Saturday, February 21, 2009

Is the Alpha Male Always Right? Leadership and Cooperation in Relationships and Marriage

Alpha males make decisions and take the lead, and women love them for it, IF they do it the right way. There are a whole lot more ways to do it wrong than right, so let’s talk about the right way…

I’ve had a few letters recently from some women, some on my mailing list, some whose partners are on the list and share their newsletter, who say that their man just isn’t getting this Alpha Male concept. The percentage of readers is small, but this is a critical point, and here may be others who haven’t written to me about it because some people just will not write to ask a question or express a concern no matter what incentive one provides, so let’s straighten this out, once and for all.

Women love and respond to the Alpha Male personality, even when they’d rather not. It’s a biologically triggered response to the primal image of a good leader, protector, provider, father, etc., in short, an achiever. It doesn’t matter whether or not a woman actually needs any of these things, they are “biologically wired” to respond to this personality when they see it, period. Just ask them! It’s a HUGE factor in the success of a heterosexual relationship.

Being the Alpha Male means that you have the responsibility and ability to make decisions, not that you are somehow empowered to make all the decisions without anyone else’s – especially your partner’s – input, and then force them on everybody else, unless of course you are in some sort of military or paramilitary service and in the line of fire at the moment. The thought that should NEVER cross your mind is “I’m going to make all the decisions without a word from you because I’m the man and you’re just a woman so I know best.” That’s control, not leadership.

If such words don’t get you bashed in the head with an iron skillet, you have a particularly damaged or intimidated partner. It may not be a skillet, but the punishment options are many, and severe, to include:

-- Beating, maiming (a la Lorena Bobbitt!), and even killing you in your sleep (yes, you have to sleep some time, don’t you?)

-- Sleeping with one of your siblings, your best friend, or that obnoxious jackass you despise at work

-- Padding all household expenditures and hiding the money away for divorce while telling you that inflation is eating your paycheck faster and faster and passing information about your personal life on to people in your office, undermining you there

-- Becoming suddenly quite helpless and needy to show you what it can be like if she really doesn’t participate (passive aggression is a real pain)

-- Giving you enough rope to hang yourself

There’s plenty more, but you get the picture, or at least you’d better. Women may be physically weaker on average than men, but don’t ever be deceived into thinking they are defenseless, or dunces. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, embarrassed, ridiculed, cuckold, or just generally pissed off, for that matter. They’re inclined to make decisions, including those regarding why and how you should be punished, based on emotions, not logic, remember? And once that decision is made, they can self-validate it and then enlist the validation of their entire social circle, all the while prepared to say, “…but I’m a GOOD person.” Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience and that of many others.

So let’s get back on track. We’ve covered what to avoid and why, so what is it you are supposed to do with regard to decision-making as an attractive, desirable Alpha Male? You take the lead in the discussions, and you invite input without asking for permission. She’s your partner, not your servant (or as our British cousins used to call them, “dogsbody,” like Baldrick on the old “Black Adder” comedy series – my favorite, by the way!), your child, or any other subservient peon.

Women don’t want to take the lead in decision-making most of the time, partially because it’s usually more stressful for them (due to their more social nature) and they like seeing us standing tall and taking the lead doing things; it's literally a turn-on if done correctly! They do, however, want a fair hearing, and when a decision is made they need to feel like their input has been considered and somehow involved in the decision, also part of that social nature. (Those of you who have been with me for awhile or have read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” know that every situation with a woman is a negotiation, and must be handled as such – see the book for details!)

That in turn does not mean that you should compromise a good decision to try to make them feel good about something. That’s wuss behavior, is very likely to be tested for, and if you fail the test you’re a spineless wussy – a.k.a. “toast”. It means that if the two of you disagree, you proceed logically and together to find the discrepancy or contradiction in someone’s thinking, finally agree that you have good information and are looking at the best alternative, and then you make it official by “deciding” to move forward with the best option.

This must be done objectively, looking only for WHAT is right, not WHO is right. Resolution, not revenge. Cooperation, not competition. That kind of competition between partners is the kiss of death, and a sure-fire sign of self-esteem problems and ego hang-ups that can kill not only attraction, but the relationship if not resolved. You are partners. It’s the two of you (and your kids if you have any) against the world. Act appropriately. When you have different ideas of how things work or what should be done, detach yourselves from the “who” issue and look for the facts. Try to prove each point either true or false, without care for which way it goes, as long as in the end, what you are left with is right and best. Then just do it.

This is what attractive, Alpha Male behavior looks like. If you want to make it particularly sexy, after the ideas are on the table have some fun with exploring the options and negotiating the solutions. Pick and verbally spar a little bit. Allow a little bit of EXTRA FRIENDLY competition, always keeping in mind that you’re on the same team. Jump back and forth from naughty and fun to serious and strong, always being careful to not give the impression that you are making light of her ability to contribute.

Being the Alpha Male is about being a real man, not about being a bully or a know-it-all. It’s about leading, not dominating. It’s about being assertive, not mean, aggressive, controlling, manipulative, etc. It’s about being playful at times, when a tension-breaker is needed, not ridiculing your partner and having a laugh entirely at her expense. Brutally aggressive and vicious behavior fits the alpha personalities of four-legged predators, but humans are above that. We can reason and choose according to reason instead of instinctively moving to kill anything that challenges us. Think, as your birthright entitles you and your life requires of you, and you will succeed.

