Saturday, February 13, 2010

Do You "Get It" When It Comes to What Women Want in Relationships and Marriage?

Some men just don’t get it, even when their wife beats them over the head with the truth. Don’t be one of these guys, because when a woman gets tired of beating you, she won’t just stop, she’ll go away…permanently.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today’s edition will be short and sweet because it is so self-evident that a lot of explaining won’t be necessary. When somebody buys a copy of my book, signs up for the newsletter, or ends their newsletter subscription, I get an e-mail advising me of the activity. I get to create the forms for these tasks, and rather than just notify me of activity, I also try to use them to get feedback from readers about what they need to know, what’s important to them, and even why they end their subscription to the free newsletter as quality control measures. Here’s an example that just floored me:

From: zeusXXXX@yahoo.com [mailto:zeusXXXX@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 5:08 PM
To: David Cunningham
Subject: AWeber mhh_tips: This Lead Unsubscribed: zeusXXXX@yahoo.com

This lead has unsubscribed by following the link at the bottom of one of your AWeber messages, and decided to provide comments. Why did I receive this email? http://www.aweber.com/faq_messages.htm#messages6b

Name: Axxxxxx
Email: zeusXXXX@yahoo.com
Signup Date: XX/XX/XX 0X:XX PM XST

Comments:
Never signed up...EX-wife did...

I’ve sterilized the personally identifiable information to protect his privacy, so don’t be cute and try to send an e-mail to zeusXXXX@yahoo.com because it won’t go anywhere. Now, look at the “Comments” portion, which is just the field name for a blank on the form that is captioned something like “Reason for ending subscription.” He didn’t sign up, “his EX-wife did…” What can you divine from this comment?

I’ll not get into the macho inference by his choice of the name “Zeus” in the e-mail address; it could be the guy is just likes Greek philosophy. Yeah, right. (His wife also subscribes and we talked about him at length, and she said he really was that full of himself, but without any good reason.) His wife signed him up for it (and according to her, she wasn’t his EX yet, but was now looking forward to it), trying to tell him that he was falling short, and giving him an example of what he needed to be doing to help their relationship.

Rather than being glad that she was providing him valuable information and taking action (not to mention being glad that she was signing him up for a newsletter instead of having an affair with the perfect example of what she wanted and purposely getting caught in the affair to show him, as many women have done and written to me about!) he slams the door on her. Hence, she is now his “EX-wife” in his mind, and soon to be in reality, when she wasn’t looking for a divorce, she was trying to save their marriage.

Notice how he emphasizes “EX;” he resents being told that there’s something wrong, and let a fragile ego, which probably contributed to the wussy attitude and behavior she was trying to get him to change, cost him his marriage. There’s no telling how much or in how many ways she tried to communicate problems to him, but like most men, he didn’t understand that he was being given instructions on how to fix things, and it doesn’t matter whether she left because he didn’t fix anything or he left because things weren’t suiting him, it’s over, and it probably could have been fixed.

All it would have taken was a little less ego and a little better communication skills, and a little effort to follow-up and make the improvements, but “Zeus” here was too busy protecting his ego to develop some real self-esteem and appreciate the fact that his wife wanted him instead of an affair or a divorce. Now, instead of a loving wife who was interested in staying married to him, he lives alone with a big neon sign that says, “Hey, I’m an idiot who can’t see past the tip of my nose!” Don’t let this happen to you!

And in case some of you are thinking, “Why should I change to suit her?” you’re not supposed to change to suit her at all. And she’s not supposed to change you. We’re not talking about the designs of a manipulative woman trying to get a man wrapped around her finger so she can lie on the couch eating bonbons and watching soap operas. We’re talking about a good woman of good character who wants to see her man be a man and feel good about himself instead of being a grouchy, paranoid bully.

And there’s no reason you should! “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” is filled with the benefit of the real-life experience of 118 couples who helped with the research of the original version, my own experience, and the experience of hundreds of readers who have commented and shared since. Each point in it has been tested and proven to work in 90% or more of all test cases, and if you think about that, that’s pretty amazing. That means, among other things, that 90% or more of all the women involved in this have agreed on and responded to each of these things! Can you imagine that?

Believe me, waiting until you have a crisis on your hands is not the best time to start working on fixing it. It can still be done, but it’s a lot harder than if you just get things in order and keep them that way, not to mention a whole lot more of a pain in the neck, with all the frustration, boredom, fights, affairs, etc., that crop up before the crisis is evident – often in an attempt by the wife to MAKE it evident.

So do yourself and your family a favor. Go on over to http://www.makingherhappy.com right now, before you do anything else, and download your copy of this truly amazing book. Get your house in order, and keep it that way, because life is too short to be living behind a big sign that says “OUT OF ORDER,” or even worse, “I’M AN IDIOT!”

