Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Women Really Want in Relationships and Marriage, Part 3A, the Dark Side

Is your relationship a good one, or are you just swimming in wishful thinking? My old friend Matt was drowning in it, but he – and YOU – can do better, if you know what the woman in your life really wants…

As we continue to talk about what women want from a man, we’re going to deviate momentarily to the dark side, and call your attention to the calamities that can occur if you don’t know what the woman in your life wants. We’ll start with my old friend Matt:

I ran into him over the holidays, and it really made me realize just how great a life I live; it’s not a perfect life, as any life has room for improvement, lest it get too boring to bear, but I know exactly where I stand on every aspect of my life, and know what’s working, what could be better, and at any given moment, if something isn’t working, I can make a rational decision as to whether to fix the problem or separate myself from the situation because there’s nothing to be gained by making the effort. I know what my wife wants, expects, and responds to at all times, and there are no nasty surprises.

No so for my old friend Matthew…

“Matt” was a pretty mediocre guy in most respects when we were growing up together, but he’s a great communicator, has an eye for detail, and hence has made a very successful career in business-to-business technology sales, but he’s never been able to really accept that success, and has a huge self-esteem deficit. To make matters worse, to try to feed his ego – that nasty stuff that fills the void between a person’s current self-esteem level and their needed self-esteem level – he’s surrounded himself with the trappings of success – big house, expensive cars and jewelry, private aircraft, and unfortunately, a totally unappreciative trophy bride – to try to make himself feel better about himself.

There are a few laws in this universe that cannot, under any circumstances, be broken, no matter how much one wishes to break them; one of these is the law of cause and effect. Unfortunately, this seems to be the one that everybody wants to try to break routinely and with impunity, and nobody has ever gotten away with it. In the case of success, success causes the attitude and trappings of success; faking a successful attitude and surrounding oneself with the rewards does not create success, nor the genuine attitude or self-esteem of success. In Matt’s case, because he was never really able to see himself as having risen above his mediocrity to excellence, in spite of having been the top salesman in his company since the first year he was there. He’s trying to fool himself into believing what he should already have accepted long ago. As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s his trophy bride…pronounced “toxic wife.”

His trophy bride is a gold-digging predator. They’ve been together fourteen years and he catches her in a new affair about every month. She knows just what buttons to push to keep him seeking her approval, and blaming him for her affairs in such a way that he accepts the blame and works harder at his job to try to buy more of her attention! I didn’t get to talk to him long enough to find absolute proof, but at the time we parted, there was a huge body of evidence that she was in fact the sole cause of his total lack of self-esteem and acceptance of his success, because he had never been “good enough” for her to accept him and be happy with him instead of having all of her “toy boys” while managing to keep him on the edge of bankruptcy the entire duration of their sham of a marriage.

As we talked, she would disappear for long periods, show up for a few minutes to push his buttons, and then flutter off again as a social butterfly constantly does. When he finished describing his situation, I asked how he saw their future, he said, “Well, we’ve been together for fourteen years and she’s not left yet, so she must be incredibly patient with me. I’ve just got to work harder to find a way to satisfy her and when I do, I’m sure everything will finally come together.” My jaw about hit the floor.

In fourteen years, she’s had a dozen affairs per year on average (that’s 168!), she’s spent everything he’s made and has them pretty deeply in debt with no retirement savings, despite his million dollar-plus annual income, and he thinks she’s “patient”??? Sure she is! She has a very generous sugar-daddy footing the bill for her “brattitude” and excesses thinking he needs to work even harder to buy her love! There’s no way she’s going to get impatient with him, except to the extent required to keep him in approval-seeking mode! That is, until the ten million dollar or hundred million dollar annual income opportunity shows up, of course.

As you might have surmised, when I asked him why he hadn’t ended the relationship long ago because he obviously wasn’t getting anything but an early trip to the grave out of the deal, his reply was, “But she’s such a great person, and she really loves me!” Yeah, she was great alright; she looked like something off the cover of a fashion magazine, indeed, quite a bit like super model Christy Brinkley in her prime, and that was about as far as great went.

She was haughty, aloof, thoroughly abusive to him (she said some things to him while he and I were talking that I would say to somebody to try to start a fight), and was coming on to other men just a few feet away from where we were talking, not just in plain sight from where we were sitting, but she would even look over at him and toss her head with a smug look on her face like he wasn’t good enough to watch her enjoying herself with another man and wasn’t man enough to stop her. It was truly pathetic.

