Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't Find Time, MAKE Time to Have a Great Relationship or Marriage

A reader asks how to find some time in a busy schedule to spend with her husband. In her case, and maybe in yours as well, finding time isn’t possible because it just isn’t there to find. When there’s none to be found, you have to make some!

I love hearing from the women who subscribe to this newsletter as much as the men. Their questions are just as relevant and they prove that women really do want time with their men to be intimate and nurturing and to have some fun. Meet K.:

Hello David,

I have a question for you. My husband and I work together as we own our own construction company. We are together 24 hours a day, and need to find a way that we can spend time together but not at work. It seems like when we get home we are too tired to have any intimate time together and when we are at work we are AT WORK. I want to know how I can separate work from pleasure with him. We don't have much family that we can rely on to take our son, and the one's that we do have that take him are sick right now. So when we need our alone time we want it.

How can we get this?

K


My reply:

Good morning, K!

Under the constraints you’ve listed, you can’t, so you’re going to have to make some changes, at least small ones. You’re going to have to change your priorities to make that time together actually important enough to take it, and then manage your schedule so that you can, no matter what that takes. Maybe until your babysitters get well, you might have to schedule one day a week where the two of you disappear at lunchtime for an hour or longer, to an intimate lunch or a hotel or whatever, or schedule a late opening one morning so that you can have a little while at home after your child has gone to school before going to work, or something like that. How you do it isn’t important as long as it doesn’t destroy your business, but you have to schedule the time and then take the time instead of just waiting for a window to open.

I’m all about achievement and getting the job done, and this was a very hard lesson for me to learn as well; very early in my own marriage, my wife and I were both over-achievers and found ourselves in serious trouble before we realized that while we love each other dearly, we had inadvertently let our work schedules take over our lives, and had evolved from husband and wife into roommates and business partners. That was one of the problems that led to me doing the research to write "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and one of the first problems that I put to the test group to solve.

It turned out they all had it to some degree, either with spending all their time with their jobs or their kids, and for most, just scheduling one date and one lunch per week was enough to keep them close and engaged while continuing to get things more under control, and all of them found that once the schedule was made and acknowledged, it was very easy to keep to their commitments as long as they were smart about scheduling the time, avoiding times that were common for meetings, times that were in the middle of project start-ups, times that were during peak customer flow or when they knew they would have problems getting a sitter, etc., and they always secured a sitter before planning the date – “We need a couple hours some evening this week; when would be good for you?” was the question. And when the sitter gave them a date, it was set in stone, and only an event that produced fever or lots of blood was a good excuse for breaking the babysitting engagement and spoiling the date.

This isn’t as hard as what it may sound. An hour or two per week isn’t going to make that big a difference in your business, if any, and it will make a world of difference in your life together. Just realize that you’re together for the long haul, and you should therefore try to give each other the best part of your day instead of what’s left over after everybody and everything else has worn you out all day.

Speaking of which, when you do schedule an evening date, try to keep your day-time schedule a little lighter than other days to make sure you aren’t too tired to enjoy the time together, and never let yourself think that you are too tired to enjoy some time together without at least trying it. You’d be surprised how rejuvenating a little intimate, playful time together can be, because it gets your adrenaline pumping. Sometimes a long day doesn’t create so much fatigue as it does simple frustration and depression, and some time together in celebration of a job well done and a rough workday brought to a close can be the best pick-me-up of all.

And if you’re really all that tired and need some low-energy together time, pile up together on the couch with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or anything that can be shared, sit close, clink the bottles or glasses in a toast, and just be still and relax together. No, it’s not steamy sex on a yacht or hiking in the Andes or some deep emotional discussion, but when you’re that tired at the end of a long day of over-achieving, even that quiet, mindless time spent in the intimate ritual of sharing food and entertainment is better than just crashing and forgetting about it. Do whatever you are able to do to indulge in what husbands and wives enjoy doing together.

Give this a try, and let me know if I can be of further help. You can do this.

Take care, and keep in touch!
David


A lot of couples make this mistake. They try to find time instead of making time, not realizing that when your life is in overdrive, even small amounts of time scattered through the week can make a huge difference in keeping your relationship on track, and if a couple hours a week is going to make the difference between your business folding or succeeding or the difference in you being able or unable to pay your household bills, you’ve got bigger problems than you realize and need to be finding some professional help. It’s like arguing over a nickel at the cash register; if that nickel is going to break either you or the vendor, you’re already broke.

Make the time for what’s important, and get your priorities straight. You will most likely outlive your career, your parents, and your friendships by a very long time, and while you may not outlive your children, they will be moving out of your house somewhere around age 20 and you won’t be seeing that much of them after they are gone. Your partner, on the other hand, is supposed to be with you for life, right? Common sense should tell you that your partner should therefore be your first priority, and if they are not, then you need to stop and figure out whether your priorities are wrong or you’re with the wrong partner.

