Saturday, January 31, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing Kills a Woman's Pleasure, and Hence Your Relationship and Marriage

Too much of a good thing gets boring, especially for women, who generally have a very low tolerance for routine, especially in their love life. Have you made any of these classic mistakes?

What a lovely day it’s turned out to be! There are some days when just being competent and attentive are enough to get everything done, and this is looking like it will be one of them. I hope yours goes as well!

I get a lot of letters every day from readers about their problems and successes, and amongst the problem letters are a few common threads, the biggest of which seems to be female boredom. It permeates every situation in some manner, especially those where the man thinks that everything is going well until the very moment he gets slapped with divorce papers (I’m waiting for permission from a reader before reprinting a classic example of this scenario and the solution!) and when, in his shock, he asks, “I thought everything was fine! What’s this about?” he hears the words, “See! YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!”

What happened?

She’s bored to tears, tried to tell him in what she thinks is the most verbose means possible (which unfortunately often means that she rolls her eyes with her back turned to him or has asked him if he would like to do something different instead of TELLING him that SHE NEEDS to do something different – we’ll touch on that again in one of the upcoming issues on inter-gender communications, but it’s covered in detail in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage”), and being a man, he didn’t pick up on the complaint, and she got fed up.

That’s what caused the divorce threat (which incidentally, may be only a wake-up call, which you can determine immediately if you know what to look for, which is also discussed in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage”), but what caused the root problem, the boredom itself?

Whoa! Did you think about that when you read it? The threat of a break-up or a divorce is a problem, but in the bigger picture, it’s a very telling symptom of a bigger problem, and stopping the divorce is only a temporary stay of execution, not a problem solution. Getting the relationship back on track requires fixing the problem(s) that got you to the stage of the divorce threat.

Getting back to the boredom problem, as men, we like a simple life. We don’t mind routine nearly as much as women because for us, a neutral (neither perilous nor exciting) environment means the absence of problems, and that’s a big plus; we’ll take excitement when we can get it too, but we’re happy to just be outside the reach of problems for a day. Our emotional scale is such that negative emotion is on one end and positive emotion is on the other end, and emotional neutrality is in the middle, and therefore better than negative emotions.

All the men who don’t know any better are right now saying, “So what? Anything else would be crazy!” Well, you and I might think so, but…

All the women are right now saying that we are the crazy ones! Their emotional scale runs from zero to infinity, not negative to positive; to them, lack of emotional outlet for their energy is the worst possible state, and they really don’t distinguish that much between positive and negative emotion, at least as far as their biological need for emotion is concerned (which is different from their conscious tolerance of it). That’s why they enjoy and even NEED tear-jerking movies that we think are a depressing (and somewhat masochistic) waste of time. Do you see the problem?

They need things stirred up more than we do, and in our quest for the problem-free environment, not knowing that our needs are different from theirs, we misinterpret their cooperation as their approval; wrong answer! They cooperate because they are social, and are expecting something in exchange for their cooperation, not because they enjoy being bored. That’s why they need you to be an alpha male, a leader, to get naughty with them when they aren’t expecting it, to leave little surprises for them in places they don’t expect them, the impromptu picnics and vacations, etc. Without things like that, they go nuts! However, don’t go overboard; too much of a good thing ruins it!

This is the other classic mistake that men make. We have such a hard time figuring out what women want that when we find something, we drown them in it. I’ve seen guys find out that a woman likes chocolate and be shoving it in her mouth every time she opens it until she’s literally sick of chocolate, ruining one of her favorite things for her, and women really hate that.

It’s very easy to give a woman too much of a good thing, even when it comes to sex. If you want to ruin your sex life to the point that it wrecks your relationship, all you have to do is find out that she likes something in bed, and do it every single time you have sex until she tells you to stop doing it. She’ll not only grow bored with the act, she’ll hate you for ruining one of her favorite sexual things.

And guys, be honest. Just about every one of us, alive now and who has ever lived, has heard a woman say something like, “oh, I love to be on top,” or “I love doggie-style,” and let that suddenly become 99% of your sexual repertoire. The magic was gone pretty fast after that, wasn’t it? You must mix it up in the bedroom just as much as you must mix it up in the rest of the house and outside the house. Use her favorite things as a reward, put forth at the climax (no pun intended!) of some event, not as part of any standard operating procedure.

Repeat after me: “BORING IS THE LAST WORD A MAN EVER WANTS TO HEAR A WOMAN USE TO DESCRIBE HIM!” Never forget that; you can bet that she won’t. She can’t! Avoiding boredom is literally a survival skill for women. It ultimately terrifies and destroys them.

Guys, long-term committed relationships, whether you’re married or not, aren’t just a piece of cake sitting there waiting for you to bite. They don’t necessarily take a lot of work, especially if you are well-matched and attentive, but there is some work that has to be done no matter how well-matched you are. You can do it on the front end by finding someone with whom you are well-matched and live happily ever after, or you can do it when everything blows up in your face to try to save the situation (and if there are significant compatibility problems, you will inevitably find that it cannot be saved), but either way, you have to be prepared to be in a long-term committed relationship to maintain one whether you have to save it or not.

You have to know whether you are indeed well-matched with a woman, you have to know how to communicate with her so that you can keep things open, developing and committed, and you have to know what sparks and maintains her attraction for you to keep everything fun, exciting, intimate and everything else that keeps it from being boring. Luckily for you, you can find all this in a single source, an instantly downloadable e-book called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at, tested, proven, and working for everyone who is using it. Do it now, because life’s too short to spend it trying to work your way out of the doghouse.

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

David Cunningham

Friday, January 30, 2009

“Coulda,” “Shoulda,” “Woulda”: the Wrong Words to Say When You Look Back on Your Relationship or Marriage

A MUST-READ ISSUE! How often do you use the phrases “could have,” “should have,” and “would have”? If it’s more than very rarely, it’s a good sign that you’ve got some room for major and easily-achieved improvement in your relationship and your life in general.

It’s another wonderful Friday morning as I write this, and after the weekend will come another of 52 great opportunities you will have this year to start the week off right. Make the best of it. If you haven’t already made your plans for the week, make them over the weekend, and include some form of self-improvement in each of three areas: your personal development, your career development, and your relationship with your partner (or preparing to have a great relationship with a partner if you don’t currently have one).

Wow! Stop and think about this for a minute. You have 52 chances every year to begin a week the right way and get things done. By the same token, you have 12 chances to start a month right, 260 or more chances to start a work-day off right, 52 chances to start a weekend right, and 365 chances to start a day off right, with a bonus chance every four years. That’s a huge number of opportunities to improve! Have you ever thought about what happens as you let all these opportunities slide by unused?

Time passes, and your life with it – the most precious resource in all the universe, and one that you never even know how much you have left to enjoy. When it passes and you don’t avail yourself of the opportunities it presents, the end result of all the boredom and frustration that breeds is resentment, a grudge against yourself for not living the best life you could live, but few of us ever recognize resentment as the result of our own choice.