There’s a wealth of details on how to be an attractive Alpha Male in my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” You need to do it, she certainly wants and needs you to do it, so do it! And get it done now! It really doesn’t matter if your middle-aged or even beyond, overweight, losing your gray hair, etc. – I’m all of the above! It’s about the personality for all but the most incredibly shallow of women. If you have any doubts at all, take a look at me! Download your copy right now at
http://www.makingherhappy.com, because women respond to the alpha male by being happy and making you happy, and life is too short to spend it any other way but happy.

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

David Cunningham

Friday, February 20, 2009

See What Buddha Knew That Could Save Your Relationship and Marriage

I’m not a Buddhist, and I was surprised at how relevant this advice is to modern-day relationships and marriage. Indeed, you may be as surprised as I was!

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, newsfeeds, advisories, etc., in a lot of different fields to stay on top of various things that are happening in my life. One of them is Michael Masterson’s “
Early to Rise,” which is a free daily with health, wealth, and wisdom tips, a word-of-the-day bit, and a few other interesting things.

I know Michael from years gone by when I was studying copywriting; he runs the American Writers and Artists Institute, and is pretty much a “brainiac” who is an expert marketer, has done very well for himself investing, has a lot of very good contacts in healthcare education (he’s also behind the Health Sciences Institute), and probably a lot that I don’t know about these days. This is not a paid or affiliate recommendation; his stuff is simply good enough for me to find useful information in and I’m sure you will too.

The main reason I mention it is in a recent edition, one of his associates, Robert Ringer, wrote a piece on Buddha’s quote, “All unhappiness is caused by attachment,” and it struck a chord, rung a bell, or however you want to say that it got my attention, because that is more true of relationships than anything else.

People get attached to habits, ideas, people, places, jobs, possessions, etc., and they make bad decisions out of fear of losing those things, instead of good decisions about advancing their life. I’ve addressed that in other newsletters and in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and will be addressing it frequently in the future, because it is so very important in keeping things in perspective. Let’s look at just how those five things I just listed could literally destroy you or your relationship:

Habits. Let’s say you and your wife smoke at the time you get together, and something causes her to quit, maybe a case of pneumonia or flu, adult-onset of asthma, a close call with lung cancer, or whatever, and she gives up the habit and you can’t, or won’t. What if you and your wife enjoyed clubbing before she became pregnant, and you insist on continuing to go several nights a week without her when she cannot go, and she takes exception to you being out drinking and dancing with other women in a place that is pretty much designed for singles to “hook up” in? Or maybe some dangerous hobby that you indulge in every week, that you should consider giving up now that you have children to support?

Ideas. Somebody tells you they think your wife might be cheating, because they saw her somewhere talking to a guy; she tells you it’s her brother, or a coworker, or somebody harmless, but your insecurity keeps you from letting it go and the idea continues to escalate even though there is no evidence. Or you have an idea for a business or product that you think the world will beat a path to your door to buy, and you continuously keep sinking more and more money into it, in spite of marketing data and other real-world facts saying that it was a bad idea, because you think you know more than the world does about what it wants? Henry Ford almost bankrupted the Ford Motor Company doing that…

People. Do we even need to go here? Ex-girlfriends, ex-wives or an ex-employer that you continue to be involved with in spite of the objections of your current partner or employer? So-called “friends” who trash every good idea you come up with because they can never come up with a good one and want you to be as miserable as they are? An employee who is bankrupting you with their incompetence but you don’t want to fire them because you’re concerned about the rest of their family? And biggest of all, a current partner who has declared it’s over and followed up by doing all the things that tell you that it’s not just a wake-up call and is definitely an unsalvageable situation?

Places. The house that you don’t want to move out of because of fond memories that keeps you from advancing your career because of the geographical constraints? The town you don’t want to leave because some ex-partner or friend lives there, in spite of the fact that your partner is going to leave town without you if you don’t go, or your career will dead-end?

Jobs. Don’t get me started! The job that you hate to get out of bed every morning to face but won’t leave because you’re afraid to look for another, or have yourself so over-extended that you can’t afford to leave it, even if the stress ends up killing you or ruining your marriage and alienating your children?

Possessions. Shall we start with the car, boat, or airplane that you can’t afford the payments on but would rather go bankrupt than to admit that you had overspent? What about the clutter of all those hobbies a person can start but never see through, and refuses to get rid of the trappings and clutter from those hobbies because they’re going to get back into it “one of these days…” Or my favorite, the stocks, real estate, collectibles, etc., that people get stuck with and take a bath on by holding onto them believing that they will forever continue to appreciate in value? Dot-com stock, anyone?

You’re quite right in observing that many of the things I listed don’t necessarily have a direct bearing on your relationship with your partner, but indirect relationships can be more than powerful enough to destroy it. Anything negative that is happening in your life stresses you out, makes you edgy, and possibly insecure, and those things do impact your relationship, often hard, and all too often fatally.

