist, is famous for saying (among other things) “The great question, which I have not been able to answer, is ‘What does a woman want?’” I know, my students know, but Sigmund Freud didn’t. Fancy that!

So how about it? Why don’t you cast in with us? It takes a very few dollars and a very few hours; I’ve had meals that lasted longer and cost far more than what it takes you to read this book. The bragging rights alone are worth more than that, for crying out loud! You’ll be able to prove that you know what women REALLY want, how to communicate with them instead of getting the eye-rolling and “whatever!” There’s also a return to honeymoon activity, in the bedroom and out, and you get to say you know something that Sigmund Freud couldn’t figure out in a lifetime! Can you beat that deal with a stick? LOL!

Seriously, you really should join us. Just make it a holiday gift to yourself that your wife will benefit from as well. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" right now, and before New Year’s you’ll be turning things around and kicking them up to notches unknown to humankind.

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hobbies That Work FOR Your Relationship or Marriage

It’s all too common for men and women to take up hobbies to have time away from their spouse. That’s understandable if you don’t know how to improve things, but not excusable. Besides, you should see what can happen when you invite your spouse to enjoy your hobby with you!

Any of you who have been with me for awhile know that woodworking is one of my hobbies, and I was somewhat amused when I got the following letter:

Mr. Cunningham,

My wife and I have been married for 32 years, and we are okay, I guess, as long as we do not spend too much time together. But I have a problem and I hope you can help me with it. It is with my woodworking hobby and my wife.

I have been building furniture and cabinets all my life, literally since childhood. I love wood. The smell of it when it is being cut or shaped. The way it changes as I shape it. The way the grain can be made to look like a hundred different things depending on what I put on it. The sheer fact that I can take a piece of a tree and turn it into something useful and beautiful.

And my wife apparently resents the hell out of it.

I love going to my shop and making things, as you probably guess from my description of how I love wood, and every time I go out there it puts me in a good mood, which my wife manages to spoil very quickly as soon as I come back into the house, if she can wait that long. Half the time she finds some excuse to come out and interrupt me. And it is always when I am not in a good position to stop.

Stupid stuff, you know? Like killing a spider in the hallway, or to taste something she is cooking, or hold up something she is puttering with while she does something to it. Or she will want me to come in the house to talk about the movies playing at the cinema or something like that. I never interrupt her when she is doing any of her hobby things, and the hypocrisy of this double standard is driving me nuts. Can you tell me how I might get her to leave me alone and let me enjoy my woodworking without invoking any more punishment?

Thank you,
James


My reply:

Hello, James,

No, I can’t tell you how to get her to leave you alone. But I can tell you how to get her to let you enjoy your hobby: Invite her to join you in it!

No joke, that’s what her interruptions are most likely expressing. She wants to do something with you. She wants your company.

Women hate to feel like they’re being left out of anything, because they have such a huge problem managing boredom, and if you’re going out to a space that seems “off limits” to her, and you come in the house in a better mood, that smells to her like she’s missing out on something fun, in addition to missing out on YOU.

Yeah, I know. You can’t see your wife in your woodshop. But hang with me here for a minute or two and you will.

Women absolutely love to see a man doing just about anything with competence. It’s a huge turn-on. And that especially includes making things from wood. Women “nest,” remember? Your hobby could actually BOOST your bedroom life. And when was the last time that you made something for your wife to put in the house?

You may recall from one of my newsletters about choosing the perfect gift for a woman that one of the most important things about the gift be that it is something special, just for her; mass-produced gifts only point out that you can spend money, not that you have paid attention to her. Making something for her in your shop could end up being a more-prized possession than even her wedding ring. And that’s not even the best part!