People often transfer that grudge to other people because they don’t take responsibility for their life. They sit around singing the old “Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda” song and making themselves miserable, as well as most of the people around them. How attractive do you think that can be? How much of your company do you think your partner (or your friends or your employer, for that matter) can even endure, let alone enjoy, when you’ve become poisoned with resentment to the point that you have developed the mentality of a defeatist, or a victim? Right, not much. What can you do?

You watch for opportunities and you take action, of course! If your partner does something that annoys you, don’t spend months or years resenting it, talk to them about it and see if there is some alternative, or even better, full resolution. The person you live with is the last one you want to resent, because they are supposed to be the one you spend the greatest amount of your life with, right? And if you choose to not tell them that you have a problem with something they are doing, it’s entirely your fault that you are annoyed and feeling resentment, not theirs. It can’t become an issue for them until you tell them it is an issue for you!

If the company you work for has a policy or other employee that annoys you or you think could be improved, don’t just sit around resenting it; discuss it with the appropriate person. It’s entirely possible that nobody noticed the problem you noticed, and also possible that everybody noticed but you were the only one who had the guts to stand up and say something. That can get you promoted or fired, and if it gets you fired, you’re in the wrong company anyway. Work for a company where your insight and initiative will be appreciated -- and paid for!

If after you notify them and they choose to do nothing you are still dissatisfied, find a new place to work! The worst job in the world is the one you resent getting out of bed to face in the morning, and again, that is YOUR choice. Choose to pursue your passion instead of just dreaming about it. Dreaming a dream only makes you a visionary if you pursue it; dreaming dreams that you never pursue makes you a loser.

What about your friends? Are they really friends? If they are, you can talk with them about things that are problematic in the relationship you have with them, and if you can’t, they’re not really friends after all, are they? You can’t expect them to mold their entire life to suit you, but if you’re allergic to tobacco smoke you can ask them not to smoke in your house when they visit, or if you’re allergic to pet dander you can ask them not to bring their pet with them or leave it outside when they come to visit.

If they have a different political or religious preference than you and it seems to be a sore spot, you can ask them to stop trying to convert you and just agree to disagree. “Here’s the deal: you don’t invite me to [go to your church/be a conservative/join the PTA], I won’t invite you to stop [going to church/being a liberal/being in the PTA].” If they can’t afford you the respect to make your own choices after having heard whatever they have to say once, they’re not a friend, they’re a crusader, and you don’t need that around when there are so many other people around who could be good friends, right?

What about other opportunities that come up between you and the world? The opportunity to start a small business, trade cars, get a great deal on a piece of real estate? Before you pass them up, take some time and give them an objective look if they interest you in some way, instead of looking back from some point in the future and saying that you “shoulda-coulda-woulda”.

What are you going to miss if spend an hour checking out some seemingly great opportunity, an episode of “Law and Order” or “CSI”? Or “American Idol”? (Give me a freaking break!) What might you gain? Or what loss might you protect yourself from by doing a thorough investigation instead of being caught up in the emotion of the moment and just jumping in – the other side of the opportunity coin?

There’s a word for people who sit around saying “I could have,” “I should have,” “I would have,” and it’s not a nice one. It’s spelled “L-O-S-E-R,” and combined with the resentment that it forms, it earns you a second label, spelled “W-U-S-S.” All your incessant telling of tales of woe over all the things you should have, could have, and would have done earns you a title as well, “BORING,” which you may remember as the one word above all others that you never want to have a woman assign to you if you want to live happily (and intimately!) with her. Combine that with “wuss,” and you’re done. Period. End of relationship.

Take a look around you, a close look, at your life, your career, your relationship, and how you view the world and your place within it. If you don’t like what you see and it makes you complain to others or silently grumble to yourself, exercise some personal initiative and make some choices and some changes! You don’t have to become a storm trooper or a steam roller, just start taking action according to some well-researched and well-constructed plan that will provide what you want in a consistent pattern of sustainable growth.

You don’t have to move the Earth to be known as a guy who gets things done; you just have to be seen getting things done consistently, and be known for your successes instead of your whining and complaining about what you didn’t do, but should have, could have, or would have done. That’s what makes you an achiever, and a winner – and attractive. Just start looking for ways to gain either achievement, resolution, or closure, and simplify your life.

Why the self-improvement sermon? Do you have any idea how attractive it is to a woman to be with a man who takes action? Who is pleased with his life? Who wears his successes like a badge of courage with grace and dignity? I’ve asked hundreds of them, and received the same answer from all of them – it drives them absolutely wild because it’s adventure and romance and they live vicariously through it, savoring the emotions of success and celebration – but don’t take my word for it, ask a few yourself!

Ask them not what they look for in a man so much as what they see that makes them sit up and take notice when a guy walks into a room, and when he speaks, whether to them or not, what makes them feel drawn to him to get to know him better and crave his attention and to spend time with him. They will tell you it is self-confidence, the bearing of a man of action that draws them close enough to see if he also has the brains, sense of humor, and naughty streak that makes him the real “catch” that they want to spend a lifetime with.

Relationships can be tricky beasts to say the least. People can spend years, even decades in relationships that simply suck the life out of them, filling them with resentment and poisoning their very soul because they never committed the simple act of evaluating the relationship and either making some adjustments or finding one that they could happily live in. Are you one of these people?

Some couples spend as much as decades together never really knowing each other because they never commit the simple act of trying to improve their ability to communicate with each other, in spite of the centuries of time and effort that have been spent writing books on bridging the male-female communications gap. Are you one of these people?

Some couples spend years together just getting along day-to-day, letting life slip through their fingers while they are bored to tears, looking for help, excitement, and even love in all the wrong places, like flings and affairs, trendy focus groups, magazine columns that give the opposite advice this month that they did last month, never finding what they’re looking and maybe even never realizing the full extent of what they are missing. Are you one of these people?

If you’re any or even all of the above, you can find answers and genuine, guaranteed-to-work help in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” 118 single-spaced pages of an instantly downloadable e-book, dense with information tested and proven by 118 couples during its first writing and many more since it was published. It’s working for everybody who’s using it, and it will work for you, too.

So what are you going to do? All you risk by taking action is the time it takes you to read the book; what do you risk by not taking action? A lifetime of unhappiness? Celibacy? Finding your partner cheating? Maybe finding them cheating AGAIN? Or perhaps getting caught cheating yourself? How about losing half or more of all you own plus unfettered access to your kids? You might gain something though, all that free time that you’ll have when your wife and kids are living with some other man. Are you up for some of that? It could be coming your way a lot faster than you think, especially if your sex life has slowed considerably, which is both a cause and a symptom of a decaying relationship.

It’s far easier to fix things at home if they can be fixed than any other alternative you have, so jump over to and get your copy of this truly amazing book right now, instead of saying at some time in the future that you should have, could have, or would have.

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

David Cunningham

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Learn That Questions Are Statements and Statements Are Questions to Get Along with Women in Relationships and Marriage

With us guys, “what you see (or hear!) is what you get,” but with women, often statements are questions and questions are statements, and if you don’t read them right, you’re toast! (Ladies, print this one and pass it along to your husband!)