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

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is Your Intimate Behavior Killing Your Relationship or Marriage?

When people are together long enough to get comfortable they start doing things exclusive to their relationship, like “baby talk” and wearing sloppy or goofy-looking clothes, that might be immediately cute or novel to them, but can kill attraction deader than a rock. Sometimes they get so comfortable with it in private that they give the rest of us a dose of it, too! (Yeah, YUCK! is right!) Look for signs of this in your relationship.

I had a visit from a couple of friends, Bill and Cheryl. It was a study in “what not to do” as they say. They’ve been married for about twenty-six years, and acted SO married it almost seemed scripted to watch them. They finished each others’ sentences, ate from each others’ plates, talked “baby talk” to each other (gag!!!), and were about the shabbiest dressed wealthy couple I’ve seen in a long time.

She was in an oversized men’s sweat suit (despite the 90°+ F. / 32°+ C. weather) because it was “comfortable” and wearing no makeup. He was wearing baggy cargo shorts, an over-sized graphic T-shirt, and sandals (accentuating his bow-leggedness, very knobby knees, and extremely large feet sitting below his rather robust torso, a left-over from his college days as a football player, giving him the look of some sort of cantilevered rock formation found in the deserts of the American Southwest).

Eventually she excused herself to the powder room, and I asked him how things were going, ready to bet the farm that they were comfortable and bored stiff; I would have won the bet. They had started out very into each other, having a lot of fun together, and things had cooled off quickly not long after their marriage.

They had joined that large group of couples in long-term relationships that sleep together every two months – yes, that’s a sad but true statistic, at least in North America. Adult couples in mature married relationships (two years or longer) average six sexual encounters per year. Sad, isn’t it?

These two were a textbook example of what happens when two people get too comfortable with each other. Take a close look at what they were doing. Is there anything whatsoever sexually exciting in hearing your partner talk like they are addressing a baby? Or like they are one? Not unless you’re a pedophile. “Sweet” as the girls say, maybe, but no way it’s sexy.

As for the flour-sack-esque, nearly homeless-looking attire, she might as well have been in an over-sized bathrobe with curlers in her hair and a cigarette dangling from a toothless mouth, and he might as well have been holding up a sign that said “will work for food” and looking like he hadn’t bathed in a month or two, except maybe in a bottle of cheap wine. Just makes you want to snuggle right up to one of them, doesn’t it? It's a shame, because properly dressed and groomed, they're a strikingly good-looking couple.

I also noticed that as they talked, if they weren’t doing the “baby talk,” they acted a lot more like girlfriends than husband and wife, especially the business with finishing each others’ sentences and reaching over to touch each other every time they started a sentence. Now, Bill is anything but effeminate, and when he spoke to me it was very “mano-a-mano,” and I found myself staring at him as he switched modes every time he switched between talking to me and his wife.

Don’t let this happen to you! A man and woman should communicate, freely and openly, but not in a way that kills their attraction for each other. They should be comfortable around each other, but not in ways that make you dull, sloppy, uninteresting, or project an extreme lack of self-respect.

Your partner should be the most important person in your life (other than yourself – holding your spouse as more important than yourself makes for a good romance novel, but makes for a disaster in real life) if you have a great relationship, and as such, they deserve the best in you, not the worst, the most interesting, not the most mundane. That’s how life-long love relationships are enjoyed, by keeping in mind that all other relationships are likely to be transient, and are therefore less important than this one.

Many people would shrink back in indignation or jump on a stump and start preaching at the mere suggestion that your partner be more important than even your children, and I’m not going to debate that subject with anyone; however, I will ask you to at least take a logical – yes, entirely unemotional -- look at it for a minute.

Your children come along, and you live with them day after day for eighteen years, plus or minus a year or two. Then they’re gone except for weekly visits if you’re lucky, if you are the average parent. Your partner, if you manage your relationship properly, was there before the kids, and will be there long after the kids have gone, day after day after day, “until death do us part,” right? You don’t want your adult children living with you, but you want your spouse living with you for the rest of your life, at least if you have a good marriage.

So logically, who is more important to your life’s happiness, someone who by definition (early death notwithstanding) will stick around for 18 years and be gone, or somebody who (again, early death notwithstanding) could be with you day after day for 50 years or more, if you give them a good reason to stay, like loving them, being interesting and fun to be around, sharing their values and celebrating their achievements with them? Pretty obvious, huh?

Obvious or not, and whether you accept it or not, real-world experiences bear it out. Marriage and parenthood are diametrically-opposed, and if you do not find a healthy balance point between them, one or both of them will suffer as a result. Men will probably be comfortable with this much more readily than women because of (as usual) biological factors, but everyone should think about it and come to grips with it as self-evident truth, because it helps you to at least appreciate the full significance of a commitment to a life-long relationship.

