Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time Is On YOUR Side When Saving a Relationship or Marriage

The rules for creating and maintaining attraction can be slightly to radically different when moving from the “first encounter” scenario (like bumping into a stranger or trying to pick up a stranger in a bar) to a committed relationship. One such rule is the one governing your “window of opportunity,” which is as short as a few seconds when meeting someone new but can be months long when trying to rekindle the fire in a mature but stale or damaged relationship, because the woman would rather have her partner being a “naughty hottie” than being bored or having an affair; she has a vested interest in giving him a chance to enliven the relationship.

Don’t forget the new forum is open at
http://forum.makingherhappy.com and you’re going to miss out on something special unless you participate. There are several hundred members already, and while most are still a bit shy about posting, there are some really great things already coming out, well worth your time to spend a few minutes a day reading. And if you are shy about posting, don’t forget that everybody there has a problem that is either the same as your or related to yours, or one that you could easily have in the future, so it’s not like a bunch of people with perfect lives are going to be laughing at your problems if you speak of them. Indeed, I’m quite proud of how the group we’ve attracted so far shows such compassion and respect for each other without coddling each other and sugar-coating the truth, and

One other possibly VERY important note: to the best of my knowledge, judging by the number of times I see the Google spiders receiving “no permission” error messages as they attempt to read the forums that may contain problem information, I think I have configured everything so that you don’t have to worry about what you say showing up in a Google or other search. The fun forums, like Hobbies and Welcome are open to the search engine spiders, but I’m trying to keep everything else completely inaccessible to anyone who is not human and not a member. This will cost me dearly in search engine rankings, but it is your lives and problems there, and I do take your privacy seriously, and I make my living from helping you with your problems, not pasting them all over the Internet for the whole world to see.

I received an interesting letter from an achiever who has not yet read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but has subscribed to this newsletter, has bought materials from some of the dating gurus like John Alanis and David DeAngelo, and subscribes to their newsletters, and has noticed an obvious and significant discrepancy between my material and theirs:

Hi David,

I bought books and CD’s from John Alanis, David DeAngelo, and others, and subscribe to everybody’s newsletters trying to find a way to get things back into gear here at home. After 6 years of marriage, things have been in a downhill slide for awhile, and it’s obvious that there is an attraction problem, and they’re all saying that once attraction has died it’s nearly impossible, if not entirely impossible, to rekindle, yet you guarantee I can do it. What am I missing?”

Buddy G.

Well, Buddy, it’s pretty simple. They’re absolutely right, and so is what I’m telling you. The difference is in the context, particularly the timeframe. Remember, they are talking about creating attraction and keeping it going in order to ESTABLISH a relationship. In the dating world, there’s no commitment yet formed and nothing invested; you’re on strict probation before you ever approach her and introduce yourself, and at your first slip-up she’s gone because there are hundreds of other men in her world still left to inspect. She has no motivation to wait around for somebody exhibiting the same nice-guy, loser behavior that every other nice loser exhibits when she could be hooking up with a guy who “gets it” and trips her attraction triggers, giving her that swept-off-her-feet feeling women will kill for.

HOWEVER! As you’ll find in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” the rules of attraction in committed relationships are often quite different from those of attracting someone new. In your case, and the case of anyone in a committed relationship that has survived long enough to get a little stale and boring or damaged, you’ve already made the grade and then fallen from grace.

In the meantime, ties have been built, maybe kids, mortgage, and other commitments and/or motivations for further commitment have come into the picture, and it’s to your mutual advantage to put things back together. Nobody likes break-ups or divorces, even when they come out ahead, because they almost always entail fighting, complications, and extreme changes in the way you live. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when that happens. ;-)

Look closely at the two situations, the requirements of the participants, and think with me for a minute. The “chick in the bar” would have no reason to give you a second look or thought if you said the wrong thing because there will be at least a hundred other opportunities for her that same evening, but the woman with whom you’ve been partnered, in whatever capacity, for months or years has a vested interest in the relationship!

She wants you to straighten up because having you “back in true form” (read “that attractive stud muffin you used to be, and even more so if you can do it”) is much more enjoyable and far less scary than dropping back into the dating world and having to go back to defending herself from perverts, stalkers, geeks, losers, liars, philanderers, and others who would either use, hurt, or bore her.

(And if there are kids involved, her drive to protect her children from a destabilized environment will make her want you to work with her to work things out ten times more than if there were no kids! At least, that is, until you’ve gone beyond boring to repulsive from having been boring and frustrating her for so long.)

Think about that! If you screwed up with the chick in the bar and she would say, “What for?” when you asked if you could try another date and attempt to make up for your transgression, the woman who has been in your life and enjoyed it would usually try to help you get it done! (To wit, one third of my book sales have consistently been to women!) She wants that feeling back, and would do about anything to have it back, and her choices are to:

a) leave you and find somebody else who gives it to her, or
b) don’t leave you, just find a “toy boy” and cheat
c) wait for you to get it done
d) help you get it done so she can have it back faster!

Now, which one do you think she’s most likely to choose if she has a choice of the four options above? Where most men screw up is only offering her “a” and “b,” and a few more will offer her “c”. You have before you the option of a book that, according to a great many people, will give you the knowledge you need to get the job done if you’ll just do it, and if your wife knows you’re genuinely trying she’ll help!

Seriously, if you were trying to date this woman, your chances of success would be pretty slim at best, but you’re married to her, and she doesn’t want to have a boring marriage any more than you do, nor does she want her whole world turned upside-down by a divorce unless that’s her only option. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and get your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” Read it. Study it. Learn from it. Have a laugh or two along the way, too!

And do it NOW, because attraction is a double-edged sword; the only thing that can keep her from responding to you when you straighten up and act like a man is if ANOTHER MAN creates intense attraction for her before you do, in which case attraction still wins, as always, but it wins the fight for the other guy, not you. But you can be certain that where women are concerned, attraction will be the deciding factor the vast majority of the time, no matter who wields it, so proceed in earnest.

And it’s not always simple, either, as some of the men on our forum who have been enduring the nightmare of mid-life crisis (MLC) will tell you. Boredom appears to be a major trigger for MLC, causing a woman to take stock of her life and when she finds that she’s not where she thought she’d be, something snaps, she over-reacts in an altered mental state, has affairs, but as she’s coming out of it can become interested in her husband again and if he’s strong enough to lead her past the guilt and embarrassment, she will come home. A lot of twists and turns for a man to negotiate, and that’s one of the many reasons I’m offering you help in these newsletters, my book, and now in our forum.

