Saturday, January 10, 2009

Airing Your Dirty Laundry in Public, Poison to Any Relationship and Marriage

Problems at home can be so frustrating that you want to vent them outside the home. Don’t do it, unless of course you like the idea of sleeping alone…

We’re going to do something just a bit different today. I usually write primarily to and for the benefit of the men, occasionally throwing in something that the women here will also find useful or at least amusing, but today I’m speaking to everyone equally, and I hope that the majority of you will have at least one person to whom you can forward this little wake-up call to help them stop making this really big mistake. It’s not just an attraction-killer, it’s a relationship-killer, as sure as the sun rises in the east every morning. It’s also a symptom of a pretty big problem, much bigger than the one being voiced when this happens, as you will see.

One of the two couples who live next door to me are an elderly couple who married late in life, and for the life of me, I don’t know why they got married or have remained married. They don’t even like each other, let alone love each other, and don’t seem to need each other either, unless it’s simply in the capacity of having someone available to call for an ambulance if they collapse from a heart attack or something. They seemed okay when I first met them several years ago, but either their relationship has steadily declined or they have become less concerned with keeping their problems private, and they now they are constantly at each other’s throat whenever I visit them or see them away from their home in a public place.

The main problem seems to have started because they don’t communicate very well. They’re both head-strong, and neither are good listeners, but people manage to live like that for fifty years or longer without the kind of malicious behavior I see these two engaged in regularly. So what’s continuing to escalate the hostilities?

Every time I talk to either of them, they are demeaning and insulting the other, and they both know this is going on, so when I see the two of them together, it’s like a competition to see which of them can say the nastiest things about the other one to me and another competition to see who can defend themselves against whatever insults they suspect have been dealt in their absence. Hence, they’re both hurt, mad, and frustrated all the time, and quite paranoid about what is being said about them while they aren’t present to defend themselves.

I remember the day it started like it was yesterday. The man and I were standing in my front yard talking about grass seed, fertilizer, weed killer, etc., as our lawns had not fared well through the winter, and she drove up, having been out shopping. He had remarked to me earlier that she was out and he’d had to give her all his cash because they were out of checks and they had cut up all their credit cards, much more personal information than I would have ever been comfortable hearing from a neighbor. He went on to say that he hoped she’d not spent all his cash while she was out because the home center where he was going to buy fertilizer and seed was only a little over a mile from our homes but his closest credit union branch was across town and he didn’t want to have to drive that far out of the way to get more cash. When she got out of the car, he said, “Well, I’d better go see if I have any money left,” and she heard him. Most unfortunate…

She exploded! “What are you doing telling our neighbor that I spend all your money all the time??? What else are you saying about me behind my back???” she yelled. That one remark, taken almost entirely out of context, caused an explosion, the shockwave from which is still tearing their relationship down and the fallout from which has not begun to settle, several years later. What do you think happened next?

You guessed it! She found occasion later that day to come over to my house to defend herself, and make a few nasty remarks about him in retaliation. He walks up quietly behind her while she’s railing about him using her good towels (“the show towels”) and messing up the kitchen, stands listening for several minutes before clearing his throat to let her know that she’s busted, and then says, “And you had the nerve to jump on me about talking behind your back???” War was at that moment declared.

Since that time, they’ve thrown each other out of the house regularly; every other week I’m outside getting the mail or something and hear, “Why don’t you just pack your s**t an get out?!” and they’ve become the two unhappiest people I know; combatants seemingly locked in a duel to the death to see who can get in the last and worst word about the other.

The lesson? Keep your problems to yourself, especially your relationship problems, and don’t succumb to the temptation of verbally bashing your partner, whether in front of them or not.

Ladies, I know that is a particularly hard pill for you to swallow, but face it, if there’s a problem between you and your man, it’s between you and your man, not between your man and your fourteen girlfriends with you acting as the mediator. You know as well as I do that your girlfriends will most often say either whatever they think you want to hear or whatever they think will keep you upset so they can continue to feed on your emotion, and that’s okay when you’re discussing a television show or a party that didn’t work out well, but don’t take chances on screwing up your relationship or marriage by inviting your girlfriends into your intimate life. You never know which of them has secretly wanted your husband since she met him and might take the opportunity to drive a wedge that will help her get him, right?

Nor do you know which of them is competitive and jealous of your relationship and secretly watching for a way to help you become as miserable as she is, do you? I know you’re driven to share and commiserate, but the stakes are too high when it comes to marital issues to risk having someone say something to you to manipulate your emotions or sabotage your relationship under the guise of helping you.

And guys, even though we’re generally not as socially-oriented as women, there are still times when you’re sitting in the bar, the barber’s chair, a coworker’s office or the break room, etc., during which you might be sorely tempted to vent as well. For some of you it’s like some kind of bonding experience. Don’t do it. Nothing good can come of it. Be a man, and deal with the problem at its source, and don’t wait for your partner to take the lead. That’s your job, and if you can’t do it, there are others who can. And you can bet she knows where to start looking for them and has plenty of time to do so while you’re out with your friends bitching about her instead of being at home fixing your marriage.

If you have a problem with your partner, you need to be at home fixing it, not bitching about it to someone outside your family. The person you need to be talking with is your partner, not your bowling buddy, your drinking buddy, your girlfriend, your hairdresser, or anybody else, other than maybe a professional counselor if the two of you can’t work it out on your own. The likelihood of anyone else being able to give you much appropriate and competent input is very slim at best, unless that person’s own marriage is such a shining example of a truly great marriage that they’re a bona fide expert, and that’s going to be hard to know if they are keeping private things private like they should. You never know what really goes on behind closed doors.

Look at what usually happens in such a situation, attacks bring defensive action and then counter-attacks, and then the feud has started and isn’t going to go quietly into the night. The fastest way on Earth to escalate such a feud is to bring the outside world into it, especially by trashing your partner in front of his or her friends. It’s embarrassing, humiliating, and if you think trying to take back something you’ve said in anger to your partner is hard to take back, trying taking something back that you’ve said to or in front of your partner’s friend or coworker, or to anyone who lets something you said get back to her.

