Friday, December 10, 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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Make the Woman in Your Life Look At You Like THIS If You Want a Great Relationship or Marriage

When we do the things women love to see us do, even if by accident, they notice, and it’s exciting for them. How is your wife or girlfriend looking at you? If it’s not like this, you CAN fix it…

I’m going to keep it short for the next couple of days, because I know many of you will be as busy as I am with family and friends as we get into the thick of the holidays. First, a quick note from one of you concerning a handy short-cut or the “artistically challenged in creating a great greeting card for a woman. Here’s Ed:

Wow!

Just got back from 2 long rows of cards at Hallmark! Have been fighting the card problem for a long time. (21 years) I can’t stand those long mushy, rosy, booklet, see through sheets... you get the idea. I look at those and go, “Yuck!!!!”

What I have done is get a card that is blank inside and write my own fun thing that only her and I would get. Or a humor card that is funny and then write my own ending. Reminding her of some fun event we did together with very few words (hint). When my wife laughs and looks at me and says, “Thanks, that’s funny!” and gives me a kiss, I know I did good.

And you are so right about mushy card...”That’s sweet” and the $5.00 card is then tossed aside. Good stuff. I enjoy your letters.

Thanks – Ed


There you go! Just further proof that it is that personal touch that shows that you thought about her and did something that she specifically would appreciate is the key to success in anything you give a woman. The more you can do, the better, but if you’re art skills are undeveloped, a few well-chosen words can certainly get the job done.

And for those of you who missed yesterday’s edition on choosing the perfect greeting card for a woman, this woman’s response pretty much sums it all up:

Ah ha! So this is why I hate the pre-made cards from men! I appreciate the thought, of course, but as soon as they are not looking, the card goes straight into the trash. The only cards I like are the funny ones (and it actually has to be really funny) and the blank ones that the person giving it actually took the time and thought to write in with more than a sentence.

I totally agree, most cards suck, and I'd rather not have one at all. I don't buy cards either unless I happen to see a blank one that has really beautiful art on the cover, or something really funny and somehow pertinent to our relationship. I hate those sickly sweet cards with a passion! One year my husband bought one of those huge, oversized, sickly sweet cards and I was secretly hurt because it showed how little he actually knew me or cared to think about what I would like. Needless to say, that one went into the trash, ASAP and with some force :-)

Here’s another great letter we can get through quickly, because she says it all:

I love getting mail from the wives and girlfriends of men who have read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage!” You can hear the excitement when they write, without ever hearing their voice. Meet Lisa:

Dear David,

I just could not wait to get home this afternoon and tell you what I caught myself doing this afternoon while having lunch with just about the most perfect male on this planet! By the way, this is the same wussy guy I wrote to you about on Labor Day weekend [David’s note: this is the first weekend in September for those not familiar with United States holidays] earlier this year, my husband of nine years!

Anyway, I had invited him, this newly reborn man of my dreams, out for lunch today so we could spend a little time with him outside of the bedroom (you know what I mean). While we were sitting at the table he decided to get up and get something else to eat [David’s note: apparently at one of the many buffet-style restaurants here in the U.S.]. As I watched him walk across the room it hit me like a bag of rocks just how hot and excited he made me just by walking across a room.

All I could think about at that time was I wanted him and I did not care if it was under the table or in the car in the parking lot. Could I be anymore hot for this man? I think not! If I was he would never make it out of the house with his pants on!

So pass this along to your readers. A woman really does want a real man and if you are a real man then every woman will want you for her very own.

Lisa


Congratulations and thank you for writing, Lisa! It’s letters like this that tell me that the months of endless interviews and discussions to put that book together was worth every painstaking minute we all spent, and I really appreciate it when readers take a few minutes to let me know that it’s working for them or to ask questions or offer suggestions for future books.

