Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Are You Doing to Kill Attraction in YOUR Relationship or Marriage?

Among all the wuss behavior that men have been taught over the centuries, appearing inferior, submissive, and/or subservient to a woman is one of the most powerful attraction killers in existence. You may not realize when you’re doing it, and what’s worse, they may be expecting you to do it, not realizing that once you have, attraction has been damaged. Men and women alike need to understand this, because we must start undoing centuries of damage to how men and women get along.

A reader’s letter today (one that I must keep private for the time being because it involves on-going issues that could be used to violate his privacy) made me ponder just how many things do we do that we think are polite (John!), cool (Raymond!), cute (Allan!), sexy (Dale!), romantic (Brent!), etc., that in fact are wussy and kill attraction? Remember, attraction is a subconscious/subliminal/biological mechanism, about the last remnant we have of “instinct,” and it doesn’t matter what we think or choose to believe about behavior, because it’s not our beliefs that determine the response of other people; indeed, for the most part, it’s biology and chemistry, not volitional choice.

Guys, poll the women you know and see how many think a dozen roses are romantic these days. You’ll find that most of them think they are cliché, and therefore boring, not romantic, and if they are received at any time other than an anniversary, they are a good sign that you’ve done something bad and you’re feeling guilty! Sucks, huh? (Some of you guys in your teens and early twenties may get away with it once in awhile, but you’ll find that a single flower, especially one you hand-picked and know that she likes, will get a much better response.)

What about cards? Well, if it’s a really good card with a verse that somehow manages to accurately express something that is happening in your relationship, which is unlikely at best, it’s a start, but then comes that ugly truth that there were probably millions of those cards printed, and women would prefer a unique gift that cost nothing or pennies to an expensive, mass-produced thing that doesn’t show that you put a lot of thought into it.

Compliments? Everybody’s supposed to like compliments, right? The more the better? Think again. Excessive compliments aren’t just meaningless, they’re just plain ass-kissing, and the short spelling of that is “W-U-S-S”. Occasional genuine compliments are always appreciated, but when you spit them around you indiscriminately it’s plain flattery, and very annoying, to everyone, not just the ladies.

Mama said we’re supposed to be nice guys, and cater to our women, and let them make as many decisions as possible, especially about dating things, right? Sure, because every woman wants a “nice guy,” don’t they? Wrong answer. Women want a man who has brains, decent manners, and doesn’t get loud and violent every time things don’t go their way, but the last thing they want or find attractive is to have all the decision-making dumped in their lap. They’re not wired to enjoy it like we do.

(And sometimes I wonder if mama’s know that and tell us to do the wrong thing to delay our getting too close to a woman, because while they are our mothers, they are also women, and they know how they would respond if a man did it to them. Go figure.)

Women are very social in nature, and decision-making for them is a committee process; unilateral decision-making is something they can do when pressed, but it frequently pisses them off and makes you look like a wuss who can’t make decisions. Give your partner full latitude for input into the decision-making, because as your partner deserves that, but once you have your information in hand, including her input, make the decision and follow through! It presents an image of competence and confidence that trips the whole row of attraction triggers.

Do I even need to mention “baby talk,” and those sickening pet nicknames like “pookums” and “honeybunch” that seem to enthrall the newly betrothed but make the rest of us want to gag? Even when you’re talking to a child, “baby talk” is a bad idea, because the child is looking to you for strength and protection, not squeaking, giggling, and “cooing.” Let their mother do that.

As for “pookums,” etc., several of the women in the test panel admitted to deliberately employing the practice to see if the man could be dragged into doing it (see the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the scene at the poker table), and nearly all admitted to noticing a marked decrease in respect for a man who would succumb. It was also fun to note that the six who wouldn’t admit to it were the most dramatic and flamboyant of the group (real “drama queens”), who were known to have self-esteem issues like narcissism and the control issues that go with narcissism.

How about something not-so-obvious? Ladies, brace yourself, because this one is going to go even a bit against your grain, until you think about it. The subject: marriage proposals! Specifically the deplorable tradition of a man kneeling before a woman, as if begging, to ask her to marry him. Okay, ladies, catch your breath and think, what happens when a man begs you for anything? Right. Wuss image. It may not keep you from saying “yes” to the proposal, and you may not even notice at the moment because it’s one of the most emotional moments of your life, but what does that do?

It locks that image of this man in front of you on his knee begging into your head as one of your most prominent memories, and sets a terrible precedent. With regard to attraction, having your man standing in front of you, standing a little taller than you and looking down from a position of strength and authority, the subliminal image of a protector, like any really steamy scene in one of the classic movies, like Clark Gable and Scarlet O’Hare in “Gone with the Wind” or Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in “The Fountainhead” is probably a far better image to take through life, wouldn’t you? The emotion of the moment will be the same because of the nature of the moment, and let’s face it, the down-on-one-knee bit is about as cliché as the dozen roses – all downside, no upside.

Giving in just to stop a fight when no agreement has been reached? Cooperation has to be good, right? Wrong! That’s not cooperation, it’s capitulation – outright surrender -- a wuss maneuver if ever there was one. If you were leading the discussion (not dominating or bullying it) as you should be doing and keeping everybody focused on WHAT was right instead of WHO was right, you probably wouldn’t be fighting to start with, unless you had let your wife get bored to the point that she sparked a fight to bleed off and reset her emotional chemistry. Seek resolution, not victory, not compromise, and not just the path of least resistance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of ways that attraction can be created and killed; indeed, thousands of ways, and it doesn’t matter how much attraction you create if you inadvertently blow it every time you turn around. I’m sure you’re familiar with the ancient truth that one “oh sh*t” erases a thousand “atta-boys.” One “We’ll do whatever you want” can erase a hundred nights of true romance if it comes out just right.

