Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Understanding Our Emotional Scales: Another Key to a Great Relationship and Marriage

MUST READ: Men’s and Women’s emotional scales are calibrated very differently, and understanding how can literally make the difference in being happy and being divorced.

If you've been following me for long, you know how seldom I put the words "MUST READ" in a title or summary, and I promise it will be worth your time to read this time, too.

If I could teach everyone on Earth only one thing above all others to help them get along better, not just in intimate, committed relationships, but in ALL inter-gender relationships, it would be a hard choice between compatibility, our difference in communication skills and protocols, and the difference in the structure of our emotional scales. All are critical to getting along well, and if I had to choose one, I'd feel like I was being asked by King Solomon to cleave and split a child between three mothers, because the three are so indispensable; the absence of any of them spells disaster.

I discuss communication protocols and compatibility frequently, and today I want to focus on these emotional scales. One you your fellow readers contacted me in crisis a few weeks ago and now has his situation under control, thanks mainly to the understanding of these two points. (His attraction skills were already fairly strong and needed only minimal improvement once he realized he had let them slide.) He's agreed to allow me to share excerpts from our discussions to help explain both the concept and how important it is to any relationship.

Here's an excerpt from one of his status reports:


"...It quickly rolled into the 'emotional scale' speech, which she seemed to really listen to - I think it's starting to sink in, and makes sense to her. Taking it slow has allowed her to process that and buy-in piece by piece. Honestly, David, if that were your sole contribution to the world, you should be famous for it. I'm not sure of its origins, but it's absolutely brilliant. Applies to all men and women, and the only trick to applying it is to understand that each woman has different levels of tolerance and varying coping abilities. I was able to give her an awesome example for evidence - a fight we had years ago - that also included a basic communication problem as well, and one where she's always 'fought to win,' [instead of 'fighting to get what's right'] and never admitted her role in the thing. Tonight, her silence told me she's seeing it, or admitting it to herself. There were a few instances of her processing those things and allowing that she was partially at fault. Big step for her lately - she used to do it, but hasn't at all lately."

An excerpt from my response, just for clarity:

"As for the emotional scale thing, that was my own, something I've noticed in working with all these women. I looked for weeks on Google and everywhere else for any mention of it, and never found it."

And here's "the emotional scale speech," as he called it, a suggestion I made to him for explaining to his wife why she had done some things that she was feeling very guilty for and why he had failed to recognize her problem and do something about it:

"I just read a thing about the difference between how men and women build, process, and prioritize emotions, and it sounded weird at first, but after looking back it makes a lot of sense. Our emotional scales are different, at least with regard to what we need to feel to be comfortable. My emotional scale or range runs from extreme negative to extreme positive, with neutral being in the middle of the scale.

"The female scale or range runs from neutral, or emotionless, to extremely emotionally charged, overwhelmed even, with little to no discrimination between positive and negative emotion. Both of us are most comfortable when we are just slightly 'to the right' of the middle of the scale, me feeling a little positive (too much positive makes a man irrational and silly) and you being just a little more emotionally charged than the center of your emotional range (too much emotion, positive or negative, with no way to vent it overloads you as well.)

"What's really interesting is that we act similar when we are at the same place on our scale. Being bored to you feels the same as being scared or angry feels to me: agitated, desperate, ready to do anything, even if it's wrong, to change the situation, and potentially irrational. We're both very comfortable just a little to the opposite side of the center of the scale, and at the far right, we get irrational, overwhelmed, and don't know what to do next, and have a strong tendency to do the wrong thing because our inhibitions and discipline go right out the window.

"One of the points it brought out of that is that men are naturally a bit comfortable with emotional neutrality, at least for a short time, while it is downright torturous for a woman. I never realized it was such an issue until I read that, and now that I know, I'll never let a woman be bored in my presence again, because I won't see someone tortured like that."

A couple of weeks passed since that discussion, and it apparently really produced understanding, some forgiveness, and cooperation where none was possible before. His last comment follows:

"You've really, really got to get that 'emotional scale' idea out there - everyone will steal it, but if you put some marketing behind it, you can retain credit as the source. Maybe there's a visual you could create so it instantly made sense to those who see it."

That's quite an accolade, having a reader see something as so important as to want to protect the author's ownership of a concept that he paid to learn. Think about that for a minute...it would take some pretty significant results to convert a "reader" into a "disciple" in any case, would it not? And by the way, the visual was pretty easy to construct (the comfort zone is at the "+" symbol):




Learn this concept and keep it in the front of your mind at all times. Recognize when the women in your life are bored, and try to do something about it whenever and however it's appropriate. You'll find yourself attaining a sort of hero status among them, and triggering a lot of appreciation, cooperation, and nurturing. A coworker will watch your back and try to help you out, a friend will be more attentive and supportive, and your partner will reward you with the relationship of your dreams, as long as you don't blow it by engaging in wussy, deceitful, or abusive behavior.

How do you do something about it? Sometimes a kind or funny word or two will do it, sometimes a smile, sometimes a surprise or even an adventure. It varies from woman to woman, mood to mood, and setting to setting, and there is no laundry list that will get you through. If you need a rule of thumb that will fit all situations, here it is:

"Attraction is any and every woman's ultimate salvation from boredom."

There is nothing bad that can come from just being a confident, fun leader at any time and many great things that can come from it, so if you're doing what you should be doing as a man, no woman will ever be able to be bored while you're around. But your partner deserves more, right? She's the one you share everything with, and the one you're trying to fix things for so you can spend the rest of your life with her. For her, you must learn more about women: what they want, what makes them tick, how to listen to and understand them, how to speak to them, and what flips their attraction switches, among other things.

Are you a guy who likes a single source to fill in a whole lot of gaps? I certainly do; the older I get, the more I try to find ways of simplifying everything. If simplifying your life sounds good to you - and you won't believe how much having a great relationship with your partner will simplify your life until you actually experience it - then you need to jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and get up to speed, fast and easy, and start clearing some of the relationship clutter, nuisances, and even disasters out of your life.

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

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