Another thing that caught my attention in that article was something that the writer has taken from something written by the Dalai Lama (the Buddhist leader, for those of you who are unfamiliar) about the dividing line between consciousness and unconsciousness being the interest in the alleviation of suffering and the quest for happiness. He supported this by quoting the four “Noble Truths” that Buddha taught in his first sermon:

Noble Truth No. 1: There is suffering.
Noble Truth No. 2: Suffering has an origin.
Noble Truth No. 3: The cessation of suffering is possible.
Noble Truth No. 4: There is a path to the cessation of suffering.

I’m not a Buddhist; my interest here is philosophical and logical, not religious. These four truths are indeed axiomatic, so profoundly factual as to be self-evident. There is suffering everywhere you look, and there is always a cause for it. A remedy for suffering can always be found and end it, even if that remedy is death (there are some political and religious leaders who take strong objection to this statement, because they want you to believe that your purpose of existence is to suffer). And last, due to the law of cause and effect, if suffering can be caused, so can its remedy. What does this mean for you and your relationship?

There are questions you can ask yourself to help you find that path to the cessation of suffering. Among those questions are “What did I do or fail to do to cause this?” and “What can I do or refrain from doing to fix this?” These are the questions a man will ask, a leader will ask, not a wuss who’s looking to blame everyone and everything else for his troubles. Asking these questions and formulating a factual answer is one of the most basic skills that distinguish the alpha male from all others. He takes responsibility for his situation and takes charge of improving it. Women love that, and they’ll tell you so. Just ask them.

What you will also find axiomatic is that your path will never be found in the answer to questions like, “Who did this to me?” or “Why did somebody have to do this to me?” or even “What can I get somebody to do to get me out of this mess?” You get out of problems by identifying them, figuring out how they came to be a problem, and figuring out what you can do (or refrain from doing) that will fix the problem, and then following through. Period.

The more you can let go of ego, blame, insecurity, dependence, fear, anger, etc., and take responsibility for yourself, your actions, and your situation, the more objective and truly “enlightened” you will become. The Buddhists aren’t the only ones for whom “enlightenment” equates to happiness…

If you are having problems in your relationship, your “path to enlightenment” can very likely be found in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” It contains the wisdom and experience of hundreds of people who have had relationship problems and overcome them, and then turned solid relationships into truly great relationships by getting tuned in and turned on to each other. (No, Baby Boomers, you DO NOT drop out – Timothy Leary was a long way from being “enlightened” or happy).

Seriously, it will help you figure out where you are, what got you there, where you need to go, and will give you the tools to lead a happy life whether it’s with your current partner, if she’s the right one, or another if she’s not – sometimes mismatched partners are one of those things you have to detach from to put your life back on track. Go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now, and get started down your own path to happiness, because life is too short to spend it wandering down any other path.

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

David Cunningham

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Is Your Body Language Saying About You, Especially to Your Partner in a Relationship or Marriage?

Experts say over 90% of all communication is non-verbal, much of that through body language. Women are generally far better at reading body language than men; what is your body language saying to her, especially about you?

I was watching the news once and a politician was talking about how a new project was going to do so much for the area’s economy, and his body language said he was lying his ever-loving ass off! His eye-blink rate changed radically when he talked about benefits to local taxpayers and local businesses, and kept touching his nose and blinking even faster as he talked about how critical the project was and how everyone would see its worth in the very near term.

He also looked away from the interviewer when this aberrant behavior started, kept shifting his body posture into a guarding position or a selling position, etc. He’s new, and apparently he can’t yet afford the really good handlers that train politicians to lie with a straight face and keep their body language from giving away their unspoken thoughts.

No matter what is coming out of your mouth, your body language tells what’s on your mind. What is your body language saying about YOU, especially to the woman in your life? I’ll guarantee you that if you’re feeling bad about yourself, it’s telling the tale without you saying a word, and even if you and your guy friends don’t pick up on it, the women around you, especially the one you love, certainly will, even if only subconsciously (they’re wired for it, but we’re not). It can be an attraction maker or an attraction breaker, and you need to choose carefully…

For instance, if you’ve been having a hard time at work and are letting it get to you, there’s a good chance that you are no longer standing straight and tall. Your shoulders are slumping and you’re looking at your feet as you walk, among other things. How does the woman you love react to this? (Or the people around you?)

From an attraction stand-point, she will react badly. There’s no other way to describe it. Even if she kicks into nurturing mode to try to be supportive, nurturing mode can easily and quickly evolve into a mothering mode, especially if you’re not acting strong and decisive, and that kills attraction, for a number of reasons.

It puts you in an inferior position, it changes the framing of the relationship from you being the alpha male to being a child not feeling well, etc. If it persists a bit, which it can, as depression sets in and moping around becomes a comfortable habit, she becomes even more the mother as she gets bored with your bad attitude and either gets depressed herself or starts looking elsewhere.

Or even worse, she can become ticked off about it, and assume a leadership role, wherein she is defining authority for you and exercising it over you, which is the end of attraction until you have straightened up and resumed the leadership role with gusto and held it until she’s comfortable that you’re willing to keep it by virtue of putting you through numerous annoying tests. That’s a pretty crappy outcome, wouldn’t you say?