I’ve not listed all the ways you can make or break attraction in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” I did something far better. I gave you the fully detailed and accurate explanation of the attraction process, both how and why it works, so you’ll always know whether any particular act creates or kills attraction, no matter where you are or who you’re with, because you’ll know the attitude proper to a man to enjoy his life and be attractive to all women. You don’t dare miss this information, because lost attraction will kill a relationship long before the love is ever gone. You think not?

How many times have you heard things like “I love you, but I’m not ‘in love’ with you…”??? That “in love” thing isn’t love at all; it’s attraction. With it, life is grand, a fun and intimate adventure, and without it, it’s a boring cesspool, because it is truly what makes the world of relationships go ‘round. Attraction brings you together and keeps you together, while love adds the friendship, respect, trust, and loyalty that makes the relationship exclusive, strong during tough times, and intimate in all the non-physical ways necessary to keep you together for the long haul and weather the storms together.

It always takes longer to bring it back than it does to kill it, and you need to max out attraction as soon as possible, because for a woman, life without it just really isn’t living at all; rekindling it is the first thing that she needs to see to believe that things are going to be good again. So go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” right now, and get ahead of that curve, because you should never put off until tomorrow the success and happiness you can have today.

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

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sex As a Weapon in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2: The Tail Swings Both Ways

A woman writes to remind us that women aren’t the only ones who use sex as a weapon, and that it’s just as catastrophic when a man makes this mistake.

Before we get into today’s lesson, I have a few announcements. First, I am attending a reunion of my military unit this weekend, and may not be able to post a newsletter edition or two. So don’t worry if you miss one; it’s me, not you.

Second, after a false start with inadequately-appointed software, the forum is coming along nicely. It is going to become the new center of activity for all of us, although I will continue to distribute my newsletter and echo it through blog posts. The envisioned purpose and operation of the forum is still evolving, so if you have suggestions, please write. There will be both free and premium features and areas, and there should be something for everyone.

Ladies, you will have free access to all features and areas, in exchange for your participation in helping the men to understand the female perspective, communications issues, etc. You will find it both educational and entertaining, and it will be worth your while to participate. And now for today’s lesson…

Gentlemen, I hope you realize how privileged you are to have access to the experience and input of the women on my mailing list. They frequently provide extremely valuable insight anonymously, to you as a stranger, that you can bet you would not hear from a woman you know. Take full advantage of this and use it to make your life and relationship better, because their knowledge and experience has been paid for with pain, embarrassment, frustration, etc., and you can bet that they don’t have an easy time reliving bad times to help you out.

I can certainly vouch for that in this case. This reader is a close friend of many years, single after two bad marriages to two bad men who on the outside would appear to be good men, or at least “the average Joe.” Meet my friend Elizabeth:

Dear David,

I read your newsletter today about women holding out in order to get something from their men. I wanted to tell you that the converse is equally true and just as revolting.

When I was married to a fairly wealthy doctor, I distinctly remember one Christmas party event (we had a buffet party for 45 persons each Christmas) where my husband gave me $500 to go to the mall and pick out a couple of new dresses for the party. He said that I had been working so hard preparing for the party (I did all the cooking) that I deserved something nice to wear to it.

I came home with two beautiful dresses and did wear one to the party that evening and received several nice comments on it, to which I told the story about my wonderful husband giving me money to buy the dress because of my hard work for the party, etc., etc. Everyone thought he was so great.
That night, after cleaning up the kitchen and house, I collapsed in bed, exhausted, and he wanted to start messing around. I told him that I was totally bushed and wanted to just get some sleep to which he replied, "didn't I get you two really nice dresses today?"

It has been twenty four years and I still remember how small and insignificant that question made me feel. I called him on it saying that I didn't realize that I had to repay him for my dresses with my body, to which he immediately backed down, but the comment stuck, and it was hurtful and demeaning.

Here I thought that I was making love when, in fact, I was repaying with sex any nice things my husband did for me. The marriage ended about two years after that incident and after many more similar situations, but please tell your readers that we don't want to pay for things that you give us with our bodies any more than you want us to withhold from you until we get what we want!

The tail swings both ways.

Sincerely,
Thanks, but no thanks


Think about that long and hard, guys. The way to make a woman love you and feel attraction for you is not to make her feel like a common prostitute who should trade her body for whatever it is that you have – or think you have – given her. It’s true that every exchange in a good relationship should be in trade, not in sacrifice, but trades should be “like kind swaps,” as the Internal Revenue Service likes to call it; love for love, nurturing for nurturing, trust for trust, respect for respect, good sex for good sex, etc., not lopsided arrangements that cheapen the traders as well as whatever is being traded.

Sex is the strangest weapon in existence. It’s devastating, yet no real victory can ever be won by using it; in any contest where it is deployed, everybody loses. Used properly, sex is not a weapon at all, but a celebration of life, living, love, and achievement. Used as a weapon, everybody loses.

Besides, if you’re doing what you should be doing and firing those automatic attraction triggers with leadership, authority, humor, mystery, adventure, etc., you don’t need any kind of “weapon” to have all the sex you want, and have your girlfriend or wife jumping on you to have it. And when every man is born to behave that way, why in the world would you use such a self-destructive tactic in the first place? All it takes is knowing a few things about women and yourself that you don’t know yet.

You may recall my favorite quote of Sigmund Freud, “The great question, which I have not been able to answer, is, ‘What does a woman want?’” It is a great question, maybe the greatest of all, and with the help of a few hundred women, I’ve answered it, and that answer can be yours in a few mouse clicks and keystrokes for little more than the asking.

So get ready to know what Freud never figured out and live the life you always thought being married should be about! Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get started.