Getting back to evaluation, if you get through the evaluation section and you know that you’re with the right woman, get her to read it with you. That way she’ll know that you’re trying to make things better for both of you and that the positive changes that she’s about to see in your behavior are because you’re committed to making things better with her, not because you have a new girlfriend making you feel sexy again. (Yes, they really do that!) Get it done, and get on with your new, sexy, exciting life with your wife. Why? Because it’s a whole lot easier and better than being bored or risking getting caught in an affair. You love her, so treat her like you love her! ‘Nuff said…

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

Women and Affairs in the Real World, and How to Protect Your Relationship and Marriage

A reader shares some shockingly revealing ads from real women looking for real men, as well a man who targets them, and Gentlemen, you really need to understand this…

There are several of you who have moved out of incompatible, irreconcilable marriages who are now dating who send me examples that are useful to those of us who are still married, especially ads by married women looking for thrills and the men who target them. Rick, a very astute reader and now friend, has contributed in the past, and every time he does, it’s an eye-opener, just like today. Check him out:

Hey David,

As usual,
the above newsletter is true to its hard-hitting form. Please allow me to provide (yet more) proof that what you say is the truth. I was on my online site earlier this evening when I saw this married woman had looked at my profile. Check out how she describes herself:

"I am a recently separated, and soon to be divorced, fun lady. I do not have any children and am ready to sew my wild oats (since I never had the chance before). I want to find someone who is only interested in having a good time. I'm not ready for a relationship so if that is what you want, do not reply. Am interested in some physical love. Husband could not satisfy my needs and I need someone who can.”

Now look at what she wants:

“I just need someone who is willing to go out with me and have a good time. I want you to show me what I have been missing all of these years - out on the town and in the bedroom. If this sounds like something for you, please respond.”

Another textbook example of how boredom, left unchecked, can doom a marriage. Gentlemen, please buy David's book so that you don't become another statistic! Do it for YOU.

David, Let me say for the record, that I have not, nor will I ever get involved with a married woman. However, there are plenty of men who will! Take a look at this Personal Trainer's confession:

I'm a lonely wife's dream, and hubby's worst nightmare.

In 30 years in the training business, I've probably had affairs with more than 40 married women. Most of them were in their 30s, married eight to 10 years, with kids, and their husbands weren't paying attention to them. They felt neglected. They didn't feel attractive. Their husbands had become preoccupied with work.

In the beginning, I was scared about having sex with my clients. I was a shy, overweight kid and didn't go to the prom, so I didn't have much confidence at first. Then I got this physique and I discovered that I had this ability to charm women, and I made up for lost time. When I was 17, I put my first ad in a small paper, saying I was looking for clients to train. I had just won Mr. Bodybuilding Teenage New York State, and in my ad I was looking lean and ripped.

The first day a woman called me and said, "Do you really look like this?" She asked what my girlfriend thought of my being a trainer, which I thought was strange. (I now know that when a client starts asking what my girlfriend thinks of my training, she wants to know if I'm available.) She told me she was married, that her husband traveled a lot for work and was never home. She said she found that being so sedentary had made her put on some weight.

The next day I went to her house. I'd spent a lot of my savings and gotten some help from my mom to buy a really nice dark blue warm-up suit and brand-new white Adidas sneakers so I would look like a professional trainer. When the woman opened the door, she was wearing a black negligee. I went home and told my mother and father, and they forbade me to go back. My parents canceled my ad and said, "This will probably be a problem the rest of your life."

It happens all the time now. The wives today feel they have just as much right, and drive, to have a playmate as their husbands do. It's natural to want to have sex with your trainer. Remember that training is very hands-on. I'm touching them, motivating them, encouraging them, listening to them, relieving their stress and channeling their energy in a more positive way. Just as their husbands used to do at the beginning of their marriage. I'm trained to get inside their heads and push the buttons that will motivate them. But I'm also in their heads in other ways. They connect with me emotionally. It's very important for a trainer to be a good listener.

I once had an interior-designer client who was very beautiful. Like every client, she started opening up about her life; women do the same thing with their hairdressers and trainers. "My husband isn't attentive to me, he used to be so passionate," she explained. It was her birthday and her husband had forgotten. I suggested we have lunch, and she said, "How about dinner?" And that's where I went wrong. For a couple of months after that, we would work out, go back to my place and have sex. I would whisper sexy thoughts to her when I was spotting her at the gym. And then it ended. We got caught by the husband. He wound up calling me up and crying like a baby, asking me to stay away from her.

I don't feel bad about having had affairs with married women, because they were feeling neglected and they just wanted to be loved. One woman said to me her husband had never looked into her eyes when they made love. He couldn't have been that smart, because women love the eye contact. I come from a very passionate, Italian family. When I make love to a woman, I like to have spontaneous sex. I like to do it in the elevator, on the beach, underneath the table in the restaurant. I like to make them feel young, mischievous, alive. If they can have a taste of it again, they can realize they haven't lost it.

I'm 47 now, and over the years I've learned to watch out. I realized I couldn't be sleeping with everyone's wife in town. Number one, you start sleeping with them and they want to stop paying, and I make $150 an hour. I was never paid for sex. I would never do it for that. Because for me it would ruin it. I like to make love to please someone. When they say, "I feel like a real woman again," it's the same thing as when I train them and they tell me how terrific they feel because they fit in clothes they haven't worn for 10 years. The high of training is the same high as making love. I've written a screenplay about it all, called "The Trainer." It's "Shampoo" for the 21st century.

That was pretty self-explanatory.

Take care,
Rick

Rick’s right. That is indeed painfully self-explanatory. If you’re not being a good husband, there are others standing in line, or waiting in the wings, or crouched in the bushes waiting to pounce, to have all the benefits of being married to your wife but none of the risk, responsibility or drama. And once a woman hits an intolerable level of boredom, she will come unglued with the same lack of inhibition that you feel when you get too aroused to say, “No,” to sex or to stop when she says, “No,” to you.

Make no mistake. This reaction is primal, biological, and has nothing whatsoever to do with love or the lack thereof, and if you’re not giving your wife a reason to enjoy being with you, somebody else is or soon will be giving her a reason to enjoy being with him. Period.

There is no emotion, logic, or “morality” that will interrupt this process once it has started because it is chemical, and if you knowingly allow it to start, you have nobody to blame for it but yourself when it is complete and at best, your wife is confessing and asking you to work things out with her and get your marriage back on track, or at worst, she’s announcing that she’s leaving you for him, and taking everything you own with her as punishment for putting her through the trouble.

So what do you do to prevent it? Be a man! And be a husband. A real husband, one who makes her feel alive, engaged, challenged, understood, and appreciated, as she tries to make you feel, not some guy who goes to work and sits with a remote control and a beer in front of the television all evening while she tends the kids and spends the rest of the evening in some Internet chat room – being hit on by these other guys! Get a clue!