Want to peg the “crappy-o-meter”? How about if your depression is brought about by your perception that she is no longer as attracted to you as she once was, and as you get more depressed, you get less and less attractive -- spiraling downward, swirling the drain, or however you want to put it, locked into a self-amplifying feedback loop that kills not only attraction, but your relationship. Is that crappy enough to make you want to do something positive? I hope so. Once again, think with me here for a minute or two:

There are things that you do when you’re happy, sad, excited, bored, strong, scared, please, ticked off, truthful, lying, and everything else that you feel, and the chances are very high that you are unaware while she is totally aware of them, even if it’s only subconsciously, and reacting to them. You need to be aware of these things, and watch for them. Why?

First, because she is, and you need to know what you are telling her. Second, and more useful to you, is that you can watch your own body language for clues to your own emotional well-being. If you catch yourself slumping or looking at your shoes as you walk, that’s a strong signal that you need a reality check – there’s a problem somewhere that you need to be addressing, because you’re body language has already alerted her to the fact that there’s a problem, so the clock is running. She needs to see you taking action or you suddenly become a slacker who can’t keep himself on track or a wuss who won’t. How attractive does that sound?

At this point, we must discuss the “faking it” element. I don’t recommend faking anything, at any time, for any reason, because it’s just too easy to trip up, especially when she’s balancing less than 10% of your communication, the verbal part that you deliberately say, against the 90%+ that you involuntarily say through non-verbal means, as well as checking the body language to make sure it’s consistent. Any inconsistency brings about testing, and the testing escalates until she either sees her suspicion confirmed or sees a behavioral change that removes the suspicion completely. You know how we men hate testing…right? So don’t do that to yourself.

Besides, with a lot of women, it doesn’t take but one lie to start an onslaught of testing and punishment that will end up driving you away, and their take on the outcome will be that you were worthless and left, and you’ll have to be punished for that, too, won’t you? Honesty, while sometimes tempered with a touch of diplomacy, is always the best policy.

The flip side? If you’re walking tall, eyes forward, and acting like you own the world and can handle everything that happens in it, you’re too sexy for your shirt. If your body language is confirming what you are verbally telling her, it builds trust quickly and firmly. If your body language is saying you’re all that while you’re not saying a word, you’re exactly where you should be and she can’t get enough of you. I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely have some of that!!!

If you don’t feel that good about yourself, it’s time for a change, Brother, because as a human being and as a man, you can make it happen, and such feelings are your birthright once you do. Everything you need to know to live a life that makes you walk tall and be the attractive “alpha male” is in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” I’ve been doing consulting and personal coaching for years, and the only people I’ve seen fail to take their life back and make it everything they want it to be are those who didn’t know what they wanted, so if you’re a really tough case, we can make arrangements for that, too.

So download your copy at
http://www.makingherhappy.com and get started immediately, call or write me if you have to, but get on the stick and get it done, because life is too short to spend it depressed, alone (especially alone in a crowd), and celibate, and the choice is in your hands. Choose wisely…

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

David Cunningham

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sex for Pity's Sake, a Great Way to Quickly Destroy a Relationship and Marriage

Do women find tactics like guilt and pity attractive? Not just no, but hell no! Tune in, and see just how needy, pathetic, and downright disgusting this comes across…

Prepare yourself for one of the most disgusting tales of male wussitude I’ve ever heard. Friends, meet Darlene:

Dear David,

I thought I had experienced every form of male wussiness on the planet until last night, when my husband reached a new, utterly disgusting low. I’ve been trying to get him to read your book for over a month now, and he gets mad and refuses every time I bring it up, but he has no clue!

My mother-in-law has been in the hospital in critical condition for a few days, and he’s been either stumbling around the house like a zombie or yelling and screaming and throwing things at me and the kids ever since she went in. Last night, after several days of walking on eggshells and wondering if in the next moment he was going to kill himself or me and the kids, he crawls into bed with me (we haven’t shared a bed in over a year), grabs me, and informs me that any good wife would show him sympathy and caring by having sex with him. I nearly puked.

There is nothing in this world that a man can do that is any more disgusting in a woman’s eyes, especially mine, than to beg for sex, and to do so by trying to invoke pity and guilt for what’s going on in his life, especially something like his mother being in the hospital (how many sexy thoughts can that possibly cause???), is literally sickening. I jumped out of bed, and told him that if he were a real man, he wouldn’t be trying to make me feel sorry for him, he’d be making me so excited that I had to have him.

Men, wake up. We will seduce you to make you feel better if we see you feeling bad and are already feeling attraction, and we may even do so in the rare instance that we find ourselves feeling sorry for you, such as if we find out you’re a virgin at thirty years old, but there is nothing that you can deliberately do to make us feel sorry for you or guilty about not wanting you that will excite us and make us feel the attraction that makes us want sex with you. It’s just that simple. Be a man, or be somewhere else.

David, I loved your book, and if I don’t get this man to read it soon, I’m outta here. Cross your fingers.

Darlene

Well guys, what can I say? Darlene has pretty well nailed the whole issue down in a few short paragraphs. Women don’t find any kind of coercion, be it bullying on the strong side or guilt-tripping and pity-mongering on the wussy side, attractive, or really anything short of repulsive. All of the above are strong signs of weakness (yes, bullying, while dominant and abusive, is a sign of weakness, not strength), and chicks don’t dig that – really!