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sex As a Weapon in Relationships and Marriage

So you think you’ve never paid for sex just because you haven’t visited a prostitute? If you’ve ever let a woman become even a little bored with you, you certainly have. Indeed, sex has been the weapon of choice for many women since the dawn of humankind because they can wield it so effectively, IF we let them…

You might remember Hannah, whose “ladies’ book club” had thecontest to see who could entice their husbands to buy the most extravagant gifts for them just because they were bored, and I would strongly suggest that you review it, because it was a “must read” issue. Hannah, a real “whistle-blower,” wrote with another account of something that many women have been known to do that men never suspect, and this one is a real “zinger”!

David,

You might remember my group of friends that meet a couple of time a month for time away from the family and husbands, our book club, but there were time that we did invite the men to join us. At one of the dinners we had, one of the men stated that he had never nor would he ever pay for sex. Of course all the women at the table laughed and the men for the most part could not figure out why we though it was so funny. I think that they just thought we believed he was lying to us. The truth was we know all men pay for sex if they are in a relationship, or in his case married for 12 years to one of us. LOL!

His own wife, Carol, had just snookered him out of a pair of Chanel sunglasses that cost a couple hundred bucks. She liked to shop only in the best places. No Walmart for her, only specialty shops where they cater to you every need, in spite of the fact that she didn’t work and her husband was working two jobs most of the time to keep up.

She called her husband to tell him she was shopping and wanted those sunglasses and he told her that to spend that kind of money on sunglasses was crazy and this was one time he was going to say NO. Well you know how that went over and that night Carol did what most of the girls I ran with did when we really wanted something and were denied.

That evening after her shower she dressed herself up in her best and sexiest nightie and made sure he saw her every time she walked past him. That night she told him to go on up to bed that she was not really that tired and thought she would watch some TV and would be up later on. Later that night she crawled into bed next to him and made sure he knew she was there, but wouldn’t let him get close, teasing and tormenting him to death.

A couple of hours passed of her brushing against his leg in bed and she stated how hot the room was and takes off her clothes and climbs back into bed under the sheet once again making sure to wake him just enough to know what was going on. This time he made sure she knew he was there and as he started making advance toward her for some early morning naughtiness she did what some of us women do best. She reminded him of the sunglasses she had wanted and how much more she would be in the mood if only she could have those sunglasses so she could look good for him all the time.

As they lie together in what she described as “the after glow of getting her way,” she told him, “Now wouldn’t it have been much easier to let me have the glasses yesterday and you could have had me all you wanted last night.” As I listened to her tell her story and then show all of us her new shades, I could not help to remind all of my friends that this was the same man that only a few nights before had bragged to all of us he never paid for sex and never would.

I would like to state for the record I am no longer a part of that group and have since learned what it is like to take pride in earning what I get, and am so grateful I have a wonderful man now that took years out of his own life to teach me a very valuable lesson on such craziness. We have sex when we want it, which is often more than once each day, because we have both earned the right to have each other at anytime.

I wanted to share this with you because I thought you might get a kick out of it.

Take good care,
Hannah


When I read that, I was thinking, “not just ‘damn’ but ‘DAY-UM!” (That’s “damn!” with the diphthong of a strong southern U.S. accent, about two steps beyond “hot damn!” for those of you unfamiliar with the dialect!) There might be a lot of ticked-off men around when this hits the press!

But wait a minute. I don’t like to talk about “fault” because it’s usually pointless, but an issue of RESPONSIBILITY we can address is what really brought these two to where they are? He’s doing all the work, she’s spending all the money, and since she has no real interest in or appreciation of their sex life, feels free and apparently justified in using sex to get her way and put undo strain on the family finances. That can only be because he’s a pushover – WUSS! – and she’s bored with him and using retail therapy to get her kicks.

Yes, we can divine that from the situation, because even if she had childhood issues with material deprivation, if she were feeling the attraction that a woman should be feeling in a healthy relationship, she’d be finding other ways to arrange fulfillment of her material desires. So guys, brace yourself for a terrible truth:

If you have let your wife or girlfriend get bored, you are paying for sex. If you’re having any, that is. As in the case of so many toxic wives, you may be paying for the HOPE of sex that never happens. There’s no other conclusion that can logically be drawn.

Yes, that sucks. Out loud. Through a straw. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you were trying to get a woman’s phone number or a date with her and blew the attraction, you’d be done, but if you’ve been together for awhile or have married, there’s a level of emotional investment there, for both of you. And that buys you some time to reignite the attraction and some motivation on her part to let you, and even help you! (Unless, of course, another man has unleashed the awesome power of attraction in her, rendering you pretty much a non-contender – it’s a double-edged sword.)

But you’re not going to reignite her attraction for you by letting her lead you around by the nose and trade you sex for expensive sunglasses – or anything else, of course. You’re going to have to take a good look at your life, figure out where the attraction was lost, figure out how to get it back, and learn enough about women in general and your woman in particular that you don’t ever screw it up again. Can you do that right now?

Not likely. If you could you would have already. Most of us simply aren’t born with what we need to get the job done. But there are a few of us who have the kind of personality that makes women like to talk with us and teach us things about themselves, and unlike most of the others, I chose to write a book for you about what literally hundreds of women have taught me so you wouldn’t have to try to figure it all out on your own.

They taught me about how to really evaluate a relationship, how to talk with and listen to a woman (which is a lot more science and a lot less art than we have been led to believe), and how women think and act, according to both what is important to them and their involuntary reactions to biological “triggers,” such as leadership, authority, mystery, humor, adventure, etc. They also showed me how their emotional scales are entirely different from ours, and how they can get in such bad emotional shape that they can internally justify any thought or action, no matter how strange or destructive, to get themselves back into their comfort zone.