Gentlemen (and Ladies too!), there’s nothing I can add to Lisa’s testimonial. When you stop just talking the talk and start walking the walk, women come alive around you. Genuinely attractive alpha males are a rarity in the world right now, and have been for many years, but we’re making a comeback, and you have two choices. You can either become one of us or lose your partner to one of us when she gets bored and frustrated and one of us catches her eye. When I or any man like me walks into a room, we own it, and the women in the room notice and gravitate towards us even when they don’t want to, especially our wives and girlfriends, because they are proud to be with us.

Speaking of wives and girlfriends, Ladies, per a request, I just posted an article on our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/489-Written-on-the-Wall-How-to-Buy-Gifts-for-a-Man that will help you choose gifts for men. Most of you are really good at it naturally, but even you who are very good at it might benefit because it discloses the psychological aspects of why men appreciate some gifts more than others.

So now it’s time to be one of us! Truth be told, there’s no greater gift you could give yourself or your wife! Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com right now and get your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and get ready to blow your partner’s ever-loving mind, because if you learn and follow what’s outlined inside, you will be even more exciting than you’ve ever been, even if you’ve been together 20 years and she’s been bored stiff for the last 19 of them. Some of my readers have been in the middle of divorce proceedings when they got their copy, and stopped their divorces cold in less than a week. You can do it too, if you get started right now.

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Choosing the Perfect Greeting Card for Any Woman: Surviving the Holidays in Your Relationship or Marriage

We’ve talked about choosing the perfect gift for any occasion, and a reader notes that finding a great card to go with a gift or express a holiday wish is difficult to impossible. But! You still have options that will surprise and delight her!

We’re in the middle of a bunch of religious and cultural holidays right now, and greeting cards are making life rough on the postman and his shoes, as well as a lot of people who are trying to find something that really expresses what they are feeling. Selections are really pretty crappy, and one could wear out a good pair of shoes just trying to find something that comes close. “Lorne” does an excellent job of summing it up:

David,

I have to share with you an observation I made today. I'm sure many of your readers have noticed this as well. The selection Christmas cards we men have to give our wives' is horrible. I was at the local Walgreen’s [a drugstore chain in the U.S.] today to pick up a card for my wife and another from the boys for her, and honestly I couldn't much tell the difference whose was whose.

The “'From Husband” cards all portray us as either bumbling idiots who are just lucky to have a woman in our lives, or needy men willing to do anything just as long as we can spend time with our wife. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my wife and believe that she is a great person, but the message these cards sends out is "Thanks for putting up with me, I really don't deserve you." How can that be attractive to a woman? For one thing, if I knew I was that big of a goof, I should be shot for not doing something about it.

To me the message shouldn't at all be about me, but more about her. Something as simple as “I love you and am looking forward to a great holiday season with you and our family” seems to me much better than anything I found at the store. I've always had a hard time selecting Christmas cards that I felt had conveyed the right message, but now that I am really in tune with your writings, I finally understand why. Maybe I should start an online website for smartass Christmas cards, at least that way we'd have some options.

Anyway, thanks for all your work, I really look forward to reading your newsletter everyday.

Happy Holidays,
Lorne


Lorne’s experience is identical to my own, and I’ve received numerous complaints from others. I don’t know what’s going on in the creative department at Hallmark, American Greetings, and other greeting card companies, but the evidence could easily make the case that the greeting card business is all about getting women to say, “Oh, how sweet,” as if “sweet” is a term that any man would ever want used to describe him if he knew what it meant.

Wussitude alert: According to female readers and support staff, “Sweet” means “Nice, mushy, child-like, weak, and wussy.” It has nothing to do with “considerate” in the female dictionary. Think “Fredo” from the movie “The Godfather.” Michael Corleone’s sister Connie refers to him as “sweet and helpless” as she pleads with Michael to not cut him off from the family business because he’s too big a wuss to survive on his own.