(Indeed, in the months since this letter was written, Darlene has in fact left this pathetic loser and moved on to a really great guy. DO NOT EVER THINK that a woman won’t or can’t leave a bad relationship. Even if they seem to think they can’t, or if you threaten their life, there comes a point where they feel that either they have to leave or somebody has to die, and they will act on those feelings, so take this seriously!)

Chicks dig real men, alpha males, who know what they want, and walk through the world earning it, knowing that they deserve it, and holding their head high as they do so, eyes fixed on either their next achievement or their partner’s sexy self. Good things come their way because they’re worthy of good things, not because they can coerce or con people into providing them.

Gentlemen, we’ve been trying for centuries to figure out what makes women tick, and except for a few of us, we’ve failed miserably. That’s it, that’s reality, accept it, and get over it. Fortunately, they’ve now begun telling us not only what makes them tick, but what they want, from life, and from us, and much of it is in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” No book will ever contain everything there is to know about each woman alive, but this one does contain everything that a large group of them has said that we need to know about them, and it’s in “guy language,” not “girly-speak,” so you can understand it – no signals, no hints, just facts, laid out for any man to own and use to become the real man that his partner has dreamed of all her life.

Download your copy at
http://www.makingherhappy.com today, unless of course you like living that “frustrated celibate dude living with the grouchy frumpy wife” thing. It’s your choice; choose well, and choose now!

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

David Cunningham

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Your Performance As Father Affects Your Rating As a Man in Your Relationship or Marriage

Children can be instrumental in making or breaking a relationship of any length, especially if they come from a previous partnership. Have you ever thought about how your success or failure in acting as a father could affect your image as a husband or boyfriend?

There’s an interesting phenomenon in full swing. I don’t know if reader questions are coming in response to controversial news topics, astrological influence, sheer coincidence, or what, but I keep seeing a predominate topic forming in reader e-mails that shifts every week or so. This week it seems to be questions about children and how they fit into the relationship. I’ll include a couple of them so you can see what I mean. First, meet Daphne:

Dear David,

First of all I would like to say that I have enjoyed and learned very much from you writings. As a woman some of it was hard for me to face in the beginning, but I truly believe that I am a much better person and wife thanks to you. There is however a couple of things that I would like to get you to give me some options on so that I may make the best decision.

I was married for 15 years prior to my divorce last year and was not sure I would ever find a man that I would love and be happy with in my life. Then walked in the most wonderful man I have ever known or will know as to that matter and we hit it off just perfect. A couple of months ago he asked me and my 2 children to move in his home with him and I was very excited and happy to be with him. As the time went by I started to see a problem that has me in a state of confusion.

My children are a girl of 16 and a son of 12 and I love them very much, but hence the problem. Max, the man I live with, has no kids of his own and I am not totally sure knows just how to handle living with two. Since we plan to be married very soon I was hoping he would be able to be somewhat of a father figure to the kids as their father is worthless in that aspect. What I am finding is that he seems to shy away from that role always telling the kids to ask me or talk to there biological father.

I want him to feel is that he has the same right as a biological father and that I expect him to treat my kids as if they were his own in all regards, making choices on their lives just as I do. I feel that by taking responsibility for their support and so forth the way he has that he has earned that right and I have no hard feelings as to him punishing the kids if the needs arise or teaching all the wonderful thing he has to share with them. How can I make him see that he does have to act just as any parent even though he is their step-father?

Thank you in advance for your help and keep up the good work,
Daphne


And now meet Thomas:

Hi David,

I’m in a jam and need some advice. My wife and I got along great when we first got married, during her pregnancy, and after the birth of our two sons, until recently. The older son has reached “the terrible two’s” and is driving us both crazy getting into everything, but whenever I try to discipline him and teach him to behave properly and not be so destructive, my wife goes ballistic, jumps on the defensive, and grabs the kids up in their arms and acts like a caged animal, like she’s afraid I’m going to hurt the children, in spite of the fact that I’ve never been anything more than “stern” with her or the boys.

To top it all off, from the moment this started, our sex life has stopped dead, and our life together seems to have followed it. It’s like she’s drawn a line and I’m on one side of it and her and the boys are on the other side, like I’ve suddenly become the enemy. I’m at my wit’s end. Can you help?

Thanks,
Thomas


So you see, you can go too far or not far enough with equal ease, and be just as lost either way. What’s weird is that both women want the same thing, a strong leader to be a father for the children, to treat them with good judgment and a fair and even hand, and to be an “active father,” not just a guy who brings home a paycheck and considers that the end of his fatherly duties.

Daphne’s boyfriend isn’t going far enough. He’s deferring all decisions to Daphne. Bad idea. Deferring all decisions to women makes you look weak and indecisive, not a desirable trait in a husband or a father. It triggers the death of attraction on a grand scale. He needs to just get in the game and do exactly what she is suggesting, treating her kids as if they were his own in every respect. If they disagree about something, they can cross that bridge when they come to it, as all parents do, and if they are smart, they’ll do it behind closed doors so that they may present a strong, unified front to the kids, making themselves impervious to the games kids like to play in pitting Mommy and Daddy against one another.