That’s a lot, and it’s a big book, too. But get this: It’s working for everyone who is using it. That’s because it’s not just a bunch of theory and opinion. It’s a collection of facts that have been put together and tested, refined, retested, and ultimately proven. And among the many testimonials for its effectiveness that readers have sent me are some that I can’t even reprint because they’re too steamy for some adults to want to read and for any to want their children to see. That’s success, because that kind of intimacy doesn't happen in mature relationships that aren't working!

So whether you just realized that you’ve been paying for sex, you’re tired of fighting all the time, you’re sick of fearing – or seeing – affairs, or things have just cooled off a bit and you’re ready to kick them back up and save yourself the pain and aggravation of problems, this book is for you. So go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get started. The longer you put it off, the worse it’s going to be, so the sooner you start, the easier and better it will be.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Relationships and Marriage Take Work, but not As Much As You Think, IF You Work SMART!

If your natural personality is such that you can’t attract and/or keep someone in a mutually fulfilling and enjoyable relationship with you, you need to spend your time and effort on self-improvement, not honing your hunting or acting skills and trying to learn a new way to fake it.

Well Gentlemen (and Ladies!), I’m on fire again. It never ceases to amaze me how people will believe that the hardest and least effective of all options available is the only option when they have a problem. I keep running into people who want to argue that relationships take a lifetime of hard work if they are going to amount to anything, and it’s therefore easier to have affairs or just put up with problems.

Never has so much time and energy been expended shoveling such a load of crap!

Indeed, if a little work is done on the front end, a good relationship can be almost maintenance free if a couple gets in tune and is well-matched.

Well-matched. What is that? Quite simply, if your values and tastes are similar, interests and ambitions are compatible or even complimentary, and you speak anything close to the same language, you’re well-matched. Being together is then natural, because your personalities and motivations are also compatible and possibly even complimentary. You cooperate instead of competing, and it feels good to be together, so much so that you look forward to it. Being well-matched isn’t a product of reinventing yourself; it’s the product of being yourself during the dating period so that you attract someone with whom you are compatible and therefore don’t have to walk on eggshells and jump through hoops to get along with them. Been there? Done that?

So you say, “What if I’m myself and nobody wants to be with me after the third date?” or “I’ve been married three times and none of them lasted longer than a year!” That’s where the work comes in! Not in faking your way into having someone keep your company, but by going through a self-evaluation and self-improvement period, and the thing that may need improved the most is your criteria and method for choosing a mate, not anything that makes you the person you are.

You may need to hone your evaluation skills. I’ve counseled clients who are really great people, but they tend to make very bad choices in a mate, being attracted to some trait that has a high probability of bringing with it something destructive, such as being attracted to the excitement of risk-taking behavior, which can be a mark of an achiever or someone bent on self-destruction, and they don’t make the effort to find out which. Or being attracted to someone who is very involved in charities, which often brings with it a tendency to be unavailable too much of the time and a heavy guilt element that dampens them and the relationship. You may be hung up on a particular type of woman, like the codependent that is constantly getting into trouble so that somebody can save her.

You may need to determine who you really are so that you can identify someone who is compatible with you in terms of your values, tastes, etc. Some people reach middle age and later without ever knowing who they really are, what they want from life, what they want out of a marriage, partner, or job, etc. You can’t pick a compatible partner if you have no idea what you’re trying to match them up to.

You may find that there are things about you that can be improved, maybe even easily. You may need to do whatever is necessary to gear up and truly become somebody that you can be proud of and that other people will enjoy being around. Sometimes people don’t get enough direction, mentoring, and exposure to the right things to choose appropriate and attainable goals, achieve, and develop the necessary self-esteem to attract people or even enjoy being around others.

You may indeed find that what needs the most improvement isn’t your self, but your self-image, and that you’re “bottom-feeding” because you can’t believe that a good woman would have you. Shyness and any other mild form of social discomfort is a huge symptom of self-esteem deficit. Drug companies want you to think that you need a pill to meet people, while bartenders recommend alcohol, but the truth is that except in the most unusual of circumstances, all you need to do to feel at ease with others – of either gender -- is to feel good about being yourself. It’s really that simple. And when you make these genuine changes, there is no stress to try to maintain a façade.

Whatever you find as the problem, the solution will require REAL change, not a repackaging, not an illusion, not a smoother act or a better line. Not a magic bullet or wonder drug, but a real, workable, and easily-sustainable solution. The good news is that you will enjoy the change process and the result, because it will make you feel better about yourself, which must happen before others will feel good about being with you.

I know this sounds simplistic, but folks, I can show you more real-world examples of this working than you can imagine, and I challenge anyone to present a genuinely happy couple that is faking anything to get along or a genuinely happy person that is faking anything at all. One of your fellow readers just went through this exercise, and went from being near divorce proceedings after his wife moved out of the house and negotiating visitation rights to having her moving back in the house and making plans for family relocation and career change in a little over a week! (And there have been several of these guys getting these dramatic results. It’s not an isolated incident or one those cases of “results not typical, yours may vary” you see disclaimed in fine print.)

They were well-matched, and still loved each other, but had both picked up bad habits since their son had been born and couldn’t stand being around each other because it was too stressful to try to be somebody they weren’t. He was being overly accommodating and she was trying to tolerate it because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by rejecting his favors, and the stress was getting to both of them. What’s sad is that he had every reason to see her as unappreciative of his accommodation, and she had every reason to be bored with his seemingly wussy attitude, because neither knew the real story.