(And for any of you women who are right now thinking, “How dare he? My kids are going to come first and he can just get over it!” get this: if you make your husband take a back seat to your children or anything else, you give up your right to be upset, hurt, mad, or anything else when he chooses to let you take a back seat to something. Double standards and hypocrisy don’t work any better in relationships and marriage than they do anywhere else, so get some perspective before you make a choice that the whole family will ultimately suffer over. Put your marriage first if you want it to last a lifetime, or accept responsibility for spending your retirement years alone after alienating your husband by treating him like a second-class citizen.)

This doesn’t have to happen to you. It’s your choice, and it doesn’t take much effort. Basic awareness of the potential causes of the problem and choosing to do something other than commit one of those causes is really about all there is to it. Baby talk, men acting like girlfriends instead of men, and dressing yourself and acting in a way that does not project self-respect are only a few of the ways in which you can kill attraction dead, and knowledge is power!

Know what kills attraction, and what creates it, and use that knowledge to make one of those relationships that has you happy to be together for fifty or more years! (You wouldn’t believe the things people buy you for your fiftieth anniversary! Just kidding…) I put that knowledge together for you in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” It’s there, tested, working and guaranteed. All you have to do is go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download it, and then USE IT. It’s just that easy, and life is just that short that you don’t want to spend it being part of some miserable statistic.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Attraction in the News: Learn from the Famous and Notorious About Your Relationship or Marriage

The amazing power of attraction can bring a woman to do wonderful – or TERRIBLE – things, so learn how to wield it, competently and safely!

I’m sure that everybody in the Western Hemisphere and many of you in the Eastern Hemisphere have heard about the grand adventure and exploits of Navy Capt. and NASA Mission Specialist (astronaut, Space Shuttle Discovery) Lisa Marie Nowak trying to kidnap her lover’s girlfriend (she was married and having an affair) and eliminate her as competition (for the boyfriend) a couple of years ago. If not, the first two or three hits on Google when searching her name can tell you all about it. I got tons of letters about it and the news was lousy with it, and yet to this day, nobody seems to be understanding what made her do it.

Some say that “she loved him so much,” and that’s utter crap. Women who love men want them to be happy, no matter who they’re with. Women will kill to protect a loved one who is being threatened, but not a competitor.

Some say that she was crazy. They’re half-right.

Some say that she was obsessed. They’re also on the right track, but obsession is a symptom, not a cause.

Some say that the boyfriend was responsible. In part, but…

Others say that the husband was responsible. Also in part, but…

So what really happened, and what does it mean to you?

What happened was that her husband allowed her to become bored, and her boyfriend, a pilot and trainer in a position of authority and with alpha male personality traits, swept her off her feet in a wave of attraction, and she went nuts when she found out that feeling of being swept off her feet was at risk.

Nope, not an opinion. Cold, hard fact, and well-documented.

So what does this mean to you?

First, the obvious: If you create attraction for the woman you love, she will have that same swept-off-her-feet feeling that many women would kill for, and she’ll reward you in incredible ways, with nurturing, loyalty, fun, adventure, sex, etc., and will defend your relationship with her life. If you have a good foundation of compatibility but you’re having problems, lost attraction is somewhere at the heart of it, within the core of your problems if not the entire core, and restoring it will fix things enough to create an environment where she will be motivated to work out all other problems, like communications.

Next, the maybe-not-so-obvious: If you fail to create attraction for her and she gets bored, she’s wide open to anyone else creating attraction for her, AND THEN SHE’LL BE DEFENDING HER RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM INSTEAD OF YOU! Another man will be receiving all the rewards that you would be receiving if you were being a man and a husband.

She’s going to find somebody to create attraction for her. Period. The only question is whether it’s going to be you or somebody else. And yes, it CAN happen to you, and every other man alive. Boredom isn’t such a big deal for a man, but it’s a survival threat to a woman, and they will invariably take drastic measures to relieve it if we force them to.

So what do you do about it? Do I even need to say it at this point? Okay, some of you may be reading this newsletter for the first time, so I’ll spell it out. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," wherein you will learn everything you need to know about whether you are with the right woman, how to really communicate with her and put a stop to all the eye-rolling and accusations of “You NEVER listen to me,” and how to create that mind-blowing, sweep-her-off-her-feet attraction that will have her going crazy for you instead of punishing you for things you don’t know you need to be doing.

Sound like a plan? You bet your ass it is, and I have testimonials to that effect that are so detailed and steamed up that if I were to try to print them, the spam filters would block the mail, but tomorrow I’ll be posting a “toned-down” version of one of those testimonials and an e-mail address belonging to a reader (Many of you will remember “Big Girl Panties” Kevin) who has volunteered to field questions about his own experiences, so stay tuned!