Thomas’s wife is seeing something that makes her think he’s going too far. She’s seeing him as abusive or potentially abusive, whether he is truly abusive or not. It’s possible that when he is being “stern” as he calls it, he’s not leaving her that input channel that women expect in their relationship with a male partner. It could also be that she was abused as a child or watched some other child be abused and there’s just something about his manner or method that reminds her of that and she gets defensive. We really don’t have enough information to make a determination, except to know that if she’s acting defensive, something is making her feel threatened, and they need to discuss it, openly between them but again, out of earshot of the children, no matter what their age.

The good news? Taking the lead in working out this problem, listening and working the problem out with her, and then taking that leadership role as father is incredibly attractive to a woman, and failure to do so in any degree is a major attraction killer. This is actually a good thing, because there is no middle ground to get lost in. You do the job right, and you get rewarded, plain and simple. It’s a matter of understanding the role and being able to communicate with her in a way that makes her feel like you are doing this as partners, not two separate parental forces that are pulling in different directions.

Even this topic of how children can make or break your relationship (and your sex life) is covered in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” along with evaluating your relationship, accurately communicating with your partner (learning how to speak “girly-ese”), and all the various ways in which you can create or kill the attraction that makes your life together fun, exciting, and sexy. I’m telling you, Gentlemen, if you had this book and not another thing to help you have a great relationship, you could do it, because the content was suggested, tested, and proven by 118 couples before the first writing and confirmed, tweaked, and enhanced by hundreds more since that date.

If it’s important, it’s included, and if you use everything that’s included, your partner and you will easily be able to work out anything and everything that comes up. Even if it turns out that breaking up is the only reasonable option you have because you never should have come together in the first place, you’ll be able to do it peacefully and knowing that there is no other option. So one way or another, this information will enable you to have happiness and the wherewithal to enjoy a great relationship, even if you have to find a new one to enjoy – and it tells you how to do that, too! So go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now, because life is too short to fail to really live it.

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

David Cunningham

Monday, February 16, 2009

Your Wife’s Mother-In-Law and Your Relationship and Marriage

We’ve talked about handling her mother, but what about yours? She can have a major impact on your relationship, too, if you let her…

We talked yesterday about how to deal with a man’s mother-in-law, but what about a man’s mother? You’re about to see, if you haven’t already, how she can also have a major impact on your relationship, as many of you have found out, sometimes the hard way.

All too often, a tug-of-war between a man’s mother and his wife or girlfriend ends up forming, and while it may not always get as vicious as the situation in
“Monster-In-Law” (Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan, Jane Fonda, Wanda Sykes), it doesn’t have to get real vicious to cause a wife or girlfriend to decide that she doesn’t have to put up with the hassle, deliver you an ultimatum, and leave immediately when you say something lame like, “But Honey, she’s my mother,” as if that gives her license to be nasty to your partner or exert some sort of control over your household or marriage. Here’s one of many letters I’ve received on the subject; I chose it because it sums up a lot of the most common issues, and I have some tips for you after I answer her. Meet Jean:

Dear David,

I hope this note finds you well and happy since this is supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year for lovers. I know this will be a better day for some than others. What I am writing you about today is not a happy subject but one that I could use your advice on. It has to do with my mother in law, my husband and I are now what they call middle-aged and are for the most part happy and still very much in love.

However, there is one very difficult subject we can not get to the same decision on and I was hoping you might have some words of wisdom for us. We live a very short distance from my mother in law who still refuses to let us have our own life after 18 years of marriage. Every chance she gets she is always hanging around or calling my husband on his cell phone instead of the home phone so she can talk to him without the possibility of me overhearing what is being said. To be honest with you I could care less what she has to say about me but when she starts problems between me and my husband over nothing I do have a problem.

For instance, if he says he’s taking me out to dinner or shopping (or anything else come to think of it) she says something like, “But Donnie, I was wanting you to come over here for supper tonight.” If we make plans to go out of town, she either invites herself along or comes up with some dire emergency, like needing us to feed her dog while she is gone for the weekend. Just anything to try to foil our plans. She’s over here almost every day making snide comments about the way I cook, the way we I have differed from her in raising our kids, my housekeeping, and bringing up Don’s high school sweetheart every chance she gets.

Could you offer some advice as to how I can make my husband to see she is just out to cause us to get into a fight or cause a problem without me coming off as the witch? I have never been good enough for her since day one and the truth is when I married her son no other person would even go out with him much less marry him because she was such a witch to everyone and word got around the small town we live in. There is a lot more to the story, but I’m sure you get the idea, since you seem to “get it.” Please help.

Yours truly,
Jean


My reply:

Yikes! Jean, I don’t know how you’ve endured it for 18 years, but Don’s a lucky man, and you should start by telling him so. I notice that you’ve been subscribing for several months, so I’m sure by now you know that you need to be fairly blunt with him, but not accusatory or combative. Tell him that you would never try to come between him and his mother, but she needs to pay you that same respect too, and that either he can have a word with her, or you will.

Give him specific examples of what has happened; he’s already seen them, but you’re telling him to let him know that you know and that it bothers you. Don’t dramatize, and be factual and to the point. If he does wuss out and doesn’t want to talk to his mother, then you need to. Tell her that you have not in any way tried to come between her and her son, and that you demand and expect that she pay you the same respect, because you have been respectful of her and been loving and faithful to her son for 18 years, and it’s high time that she accepted it and started making some effort to try to get along instead of trying to antagonize you.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David Cunningham

Gentlemen, there are a great many mistakes that men make with their wives and girlfriends that involve their mothers. The biggest is in comparing your wife to your mother in any way. Women HATE that! If your wife cooks something that you prefer the way your mother did it, chances are a thousand times better that she’ll do it they way you like it if you said, “I really like it done (however you like it done),” instead of saying, “That’s not how my mother does it,” or “I like it better the way Mom does it.”