Treat each other with respect. If some of your friends start trashing their partners or your partner’s gender in general, try to break the momentum quickly by saying something positive about your partner, especially if they are standing there listening, before your partner has too much time to wonder if you’re thinking the same thing about them. When you show each other that kind of respect and support instead of publicly airing your dirty laundry, you will be more willing and able to work your problems out peacefully, and will try harder to work them out before they become a heated debate or a fight that you’ll later regret. It creates trust, which is crucial in any problem-solving operation, not to mention a secure relationship or marriage.

There is nothing about heated conflict that is good for a relationship. If you’re in one of those relationships where you’re constantly at the extremes, either fighting or in bed together, you need to take a good hard look at your relationship, your life’s desires, yourself, and your partner. I can tell you what you’ll find: a relationship that is based on attraction or need, not compatibility and love coupled with attraction. Lacking anything in common, your life together is one contest or conflict after another, one fight after another, and the only part left to enjoy, or escape to, is the sex. That’s no way to live, and you can both do a lot better.

Good relationships that last require being well-matched to your partner, communicating effectively, and keeping the fun and attraction level up to the point that you enjoy living your life and living with each other. That sounds difficult because you see so few couples doing it successfully in the long-term these days, but it’s not. The reason that you don’t see it often isn’t because it’s hard; it’s because very few remember how or ever learned how. “Knowledge is power” became a cliché because it was universally true, not universally false, right?

Opinions are like bowels; everybody has one, and they are usually full of crap. Knowledge IS power, the power to create a great relationship and the power to fix one that you started but has become stale and boring over the years, as well as the power to take one that is going fairly well and kick it up to notches unknown to humankind! That knowledge is contained in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and if you don’t have your copy, get over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download it right now, because you’re missing out on a better life. Life’s too short as it is, without wasting it in a bad relationship that could be improved or replaced, so get to work!

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

David Cunningham

Friday, January 09, 2009

Shopping Together As Foreplay? If Done Properly, It Can Really Boost Your Relationship and Marriage

Attraction is about flipping primal, biological switches that ignite the urge to procreate, or at least go through the motions of mating. Leadership and authority will flip them because it invokes feelings of power and protection; will shopping awaken these primal urges as well? My research and others’ says, “Oh yeah!” but it’s not retail therapy that does the trick…

Strap yourself in, because we’re going for a ride. I’ve written many times about how attraction and flirting are dying arts that are slowly being revived as desperate singles and bored couples seek out people like myself, Shelley McMurtry, John Alanis, and others and learn what it’s all about. I’ve also advised quite a few people to look back to the actions of their parents and especially grandparents, old movies, etc., for visual examples of things that they did then that most people don’t do now but are crucial for relationships. Why?

A lot of that old school, gender-stereotypical behavior that made for manly men and girly girls was obliterated in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s by idiotic ideas like “men should be sensitive instead of manly” when all women wanted was for manly men to continue to be manly men, but be a little more sensitive to things like a woman’s emotional state and her sheer dread of boredom. Incidentally, note that divorce rates began climbing exponentially through those years as well.

I was talking to my dad a few days ago and he mentioned how different things were now from when I was a child, and I asked him about what couples did for fun in the 50’s and 60’s that he no longer saw them doing. The first thing out of his mouth was a revelation: “Well, when you’re mother and I got married and until you kids were pretty much either gone or old enough to be gone, we nearly always did the grocery shopping together. Your mother would get all frisky and cuddly in the grocery store every time we’d go, even if she was ticked about something when we got there. Didn’t you notice that you kids were often put to bed a little early when we went to the store?”

No, I didn’t notice, but it sure makes sense now!

The act of hunting down and procuring food, and returning home with it is very primal, making the evening meal somewhat celebratory in a primal sort of way. He also talked about having other couples over for card games, and being accused of cheating because he and my mother were playing footsy under the table during the game and stuff like that, which was also primally attractive because of the competition and celebration involved, but I couldn’t get the grocery store thing out of my head. This had to be checked out, because my parents stayed married for 33 years and had five kids on little more than attraction; their divorce happened after deep compatibility problems finally wore them down and out. (And to this day, I don’t know if they even understand that, because they won’t talk about it, but it was there for anyone with eyes to see.)

I’ve spent several hours each day for the last few days wandering around grocery stores and lurking in the parking lot watching for couples to show up (I was accosted by one store manager who thought I was acting suspicious until I explained what I was doing, at which time he took me to the security booth and we both watched the security cameras and tapes, which was a lot of fun for both of us!), and the results were more than impressive. They were downright awe-inspiring!

Couples would come in chatting, arguing, not speaking, even obviously pissed off at each other, and none of them seemed to make it more than about three aisles before they were walking closer together, him pushing the cart and her hand in the crook of his arm, or holding hands, or her stroking and caressing his back and shoulders, and the smiles and other body language was very clear. I also recall similar experiences with the women I’ve been involved with in my adult life, and it went right over my head at the time, as it may be going right over everybody else’s heads today. I wish my grandparents were still alive today so that I could pick their brains about a lot of things; they were married for 66 years, and I’m quite sure they could have told me about a lot more of these kinds of things if they were still around.

So guys, how do you put stuff like this to work? Start by understanding the underlying elements of creating attraction: leadership, protection, mimicking primal survival behavior, decision-making, competition, etc. Now, let’s build an evening out of it.

I’d suggest starting by planning at least an evening meal, and take your partner with you to get the groceries. Take your time and have fun perusing the aisles in the grocery store instead of just rushing straight to the things you want and grabbing them. Turn on a little of that naughty charm and steal a kiss or two, a playful pinch or grope, conducted intimately, as if you’re a couple of naughty kids getting away with something. Go home and cook dinner for her, or for her and a guest couple.

Continue to ramp up the fun and tension after dinner through a movie (yes, a funny one!) or some other activity, like a sunset walk, or if you have the other couple over, engage in something fun and competitive like parlor games, and when she gets up from the table to get something for herself or the guests, get up to help (don’t worry about being rude, as they may be getting caught up in the energy and wanting to steal a kiss or a grope themselves!), and push the naughty envelope a bit while you’re out of sight of the guests. That “ramp it up and draw back a bit” play builds a delightful tension that women will savor for hours, and when the guests finally leave, she’ll lock the door and probably be tearing at your clothes if you did a good job at ramping up and pulling back.

