Saturday, August 28, 2010

Desperation: the Great Destroyer of Lives, Relationships and Marriage

What’s the old saying? “Desperate times call for desperate measures…”? Well, maybe, but the last thing they call for are desperate people making a bigger mess of things through desperate, irrational acts. How do you handle trouble in your relationship? Do you act desperate and go out of your way to try to please your partner? Not if you want them back!

I got the strangest call from a friend in Phoenix, and I have to share some of the details with you. My friend Jake, a man’s man if ever there was one, called and said he and his wife of 22 years were suddenly having a lot of trouble, and he was scared to death he was going to lose her. I was instantly in shock when I heard this, because I’ve known him since we were at the Air Force Academy together in the early 1980’s, and “fear” is one word I could never put in the same sentence with his name, unless it was to say he had none for anything or anyone.

As an example, Jake and his wife met sky-diving. Her chute failed to open, he saw it, chased her and caught her in the air before opening his own, and they had never met before that, other than sharing the ride up to jump altitude. He sort of reminds me of the character “Swoop” in the Wesley Snipes movie “Drop Zone,” just a fearless maniac, and his wife is just like him.

Getting back to the call, Jake’s business had started to slow down, and he had some severe personal catastrophes (simultaneous deaths of both parents and a brother in a car accident, robbery at this house, and his wife nearly car-jacked – didn’t happen because she was armed!) within a very short period of time, and the pressure got to him and understandably “rattled” him a bit. He started sticking a little closer to his wife, and she subconsciously started picking up on wuss signals and losing interest in him after 22 years, which REALLY rattled him, and in a weakened state he wussed completely out and said to her, for the first time in 22 years, “I need you,” instead of “I love you.” You can guess what happened next…

She went ballistic! Now remember, these are two of the most fiercely independent and fearless people I’ve ever met, and I’ve been among the cream of the world’s crop. This started a cycle, the same cycle that always sets in when a “scarcity mentality” (as John Alanis puts it) sets in, a cycle of one partner getting insecure and needier and the other partner rejecting them more because of it, which in turn feeds the insecurity and intensifies the neediness, which amplifies the rejection, etc. Jake became desperate and did what desperate men do in a relationship – he wussed out and made it worse!

Desperation is a state of fear, the strongest of emotions, that borders on terror; you’re still able to act where terror would immobilize you entirely, but you’re completely unable to think and proceeding entirely on emotion. Here’s a big, BIG tip: Real-world problems require real-world solutions. Desperate problems and desperate people still require real-world solutions. When you ignore reality, things don’t get better, they get worse!

Jake knew from 22 years of living with his wife how she would react to him being a wuss, and he did it anyway! He lost sight of reality! Needless to say, when I pointed this out to him, he did the typical alpha male thing and spent a minute kicking his own ass, then said, “I gotta do some serious damage control, and yeah, I know what to do. I’ll call ya in a day or two when the smoke clears,” and hung up. I can hear the conversation that followed with his wife, as he related it later:

“Yeah, dammit, I freaking wussed out because everything came at once and the stress just got to me. I haven’t forgotten who I am and I certainly haven’t forgotten who you are, either. I’m going to apologize for the wuss act, for no other reason than because after 22 years of being married to you, I know that wussing out on you was just plain freaking insulting, and you didn’t deserve it. I talked to Dave (I hate it when he calls me that and I swear I think he does it just to yank my chain!) and he told me I’ve had my head up my ass and he’s right, so it’s over and not going to happen again. Now get over here and gimme me some lovin’, you saucy-looking wench, so I can get back to work.”

Obviously, not everyone would or should handle that situation with exactly that language, but that’s Jake and the way he handles things is blunt and head-on, a text-book example of an Alpha Male, and his wife is the same way, at least to the extent that women can be. She’ll know the crisis is past because he’s acting like himself and not seeking her approval anymore, which is what she’s looking for to know that things are back to normal. For them, it took a few seconds to patch things up, as I’m sure he’ll tell me about in a few days when he gets a new handle on business, takes some time to grieve for his lost parents, etc., but for an average couple, it would probably take a few days to a couple of weeks to turn things back around because entering into wuss mode is a pretty serious offense, as is the failure to recognize reality and think before you act.

Speaking of which, I’m going to mention as another example of what desperation can do to you something that happened to one of you. I’m not going to reprint his e-mails because I haven’t obtained his permission to use them, but this is too compelling an example to not use here. He wrote saying his wife had filed for divorce after they had a wonderful dating period and marriage which suddenly went south when their first child was born because they started behaving differently. He still had the presence of mind to recognize from these newsletters that he had slipped into wuss mode, but failed to notice the significance of several of the details he mentioned in the newsletter.

First, she had filed for divorce, but was telling him that she still cared about him and they still got along well, and had even been out to dinner together alone (without their child). Say it with me, Ladies, loud and clear so the men will hear you: “She testing him and/or trying to provoke him to kick him out of wuss mode!” Also, she said she had just lost her “deep feelings” for him. Ladies??? Yep, ATTRACTION was gone because he was in wuss mode. And the kicker: he said he couldn’t afford a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage”! I’ve spent a lot more than the cost of that book on LUNCH! Could he then afford the legal fees, alimony, child support, and property settlement coming down the pike from the impending divorce??? His dinner dates each cost more than the book, and could make every dinner he had with her for the rest of his life something exciting!

I took the better part of a couple of hours to analyze everything he had said and sent him back a list of significant details and indications that had missed, including the above points, and a short time later I saw an e-mail notification from my merchant account company where he had purchased my book and a “thank you” letter from him for helping him get his feet back on the ground. A few hours after that came another e-mail saying he was half-way through the book, was already recognizing some of the signals in their conversations and a lot of his previous wuss behavior, and extremely excited. Seeing a plan start forming and realizing that there is action you can take to make a difference can eliminate feelings of desperation in the blink of an eye, but none of that can happen if you ignore reality and the lessons it holds for you while in a state of fearful desperation.

Don’t let what happened to these couples happen in your home. Learn how to communicate with your partner on a level that neither of you dared dream of, and learn what it takes to continuously and automatically keep her excited, interested, and attracted to you, and she will return your effort many-fold. For us men, it takes some effort, but for the ladies in our lives, it’s automatic – they are biologically wired to take care of us as long as we take care of them.

They still must expend effort and energy to do so, but they don’t have to make a conscious effort to figure out how like we do, and enjoy doing it when given the opportunity. That’s why I chose the name for my web site, makingherhappy.com, because the key to a happy and harmonious relationship really is in making HER happy by keeping that attraction alive and well, being the alpha male that your “Y” chromosome gives you the infrastructure to be, having fun with her being the naughty boy, tripping her triggers so that all those wonderful and entirely automatic responses we love (nurturing, playfulness, adventurousness, seduction, etc.) happen.

The really cool part is that all those things that you are supposed to do are as automatic for you as hers are to her, and you just have to strip away decades of disinformation and programming. That’s why it works; there is nothing unnatural, nothing made up or put on, nothing that could even be called “faking it until you make it” about it. And don’t take my word for it, either. Come to our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and ask the members there, about a third of whom are women.

When you think about it, love, attraction, and an appropriate level of respect, commitment, and responsibility are really all women ask of us in return for all the wonderful nurturing, partnership and intimacy they are prepared to give us, and in that light it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, does it? Don’t ignore reality. You probably already have everything it takes to knock her socks off except the know-how (you knew how at one time or it happened naturally, else you probably wouldn’t be in a long-term relationship or marriage right now, would you?), and the know-how is in my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now and make things right, before you find yourself in that desperate downward spiral.

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

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