That’s not your mother’s house you’re living in; it’s yours and your partners, or at least it better be. If your mother has come to live with you because you don’t want her in an elderly care home, that’s great, as long as you are still leading the household and your wife maintains the respect she should command as your wife and co-owner of the house, but if you and your wife are living in your mother’s house, every goal you have had better take second place to getting a place of your own, because your partner needs a place in which to nest, and you have no idea of the grief you’ll be inviting on yourself if you don’t facilitate one quickly.

As with your wife’s mother, your mother is above all else, a woman, and must be treated as such. If she is too involved in your household, it’s because you let her by failing to establish your authority as head of your household, leaving her room to think that SHE is and act accordingly.

You must lead her, gently but firmly, to the level of involvement that you and your partner are comfortable with. You don’t ask her to give you a break, you tell her that you love her as much as you always did, but you are an adult and you need to lead an adult life, which includes making and being responsible for your choices. You tell her that while she has always been and will remain an important part of your life, she must pay you the respect of letting you lead your own household and live your own life with your own family. You tell her that she did a good job raising you, and she needs to accept that and let you rise to the challenges she prepared you for.

She may not like it at first, but she will respect it, and she’ll go along with it in the end. There may be testing from time to time to see if you were serious or just trying to placate your wife, so you must be consistent. But in the end, no matter whose mother (or mother-in-law) you’re interacting with, if you can’t stand up to her, as far as she’s concerned you can’t stand up for yourself or anybody else she cares about.

Men, women are not as difficult to talk with, get along with, understand and enjoy as we’ve been led to believe. Indeed, we’ve been programmed to think that it’s hard or impossible, just like they’ve been programmed to think that we’re insensitive jackasses who have no use for them except for sex. Our mothers were primarily the ones who programmed us, and their parents primarily were the ones who programmed them; there’s also been a lot of inappropriate reinforcement heaped on you from Hollywood and the politically correct media. But…

Deprogramming is a painless and fun process, and requires nothing but some good information about what women REALLY want, and what REALLY makes them tick. And contrary to what the world thinks (including Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychiatrist/psychologist, who is famous for saying, “The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, ‘What does a woman want?’”), that information is available, thanks to some hard work and the input of a few hundred women, and it’s entirely affordable for every man. Indeed, compared to the cost of a divorce, it’s damned-near free!

Luckily for you, it’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and you can download your copy right now at
http://www.makingherhappy.com. You’ve spent your whole life wishing somebody had written a book to tell you what women want and what makes them tick, and now it’s here, and there you sit, not seeing that what you’ve wished for your whole life is a few mouse-clicks away. Open your eyes and start living a life with your partner that will be even better than either of you have ever dreamed.

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

David Cunningham

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gentlemen, the Proper "Care and Feeding" of Your Mother-In-Law Is Critical to a Great Marriage

Your partner’s mother is also female, but the governing dynamics of your relationship with her require special handling.

We’re going to spend the next few days addressing the ways in which mothers can influence your relationship. Today, we’ll be talking about the woman’s mother, and tomorrow we’ll talk about the man’s, and then we’ll explore defending your wife from a meddlesome mother.

My mother-in-law has been in the spotlight in my own life over the last several days, and it has made me take a closer look at that relationship and what you might do to improve your relationship with your partner’s mother; whether you are married or not, her mother can be a significant influence on her life and yours, in either a positive or negative way; she can be a powerful ally or a formidable enemy, in which case, unless your partner is very young, rebellious, and impressionable (qualities you probably don’t want anyway), she could kill all attraction you could hope to create in your partner. Fortunately, you can have an influence on which way it goes. Think with me here for a few minutes, because understanding is requisite for success:

Your partner’s mother, to whom I will be referring as “MIL” (“Mother-In-Law) for brevity’s sake, is obviously and above all else, a woman. She therefore has “girly radar,” and picks up on all the nuances in your speech and behavior that any woman would. However, she is also, by definition, a mother, so she’s also equipped with “mama radar” (the eyes in the back of the head that can see through buildings and across space and time, the super hearing that lets her hear the cookie jar being opened in the next county, and an uncanny ability to identify the elusive “Mr. Nobody”), so she’s always on heightened alert with regard to any shenanigans that might affect her offspring, a.k.a., your partner. What does this mean to you?

For starters, with regard to B.S. (“bovine manure”) detection, she’s likely to be the equivalent of your partner on perception steroids. Hence, you cannot, under any circumstances, try to B.S. this woman. Aside from being more sensitive to it and naturally suspicious of you because you pose a potential threat to her daughter, she’s more experienced at spotting it than your partner and more jaded after having spotted more of it in her longer life, and since she’s not likely to be feeling attraction for you, has no reason whatsoever to overlook or forgive anything that feelings of attraction might mitigate.