So we’re clear that you don’t want to do anything that earns the title of “sweet,” right? Good. Now that we’re all clear on that, Lorne says something that has a blinding flash of inspiration for those who have the sight to see it. He says, “Maybe I should start an online web site for smartass Christmas cards…”

You don’t have to start your own web site, but get this: any woman worth having would be far more pleased with even a poorly made self-made card that was your best effort than with anything that you can buy off the shelf, no matter how extravagant, as long as it looks like some time and effort went into it.

What???

Yep. Sure ‘nuff. Now pull your jaw back up to where your mouth will close and I’ll tell you why.

How many thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or possibly even millions of each card do you think a greeting card company prints? And in how many languages? Do you really think you’re going to make a woman feel “special” by giving her something that a great many women all over the world have?

Now add in the “lame verse” factor that Lorne mentions. So the upside is that she notices you remembered the occasion, the downside is that you handled the occasion by buying her something that lots of other women have and gets you the title of “sweet” instead of “my MAN!” That’s the bad news…

Now for the good news! The women I surveyed said they’d rather have a sticky-note that said something sincere and a bit romantic than an expensive card that said little or nothing and was mass-produced, because it would make them feel special and have a piece of their man in it for them to hold onto when they felt bad. They feel special when someone spends time to do something only for them. And it was a free-form answer box, not a multiple choice that limited their selections. In other words, these are their words, not mine.

Such notes go into a woman’s “treasure box,” that secret stash of mementos that she drags out when she feels bad, especially when she’s missing you or she’s locked herself into a room after the two of you have been fighting. Pay attention here guys! The stuff that goes into her treasure box (which might actually be a shoe box, a drawer, a book with stuff pressed between the pages, one of the felt bags off of a bag of Crown Royal (Canadian whiskey) – literally anything that can be used to store and hide small, special things) is what she uses to bring herself closer to you, and you would be wise to make sure that she gets several things over the course of the year that would be a candidate to go in there.

(And you’d already know that if you’d read "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage"!)

Now, for even better news. Anything is fair game. You can use greeting card software to create and print something as long as whatever is written inside is genuine, and preferably hand-written; don’t let the computer add the verse. Do it with a pen in your own hand. About any kind of paper or card stock is acceptable, as long as it’s not had fish wrapped in it or soaked in some kind of oil. One of the best-received cards I ever created was made with crayons and brown paper cut from a paper grocery sack (the theme was a reference to her inner child).

The recipient was a 42-year old woman whose car was worth more than my house at the time, owned and ran three companies, and was as tough as nails. Like all women, she was simply so accustomed to receiving generic, mass-produced gifts and cards that she was overwhelmed by somebody taking the time to make something especially for her.

Now for a word of absolutely golden advice: if you’re not particularly creative and uncomfortable even starting such a project, enlist some help from somebody who is. DO NOT, under any circumstances, enlist the help of one of your wife’s friends, or even from any woman who knows your wife (or girlfriend, of course). This sounds counter-intuitive, but there’s a good reason for it.

The short version is that women are highly competitive, and even someone who is supposed to be your wife’s best friend might be jealous and competitive enough to sabotage your effort so that she can “one-up” your wife or create some drama if she’s feeling bored. If you think not, just ask a few female friends.

Or better yet, just realize that this is one of the ways in which men and women differ. For us, the title of “best friend” goes to the person we feel closest to and feel most protective of, a combination brother, buddy, comrade-in-arms, and even soul-mate to a degree. For women in general, their best friend is whomever they spend the most time with and share the most information with, regardless of depth; it’s based on quantity of social interaction, not quality of emotional bonding.

(There are exceptions to this, and studies show a correlation between brain structure, testosterone levels and aberrant behavior, as in nearly any case where a woman displays more masculine behavioral tendencies – higher than average testosterone levels in women will change behavior long before obvious physical symptoms, like heavy facial hair or a masculine swagger, can be seen.)

If you don’t have any female friends whom you can trust and you need help, the women at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, would be delighted to help you with ideas. They’re bright, creative, and good people who like to help anyone who is trying to help themselves.

