Thursday, January 13, 2011

Work Smarter, Not Harder, for a Great Relationship or Marriage!

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may need to hone your evaluation skills. I’ve coached clients who are really great people, but they tend to make very bad choices in a mate, being attracted to some trait that has a high probability of bringing with it something destructive, such as being attracted to the excitement of risk-taking behavior, which can be a mark of an achiever or someone bent on self-destruction, and they don’t make the effort to find out which, or have no clue how to do so. Or being attracted to someone who is very involved in charities, which often brings with it a tendency to be unavailable too much of the time and a heavy guilt element that dampens them and the relationship. You may be hung up on a particular type of woman, like the codependent that is constantly getting into trouble so that somebody can save her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding a good relationship isn’t about being liked, or being popular, and your quest to find a good relationship should be spent as a time of self-assessment, not assessment by others (that’s their responsibility, not yours), as well as a time of exploration, during which candidates will be presenting themselves to you for you to evaluate. If you’re not attracting the kind of people that you feel good being around, it doesn’t mean that you’re bad, or inferior, or any kind of depressing crap like that.

It means that you need to either get a more realistic image of yourself or grow a bit to mesh with the kind of people you like, and personal growth is ALWAYS a good thing, something to make you feel like you have achieved something worthwhile. If you need some anonymous friends to try to help you figure that out, drop by our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and make a few. We’re all there to help, and we can help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses, how to find balance, how to enjoy your life, etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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