By the way, DO NOT confuse procurement of needed items with “retail therapy.” Retail therapy, the act of buying things for the thrill of the purchase with no real need or desire for some benefit of ownership, is something that people do when they are bored or suffering from some kind of self-esteem crisis, and make no mistake, it is damaging to a relationship or marriage. It creates financial strain, storage problems, and a lot of stress. Keep your shopping dates to things you know you need or have discussed and decided that you want to own and benefit from ownership, and avoid just grabbing stuff for the thrill of hearing the cash register bells; those bells are for the shopkeeper to celebrate, not you.

I’ve told you guys too many times to count that the object is not to seduce your wife, but to induce your wife to seduce you. This is how you get that done, and I shudder to think of how many such secrets our parents and grandparents took to their graves. If yours are still alive and your comfortable doing so, you might ask them about their dating days and the early years of their marriage. You might be surprised at how eager they are to share with you.

However, not everybody’s parents and grandparents will have been good at playing the attraction game. More men and women understood it 50 years ago, but that’s a far cry from being able to say that ALL men and women understood it fifty years ago.

Before you start pumping the older folks for the advanced techniques of their day, you really need a good command of the basics so you can distinguish between something great that can add spice to your life and a mistake that an ancestor made that will haunt generations to come if they don’t know any better than to repeat the mistake. Oops! Where do you go for that?

Glad you asked! Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," where you’ll find all the basics and then some, on attraction, effective communications, evaluating and renewing relationships, and even how to gracefully end bad ones with cooperation and dignity. Yes, really! Here are a few choice excerpts from a reader letter I received today:

“...I think she is missing me more than she will admit and it’s because of the ATTRACTION that YOUR BOOK has helped me instill back in her...”

“...things are progressing back to getting the woman I love back completely...”

“...the thing I like the MOST is SHE is CALLING ME .... NOT Me calling HER...so I must be doing something RIGHT LOL...”

“...have a great day and thanks if for no other reason for making me a better man...”


This guy described himself as “the wuss from Hell” in his first letter to me, and was afraid he was too late to do anything about it; he mentioned in one of his letters that they’d been separated for a couple of years and she had told him that under no circumstances would they ever be together again, yet they’re dating, she’s chasing him, they’re getting totally intimate, and she’s fighting tooth and nail the whole way, testing him to make sure it’s not just some phony act he’s putting on and that this new man before her is here to stay.

He is, he’s getting results, and if a self-proclaimed “wuss from Hell” can have an ex of two years pulling him back into the bedroom after she declared that donkeys would fly through a frozen Hell before she’d ever sleep with him again, you have no choice but to accept that this information works, and you need to be getting with the program, NOW! (Right, “Michael” K.?)
http://www.makingherhappy.com/.

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

Thursday, January 08, 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, 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. It’s 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. If you’re not doing it, 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 instead of moving forward.

“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 categorically that none of those things has anything to do with TODAY, unless you choose to let it.

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 living a better life. It’s your call. Let that choice and that ability to choose empower you to live a better life.

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, 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.

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?

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. 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.

This would be the 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 46 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, and keep things moving for them, not somebody looking for every possible way to screw them, cheat them, lie to them, etc. 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 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

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How Much Is Too Much? Rings, Gifts and Problems in Relationships and Marriage

Where do you cross the line from an appropriate gift to a red flag? Where does she cross the line from a woman of taste to a gold-digging abuser? It’s not hard to tell if you know what to look for…do YOU?

A special welcome to all who just arrived by way of Shelley McMurtry’s newsletter. Shelley is about as sharp as they come, and especially good at being self-aware and reporting an honest and accurate look at female perspective. She’s a dating guru, but I encourage all who have not yet at least read a month’s worth of her newsletters to do so, because there’s always something to learn about women when a woman like her is speaking.

I had quite a few questions during the holidays about specific gifts, how to choose them, what was appropriate, etc., but most weren’t really questions that made for good copy for this newsletter (because the topic had already been covered pretty thoroughly in previous editions) and were answered privately, but there was one issue that came up that is pretty sticky, that of engagement rings. And for those of you with marriage problems who are thinking about trying to buy a gift to get out of trouble or revive the fire in your marriage, there are lessons for you here, too, so stick with me.

One of my friends has been dating a woman for nearly two years, and finally decided it was time to pop the question, and she said, “No!” – immediately, emphatically, and with conviction. Why?

Because he had made two mistakes. The first was in buying and presenting the ring before she answered, a blatant wussy maneuver if ever there was one, and unfortunately a very common mistake. Guys, think for a minute: If you have to buy a woman’s acceptance of your marriage proposal with a piece of jewelry, what does that say about each of you?

First, it says that you don’t think you’re worth marrying and are trying to buy your way into her life. It also says that you think that she can be bought, which is one whale of an insult to any woman of character. However, in this case, making this mistake probably saved my buddy’s life, because she rejected him due to his second mistake, which in truth was no mistake at all…

She rejected him because the ring wasn’t expensive enough! She flatly told him that if he couldn’t present her with at least a two-carat stone he could forget it. He was heartbroken when he called, thinking he’d been a fool and had blown the best thing that could ever happen to him.

It was actually the greatest thing he could have done, because she proved in that one simple statement that she could be bought, wanted to be bought, and was high-priced and high-maintenance. I asked him to describe their history to me and it was just as you would expect.

They met in a bar, he bought all the drinks, the dinner later, paid for everything every time they went out, ended up buying her a car when hers broke down, ended up making all the deposits and down payments on a new apartment when she was evicted for not paying her rent, refused to talk to him days and even weeks at a time if he showed up without a satisfactory gift, etc. He was calling me to find out how big a ring to try to buy to salvage the situation. Can you guess what I told him?