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You Can't Kill Time without Injuring Eternity: Problems in Relationships and Marriage Don't Just Go Away

What could it be costing you to put off dealing with your relationship problems until tomorrow? I’ll wager that it’s a lot more than you might think…

I was out running some errands one afternoon and noticed a sign in front of a church that read, “You can’t kill time without injuring eternity.” I don’t know how they may be looking at that statement, or if they fully realize its meaning, but the instant I read it I was reminded of many letters I’ve received from people who were having problems. I’m not going to disclose their names or anything personally identifiable because being in such a predicament is stressful and embarrassing for them, but I want you to see the kinds of things that can happen when you let little problems go unresolved (each paragraph is from a different reader comment or letter):

I filed for divorce after he physically abused me, so poor choice in mate, he wouldn't take your site seriously, so wish you all the best of success. You have some great advice and wonderful readers.

Question: we split up and now she is seeing someone else ... any advice on how to win her heart back?

My wife has sex when she wants & not when I want this has gone on so long that I don't even bother trying to be sexy with her, once again we have spoken but this ends up in a shouting match

My wife and I have been married for 18 years. We haven’t had sex more than once every few months since our second anniversary, and I’m sick of it. Can you help us?

For years my wife won’t kiss me I tell her it hurts but she says there’s no need. My wife thinks I am odd because I want a kiss & cuddle from her but she won’t when I tell her how I feel she ends up shouting at me then crying then sayings things will change & they do for a day or two then she is the same cold person with me, can I go on for the rest of my live feeling so unloved by her, I am 42 after 17 years marriage.

After reading the above, even though I am not sure that I could leave her as we have 2 children but is there any point if feeling so low all the time & never seeing the light should I leave whilst I am able to start a new life, this would be the hardest ting that I have ever even thought about.

You need to know that my wife of 4-1/2 yrs (dated for one, lived together for one, then married) has decided to divorce me. We have a two year old son. She says she's lost her feelings for me, she doesn't hate me, she still cares about me, she still likes me as a friend, but the love is gone. There are some side issues, but nothing that I believe is the real problem. I have been coming to realize that I have been "weak" not asserting my "alpha male" thing. I suppose I have always wanted to please her, and when we have a problem (fight) I always give in, or she always "wins". I think that I need to get stronger, before this divorce is final. How can I win her back? How can I show her that I am attractive (physically, emotionally, etc.) How can I trigger the emotions I believe are still there? We had a fantastic dating life, we had a great marriage, then after my son was born I assumed the "father role" and quit all the romanticisms, and stopped helping out around the house and didn't help out with the child-care. I have come to grips with the fact that I lacked in those areas, and am willing to change, but I need to "win her back" first. What can I do before it's too late? Oh, I hope you can give me some good advice. I hope there is something I can do before it's too late. Please, help! I love my son, and my wife, I want this family to be unified again!


Do you see what’s going on here? These people have let problems fester for months, most for years, and there are some things that should be jumping off the page at you. First, and most important, is that they steadily get worse; real problems never just “fix themselves,” so don’t be a fool and wait for them to do so. You’ll also notice that it doesn’t matter if the deterioration of their relationship is fast or slow, the result is the same; they are either terminally unhappy and holding on out of fear, or they’re divorcing, and it’s not so easy to get out of or get over a 20-year relationship and start over in your forties or fifties, and one of these readers is in his sixties, and the wife he refers to is his second wife.

They’re all reaching out for help now, and most of them have chosen or will choose to accept it (some will reject help because they find the solution unpalatable, choosing instead of seek a “magic bullet” that makes all the problems go away with no effort or responsibility on their part), but look at how many years they’ve spent being miserable that they could have spent being happy with each other if they had addressed their problems early and corrected them at that time. What’s the old saying? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

Financially speaking, with divorce and the burden of legal fees, settling estates that may value as high as in the millions and more, alimony, child support (that will end up going for something other than the children), etc., an ounce of prevention would seem worth hundreds or thousands of tons of cure. Anybody want to compute the return on investment there?

Emotionally, it’s the same story; you can make a few small changes and live happily or fail to maintain your relationship properly and live miserably for years before finally either trying to undo the damage you’ve done or getting so sick of each other you go to war, pronounced “divorce court,” and then have to start over, and be miserable and alone during what should be the prime of your life because you still don’t know what happened to kill something that was very special to you..