From time to time, my wife reminds me of the day I learned that when listening to a woman, statements are questions and questions are statements. I’d like to describe that lesson for you so that you can start listening better and stop being labeled an insensitive jerk who shuts her out when she wants to talk.

My wife is a fiercely independent woman; if I died tonight, it would not be the things I did that she would miss. Early in our relationship, she would occasionally set out to do something and say, “I’m going to go do such-and-such. Are you coming with me?”

It wasn’t often, and when it happened, recognizing her independence being a typical guy who expected a woman to just ask if she needed help, I’d just say, “No, go ahead,” and she’d mutter something under her breath and leave the room with a scowl on her face. I thought she was just focusing on the task at hand and trying to work it out. When she would come in later in a foul mood and we didn’t get along for a day or two after that, I always thought she took her task and/or herself too seriously and wasn’t satisfied with the results.

Wrong answer.

One day she said that she was going out to set out some flowering plants, and asked if I was coming. It was a beautiful day, I had already finished everything I needed to do that day, so being outside sounded like a great idea, and I said, “Sure.” Her face lit up like a child’s at hearing they were on the way to Disney World and she left in a hurry.

When I joined her a minute later, she didn’t know where to put them, and had been puzzling over it for days. I suggested a spot next to the house, and you could see the stress melt from her expression as she said, “I was thinking about that spot, too. That will work.” A bell went off in my head, because something had just happened, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Then there was a voice, “Full power to sensors, maximum sensitivity!” (Yes, I was once a Star Trek fan.)

She grabbed a small shovel and headed for the spot. I knew the soil there to be very heavy with dense clay because we’d dug it up once before and found there to be no topsoil there, so I went into the tool shed and came out with a mattock, long-handled shovel, and a garden rake. She was furiously chopping away with the hoe trying to make a hole for the bulbs and getting nowhere fast, and said, “This is why I hate gardening around this place. The dirt is just too hard and sticky.”

Ever on the lookout for an excuse to inject some naughty play, I said, “Well, I can think of at least one thing that hard and sticky works well for, but your garden isn’t it,” and started chopping up the clay with the mattock, which only took a couple of minutes because it’s a much heavier tool and designed for such work. She was looking a bit shocked, but pleasantly so, and said, “I knew you’d know what to do. What’s next?”

That bell started ringing louder, and I thought, “Is this why she asked if I was coming out here with her? Surely not! Why didn’t she just ask me to come out if she needed help?” But the idea stuck. I said, “You can’t set those bulbs in that clay or they’ll just rot. It’s too wet and doesn’t breathe, and there are no nutrients in it because the worms don’t go there. We need to mix in some rich top soil and mulch to feed the plants and aerate the ground, and then the worms will keep it going. I’ll carry the bags (we had some left over from another project) and you mix it in with the dirt I just turned up.” And I went off to get the topsoil from the shed.

I returned with two bags, emptied them into the clay, and said, “It’s going to take two more. You go ahead and mix these while I get the other two.” I came back, and she was just standing there. I said, “What’s wrong?”

She said, “I don’t know how to mix this stuff together and get the big lumps out of it. I’ve needed you to show me how to do all this since we moved here.” BOOM!

It was true! Her question, “Are you coming with me?” was indeed a statement: “I need you to come with me.” I said, “Why didn’t you tell me before now that you needed help?”

She said, “Every time I tried to get you to come out here and show me, you refused.” BOOM! Another revelation!

I said, “You mean that when you asked me if I was coming with you, you expected me to know that you meant that you needed for me to come with you? Do you want to tell me how I was supposed to know that???”

She said, “Well, everybody else does!”

I said, “Define ‘everybody else.”

She said, “Rose, Mary, Miss Sue, Nancy, my mother, my sisters, my daughter – everybody!”

I said, “Do you realize that in your definition of ‘everybody” there is not one male?”

She said, “Well, I just assumed that you knew too, and you just didn’t want to help me.”

I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation, but you can see where it was going. I had no idea, until that moment, that her question was a statement, and she had no idea that I didn’t know everything about talking with her that all the women in her life knew. I assumed she would ask any questions she had, and she assumed I was disinterested because I didn’t take the hint. Here are some other common examples:

“Are you wearing that?” is actually a statement: “You should not wear that.”

“Are you hungry?” actually means “I’m hungry. Can we talk about where and what we’re going to eat?” (Refer to my free reports, “Break-Up Busting 101” and “What Women REALLY Want,” which you can download via the links at the bottom of this newsletter for relevant lessons from back issues of this newsletter, especially the excerpt, “Men State, Women Negotiate” from my book, for vital details on this scenario.)

“I’m bored,” actually means “Will you please do something to give me an emotional or adrenaline boost before I take matters into my own hands and make life hell for you for a few minutes because I can create drama faster and easier than I can create fun and excitement?”

Women seldom speak the obvious, or directly, about anything. If she makes a statement, it’s to ask a question, usually to enter into a negotiation about remedying or celebrating whatever she has just stated. If she asks a question, it’s to declare that a condition exists that needs your attention, and rest assured, there is no monosyllable answer that will suffice for whatever her question is.

This is one of the many, many pitfalls in any relationship with any woman, and you must prepare for it and the rest of them to the best of your ability, because if you do something wrong, women have a nasty tendency to assume you did it for the worst possible reason. It’s not a fault, flaw, or anything else. It’s just how they tend to be, and if you’re going to be around one or more of them every day, you simply have to accept it and work around it. That’s our job as men. It’s never been easy, because there’s never been a really effective operator’s manual for women in committed relationships, until now…

It’s called "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and it’s waiting for you at, ready to be sucked up with a few mouse clicks and a few bucks and put to use to kick your relationship up to levels previously unknown to exist. I get letters every day telling me how great it works, and it will work for you too, if you’ll just use it, so do it now! Never put off until tomorrow the happiness and success you can enjoy today!

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

David Cunningham

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Preparing for Valentine's Day, a Great Way to Turn Things Around in Your Relationship or Marriage

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you need to be thinking about it now, not on your way home from work on February 14. Here’s some help in the area of choosing the right gift.

Before we get into how to get prepared for Valentine’s Day, I want you to read an excerpt from a letter I got from one of my female readers who “felt” that I wasn’t aggressive enough in trying to make sure that you understand the idea of “mutual consent”:

...A man can create attraction and a woman can respond physically but not really want to do anything with this man. I have been in this situation. If I had been asked verbally there is no way that I would have gone through with it. Many women, especially younger women, feel great expectations to be sexual; our society promotes the idea that a man's way goes. Many women have been raped in this way but because they did not say no verbally they feel like they cannot complain or acknowledge the pain men have caused them. While having non-verbal consent is fine especially in an established relationship. I especially like the quote you had a while back where the man (I cant remember his name) said “I lean in 90% for the kiss and she comes in the last 10%.”

Also while I am a fan of the rough hasty sex described the other day, I have a warning for the men who do this: if she is saying something do not assume it is positive. Having to say stop 3 times with the last a yell is a very frightening experience.