We men love to make things out of wood, but we hate finishing. There’s a really good reason for that. Building things satisfies a primal drive we have to create and provide for our family. But finishing (sanding, applying stain or protective finishes, etc., for you non-woodworkers), at least for most of us, is a lot of tedious, repetitive work that has extreme potential to take that thing we just built and make it both aggravating and ugly (if something goes wrong during finishing, again for you non-woodworkers). Now, brace yourself…

Finishing is a “nesting” type activity! Many women actually love doing it. To them, it’s like painting a room in the house, or any other kind of decoration, something that takes the plain and utilitarian and makes it both beautiful and personal. It’s intimate to them. And most of them are, quite frankly, a lot better at it than we are. For most of them, their brains are wired more to the creative side than ours are, so they are more likely to have artistic talent that we don’t have, and that may well be undiscovered and therefore untapped!

So instead of trying to keep your wife out of your shop, invite her to join you. Don’t expect her to want to be ripping sheets of plywood for cabinets or running rough wood over your jointer, at least not until she indicates that she’d like to learn how, but she may well be very good at and enjoy helping you keep things organized, stacking pieces and marking them off your cut lists as you mill them, sanding and checking for defects while you’re milling the next piece, and ultimately doing most if not all of the finish work that so many of us really don’t like to do.

This will put you in a position of authority, which is exciting to her, put your woodworking competence on display, which will also be exciting to her, give you a chance to be a leader in her presence, which will be greatly exciting to her, will give her access to that “man sanctum” in a way she never expected, also exciting, and will replace the interruptions and aggravation of which you complain with help and support. And when she sees all the wonderful things that can be made with all those tools, she won’t mind hearing how much you REALLY paid for them, either. LOL!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


What about the rest of you? Do you have some sort of hobby that your wife interrupts that she could be joining in? Frankly, I’m shocked at how many women I’ve met that actually enjoy watching baseball, football, hockey, etc., with their men or even by themselves once invited to do so. I’m also amazed at how many literally are enthralled by the shooting sports, many of whom talk about “getting wet” while doing it. Can you imagine? You should see the women I’ve seen at gun shows, and you’d know they weren’t kidding. Indeed, seeing a very attractive woman fondling a pistol as if it were some sort of adult toy was what called this to my attention. My wife is great at handing me tools when I’m working on a car, too, and I’ve seen some take to tune-ups, brakes jobs, etc., as if they were born to it, and then clean up and look like a professional model.

So no, it doesn’t have to be woodworking, although it’s probably the best of all of them, because it’s the one that creates a special one-of-a-kind gift for her or your home or solves some problem (like storage problems or displaying some cool new vase she just found at a yard sale or boutique), which enhances her nesting ability, and entails a lot of things that she’s naturally good at. Just take what I’ve taught you, or will teach you if you read my book and newsletters, and look at what you do for fun.

You’ll find that there’s probably more than one thing you’ve excluded your wife or girlfriend from that she’ll not only enjoy doing with you, but can bring you closer together in other areas of your relationship or marriage, including the bedroom.
All you have to do is learn a few things about women and keep your eyes and ears open for opportunity. Once you spot the behavior that says she thinks she’s being left out of something fun, BOOM! Invite her in, and see what happens.

You can pick up a few things out of my newsletters, but if you really want to make life great, literally returning to honeymoon status even if you’re currently contemplating (or defending against) divorce, you need "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and you need it now. So go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy and get started. Or keep putting up with the nagging and all the parts of your hobby that takes all the fun out of it. It’s your choice. Make it a good one.

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Preparation, Key to Easy Success in Relationships and Marriage

It’s pretty easy to see that taking on any challenge fully prepared is infinitely better than doing so unprepared. This is just as true in relationships and marriage as it is in anything else. Were you prepared when you started? Are you prepared now? It’s never too late…

I’ve talked about preparedness before, but I got an e-mail from a reader that really drives the message home, and I want to share it with you. Meet Mark:

Hey David,

How's it going!

Well I'm doing pretty good indeed!

You know what, before, like a year ago, my girlfriend told me that she wasn't ready to move with me in a apartment. I wasn't either. After applying the information in your guide now she sure is! And I, also! She called me yesterday to ask me if I was ready to move in with her!

Like many of your readers, after reading your guide I now have much more respect for my woman. And I understand much more her needs, which is extremely important.