I told him to not bother, because she was a gold-digging parasite who had bled him for two years already, and that if he didn’t believe me, she would gladly prove it to him. Just don’t call her, and when she calls, tell her that he didn’t want to talk to her because he had realized that she was just asking for too much. Her response would be one of the following:

  • Indignation, to try to press his buttons and guilt-trip him into reversing himself,
  • Abuse, to try to shift him into approval-seeking mode and get him to try to buy her approval,
  • Complete capitulation without discussion, as she realized that she pushed too hard and scrambled to try to regain control of her meal ticket.

He agreed after considerable discussion, and she didn’t make him wait long. She called two days later wanting to know why he hadn’t called. He responded as instructed, and she went berserk, first yelling at him about how he didn’t appreciate all she’d done for him in the last two years, which pretty much came down to being late every time he was to pick her up and giving him something other than his retirement account to stuff money into, as there had been no sex in months and it turned out he’d asked her to marry him in hopes of reigniting their sex life. (If I had known this was happening I could have helped long ago, but guys don’t talk about these problems with other guys.)

He pointed out to her that the relationship had been terribly one-sided and that in fact he had done a whole lot more for her than she had for him, and she shifted gears and went into the pity ploy, talking about all her hard times and how if he really loved her like he said he did he would have tried to make it up to her with a bigger ring. (Guilt trip!) He responded that those problems had been the result of her own choices, many of those choices against his advice, and that he was tired of paying for her to have the luxury of making bad choices.

Right on cue, she burst into tears, started begging, promising that she’d change, there’d be sex every day, and it would be better than it ever was, and all that nonsense. Just too predictable for words.

Now, most bad women will not go into a melt-down like that. She was betting large holding a trash hand and he called her bluff. Most bad women would only go through one of those three little dances, not all three, but apparently she was an amateur. Some women actually hate men so badly that they want nothing but to control them and bleed them dry. Others are just losers who drift from bank account to bank account…er…I mean, man to man, draining them dry along the way. Fortunately, these are a minority, and as you can see, or are about to see, pretty easily spotted. Good women want a good man, and want to share love, life, victories, celebrations, tender moments, sex, and even bad moments, not as a parasite or predator, but as a partner. Thankfully, they greatly outnumber the bad ones.

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while or have your own copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you’ve seen me post quite a few red flags, especially in the book. Here’s a list of the biggies:

  • A woman who makes demands about gifts, especially if she isn’t contributing to the household income, and doubly especially if she insists on choosing her own gifts, especially her own engagement ring, or makes sure that you get a message through one of her friends about anything except the ring-size (not the size of the diamond, but the diameter of the ring, i.e., size 7.5)

  • A woman who is frequently in trouble, and expecting you to bail her out

  • A substance abuser who defends their substance abuse in any way

  • A woman who seems to always be having problems but never doing anything about them

  • A woman who has all the trappings of wealth but no visible means of support, i.e., expensive clothes, car, etc., but expecting you to pay for everything (Women of means generally insist at least on going Dutch-treat and often prefer to pick up the check themselves.)

  • A woman who constantly acts helpless, especially if she is also overly-flirtatious with everyone at all times, obviously seeking attention and assistance.
As I said, this list is not comprehensive, it’s just the biggies; there are a lot more in my book and in past issues of this newsletter, available in the archive (see the link below) or past posts on my blog. If you’re currently in a relationship with one of these women, face it, you’ve screwed the pooch, and you need to face reality: she’s not going to get any better, and you’re going to continue to foot the bill, financially, emotionally, etc., for her indiscretions.

Sad, but true. And it’s not too hard to tell, either. Aside from the above list, if you’ve tried giving gifts to get out of trouble and it’s taking larger and larger gifts to get you out of the doghouse, bad news, Brother. You’re performing according to program. You may think that she’s eating out of your hand for at least the few days following that gift, but the truth is that she’s had you eating out of hers all along. Your solution is the same (dumping her hard and fast). It will just cost you more to get out of a marriage than an engagement.

There are a lot of good women in the world, luckily far more good ones than bad ones. Identifying them isn’t that hard when you know what to look for, and getting along with them is really pretty easy when you understand how to communicate with them and what they want, out of life and out of you. Luckily for you, there is a single source where you can learn everything you need to know to do exactly that, to have a great relationship with a great woman, even if you have to get a bad one out of the way first. Best of all, you can afford it!

It’s called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s an instant download at
http://www.makingherhappy.com. It costs less than dinner for two at a good restaurant (and tens of thousands less than a divorce or life with a gold-digger!), and is guaranteed to work. Download it now and start putting your life back on track, because life’s too short to live it doing anything less than enjoying it.

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

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Don't Let a Flood of Problems Wash Away Your Relationship or Marriage

    My beloved workshop was hit by a flash flood today, and while I was outside building dams and watersheds behind it to divert a flash flood current in the middle of a deluge of rain, something struck me that every man should know, especially when things aren’t working right in his relationship or marriage.

    I apologize for sending you two of these lessons in one day, but the one you received this morning was actually posted last night, and something happened today that I really need to tell you about now instead of putting it off until morning.

    Yes, you read that summary paragraph right. The Eastern United States has been under a lot of rain for about 36 hours as I write this, and to say everything is flooding is an understatement. Everything is soaked and there’s nowhere for water to soak in, so every drop that hits the ground is running off.

    I live at the mouth of a somewhat shallow sort of box canyon, elevated above the normal flood plain, but in exactly the spot where the run-off from two ridges and a hillside runs past my house and into a large creek that continues down the hill. The rain started coming down very hard this afternoon, and I looked out and saw the largest stream of water I’ve seen since I’ve lived here running from behind my workshop and across about an acre of my lawn. Curiosity and concern aroused, I suited up in rain gear and went out to inspect, and it was a very good thing that I did so, and not a minute too soon.

    The rain was picking up, and the run-off had started a flash flood coming down the hills and converging just behind my workshop, and it was slamming into the back of it so hard that the water was shooting under the walls and washing across the concrete floor of the shop. Luckily, all of my equipment is on wheels or mobile bases, so none of the cast iron parts of my table saw, jointer, drill press, lathe, etc., got wet, but there was some wood and a few cardboard boxes with new tools and materials in them getting wet and the feet of my solid birch workbench were sitting in an inch of water.