Men pay attention to your partners. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men have been sexually abused. Many things may be frightening for you partner. This is why consent is so important you do not want to damage your partner and as the statistic shows it is very likely that one of your partners has been abused. I also believe if more young men and women were taught about the importance of consent verbal or non-verbal many accidental rapes could be prevented.


If our society really promoted the idea that a man’s way goes, I and the entire marital and dating advice industries would be out of a job, because the biggest problem women voice to me and the other gurus is that men are wusses who won’t engage properly in sex play (this reader might be quite young and dealing with horny teenagers who have boundary issues instead of men). But that aside, Her concerns for men (and women) respecting boundaries is legitimate. So once again, Guys, “no” means “no;” don’t ask for sex, but don’t push it on a woman either; and the straightest path to the bedroom is playing and teasing her so that she gets all amped up and takes YOU to the bedroom. (And read my book so you’ll know the right way to go about that! LOL!)

So let’s get to the Valentine’s Day fun!

I got a question from a reader a few days ago that reminded me that it’s time to prepare for St. Valentine’s Day. Those of you who are historically-inclined know that this day was originally instituted as a day for old flames to get back in touch with each other, back in the days when very long courtships were the rule and women didn’t approach men; it was acceptable on this day for women to contact a former suitor and invite him to resume his pursuit, although a proper lady would never do so in so many words, of course! The mere announcement that she was widowed, or her engagement was broken for some reason, was “understood” as the invitation. ;-)

It has since evolved into an occasion upon which women expect “romantic” gifts, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make with many of them is the traditional, boring, and very impersonal dozen roses and box of chocolates. A woman wants a gift to be very personal, regardless of cost, so that she knows it was carefully chosen – or even constructed, if you are good at creating gifts of any kind – just for her. One of your fellow readers has seen the light, and asked for help. Meet John:

Hi David,

I have read your book and have seen the light. After 12 years of marriage I have slipped into pre-packaged holiday gift mode. I am having trouble coming up with new ideas for this Valentine's Day. Could you recommend some new ideas? My birthday is a few days before the 14th and my wife has planned a short trip out of town for us that weekend. Last February we were talking divorce, this year after reading your book and actually seeing that I had become foolishly predictable and boring, I've turned OUR life back on. I am now running out of ideas to keep her on her toes. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank You

My reply:

Hi John!

Congratulations on getting things turned around! If you're like most men, you're not running out of ideas, you've run out of inspiration and need a quick refresher course on the art of choosing gifts for a woman to remind you of where to look in your life with your wife for ideas. I could name off a hundred things that somebody else’s wife would love that your wife may have no interest in at all, and would in fact be insulted by, because they aren't something very personal and obviously chosen specifically for her. This must come from within you, because you are the guy who lives with her.

Start by going back to the gift section in "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," which is short and to the point, and then I'm going to give a list of a few newsletters that expand on the subject. As you read these things, plug you and your wife, your upcoming plans, your history, etc., into the processes and examples and you'll most likely be flooded with very good ideas.

(Those of you who have not yet downloaded your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" can find that same gift advice in my free “What Women Want” report, which you can download at
your convenience.)

After you do this, whether you come up with ideas or not, write back and we'll do a quick double-check and either make sure you've made some good choices or figure out what got in the way of you making a good choice and get you moving on the right road. This is one of those "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him to fish and he eats for life" kind of things, and luckily, what you need to read to review doesn't amount to more than probably 3-4 pages at most, because the subject really isn't that difficult once you recapture that "groove" that you know you're going to get back into when you start reading; you'll knock her socks off for sure!

Here are the issues you need to read:

Buying the Perfect Gift (11/27/08 - This is the book excerpt on gifts, in case it's easier than finding your copy of the book, and you can skip it if you have your book or my free “What Women Want” report handy).

A Female Reader Writes in About Gifts (11/13/05 - Probably the best newsletter on the subject after the excerpt from the book)

How Much Is Too Much? (01/09/09 - Defining the rules about excessive gift-giving, expectations, buying love, etc.)

Ballroom Dancing (10/09/05 - Ballroom dancing lessons are still a huge romance and attraction-builder, especially if your wife likes to dance!)

Girls and Their Toys (11/22/08 - about women and adult toys, in case your wife likes naughty things)

(For those of you who have never visited my newsletter archive, the address for the archive index is and it's just plain HTML web pages. You scroll through the directory to find each article and just click on the link to get it on your screen, then hit the "back" button on the screen or press the backspace key on your keyboard to return to the directory.)

And by the way, double congratulations for having the forethought to deal with this now instead of on February 14, like 99.8% of other men will do. That's the mark of an achiever, and you get bonus points for that!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David Cunningham

Gentlemen, this really isn’t that much reading to do if you don’t remember the material, so don’t let the fact that it’s five articles deter you from doing this right. There are few things that you can do for a woman that endear you to her like selecting a truly great gift for her, not because she’s some kind of materialistic gold-digging “ho,” but because choosing a great gift for a woman requires that you pay attention to her, know intimate details about her, and consider those things when buying or making something for her.

Most women would melt over a carefully-selected bunch of wildflowers, that contained scents and colors she liked, and only perfect flowers, maybe matched her eyes or something like that, and possibly were accompanied by a brief handwritten note that said something like “You’re my favorite thing, of ALL things…” than a dozen roses or orchids with a piece of jewelry hidden in them and a $10 super-card from Hallmark.

Every woman can receive roses, thousands of women can receive that same piece of jewelry, and who knows how many people receive that same card? BUT! There will never be a bunch of flowers like the one you picked ever again, and if what you wrote on the paper was something she’s never heard, doesn’t sound “canned” (so don’t be an idiot and copy something cute from a card, because many women spend a lot of time browsing card verses in stores looking for good cards and emotional rushes), and is something that she would expect you to mean when you say it, it’s just for her too, and devastatingly special. And let’s not forget the bonus of including something small and durable that can go into her “treasure box” to remind her of her favorite times with you when she feels lonely, down, or really ticked off at you!

Indeed, one of the greatest stories I received from a reader featured a “card” that was a short note written on a sticky note (like 3M “Post-It” notes) and was stuck on a picture of the two of them wrapped in plain brown paper. The paper was from a grocery sack from the grocery they first shopped in together after they got married, and inside was a picture from their honeymoon in a frame that he had made in his shop from magnolia wood, her favorite flowering tree. The total cost was pennies (his neighbor had cut the magnolia tree to get it out of the way and he’d asked for some of the wood), and the impact was maximum romance because he had thought it through and put in some personal effort.

Caution: Don’t just run out and try to find wildflowers in February because I mentioned them, either! Spend some time getting to know your partner or thinking about what you know about her, and think about how you could combine some things she likes into some unique gift that leaves no doubt in her mind as to why she received it. Ha! What am I saying??? There will be no doubt in her mind why she received anything! If it’s the wrong thing, there will be no doubt that you’re in insensitive idiot, and if it’s the right thing, well, take your vitamin E and make sure your medical insurance is paid up in case she injures you when she pounces on you later, because giving the right gift is some pretty hot stuff!