Speaking of prime of life, what if you’re with THE WRONG PERSON? What if there is no way to fix the relationship or marriage that you’re in? In spite of what some people want to believe, there are relationships that are doomed from the start because they lack basic compatibility, making everything in the relationship a competition instead of a cooperative effort toward mutual happiness. How many years do you want to waste banging your head against the wall before finding out that you never should have been married? How big a war do you want to fight when you try to end the relationship, after competitiveness and resentment have put both of you at DEFCON 1, ready for a full nuclear strike to wipe the other – and possibly yourself – off the map? Or if you’re too passive to go to war, would you like to spend those years bored out of your mind and trying to evade your marriage instead of taking an active and enjoyable part in it?

Every minute you spend putting off a solution holds the potential for one more mean-spirited and vengeful remark that can never be taken back, one more vengeful or stupid act that can’t be undone, one more toll of a bell that can never be unrung. And the more pain you inflict and endure, the harder it is to fix the problem. Any takers on the prevention offer?

The offer is this: Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and read it, learn a few really important things about relationships, women, and how to get along with them, and do a few cool and fun things as a result. Then watch what happens! It will save you years of misery and a small (or maybe large!) fortune that you’ll get to spend in your retirement with your wife instead of giving it all away to her and her lawyers to go somewhere else and enjoy while you sit around heartbroken, financially ruined, and wondering what happened.

Life is short, too short to miss a chance, and second chances rarely come around. If you’re reading this, you’re looking for a second chance, and it’s here, staring you straight in the eye. Jump on it.

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

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Boredom Can Creep in Anytime, Even After Years, to Destroy Your Relationship or Marriage

It may only take a few weeks, or it may take years, but sooner or later virtually every couple falls prey to boredom, unless you understand a few basic things about attraction and intimacy and can avoid it. Once lost, you can get it back if you act in time, but it’s far easier and loads more fun to keep it going, like an eternal honeymoon, instead of watching the slow decay of something wonderful and then having to go through heroic efforts to heal the wounds.

This edition could rightly have been part of
my free “What Women Want” report, because one of the biggest things that women really want is to avoid being bored, but the issue and message here is bigger than that. In case you’ve only been following for a short while, boredom is a woman’s most dreaded state, and is at the most negative end of her emotional range, like fear, anger, and frustration are at the negative end of men’s emotional range.

Interestingly enough, the physical manifestations of either gender being at the negative end of their emotional range are the same: extreme agitation, tendency to be entirely illogical and act out of desperation, physical symptoms like sleeplessness, nausea, tremors, etc.

Boredom’s effect on women is grossly misunderstood by most men (and some women as well) because it doesn’t affect us the same way, so for future reference, Gentlemen, imagine the feelings you would experience in losing your job, having difficulty getting another, watching the bills pile up, and suspecting that your wife is about to leave. Those feelings build up over time and eventually can make you entirely unstable. Those sensations of depression, desperation, fear, agitation, etc., that you would feel under those circumstances are what a woman feels as she gets more and more bored.

Borrowing from medical terminology, “acute boredom” is a short-term severe problem with an immediate symptomatic cure usually gained from radical treatment: a fight, usually over nothing. “Chronic boredom” is a bigger problem. It develops over months or even years of very gradual decline in the excitement level in a woman’s life caused by routine, lack of “adult time,” career stagnation, and watching her partner grow apathetic, fat, lazy, and desirous of spending evenings drinking and channel surfing too much and talking with her too little. Yes, months or even years, and when it builds up enough pressure, fights won’t cure it, and affairs and divorce start slipping into the picture as options, options that look dangerously alluring and even rational when a woman gets too far gone.

The following letter caught my attention, not because of the decay of the relationship or its resurrection after reading and applying what’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but the amount of time it took for the relationship to fade! Meet Karen:

Dear David,

I have been in a love relationship with my best friend for seven years now. I have always tried to take care of myself and be attractive to him. Last year I began to think that maybe we should have just stopped our relationship at being friends and never become lovers. I found myself looking at other men and wishing that Jack had some of the qualities I found so attractive in them. I made one last attempt at talking and trying to tell him that we were no longer attractive to each other and one way or the other something would have to change or we were over.

He came across your website and bought your book a short time later. Within a few days I noticed a big difference and within a month I was not living with the same man I was thinking of leaving the month before. I was living with the guy I fell in love with 7 years ago! No one could prepare me for the changes not only in Jack, but myself as well. “Taking it to the next level,” whatever that would be, wouldn’t begin to cover what happened to us over the next couple of months, and we’re getting married this weekend, after living together seven years and almost losing it all!

I can not understand why anyone would pass up the chance to have the kind of relationship like what we have after reading your book. The words “thank you” seem so little compared to what your book as done for us. My whole life is right out the dreams I had as a young woman.

Karen B.


Well Karen, dreams do come true, but you usually have to take charge of making it happen like you and your husband-to-be did, and congratulations for doing so!