Finding a new job, making new friends, or even making new babies is relatively easy compared to finding a true life partner and soul mate, and if you’ve found one and lose them, that lengthens the odds of finding another somewhat, does it not? Look at your life, and get your priorities in order, and then do whatever it takes to support those priorities. Yes, it’s really that simple.

When it comes to your partner, Gentlemen, doing what it takes to keep her happy and striving to nurture and excite you is a simple matter of communications and manliness, something you aren’t taught in school, and have no hope of learning from watching television unless you’re able to home in on that tiny percentage of programming that shows men and women being men and women, and not this homogenized New Age mess of political correctness and utter wussification and victim mentality that seems to be swallowing the world.

For a tested and proven, tutorial and definitive reference on “keeping mama happy so she keeps everybody happy,” go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage." I’d also STRONGLY suggest you join our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, and take advantage of the friendships and mentoring that await you there.

Do it now, too. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Life’s too short to let it pass under-lived and unenjoyed, and as anybody who has ever used it will tell you, this book is “the hook-up” you’ve been looking for.

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

Friday, July 09, 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 floursack-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. If you run into something that doesn’t quite seem right, join us on the forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and discuss it until it works for you. 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, July 08, 2010

Sometimes You Have to Be Tough to Have a Great Relationship or Marriage

Sometimes a woman quite literally NEEDS you to get a little tough with her. How do you recognize this, and how do you get tough without being abusive? Think “leadership”…

Yesterday was a really odd day. Everyone I know was having what you would call an “off day” of one kind or another. Allergies, summer colds, arthritis, lousy weather, vendor incompetence, boss incompetence, employee incompetence, customer incompetence, bad food, bad service, monthly cycle – you name it, somebody was going through it. The oddest thing was what happened with one of my best friends, Daphne.

We met over ten years ago, and when we did, she was a mess. Totally submissive, living for the approval of others, and living under the thumb of a wimpy, manipulative, predatory, wife-beating husband and a highly-controlling and manipulative mother. She asked me one day fairly early in our friendship how I had come to be so tough and independent, and how I could live being self-confident and caring absolutely nothing about what others thought of me. I steered her to some targeted reading, especially some of Ayn Rand’s most excellent work, and we talked about different problems and how to solve them.

She became fiercely independent, ultimately “wearing the pants in the family” (not a surprise at all given her husband’s nature; bullies always capitulate when you call their bluff) and presenting such a strong image to her mother that her mother went from being dominating and manipulative to seeking Daphne’s approval at every turn because she was intimidated by Daphne’s independence. That was about nine years ago, and she’s held the line ever since…that is, until yesterday.

There had been a lot of turmoil over the weekend, including a funeral, a couple of family problems, a severe migraine, etc., and by Monday morning she was so mentally fatigued and her testosterone so depleted (it balances the creative and emotionally-driving effects of estrogen, and too much influence from estrogen makes women – and men – uncharacteristically – or more, for some of them -- erratic, unstable, and agitated, a medical condition known as “estrogen dominance”) that her self-esteem became challenged, and she suddenly started acting like she had when we first met, very dramatic, needy, approval-seeking, etc. As the day wore on, it was getting worse instead of better.

To finish putting this in perspective, Daphne is one of the brightest women I know, with an IQ of around 130-140, very emotionally aware, and extremely competent at self-evaluation. She’s one of the top three women on the support staff who helped with the development of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and who continue to respond to surveys, questions, reader dilemmas, etc., with useful insight because she can “step in and out of herself” at will and remain entirely objective through the whole thing, which is very unusual among women, who tend to get wrapped up in the emotion of an experience and don’t want to quickly shut it down and analyze it, even when it would be to their extreme benefit to do so.

Do you have the picture now? A smart, fiercely independent woman who is quite adept at side-stepping her own emotions to rationally examine them has reverted to behavior not exhibited in nearly a decade, and as the day wore on, as I tried to point out what was happening, it got worse instead of better. I knew what was coming when she said, “I just feel like I need a good cry.” Why?

She’d been to a funeral, a sad event that jerks tears from most people, and yet she needed a good cry? Danger Will Robinson! Danger! That’s a dependable sign of MAJOR emotional energy build-up looking for an outlet; “needing a good cry” is bad enough, but when a woman has been to a tear-jerking event like a funeral and still “needs a good cry,” well, where I grew up they would say something like, “You ain’t seen trouble yet, but it’s comin’!” Emotional energy is like any other kind of mental energy. Thought is the result of chemical reactions in the brain causing electrical impulses at the nerve synapses. This tells you what?

