Sunday, August 09, 2009

Ex's: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Former Relationships and Marriage

Depending on circumstances, ex’s can be a valuable asset, a nightmare, and worst of all, an attraction-killer to your present partner. Let’s explore…

As you may remember from the bio on the MakingHerHappy.com web site, a lot of people have called me “Doc” since childhood, not because am a medical doctor, psychiatrist, dentist, veterinarian, or college professor, but because I’m the guy that makes whatever ails you go away, no matter what it seems to be.

Hence, I spend a large part of my life hearing other people’s problems and providing solutions for them, and one of the problems I hear about most are “ex’s” – ex-husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, employers, etc. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but how people become “ex’s” in your life and how you deal with them once they do says a lot about you. We need to talk about some of the things it can say, because some of it is really good, and some of it is really, REALLY bad. And whether you have an ex now or there is some chance you may have one in the future, you NEED to know this and think about it.

Let’s start with the worst case first, and work our way to the better ones. The worst case is the ex that became an ex because war was declared, and you got hurt and have never gotten over it. You talk about the relationship and the break-up all the time, even though it’s been years ago. Have you noticed how people react?

Have you noticed that they tend to “glaze over,” look at their watches, or roll their eyes, and suddenly remember somewhere else they need to be or rather aggressively change subjects? If not, open your eyes, because they do exactly that, and it’s costing you. People don’t like hearing the same lament over and over, and they don’t like being around people who harbor pain, depression, grudges, etc., instead of resolving their problems and moving on with their life. It’s annoying, embarrassing, and can be quite depressing. It’s also a major respect and attraction-killer, and labels you as a wuss who can’t deal with life and move on.

Face it, everybody goes through at least one bad relationship in their life, and they get over it. They learn how to better choose a girlfriend, wife, friend, business partner, employer, or whatever, and they move on to have a better life. Or they wallow in unresolved anger or misery and become a pain in the neck to everyone they know.

If you’re not resolving problems and moving on, the only thing keeping you from it is YOU. How you respond to past events is entirely YOUR CHOICE! Make the choice to accept reality and whatever responsibility is yours, stand up, dust off your pants, and step forward. If it was so traumatic that you need professional help, get it, and get it done. Life’s too short to spend it looking backward and feeling crappy (and annoying the hell out of everyone else) instead of moving forward and experiencing the joy that you were born to have if you only step up and choose to earn it.

“But you don’t understand!” you say. Oh yes, I DO understand. You loved her, you needed her, the sex was great, you really loved that job, you never thought that buddy would screw you over. You never thought you’d come home to find your brother or best friend in bed with your wife. You loved being self-employed, or having money, status, and respect. I’ve seen and heard it all. Lived through it, too. And I can tell you with authority that none of those things has any impact on TODAY, unless you choose to let them.

There are lessons to learn from the bad things that happened to you. Stop lamenting the events and seek out the lessons. Learn them. Consign yourself to using those lessons to be more successful in the future. And relegate those events to the past and never, ever look back. The clock is ticking, and every second that passes can never be regained. You can spend each second looking back and wasting it or looking forward and living a better life. It’s your call. Let that choice and that ability to choose empower you to live well and be happy.

Stepping down off my stump now… ;-)

The next worst case isn’t much better. It’s the dependent that you can’t quite get rid of. The ex-wife or lover that you’re constantly having to bail out of a jam that they stupidly chose to put themselves in but want someone else to pay for, the child who is well into adulthood that you keep bailing out, even though a person their age usually has a family, mortgage, and established a career, the ex-employer who either fired you and continues to call on you for help or the one you left that keeps leaning on you instead of hiring a competent replacement, any of which causes you to complain and be distracted when you’re around people who currently really do matter to you and want to enjoy your company.

They don’t like listening to you repeat the same laments and frustrations any more that you want to hear it out of them. It labels you as a push-over, another breed of wuss who just can’t say “no,” no matter how badly “no” needs to be said. You guessed it, another major respect and attraction killer that will send both genders scurrying when they see you coming down the hall.

People who don’t want to be partners of some sort and share life with you, whether it’s a wife, girlfriend, buddy, employer, business partner, offspring, or whatever, don’t deserve to have you sacrificing yourself to their incompetence, delinquency, etc. Altruists around the world are cringing as I say this, but you know it’s true. Your life is too short and too precious to allow yourself to be bled dry by a bunch of parasites who won’t let go of your jugular vein. Let them keep themselves up instead of sucking you dry, Brother. Do you understand? Their need is not a demand on your life; a poor choice on their part does not constitute an obligation or emergency on yours. Remember that. Quote it daily.