Folks, what kills me about this letter is that most relationships die of boredom somewhere between a few minutes and two years, yet this one survived six years before the couple started drifting. Some would blame something once known as “the seven year itch,” and I couldn’t argue with that, but these days I mostly see people who either make it or don’t very early in the relationship.

Indeed, I’ve been working with couples who have been together as long as 57 years, and the most common thread in all of them is boredom. What’s shocking is how quickly a woman can build up a head of steam after all that time and start moving for separation; one went from “status quo” to out of the house in four days!

I spoke with her in a counseling session, and she said that she still loved her husband deeply, but after 37 years of marriage, the idea of him disappearing into his study to spend the remainder of the evening with his carving hobby until bedtime even one more time was too much to bear, and at 61 years of age, she was ready to start over if that was the only way to escape the nightly abandonment and boredom. I will never forget her saying that she felt like she was already a widow. The problem has been resolved and they are again happy and reengaging one another, but it was a VERY close call.

Let me be clear; I’m not saying divorces happen that fast, it’s that couples report settling into routine, losing excitement, get lazy, and the magic goes away that fast, even though they may remain committed to each other (or the institution of marriage, the kids, or whatever they cling to in order to hold it together) for decades, like my grandparents did. Karen says they had fun and excitement for six years, and then trouble started.

Boredom is insidious, covert, unpredictable, and deadly to your relationship, and it can slip in unnoticed the minute you drop your guard, just as it did with this couple. The trick is to know the opponent, and know how to guard yourself against it, which in this case is by remaining aware of each other’s needs, lives, excitement level, and having fun and growing together in ways that keep you close, intimate, excited, etc.

As Karen said, what’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” is information for men about women, but a lot of it is also information that women aren’t aware of about themselves and men! It can do you both a world of good to read it, because it will let you keep the home fires burning bright instead of having them go out and having to rebuild and reignite them in the dark and under duress later. Do yourself a favor and go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy right now, because life is definitely too short to spend it bored and doing all the ridiculous things people do to fight boredom (like affairs, or weekends in a therapy retreat!), especially when you have such an option that is so easy and affordable as this.

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

Monday, February 08, 2010

Women Test Men Constantly in Our Relationships and Marriage, So Why Not Test THEM?

Women test us constantly, so why don’t we test them? Not in retaliation, but to help determine if they are testing us and what they might be trying to communicate. Here are a few tips…

I was listening to an old set of self-improvement tapes, Roger Dawson’s “The Secrets of Power Negotiating,” (a classic if you’ve not heard of it, available at Nightengale Conant) and in a section on negotiating tactics, he was talking about overcoming objections and said the main tactic to overcoming objectives is to “always test for validity.” Here’s an example:

You’re negotiating a car deal, and the seller says he can’t possibly go a penny under $25,000 for the vehicle. You ask, “What if I could bring you cash instead of a cashier’s check?” If he says it won’t make any difference, he’s rigid on the price for some reason, and you need to dig deeper to find out what his issue is to see if there is any way to address it, but if he says, “Well, then I could possibly come down a little,” $25,000 is not a firm price and he does have some negotiating range.

The same tactic can be used when women test us, or when we suspect they might be testing, to either neutralize the test or establish that we are dealing with a legitimate issue and need to give it due attention. Let’s say your wife is saying she wants new furniture, and you don’t know if it’s a test, a whim, or a legitimate need. You can test the legitimacy of the issue by finding out how much she’s willing to do to have it: “Well, I [like this furniture/don’t care either way/might be interested in replacing this, too] IF our budget will allow it. If the budget won’t handle the extra expense, do you want this bad enough to do something extra to make up the difference?”

Now you’ve got her. If she says, “Well no, I guess not,” it wasn’t that important. “Well I thought you might be nice and get a part time job to do this for me,” definitely means it’s a test, and we’ll deal with that in a minute. “Yes, I would, because I really want this stuff out of here,” means it’s definitely important, and you should then consider saying, “Well, then I’ll see what I can do as well, but if I’m going to help buy it, I reserve the right to help pick it out, at least to the extent of declining on anything that isn’t comfortable for me to sit in. Agreed?”

It’s not required, but it’s a good idea to remain involved so you don’t end up with a houseful of furniture that you hate, and doing things like that together is part of what long-term committed relationships are about, isn’t it? Besides, women love it when you take the lead and make decisions – as long as you provide that needed and expected input channel for them– it’s ATTRACTIVE!

Now, what if you find out it’s a test? The test looks on the surface like it’s to see what she can get away with, but what it usually is really about is to see if you can say “no,” a check to see if you can define and exercise personal authority. And be advised, if you see a lot of this kind of test, and you see a negative reaction when you reject the idea because she’s not willing to help pay for it, you need to be researching “toxic wife” on Google, Bing, or your search engine of choice.