Like the best gift for a woman, the best card is one that shows thoughtfulness and personal involvement, a gift of self, time, forethought, and effort, not the most brightly colored or catchiest sounding mass-produced thing on the shelf. Like a hand-picked bunch of wildflowers or a live plant you have grown yourself, a hand-made card shows that you cared enough to give your time to her instead of just blowing her off with money. And there’s a word for that: ROMANCE. It works for all seasons, and all occasions. Except when the woman is a parasite or predator, that is.

So there you have it. If you want more, come see me at http://www.makingherhappy.com/. For now, I’ll simply wish you “Happy Holidays!”

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

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When to NOT Apologize, If You Want a Great Relationship or Marriage

Have you ever wondered why you can say something that to you seems entirely benign or even complimentary to a woman and she blows up in your face? Have you ever wished you could see it coming and head off the fight that you know is going to follow? Here are the answers you seek…

Women are going to take things you say the wrong way from time to time; it’s a foregone conclusion. They expect us to communicate like they do just as we expect them to communicate as we do, and as you may have surmised by now, we don’t. Same language, different protocols. They’re also going to verbally test you to see if you’ll buckle under pressure by spitting a little venom to see if you’ll get emotional (and wuss out or start a fight) or whether you’ll keep your head and act like a man. In any case, it doesn’t have to become a fight if you know what to do, and apologizing isn’t it…

It usually starts with something benign, or even complimentary. Most of us have had the following conversation:

Him: “Gee honey, that diet you’re on is really working! You look great!”

Her: “Oh! So I was a fat, disgusting cow before? Thanks, you asshole!”

Then the fight starts…

Him (somewhat apologetically): “Wait, no, I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant. I was complimenting you because I know that dieting takes a lot of will power and it’s hard, and I’m proud of you for going through all that.”

Her: “Oh, so I’m a fat, disgusting cow because I have no willpower now, huh? I make a little effort to try to look better for you, and you have to put me down! You’re an insensitive creep! I don’t know why I even try to put up with you!”

…And it pretty much goes to Hell in a hand basket from there, right? So what happened, anyway? And what can you do to fix it? Or more importantly, PREVENT it?

Many women are generally insecure about a lot of things. They’ve been hammered for so long to be insecure about their youth and appearance that most today probably don’t even remember why it’s an issue, and most men never knew...

It goes back to the days when women weren’t accepted in the work place and generally only ended up owning businesses if they inherited them, couldn’t get a decent job, and hence, marrying well was their only real means of survival. They had to compete with each other not just for a man, but for a livelihood, and were kept on the defensive. And that’s not been that long ago.

As women began to be more liberated and make their own way in the world, the fashion and beauty industries continued to keep the pressure on them, inundating them with advertising to foster insecurity and feed their competitiveness to the point that even the most successful and fiercely independent women still have attacks of challenged self-esteem far more frequently that what you would expect, or they want to tolerate.

This constant pressure keeps many women, as tough as they are, walking on the edge of feeling really crappy about themselves, and from time to time, when fatigue, illness, stress, etc., build up and weaken them enough, they fall into a mode where no matter what you say, they are going to take it in the worst way possible. Emotional energy builds up, testosterone falls and inhibition with it, and a blow-off needs to happen, and anything that triggers an emotional response, like touching a hot button around one of her insecurities, is going to trigger the eruption.

This is another one of those things you’re just going to have to understand and accept about women if you are going to live with one. It doesn’t make them stupid, or inferior, or weak-willed, or anything like that. We as men go through the same thing, except for most of us, it’s less frequent because we normally don’t live in an environment of people so aggressively trying to make us feel insecure about ourselves.