    I quickly got those things out of harm’s way and went out back to address the on-coming flood, which now literally resembled rapids in a large creek. There was a pile of broken concrete where I had repoured part of the driveway and several large ricks of firewood, so I grabbed a shovel and mattock to dig trenches through some high spots that were allowing water to pool near my workshop and then started throwing up dams of concrete chunks, firewood, and spare roofing shingles to divert the water around the workshop to keep it from driving into and under the walls.

    While all of this was going on, I was reminded of an old naval comedy called “Down Periscope,”
    in which there was a scene where the submarine they’re on is leaking and flooding and everybody is scrambling, and at the end, one of the crew brushes the water out of his hair and says, “Now that was FUN!” And it hit me…

    I grew up on a farm, and when something bad happened, there was neither time nor tolerance for throwing up one’s hands and saying, “Oh no! What are we going to do?” or to simply do nothing and hope that the problem fixed itself. Problems that affected the farm equipment, or especially the crops, could mean the difference between eating and going hungry. So when a problem came up, we were like the guys on that submarine. Everybody pounced on the problem, handling what they were best-suited to do first, getting the most critical elements handled first, and continuing, quickly and rationally, until it was fixed and the crisis was resolved.

    That’s how a man must handle ALL problems if he is to respect himself and be respected. It’s the only way that he can head off trouble before it gets too big, and the only way he can handle trouble that is too big and moving too fast to head off while it’s small. It’s the only way that his wife will trust his judgment and leadership, which must happen if she is going to be happy in the marriage, feel like engaging in an active sex life, want to play and have fun with the man, etc.

    So if things around the house, at work, or especially in your marriage are anywhere from slowly deteriorating to being in full-scale crisis, don’t be some scared wuss frozen in the headlights of an on-coming disaster while your life and everything you hold dear washes past your feet. Take action. The self-respect you gain from handling things will boost your confidence, and thereby your attractiveness, and as your self-confidence and self-respect grow, your wife will be drawn inescapably closer to you as primal instinct overwhelms her with the feelings that she can trust you and that she has married well.

    If it’s your relationship or marriage that is slowing down, hiccupping, or coming apart at the seams, that is the LAST problem you could expect to fix itself; relationship and marriage problems always get worse without attention. They fester like a boil, and finally erupt in a smelly, painful mess of pus and blood. And it doesn’t have to go down that way, even if the marriage was one of those that never should have happened in the first place.

    There’s tested and proven help for you in my book, "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and it’s about a mouse-click away at
    http://www.makingherhappy.com. It started with the stated needs and desires of 188 women, and was then tested and refined through the use and feedback of 118 couples, and has been continuously refined with the experience of thousands since. It’s working for everyone who uses it, and I have the testimonials to prove it, so it’s time for you to get moving. Or you could just keep right on standing there, the deer caught in the headlights, while everything you hold dear (and own!) goes right down the tubes in a flood of emotion, frustration, and confusion, except of course for the part that goes to line the lawyers’ pockets or to keep the wife’s boredom from killing you both. It’s your choice, so make it a good one.

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

    David Cunningham

    Sweeping Her Off Her Feet: Making Magic in Relationships and Marriage

    Do you know what it takes to really sweep a woman off her feet? Unlikely. Legend has it that it takes a mansion, cars, money, jet-setting, etc., but that is unmitigated “bovine feces” (B.S.!). Sweeping her off her feet requires nothing more than creating a special feeling – one that she will kill to keep once you create it for her – through entirely natural and fun means!

    I keep getting mail from men and women that refer to “sweeping her off her feet.” It would be comical to go through what most of the men think that sweeping her off her feet entails, if it weren’t so pathetic. I’m not going to print letters from the men because I don’t want anybody being embarrassed by seeing their effort used as an example of what to avoid doing or thinking on this most sensitive of issues, but we are going to talk about it, in detail, from both sides of the issue.

    In a nutshell, the guys keep asking the question, “How do I sweep her off her feet when [I’m not/I can’t/I don’t have/etc.]”

    What they aren’t, but maybe could become to some degree, is dashingly sexy and handsome, rich beefcakes.

    What they can’t do, at least today, is be dashing, charming, traveling with their women all day every day, shopping like there’s no tomorrow without a care for where the money comes from.

    What they don’t have, at least not yet, is a few million bucks, a mansion, an island retreat, exotic car, private jet, country club membership, huge male organ (which, by the way guys, is grossly unpopular with many women because while it’s fun to look at, a 10-inch long “member“ being forced into a 4”-6” long vagina HURTS LIKE HELL according to the women, at least those who have not yet had a hysterectomy!), etc.

    You know what? Not one bit of this matters!!! At least not to any woman worth having. Yes, many of these things CAN be used, because some women do respond to some degree to some of these things, but when women talk about being swept off their feet, these things aren’t what come up on their wish lists.

    When women talk about being swept off their feet, they consistently mention self-confidence and sense of humor (especially a naughty – but not trashy and especially not demeaning or disrespectful -- sense of humor) more than anything else. They mention “having him know what I’m thinking,” but when questioned on this point, will eventually explain that they don’t really expect a man to be psychic, but they want a man who listens and picks up on all their signals (non-verbal stuff, like body language, as well as hints, etc.) to the extent that they can tune in to what the woman wants and even anticipate it.

    They also mention a man who acts with and even defines and exercises authority by making decisions, being intelligent – even an expert on something – and leading conversations, not to mention knowing how to lead a negotiation with them (yes, most conversations with women involve some sort of negotiation!) without trying to dictatorially control (bully) the conversation and outcome.

    And more than half of them, believe this or not, said that they liked being grabbed, pressed up against a wall, and aggressively kissed and ravished. But there was a deviation amongst those that responded this way that means you must be very careful. A few said this scared them, some said they liked this, but liked for it to go on for a minute or two and then be left hanging so they could anticipate the finish later in the evening, while others just wanted to go for broke.