Gift-giving is one of the many areas where men fly blind when trying to get along with women because we’re not trained to know how they think and what they like as we grow up. Our mothers train us to be “nice” and to defer all decisions to women to be “considerate” and to buy extravagant gifts for women to impress them, and bless their hearts (as we say in the South), they have no idea that they’re setting us up for disaster, but they are. They should be teaching us how to choose a good woman, how to communicate with women, and how to keep a woman interested and excited enough to enjoy our company for years and years. They don’t, but I will!

All you need is a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and you can download it at with a few mouse-clicks. Do it now, because you never know when she might decide she’s had enough and you’ll be another one who’s been thinking everything is just fine until she hands you the divorce papers, and when you ask in that shocked voice, “What’s this about???” she says those immortal, bone-chilling words that sends shock and confusion into the very soul of every man who hears them: “See! You NEVER LISTEN TO ME!”

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

David Cunningham

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Female Insights on Fantasies, Romance Novels, and Feminists Affecting Your Relationship and Marriage

One of the brightest of my female readers weighs in with some valuable insights on rape fantasies, romance novels, and feminists that every man needs to know!

I continue to be impressed and appreciative of the intelligence of my readers. In case you missed them, a few days ago we covered women’s fantasies, especially the rape fantasy
, and how men should understand and handle them, and there was a special edition yesterday with some enlightening historical commentary by one of you who.

Today, I got this from Stella, a close friend and client who is one to whom everyone should listen when she speaks, because she’s sharp as a tack and is quite adept at cutting through the crap and isolating the facts and the truth they indicate.

Hi there!

I really enjoyed your special edition. As you know, I'm an avid romance reader and have been since 1980ish. I can emphatically tell you, without a doubt, that rape is the one thing the alpha male heroes of these novels DON'T do...ever. They are the archetype of the alpha male you write about in your columns. They know how to build attraction, they know how to capitalize on that attraction and they eventually get the girl. These heroes know how to take no for an answer and usually say no to themselves if the situation warrants. In my humble opinion, this is what makes these men gentleman, no matter what their social standing in the novels.

At any rate, I believe the reason romance novels are a $2 billion industry is because they are great reads: easy, often humorous, and they have happy endings, unlike 90% of what passes for "good" fiction these days. I was once told by my literature teacher that "romance" stories are fairy tales and "literature" speaks to the human condition. I asked her what kind of sorry, bitter, miserable world she lived in. In my world, people aspire to be the best they can be, act with honor and integrity, and try to build loving relationships. That's what I learned from romance novels. If that means I'm living in a fairy tale, I invite the rest of the world to join me. It's a nice place to be!

Why do the feminists hate romance novels so much? That's easy. Because romance novels promote the idea that men and women complement each other and can live together in a mutually satisfactory relationship that works to the strengths of each person. I think they hate the fact that romance novels celebrate the fact that it's ok to want to have a special man in your life, that your life might be the richer for it. What these folks fail to accept is that while the heroines of these novels know they can live on their own and be fine, they make the conscious choice to include a man in their lives.

Every now and again, if you have a talented author, you can pick up a few interesting bedroom tricks to share with your special someone. But, between you, me and the fencepost, a great romance novel doesn't even need sex. It's all about attraction and anticipation, something a lot of women doesn’t get enough of, for whatever reason.
When I was 12 or 13 and my mom gave me my first romance novel to read (other than Gone with the Wind, of course), she told me that I'd never find a man as great as the hero, no man would ever treat me as great as the hero treated his woman, and sex will never be as great as it was in the book. You know me well, and by extension, Warren (and all his flaws ). We've been together 22.5 years now and I still say that my mom was wrong on all three counts!

Bottom line, would you rather date Rhett Butler or Hugh Grant? 'Nuff said.

Hope all is well with you,
Stella :)

Well Gents, I’d suggest you go back and read that letter two or three more times, and pay attention, especially to what Stella says about anticipation and attraction. I cannot overstress how important this is. Lack of compatibility will kill a marriage that never should have happened to start with, but lost attraction can kill even the best of marriages.

You really need to do everything you can to keep it going, and keep her on edge with exercises in anticipation. Those are the things that keep her imagination and sense of fun and adventure alive, which protect her from the boredom that causes women to either get crazy or have an affair, two outcomes you don’t want to deal with, and shouldn’t have to if you’re behaving like even half a man.

And get this, the more you shed all that feminist programming and let your real man core take over, the more you will achieve, the more fun you will have, the more your wife will enjoy and nurture you, and yes, you guessed it, the hotter things will get in the bedroom, and a lot of other places, too, if you have any imagination at all. ;-)

So how about it? Are you ready to “man up”? Do you have any clue as to how to go about it? Or how easy it is? Once you get that done, do you know how to listen to what a woman is saying and really know what she’s trying to tell you? Or even that it’s possible? Yeah, I know. Twenty years ago I would have thought such knowledge was like the Holy Grail, stuff of legend that men just weren’t supposed to find. Even Sigmund Freud, the renowned neuropsychologist who founded the method and practice of psychoanalysis, is famous for saying, “The Great Question, which I have not answered, is ‘What does a woman want?’”

Well, I do know. I asked a lot of women, got what they thought was the truth, compiled it all and turned their men loose with it to test it. We found that there were some things that women thought they wanted that they really didn’t like at all after they got them, so we refined it and tested some more. When we finally got down to something that worked for everyone, I published it. It’s all that, women have approved it and couples have proven it, and it can be yours in the next few minutes…

So now you have a choice. You can keep doing what you’re doing and watch everything continue to swirl the drain. You can keep ignoring what works while you search for something that validates your mistakes and doesn’t do a single thing to help your situation. Or…

You can jump over to and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and start enjoying your life and fixing your marriage right now. Let’s see, put up with more fighting, more insanity, and more celibacy, and possibly lose most or all of what you own, or spend a couple hours reading some solid research and how-to and have your life suddenly be the envy of everyone you know? Seems pretty clear, huh? So get moving, Mister, and move like you have a purpose! ;-)

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

David Cunningham

Monday, January 26, 2009

The First and Most Important Step in Having a Great Relationship and Marriage

The first step in any great relationship of any kind is being well-matched. If you are not well-matched, you may be able to survive together, but the odds of being happy together are slim to none; if you are, you’ll find you can conquer about anything! This is one of those “must read” issues, so dig in…

Today I want to again talk about something that seems to be so logical that it would be self-evident to all, but obviously is not practiced by many, the first step in having a great relationship. Those of you who have been banging your head against the wall after receiving advice from someone claiming that “any relationship can be saved regardless of circumstances” will want to pay particular attention to this issue, because this edition may be addressing your biggest relationship or marriage problem. (And “Dr. Frank,” this is one you should pass along to your friends in that “wasteland” we were talking about, where you’re recruiting men for my boot camp, because it addresses them specifically.)

That first step in any great relationship or marriage is being well-matched to your partner.

