Saturday, August 07, 2010

How Much Is Too Much? Gifts, Rings, Appreciation, and Predators in Relationships and Marriage

Where do you cross the line from an appropriate gift to a red flag? Where does she cross the line from a woman of taste to a gold-digging abuser? It’s not hard to tell if you know what to look for…do YOU?

And welcome to all who just arrived by way of Shelley McMurtry’s newsletter. Shelley is about as sharp as they come, and especially good at being self-aware and reporting an honest and accurate look at female perspective. She’s a dating guru, but I encourage all who have not yet at least read a month of her newsletters to do so, because there’s always something to learn about women when a woman like her is speaking.

By the way, for all newbies, there are a couple of free reports for you linked in the right margin of the HTML version of this newsletter (if you see colors and fancy fonts, it’s the HTML version) and near the bottom in the plain text version that you will absolutely want to read. They are called “Break-Up Busting 101” and “What Women REALLY Want,” are about 50 pages or so each, and while they have a very short plug for my book at the end, are not just glorified sales letters, but real reports made up of specially-chosen newsletter lessons on these subjects, the two I get the most questions about.

We also have a forum at where we discuss my work, your problems and results, relationship and marriage issues, hobbies, and all sorts of other things that you won’t want to miss. And unlike other forums you’ve visited, there is no “blind leading the blind,” people who have screwed up looking to validate their mistakes by suggesting that others repeat them, or abusive, judgmental jerks calling people derogatory names because they don’t agree with them. Your privacy and dignity are protected to the best of our ability, so join us.

I get a lot of questions about specific gifts, how to choose them, what is appropriate, etc., but most aren’t really questions that make for good copy for this newsletter (because the topic has already been covered pretty thoroughly in previous editions) and are therefore answered privately, but there is one issue that comes up frequently that is pretty sticky, that of engagement rings. And for those of you with marriage problems who are thinking about trying to buy a gift to get out of trouble or revive the fire in your marriage, there are even bigger lessons for you here, too, so stick with me.

One of my friends has been dating a woman for nearly two years, and finally decided it was time to pop the question, and she said, “No!” – immediately, emphatically, and with conviction. Why?

Because he had made two mistakes. The first was in buying and presenting the ring before she answered, a blatant wussy maneuver if ever there was one, and unfortunately a very common mistake. Guys, think for a minute: If you have to buy a woman’s acceptance of your marriage proposal with a piece of jewelry, what does that say about each of you?

First, it says that you don’t think you’re worth marrying and are trying to buy your way into her life. It also says that you think that she can be bought, which is one whale of an insult to any woman of character; a woman who could be swayed by the presentation of the ring at that moment isn’t worth having. However, in this case, making this mistake probably saved my buddy’s life, because she rejected him due to his second mistake, which in truth was no mistake at all…

She rejected him because the ring wasn’t expensive enough! She flatly told him that if he couldn’t present her with at least a two-carat stone he could forget it. He was heartbroken when he called, thinking he’d been a fool and had blown the best thing that could ever happen to him.

It was actually the greatest thing he could have done, because she proved in that one simple statement that she could be bought, wanted to be bought, had already established her price, and was high-priced and high-maintenance. I asked him to describe their history to me and it was just as you would expect.

They met in a bar, he bought all the drinks, the dinner later, paid for everything every time they went out, ended up buying her a car when hers needed a major repair and making all the deposits and down payments on a new apartment when she was evicted for not paying her rent, refused to talk to him days and even weeks at a time if he showed up without a satisfactory gift, etc. He was calling me to find out how big a ring to try to buy to salvage the situation. Can you guess what I told him?

I told him to not bother, because she was a gold-digging parasite who had bled him for two years already, and that if he didn’t believe me, she would gladly prove it to him. Just don’t call her, and when she calls, tell her that he didn’t want to talk to her because he had realized that she was just asking for too much. Her response would be one of the following:

1. Indignation, to try to press his buttons and guilt-trip him into reversing himself,

2. Abuse, to try to shift him into approval-seeking mode and get him to try to buy her approval,

3. Complete capitulation without discussion, as she realized that she pushed too hard and scrambled to try to regain control of her meal ticket.

He agreed after considerable discussion, and she didn’t make him wait long. She called two days later wanting to know why he hadn’t called. He responded as instructed, and she went berserk, first yelling at him about how he didn’t appreciate all she’d done for him in the last two years, which pretty much came down to being late every time he was to pick her up and giving him something other than his retirement account to stuff money into, as there had been no sex in months and it turned out he’d asked her to marry him in hopes of reigniting their sex life. (If I had known this was happening I could have helped long ago, but most guys don’t talk about these problems with other guys.)

He pointed out to her that the relationship had been terribly one-sided and that in fact he had done a whole lot more for her than she had for him, and she shifted gears and went into the pity ploy, talking about all her hard times and how if he really loved her like he said he did he would have tried to make it up to her with a bigger ring. (Guilt trip!) He responded that those problems had been the result of her own choices, many of those choices against his advice, and that he was tired of paying for her to have the luxury of making bad choices.