He made a decision to be strong and decisive again, and return to the alpha male behavior that was natural to him in years past, and BOOM! She was instantly back into attraction, stress was eased for both of them, and life was suddenly very good, because they were doing what came naturally and it worked. No faking, no worrying, no wondering how long they could endure keeping up the façade.

A little work on the front end to become or realize that you are someone you enjoy being and whom others enjoy being around will save you a lifetime of having to live under the stress of living a lie and feeling inadequate. The same goes for finding someone that you really enjoy being with, and especially TALKING with – you have to have something to do to pass the time between sexual encounters!

Having a strong self-image and finding a good fit in a relationship makes you feel confident and worthy of the attention of others, and also makes you feel that the burden of proof, with regard to worthiness, is on everyone else. You know you’re worth having and can afford to wait for a good match instead of doing what everyone else does and settling for what’s available at the moment, scared to death that if they get away there will never be another chance. That sort of independence is one of the greatest feelings a human can feel, and you can’t appreciate just how good it really is until you’ve felt it.

Finding a good relationship isn’t about being liked, or being popular, and your quest to find a good relationship should be spent as a time of self-assessment, not assessment by others, as well as a time of exploration, during which candidates will be presenting themselves to you for you to evaluate. If you’re not attracting the kind of people that you feel good being around, it doesn’t mean that you’re bad, or inferior, or any kind of depressing crap like that. It means that you need to either get a more realistic image of yourself or grow a bit to mesh with the kind of people you like, and personal growth is ALWAYS a good thing, something to make you feel like you have achieved something worthwhile.

There is no downside to getting your self and your self-image squared away; just do it, because you can be supremely happy with others only if and when you are happy with yourself. The same goes for loving and respecting yourself, which must come before you can extend those feelings toward others or they can extend them to you. Sounds like it’s all about you, doesn’t it? Well, it is, so get busy.

Or maybe you’d like to be one of those old guys who has worked the same job for 40 years without promotion, sits around watching TV when he’s not working, and can’t figure out why he never seems to enjoy anything and nobody wants to spend any time with him because they’ve all grown while he’s remained stagnant. No? I thought not. ‘Nuff said.

Improvement, like life or a great relationship or even a marriage, is a journey, not a destination. Yes, here we go with another travel adventure metaphor, because it’s entirely accurate. You need to know where you are and where you want to go to plan the trip, and your travel guide for this trip to a great and lasting relationship and total understanding of women, which will hopefully be a very long one, is “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.”

It shows you how to figure out where you are by evaluating yourself and your relationship, then takes you down the right roads to understanding and communicating with each other and doing all the great and fun things that keep attraction alive, and therefore restart and/or keep the honeymoon going. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now, because it will get you where you want and deserve to be.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why a Man Should Be Naughty, Not Nice, to Have a Great Relationship and Marriage

A male reader asks why his relationship is going to hell while he’s being the nicest, sweetest guy he can be. Let’s see if he likes – or even gets -- the answer!

I’m both proud of this reader and dismayed at his question. I’m proud because he’s asking a good question, albeit one that is probably answered on my web site home page at
http://www.makingherhappy.com, but I’m not going to fault somebody for taking the direct approach to getting needed information! I’m also dismayed that his life has gone this sour this soon after marriage; it usually takes twice this long, but he does hint that he’s doubling as a “girlfriend” for his wife. Meet Roy:

Hi David,

I just signed up for your newsletter yesterday, and I’m guessing you’re either some sort of guru or a real idiot if you’ve published a book like your ad claims, so I have to ask a question. I’ve been married for a little over a year now, and my marriage has gone from being hot dates and great sex to one never-ending routine. I can’t get my wife interested in doing anything with me anymore. She’s told me I’m the nicest, most considerate guy she’s ever met, and likes it that I’m “in touch with my feminine side” as she calls it, and we’ve been friends for years before getting married and get along fine, but the spark is gone. I’ve always heard that marriage is the surest way to kill the female libido known to science, but it’s not just her libido that has gone. I can’t even get her to go out to dinner with me anymore. I offer to let her choose the restaurant and everything, and she just won’t go for it. Is this the way it always goes, or am I missing some magical mystery ingredient? Help a brother out here!

Roy G.


My reply:

Well, Roy, you came to the right place for help, but I don’t know if you’re going to like the answer. It’s going to depend on how easily you can accept reality and adjust your attitude to match it. You see, you’ve been doing everything we men have been told to do all our lives, and it’s all wrong!!!

We grow up being told by our mothers, teachers and everybody else to be “nice” to women, to be considerate by letting them make all decisions, etc., and a lot of them even think they like it when a man does it if they’ve recently been with some abusive jerk who tried to control their life and didn’t even leave them room for input into a decision.

As you’ll find in my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” it’s not a nice guy nor an abusive jerk that they really want and respond to, but a guy that’s in the middle, a guy who’s assertive without being controlling, confident, naughty without being an abusive jerk, and can at least grasp communications on a woman’s level even though he’s not wired with the equipment to be able to communicate on such a complex and sophisticated level. It’s love, respect, leadership, adventure and fun that they need, not somebody fawning over them and catering to their every whim, which all but a damaged few actually find boring and annoying.

I know it doesn’t sound right, but it’s a biological response, not a conscious or logical one, like her attraction mechanism is on autopilot, and women aren’t visually stimulated to attraction like men are, except to the extent that the sight of a man’s self-confidence and self-respect intrigues and excites them. Picture in your mind the ugliest, nastiest, smelliest old “ho” you can think of, and gauge your sexual reaction to that visual. There’s no changing it, either, is there? Well, to her, a boring nice guy who acts like a wuss and dumps all the decisions in her lap and doesn’t recognize her frustration with him acting that way is the same emotional picture as your mental image of that old “ho,” and her reaction is the same, and just as unavoidable, automatic, and if I may say so, violently sickening.