That the stress of all the emotion from the weekend had put her brain chemistry out of balance. Some women have more of a problem with this than others, but the symptoms are the same; they get weaker and more clingy, then needy, then irritable, and finally they sound like they’re spoiling for a fight, and you can hear the stress and anger start building in their voice looking for an outlet. The big question is “what do you do?”

First, you have to avoid the urge to let her engage you in a fight. If you can spot the “I just need a good cry” stage, suggest to her that she sit down for a chick-flick, and invite a girlfriend over to share it with her if she doesn’t want to be alone, not because you don’t care, but because it would be bad for both of you if you step into the “girlfriend role,” even temporarily. If she can “bleed off” during the chick flick, she’ll be fine. But you can’t always catch her in that state because she may pass through it and be in bad shape while you are apart, such as while one or both of you are at work. If that happens, you’re going to have to deal with it; there’s no escaping it, at least not without extreme risk.

If she gets bad enough to need a fight to bleed off, she’ll say something to put you on the defensive and then jump to get you to jump back; a big clue that this is about to happen is that whatever she seems to be upset about would normally be something trivial, or is even something that she obviously contrived, albeit involuntarily. It’s chemistry, and until you’ve been driven by something like this, it’s hard to understand or identify with it, but a woman will have very little to no choice about starting a fight once they reach this point. (Chick flick, anyone?)

Giving her a good fight will reset her brain chemistry, but it will also create a lot of embarrassment, hard feelings, scars and other aftermath that neither of you really want to deal with, and while she might be able to dismiss the things she says to you, even knowing that she’s in a involuntary predicament due to a chemically-altered state, you may never forgive or forget them, as she may never forgive or forget the things you say to her in response to what she said to you SPECIFICALLY TO PROVOKE THE ALTERCATION. We’ve all seen how things, once said, cannot really ever be taken back, no matter how much they weren’t really meant at the time. You need a confrontation, but not a fight. How do you do that?

Remember the many times I’ve mentioned leadership as a biological trigger for attraction? The chemical balance in the brain is a biological matter. When she finally had things built up to try to start the fight and made a snide remark to try to provoke me, I took a stern tone that she had probably never heard me use before, and said, “Just hold it! You are not going there with me!”

That’s leadership (decision-making), and authority (establishing a boundary), but it’s also a confrontation (denying her the fight and doing so in a stern tone). I thought for a second she had dropped the phone until I heard her breathe, and then continued, “This is not about me and you, or even me or you separately. It’s about all the emotional turmoil that you went through over the last few days, and you’re looking for a fight to sort it all out. There’s a better way to handle this.”

I went on to explain what had happened, maintaining the stern tone of a friend who is verbally roughing up another friend for doing something silly, and gradually softening it as I proceeded over the next couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes of silence as she took it all in, she interrupted me in mid sentence with, “Oh my God! I’ve been doing this all day, haven’t I?”

It was like hearing somebody come out of a daze, and Gentlemen, you MUST understand this, for many women, it really is like coming out of a daze. When they get off balance like that, they are truly in an altered mental state, and may not even remember some things that happen or have an accurate sense of the passage of time. This does not in any way make them inferior, weak, flakey, or insane, any other kind of sexist nonsense. It’s just the way they are, and something that we have to be aware of and work around – NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE OVER -- if we are going to have a long-term relationship with them. It comes with the package, and you can help them though it or be made miserable by it. A pretty obvious choice, huh?

Eventually, after talking for a few minutes (and Daphne making several apologies and sounding very embarrassed), we got back to the point in a prior discussion about her saying that she felt like she just needed a good cry. Sometime before we spoke today, she watched some old sad movie, had a good cry, and was herself when I called this morning to share a reader e-mail with her. This brings up the other VERY important point…

When women say they “need a good cry,” they’re not being prissy little wuss-bags. They know that they are off-balance, and have learned over time that it’s going to take some kind of extreme emotional event that is sustained for a fairly long time (as emotional events go) to get things back in balance. It is VERY difficult to create a positive event that can create this intensity and duration of emotion, so they usually use something negative but inert, like a sad movie, to get them started and keep them going, and by the time the movie is over, they’re bled out, stabilized, and generally okay. Are you with me here?

Women don’t like sad movies because they enjoy being sad, they like sad movies because they provide a needed emotional rush and release that rids them of negative energy and sets their body chemistry right without having to engage us in a fight and damage our relationships. A woman’s life is mostly about managing her relationships, thanks to her brain structure and chemistry that give her the signature social nature of womankind, and they really do try to protect their relationships a lot more than many men. Hence, when your partner wants to watch a sad movie, don’t interfere. You don’t have to sit there through the whole thing, and again, should have her invite a girlfriend over to watch it with her, but…

If there is no girlfriend available or she doesn’t want to do that, you don’t want to be cast in the role of girlfriend because it kills attraction over time. Tell her that you don’t like sad movies and don’t play well in the role of girlfriend, and that you’ll be in another room, but if she gets upset and wants to be held a bit you’ll be happy to “pop in” for a few minutes if she asks. Being a strong shoulder to cry on is a far cry from being a girlfriend sharing in a drama festival. Crying at chick-flicks was part of the bad advice in the 1980’s that got us into this mess, so don’t go there, ever. You will indeed be very uncomfortable in the girlfriend role if you have an ounce of masculinity in you, and you’ll kill attraction and respect in her. There’s just no upside for either of you if you try to substitute for a girlfriend for even a minute.