And believe it or not, you’re a lot more likely to need much more than a clue to know what being a man and a husband are really all about. Even if you’re lucky enough to grow up with a good role model, which most of us weren’t because our fathers didn’t grow up with a good role model either, the examples we are barraged with daily – bungling, wussy beta pseudomales who somehow trip over themselves and fall into the arms of success by complete accident if at all – are there in your face constantly to confound and corrupt any legitimate concept you may have. But you still have a chance…

There are a few of us around who have not succumbed to all this wussy crap that’s been shoveled at us since the 1970’s, or have succumbed but learned from our mistakes and awakened from that wussy slumber, who can be that role model for you. A very few of us even have the writing, teaching, and training skills to help. One of us that I know of has even researched what seemed to be the right formula, tested it on hundreds of women and couples, and has made it available for you with little more than a few mouse clicks. Ummm, that would be me. ;-) You even have direct access to many of us on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, and you really should join us.

It’s called "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s all that, and more. Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy and see for yourself. Rick did, as did many others, and now they own their lives; join them.

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

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why Do Men Have Affairs, and How Do You Stop? More On Protecting Your Relationship and Marriage

An obviously troubled man writes to ask how he can STOP having affairs and get his life together. Let’s see what we can do for him – and YOU!

Guys and gals, lightning has struck! I have for you today proof that men can recognize and admit that they do not like having affairs, and do indeed want a stable, monogamous relationship, possibly even enough to do what is necessary to make it happen. Only time will tell whether this man has the courage of his convictions, but I’m sensing a very genuine desire and sense of priority in his words, and his language indicates that he’s going to step up and take charge of his life. Meet James:

Good morning,

My name is James and would like to share with you problems in my relationship.
It’s been ten years now with ma girlfriend. The problem is I love her but I’m having affairs.

I’m so insecure, jealous coz I think she’s doing the same thing, I don’t trust her at all.

I would like to overcome my problem and stick to one partner, get married, give ma seven year daughter all the support she can ever get.

I don’t think I’ll cope if she have an affair.

I’m OUTGOING, spend most weekends out with friends, on drinking spree,
Come weekdays, I’m a darling.

The problem has affected our sex intimate life, we get intimate once in a while.
She has feeling and will end up having an affair.

Please help.
James

This is obviously a man who is bottoming out, realizing that he’s at a crossroads, and is deciding that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life the way he’s spent the last ten years. I call that a damned good choice, based on what he’s written about the last ten years. My response:

Hi James,

I cannot help you while you’re pursuing affairs, but if you’re truly ready to stop and straighten up, listen to reason, and get your life on track I can definitely help. Before you can do anything, you’re going to have to identify the reason you are having affairs and eliminate it.

If you’re doing it because you have no self-esteem and are trying to substitute the acceptance and approval of other women for the genuine self-esteem created by achievement, then you’re going to have to start creating real reasons to feel good about yourself and stop thinking that chasing other women is going to make you feel any better about anything. Approval and acceptance must come from within, not from somebody else.

If it’s because you are bored, or because your girlfriend is bored and the two of you aren’t intimate, then you just need to get back in tune, learn about how to create attraction and communicate effectively, and nature will quickly take its course and get you to where you need to be. That’s not hard to do, but you need to know how and you need to want it to make it happen.

Unfortunately, your weekend “drinking sprees” point toward low self-esteem, because a man who feels good about himself doesn’t spend every weekend poisoning himself and looking for cheap thrills with other self-destructive people; a drink or two is no big deal, but you’re describing a binge, and you know as well as I do that repeated bingeing is self-destructive behavior. A man who feels good about himself spends that time enriching himself with his hobbies and enjoying time with the ones he loves, not abusing himself and, potentially, those around him.

Low self-esteem makes you very unattractive to any woman who spends any time around you, and causes you to seek approval, acceptance, social confirmation, etc., from women, who may find you charming and witty when both of you are drinking or drunk, which is a huge red flag in itself, but after they sober up and see that you’re swimming in your problems instead of solving them, they quickly move on and the affair ends.

You have some pretty serious work ahead of you, and my book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," can help you if you read and apply it. Its primary purpose is to deprogram you from all the wussy crap that the media and other idiots have heaped on us over the last forty years or more and let the real man within you come out and take over, a man who is competent, confident, attracts and understands women, and is the kind of man that every woman wants to live with, a man-caught in a self-amplifying cycle of self-improvement instead of a death-spiral.

I’d suggest you give it a try before you become an alcohol-related death statistic, because all that is really in front of you is a series of choices to live a better life. The decision is the hard part; following through is easy once you’ve committed to change, because you get to see results and feel good about them, which in turn motivates you to achieve better and better results. Self-esteem-building becomes a self-perpetuating cycle that replaces the cycle of approval-seeking and self-destruction you’re caught in now.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


I saw a purchase notification from James within 24 hours, and I fully expected it. Why? Because he’s not in denial about his situation; he’s accepted it and admitted that he is the cause of his own problems. When people finally face the fact that what they are doing isn’t working and start asking for help, they usually go through with fixing it.

There are two exceptions. The first is that group of people who define “help” as having someone do everything for them instead of providing the information and support they need and then getting out of the way and letting them do what needs to be done so they can own their own achievement and feel good about it.

The second is that group who are looking for validation of their mistakes instead of solutions to their problems, and they will engage you in conversation on the premise of wanting help, but they don’t want to talk about a solution; instead, they want to talk about what they did and why they did it and how you must understand such-and-such. If you hear the words, “But you don’t understand…” the next thing out of their mouth will be some kind of plea to ignore the reality of their bad choices and tell them that they were justified for screwing up, they’re still a “good person,” etc. Don’t waste your time with them.

So if you’re ready to admit that things aren’t the way they should be and that you are ready to take an active part in the solution, that, Gentlemen, is where I come in. I’ve done the research with hundreds of couples to find out what makes for good and bad relationship and how you can evaluate your own, what women want and what truly makes them tick, and how to easily return to that natural male behavior that flips their attraction switches and turns up the heat, saving them from their primary enemy, boredom. Do you realize what this means to you?

Do you remember the story about the man who found the bottle, rubbed it, and out came a genie, who granted him one wish, and he said he wanted a bridge from Los Angeles to Hawaii so he could drive his wife, who was afraid of flying, there for a vacation? When the genii said it was too big a request, the man said, “Then I guess I just want to know what makes women tick,” and the genii said, “Hmmm…tell me more about this bridge.”

We were all taught through such jokes and stories growing up that this is something that we would never know, yet here before you is the opportunity to know, once and for all, that most mysterious and seemingly forbidden of all things. Indeed, Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychologist, is famous for saying, “The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, ‘What does a woman want?’” That conundrum being solved, the question now is “Do you have the sense and the guts to reach out and grab this knowledge that evaded even the likes of Sigmund Freud and put it to work in your life?”

Like James, you now have a choice before you. Are you going to continue to sit there in the dark picking up a few crumbs from this newsletter every day, or even worse, in denial about the cause of your problems and looking for someone else to blame? Or are you going to secure for yourself and your family the next best thing to the keys to the universe, the knowledge that will put you on the road to being all that you can be, in your eyes and hers?

That should be the easiest decision you ever made in your life, so jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" right now, before you do another thing, because as they say in The South, “Time’s a wastin!” and life is definitely too short to waste it. And don’t miss our new forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, where you can find help, friends, and fun!