Here are a few things I've realized, summarized:

I've got to keep doing the things that attracted her to me at first.
I've got to display an alpha male personality in her presence.

I've got to improve my life in every way possible.

Finally, I've got to make her FEEL great about herself

David, thanks for everything, you’re the man!

Mark


Mark is one of many who is seeing the value of preparedness in relationships. When you’re unprepared, it shows, not just in your incompetence, but in your confidence level. And women can pick up on that from light years away.

And rightly so. It’s a defense mechanism. As I’ve shown you many times in the past, much of our courtship and relationship behavior is biologically driven and involves filtering mechanisms that have protected our ability to procreate and continue our existence at the top of the food chain for as long as we’ve been walking upright, or longer. They need to feel safe, especially in making an emotional investment in a relationship with us, and if they don’t, the relationship suffers.

And it doesn’t matter what kind of relationship, either. It doesn’t matter if you’re married, contemplating marriage, living together, dating steadily (committed or not), dating to find a relationship, dating for fun, or if the relationship is even of such a nature that se’xual contact might ever be an option or consideration. Women are just as protective of their lives and feelings with friends, family, coworkers, etc., as they are with men they may have some sort of se’xual contact with. And you should be, too! Think about that…

We’re talking about your life, are we not? Would you let a guy off the street act as a brain surgeon and start hacking at your head with a hammer, chisel, and table knife? Would you let a guy who didn’t know which part of your car was the engine start working on yours?

Would you employ the services of a doctor who didn’t speak the same language as you, so that information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment could be exchanged? Would you put your retirement nest egg in the hands of a person who knew nothing about using it to build wealth for you?

Certainly not! Yet so many people will enter into human relationships without knowing the first thing about the corresponding issues of getting along with people, without understanding what makes men and women who they are, how they are alike and different, how to communicate effectively with them, how to know when something is broken and how to try to fix it.

And it continues to blow my ever-loving mind that these things are so crucial and so easy to learn and use, yet nobody seems to be insisting on getting this information until they’ve already screwed up, possibly several times. We spend years of our lives either chasing this information, begging people who purposely make it more complicated than it is to protect either their livelihood or the secret of their incompetence and ignorance, or consigning ourselves to the mistaken idea that knowing what we need to know about the opposite gender – and ourselves, for that matter – is some “great mystery of life” that we are doomed to never solve, and that having any kind of satisfying relationship is a matter of luck, fate, compromise, sacrifice, or some sort of divine intervention. A load of “bovine male fecal matter” if ever there was one.

The good news is that no matter how unprepared you are right now, you can get prepared, quickly and easily. And I’m talking hours, not days. Hell, I’ve had sex for longer than it will take you to get prepared, without any sort of chemical support or enhancement, and I’ll bet that if you go back to your teens or twenties, you probably have, too, so we’re really not talking about a lot of time here!

And even if it’s too late for this relationship, you can get prepared for the next one. Speaking of which, do you even know how to really tell when it’s over and no matter what you do she’s not coming back? Don’t you think you should know this before a conflict arises so that you don’t waste your life beating a dead horse? I know, and I can tell you. We’ll get to that in a minute…

Gross compatibility problems – personal values, goals, etc. – are the main reason that relationships fall apart, and about the only good reason to not try to put one back together, but when people get emotional they forget about reason and will sometimes go so far as to cut off their nose to spite their face. And believe it or not, sometimes a woman might just have a better grip on the situation than you do.

But either way, the only time that it’s not even worth your time to try to determine whether your relationship should be saved is when a woman puts up barriers to communication – court-issued restraining orders, moving to another town, changing her number and not giving you the new one, saying nothing at all to you except, “Don’t talk to me anymore,” having friends answer her phone to filter you out or directing you to her attorney for all communication.

That’s right. As long as she is still talking to you, even if she’s yelling and screaming at you, she’s emotionally engaged, and resolution is possible. You still have to determine if there is a sound basis for the relationship and act accordingly, but if you can make her feel safe in joining you in looking at everything and making that determination according to what’s best for both of you, she will calm down and work with you. But you have to be prepared for that, too.