If you do have to spend a few minutes with her while she watches, monitor her as she does, and if you notice tears starting to form sit down with her for a bit and snuggle her up, then a few minutes after the scene changes and she’s dried up for a few minutes excuse yourself for a bit. She doesn’t need a baby sitter, but it will feel good to have you there holding her when the tears come, and it will be endearing to her to have you tolerate a few minutes of that movie to help her get through it. Don’t feed into it, or egg her on, or start crying yourself. Just sit still, pull her close, and do whatever you do when she doesn’t feel good and you snuggle her up, such as hair-stroking, nuzzling, etc.

Incidentally, this is NOT the time to try to make sexual advances, but if she does, even subtly by holding a kiss longer or advancing from a “love” kiss to an aroused kiss, go with it if you can regularly bring her to orgasm, because that will release energy and reset chemistry just like a good cry for most women, according to those who have answered my surveys. If you can't, adding frustration to what's already bothering her is likely a pretty bad idea.

If she has difficulty with orgasm, or if you just don’t know how to get her there, I can point you to some helpful resources (just e-mail me at support@makingherhappy.com, visit our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, where our women can be most helpful, or follow any of the reader-recommended links at the bottom of this newsletter), and I’d STRONGLY suggest you avail yourself of them, because no matter how much either of you try to downplay the issue, if she suddenly discovers that somebody else can while you can’t, or even suspects that somebody else can when you seldom or never have, you will have one of the worst of all problems on your hands: a bored wife in whom someone else has created attraction. Attraction is like a foot race, whoever gets there first wins.

Women are like us in a lot of ways, but in the ways they differ from us lie the potential for a lot of misunderstanding and lack of appreciation, not to mention good old-fashioned BIG trouble. They try to tell us what they need, but one of those differences is how they communicate with us, which really throws a wrench in the works. But, there’s help if you’re smart enough to know that you need it and man enough to accept it…

I brought a group of nearly 200 women together to find out what they want from men and life, and then worked with the 118 couples made up of the “attached” women in the first group with their men (about one-third of them were unmarried or divorced) and worked them over nine ways from Sunday to find out what went right and wrong in relationships, how men and women differed, how to communicate with them, and how to make or break that wonderful feeling of attraction, that emotion that women so desperately crave and which truly brings out the best in them when they feel it, so much so that they will literally kill to protect that feeling.

That research was compiled into my e-book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," which was given back to the couples for testing and fine tuning, and all of them, as well as everyone who has bought it since (unless somebody has failed to complain and get a refund when they felt like it, and can you imagine that happening today???) has improved their life and/or relationship, and I have more unsolicited testimonials to that effect than you could ever imagine. Some relationships can’t be improved because they never should have been formed in the first place, and this book helps you to identify and exit them peacefully as well. And the best news of all is…

That you can have it now! It’s an instant download at http://www.makingherhappy.com/, 118 pages in PDF format, single-spaced and optimized for printing on standard letter-size paper, so you can read it on your screen or carry it with you and read it on the train, plane, or your favorite easy chair – YOUR CHOICE. Just choose! Go for it now, so you can start replacing boredom, frustration, and fights with happy times and a higher standard of living and self-esteem, because life is too short to spend it just wondering why things aren’t going so well when they could be going great!

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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

When She Gains a Few Pounds: Walking Through a Minefield in Relationships and Marriage

Summer is here, and many of us still have that inconvenient layer of winter fat and we’re now wondering how many extra trips to the gym it will take to get rid of it. And it’s not just winter fat, either. Stress, pregnancy, etc., can put a major whammy on women, who are especially troubled right now because bikini season is here! What do you do when she gains a few pounds? Inquiring minds want to know, at least if they ever hope enjoy being married again…

That’s right, it’s time to shed that winter insulation and get ready for bikinis, volleyball, backyard barbecues, and all those other fun activities that require baring skin, and exposing your jelly belly if you picked one up through the winter. Here’s a typical letter about this most common problem, and a very sticky one to say the least. Meet Tia:

Dear David,

I need your help. The past few months I have put on a few extra pounds due to a medication that I have to take for my asthma. Everybody tells me that they don’t notice it and I look good, but to me I feel like the Goodyear blimp and have no desire to be intimate with my husband at all because I’m embarrassed over having curves in places that were flat. The more he tries to tell me I look sexy the more his advances just make me feel pressured, and I hate feeling under pressure this way. It has nothing to do with not loving him or not wanting to enjoy each other the way we always have. We have always been very in touch with each other and being together in the bed was always one of the best parts.