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Women Have Affairs: Powerful Preventive Medicine to Protect Your Relationship or Marriage

Why do women have affairs? For the same reason most men do: because there’s nothing exciting them at home. What excites them may be quite different from what excites us, but boredom is even harder for them to handle than for us, so don’t expect them to handle it – do something about it before it happens!

I had a wonderful phone call from an old friend (I’ll call her Dina), and I do mean OLD – we went to grade school together and have kept in touch ever since. We had a mutual “crush” in the third grade, became good friends, and eventually got to be so much like brother and sister that “hooking up” was never a thought, let alone an option, for either of us. She got married in the middle of college, had three kids, and the kids are grown now and she and her husband, Danny, also a long-time friend, are left with a great big empty nest and each other. They’d had a major problem develop a few months prior, and she called to give me the details of how things were back on track and better than they had ever been.

Like so many other couples, they had been so involved in their kids that they had grown apart and while they still love and respect each other, their life together was much more like that of casual roommates than a married couple. They didn’t have much to talk about, didn’t sleep together often – I’m really talking about sleeping here; he fell asleep on the couch most nights watching TV, and they had “intimate relations” a couple times a year. OUCH!

That’s a lot of problems for two people to deal with, especially when you bring the causes into the mix. Their intimacy was severely hampered by occasional prostate problems he suffered, lack of personal interaction, different interests and schedules, “empty nest” syndrome – the couple had defined a huge portion of who they were as “parents” so when the kids were gone they had overwhelming feelings of lack of purpose and loneliness from the hole that was left in their lives -- and it finally caught up with them.

Dina had been particularly taken with a new employee in her office, a manager, her new boss (yes, that’s about as cliché as it gets, but remember that things become cliché because they are so common), and was working late both for the extra money and something to do. She enjoyed working for him, because he was a strong leader, good motivator, was genuinely interested in his employees’ welfare, and had a great sense of humor. He was also married and quite bored, being in a similar situation to Dina.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what came next, does it? Look at the boss. Strong leader, an alpha male characteristic. Good motivator and great sense of humor, both traits indicative of above average communications skills and very ANTI-BORING. (To this day I wonder what his wife’s problem was, and the possibilities are many.) Leadership and motivational skills coupled with his position as her boss put him in a position of defining authority for her frequently. Genuine interest in employees’ welfare coupled with good communications skills is intimacy waiting to happen.

He tripped her attraction triggers nine ways from Sunday, and in her mid-forties, she’s still quite physically attractive, intelligent, a good conversationalist, and has always been playful and a little flirtatious, so she tripped his, too. They finally succumbed to the temptation and immediately knew they had done something that they shouldn’t have done and couldn’t undo. Dina called a few months ago to tell me about all of this, and I went to visit them.

She disclosed all of this, and we went through all that had happened over the years (the same process described in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” for determining if you are with someone who is a good match for you, a critical step in fixing any major problems in mature relationships – if they’re bad for you, why fight to keep things together???) and she knew beyond any doubt that he was the man for her and that they had slowly and surely grown apart as they focused too much on their kids and careers and not enough on each other.

She knew she had to tell Danny what had happened, for a number of reasons, and asked me for advice. I gave her a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and told her to go through it with him, to help him prepare for the news he was about to get and be better able to understand what had happened. She was scared, but he was and is pretty level-headed, so she agreed.

When he got home, she showed him the book and told him I had written it and wanted their evaluation of it, which was true (I’m always interested in reader feedback on any of my books), and over the days that followed I got letters and phone calls from him about various things, and when it was obvious that he had a good grasp of what attraction is, and how powerful a force it is in a woman, especially when she is bored and vulnerable, I told Dina it was time to find an opportunity to confess, which she did within a couple of evenings as they were discussing part of the book. She kept a small digital recorder handy waiting for the discussion so she could send it to me, and e-mailed a recording to me with some notes.

He had read a passage in my book talking about how women get bored and can literally lose their ability to reason and control of their actions when somebody restores that feeling and he said, “Man, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. If you were to get caught up in something like this, I wouldn’t like it, but I don’t think I could blame you, at least not any more than I would have to blame myself.”

Being a bit more direct than most women, and a lot more direct than I was accustomed to her being, she looked him dead in the eye and said, “Danny, it has happened, just once, and I knew the minute it was over that it shouldn’t have. I love you, and I’m taking responsibility for this. I didn’t choose to let you grow away from me, but I didn’t choose to prevent it either. I didn’t know what was happening, and thought it was something that just happened to everyone when they’d been together as long as we have, and didn’t think it would be a problem. I want you, and nobody else. I want to grow very, very old with you. I can’t promise you that I can live long enough to do that, but I can certainly promise you that we can keep this from happening again for as long as we are alive, and you know we can, too. I’m not going to ask for your answer now, because I can see you’re in shock and need time to think things through. You tell me when you’re ready to talk about this.”

He said to her, “I’m ready now. I’m no fool. I know why you did it. We’ve been sitting here talking about it for weeks. I’ll share the responsibility with you, because I’m just as guilty of ignoring both of us as you are. I knew things weren’t right, but didn’t know what to do about it. I love you, we’ve raised three kids and paid off two mortgages together, and frankly, I’m sick to death of the way things have been going. We’re in a rut, and we’ve got a tow-truck here in this book. It may be awhile before I can be with you without thinking of another man being with you, but as long as I know that we’re working on this together, I’ll get over it. I’m going to Randy’s (his brother) for the weekend to do some fishing and get my mind right, and when I get back, we’re going to take back our marriage.”

Dina was weirded completely out. Danny got up, threw some stuff in a bag, kissed her on the cheek as he went out the door, sent her a couple of text messages while he was gone that just said, “Thinking of you…” and came home Sunday night and went to bed. Come Monday morning, he woke her up with a kiss and a smile, and said, “This is it, Kiddo. Time to get back to being us. I’m going to go cook us some breakfast while you shower.”

Danny’s always been pretty much a “take-charge” kind of guy, and he did. He took what was in my book, added it to what he already knew of Dina, and had her swept completely off her feet in about three days. They still have occasional problems; Dina transferred to another department for obvious reasons, and didn’t enjoy the job as much as she did because she was working for her old boss, who was a bit weak and disinterested, and Danny occasionally has a nightmare about her affair, but they’re on track, regularly intimate, and haven’t had any discussions of the affair in several months now. Dina’s now found another job, not just to leave the company where the affair happened, but to find something to do she can enjoy. Things are looking up all around.

There was a lot that went into saving their relationship. It took knowing that they were right for each other – highly compatible -- and that their 22 years together was a good investment that they needed to keep. It took knowing exactly what happened and why, so that there were no grudges, feelings of guilt or betrayal, or especially unworthiness. It took knowing how to fix the problem, choosing to fix it, and following through on that choice, too.