You have to know enough about women in general to be able to also grasp the things that make her an individual. You have to be able to speak and listen to her in such a way that the message gets through and is interpreted correctly by both of you. You have to understand what part of her needs are the same as yours, different from yours, compatible with yours and in conflict with yours. And this is not something that you were born to do, else you wouldn’t wind up in such a predicament, but as the people whose letters I keep sharing with you clearly demonstrate, it can be learned. I can’t say that EVERYBODY is doing it, but I can say that EVERYBODY WHO IS USING WHAT IS IN MY BOOK is doing it, and I have their testimonials to back it up.

Yes, I said EVERYBODY. It’s really that good. And for the simplest of reasons: I was prepared to write it by gathering data from the source, a large group of women, and tested and refined that data by turning it over to the men in their lives to test on them. No opinions, no theories, no “branded methodology,” just the facts and a process for using them to quickly and easily set things right. And again, I have the testimonials of a lot of real people who had real problems to back it up.

So how about you? Do you want a piece of this action? Would you like to discuss something with your wife or girlfriend and know going in that even if the subject matter is touchy the two of you will be able to talk about and work something out instead of usual result of eye-rolling, shouts of “whatever!” as somebody leaves the room, and the accusations of “never listening” and “being a bitch” that always seem to come up? Would you like to go back to feeling like the woman in your life is a partner instead of an antagonist, or competitor?

The correct answer here is “yes!” by the way…

So go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get prepared for a relationship that makes you both happy. It certainly beats hiding at the office or at “happy hour” somewhere to minimize the time you have to spend at home, wouldn’t you think?

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lying, Part 3: Lie Detection, a VERY Useful Skill in Relationships and Marriage

Part of determining whether you should attempt to reverse a break-up is determining whether you can trust your partner. Knowing how to detect a lie is a VERY useful skill, even when everyone is truthful!

No discussion of lying in a relationship would be complete without a discussion of lie detection, especially for men, because women are naturally more adept at both lying and its detection than we are; their brain structure makes them more sensitive to “tells” (and are VERY dangerous poker players if they have math skills!) and more creative. It could in fact take years with a woman to determine how her character dictates whether, when, and for what reasons she will lie to you, but chances are that if you are lying to her, you’re already busted whether you know it or not, so let’s level the playing field a bit.

And, by the way, I’m not talking about “leveling the playing field” in the context of helping you to lie, but in determining whether you’re being lied to. Nor am I saying that every woman is a liar and is lying to you; I’m saying that due to brain structure – higher creativity and more advanced communications infrastructure – they are capable of being far better at it than we are. So stop typing that nasty-gram and listen up. ;-)

The following is from an article I first published as part of my crash course in stopping and reversing a break-up now, my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report. I’m reprinting it today both because it gets the job done and because my subscriber list doubles every few months, and many of you have not yet taken advantage of the very valuable information in either of the free reports linked in the right-hand margin of my main blog at http://blog.makingherhappy.com/. I strongly suggest that all of you read those two free reports thoroughly; they contain more solid, proven information than a lot of authors’ for-fee products, and they can help you to avoid many of the potential disasters that can befall a relationship as well as start you on the road to recovery if you’re having problems.

Now let’s get into the meat of today’s lesson:

Lie detection is a necessary survival skill in all facets of your life, because unfortunately, there are those who think that lying is a survival skill. It’s not. The truth always ends up coming out, and then on top of whatever mistake you’ve made, you’ve destroyed trust. At best, it's a tactic for stalling the inevitable. The only people who get away with lying in the long term are those who spend their life on the run, bouncing from place to place, customer to customer, acquaintance to acquaintance, and not staying anywhere long enough for anyone to catch them in a lie before they’ve left. That’s not going to work in a long-term relationship, is it?