In a woman’s mind, nice guys are wusses; predictable pushovers that present no mystery, no challenge, and no strong self-image. Indeed, such men often appear to be trying to buy respect and affection because they can’t command it. The underlying thought is that if you can’t stand up TO her, you can’t stand up FOR her. And the idea of “easy pickings” being a problem shouldn’t be foreign to you, either; what do you pursue in your own life? The too-easy and boring, or the challenging and exciting? Pretty clear when you stand in another’s shoes, huh?

Obviously, since I had to write a whole book on the subject to cover it, I can’t tell you how to fix your problems in a few paragraphs of a daily newsletter. You’re best bet right now, since you’re already in trouble, is to go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download the book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and start reading. Once you have a command of what you need to know, you’ll find it easy, and to some degree automatic, to get your attitude right and put what you’ve learned into practice. Procrastination is the tool of losers, and action the tool of achievers, so get busy! Life’s too short to spend another minute of it losing!

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


What else can I say? If the problem sounds familiar, the solution is the same. Get busy! And get happy!

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Don't Air Your Dirty Laundry in Public If You Want to Keep Your Relationship or Marriage

Problems at home can be so frustrating that you want to vent them outside the home. Don’t do it, unless of course you like the idea of sleeping alone…

We’re going to do something just a bit different today. I usually write primarily to and for the benefit of the men, occasionally throwing in something that the women reading will also find useful or at least amusing, but today I’m speaking to everyone equally, and I hope that the majority of you will have at least one person to whom you can forward this little wake-up call to help them stop making this really big mistake. It’s not just an attraction-killer, it’s a relationship-killer, as sure as the sun rises in the east every morning. It’s also a symptom of a pretty big problem, much bigger than the one being voiced when this happens, as you will see.

One of the two couples who live next door to me are an elderly couple who married late in life, and for the life of me, I don’t know why they got married or have remained married. They don’t even like each other, let alone love each other, and don’t seem to need each other either, unless it’s simply in the capacity of having someone available to call for an ambulance if they collapse from a heart attack or something. They seemed okay when I first met them several years ago, but either their relationship has steadily declined or they have become less concerned with keeping their problems private, and they are now constantly at each other’s throat whenever I visit them or see them away from their home in a public place.

The main problem seems to have started because they don’t communicate very well. They’re both head-strong, and neither are good listeners, but people manage to live like that for fifty years or longer without the kind of malicious behavior I see these two engaged in regularly. So what’s continuing to escalate the hostilities?

Every time I talk to either of them, they are demeaning and insulting the other, and even worse, wanting me to validate their insults and other behavior, and they both know this is going on, so when I see the two of them together, it’s like a competition to see which of them can say the nastiest things about the other to me and another competition to see who can defend themselves against whatever insults they suspect have been dealt in their absence. Hence, they’re both hurt, mad, and frustrated all the time, and quite paranoid about what is being said about them while they aren’t present to defend themselves.

I remember the day it started like it was yesterday. The man and I were standing in my front yard talking about grass seed, fertilizer, weed killer, etc., as our lawns had not fared well through the winter, and she drove up, having been out shopping. He had remarked to me earlier that she was out and he’d had to give her all his cash because they were out of checks and they had cut up all their credit cards, much more personal information than I would have ever been comfortable hearing from a neighbor. He went on to say that he hoped she’d not spent all his cash while she was out because the home center where he was going to buy fertilizer and seed was only a little over a mile from our homes but his closest credit union branch was across town and he didn’t want to have to drive that far out of the way to get more cash. When she got out of the car, he said, “Well, I’d better go see if I have any money left,” and she heard him. Most unfortunate…

She exploded! “What are you doing telling our neighbor that I spend all your money all the time??? What else are you saying about me behind my back???” she yelled. That one remark, taken almost entirely out of context, caused an explosion, the shockwave from which is still tearing their relationship down and the fallout from which has not begun to settle, several years later. What do you think happened next?

You guessed it! She found occasion later that day to come over to my house to defend herself, and make a few nasty remarks about him in retaliation. He walks up quietly behind her while she’s railing about him using her good towels (“the show towels”) and messing up the kitchen, stands listening for several minutes before clearing his throat to let her know that she’s busted, and then says, “And you had the nerve to jump on me about talking behind your back???” War was at that moment declared.

Since that time, they’ve thrown each other out of the house regularly; every other week I’m outside getting the mail or something and hear, “Why don’t you just pack your s**t an get out?!” and they’ve become the two unhappiest people I know; combatants seemingly locked in a duel to the death to see who can get in the last and worst word about the other.

The lesson? Keep your problems to yourself, especially your relationship problems, and don’t succumb to the temptation of verbally bashing your partner, whether in front of them or not.

Ladies, I know that is a particularly hard pill for you to swallow, but face it, if there’s a problem between you and your man, it’s between you and your man, not between your man and your fourteen girlfriends with you acting as the mediator. You know as well as I do that your girlfriends will most often say either whatever they think you want to hear or whatever they think will keep you upset so they can continue to feed on your emotion, and that’s okay when you’re discussing a television show or a party that didn’t work out well, but don’t take chances on screwing up your relationship or marriage by inviting your girlfriends into your intimate life. You never know which of them has secretly wanted your husband since she met him and might take the opportunity to drive a wedge that will help her get him, right?

Nor do you know which of them is competitive and jealous of your relationship and secretly watching for a way to help you become as miserable as she is, do you? Or what about the one who wants to break up your relationship or marriage because she wants more time with you? Or doesn’t like your husband and thinks she knows what’s best for you better than you do?