This is a good time to switch back and forth between the responsible budget administrator and “the naughty negotiator.” Starting with something like, (straight face) “Well, I might consider being nice and helping with it, but if you want it that bad, you’re going to have to help, and you’re going to have to give me a pretty good reason to help, (sudden switch to naughty grin) so whatcha gonna do to be nice to me?”

Banter back and forth and make it plain that you’re not just going to roll over and give it up, even if she has recently done something nice, but make it fun for her to be told “no.” Bring sexual innuendo into it, like, “I don’t know, we’ve had a lot of fun on this couch, I hate to see it go,” or “We’ve not finished breaking this couch down…er…I mean in…It would be a shame to get rid of it before we’d got all the nookie….er….I mean useful life out of it…”

Do NOT get into anything that sounds like you’re willing to trade furniture for sex, because it can be taken as a very degrading remark that hints at prostitution. Whatever you do, DO NOT make it sound like you’re a sugar daddy and she’s a prostitute. Fun, not condescending. Challenge, not control. I’m appalled to even have to say that, but I did get an email about it once in the past, so for the sake of the very few who won’t realize it, I’m stating what’s obvious to most of us.

Use your imagination, but make sure you keep rocking back and forth between serious and naughty to keep her off balance, and keep dropping bits of sexual innuendo. You’re likely to end up having sex on the furniture before the discussion is over, just because the playful, naughty attitude and sexual tension may get to her that much, and then you can say, “See, we need to keep this couch!” and wink at her.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, fear going into this process. Remember that a woman’s first criteria in evaluating you and any other man is “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me.” This is how you earn her respect, her trust, her attraction, and to a significant degree, her love. It’s also how you flush out a predator or parasite who is stealing your life from you. It’s a no-lose situation for you, so get on it.

It’s easy to test for validity once you get used to the game and get skilled at playing. To see the rules in vivid detail, along with lots of examples of how to play the testing game, go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and get your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” What you’ll save on furniture the first time it comes up will more than pay for the book! Just kidding! Seriously, it costs less than a good meal for two, and any time you can throw a few dollars and a little time at a problem and watch it go away, that’s an offer you simply have to take!

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

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Women Test Men Constantly, Especially in Relationships and Marriage

Let’s get a little deeper into why women test men, and what you should do when they do, and tomorrow, we’re going to talk about how and why we can test THEM, so stay tuned…

I like to write about testing from time to time because it’s an inexorable part of life with virtually any woman. To give you an example of how automatic and literally unavoidable it is, look at how women interact with me.

I’m an expert and published author on the subject, have proved it to nearly all the women I know during the course of writing “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” as I researched and tested the material and constantly since then, and they’ve all acknowledged it, yet all of them test me nearly every time we talk! Some get embarrassed about it, some just laugh, but they know that I know, many want to avoid it because they know they’ll get busted and I’ll give them a hard time over it (in a naughty, mischievous way, not hateful or demeaning!), yet they still do it, often without even realizing it.

Think about what this means to the average guy living with the average woman. She’s not trying to avoid it, because she’s not the least bit worried about getting caught at it. Indeed, she’d probably be happy to get caught at it and have something said because in most cases, in her world that would be an improvement. Why?

I’m going to give you the short version, because this is a complex subject, it took several pages in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” (and even more in the still-untitled book I’m writing for the women) to cover it and I don’t want to overload you with “homework.” Besides, I think we both know that I’d prefer you buy my book! (Wink!)

Women are constantly testing men from the time they meet to the last day of their relationship because they are wired to look to the long term and protect their offspring and ability to produce them (whether they have any or not), and avoid getting stuck with a bad man. We can tell them we’re real men, we’re tough, we work hard, we never lie, we’re good in bed, we’ll stand our ground and fight the good fight, but it could be a lie, or could become a lie at any point, so their only option is to test us to see if what we say is consistent with what we do, and stays that way.

You’ve seen both men and women change the instant they figure out they have somebody hooked; most men just aren’t secure enough and smart enough to do something about it. We’re biologically wired to be nomads, father children through multiple mothers, etc., so our biological purpose is to secure food and lodging and make women pregnant. We’re also biologically wired to protect the women before the kids, because we can make more kids in minutes, where women are wired to protect the kids first, since their investment in making a baby is over nine months. And no, that’s not all we’re good for, but the biological mechanisms that cause and support behavior can’t be completely ignored, either.

Yes, it’s a mess. But getting back to the point, they have to test, can’t stop testing, no matter how good things are, and if you don’t know how to respond to a test, you’re toast, especially as far as attraction goes – they’ll test you to see if you continue to tell the truth, remain committed and loyal, etc., and the only way to deal with that is honestly; right now, we’re here to talk about attraction.