Yes, some of you are right now saying, “Duh!” but others are saying, “but can’t you learn to love someone?” Here are the facts and truth of the matter:

When you first meet someone, the emotion that pulls you together is either attraction or need (or in rare cases lust, but lust is seldom responsible for keeping two people together long enough to get married, unless they’re incredibly reckless or needy), which are both independent of love; indeed, need is in fact mutually exclusive of love – you cannot love someone that you need, because (in a nutshell) need actually makes you resent them as the object of your dependence.

This in itself is a complex and difficult concept for most to embrace, and if you find yourself wanting to argue with it, see Lesson 3 in my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report,
entitled “Love, Need, Lust and Attraction – Do YOU Know the Difference?” or skip to the similarly-titled section of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and gain an effective understanding, because it is both factual and crucial. We’ll address need first because it’s easier to see, then we’ll get into attraction and love.

Need never develops into love, and sooner or later, the other person (unless they are hopelessly codependent) gets tired of neediness and moves on. There is nothing you can do about this, especially telling them that you need them and can’t live without them. That is the very drain, pressure, and stress that they are trying to get away from, and your fight for independence is going to take too long for them to wait around for you to complete it, if you can; most truly needy people, those who would be called parasites because they take from their partners without giving anything significant in return, spend their life moving from host to host because it’s just easier for them to find a new host than to evolve into a non-needy person of independence.

In short, if the person you are with is telling you it’s over because you are too needy, take the hint and grow up, become self-supporting and independent, and you’ll find that people enjoy being around you for the long term. Make no mistake, fighting this break-up is only going to make things worse, because you are severely mismatched; a chronically needy person cannot coexist with an independent person who resents neediness. You got away with it for awhile because you were somehow charming, physically attractive, wealthy, funny, or something, but now that the cat is out of the bag and it’s known that you’re a needy wuss, you have two options: find another host or evolve so that you can enjoy another’s company instead of needing it. It’s harsh, but it’s really just that simple.

Someone asked once why I didn’t talk about a case wherein the woman is the needy one. I didn’t because I didn’t realize how common it might be for a man to be trying to save a relationship with such a woman, wherein he is independent and she is the needy one. But lo and behold, I have run across them, and the “cognitive dissonance” within the men is overwhelming. They fight between wanting to get away from the stress of being stuck with a needy person and wanting to try to “salvage their investment in their marriage.”

The only hope for you if you are in this case is to help your wife understand that what she is feeling is need, not love, and that she needs to develop some self-esteem before she can love either of you. Try to help her develop some self-esteem, and if she insists on living in denial (“Why can’t you just love me as I am?” and such questions are infallible evidence of such a problem) in spite of your efforts to get her to acknowledge her problem, seek counseling, etc., you have two choices: Get out or go down with a sinking ship. You can either lead her out of it, put up with it, or leave, and you won’t have be able to lead her as long as she’s in denial. ‘Nuff said.

Now, on to the more complex case, where attraction was the reason for you to come together. Once attraction has brought you together and you’ve had your initial episode of “physical exploration and gratification,” there should be a period where you get to know each other, find that you have common interests, philosophies, values, etc., and come to value each other – love develops. This is the source of the friendship, respect, loyalty and commitment required for long-term relationships to survive, while attraction is where all the fun, excitement, and energy come from. There are several possible scenarios that arise from the various permutations of these two emotions between two people.

The most obvious two are having both love and attraction, in which case you can be together happily and feel like you’re in a never-ending honeymoon (the ideal situation, right? And it can be sustained for a lifetime if you are aware of its requirements and constituents, and we’ll get back to this in a few minutes), and having neither love nor attraction, after events have eliminated them both, in which case the relationship must end, because even though lost attraction can usually be easily rekindled, lost love just doesn’t happen. Peoples’ values and personalities just don’t naturally move radically away from some baseline and then go back there.

Now, the other two are a bit trickier to deal with. We’ll talk about the harder of the two first, the case in which love is lost but attraction survives. It is common for people under tremendous pressure that they ultimately cannot handle, and they degrade themselves somehow. They could then become a loser, maybe a criminal or spouse abuser, and/or possibly a substance abuser, but they still project the personality traits that trip attraction triggers.

This would typically be a marriage that started out like a story book romance, but currently one spouse is drunk or high all the time after losing a loved one, a business, or career, etc. They have lost their self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, but have still managed to somehow remain fun, funny, sexy, or something that holds the other spouse’s attention. You can’t base a great relationship on nothing but sex, jokes, and parties, and you can’t “fix” somebody else.

You’re only choices with such a relationship are to either get this person some professional help so that they can be redeemed or move on. Again, it sounds harsh, but statistically and historically, this is reality, and if they won’t get help, moving on is your only option; having once loved someone is no reason to go down with a sinking ship that refuses to be repaired.

The last possibility is the one I like dealing with the most, where love is still alive and healthy, but attraction has failed. In the dating world, lost attraction nearly always means that you blew it and you just move on immediately, because the other person already has; the window for creating attraction opens once, and very briefly, period. However, when you’ve been together for long enough for attraction to fade, you develop a vested interest in keeping the relationship alive. You acquire memories, security, a mortgage and property, and usually children, which motivate you to try to work things out. Hence, the window that closes in seconds in the dating world can be open for months or even years when you're committed.

Men are generally pretty easy when it comes to attraction. We’re attracted mostly to physical appearance and seductive talk and actions, and if attraction is lost and must be recreated, women seldom have to do any more than correct whatever major issues have developed with their appearance, if any, and act like a woman; self-respect and self-love in a woman are among the sexiest things a man can behold, and they cause the things that trip men’s attraction triggers, such as being height-weight proportionate, good grooming and posture, smiling, having fun, etc.

Women aren’t so easy though. Physical appearance barely makes them curious, and then only for a short while, and that curiosity can be destroyed in an instant by any non-alpha male behavior, such as approval-seeking or trying to impress them, being lazy or boring, etc.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible, or even difficult, to rekindle attraction. Indeed, if you have the right information to work from, it has been proven to happen in less than a week to a sufficient degree to halt the signing of divorce papers already prepared and move an estranged spouse back into the house. This is the failing relationship that you fight for, even if there has been an affair, because love is hard to find and to earn, and a physical affair – which virtually always happens out of boredom and means absolutely nothing unless you choose to assign meaning to it – is no reason whatsoever to abandon a proven love.

Yes, I said that, and I’m about to say it another way: a one-time physical “fling” that happened out of boredom is not proof of lost love, nor a sign of disloyalty or disrespect. It’s an unfortunate and very STUPID thing that happens when two people can’t or just don’t effectively communicate with each other and allow their attraction to fade, nothing more, and nothing less. I’m not saying that the person who does it is stupid; I’m saying that it’s ridiculous that people will let their problems go to the point that this happens before realizing there is a problem and trying to fix it.

If you’re sitting on the couch with a beer and the TV remote every night while your partner is doing something else, and you’re part of that statistic that says that the average mature couple (mature meaning having been together, married or not, for two years or more) has sex six times per year (yes, that’s once every two months on average), trouble’s not just coming, it’s HERE!