I say most of the time because sometimes parents, partners, children, or acquaintances can become depressed and try to make themselves feel better by putting us down, and we have a few advertisements for things like E-D drugs and hair restoration digging at our self-esteem, but for the most part, we usually don’t get in this state until we have a string of catastrophes get to us, like losing a loved one, a job, and a home all in a very short period of time. Believe it or not, it takes that kind of pressure to make the average woman do this, it’s just that she’s awash, all day ever day, in things trying to bring her down so the events that end up being the proverbial “last straw” don’t have to be as traumatic for them as what they end up having to be for us.

And as you’ve noticed in some of my other newsletters, this can also be brought on by a need for drama to vent pent-up emotional energy, as well as just be a test to see if you will wuss out and play into the drama or stand up like a man and reel her in. (Multiple causes, same predicament, and luckily for you, the same response is required to get through the predicament in good standing, so pay attention!)

Now that this is hopefully in perspective, how do you handle it? First, early detection is a must. You may have noticed right before one of these explosions that she suddenly becomes quiet or gets a puzzled or stressed look on her face that turns into pain and anger. It may only take seconds for her to explode, or she may put it off for as long as a couple of days before it finally gets the best of her. You cannot wait for the explosion to fix this.

Nor can you invite her to explode in your face with a question like, “What’s wrong?” When she’s in this state, “What’s wrong?” comes across as “What’s wrong with you?” and that’s not a question you want an insecure person responding to, because whoever you are, everything will suddenly become your fault because you have just volunteered to be the outlet for her overload.

So what DO you do? What is the “magic move” that calms the storm before it breaks over your head?

When you see a seemingly inexplicable change for the worse in expression, tone, or demeanor, don’t wait for her say anything about it. Take the initiative – leadership is attractive, remember? – and say something about it right then and there. What do you say?

No, you don’t apologize. Nor do you start a fight to try to back her down because she most likely won’t. Besides, leaders don’t fight. They lead. Take the lead:

“Okay, I see from your [expression/voice/demeanor] that you didn’t take something the way I was intending for you to take it. I was [trying to pay you a compliment/simply making a joke/simply making an observation] that was in no way intended to be disrespectful or hurtful to you. If you have taken what I said to mean anything but that, then you need to back up and ask whatever questions I can answer to clarify it for both of us instead of remaining upset and then getting angry and we end up fighting.”

If you can spot the sign that something came across the wrong way quickly enough and say this with the confidence of a man insisting on being understood instead of fighting or sounding like a wuss trying backtrack and wiggle his way out of a confrontation, she will gladly comply and get things straightened out.

Women like to see a man take the lead in a touchy situation like that and work it out for the best. What they don’t like are men who wuss out and start apologizing without knowing what they are apologizing for or that get really weasely and look apologetic while trying to convince them that they were “just kidding.” They also don’t like men who see things starting to go the wrong way and instead of trying to fix the problem, bristle and growl and try to bully the problem away, using control instead of leadership to get them out of the situation instead of fixing the situation.

All you have to do is speak as if you expect to be heard and understood and you will interrupt the chemical rush that would normally move things in the direction of a fight, and probably help her to feel better about herself as well, because you were indeed sensitive enough to see that she had taken something the wrong way and strong enough to lead her away from an embarrassing and destructive blow-up over something that didn’t happen.

The one thing that will help you the most to pull this off is to be truly attentive when speaking with your partner. Most women don’t multitask the same way we do, and they really resent it when we don’t maintain constant (or at least near-constant) eye contact with them when we’re speaking with or listening to them. (Women multitask, but they suspend multitasking when it conflicts with anything that is a social exchange of any kind, prioritizing eye contact and being polite above getting something accomplished, where we will speak to someone while holding our focus on our work or something else we’re doing and think nothing of it.)

Many women have said to me that men can’t multitask. I don’t know where that notion originates, because saying that men can’t multitask is like saying that women can’t drive a car, but it’s prevalent. Add to that the fact that one of the ways women show respect to each other is by either giving undivided attention or presenting the illusion of same if they’re not able to focus at the moment. Hence, the simple act of giving her your undivided attention as you converse will go a long way toward boosting her self-esteem, and will help elevate her mood a bit and keep her from being so quick to think that you are being insensitive, but it also has the added advantage of making sure that you notice as quickly as possible any change in her demeanor, expression, tone, body language, or anything else that can be a clue that she’s having a problem with what she heard.