Trying to impress her is also the kiss of death; the only real reason to try to impress someone is if you are so unsure of yourself that you don’t think it can happen naturally, and that is not a characteristic of any man that any woman wants her daughter mixed up with. Indeed, you can take any anti-attraction behavior I describe in this newsletter or in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and multiply the negative impact by ten or more if you exhibit it in your MIL’s presence. What happens then?

She switches into “protective mama mode” and starts telling her daughter all the bad things she’s seen in you to try to get her to see the same thing she sees “for her own good.” Even if your partner doesn’t accept it at first, it plants the seeds of worry, which stirs up emotional energy your partner will indulge to some degree just by virtue of being a woman and needing that emotional activity, which brings on more testing and more worry, which escalates until it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. How can this be avoided?

Actually, it’s pretty easy if you’re on the straight and narrow. It’s going to sound weird at first, but the answer is to treat your MIL just as you treat her daughter, just without the strong sexual overtones; responsibly adventurous, confident, fun and a bit flirtatious at times, but never seductive. You want her to see you as a strong, attractive man and good for her daughter, not feel like you’re coming on to her.

Be strong and playful with her. Showing her that you can be strong and playful will assure her that you will be able to protect her daughter from that most heinous of female enemies, the one that gets them in the most trouble the fastest, boredom.

Be of good character. Tell the truth at all times, and don’t be afraid to say the difficult things as long as you are factual without being mean or rude. She will have both her mama radar and girly radar engaged and sweeping on maximum sensitivity, and being a wuss or a liar is not an option. Remember that ANY woman’s first criteria for assessing a man is “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me.” In the MIL’s case, it’s more like “If you can’t stand up TO ME, you can’t stand up FOR MY DAUGHTER.” And MIL’s enforce that standard even more rigidly than their daughters.

Communicate with her as if she is important to you, because she is. Create a little tension by flip-flopping from naughty boy to alpha male, but don’t make it overtly sexual tension by dropping in bits of sexual innuendo like you would with your partner; the privilege of that kind of intimacy is exclusively for your partner, and is one of the things that makes her feel special. Lead your MIL as you would lead your wife, just lead her to fun or results, not to the bedroom, acknowledging her position without granting her authority over your life or your partner’s.

The bottom line? Your MIL can have nearly as big an impact on your life as your partner, and you must give her the respect that this position commands. You will find that if you do, she will be making positive comments to your partner, which make your partner both feel better about you and appreciate that you are treating her mother as a special person as well.

If for some reason you can’t respect her, then benign avoidance until you can is the only good answer, because if you try to fake anything, you’re toast. And yes, it’s true that a very few MIL’s will detest their daughter’s partner simply because he is her daughter’s partner, maybe because she perceives him as having stolen her daughter and maybe because she’s just psychotic, but it is important that you try to find out what the problem is and fix it if you can.

If she really thinks you’ve stolen her daughter, it may require nothing more than encouraging your daughter to make a weekly or biweekly habit of having afternoon tea, a shopping trip, trip to the salon, or something distinctly and femininely social with her, or something else that gives them some regular time together to demonstrate that you’re not trying to come between them. Don’t worry about how she’ll find out; your wife will let her know in the proper way that it was your idea. She wants this to work out, too, you know.

Showing up on time for all visits to her home helps too. It shows that you are responsible, respectful of her time, and that you aren’t trying to avoid her. Indeed, most people in any part of your life will tend to judge you and your relationship with them based on how timely you are. Being a little early is perceived as being enthusiastic, well-prepared, and engaged, being on time is considered at least a sign of preparedness and respect, and being late carries all manner of negative connotations with it, including indifference, disrespect, disorganization, incompetence, avoidance and irresponsibility, to name a few.

If she’s just psychotic, we’re back to benign avoidance. What is that exactly? You accept invitations to her home, but avoid deeply personal and controversial subject matter. You still give her an input channel as you must give any woman when you want to get along with her, but you don’t give her a channel through which to exert undue and unwanted influence. Be cordial, diplomatic, and aware of her non-verbal communication at all times, but don’t let her have control of a conversation to the extent that she can get a fight started, which above all else, means don’t be defensive or suck up. When trouble starts looking imminent, it’s time to take charge by changing the subject or simply leave if she persists – don’t let a fight get started.

In short, if you treat your MIL right, she can help your partner to see you in the positive light that helps to amplify your attractiveness, and if you don’t, she can kill it dead for you. Either way it’s your choice, so choose wisely. Much of your success with her will also come from understanding how to accurately and effectively communicate with a woman and being able to project the image of a manly man by BEING a manly man, both of which are covered clearly and effectively in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.”

Man, just think about that, one book that can bring you closer to your wife and your mother-in-law! (Through the understanding that you will gain of what women want and how they communicate, it will also improve your relationship you’re your daughters, sisters, mother, and all the other women in your life!) That’s a bargain at any price, but what you pay is less than the cost of a good meal for two at a good restaurant.

The question – and CHOICE – is whether you are going to go for it and make your wife and her mother – and thereby, YOURSELF – happy, or are you going to sit there thinking you already know all the answers, when in fact, you wouldn’t be reading this if you did and you know it. Quitters never win, and winners never quit, right? There’s your answer. Jump over to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy today, because life’s too short to spend it with a pain in the neck (or the butt)!

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

David Cunningham