Right on cue, she burst into tears, started begging, promising that she’d change, there’d be sex every day, and it would be better than it ever was, and all that nonsense. Just too predictable for words.

Now understand, most bad women will not go into a melt-down like that. She was betting large holding a trash hand and he called her bluff. Most bad women would only go through one of those three little dances, not all three, but apparently she was an amateur. Some women actually hate men so badly that they want nothing but to control them and bleed them dry. Others are just losers who drift from bank account to bank account…er…I mean, man to man, draining them dry along the way.

Fortunately, these are a minority (and there is absolutely NO reason to settle for one of them when there are so many good women around), and as you can see, or are about to see, pretty easily spotted. Good women want a good man, and want to share love, life, victories, celebrations, tender moments, sex, and even bad moments, not as a parasite or predator, but as a real partner. Thankfully, they greatly outnumber the bad ones.

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while or have your own copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you’ve seen me post quite a few red flags, especially in the book. Here’s a list of the biggies:

1. A woman who makes demands about gifts, especially if she isn’t contributing to the household income, and doubly especially if she insists on choosing her own gifts, especially her own engagement ring, or makes sure that you get a message through one of her friends about anything except the ring’s size (not the size of the diamond, but the diameter of the ring, i.e., size 7)

2. A woman who is frequently in trouble, and expecting you to bail her out

3. A substance abuser who defends their substance abuse in any way

4. A woman who seems to always be having problems but never doing anything about them

5. A woman who has all the trappings of wealth but no visible means of support, i.e., expensive clothes, car, etc., but expecting you to pay for everything (Women of means generally insist at least on going Dutch-treat and often prefer to pick up the check themselves.)

6. A woman who constantly acts helpless, especially if she is also overly-flirtatious with everyone at all times, obviously seeking attention and assistance.

7. A woman who left a well-paying career to have kids so that she could be a "stay-at-home-mom," but baby-sitters and daycare providers see much more of the kids than she does and she’s not gone back to work.

As I said, this list is not comprehensive, it’s just the biggies; there are a lot more in my book and in past issues of this newsletter, available in the archive (see the link below) or past posts on my blog. If you’re currently in a relationship with one of these women, face it, you’ve screwed the pooch, and you need to face reality: she’s not going to get any better, and you’re going to continue to foot the bill, financially, emotionally, etc., for her indiscretions.

Sad, but true. And it’s not too hard to tell, either. Aside from the above list, if you’ve tried giving gifts to get out of trouble and it’s taking larger and larger gifts to get you out of the doghouse, bad news, Brother. You’re performing according to program. You may think that she’s eating out of your hand for at least the few days following that gift, but the truth is that she’s had you eating out of hers all along. Your solution is the same (dumping her hard and fast). It will just cost you more to get out of a marriage than an engagement.

If you’re still having a hard time grasping the facts that such women exist and that you may be dating or married to one of them, don’t take my word for it. Go to Google or Bing! and search for “toxic wife” and you’ll get the picture -- and the proof -- fast.

If you take nothing else from this lesson, take this: NEVER, EVER, in any facet of your life, commit to someone to get them to do anything. Don’t marry a woman to get her to have sex with you. Don’t make babies to try to bring a marriage closer together. Don’t buy a house to give your wife something to focus on and stop being a nag. If the good behavior that should be present in a good relationship isn’t there, you can’t buy it, with commitment or anything else. Further entangling yourself with someone with whom a relationship isn’t working is just giving you more to have to detangle – and most often, simply sacrifice – to get out.

Ladies, that goes for you, too; if your marriage is on the rocks, getting pregnant isn’t going to fix it. At most it will get you child support payments in the divorce, which are not going to make up for the hassle of raising a child alone and without paternal influence. Buying a big house isn’t going to fix it either, because adding a big mortgage payment to your troubles is just going to drive you farther apart, and for you young girls with a head full of mush where your brain will be when your hormones stop raging to make a baby, I wouldn’t count on getting the house while he gets stuck with the payments; that doesn’t happen much anymore.

Gents, there are a LOT of good women in the world, luckily far more good ones than bad ones. You may have to wait for them to mature enough to not be under the spell of reproductive hormones to be able to be the good woman they were born to be, but they are out there, in abundance. Identifying them isn’t that hard when you know what to look for, and getting along with them is really pretty easy when you understand how to communicate with them and what they want, out of life and out of you. Luckily for you, there is a single source where you can learn everything you need to know to do exactly that, to have a great relationship with a great woman, even if you have to get a bad one out of the way first. Best of all, you can afford it!

It’s called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s an instant download at It costs less than dinner for two at a good restaurant (and tens of thousands less than a divorce or life with a gold-digger!), and is guaranteed to work. Download it now and start putting your life back on track, because life’s too short to live it doing anything less than enjoying it.

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

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