I was hoping you could give me some advice as to how I could bring this up with him. I want him to understand just how awful I feel I look and how it has nothing to do with him at this point.

Thank you,
Tia

Tia, I’m going to make this really easy for you, because it’s such a great question. Just print this article and let him read it, because I’m going to tell him and all the other men about this. He won’t know it’s you unless you tell him because I’ve changed the name to protect your privacy.

Get ready guys! Pay close attention, take notes, and make sure you fully understand what you’re about to read. This is some of the most critical information to ever appear in this newsletter and you need to get this down pat and cold, right now, because sooner or later, EVERY woman will experience a bit of weight gain that makes her uncomfortable with her appearance, and consequently, with YOU.

If you’ve read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," you know about the difference in the male and female brain structure. Aside from making our communications styles and methods grossly different, it also makes women visualize and dramatize to the extreme compared to males.

You also must remember that nearly all of the advertising in the fashion and beauty industries is designed to prey upon a woman’s sense of competitiveness to make her feel insecure about her appearance. Women are literally bombarded with this crap everywhere they look, and while you or I probably wouldn’t even notice a little weight gain until we had to loosen our belt a notch or sew a button back on our trousers that had popped off, to them a pound or two can be nearly or wholly traumatic, especially if they’ve taken pride in a flat stomach for a long time.

We often respond to this by telling them that they look “fine,” “sexy,” “hot,” etc., and that is precisely the wrong thing to do. Why?

She knows what she sees in the mirror, and thinks that you see what she sees in the mirror. If she thinks she looks fat and you say she looks sexy, all that says to her is that either you’re lying or your standards are really, really low. Don’t go there, even if you really think she looks better with a couple of extra pounds because you like the curves, and whatever you do, DON’T tell her you like the new curves! That can get you killed, because in her ears, that’s, “But honey, I like you better when you’re fat like this.” Ladies, you are cordially invited to write and tell the men just that – I’ll reprint your letters so the men will know just how serious an issue this is. And guys, there are some women at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, that will verify this and everything else I tell you, and often elaborate as well. Check it out.

So what are you supposed to do?

You’d already know this, too, if you had read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” because you wouldn’t be making those kinds of advances and doing really stupid things like asking her to have sex with you. You’d be tripping her attraction triggers with alpha male behavior, naughty talk and gestures, and making her have fun and get so hot that she didn’t concern herself with her additional weight because she’d still feel sexy and desirable, and she’d be coming after YOU!

When you know what a woman wants, what “makes her tick,” how to both listen and talk to her, and how to have fun with her, she doesn’t feel like a middle-aged housewife that can’t compete with the 20-somethings anymore. She feels like a real queen who rules the world at your side by day and a red hot vixen by night, keeping that naughty little secret for you and you alone because you create it for her. There's a time and place, not to mention a right way and a wrong way, for everything, and that includes delivering genuine, honest compliments, and giving them because they have been earned, not because you’re trying to get something in return. That’s called “flattery,” and it will get you absolutely nowhere with anyone who is worth getting anywhere with.

That, Gentlemen, is how a real man makes a real woman feel, and that is what you learn when you read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” So how many more times are you going to have to stick your foot in your mouth and spend the night in the doghouse before you go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy? Go now, and get it done, because there are far better things to do with your feet (and your mouth!).

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

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Handling Women's Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships and Marriage

What to do when your partner gets jealous. It’s a security and self-esteem issue, so you must be careful…

I received the following in response to the recent edition on “Being Your Own Man”:

Hi David....I agree with you on what this guy needs to do. Let me ask you though...When I am showing this confidence which I believe I do and in fact I enjoy seeing my wife getting attention from the younger guys, but is it possible that when she sees me so self-confident and not being jealous etc that the wife may start being insecure herself? Do you think that she could start thinking that all the other women are going to want him and she might withdraw into herself seeing other women being interested in him?

Thanks,
Keith

I told Keith that it was purely a matter of her self-esteem combined with his past behavior; if she feels good about herself and he’s shown himself to be trustworthy in the past, she’ll eat it up just like him, but if not, there could be trouble. I also pointed him to this article in my newsletter archive, which does bring a lot of clarity to the picture, especially on how to maintain that “They’re chasing me, but I’m going home with you, so don’t worry” connection going with your wife or girlfriends while others are flirting with you. Read it again if you’ve seen it before, because this is a skill you MUST acquire, and one that will be richly rewarded:

“When She Gets Jealous”

Let’s talk about our women, and how to give them one less thing to worry about each day.