Gentlemen, the deck is stacked against you from the beginning with regard to lying, because women are better at both doing it and detecting it than men. Both of those advantages come from their more highly-evolved communications infrastructure and skills (as compared to our own). However, since you shouldn’t be lying anyway (statistically, women will tolerate just about anything before they will tolerate a liar, even if they are chronically “factually challenged” themselves), you need only concern yourself with how to detect if and when she is lying.

Making you an expert on the subject would require an entire book, and we only have the space of this article to work within, so I’m going to hit the high spots for you to show you how easy it is if you have good information and then point you to some other very good information which, incidentally, I am not selling. (I am developing a primer on lie detection to include as a free report with my other e-books, and anyone who has read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at the time of its release will be receiving a free copy if I have your current e-mail address on file.)

First, everyone has heard about how body language can be used to detect lies. That’s true, yet not true. There are many body language clues that indicate both that a person is lying and that they are very nervous about telling an unpleasant truth. When attempting to determine if someone is lying, you must watch for several different indicators and make sure they are all consistently pointing in the same direction.

A person who exhibits a single indication of lying may indeed only be nervous about the truth, have an itchy nose, be trying to cover bad breath, etc., but when the signs start stacking up and you see five or even ten signs that someone is lying, the statistical probability that they are telling the truth becomes such a long-shot that a penny placed on that bet would win you roughly the sum of the world’s oil and currency trade for a day – literally trillions-to-one. So where do you start?

Let’s start with the eyes. The eyes move when the brain does certain things. When a right-handed person attempts to access short-term memory, their eyes will move up and to the left, where if they are lying, which engages a creative center in the brain, they go up and to the right. Oddly, this is reversed in left-handed people. A big clue as to whether someone is right- or left-handed (if you don’t know them well enough to know) is to look for their wristwatch, which will be on the opposite hand, if you can’t get them to write something down for you. (Ask for their phone number, and if they try to hand you a business card, get them to write something on the back like their cellular phone number, business hours, secretary’s name – anything at all will do, just to see which hand wields the pen.)

People also tend to become less animated when they are lying, clasping their hands or crossing their arms when you have observed them “talking with their hands” in most of the rest of the discussion. Liars will also tend to look away from you and even move away from you as they lie, a subconscious effort to try to distance themselves from an uncomfortable situation. Touching the nose and covering the mouth while speaking are classic body language signs, but when you look at these, you’re looking for CHANGE in behavior, not so much the behavior itself. People do sometimes get an itch in their nose, or realize they have bad breath or ugly teeth, or shift their posture because of an aching joint.

It’s because of this that you must realize that it takes several minutes of observing someone to make this determination, not just a quick jab with an incriminating question. You must see enough of how they act when they are speaking normally and truthfully (by getting them to talk about something non-threatening or non-incriminating) before bringing up the subject you think they lied about or before thinking they’ve lied about something they brought up with you. That’s the value of small-talk, something that most men are very, very poor at engaging in because we really just don’t like to talk that much; we prefer to take action. That’s another reason women have such an edge on us; they enjoy small talk and are very good at conducting it, especially in getting to the truth. However…

There are some techniques that can be combined with body language reading that nobody, not even experienced con-artists, can beat. They involve watching for hesitation in response to a question. Let’s say you think your partner was on a date with someone else, and you say that somebody she works with whose name you can’t remember stopped you in the grocery store to say hello and asked how you were getting along after the break-up, and mentioned that they assumed there had been a break-up since she was dating this other guy. If she is innocent, she will immediately protest, because she has no idea what you are talking about, but if she hesitates, it’s because she’s guilty and has to think and make a choice about whether it is safer in that moment to accept that she’s been caught or to try to deny it and bluff through. The hesitation before she speaks, not whatever she says, is what tells the tale.

Another good tactic is a diversionary one. You tell a partner that you know all about something they’ve been doing (that you really are only suspecting), and that you understand how and why it happened and are willing to let that go if they will promise that something lesser won’t be happening again, like hearing it from her friends instead of her. When she agrees to make the promise, which is easier than the confession, she has confessed to the transgression.