    I noticed in two polls that I did early on that women who said this kind of sudden action scared them had also been abused or forced into sex, and described themselves as chronically insecure. The most secure of the respondents said they liked to be “pounced upon” and then left hanging, to be ravished fully later in the day or evening.

    You might be shocked at just how much a woman will tell you if you just ask her in a way that says that you’re genuinely interested in hearing what she has to say. And feel free to discuss this with your wife, and I do mean DISCUSS; DO NOT ask her permission. Tell her that you’ve heard about this and are curious as to what she thinks about it.

    She’ll tell you how she’d react, because that is the question behind the question and that’s how women speak. But beware: if she says she would like or love it, use it sparingly, else you’ll spoil it for her by burning her out on it so that it bores her instead of giving her an adrenaline rush. Indeed, wait several days before doing it the first time, as she will be expecting you to do it immediately, and will love the anticipation and suspense of waiting and the adrenaline rush when it finally comes after she’s stopped thinking it’s going to happen. Anything that she likes must be used as an occasional reward, or it loses its magic.

    This sudden ravishing is alpha male behavior that flips attraction switches like mad, causing undamaged women to go nuts with excitement and desire – the FEELING of being swept off their feet, walking on clouds being overwhelmed with anticipation of the next meeting with a man, his next smile, next touch, next authoritative statement or naughty remark, etc. Mature women who are the picture of sense and sensibility can be observed giggling like school girls when under the influence of this feeling, because it is that rare and delightful for them. It makes them feel alive like nothing else can; not just alive, but excited about being alive. It’s the extreme opposite of that dreaded curse of curses to women everywhere, “boredom.”

    No matter whose advice you read or follow, read a romance novel or two to see the examples of the scenarios women fantasize about and the details these fantasies are built upon – and be smart about it by picking them off the best-seller list or asking a couple of really “girly” girls for their favorites – and tune in to the descriptions of this feeling in the characters in the books, and also pay some attention to what goes on to create that.

    If this sounds like a stupid idea, think about this: If you are not invoking attraction in a woman, you are at least boring her, if not annoying the living hell out of her. Being able to sweep a woman off her feet is the second “Holy Grail” of a lasting relationship, only infinitesimally less important than a high degree of compatibility. It’s magic if you can pull it off, and guaranteed hard times if you can’t, because you will be failing to fulfill one of her most basic needs.

    When you’re boring a woman you are in an adversarial position, trying to gain or regain her favor. Now, if you were commanding an army against another army, and could read their Standard Operating Procedures manual and high-level stratagem papers to find out how they could be expected to behave in a given situation and how they could be expected to respond to a given maneuver, wouldn’t you? Sure you would! So what’s the difference, other than the obvious difference that a woman can be turned from adversary to ally much easier than a soldier?

    For that matter, why do you think there are so many women subscribed to this newsletter and buying my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage”? They want to know what you are being told, to know what to expect of you, if you’re smart enough to follow good advice! They also want to understand their own attraction mechanisms better, and want to identify the core of what makes some men so exciting so they might get a good one, possibly instead of the incredibly attractive losers, users, and abusers they’ve been dating in the past. Take a cue from them and get with the program! They’re a lot better at playing the relationship game than most of us are, so learn from them, especially their diligence in learning about and actively managing their relationships.

    What else can I say, Gentlemen? Women are buying and reading this book, writing in daily saying that it’s “spot on” and they wish their men would read it or that they have their men reading it, and it’s working for them. I have their letters to prove it. You can see a few of their testimonials in the archive at the address below and at
    http://www.makingherhappy.com, and download your own copy while you’re there. Several hundred of them have provided the information to create and maintain this book (can you imagine several hundred women agreeing on anything???), and their men put it to the test and confirmed it before the first copy of the book was ever sold, so if you want to sweep your partner off her feet, get your copy today, not later, because life is too short to waste it living less of a life than you could live. Never put off until tomorrow the improvements you can make today in any part of your life.

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

    David Cunningham

    Monday, January 05, 2009

    Whom Did You Marry, a Wife or a Mother? Roles and Perceptions in Relationships and Marriage

    A reader asks how I can expect him to act naughty around women when they are so “pure and virtuous and never have naughty thoughts.” No, he’s not from another planet; he’s been programmed to think that way, as a great many men have. Let’s fix this…

    I sometimes get letters from men who just can’t believe that getting naughty with a woman will be well-received. They have a misconception that women are somehow “too pure and virtuous” to do things like tell dirty jokes, pass gas, or most ridiculous of all, think about or enjoy sex! Meet Juan:

    Hello David.

    Thank you for your e-mails. I like to read them every day. I am having a hard time with your idea that I should be “naughty” with my wife. She is a good and pure woman, just like my mother. She never swears, takes good care of our children, and goes to mass every week. How could such a woman be naughty?

    Juan.

    Juan, Buddy, it’s time to wake up. Going to church, raising children, and keeping her language “G-rated” has nothing whatsoever to do with how she wants to act or be treated in the bedroom, nor did it have anything to do with your mother. You’ve made the same two mistakes that almost every man alive makes:

    You put your mother on a pedestal, not allowing her to be human,

    You put your wife on the same pedestal when you allowed your skewed perception of your mother to define your perception of all women, especially your wife.

    Think with me here for a minute, all of you. There was very little that you could get away with as teenagers, right? I mean, even if you managed to sneak out of the house without getting caught sometimes, or went somewhere other than where you told your parents, or dated somebody for awhile that you weren’t supposed to, you got questioned about all those things at some point if not all the time. Why do you think that is?

    For the same reason that you do it to your own kids! You’ve “been there and done that,” and it’s high time that you realize that your parents have been there and done that too! For many people it’s difficult to accept that your parents enjoy having sex, because you don’t want to envision them having sex, but you know that you enjoy it, so why would you think that they – BOTH OF THEM – didn’t? Or don’t???

    Now, take that concept a step further and a bit sideways. Unless they have been traumatically abused or have a serious hormonal problem or physical damage to their genital area, women like sex as much as men, possibly more so, because they don’t need to “recharge” between orgasms, and many don't even need the orgasm to enjoy sex. Indeed, for most women, while they enjoy orgasms, it is the intimacy of sex they really need, so while the orgasm is the point of sex for the man, it is merely the end of sex for most women.