I know you’re driven to share and commiserate, but the stakes are too high when it comes to marital issues to risk having someone say something to you to manipulate your emotions or sabotage your relationship under the guise of helping you. And before you say, “Oh, my friends would NEVER do that, that’s what every woman I’ve interview on the subject has said before or while her friend did EXACTLY that.

And guys, even though we’re generally not as socially-oriented as women, there are still times when you’re sitting in the bar, the barber’s chair, a coworker’s office or the break room, etc., during which you might be sorely tempted to vent as well. For some of you it’s like some kind of bonding experience. Don’t do it. Nothing good can come of it. Be a man, and deal with the problem at its source, and don’t wait for your partner to take the lead. That’s your job, and if you can’t do it, there are others who can. And you can bet she knows where to start looking for them and has plenty of time to do so while you’re out with your friends bitching about her instead of being at home fixing your marriage.

And do I need to remind either gender that anything you say can eventually make it back to your partner or spouse? Would you care to guess how that news will be received and the damage that will be done?

If you have a problem with your partner, you need to be at home fixing it, not bitching about it to someone outside your family. The person you need to be talking with is your partner, not your bowling buddy, your drinking buddy, your girlfriend, your hairdresser, or anybody else, other than maybe a professional counselor if the two of you can’t work it out on your own. The likelihood of anyone else being able to give you much appropriate and competent input is very slim at best, unless that person’s own marriage is such a shining example of a truly great marriage that they’re a bona fide expert, and that’s going to be hard to know if they are keeping private things private like they should. You never know what really goes on behind closed doors.

Look at what usually happens in such a situation, attacks bring defensive action and then counter-attacks, and then the feud has started and isn’t going to go quietly into the night. The fastest way on Earth to escalate such a feud is to bring the outside world into it, especially by trashing your partner in front of his or her friends. It’s embarrassing, demeaning, even humiliating, and if you think trying to take back something you’ve said in anger to your partner is hard to take back, trying taking something back that you’ve said to or in front of your partner’s friend or coworker, or to anyone who lets something you said get back to her.

Treat each other with respect. If some of your friends start trashing their partners or your partner’s gender in general, try to break the momentum quickly by saying something positive about your partner, especially if they are standing there listening, before your partner has too much time to wonder if you’re thinking the same thing about them. When you show each other that kind of respect and support instead of publicly airing your dirty laundry, you will be more willing and able to work your problems out peacefully, and will try harder to work them out before they become a heated debate or a fight that you’ll later regret. It creates trust, which is crucial in any problem-solving operation, not to mention a secure relationship or marriage.

There is nothing about heated conflict that is good for a relationship. If you’re in one of those relationships where you’re constantly at the extremes, either fighting or in bed together, you need to take a good hard look at your relationship, your life’s desires, yourself, and your partner. I can tell you what you’ll find: a relationship that is based on attraction or need, not compatibility and love coupled with attraction. Lacking anything in common, your life together is one contest or conflict after another, one fight after another, and the only part left to enjoy, or escape to, is the sex. That’s no way to live, and you can both do a lot better.

Good relationships that last require being well-matched to your partner, communicating effectively, and keeping the fun and attraction level up to the point that you enjoy living your life and living with each other. That sounds difficult because you see so few couples doing it successfully in the long-term these days, but it’s not. The reason that you don’t see it often isn’t because it’s hard; it’s because very few remember how or ever learned how. “Knowledge is power” became a cliché because it was universally true, not universally false, right?

Opinions are like bowels; everybody has one, and they are usually full of crap. Real, factual knowledge IS power, the power to create a great relationship and the power to fix one that you started but has become stale and boring over the years, as well as the power to take one that is going fairly well and kick it up to notches unknown to humankind! That knowledge is contained in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and if you don’t have your copy, get over to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download it right now, because you’re missing out on a better life. Life’s too short as it is, without wasting it in a bad relationship that could be improved or replaced, so get to work!

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shopping Together As Foreplay? If Done Properly, It Can Really Boost Your Relationship and Marriage

Attraction is about flipping primal, biological switches that ignite the urge to procreate, or at least go through the motions of mating. Leadership and authority will flip them because it invokes feelings of power and protection; will shopping awaken these primal urges as well? My research and others’ says, “Oh yeah!” but it’s not retail therapy that does the trick…

Strap yourself in, because we’re going for a ride. I’ve written many times about how attraction and flirting are dying arts that are slowly being revived as desperate singles and bored couples seek out people like myself, Shelley McMurtry, John Alanis, and others and learn what it’s all about. I’ve also advised quite a few people to look back to the actions of their parents and especially grandparents, old movies, etc., for visual examples of things that they did then that most people don’t do now but are crucial for relationships. Why?

A lot of that old school, gender-stereotypical behavior that made for manly men and girly girls was obliterated in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s by idiotic ideas like “men should be sensitive instead of manly” when all women wanted was for manly men to continue to be manly men, but be a little more sensitive to things like a woman’s emotional state and her sheer dread of boredom. Incidentally, note that divorce rates began climbing exponentially through those years as well.

I was talking to my dad a few days ago and he mentioned how different things were now from when I was a child, and I asked him about what couples did for fun in the 50’s and 60’s that he no longer saw them doing. The first thing out of his mouth was a revelation: “Well, when you’re mother and I got married and until you kids were pretty much either gone or old enough to be gone, we nearly always did the grocery shopping together. Your mother would get all frisky and cuddly in the grocery store every time we’d go, even if she was ticked about something when we got there. Didn’t you notice that you kids were often put to bed a little early when we went to the store?”

No, I didn’t notice, but it sure makes sense now!

