Thursday, December 02, 2010

How Many "I Love You's" Are Enough for a Great Relationship or Marriage?

MUST READ: Some women keep writing about wanting to hear the words “I love you” more often. Others write complaining they hear it too much! Just how much is enough?

There are times when women’s emotionally-driven drama and antics really get on our nerves as men. There are also some things that appear to be dramatic because they are so irrational, but are in fact not dramatic at all, and things that you need to be aware of and address when necessary. This is some of the most important information ever presented in this newsletter, contains advice for both men and women, and if you miss part of it you can absolutely wreck your relationship with what you skipped over, so read this carefully and in its entirety and make sure you understand it. First, meet Tasha:

Hi David,

Can you tell me how to get my husband to stop being a needy little twerp? Every time his mouth opens, he says, “I love you.” It’s like a compulsion. He can’t end a discussion, enter or leave a room, or hang up the phone without saying it. It’s more like a greeting than a declaration of any kind of feeling. He’s coming across to me as saying it just to get me to say it back to him. It’s been happening for a month now, constantly since we went to my high school reunion (20 years) and I saw my high school boyfriend there (and his wife and pictures of their five children) and we talked for about 20 minutes and had a dance. He’s making me nuts!

Please help,
Tasha


Tasha’s problem was handled privately by a coaching session with her husband, in which I helped him realize that a 20-minute conversation to catch up on 20 years of absence and a dance, which didn’t even turn out to be a slow, intimate dance, was nothing to worry about, but do you see her primary complaint? Too many “I love you’s” equated to habit and insecurity, not an expression of love. Now for the other side of the coin, meet Carol:

Dear David,

I have read every newsletter you have ever written, and I have read your book as well and loved it. I had to learn to do many of the things in your book since I was taught a totally different way to handle relationships. I am sorry to say that I was one of these women that would let a man into her life and then totally turn it over to him to run because I wanted to be led. I learned that I was not letting them lead me, but was letting them run over me.
Now I see just how wrong and how dangerous it was to me and to my future to let men run my life.

The reason I am writing this letter is because I want to know something and I felt like you would be the one to help me answer this one.

I know that my boyfriend loves and wants to be with me and that I am the only one in his life, but I still like to hear it from time to time. I know that sounds like I may be needy or insecure, but I’m sure you know all women like to know that both parties in the relationship they are in have the same feelings. I am sorry if that is wrong but that is how I feel.

Thank you for you time,
Carol


My reply:

Hi Carol, and thanks for writing. I’m going to point out something to you here, something that I know you’ve read in past editions but may have missed the significance of, and then I’m going to clue you and everyone else in on why this is the way that it is and how men should handle it.

First, I want to caution you and all women, for reasons you will fully understand in a moment, that while the words “I love you” are good for an emotional rush, they should never be trusted in and of themselves, period. Your knowledge of whether a man or any other person loves you should come from their actions; a man, especially a psychopathic predator, could put a bullet or a cudgel right between your eyes or open your throat from ear to ear while saying “I love you,” but no man can keep up the act that creates the illusion of love for very long at all if it is indeed just an act. It doesn’t take a lot of testing and there’s no need for suspicion; simply check that his normal actions say that he loves you before accepting the words. For instance…

Does he beat the hell out of you and then say, “I’m sorry, Sweetheart! I really love you!” If he does, he’s a lying sack of crap.

Does he drink up his paycheck, and when he tells you there’s no money for groceries that week, say, “but I love you and everything will be okay”? No, he doesn’t. He loves his bottle, not himself or you.

Does he work at his job, come home, and spend quality time with you (and the kids if you have them)? Does he make decisions that consider how they will affect you as a couple? Does he treat you with respect, as if he values your company and your input, instead of putting you down or even worse, whining about how he can’t live without you? If so, listen when this guy says he loves you, even if he says it only silently through his actions, because he does. His actions prove it.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


Now to the hard part: Why is it that even the most secure women, those who live in a relationship in which it is blatantly self-evident from a man’s actions that he loves her deeply, constantly complain that they don’t hear “I love you” enough?