And, there’s no sense waiting for it to get that bad before taking action; a good relationship is far easier to maintain than it is to fix if it gets broken, right? What you need is a plan for evaluating and then fixing and/or maintaining it and the knowledge required to empower you to do that. Luckily for you, it’s already been figured out, tested, proven, and published, and it can be yours in the next few minutes.

It’s called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you can download it right now at, and it’s working for everyone who’s used it. Don’t make things rougher on yourself than they have to be by waiting. Do it now, and do it for keeps, because life is too short to do it any other way.

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

David Cunningham

More on the Issue of Rape Fantasies

Good afternoon, Guys and Gals,

I just received a really interesting reponse to yesterday's newsletter, and while there may not be any direct lesson for you within the information, it provides some historical perspective that indicates that this is a long-standing misunderstanding. Please take a minute and see what you can glean from it:


I was impressed with your response to the gentleman who wasn't sure how to handle what he thought his wife wanted, which, he thought, might be some kind of rape.I particularly appreciated your strong caveats.

There is more to this than some folks think.

Years ago, a guy named Aram Bakshian read a bunch of romance novels so the rest of us wouldn't have to. He concluded that all of them--as in 100%--included some kind of rape of the heroine, preferably a duke or something. "Edwin/ward/mund/gar, the sullen, darkly handsome Earl of Loamshire cheated of his rightful place has to make a living as a pirate. He captures our heroine, takes her back to his ship {he's always the captain, for some reason} and throws her on his furs. Or something".

Mona Charen in National Review discussed the feminists' reaction. They accused him of promoting rape, a non sequitur which indicates he'd hit a nerve.

I gather that romance novels are a $2 billion business, which is more than the GDP of some nations sitting at the UN. And, unlike a bottle of whiskey which has approximately the same unit cost, the purchaser can re-use the romance novel, or give it to another. In fact, you can get them for free, endlessly, at the library which will probably tell you that's their most popular category.
It would appear that romance novels are addressing something quite important to a lot of women. Or romance novels are convincing a lot of women about something which will become quite important, if confusing.

Some years ago, Christina Hoff Sommers published "Who Stole Feminism" which dealt with many of the feminist shibboleths such as the SuperBowl domestic violence incidence and women in education and a number of other items. Then, as if she'd run out of ideas before getting to a proper book length, she devoted the last section to an extensive discussion of the romance novel and the alpha male. She used the mother of all romance novels, Gone With The Wind, for the most part. Discussed the issue with women. Even, in a version of an experiment, referenced a number of young ladies from enlightened top-tier colleges who went into publishing and cleaned up the alpha male. Sales tanked. They would. The alpha male is supposed to ravish the heroine, according to Sommers. Or else.

When the unfortunately-related William French Smith was accused of rape, the trial sparked a popular discussion of whether a woman has the right to say no. This was kind of dumb, since the basic issue of the trial was whether "no" had been said at all.

One of the interesting happenings in this widespread discussion was that a C&W singer withdrew a song whose subject could apparently be described as "a real man wouldn't take no for an answer. if he had guts, he might get lucky". In other words, "take the risk or be forever a wimp." The singer, whose name I can't recall (a female, for heaven's sake) said she didn't want to be the occasion of injury to anybody.

Now, it costs money to front a song. You buy it, you write it, you pay studio time, you hire sidemen. If it isn't the best you can get, you're throwing money away. It costs money to play it, at least in the sense that you want to play the best you have to keep ratings up. It costs money if the audience is bored or offended and stays away from your concerts. You don't front all that money unless you think you have a reading on the audience. And these guys were pros which meant they had a better than average chance to be right about the audience. That's how they made their living.

So, somewhere out there, they must have thought with a better than average chance of being right, are a substantial number of women thinking something like, "I didn't mean forever. I just hadn't made up my mind." And there are guys thinking, "I know she liked me better than him. Her sister said so. But I wanted to do the right thing. He kept after her and they had to get married. So he married her and they have two children...." "She said no and I backed off and her roommate says she wonders if I'm gay...."
And the pros are probably right.


See what I mean?

Thanks to Richard for sharing, and I wish you all a wonderful day,
David Cunningham

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kissing Ass Has NEVER Saved a Good Relationship or Marriage

About any trained salesperson will tell you that to resolve any conflict, you should always agree. That’s ill-advised when a woman is involved. Why? Do you relish the idea of wearing the label of “WUSS”?

I generally try to focus on what works and avoid discussion of what doesn’t, but over the years I’ve run into some advice that has the potential to be extremely dangerous, based on what I’ve observed and proven in my own research. Over the next two days, I want to talk about that advice and show you both the pitfalls of following that advice and a much safer tactic that I found to be entirely effective in real-world application.

Today’s issue will concern the advice to “always agree” to resolve conflict, and tomorrow’s will be the idea of trying to stop a divorce (or any kind of break-up) before thoroughly evaluating a relationship to see if indeed it should be stopped, because a great many relationships that break up do so because the participants are horribly mismatched and should have never come together in the first place.

Now, let’s talk about this business of always agreeing to resolve conflict. This is a very old basic tactic used by sales people to overcome objections to a sales pitch, and has been taken out of context for use in relationship problem and dispute resolution. The idea is to agree to get the other person to calm down and let you disagree peacefully while you steer them around to your point of view.

There are a couple of big pitfalls in this premise. First, holding a relationship together is a matter of cooperation, not of salesmanship. Women communicate on a level that is so far above men that they will immediately recognize this as just a tactic more often than not (it has always been known to work better on men than women anyway – remember, I’m also a marketing and management consultant, and this was something I used to be intimately involved in and teach almost daily). To make matters worse, when you give in to a woman to quell a stressful situation, you are instantly labeled a wuss! Really! You think not? You’re gonna love this:

I got several of the women “advisors” on the phone and told them about the “always agree advice,” and the most common response was a tie between “You’ve got to be kidding!” and “Oh my God! They didn’t say that!” Their overwhelming consensus was that a woman will lose any respect she still has left for a man who deploys such a tactic because women hate it when a man just gives in instead of holding out for what’s right. Now, notice I said “holding out for WHAT’S right,” not “holding out to BE right.” Hang with me here…

As a little background, while the biggest cause of rocky relationships, fighting, and destructive competition in relationships is incompatibility, the biggest cause of break-ups and divorce is lost attraction. This happens to a woman when a man just stops being manly, fun, and interesting, and the woman gets bored and wants out, or gets bored and plays around and gets caught. (Women do things that cause men to lose attraction for them too, but I’m writing to the men today.)

The last thing in the world you want to do under those circumstances is something wussy like always agreeing with her every gripe, because some of her gripes are not going to be real gripes, but rather tests to see if you are going to remember that you are a man and stand up against an obvious falsehood. A woman’s first criteria in evaluating a man is “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me.”

The next big thing you want to avoid is use the words “I” or especially “YOU” at the beginning of a sentence during an argument or while the problem is being identified. Once you start pointing fingers, talking about people instead of issues, the conflict escalates and everybody loses. What’s the right move?