Even here, you can still take advantage of hesitation. A person with nothing to confess will immediately deny they did anything, and a person with something to confess looking for an easy way to do it will immediately make the promise or will pause while weighing their chances of getting away with another denial, the only reason for them to hesitate. I don’t care for this particular tactic because it requires lying to detect the lie, but my job is to instruct you, not judge you, and it is highly effective.

People also tend to objectify and generalize when they are lying. A person who really worked late will tell you that they worked until 10:30PM, while someone who is lying is much more prone to say they “worked really late.” Also, they will tend to say, “left MY office” if they were really there, as opposed to, “left THE office” if they were not. Again, this must be weighed with other indicators, as the use of these pronouns can vary because of personality, level of detail-orientation, etc. It’s the change from using words like “my” to words like “the” or the change from speaking actively, like “I did this,” to passively, like “this was done,” focusing on the event or act rather than on them that tells the tale.

There is a book by David Lieberman, PhD, called “Never Be Lied to Again,” that has been on the NY Times Best Seller list and is an excellent book if you really want to dig deep into this subject and become a true expert. I’ve also used a lot of the hand-held lie detection gadgets and computer software that do voice print analysis, but was not impressed; there were too many false positives and false negatives for me to see them as useful tools at the time (the manufacturers’ reports of their own tests indicated that they were proud of numbers like 62% accuracy, which is only 12% better than half the time!). Over time, you can expect these products to increase in accuracy, just as voice recognition software that lets you give input to your computer has improved, but it may not happen until most of us are too old to care.

Communications is a tough subject, even when everyone is telling the truth. There are good and bad ways to ask questions of women, good and bad ways to start conversations, and good and bad ways to end them as well. When you’re already in a stressful situation like a fight or after a break-up, the last thing you want to do is trip over some protocol or miscue that you don’t know about and end up with your foot in your mouth and your signature on divorce papers because of it. Let me help you with that…

Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" right now, and get with the program. If your relationship is not in crisis, it will show you exactly how to not only keep it from getting there, but how to make it better. If you are in crisis, it will show you how to determine whether you should indeed reverse it or let it go, and if it is a relationship that you should save, it will show you what to do to quickly get things on stable footing and get everyone in a state where they are receptive to working things out and making positive change.

If it shouldn’t be saved, you’ll learn how to turn your combative soon-to-be ex into a cooperative soon-to-be ex who may go so far as to set you up with dates after a non-contested divorce without using control, threats, tricks, or deceit. Seemingly far stranger things have happened to my readers…

I’m sure you’ve heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure;” this is about a pound of prevention and it’s worth several tons of cure, and it can be yours for less than the price of a good meal for two, so get it done – or would you prefer to be alone after shelling out that $34,000 that the average contested divorce costs in the U.S.??? I didn’t think so!

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lying in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2, A Reader’s Confession About Lying Nearly Ending Her Marriage

A reader tells of her own experience with lying to the one she loves. It’s not pretty, and is a perfect example of what I warned you about in yesterday’s newsletter.

Yesterday’s newsletter on lying to your partner got some pretty predictable responses. If you missed it,
see this archived article because it’s one you will definitely want to read.

Those who don’t lie to their partners wrote in agreement, while the vast majority of those who do wrote in defense of their actions, saying ridiculous things like, “Good relationships are based on lies,” “It’s only a problem if you get caught,” etc. I feel sorry for those people, because they will never experience the wonderful feelings that true love, trust, loyalty and respect generate, which I’m glad to say that many of you, based on your responses, do seem to appreciate.

There was one letter in particular that I wanted to share with you, from a woman who got caught in a lie and almost destroyed her relationship with someone who seems to be a really good man. Meet Darla:

Dear David,

I wanted to share with you what really can happen when you tell a lie to the one you love. My story I guess is simple to many people, but it is hard for me to tell because I have to face something horrible to me. I come from a long line of people with addictive personalities. By addictive I mean to drugs and drinking. My mother was and is addicted to pain medication among other things and my brother has spent time in jail for his addictions. As for me I had started down the same road with prescription medications. Every day I thought I had to have one kind or the other, uppers in the morning and downers at night and had lived this way for awhile. I was in a marriage that was the worst of nightmares and two kids who could care less if I were living or dead.