Guys, I have to admit that this evaded me for a long time, and it wasn’t until I learned how women communicate and about their socially-oriented nature that it made sense to me, and most of them are unaware of it as well. You should have seen their faces when I asked them about it; it was like a light coming on when it struck home for them. Ready?

Women need to hear this because they are biologically-driven to need to hear it, just like they need to hear a verbal commitment to a relationship after a couple of months of dating or they walk out on a perfectly good thing. It’s part of the emotionally-driving biological mechanism that distinguishes their behavior, especially their socially-oriented nature and their communications methods and infrastructure, from ours.

They need to hear the words when they already know we love them because they are born communicators and also because they need that little romantic/dramatic lift that it creates when it “seals the deal.” They also need to see that we can say it frequently enough without blurting it out every few minutes like some needy wuss who spouts it like a litany to hypnotize her into staying around. It's like their need to share and emotionally milk their problems with their girlfriends; irrational, involuntary, and potentially self-destructive, but nonetheless a fact of life and a need that must be fulfilled, one way or another, by somebody.

Now, how much is enough? Or too much?

That depends on the woman, but generally speaking, no woman I’ve interviewed, when asked how she felt about the frequency with which her man said he loved her, who was satisfied said any more than once or twice a day (once every day or two was average), and for those who were dissatisfied, their men were at the extremes, either pestering or boring them to death with it nearly every time they spoke or going many days or even weeks without saying it at all. And hearing it without some context that tells that he was really feeling it at the moment was often mentioned as bad, too.

Take heed here: You can say it too often, as well as not enough. Women bore easily, and with most things, less is more, but there has to be some, because none is unacceptable. If you have a healthy love relationship, there should be some intimate moment come along every day or two, or even twice a day sometimes, that makes you realize how much you love this woman. When that happens, that’s when it’s good to tell her, because during those intimate moments is when she’d really like to hear it, and the situation and your body language will confirm that you’re feeling it, giving you credibility. It helps feed the emotions that she’s feeling, and if it’s honest, it’s right. No act, no routine, no pressure – simply letting it come out when it’s genuinely on your mind is likely to be just right.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, let “I love you” become a habit. We all hear so many people closing telephone conversations with it, as if it is some ritual greeting, and that’s bad because it makes the experience so mundane and boring. If you’re with somebody who has to hear it every time your mouth is open, that’s a HUGE red flag, because it’s not the emotion of love that she (or he) is feeling; it’s that really ugly one: NEED, the kind that breeds and feeds dependence and insecurity, the leper’s bell of a scarcity mentality at work and a high-maintenance dependent looking for someone to suck dry. And then you get to see the scarcity mentality’s really evil twin, entitlement mentality, up close and personal as this person becomes more and more demanding.

If that’s where you are, you’re in big trouble, and you need to do a serious evaluation of your relationship. And if you’re the one saying “I love you” too much as I’ve described, you need to be doing something to develop some self-esteem, fast, or you are never going to find happiness, even briefly. There are several on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, who are going through this process, realizing that they do have value and have the right to recognize it, and watching their evolution is both educational and inspiring. You should join us and check it out.

Relationships are only complicated when you don’t know enough about how they work, and/or about each other. Learning about them and each other doesn’t have to be a matter of reading an encyclopedia of dry, technical, academically-oriented psychological theories and then trying to apply it without knowing whether the theories even hold water. I’ve seen those books, and if you’ve been looking for answers for your relationship, you’ve likely seen them as well.

They didn’t work for me, and indeed made things so much worse that I had to research and quite literally find enough answers to write my own book to have the improvement I needed. If those books worked for you, you wouldn’t be looking here, either, would you?

There’s a better answer, written in plain conversational English, that contains solid, tested explanations of how relationships really work, how women really think and speak, and what they really want, with examples and advice, and the best part is two-fold: you can afford it, and you can do what you find within it. Interested?

It’s called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and you can download it at http://www.makingherhappy.com and be reading it in the next few minutes. Go head, do it now, because while all the achievers are reading this book, getting answers and putting them to work to better their life, the losers are sitting around questioning whether it will work for them and going further and further down that unhappiest of all roads, relationship boredom and crisis.

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

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