There are good people around you more than willing to share life with you, no matter who or where you are, so why cheat yourself and them of the great things you can do -- and BE -- together while throwing your life’s energy away to these parasites? You’ll find that when you do this, all you will attract are more parasites, as well as a few predators, because good, competent, independent people will shy away, not wanting your problem overload to spill over on them, while parasites and predators will be watching for a sucker like you to come along and latch on as soon as you give them an opening.

What impact do you think this will have on any relationships or marriage you might enter into? If the good people are steering clear of you and the bad ones have you targeted, well…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how that will turn out, especially when parasites and predators are masters of using guilt and a person’s own insecurities to manipulate people into doing things they know better than to do just for approval and acceptance. If this is you, you’re going for ride after ride until you either choose to live better or they drive you all the way to the gutter. And again, the choice is yours, not theirs, so make the right one.

The last kind of ex to which I want to call your attention is the only good kind to have, the kind with whom you have shared something for awhile, and as you grew apart or found yourself at odds, you responsibly recognized that you were evolving in two different directions or at incompatible paces or that you started a relationship without sufficient compatibility to sustain it and you went your separate ways on friendly terms. You’ve probably seen this at one time or another, a situation where both of you recognized that you were both good people in a bad match-up, and knew that you’d both be better off at arm’s length than close-up, “better friends than lovers” as the saying goes.

This would be the former employer who keeps you in their Rolodex as a potential consultant and gives you a good employment referral (not just a reference, but calls up somebody in their own network to help get you placement), and to whom you would refer competent sources of help, materials, or whatever. We’ve all seen a bad fit in the work place, and employers appreciate how it can happen and will often treat you much better if you sit down with them to discuss it instead of trying to hide the fact that it’s a bad fit until you’ve found something else and leave them hanging with a job to fill and no warning.

It would also be the ex-wife or ex-girlfriend who steers opportunities your way, and to whom you steer good quality people. Maybe you even double date from time to time to help each other meet new people, steer contacts to each others’ businesses, etc. This is highly attractive behavior to all but the most insecure of women, because it says that you can accept responsibility for your actions and decisions, keep a level head and reach workable agreements with people, and won’t be a needy wuss who hangs onto them if things don’t work out for the long term. It says that you’re strong and of good character, that you focus on the value in people, not their flaws. I don’t know about you, but that’s precisely the kind of thing that I want to be known for, and consequently, am known for.

Fights are neither necessary nor desirable to resolve a bad relationship of any kind. At 47 years old I’ve never been sued, and every conflict I’ve engaged in during my adult life has been settled in a logical and equitable manner by mutual consent, including all former marriages, contracts, employment, and customer relationships. I know of nobody that I’ve ever dealt with that I couldn’t call up right now and have a good conversation, and probably find some way of stirring up a business deal or some kind of fun. It sounds like quite an accomplishment, but while it may be unusual, it has never been difficult, and should not be difficult for you, either.

Why?

Because all it takes is the willingness and respect to deal squarely with those around you, looking for what you can accomplish together instead of what you can cheat each other out of or control. Being known for being such a person makes you attractive to everyone in all respects, and when it comes to women, they want a man who will take the lead, act responsibly and fairly, keep a positive attitude, help them to filter drama, and keep things moving for them, not somebody looking for every possible way to screw them, cheat them, lie to them, etc., or who feeds into their drama instead of trying to keep them from getting lost in it. Sounds rather like an employer, does it not?

They also want someone to share life with, who knows when to say, ‘Yes,” or, “No.” They evaluate men using an iron-clad rule: “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me, and if you can’t stand up for ME, you won’t stand up for US.” They don’t mind you sharing yourself with others, moderately, as long as you save the best part for them, which in a good relationship is a very fair trade for the nurturing, loyalty, and many other things a loving wife will give a good man who’s making her happy.

Knowing how to evaluate and maintain a good relationship at home, how to communicate with people, and how to create attraction in the woman you love has far-reaching effects, much farther-reaching than you might ever imagine before doing it. Look around you. Those men who are happy at home are happy at work as well, and they have solid relationships with all the people in their life. They know how to choose good relationships, how to communicate with people, and how to be the kind of guy that people want to be around.

You’ll find that when you do the things described in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," the rest of your life will start improving at the same pace that things improve at home. Your confidence level increases, your communications skills improve, and you become more fun, interesting, competent, and generally enjoyable to have around. You can keep putting it off because you don’t know if you can do it, or you can accept the fact that a lot have people have already done it, many of which may not be as sharp as you, and you can make just as big a difference in your life as they have, if not even bigger. All it takes is to claim your birthright as a man and BE a man.

Download this fascinating and highly-effective book at
http://www.makingherhappy.com. It’s guaranteed, it’s fun, you can easily afford it, and quite frankly, you can’t afford to not do it, at least not if you realize just how short life really is and don’t want to spend it watching everybody else enjoying it more than you do. Join us, right now!

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

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