These things came from my book, some personal coaching to help them get through the emotional upheaval at times, and their knowledge of each other. The biggest thing required was the commitment to do what was necessary to fix the problem, which was much easier to make when they had read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and therefore knew that it not only COULD be done, in their case it SHOULD be done, what would be required, and that it was worth it.

Affairs can be avoided if you’re proactive, and they can often be overcome if you’re not, as long as you know what to do and just do it. I can give you all you need to know in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but learning it and doing it is up to you. I strongly recommend the proactive approach, because the obvious emotional upheaval of an affair can be devastating (as you can see by talking with some of the people at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/), and it’s a risk of sustaining permanent damage that you don’t have to take at all. It’s rare that the easy way out is the best possible way, and you should always take advantage of such an opportunity, because it doesn’t come around that often. Your easiest and best way out of this situation is waiting for you at http://www.makingherhappy.com/, so go get it and get started, because life’s too short to do things the long and hard way (unless of course you’re talking about sex!)

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

Learn When and How Women Negotiate If You Want a Really Great Relationship or Marriage

A brilliant and very funny example of how women attempt to negotiate what they want instead of just saying it outright.

In several editions of this newsletter and in my free report, “Break-Up Busting 101,” I gave you a two-page excerpt from “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” that gave an example of an extreme difference in the way men and women converse, entitled “Men State, Women Negotiate.”

If you have read it, you will recall a rather lengthy and detailed description of what ensues when a woman asks a man, “Are you hungry?” (If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and go back and do it now, because it’s one of the most important bits of information you will ever see in print about understanding women.) I got the following joke from Mari-Jo Tyler, a sex-therapist, dating guru, comedienne and professional acquaintance in Austin, Texas (she’s no longer on-line), sent in by one of her readers:

A woman asks her husband, "Would you like some bacon and eggs? A slice of toast and maybe some grapefruit and coffee?"

He declines. "Thanks for asking, but I'm not hungry right now. It's this Via’gra," he says. "It's really taken the edge off my appetite."

At lunchtime she asked if he would like something. "A bowl of soup, homemade muffins, or a cheese sandwich?" He declines. "It’s the pills, I’m tellin’ ya," he says, "they really trash my desire for food.

Come dinnertime, she asks if he wants anything to eat. "Would you like a juicy porterhouse steak and scrumptious apple pie? Or maybe a rotisserie chicken or tasty stir fry?"

He declines again. "No, still not hungry."

"Well," she says, "would you mind letting me up? I'm starving."

As you can see, when a woman asks you a question, she’s often not seeking information; she’s giving it to you, or seeking a channel through which to give it to you. This woman isn’t asking if the man is hungry so much as telling him that she is, and you’ll see that a lot in your day-to-day interaction with your partner.

Refer to the aforementioned book excerpt for the detailed explanation of how all this works, but due to the advanced level of communication skills almost all women are “wired” for, and their highly social nature (also hard-wired into the vast majority of them), they don’t just blurt out a statement of what they want the way we do, they ask a question to open a negotiation forum in which they can discuss having their need or desire fulfilled. You’ll often find that questions are statements and statements are questions when they come from a woman.

Gentlemen, you REALLY need to understand this if you want to get along well with your female partner. You’ll find that the few women who are aware that we don’t understand because of biological differences don’t expect us to come all the way up to their level because we don’t have the necessary “receptors” to pick up on all the body language and other signals they use, and they do greatly appreciate it when we work to try to develop a better understanding of how things work and recognize basic differences like this so we can work better with them.

You’ll also find that those who have no idea that we really communicate differently (and there are many!) will be thrilled when they see you starting to “tune in” and “get it,” because they’ve been thinking all along that you’ve been insensitive and ignoring them because you don’t care! You’ll see how your newly developed understanding and skill reduce their stress level, which in turn, as you hopefully know by now, ultimately reduces YOURS!

If you need practice, drop by our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/. The women in our user community thoroughly enjoy helping a man to “get it.” Think about it from their perspective; they’ve spent their lives thinking it was impossible, just like we have, and they get to be there when the impossible happens!

Speaking of stress, it may not be obvious to you that while having an argument or any other kind of stressful discussion, people tend to revert to their natural behavior; any learned behavior becomes obscured as the energy to keep employed learned behavior is diverted to handle the stress. When a woman is agitated, her communications style will become more and more feminine, even if she has recognized your differences and tries to be more blunt with you, and any ability to interpret her when under stress that you might develop could help you to diffuse her agitation and get her back down to a level where rational problem-solving is possible. That alone would be worth the effort: DRAMA-FREE problem resolution!

Making her happy is truly the path to ensuring your own happiness in a relationship, because it engages a woman’s natural drive to be intimate and nurture. What you need to know to do a supreme job of it is in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” If you like having the “action plan” laid out for you, refer back to that excerpt in the free report mentioned above, see the level of detail and the quality of information – show it to any woman you know and she’ll verify it for you because a large group of women was involved in writing and testing it! – and then go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy so you can start making you both happy today!

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

The First and Most Important Step in Having or Saving a Great Relationship and Marriage

The first step in any great relationship of any kind is being well matched. If you are not well-matched, you may be able to survive together, but the odds of being happy together are slim to none; if you are, you’ll find you can conquer about anything! Unfortunately, some couples live in misery for years without ever asking this most fundamental and necessary of all relationship questions! This is one of those “must read” issues, so dig in…

(For those of you who have seen this one recently, I apologize; it was erroneously posted a couple of months ago and must be posted today because yesterday’s lesson promises it.)


Today I want to talk more about something that seems to be so logical that it would be self-evident to all, but obviously is not practiced by many, the first step in having a great relationship. We touched on this in a previous issue of this newsletter concerning what to do if your wife is with another man, and you should read that issue if you missed it. I try to go through this every few months because there are so many new people coming in and everyone needs to see it.

Those of you who have been banging your head against the wall after receiving advice from someone claiming that “any relationship can be saved regardless of circumstances” will want to pay particular attention to this issue, because this edition may be addressing your biggest relationship or marriage problem. And if people are going so far as to call you a “quitter,” or “loser,” because you’re tired of fighting a losing battle for a lost cause and can’t see how it can end well for anyone, you’ll not only want to read this, but share it with them, to at least get them off your back and possibly even help them get in touch with reality.

Men and women both get married for a lot of really bad reasons. If you’d like to participate in a quick study of them, I have a poll up on our forum asking why men got married the first time. Stop by and vote, check the tallies, and prowl around a bit, because there’s a lot of good information and friendship to be had and you’re missing it all. Registration is free and anonymous, your information is never shared, the search engines can’t find what you post, and there are a hundred other good reasons to join us that I don’t have time or space to list right now, so just do it and you’ll see what I mean. Now prepare yourself to receive a universal truth:

That first and most crucial step in any great relationship or marriage is being well-matched to your partner.