Not only will she notice and appreciate it when you give her your undivided attention and make the extra effort to maintain eye contact, she’ll also notice that you don’t usually do this with others, and it will make her feel that much more special. Incidentally, the same thing goes for daughters – they’re women in training, right? It also goes for women you work with, neighbors, etc.

Men who truly know how to effectively communicate with their partner can literally go decades without a fight. One couple in our test group has been married since 1944 and claim to have not had a fight since their 20th anniversary in 1964, an argument that came up at their anniversary party over the appearance of an uninvited (and unwanted) guest that got out of hand. That’s 63 years of marriage and 43 years since their last fight. How did they do it? And how do they keep doing it?

They were well-matched and share very similar values (as well as valuing each other more highly than anyone else in their life, including their children) and compatible tastes. They learned over the course of many years how to communicate with each other so they could work things out instead of fighting about them. And Mason, the husband, is a master at creating attraction for his wife, and at 85 years old (and her at 81) they are still having sex at least every other day. Wouldn’t you love to live a life like that with your wife?

You can! Anybody can. Well, maybe not with YOUR wife, but with their own. ;-) Seriously, the secrets of their success and thousands of other couples, not to mention what women really want and what makes them tick, is all contained in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage." You don’t have to spend twenty years figuring out whether you’re married to the right woman and learning how to communicate with her, nor a lifetime wondering how to flip her switches and turn her back into that wild woman she was before you married her. A few hours to read and understand this book and start practicing what it teaches you are all it takes, and no, it’s not a lot of work. It’s a lot of FUN!

Got a few hours to spend making the rest of your life a honeymoon? Sure you do! So jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" now, and get started. And drop by our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/ and see what other great tips and tricks you can pick up just for the time and effort to read them. Or would you rather keep fighting for no apparent reason? Nah, life’s too short for that, right?

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

Monday, December 06, 2010

Being Your Own Man, Crucial to a Great Relationship or Marriage

There are two ways to react to the successes of those around you. You can let them make you insecure and jealous, or you can learn from them and use them as example and motivation to bolster and enhance your own success. You might be surprised at the self-destructive power of the first, and the achievement that can be brought on by the latter, not to mention the self-esteem and attraction created by that achievement!

I got a call from a man who thought he had a problem, but really doesn’t, unless it’s a memory problem. He’s apparently forgotten who he is!

I didn’t get to take the call, but my publisher said that he was about fifteen years older than his wife, who had recently gone through some self-improvement and suddenly had the attention of a bunch of younger men. He described himself as physically fit, pleasant-looking, etc., and my publisher described him as articulate, intelligent, and outgoing and very personable. So what’s his problem?

The sudden spike in the attention others pay his wife has left him feeling a bit insecure. He’s feeling like he’s competing with men who are young enough to be his sons, maybe even his grandsons, and it has made him question his attractiveness. In addition, he’s been wrapped up in some work issues and is concerned that his wife may succumb to the temptations these younger men put before her.

What he’s forgotten is that it’s not him that has changed, it’s her. She has straightened her act up and brought herself more to his level of attractiveness. That’s a good thing, because her improved self-confidence will make her feel sexier and more playful, and enhance their intimacy. However…

If he lets himself be challenged by these younger men and responds by feeling competitive and resentful, he will lose the attractiveness of his intellect, self-confidence, personality, wit, etc., and begin appearing to his wife as an over-the-hill wuss instead of the man she was striving to upgrade herself to please in the first place! After all, these young men are only competition if he acknowledges them as worthy to compete.