The act of hunting down and procuring food, and returning home with it is very primal, making the evening meal somewhat celebratory in a primal sort of way. He also talked about having other couples over for card games, and being accused of cheating because he and my mother were playing footsy under the table during the game and stuff like that, which was also primally attractive because of the competition and celebration involved, but I couldn’t get the grocery store thing out of my head. This had to be checked out, because my parents stayed married for 33 years and had five kids; their divorce happened after deep compatibility problems finally wore them down and out.

I’ve spent several hours each day for the last few days wandering around grocery stores and lurking in the parking lot watching for couples to show up (I was accosted by one store manager who thought I was acting suspicious until I explained what I was doing, at which time he took me to the security booth and we both watched the security cameras and tapes, which was a lot of fun for both of us!), and the results were more than impressive. They were downright awe-inspiring!

Couples would come in chatting, arguing, not speaking, even obviously pissed off at each other, and none of them seemed to make it more than about three aisles before they were walking closer together, him pushing the cart and her hand in the crook of his arm, or holding hands, or her stroking and caressing his back and shoulders, and the smiles and other body language was very clear. I also recall similar experiences with the women I’ve been involved with in my adult life, and it went right over my head at the time, as it may be going right over everybody else’s heads today. I wish my grandparents were still alive today so that I could pick their brains about a lot of things; they were married for 66 years, and I’m quite sure they could have told me about a lot more of these kinds of things if they were still around.

So guys, how do you put stuff like this to work? Start by understanding the underlying elements of creating attraction: leadership, protection, mimicking primal survival behavior, decision-making, competition, etc. Now, let’s build an evening out of it.

I’d suggest starting by planning at least an evening meal, and take your partner with you to get the groceries. Take your time and have fun perusing the aisles in the grocery store instead of just rushing straight to the things you want and grabbing them. Turn on a little of that naughty charm and steal a kiss or two, a playful pinch or grope, conducted covertly and intimately, as if you’re a couple of naughty kids getting away with something.

Go home and cook dinner for her, or for her and a guest couple. If you can’t cook, stay in the kitchen with her while she cooks and lead conversation about anything, even how to do what she’s doing. Women adore it when men ask open-ended questions about anything that interests the woman or that she does competently just as much as they like asking men the same things. And I’m not talking about “chit-chat.” I’m talking about real conversation. There’s no emotion or engagement in chit-chat; it’s just a time-filler.

Continue to ramp up the fun and tension after dinner through a movie (yes, a funny one, or one that if filled with action, authority, and some mystery!) or some other activity, like a sunset walk, or if you have the other couple over, engage in something fun and competitive like parlor games or card games, and occasionally when she gets up from the table to get something for herself or the guests, get up to help or suddenly think of something you need to remind her of (don’t worry about being rude, as they may be getting caught up in the energy and wanting to steal a kiss or a grope themselves!), and push the naughty envelope a bit while you’re out of sight of the guests. That “ramp it up and draw back a bit” play builds a delightful tension that women will savor for hours, and when the guests finally leave, she’ll lock the door and probably be tearing at your clothes if you did a good job at ramping up and pulling back.

By the way, DO NOT confuse procurement of needed items with “retail therapy.” Retail therapy, the act of buying things for the thrill of the purchase with no real need or desire for some benefit of ownership, is something that people do when they are bored or suffering from some kind of self-esteem crisis, and make no mistake, it is damaging to a relationship or marriage. It creates financial strain, storage problems, and a lot of stress. Keep your shopping dates to things you know you need or have discussed and decided that you want to own and benefit from ownership, and avoid just grabbing stuff for the thrill of hearing the cash register bells; those bells are for the shopkeeper to celebrate, not you.

I’ve told you guys too many times to count that the object is not to seduce your wife, but to actively induce your wife to seduce you by leading her to her sexy side. This is how you get that done, and I shudder to think of how many such secrets our parents and grandparents took to their graves. If yours are still alive and you’re comfortable doing so, you might ask them about their dating days and the early years of their marriage. You might be surprised at how eager they are to share with you.

However, not everybody’s parents and grandparents will have been good at playing the attraction game. More men and women understood it 50 years ago, but that’s a far cry from being able to say that ALL men and women understood it fifty years ago.

Before you start pumping the older folks for the advanced techniques of their day, you really need a good command of the basics so you can distinguish between something great that can add spice to your life and a mistake that an ancestor made that will haunt generations to come if they don’t know any better than to repeat the mistake. Oops! Where do you go for that?

Glad you asked! Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," where you’ll find all the basics and then some, on attraction, effective communications, evaluating and renewing relationships, and even how to gracefully end bad ones with cooperation and dignity. Yes, really! Here are a few choice excerpts from a reader letter I received today:

“...I think she is missing me more than she will admit and it’s because of the ATTRACTION that YOUR BOOK has helped me instill back in her...”

“...things are progressing back to getting the woman I love back completely...”

“...the thing I like the MOST is SHE is CALLING ME .... NOT Me calling HER...so I must be doing something RIGHT LOL...”

“...have a great day and thanks if for no other reason for making me a better man...”

This guy described himself as “the wuss from Hell” in his first letter to me, and was afraid he was too late to do anything about it; he mentioned in one of his letters that they’d been separated for a couple of years and she had told him that under no circumstances would they ever be together again, yet they’re dating, she’s chasing him, they’re getting totally intimate, and she’s fighting tooth and nail the whole way, testing him to make sure it’s not just some phony act he’s putting on and that this new man before her is here to stay.

He is, he’s getting results, and if a self-proclaimed “wuss from Hell” can have an ex of two years pulling him back into the bedroom after she declared that donkeys would fly through a frozen Hell before she’d ever sleep with him again, you have no choice but to accept that this information works, and you need to be getting with the program, NOW! (Right, “Michael” K.?) http://www.makingherhappy.com.

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