Why should that be important? If you had read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” you would know that women are wired differently from men in some rather fascinating ways (and yes, bothersome and delightful as well), one of which is that they are constantly evaluating and reevaluating everything in their world. That includes us, themselves, and all the other women they know, too, and there are some “competitive insecurities” that still creep in, even though we now live in a world where women routinely make it on their own without a man’s help.

Patience, everyone. It took at least a few thousand years to form those habits, and they won’t go away overnight, especially as long as every time you turn on the television you see commercials aimed at women whose sole purpose is to make them feel insecure about themselves so that they will spend more money on diet and exercise fads, makeup and clothing to try to outpace each other. (Yes, Guys, they’re doing it to us, too, with commercials about “dysfunction,” size, hair loss, etc., just not as aggressively as they do it to the women.) Until everybody gets together and figures out that there’s plenty of partners to go around and we all need to be a little more patient and selective when trying to choose one, we’re all going to have to deal with this.

Gentlemen, this is particularly a problem for us! How so? As you master the knowledge and techniques in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you will become more attractive – TO ALL WOMEN! Yes, that IS a problem if not handled properly. Put your ego back in your pocket for a minute and think with me here. What do you do when you’re in a public place and other women notice you and come up and start flirting with you, right in front of your partner?

She’s in a quandary, because she wants to be with a man who is in demand (F.J. Shark’s “social proof”), and wants to be proud to be seen with you, but unless she’s feeling particularly strong about you and your relationship, she’s likely to get a little uneasy, especially at first, if this is a new development in your relationship. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to allow her to see her man being in demand without making her feel insecure or even fearful of the other women noticing you. I cover this in detail in my book, but I’m going to give you the crash course here and now so you can have a better understanding of how things work and maybe avoid a bad situation before you get to that part of the book.

First, if you have followed my advice and let her read this book with you, she knows what you’re doing, and probably already knows that you’re becoming more attractive for your own sake as well as with her feelings and needs in mind, and a desire to better your relationship and marriage. She just needs a little subtle but firm reminder, possibly frequently until she gets used to you being attractive and still remaining true to her – remember, they’re constantly reevaluating and testing, even when they know things are good. That reminder comes in the form of continuing to make contact with her when other women are around. Care for an example? Yeah, I thought so.

Okay, you have just spoken at a dinner, seminar, party, or some gathering and have become known to the room as some kind of leader, authority, entertainer, etc., that causes women to pay attention to you because you have just publicly defined and demonstrated authority and established alpha status in commanding the attention of the group, room, or whatever. Your partner is now at your side as these other women come up introducing themselves, asking questions, flirting, etc., which is their lead-in to testing you to see if you can be swayed and to see if you’ll give them attention, and on what level. They’re highly competitive and can’t help it, so there’s no avoiding it. Some of them will be subtly flirting, others may even overtly give you a phone number or a room key (yes, attraction is that powerful, as well as some women’s sense of competition in establishing their own “social proof”!) knowing that your wife is standing there.

Frequently, yet subtly, make contact with your partner, touching or even squeezing her hand, glancing at her and smiling as you answer the other women’s questions, etc., which telegraphs to her and to the other women that while you are the catch of the room at that moment, you’re committed to her, and happy to remain so. If you are passed any room keys, phone numbers, etc., DO NOT try to conceal them. Try to very subtly and politely refuse them, and if they insist, take it, slip your hand behind your back, and try to get your partner to take it, or slip it in your pocket while smiling and maybe winking at your partner and making a game of it, and then turn out your pockets for her when you are alone again.

Let her dispose of the phone numbers and take the room keys to the front desk, not as an act of giving her control, but as a sort of trophy demonstrating your commitment to her, saying something like, “Well my dear, you’ve earned these, so dispatch them as you wish,” with a big naughty grin, of course. (One of you is married to a woman who would go to the rooms and invite the women to a private party – Keith, the guy who wrote the letter that opened this lesson! – so you never really know what might happen when you do this.)

If you know that you are going to be speaking publicly, discuss it with her! Yes, people really do things like that. “Honey, there are going to be women asking me questions tonight after the presentation, and some of them are likely to try to pass me phone numbers, room keys, etc. You know I have no interest in them, and I want you to be comfortable with handling the situation. I can dispose of the contraband myself or I can allow you to handle it if you prefer. Frankly, I find it amusing, and if you pay attention, you will, too.” Don’t do it apologetically, or like you’re asking permission, because you’re not. You’ve decided what’s to be done, and left her room for input.