The answer? Simple! Celebrate her success with her, and laugh at all the young bucks chasing her. She’s old enough to know that what they’re after isn’t a wife and children, and if he celebrates her success with her and shows her off instead of acting insecure about her new attractiveness, that confidence will spark desire in her like little else can.

Such action says to the young suitors, “You’d better grow a little before you try to climb into THIS ring, Junior.” And as always, his wife will follow his lead. It also expresses trust, saying to her, “Yes, I see you, I’m proud of you, and I know you love me and will stay with me because we’re both worth it,” where being insecure and treating her as though she might succumb to the advances of the youngsters forces her to ask if there is some reason that she should. It also expresses that he thinks that she cannot be trusted and might be swayed.

Many men fall into a trap when they see a beautiful woman, even if they’re married to her. They are intimidated, want to possess, seek attention and approval, and worst of all, have a bad tendency to assign “perfection” to a woman simply because she’s strikingly easy on the eyes. Why? Why close your eyes to things like intellect and character just because you like the way a woman looks? And in the worst case, why make a total ass of yourself and/or let your life be taken from you?

There’s a man on our forum (http://forum.makingherhappy.com/) that has made exactly this mistake, knows it, and is still having trouble gaining perspective, and he’s not the exception, but the RULE! If your self-esteem is not intact you are more vulnerable to this than you could imagine, too. Read the chronicle of his evolution (his user name is “Lerxst” on the forum, and you can just pop it in the search box to see his posts) and see for yourself just how destructive this mistake can be so you can arm yourself against it.

Ask any woman what they look for and especially respond to above all else in a man, and they’ll tell you: confidence. Not looks, not money, not power, not a fancy car or home. Confidence. Followed by a genuine smile. But, when they tell you, will you hear them?

If this man’s wife is like most women, she has told him repeatedly what she wants and expects from him, but like nearly all of us, he didn’t hear a word of it, because she didn’t say it as a man would say it. She said it as a woman would say it, and with good reason: She’s a woman! (Duh! LOL!) So he doesn’t hear it, and thinks she’s saying nothing and he therefore has to either read her mind or guess, and she thinks she’s being ignored – one of the oldest and most destructive stories in the relationship book.

She may even be telling him that he needn’t be worrying about these silly boys thinking they’ve fixed their sights on a “cougar,” (a mature woman who pursues much younger men, often young enough to be their son) that she finds them amusing and their compliments entertaining, even delightful, but not truly alluring. His non-responsiveness, of which she is totally unaware because she doesn’t know how differently men and women speak either, will be construed as weakness and push her exactly where he thinks she already is if he doesn’t straighten up pretty fast. Textbook example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?

Fortunately, he’s already purchased his copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and will be realizing all of this shortly when he reads and learns what he needs to know about both her and himself. His worst case scenario is that he may feel some subconscious insecurity triggered by the presence of these younger men until he comes to grips with the fact that he is not only their elder, but their better, especially in his wife’s eyes, and he’ll return to his confident, attractive self, then kick it up to notches previously unknown as he learns what makes women tick, what they want, and how understand them so well that they indeed think he can read their mind; he’ll be one of those rare guys who “just knows…”

A sagely word of advice: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Horrible grammar, yes, but an entirely valid point. And you can do better, MUCH better, by going to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and downloading your own copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," or you can continue doing what you’re doing. Unless you really like the way you’re feeling right now, you’d better get your mouse clicking!

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

Sunday, December 05, 2010

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

Cold weather and “the holidays" are here, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and many of us tend to over-feast and are about to develop that inconvenient layer of winter fat and we’re already 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 in the Southern Hemisphere 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…

The holidays are here, and that means good food and parties. It also means a lot of scrambling around trying to do holiday shopping and eating out for lack of time, not to mention family gatherings, etc. That means that unless your wife is extremely disciplined or has an extremely high metabolism, she’s going to pick up a few pounds, and like it or not, you’re going to have to deal with it.

Sounds like a no-win situation, huh? It’s tricky for sure, but not impossible. 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