First, you must understand that women don’t speak to report information. Everything with them is a negotiation. They make statements to ask questions and ask questions to make statements, and will seldom if ever state the obvious. It’s all very diplomatic, even when they are just angry as hell. To keep from escalating what’s already a very delicate and volatile situation, you must shift the focus from “I” or “YOU” to “WE,” and then to the actual ISSUE. “WE have a problem, and it is [whatever the problem is], so what needs to be done to fix it?” You must absolutely shift the focus from “WHO” is the problem to “WHAT” is the problem as much as possible to address the issues instead of the blame for (and emotions caused by) the issues. For example…

Let’s say you have the stereotypical male habit of grabbing the TV remote and starting to channel surf every time you come into the room, and she resents the hell out of you being so disrespectful of her to interrupt something she is watching without asking. She starts out by saying, “You really make me mad as hell when you just start flipping channels when I’m watching something.” (That’s the statement she’ll be making with the question that you’ll actually hear: “How would you feel if I changed the channel while you were watching TV?” Or she might take the opposite tack, saying, “Didn’t you see me sitting here watching that?” meaning, “You inconsiderate jerk! I WAS watching that, and now I’m pissed off at you.” Statements are questions and questions are statements, remember?) If you respond with, “Well then why didn’t YOU tell ME?” it comes across as blaming her for your ignorance and disrespect, and that won’t fly.

If you respond with, “I’m sorry. I’LL let YOU be in charge of the remote from now on,” you’ve probably just ensured that you won’t have sex again for about 2 months, whether she does or not, because you just gave in. Something like, “Well, it’s MY house and MY TV and I’LL change the channel whenever I feel like it,” will get you more punishment over the coming months than you could ever fathom, and you won’t know that most of it hit you, although you probably will wonder why your underwear has been starched, your shirts are suddenly tighter and you can never seem to find your keys. ;-)

She wants you to take the lead in decision-making and be a stand-up guy, but in trade for sanctioning that position of leadership, she reserves the right to an input channel, in ALL negotiations, and you have to respect that or pay a price that you will invariably find you don’t want to pay, so your only option is to recognize that a negotiation has begun, and negotiate cooperatively, responding with something like, “Then WE obviously need to come to some kind of agreement here so that WE don’t continue to have this problem.”

Now you have her attention, and respect, because you have followed the form that she needs to follow to ensure involvement and a fair hearing. At this point it becomes okay to say “I” and “you” as long as you aren’t slinging mud with them. The purpose here is a peaceful and equitable settlement, resolving a problem, not winning a battle, remember?

Follow up with something like, “I didn’t realize that you were interested in that show, and to be honest, I probably never gave it due consideration. In the future, I will make sure that you aren’t enjoying a show before I change the channel. Will that satisfy you?”

Now, there are several really big things that you need to notice in that. First, you will notice that nowhere are you directly apologizing. You are indirectly apologizing by saying “never gave it DUE consideration,” and that is important, because you are acknowledging the mistake without being a big mushy wuss about it. Believe it or not, the words “I’m sorry” should rarely if ever come out of your mouth; acknowledging your mistakes in a manner that says that you should have performed better or with more consideration of her input is almost always enough and even preferred because it refers to something specific instead of a generic apology that everybody gets all the time. (If there’s ever a time that it’s not enough, she’ll let you know.)

Next, you are offering the first suggestion for the resolution, again, taking the lead, but not dictating terms. It doesn’t matter whether your idea is perfect for her or not, just as long as it’s not asinine. It’s a negotiation, and she will let you know if she sees any part of your suggestion as unsatisfactory. Taking the lead like this is a HUGE deal to a woman; a man who won’t lead, can’t make decisions, and can’t consider the input of others in decisions isn’t worth having around, just as any man who can’t stand up TO her can’t be expected to stand up FOR her. It’s really that simple.

Also notice that you ask if your suggestion will “satisfy her.” You are not asking if it is “okay for her,” or anything that sounds even remotely like you are asking her permission to proceed in this manner, which is also good for several months of celibacy as you shatter any respect for you she may still be holding. You are asking for her input, inviting her to take part in the negotiation in which she expects to engage. Incidentally, she will punish you severely for shutting her out of it or giving in to avoid it. What’s next?

Chances are, in this simple example, she would have been satisfied with this plan because it fully addresses her issue, but you’re not done yet. She cannot have the last word, because whomever has the last word makes the decision, and you must be the one to formally declare the decision made. After she says, “Yes, that will do,” or whatever, then you must wrap it up with the formal declaration, something like, “Then that is precisely what I will do in the future, and if you catch me slipping, I expect you to remind me of it and let me fix it instead of jumping down my throat about it. I will do my best to treat you with the same respect. We are adults and partners and we can both do a much better job of handling problems. I don’t want us to be one of these couples that fight all the time over everything any more than you do.”

That’s leadership, and it gets you more than a solution to your problem, it gets you respect and trust, which in turn creates attraction, which breeds intimacy, and starts an upward spiral that may last anywhere from minutes to years, depending on how diligent you are about acting like a man – a REAL man.

Relationships aren’t always easy, especially when they start coming apart. Indeed, they’re a lot like houses. If the relationship has a solid foundation, it can usually be repaired; if not, it’s better to tear it down and start over. We’ll be talking about how to determine that tomorrow.

For today, just realize that as a man, to make any relationship work, you have to be able to assess the relationship to see if and how well it is working and compare that to how well it can work. You have to be able to communicate with a woman in a way that is considerate of her communication style, which is grossly different from a man’s to say the least; otherwise you can never even identify the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship, let alone fix them.

You also have to understand what it is that makes a woman tick -- what she wants, out of life, her relationship with you, etc., and what flips her switches, especially those that trigger sexual interest and excitement and create that emotion that women will literally kill to have and maintain, full-blown swept-off-her-feet sexual attraction. Sounds like the Holy Grail of relationships, doesn’t it? While it’s true that men have searched for centuries to find such knowledge, this grail has been found, it’s been right under our noses the whole time, and to make things about as embarrassing as they can possibly get, the women have been trying to tell us where it is!

Well, I finally listened, wrote it all down, gave it back to the women it came from to see if I had translated it right and then gave it to their husbands to use to make sure it was accurate. It was then refined and tested again until it was working for everybody involved after we found that there were a few things that women thought they wanted that they didn’t want at all after they got them. I did all of this to save my own marriage, not to write a book. The book was simply a by-product of the success of the research I needed to conduct to find a way to get my own marriage and life in order. It will work for you, too. Really.

No matter what you have tried, no matter what the state of your current relationship, there’s a lot of information in this book that will help you make it better. Readers have busted their own divorces with it in as little as a week, others have kicked their relationships up to notches previously unknown, while some have found that they have been in the wrong relationship with the wrong person and that getting out was the first step in getting on the real path to happiness, for EVERYONE involved.

This book is called "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and you can download your copy now at Don’t wait, don’t sit there wondering if it will work for you, and don’t waste time asking me if it will work for you. It will, so just grab it and growl, because life is too short to spend it unhappy, scared, frustrated, bored, celibate, angry, or any of those other nasty things that bad relationships make you feel.

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

David Cunningham