    They also have the same naughty streak that we have, the one that makes us like dirty jokes, talk about sex with friends, fantasize about it, masturbate, etc. If you’re treating your wife as if sex is some kind of chore or duty for her instead of something she enjoys, it’s going to be just that, a chore, or even worse, an embarrassment that she feels because she doesn’t feel that you can accept her sexuality. That’s just wrong on so many levels…

    You think not? Think again. In my own life, the dirtiest jokes I’ve ever heard have been told by women; not just trashy, rough women in some dive of a bar, but classy women that you’d think were Fortune 100 executives after spending a few minutes with them. When working as a business consultant, I often overheard conversations between women that rivaled anything you’d ever see in an adult sex film, not to mention tales of gas-passing that peeled the paint from the walls and other bodily functions, and about any other “coarse” behavior you would typically think to be distinctly male until you’d seen otherwise.

    Women don't just “let it all hang out” around men for reasons that make for too long a discussion to get into here (anticipated criticism, low self-esteem, survival instinct, to name a few); most women have to be lead into naughtiness by a man to feel comfortable being naughty around him, the way many men wait to hear a woman swearing before swearing in front of her or waits for her to make the first move in sex, which are obviously bad ideas since women prefer to being lead over leading in nearly all cases.

    There are differences between men and women, such as our communications methods and sophistication, that are readily recognized and overcome, but sexuality and naughtiness are not among them. We all enjoy both; the exceptions are very, VERY rare, and usually the result of some form of trauma or abuse, or some kind of sick religious or sexually bigoted oppression. Accept it, celebrate it, and you’ll both be a whole lot happier. It’s always easier to be yourself than what you think someone else wants you to be.

    There’s a lot that you may not know about your partner, or women in general for that matter, that they want you to know and have probably been trying to tell you, but you’ve been either unable or unwilling to hear them. In either case, the result of such an error are fear, frustration, boredom, growing apart, fighting, wanting affairs, having affairs, getting caught in affairs, nasty divorces resulting from getting caught in affairs, celibacy, etc. Why put yourself through any of that? If you’re going through it now, there is a great way to stop it, and if you haven’t arrived there yet but realize that there is a reasonable chance that it could happen somewhere down the road, you’re far better off learning how to prevent it now than having to fix it later, right?

    So what do you want to do? Are you one who prays, hopes and waits? Or one who takes action and makes things happen? If you’re one who takes action, here’s the action to take: learn how to assess yourself, your partner, and you relationship to know what needs to be done (even if exiting the relationship is the only thing you can do), how to communicate across the gender gap, and how to do that incredibly fun and sexy alpha male stuff that makes women, especially your partner, want to eat you alive. All you have to do is learn and then do what comes natural as a result of knowing; no acting, no stressing, no worrying about getting caught trying to pull something.

    Life’s too short to spend it feeling and doing all those nasty things listed above that happen when a relationship starts cooling off, so don’t go through that. Go to
    http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" right now and start getting your relationship back on track – back in honeymoon mode – right now!

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

    David Cunningham

    Sunday, January 04, 2009

    And Why Does She Erupt? How to Stop Drama from Killing Your Relationship and Marriage

    Why do otherwise stable and level-headed women sometimes pitch a fit for no apparent reason? And what’s the best way to handle it?

    We talked yesterday about how to tell when a woman is getting ready to erupt for no apparent reason, and there was a cursory explanation of how to handle it, but I really wanted to give you more on understanding the cause and handling the situation, including something from my own experience that details the build-up, explosion, and diffusing of the situation to help you relate this lesson to events in your own past so that you can be better prepared next time it comes up, and IT WILL come up. It’s a topic that I frequently need to address, and the following reader question makes for an excellent lead-in for the discussion. Meet Joel:

    Hi David,

    I bought your book and I'm progressing through the relationship evaluation and it looks like we're good, but I've got to ask you about something that may already be in the book because it's driving me nuts. Donna, my wife, is usually pretty stable and understanding, and seldom raises her voice. In fact, sometimes we don't talk much at all. Occasionally she'll get really antsy and next thing I know she's exploding on me for no apparent reason, literally! Whatever she picks to explode about is usually trivial at best, and really ridiculous most of the time. I've watched the calendar, if you know what I mean, and it's not "cyclic." The only thing I've noticed is that it always seems to happen when I'm traveling or busy a lot. She'll explode, I'll explode back, and then she'll go away and come back in a few minutes cheerful and acting like nothing has happened. Can you shed any light on this?

    Joel


    Well, Joel, congratulations on taking the first step to making some serious improvements in your life, and thanks for writing. As for your question, yes, it is covered in detail in my book, but I'm going to give you the short version now to help keep you out of trouble and for the benefit of your fellow readers, because every man who keeps the company of a woman goes through this phenomenon at some point in his life, if not with every woman he spends any time around, and it may not even be with a wife or girlfriend. It could be with a "platonic" female friend, or even a coworker, but it will be with someone with whom you have regular interaction.

    What's happening is she's feeling ignored (or possibly testing to see if you'll wuss out when she acts like a brat, but they usually use other tests for that), and missing the feeling of having you define or exercise authority for her, which gives her a little rush of adrenaline and attraction and gets the planets back in alignment. Actually, this is a good sign, because if she had already lost all attraction for you, she wouldn't be doing this at all, so congratulations on taking action before your relationship deteriorated to critical status as well!

    Here's the deal. If you don't pay enough attention to her in ways that let her see you being the alpha male, especially in projecting authority and leading, whether it’s in critical decision-making or just having fun, she'll find something trivial and pitch a fit over it, just to get you to call her on it and tell her to straighten up. Mentally healthy women will respect you when you establish a “no brat zone.”

    This doesn't mean that you turn her across your knee and spank her, unless you can do it without hurting her and in such a way that it's entirely plain that you're playing with her and you're both laughing all the way through it. Remember, women love to have gutsy, strong men show their sense of humor in naughty ways, but they hate being painfully man-handled, bullied, and abused, at least if they are mentally and emotionally healthy. A show of strength when everybody is smiling and having fun is one thing, a show of control or cruelty is something else entirely, and something you never want the women in your life to see if you want them to stay around.