I met this wonderful man, one that loves me and God only knows how much I love him. He noticed right off I could have a problem if I did not control myself. We have had long talks about it and I really had made the choice to give up the drugs. I wanted to be with him and I wanted to love him and to be sober to enjoy what I had finally been given.

Yesterday morning I awoke with a migraine. I have them from time to time and it was bad enough for me to try a new medication my doctor had given me. I took the pill and a short time later he called me to say good morning and I was spaced out on the pills. He asked me about it and in a panic I lied to him and told him I had not taken any medication. It was the worst choice I have ever made. I should have been honest and told him what was going on, but I lied.

He was so upset by what I had done that he would not hardly talk to me and when he did I felt like the lowest life form on the planet, not because he was abusive or belittled me, but because he pointed out to me that there was nothing in our history that gave me a reason to lie to him, and I was mimicking my mother’s behavior, and we both knew that the idea of me turning into my mother was not going to work for either of us.

He has no problem with me taking a pain medication for pain, and has told me so on several occasions. It is just the issue of me abusing pain killers for things other than pain that he has a problem with. We did talk it over and after many tears on my part we decided that since I had not lied to him in the past that the migraine medication may have been responsible for my choice to lie this time, and he forgave me on the condition that I never lied to him again, especially about drug use.

I will never lie to him again ever, because no matter what you think you are getting away with you are not. If you want to lose the man of your dreams because you want to be a dumb ass then you deserve what happens to you. I’m just thankful that my John loves me enough to work it out with me not throw me and nine years away because I was worried about the truth where if I had just said to him I was not feeling well and had taken the pills and since it was the first time and I was not sure what they would do to me it could have been avoided.

What I am saying is tell the truth not matter what. It hurts worse to lie to the one you love and you are not a good person if you can lie to the one you claim you love in the first place. Thank you so much John for loving me and letting me still love you and you still love me.

Darla


My response:

Hi Darla,

That’s quite a confession Darla; thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve studied people a lot over the years, and I’ve seen a few things that I’d like to point out here. Chemicals notwithstanding (a lot of medications can alter your personality, adherence to your value system, inhibitions, etc.), you would be hard-pressed to prove to me how anyone who truly loves and respects another could lie to them, especially to cover their own ass. That’s an act of cowardice and need, not of love and respect. If your partner is claiming to love you but lying to you frequently (or vice versa), you and they need to take a look at the meaning of love, need, attraction, etc. (see the article in
my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report), and get a fix on reality, because you’re not in it.

Another thing I’ve noticed, in my marriage, in the world around me and in the hundreds of couples who have been involved in the development, testing, and tweaking of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," is that there is nothing that two rational people who truly love and respect each other can’t discuss, no matter how bad it is. Of all the things that come together to make a good relationship work, unfettered, respectful, honest, and factual communication is the most important tool in the tool chest, because through it, all the other things are achieved.

Take care,
David


Do you know what kind of a relationship you’re in? Do you know if your partner really loves you, or if they’re just clinging on because they’re afraid to be alone? Do you communicate effectively across the gender gap? Has the honeymoon ended and left you as part of that ugly statistic wherein the average couple who has been together longer than two years has sex once every two months?

If you’ve become part of that statistic, it may seem like a problem, but you’ll soon see that it’s merely a symptom of a MUCH bigger problem. In any case, it’s logical to expect that you have or are anticipating at least one of these problems or you wouldn’t be spending the time to read these newsletters, so why keep putting off the solution?

Yes, what you need to know is in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s not going to get into your head where you can use it until you go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/, download it, and then read it. What you need to know is in there, laid out point by point and step by step, and people are using it every day to make their relationships better and better, some even snatching their marriage from the jaws of the divorce monster in as little as a week after receiving it. Do yourself and your partner a favor; get it and get busy, because life’s too short to spend it unhappy, bored, frustrated, scared, cheating, or celibate.

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