If your relationship is pretty strong and you want to be really naughty about it, you can take that approach. “Damn, I get so tired of all these women flirting and carrying on at these things. I usually just toss the phone numbers and room keys, at least the ones from the ugly girls (wink and duck!), but I’m getting tired of having to deal with it. Why don’t you take the keys to the desk and trash the notes and numbers for me tonight?” A big wink and a grin at that point will probably get you get you a good natured slap, kick, punch, or something that doesn’t hurt, along with a choice expletive or two and a kiss. Ride her about it a little bit more to get her to giggle if you can, and let it go. The main thing is to keep it framed as your decision, because it is. It’s your decision to be true to her and it’s your decision to have her participate in celebrating that fidelity. This is something you’re doing because you love her, not something you’re doing because you need her and are afraid of losing her.

Obviously, there are a lot more circumstances than these with the potential for an insecure wife to become jealous. The general rule is to remind her that it is your commitment, your choices, and your actions, not the actions of aggressive women, that will determine what happens, and that her voiced distrust of those other women is in effect expressing distrusting you. It would be really, REALLY helpful if at this point, you could honestly say to her, “…and all the evidence that you have tells you that it doesn’t matter what these other women do, I’m with you and will remain with you.” You can only do that if you’ve not been caught cheating, so keep yourself out of trouble. The only way to LOOK clean is to BE clean, right? And if you’re not sure how she might take something like this, ask the women on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/. They joined to answer questions like this, providing the female perspective, and we can’t have them getting bored, now can we? ;-)

There are very few problems that a man and woman can have, or any two people for that matter, that some honest, factual communication can’t fix, even if it’s just to agree to disagree and move on; at least the conflict is stopped and closure secured. Listen to your partner, and trust them to listen to you, always. If you can’t, you may just be calling the wrong person “partner.” (Yeah, that’s another newsletter.) Learn how to make yourself this attractive and how to talk to your partner in the aftermath in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage;” your copy is waiting for you at http://www.makingherhappy.com/, and your life is getting shorter with each passing minute, so I strongly suggest you get moving.

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

Monday, July 05, 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 gentlemen too many times to count that the object is not to seduce your wife, but to actively induce your wife to seduce both of 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.

You might also be surprised at how eager the women on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, are to share with you if ask them any question at all, including what kinds of things you could talk about in the kitchen without putting her in the authority role, how to get her to give you instruction, such as cooking, while YOU are in the authority role, and a lot more that is infinitely more useful than you might imagine.

Caution: 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

Sunday, July 04, 2010

What Are You Looking for in Your Relationship and Marriage, or Are You Looking At All?

Great things are where you find them, especially in relationships, marriages, and opportunity in general, but you have to be looking for them to see them. Believe it or not, that’s a lot more a matter of attitude than opportunity, luck, or providence…

I’m swimming in testosterone right now (Sunday afternoon, July 4), because there’s a hundred pounds of pork ribs in my smoker that is going to feed an army of hungry “good people” shortly, and I smell of hardwood smoke and burning pork fat, which where I live, is a very powerful aphrodisiac! No matter where you live or what your life is like, find a reason to get together with others at least once a month and practice these rituals of cooking over fire, communing and telling stories, all of which have evolved from the ancient hunt. It awakens something primal and wonderful for which there does not seem to be any substitute.

Since everything is looking good in the smoker and it will be awhile before time to greet family, friends, and neighbors, I sat down to check my e-mail and found a couple of starkly contrasting pieces that screamed out “NEWSLETTER!!!!” So while I usually do this late at night based on some experience of the day, I’m doing it early today while the message is still at the forefront of my mind and easy to share with you.

The first thing I saw was a notice that a reader named Ryan had ended his subscription to this newsletter. Ryan had subscribed eleven days prior, and his comment describing his reason for cancelling read:

“NOTHING OF VALUE”

Just below it was an e-mail from another reader, and I about laughed myself sick when I looked up his subscription date and found that it was the same day, and he submitted the following:

Hello David,

Thank you! Your book is awesome! All of your readers of your daily email should sack up and buy your book. Sometimes that macho crap gets in the way and we limit ourselves from learning more about the women in our lives. We do often think that we should naturally know everything....after reading your book I knew that I didn't know much!

My marriage came to an end a while ago and my ex was always turning to "relationship experts" like Dr Phil and John Gray just to name a couple. Yes being the good man (or trying to) I read their books. Although they had some interesting ideas, none of them had an impact on me the way your book did.

I have been in a new relationship with a woman now for about a year. I did not want this relationship to turn sour like all the other ones so I decided to be proactive and read your book. WOW! Over the past couple of weeks since I bought your book, I started to take control and the results have been amazing. I have not had a problem with self confidence or had a problem attracting women throughout my life, but after a while things would always change. I could not sustain the attraction. This woman is amazing and I did not want to sabotage this one too. Your book is the bomb dude and I will direct as much attention to you as I can!

One of my buddies asked me this weekend why I was so happy and I told him I wish that he could feel for 5 minutes what I feel everyday now. My beautiful woman is into me like no one’s business and looks at me in a way where I feel her love, even when we are not together. After almost a year we are more in love today than ever before. Thank you David for doing what the so-called "relationship experts" could not.