    What it does mean is that you must take one of several approaches to call her on it, and it may entail raising your voice a little if that's all she'll respond to, but it mostly requires a show of strength, not of volume; a show of leadership, not abuse.

    My wife did this to me once. I'd been neglecting her a bit as I worked overtime on the women's book. Read the following paragraphs carefully and make sure you pick up on the details - no yelling, the only physical force was non-violent and smiling naughtily, etc., the very things she was looking for.

    She wanted me to verify the quality of a piece of office furniture she wanted to buy and to pick up a pair of eyeglasses before 5:00PM, and it was 3:30PM. We live ten minutes from the eyeglass store, and had 90 minutes to get there. I said that I wanted to stop and pick up something on the way home. Boom! That's all it took to open the door - I had set myself up.

    I could see the change the instant she realized the opportunity she had. In the space of less than a second, she went from excited about getting a piece of office furniture and new eyeglasses to stormy. Then she said, "No, I don't want to go check on the office furniture, I want to go get my eyeglasses before they close. We've got to go there first." I thought, "Oh, hell, here we go!" and said, "We have 90 minutes to make the ten minute trip to get your glasses. We can afford the extra five minutes to stop on the way to check out the office piece."

    To this, she went totally ballistic. "You know what? I don't even want you to go. I'm going by myself. I've got to get my glasses and I don't have time to go running around all over the place." Do you see how the level of absurdity is rapidly escalating, as well as the sudden reversal of both her desire to see the furniture and desire to be driven? (She doesn't see well enough to drive safely without glasses.)

    Then I said, "You can't see well enough to drive without the glasses we're going to pick up, we have 90 minutes to get there, it's a ten minute trip, and we can certainly afford the five extra minutes to check out the furniture. Explain to me why you have a problem with this." The response was, "No, I'm not explaining anything. You always want to change my plans, so I'm going by myself." (Big hint: when you "always" do something that you've never done, or "never" do something that you've frequently done, it's said to make you call her on it and you're in this same situation.) At this point she has crawled across the seat of the car and is sticking her keys in the ignition, literally begging for an authoritative intervention.

    I reached in, grabbed the keys, and snickered a bit as I said, "Excuse me, but you're not going anywhere unless somebody else drives because you're blind without your glasses. Now, it was your plan to stop and look at the furniture, and your plan to go to the eyeglass store. I suggested stopping one place to pick up one thing on the way there, and that hardly constitutes a change in your plans. You're pushing a bad position in an illogical argument, and until you tell me what's really going on here, I'm not driving your blind ass anywhere."

    She went for her spare keys in her purse cursing and I climbed over top of her and grabbed them, and then playfully held her pinned to the seat with my body while she struggled and I said, "Say Uncle!" with a big grin on my face and that was all she could take. She busted out laughing and by the time she was done, she was about too weak to move. She finally scooted over, we went to check out the office furniture, get the glasses, stopped and ran my errand, and just to put the icing on the authority cake, I announced a change in plans for supper (I'm the household chef) and stopped at a grocery store and lingered longer than necessary in the produce aisle, cracking jokes the entire time about how good the cool air felt and "nature's thermometers" (guys if you don’t get this, ask a woman – I’d never get a more verbose description past the spam filters), exiting only when the smile began to fade the slightest bit, indicating that she was on the verge of boredom and starting to feel the cold, and therefore about to stop having fun.

    Do you see it? She was trying to goad me into taking an authoritative action, and may not have even been aware of it because it's such automatic behavior. If you respond to this the first time, you can get away with doing it with a humorous flavor as I did above and not having it get too ugly. However, if you just ignore her, or act bewildered and walk out of the room without doing anything, forcing her to find another excuse and launch a bigger attack, you may push it to the point where you have to yell a bit, physically restrain her from running out the door by standing between her and the door, etc.

    Please note that one small change in the scenario, especially the failure to grin naughtily as I said, "Say Uncle," could have changed the event from one of fun to one of control and abuse; she would have been scared stiff instead of amused. Always mind your bearing when in this situation and make sure that it's fun for everyone or it will explode in your face. You've been warned...

    Understand fully that unless she has been severely physically abused she will not be pushing you to strike her in any way (unless the two of you have a history of playfully spanking and slapping each other on the butt or something), and if she has ever in the past kept screaming and maybe even struck you until you slapped or shoved her, it's a strong sign that she has been beaten, still has issues, and really needs professional help to face those issues and begin healing. NEVER, EVER, for any reason physically strike her with the intent of hurting her, even if she begs you to do it or tries to force you. Use no more physical force than it takes to restrain her from hurting either of you, and if she's crying and hysterical, call a counselor and try to get her some help, because she needs it, badly.

    There you have it. Again, it took more to explain that than I had hoped, but I wanted you to see a real-world example so you would have something more than just a rule to try to apply - a real episode with distinct characteristics that you could compare with what you have seen in your own life.

    Women are constantly communicating things to us, but as you will learn in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," much of that communication goes right over our heads, while they are thinking it just goes in one ear and out the other because we don't care to listen, when in fact we're simply unable to hear it because we don’t know what we’re hearing or what to listen for.

    The problem isn't that we ignore it; it's that we don't have the natural tendency to pick up all the non-verbal and verbally indirect ways they use to try to tell us things. They really don't know that we are that under-evolved with respect to communications infrastructure and skill any more than we are born knowing that they are that highly-evolved and sophisticated when it comes to communications without someone pointing it out. It's just not obvious when you don't have a frame of reference. (I'm explaining it to them in their own book, so hopefully, when everybody knows how everybody else does things, life will go a bit smoother for everybody.)

    If you want to learn what you need to know to deal with this problem and others, and get your relationship and marriage (not to mention your “bedroom life”) working at full pleasure and intimacy capacity, go to
    http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" now, before you do another thing. Recognize that life is too short to spend it unhappy and work daily on making it better until it gets there.

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