So what’s the point? Matt could have saved himself years of a pretty bad life if he has just accepted the law of cause and effect, especially with regard to his wife. Her actions did not in any way support her – or HIS -- claims of loving him; she said she did, but her serial affairs and open disrespect for him said otherwise. He knew nothing of what she really wanted, even though it was plain as day in front of him the whole time.

Matt’s case is a great example of the more sinister side of female desire, but what about the more benign or even nurturing woman whose needs are not being met? Meet reader and counseling client “Jack,” whose name has been changed to protect the blind and knuckleheaded:

Hi David,

I can’t thank you enough for your help and your insight. After a bitter divorce and custody battle, losing most of what I had in the world and getting saddled with alimony and child support payments that reduce my take home pay to about minimum wage, I finally got her to talk to me, stop treating me like the enemy, and tell me her version of what brought us to where we are. There was a lot of drama, a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of what I would have called rhetorical questions in the past, and a lot of anger and tears, but along the way there emerged two repeating themes. I never listened to her and I never gave her the chance she gave me by helping her to finish college.

You know all about the listening problem from our sessions, and it was just like you said on the phone and in your book. She never uttered a direct word in her life, did the whole questions and statements reversal thing and always assumed that what was obvious to her was obvious to me so she never stated the obvious, but this time I heard her, drew her out with questions to show interest and led the discussion when she stopped talking like you said, and found out along the way that she didn’t quit school because she wanted to have babies, she quit because she was GOING TO HAVE A BABY, and wanted to go back to college when our son entered grade school! In my deafness and arrogance, I thought she wanted to be a stay at home, full time mother and homemaker, because I misunderstood what she said when I asked her about it and didn’t press her for more detail, making her think I’d closed off the discussion and her desire and need for achievement didn’t matter.

We have called a truce, we’re talking daily, and there is a lot of testing going on right now, but she has brought up the subject of getting back together twice, and a discussion of her going back to school and having a career has followed that quickly both times. We’re putting our life and our family back together now, thanks to you. If there’s ever anything I can do for you, let me know.


Jack leaves out a few details that we spoke about on the phone later when I called to follow up, such as the motivation behind his wife’s desire to have a college degree and a career. She didn’t want to be a kept woman, resented kept women (which sounds like an issue that she needs to see a coach, counselor, or therapist about, because resentment is never healthy and she could just ignore them), and wanted the degree and career to make a fair contribution to the household and help facilitate early retirement for both of them.

Do you see what she was upset about? Her husband had so badly misconstrued what he saw and heard that he thought of her and her desires as exactly opposite who she really was and wanted! No wonder she left! And her desires, unlike Matt’s wife, were about as honorable and loving as they could be! It’s not just what all women want, think and respond to that is important to you as a man; what your partner wants, thinks and responds to as an individual is equally important, and if you know what you should know about women in general, especially how to listen to and talk with them, you will have everything you need to know the specifics that make your partner who she is.

What’s going on in your relationship? Do you know where you stand? Do you know what needs to be done to make things as good as they can be? Are your partner’s actions consistent with her proclamations of love? Do you know enough about the emotions of love, attraction, need, and lust to know if it’s really love that she’s professing – that being “in love” has nothing whatsoever to do with love?

And by the way, what exactly are YOU professing and really feeling? You say you know exactly what you’re feeling? You say how could anybody be so stupid as to not know what love is? The overwhelming majority of the men I coach who are facing divorce got married for the wrong reason or their wife did, because one or both of them mistook attraction, need, or lust for love. Read the confessions and consequent evolutions of some of your fellow men on our forum if you don’t want to take my word for it, and compare what they’ve said about their life to what’s happening in yours. And if you’re still not sure, there is a fool-proof evaluation system in my book that will tell you what everybody is feeling and what you should do about it.

Are your communications skills such that if she were to tell you what she needed that you would hear her and understand what she wants, or are you one of those men who thinks that his relationship is going great when he finds his wife in his bed with another man or opens the envelope and finds divorce papers? If you don’t know whether you do or not, or if you know that you don’t know, you don’t know enough, and I can help.

“THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” was developed to serve precisely this purpose, to help you assess your relationship, see what might be lacking, determine whether or not it’s worth fixing, and either get out gracefully or go for the gold with determination and confidence. It teaches you what is known about all women so that you can probe for and discover these fine points about your partner, and bring things in line to a degree you’d never dream possible.

Jump over to and see what it can do for you. Download it. Put it to work. Make your relationship everything it can be if it’s a good one or get out and start over if it’s not, because life is too short to spend it bored, frustrated, scared, cheating (or with a cheater), or celibate.

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

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