Rock on Dude,

Mike

P.S. By the way...I packed her stuff up and we went for a picnic this weekend when she got home from work. The results are too X-rated to put here...lol. Later!

(The picnic Mike refers to in the post script is a surprise outing I describe in the "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” wherein after you have learned how to read your partner and pay attention to the little things about her, like what she never leaves the house without on a day trip, weekender, etc., you come home a little early from work or send her off on an errand so you can have the house to yourself for an hour or so and prepare a picnic, day trip, weekend outing, etc. – just any kind of surprise trip to shake things up and give her a break from routine, then pile her in the car and announce the destination after you’re under way, or even better, upon arrival. It’s a wonderful exercise in attraction-building and adventure that every woman appreciates.)

The contrast in the findings and underlying attitudes of these two readers is stark and significant. One was looking for answers and found them, and I’m still trying to figure out what the other one was looking for, but it quite literally took them exactly the same length of time to report their findings; my e-mail is updated every three minutes and these two came in together. Strange, but true.

I wish you could have been here when they arrived, too. I’m hyper-analytical. You could probably count the original thoughts I’ve had in my life on your hands and feet, but I can extract the cause and effect relationships from any situation near-instantly and accurately, and it’s ruthlessly automatic. Everything I see or hear first causes me to visualize, then analyze, then look for parallels once the cause and effect is known and logical deductions and projections that can be made from them. (That’s why you never find opinion or theory in my newsletters or books!)

So when these letters hit me, the immediate question was, “what else do men miss because they aren’t looking for it, or are looking somewhere besides at their partners to find it?”

Think about that. Is there something that you wish you and your partner shared, or could share or do together, that you have just assumed she wouldn’t be interested in or do? Are you right now or have you recently made the mistake of involving others in the problems of your life or relationship because you assume that your partner won’t want to discuss it, or resolve it?

Parenthetically, NEVER, EVER discuss intimate family problems with anyone outside your household unless they are a professional problem-solver who is both competent and paid for their confidentiality. Aside from the fact that it’s unlikely that they are emotionally-unattached, rational, and experienced enough to get to the root of your problem and help, when personal relationships end badly, all information that you have given a former friend, coworker, etc., or even a relative that you can’t really cut off, becomes a weapon to embarrass and hurt you with.

People do horribly hurtful things that cannot be undone when they are angry, and the things that go on between you and your spouse – YES, I am talking to both men and women here – are fodder for a quick-tempered and later-regretted revenge. Don’t tempt fate by arming people you care about with information about other people you care about. I see it every day, and it NEVER ends well.

Here’s an example possibly less destructive but still quite humiliating: one of the guys on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, went to a gathering yesterday for the first time without his estranged wife, and everyone who knew that his wife was in mid-life crisis just had to chime in with all manner of negativity (“Leave the bitch. Wanna meet my sister?” I kid you not!) without even asking how it was going, and it actually looks like she’s coming home soon. Needless to say, it pretty-well ruined the gathering for him. The less people, even friends, know about your problems, unless they can actually do something to help, the better.

Getting back on subject, do you have any idea how many missed opportunities to deepen and improve your relationship and your life occur as a result of assuming that your partner won’t be interested? Or how many affairs are started because of that? How many misunderstandings it generates?

Don’t be like Ryan, oblivious to the potential of what’s in front of you. If there’s something lacking at home, don’t go outside to find it (and if you ultimately do decide to go outside your marriage, end the marriage first) before making absolutely sure that it’s not sitting there undiscovered right under your nose at home. Talk to your partner, and listen – or are you able?

I’ll go to my grave preaching this sermon. Effective inter-gender communication is not something that we are born well-suited to even do, let alone do competently. It is a skill that must be developed, not a talent determined by a gene. For those of you who have seen the “Men State, Women Negotiate” excerpt from "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" in my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report, you know that as complex as it all seems, it pretty much boils down to the ruthless exercise of three simple rules that anybody can follow.

The question is “What are you looking for?” which begs the other question, “What is motivating you to look for anything?” Are you like Ryan, maybe looking for validation for your past mistakes so that you can blame somebody else for leaving you, or are you like Mike, realizing that you wouldn’t be reading this if everything was perfect, and that something that appears logical, people are using with success, and is guaranteed to work is worth a try, and therefore taking action and getting outstanding results?

Only you can make that choice, and I dare say that it is inevitable that you will be held accountable for it, if by nothing else, the state of your own life and that of your family’s, so choose well…

I don’t want to get too carried away with coincidences, but if you want to be “like Mike” (to those of you who saw the movie, I swear that’s his real name!), just do what he did. Jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your own copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and get busy. It took him 11 days to write that letter. How quickly can you turn your life and relationship around?

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