Sunday, January 03, 2010

Signs That She’s About to Erupt, and a Miracle Cure for Tension and Drama in Relationships and Marriage

A guy asks if there are any tell-tale signs of a woman needing a drama fix. A few do come to mind… (WINK!!!)

This is one of my favorite topics, and it’s something fun and useful. To start the ball rolling, meet Zane:

Hey David,

I’ve been following you for a while and I see the things you talk about in my home every day, especially the testing and the drama. I got pretty good at handling the testing within a couple of days of reading about it in your book, but the drama thing has me stumped. I know she does it, I even know when she’s doing it and not expressing a genuine problem, but I can’t quite catch the knack of seeing it coming so I can head it off before it gets ridiculous. What am I missing?

Thanks,
Zane

Hey, Zane! Always good to hear from a fellow Southerner. (For all non-Southerners, “Hey” is Southern for “Hello, how are you?” We’re not lazy, just efficient.) You are indeed missing something, but it’s not hard to spot.

In "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," when I describe why women create drama (emotional boredom) and how they nearly always use negative pressure to create it because it’s both faster and easier to get a drama fix by stirring up a fight than by achieving something exciting, you missed the description of the progression of the problem in her and how it works up into an explosion.

Remember that in a woman’s emotional make-up, it’s boredom, not crisis, that is the biggest enemy. (See this article on our differing emotional scales for more details) If she doesn’t get relief from the boredom, she gets anxious, and then irritable, and you’ll watch her getting more and more uneasy and unreasonable as the tension within her builds. By the time she gets to the point of nearing an explosion, you’ll notice that her attitude has become very sour…

Let’s say your car broke down on your wedding anniversary and you jogged three miles to your house because she didn’t answer the phone when you called to tell her you were in trouble (okay, she was in the shower getting ready to go), and you hit the door late, sweaty, smelly, and tired. A woman in a normal state of mind would see that as heroic and be thrilled, where a woman in need of a drama fix would ignore the fact that you ran home to her and fight with you because you were late getting home. Get it?

Fights that break out over legitimate issues usually have some identifiable logic in them somewhere (although you may not be able to find it if you haven’t yet read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and become well-versed in what women want and what makes them tick). On the other hand, drama-induced fights are in a word, absurd. These are the fights in which she seems to be raising the roof over nothing, brings up things that happened 20 years ago, and plays dirty, and your warning signs are pretty much toned-down versions of that absurd behavior – being abnormally bothered by more and more insignificant things, preoccupation situations and details that she’d normally ignore, etc. Why?

She’s trying to milk enough emotion from those things to get her fix, and getting more and more frustrated by the hour because it’s not working any better as she deviates more and more from her normal behavior. That’s what you watch for. If on a normal day she’s fairly laid back, then you notice she’s acting depressed and tense, then fussy, then negative about everything she speaks of, trouble’s coming.

There are two things you can do. Let her pick the fight, which you will both regret, or you can buck up and admit that you failed to give her some positive emotion that she needed and make up for it with some sort of surprise act of leadership, mystery, and fun, but be advised, if she’s too far gone, your efforts may end up being the very thing she uses to start the fight, and all you can do is hang tough. What exactly does that mean?

It does not mean you should be abusive, or play dirty like she is apt to do. It means that when tension and voices start to rise, you must step immediately into that leadership role and exercise some stern – and maybe even tough – love, by calling her on whatever bratty behavior she’s committing. For instance…

She says, “That’s it! I’ve had it! I’m so sick of you ALWAYS buttoning the button in the middle of your shirt first and then bouncing up and down from bottom to top! Why can’t you just start at the top and work your way down like everybody else?!”

To which you reply, “Because that’s how I’m comfortable buttoning it, and I don’t really care what you or anybody else thinks about it. It’s ridiculous that you should even bring something like that up, and the only reason you’re doing it is because you’re bored to death and need the a rush. Now settle down, stop being a brat and conduct yourself with a little dignity, and let’s find a more productive way of giving you what you need without the two of us saying and doing something that we’ll both regret later.”

She may try to further escalate the situation after that to test your resolve, and if she does, there’s an answer to that as well, one that involves getting a bit cocky and having some fun with her, but rather than spell it out in detail I’m going to employ it now and tell you that if you want to know what it is, you’re going to have to read it in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" – LOL!

Face it, Guys; it’s not and has never been a secret that the simple act of wishing your wife a good morning and making it out the door to go to work in the morning can be the joy of your day or like walking through a mine field. You need to know how to listen to her and how to talk with her to get along with her. You need to know when to be tough and when to be gentle and reassuring, when to indulge and when to reject, when to make her laugh and when to stand tall and get serious. If things have slowed in your bedroom, that’s not old age setting in, it’s one of the first symptoms of real relationship problems, the kind that lead to affairs – a symptom of advanced relationship decay – and divorce. There are pills that can help with physical deficiencies, but not with lack of engagement, lack of attraction, lack of desire, etc.

And if you doubt it, I have readers and clients in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s that have been together 20-50+ years and are still “whooping it up” 3-4 times per week or more, while the national average for couples who have been together for two years or more is six times per year. Yep, that’s once every two months. Talk about decay…it’s a wonder their “organs” don’t rot due to lack of contact.

You can let things continue to decay and try to make a heroic save at the last minute, which can indeed be done under the right circumstances and with the right help, or you can take the easier path and employ the same tools now, when you are not under so much pressure and have far less damage to correct, to fix everything that’s broken and keep your relationship running like a precision machine. The cost is the same (at best – it can be MUCH worse if you wait!), and it takes less time and effort to do it now before everything goes critical.

The big question is whether you are the kind of man who puts everything off and unnecessarily risks the future of his family by letting it fall into crisis before doing anything about it or if you are the kind of man who steps up and does what is necessary to keep his family – and himself – happy. What kind of man are YOU?

If you’re the kind who sees the wisdom of fixing the little problems to keep them from getting big and maintaining a happy status quo, or if you’re the kind who likes to fix them early but have been unable to find answers before things got bad, then you need to click over to http://www.makingherhappy.com right now and get your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and put things on the right track. If you’re the kind who puts things off until the last minute because you just don’t want to deal with them until you’re forced to, then I’ll be seeing you later, or if not me, your wife’s boyfriend, and probably her attorney. It’s your call; make it a good one!

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

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