Yes, some of you are right now saying, “Duh!” but others are saying, “but can’t you learn to love someone?” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Here are the facts and truth of the matter:

When you first meet someone, the emotion that pulls you together is either attraction or need (or in rare cases lust, but lust is seldom responsible for keeping two people together long enough to get married, unless they’re incredibly reckless or needy), which are both independent of love; indeed, need is in fact mutually exclusive of love – you cannot love someone that you need, because (in a nutshell) need actually makes you resent them as the object of your dependence, and fear their power to leave and remove the thing you need from your life. Fear is a partner to hatred, not love.

Love can only come later, when you’ve had a chance to discover your compatibility, which is the basis of love. “Love at first sight” is poetic nonsense, an allusion to attraction, not love. Attraction can happen at first sight, as can need and lust, but not love, because you can’t just see someone, know that compatibility exists in that instant, and be motivated to love. And this lack of understanding has ruined more lives than you can imagine.

This in itself is a complex and difficult concept for most to embrace, and if you find yourself wanting to argue with it, see Lesson 3 in my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report, entitled “Love, Need, Lust and Attraction – Do YOU Know the Difference?” or skip to the similarly-titled section of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and gain an effective understanding, because it is both factual and crucial. We’ll address need first because it’s easier to see, then we’ll get into attraction and love.

Need never develops into love, and sooner or later, the other person (unless they are hopelessly codependent) gets tired of neediness and moves on. There is nothing you can do about this, especially telling them that you need them and can’t live without them. That is the very drain, pressure, and stress that they are trying to get away from, and your fight for independence is going to take too long for them to wait around for you to complete it, if you can; most truly needy people, those who would be called parasites because they take from their partners without giving anything significant in return, spend their life moving from host to host because it’s just easier for them to find a new host than to evolve into a non-needy person of independence.

In short, if the person you are with is telling you it’s over because you are too needy, take the hint and grow up, become self-supporting and independent, and you’ll find that people enjoy being around you for the long term. Make no mistake, fighting this break-up is only going to make things worse, because you are severely mismatched; a chronically needy person cannot coexist with an independent person who resents neediness. You got away with it for awhile because you were somehow charming, physically attractive, wealthy, funny, or something else that was temporarily endearing, but now that the cat is out of the bag and it’s known that you’re a needy wuss, you have two options: find another host or evolve so that you can enjoy another’s company instead of needing it. It’s harsh, but it’s really just that simple.

Someone asked once why I didn’t talk about a case wherein the woman is the needy one. I didn’t because I didn’t realize how common it might be for a man to be trying to save a relationship with such a woman, wherein he is independent and she is the needy one. But lo and behold, I have run across them, and the “cognitive dissonance” within the men is overwhelming. They fight between wanting to get away from the stress of being stuck with a needy person and wanting to try to “salvage their investment in their marriage.” The truth is that for many, their protector circuit comes alive and they are driven rather than making a conscious choice, even to the point of self-destruction.

The only hope for you if you are in this case is to help your wife understand that what she is feeling is need, not love, and that she needs to develop some self-esteem before she can love either of you. Try to help her develop some self-esteem, and if she insists on living in denial (“Why can’t you just love me as I am?” and such questions are infallible evidence of such a problem) in spite of your efforts to get her to acknowledge her problem, seek counseling, etc., you have two choices: Get out or go down with a sinking ship. You can either lead her out of it, put up with it, or leave, and you won’t be able to lead her as long as she’s in denial. ‘Nuff said.

Now, on to the more complex case, where attraction was the reason for you to come together. Once attraction has brought you together and you’ve had your initial episode of “physical exploration and gratification,” there should be a period where you get to know each other, find that you have common interests, philosophies, values, etc., and come to value each other – love develops. This is the source of the friendship, respect, loyalty and commitment required for long-term relationships to survive, while attraction is where all the fun, excitement, and energy come from. There are several possible scenarios that arise from the various permutations of these two emotions between two people.

The most obvious two are having both love and attraction, in which case you can be together happily and feel like you’re in a never-ending honeymoon (the ideal situation, right? And it can be sustained for a lifetime if you are aware of its requirements and constituents and hold out to find and have it, and we’ll get back to this in a few minutes), and having neither love nor attraction, after events have eliminated them both, in which case the relationship must end, because even though lost attraction can usually be easily rekindled, lost love just doesn’t happen. Peoples’ values and personalities just don’t naturally move radically away from some baseline and then go back there.

The other two are a bit trickier to deal with. We’ll talk about the harder of the two first, the case in which love is lost but attraction survives. It is common for people under tremendous pressure that they ultimately cannot handle, and they degrade themselves somehow. They could then become a loser, maybe a criminal or spouse abuser, and/or possibly a substance abuser, but they still project the personality traits that trip attraction triggers.

This would typically be a marriage that started out like a storybook romance, but currently one spouse is drunk or high all the time after losing a loved one, a business, or career, etc. They have lost their self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, but have still managed to somehow remain fun, funny, authoritative, somehow sexy, or intriguing, or something that holds the other spouse’s attention. You can’t base a great relationship on nothing but sex, jokes, and parties, and you can’t “fix” somebody else, especially someone who won’t admit there is a problem and doesn’t want to let go of a problem or fix anything.

Your only choices with such a relationship are to either get this person some professional help so that they can be redeemed or move on. Again, it sounds harsh, but statistically and historically, this is reality, and if they won’t get help, moving on is your only option; having once loved someone is no reason to go down with a sinking ship that refuses to be repaired. That’s martyrdom, the ultimate form of sacrifice, the trading of valuable life for nothing of value at all, not love.

The last possibility is the one I like dealing with the most, where love is still alive and healthy, but attraction has failed; you’re in the “friends column” but nobody else has created attraction in your partner and she still loves you, but is bored and vulnerable. In the dating world, lost attraction nearly always means that you blew it and you just move on immediately, because the other person already has; the window for creating attraction opens once, and very briefly, period. However, when you’ve been together for long enough for attraction to fade, you develop a vested interest in keeping the relationship alive. You acquire memories, security, a mortgage and property, and usually children, which motivate you to try to work things out. Hence, the window that closes in seconds in the dating world can be open for months or even years when you're committed.

Men are generally pretty easy when it comes to attraction. We’re attracted mostly to physical appearance and seductive talk and actions, and if attraction is lost and must be recreated, women seldom have to do any more than correct whatever major issues have developed with their appearance, if any, and act like a woman; self-respect and self-love in a woman are among the sexiest things a man can behold, and they cause the things that trip men’s attraction triggers, such as being height-weight proportional, good grooming and posture, smiling, having fun, etc. Drama and depression are big turn-offs to men, but both tend to disappear when a woman feels attraction for a man.