You’ll be tested to see if you’re a real man or a wuss, and even if you’re a real man, a weak moment can cause you to do wuss things and kill attraction, so you need to be ever-vigilant. Again, this is a very complex subject with near-infinite possibilities, and I’ve only got room to cover a small part of it here, so you’ll have to consult "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," starting on page 45, for a much clearer picture of how to detect and pass this kind of testing, but let’s hit some of the really common stuff…

First, keep in mind the characteristics of the alpha male: strength, self-esteem, authoritative, confident, playful, intelligent, comfortable, etc. You were born this way, and the programming of the years since tampered with it, hampered it, buried it, or convinced you it was somehow wrong or insensitive. Mothers and other well-meaning women, school personnel, the media and others have tried to beat it out of you, or back so deep inside you that you deny your true nature, and in doing so, your ability to enjoy your life.

You must strip yourself of all the wussification programming that you’ve received since birth and allow the real man within you to emerge; you can’t “fake it until you make it” when being tested. The tests that you face will be tests that challenge these traits and try to get you to expose a hidden weakness, especially in a weak moment, to make sure you’re not just a wuss PLAYING THE PART OF a real man, the alpha male. She wants to know that you can lead her and enjoy life, not just go through the motions for awhile and end up her dependent instead of her partner.

It can come very overtly, such as pitching a fit over something inconsequential to see if you will remain calm and negotiate your way back to reality, remain both calm and strong and tell her that when she gets done pitching a fit and is ready for a rational discussion that you’ll be available if she still wants to talk about it, or go the wrong direction by allowing her to get you upset and yelling or even worse, immediately apologizing for something that you haven’t done. In the former case, you’re allowing her to define authority by dragging you into a bad discussion and setting the tone for it, while in the latter, you’re just caving in to a totally unreasonable situation like a coward.

It can also come very subtly. My favorite example is in one of Jeff Foxworthy’s jokes, where his wife says she’s cold and without a word, he gets up and changes the setting on the climate control for the room. In his joke, he says he’s being trained, and his wife calls her mother and says that the training is working, but in real life, she’d be quite disappointed if this were a test (she’d appreciate it if she were really tired or ill and he was simply being considerate), because he just wussed out and took a non-verbal order to get up out of bed and change the temperature (or turn on the ceiling fan – it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the show).

There are two ways that I know of to pass this particular test (Ladies, you’re invited to write if you have thoughts on this – guys, always leave a communications channel open, even when you are the authority figure), depending on your relationship. One is to ask her, with a very naughty, mischievous grin, if her legs or fingers are broken, unless she’s in a wheelchair or can’t get up, which is just mean.

(Also, do NOT challenge her intellect by asking if she doesn’t know how to operate the one moving part of the switch unless she is extremely bright and you know she’s secure about it. Many women have a hot button about intelligence if they’ve been around an abusive man in the past, one who would say things like, “What do you know? You’re just a woman!” or “Stupid broad!” etc., and you don’t want to be identified with that guy and catch whatever she needs to vent about him when you touch that hot button.)

Or if you want to be considerate and take care of it for her, you can say, again with a bit of a sly tone and facial expression, “I’ll change it for you, but it’s going to cost you…” and then negotiate a kiss, backrub, favorite dinner, sexual favor, or whatever you’re comfortable with, but turn it into something fun and intimate for both of you.

Unfortunately, many women also use testing as a way to communicate to men things they aren’t comfortable discussing, like feeling ignored or unimportant, and they do this by pulling nasty little stunts like filing for divorce, emptying the family checking account or incurring a huge debt, or picking up a substance abuse habit or a boyfriend. It’s not because they want any of these things, but because they want you to see that they are vulnerable to these things because of your lack of allure, responsibility, leadership, or whatever, and can’t think of any other way to express it than to show you the worst-case scenario. This doesn’t usually come until you’ve failed to interpret their other communications efforts, so it would behoove you to learn how to listen when they speak.

Yes, that sounds really screwed up, and it is, but that’s reality, and you really are going to have to read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” to get the rest of that story, especially the tips on how to handle the situation. It’s far too complex and the stakes too high to try to address it in the limited space of an e-mail or a blog post. I can’t over-stress that testing is among the most complicated, misunderstood and potentially dangerous of all male-female issues, and if you don’t give it due consideration, you will be punished when you keep failing tests.

The action plan? Get the book, get the details, learn the alpha male behavior that women love in their men and keep it up while “deleting your wuss program,” learn to spot and respond appropriately to the testing that you will endure, no matter who you have married or are dating, and watch how quickly you start wearing out bedding and beds, not to mention how much more intimate, fun, and rewarding the rest of your life together with your partner will become. Jump on over to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy right now, before you have to face some catastrophe just to find out that your partner would like to have you home for dinner or have a date night once a week.

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