Women aren’t so easy though. Physical appearance barely makes them curious (fantasizing about a man is a far cry from being interested in him, guys, and if you assume interest and spoil the fantasy, they can get really angry!), and then only for a short while, and that curiosity can be destroyed in an instant by any non-alpha male behavior, such as deferring decisions, approval-seeking or trying to impress them, being lazy or boring, etc.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible, or even difficult, to rekindle attraction. Indeed, if you have the right information to work from, it has been proven to happen in less than a week to a sufficient degree to halt the signing of divorce papers already prepared and move an estranged spouse back into the family home. This is the failing relationship that you fight for, even if there has been an affair, because love is not so easy to find and to earn, and a physical affair – which virtually always happens out of boredom and means absolutely nothing unless you choose to assign meaning to it – is no reason whatsoever to abandon a proven love.

Yes, I said that, and I’m about to say it another way: a one-time physical “fling” that happened out of boredom is not proof of lost love, nor a sign of disloyalty or disrespect. It’s an unfortunate and very STUPID thing that happens when two people can’t or just don’t effectively communicate with each other and allow their attraction to fade, nothing more, and nothing less. I’m not saying that the person who does it is stupid; I’m saying that it’s ridiculous that people will let their problems go to the point that this happens before realizing there is a problem and trying to fix it.

By extension, the horrific things that can happen during mid-life crisis aren’t necessarily an indication of lost love either; mid-life crisis causes a sustained altered state of consciousness in which normal responses to emotional stimuli are exaggerated and abnormal responses routinely supplant the normal. There are several gentlemen on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, right now who are dealing with this nightmare, and even if you never have to live through it, reading about it can teach you a lot of useful things, possibly including how to prevent it, since stagnation and boredom appear to be a trigger.

If you’re sitting on the couch with a beer and the TV remote every night while your partner is doing something else, and you’re part of that statistic that says that the average mature couple (mature meaning having been together, married or not, for two years or more) has sex six times per year (yes, that’s once every two months on average), trouble’s not just coming, it’s HERE!

And, there’s no sense waiting for it to get that bad before taking action; a good relationship is far easier to maintain than it is to fix if it gets broken, right? What you need is a plan for evaluating and then fixing and/or maintaining it and the knowledge required to empower you to do that. Luckily for you, it’s already been figured out, tested, proven, and published, and it can be yours in the next few minutes.

It’s called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you can download it right now at http://www.makingherhappy.com/, and it’s working for everyone who’s used it. Don’t make things rougher on yourself than they have to be by waiting. Do it now, and do it for keeps, because life is too short to do it any other way.

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

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Giving in -- or Kissing Ass -- Has NEVER Saved a Good Relationship or Marriage

About any trained salesperson will tell you that to resolve any conflict, you should always agree. That’s ill-advised when a woman is involved. Why? Do you relish the idea of wearing the label of “WUSS”?

I generally try to focus on what works and avoid discussion of what doesn’t, but over the years I’ve run into some advice that has the potential to be extremely dangerous, based on what I’ve observed and proven in my own research. Over the next two days, I want to talk about that advice and show you both the pitfalls of following that advice and a much safer tactic that I found to be entirely effective in real-world application.

Today’s issue will concern the advice to “always agree” to resolve conflict, and tomorrow’s will be the idea of trying to stop a divorce (or any kind of break-up) before thoroughly evaluating a relationship to see if indeed it should be stopped, because a great many relationships that break up do so because the participants are horribly mismatched and should have never come together in the first place.

Now, let’s talk about this business of always agreeing to resolve conflict. This is a very old basic tactic used by sales people to overcome objections to a sales pitch, and has been taken out of context for use in relationship problem and dispute resolution. The idea is to agree to get the other person to calm down and let you disagree peacefully while you steer them around to your point of view. It originated from the old “Feel, Felt, Found” negotiating gambit.

You may have run into this with a real estate agent or car or other big-ticket item salesperson. Let’s say they offer you a car with a diesel engine, and you say, “I don’t want a diesel. I heard they don’t have as much power going up a hill.” And the salesperson replies, “Yes, I understand how you FEEL. We FELT the same way for a long time, but then some of our customers FOUND they still liked it, so we recommend everyone try it.”

Simple diffusion of an objection. And it sells a lot of cars. (I won’t venture a guess at how many go to people who end up liking a diesel. ;-) ) But later, psychologists urged people to take that tactic one step farther and just agree with anything to diffuse the objection and then build rapport. Once rapport is built, then ease back into the subject after the defenses are down.

But there are a couple of big pitfalls in this premise, especially with regard to relationships and marriage. First, holding a relationship together is a matter of cooperation, not of salesmanship. Women communicate on a level that is so far above men that they will immediately recognize this as just a tactic more often than not (it has always been known to work better on men than women anyway – remember, I’m also a marketing and management consultant, and this was something I used to be intimately involved in and teach almost daily). To make matters worse, when you give in to a woman to quell a stressful situation, you are instantly labeled a wuss! Really! You think not? You’re gonna love this:

I got several of the women “advisors” on the phone and told them about the “always agree advice,” and the most common response was a tie between “You’ve got to be kidding!” and “Oh my God! They didn’t say that!” Their overwhelming consensus was that a woman will lose any respect she still has left for a man who deploys such a tactic because women hate it when a man just gives in instead of holding out for what’s right. Now, notice I said “holding out for WHAT’S right,” not “holding out to BE right.” Hang with me here…

As a little background, while the biggest cause of rocky relationships, fighting, and destructive competition in relationships is incompatibility, the biggest immediate cause of break-ups and divorce is lost attraction – plain old everyday boredom. This happens to a woman when a man just stops being manly, fun, and interesting, and the woman gets bored and wants out, or gets bored and plays around and gets caught. (Women do things that cause men to lose attraction for them too, but I’m writing to men today.)

The last thing in the world you want to do under those circumstances is something wussy like always agreeing with her every gripe, because some of her gripes are not going to be real gripes, but rather tests to see if you are going to remember that you are a man and stand up against an obvious falsehood. A woman’s first criteria in evaluating a man is “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me.”

The next big thing you want to avoid is use the words “I” or especially “YOU” at the beginning of a sentence during an argument or while the problem is being identified. Once you start pointing fingers, talking about people instead of issues, the conflict escalates and everybody loses. What’s the right move?

First, you must understand that women don’t speak to report information. Everything with them is a negotiation. They make statements to ask questions and ask questions to make statements, and will seldom if ever state the obvious, even if what is obvious to them isn’t obvious to a man. It’s all very diplomatic, even when they are angry. To keep from escalating what’s already a very delicate and volatile situation, you must shift the focus away from “I” or “YOU” to “WE,” and then move her focus to the actual ISSUE. “WE have a problem, and it is [whatever the problem is], so what needs to be done to fix it?” You must absolutely shift the focus from “WHO” is the problem to “WHAT” is the problem as much as possible to address the issues instead of the blame for (and emotions caused by) the issues. For example…

Let’s say you have the stereotypical male habit of grabbing the TV remote and starting to channel surf every time you come into the room, and she resents you being so disrespectful of her to interrupt something she is watching without asking. She starts out by saying, “You really make me mad as hell when you just start flipping channels when I’m watching something.” (That’s the statement she’ll be making with the question that you’ll actually hear: “How would you feel if I changed the channel while you were watching TV?” Or she might take the opposite tack, saying, “Didn’t you see me sitting here watching that?” meaning, “You inconsiderate jerk! I WAS watching that, and now I’m pissed off at you.” Statements are questions and questions are statements, remember?) If you respond with, “Well then why didn’t YOU tell ME?” it comes across as blaming her for your ignorance and disrespect, and that won’t fly.

If you respond with, “I’m sorry. I’LL let YOU be in charge of the remote from now on,” you’ve probably just ensured that you won’t have sex again for about 2 months, whether she does or not, because you just gave in. Something like, “Well, it’s MY house and MY TV and I’LL change the channel whenever I feel like it,” will get you more punishment over the coming months than you could ever fathom, and you won’t know that most of it hit you, although you probably will wonder why your underwear has been starched, your shirts are suddenly tighter and you can never seem to find your keys. ;-)

She wants you to take the lead in decision-making and be a stand-up guy, but in trade for respecting that position of leadership, she reserves the right to an input channel, in ALL negotiations, and you have to respect that or pay a price that you will invariably find you don’t want to pay. So your only option is to recognize that a negotiation has begun, and negotiate cooperatively, responding with something like, “Then WE obviously need to come to some kind of resolution here so that WE don’t continue to have this problem.”

Now you have her attention, and respect, because you have followed the form that she needs to follow to ensure involvement and a fair hearing. At this point it becomes okay to say “I” and “you” as long as you aren’t slinging mud with them. The purpose here is a cooperative, peaceful and equitable settlement, resolving a problem, not winning a battle, remember?

Follow up with something like, “I didn’t realize that you were interested in that show, and to be honest, I probably never gave it due consideration. In the future, I will make sure that you aren’t enjoying a show before I change the channel. Will that satisfy you?”

Now, there are several really big things that you need to notice in that. First, you will notice that nowhere are you directly apologizing. You are indirectly apologizing by saying “never gave it DUE consideration,” and that is important, because you are acknowledging the mistake without being a big mushy wuss about it. Believe it or not, the words “I’m sorry” should rarely if ever come out of your mouth.

Acknowledging your mistakes in a manner that says that you should have performed better or with more consideration of her input is almost always enough and often even preferred because it refers to something specific instead of a generic apology that everybody gets all the time. (If there’s ever a time that it’s not enough, she’ll let you know.) The words, “I’m sorry” have come to be associated with deceit, incompetence, and inconsiderate jerkitude, the epitome of the principle that it is far easier to get forgiveness than permission and that you can do as you please and apologize if it isn’t good enough, and you need to separate yourself from that stigma no matter what you do, in everything you do.

Next, you are offering the first suggestion for the resolution, again, taking the lead, but not dictating terms. It doesn’t matter whether your idea is perfect for her or not, just as long as it’s not asinine. It’s a negotiation, and she will let you know if she sees any part of your suggestion as unsatisfactory. Taking the lead like this is a HUGE deal to a woman; a man who won’t lead, can’t make decisions, and can’t consider the input of others in decisions isn’t worth having around, just as any man who can’t stand up TO her can’t be expected to stand up FOR her. It’s really that simple.

Also notice that you ask if your suggestion will “satisfy her.” (Or if you prefer a more casual, phrase, ask if it will “work for her.”) You are not asking if it is “okay for her,” or anything that sounds even remotely like you are asking her permission to proceed in this manner, which is also good for several months of celibacy as you shatter any respect for you she may still be holding. You are asking for her input, inviting her to take part in the negotiation in which she expects to engage. Incidentally, she will punish you severely for shutting her out of it or giving in to avoid it. What’s next?

Chances are, in this simple example, she would have been satisfied with this plan because it fully addresses her issue, but you’re not done yet. She cannot have the last word, because whomever has the last word makes the decision, and you must be the one to formally declare the decision made to conform to the protocols of leadership. After she says, “Yes, that will do,” or whatever, then you must wrap it up with the formal declaration, something like, “Then that is precisely what I will do in the future, and if you catch me slipping, I expect you to remind me of it and let me fix it instead of jumping down my throat about it. I will do my best to treat you with the same respect. We are adults and partners and we can both do a much better job of handling problems. I don’t want us to be one of these couples that fight all the time over everything any more than you do.”

That’s leadership, and it gets you more than a solution to your problem, it gets you respect and trust, which in turn creates attraction, which breeds intimacy, and starts an upward spiral that may last anywhere from minutes to years, depending on how diligent you are about acting like a man – a REAL man.

Relationships aren’t always easy, especially when they start coming apart. Indeed, they’re a lot like houses. If the relationship has a solid foundation, it can usually be repaired; if not, it’s better to tear it down and start over. We’ll be talking about how to determine that tomorrow.

For today, just realize that as a man, to make any relationship work, you have to be able to assess the relationship to see if and how well it is working and compare that to how well it can work. You have to be able to communicate with a woman in a way that is considerate of her communication style, which is grossly different from a man’s to say the least; otherwise you can never even identify the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship, let alone fix them.

You also have to understand what it is that makes a woman tick -- what she wants, out of life, her relationship with you, etc., and what flips her switches, especially those that trigger sexual interest and excitement and create that emotion that women will literally kill to have and maintain, full-blown swept-off-her-feet sexual attraction. Sounds like the Holy Grail of relationships, doesn’t it? While it’s true that men have searched for centuries to find such knowledge, this grail has been found, it’s been right under our noses the whole time, and to make things about as embarrassing as they can possibly get, the women have been trying to tell us where it is!

Well, I finally listened to nearly 200 of them, wrote it all down, gave it back to the women it came from to see if I had translated it right and then gave it to their husbands to use to make sure it was accurate. It was then refined and tested again until it was working for everybody involved after we found that there were a few things that women thought they wanted that they didn’t want at all after they got them. I did all of this to save my own marriage, not to write a book. The book was simply a by-product of the success of the research I needed to conduct to find a way to get my own marriage and life in order. It will work for you, too. Really.

No matter what you have tried, no matter what the state of your current relationship, there’s a lot of information in this book that will help you make it better. Readers have busted their own divorces with it in as little as a week, others have kicked their relationships up to notches previously unknown, while some have found that they have been in the wrong relationship with the wrong person and that getting out was the first step in getting on the real path to happiness, for EVERYONE involved. Many are on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and will be happy to answer your questions if you stop by.

This book is called "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and you can download your copy now at http://www.makingherhappy.com,. Don’t wait, don’t sit there wondering if it will work for you, and don’t waste time asking me if it will work for you. It will, so just grab it and growl, because life is too short to spend it unhappy, scared, frustrated, bored, celibate, angry, or any of those other nasty things that bad relationships make you feel.

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