Thursday, April 21, 2011

But Dad! The Impact of Fatherhood, Good and Bad, on Relationships and Marriage

Being a strong father figure is just as important in being attractive to your wife as being a strong husband figure, as this mother points out.

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What a week this is starting out to be for reader letters! Get a load of this one from Margret:

Dear David,

I got your book for my husband and he won’t read it. He says he’s already attractive enough because all mechanics are manly men. I beg to differ.

I have a 16-year old daughter who wants to date a 19-year old college student and musician. Coming from a situation similar to this that got me in a lot of trouble I have a problem with letting her go out with this guy, but her father, my husband, who is supposed to be the man of the house, leaves all the decisions about her up to me. A father should stand up, meet the young man and make sure that his one and only daughter is not in harm’s way. In my household it is up to me to make the choices and I hate being the bad guy all the time.

In my eyes this makes him the biggest, wussiest candy-ass I have ever known. What father lets his daughter go out with a guy he has never met? What kind of man lets his wife decide if she should be allowed out with a boy like this? Is it wrong to want a man who takes charge and makes sure his daughter is safe from the world outside? I feel like the husband most of the time and he should be the wife.

This is the biggest attraction killer for me. I want a real man who can make a decision, not a girly-man who has to defer everything to me because he doesn’t have the spine to say “no” to a 16 year old girl. If that was what I wanted I would be married to a woman instead of a man.

When it comes to his kids, a man needs to take the lead in decisions about who and where the children spend their time. I like to have a say in the matter, but I hate that I have to be the one to make all the decisions. Our daughter stays mad at me all the time, and I can deal with that, but why should it be only me she is mad at? Then he gets mad at me when I fight with my daughter because I don’t feel like being intimate with him later in the evening! I wish he had that kind of nerve when it came to making decisions.

Do you have any advice?


My reply:

Hi Margret!

Yes. Beat him until he grows a pair and fights back. Just kidding. Seriously, he has some issues that he needs to work out. My book can help him if he’ll read it, but you’re either going to have to reason with him, which probably isn’t going to work since he’s obviously in denial and shutting you down every time you try to get him to take responsibility, or play dirty pool.

That’s right, I said that, and I know I told you to hold off on drastic actions, but at this point all other peaceful options have been exhausted and it’s time to escalate. Cut him off completely – no sex, no dinner cooked, no laundry done, and anything else you can think of to isolate him and apply pressure. Tell him that when he is ready to acknowledge that there is a problem and to work with you on it and lead his family, he can rejoin the family, and until then he’s on his own.

And tell him yes, it really is that serious, so serious in fact that he’s flirting with a divorce, because you are not going to be left in the position of always being the bad guy and alienating your children for much longer. I know from your previous letter that these thoughts are already on your mind, so go with them until he realizes that this is serious and he treats you, your children, and the situation with the appropriate consideration and respect.

Take care, and keep me posted,

I hate more than almost anything to have to say something like that to somebody, but Margret’s already tried the diplomatic route and there is no more effective solution. Indeed, she’s gone a lot farther than most women would go, because I’ve already told her that she needs to bluntly state what she thinks is obvious because being a man, he won’t readily interpret her questions about the young man as statements that he needs to get involved. Yes, you can spend a lot of money on counseling, file for divorce to get his attention, etc., but they are all grossly expensive, have no better a chance of bringing him out of denial, and may take things in the wrong direction because they are riskier than a few days of simple isolation that she’s already considering.

Gents, the big message for you here is that what you do as a father has intense bearing on how you are perceived and treated as a husband. You can do everything in the world to be fun and exciting and strong as a husband and blow it to bits in an instant by pussy-footing around with your kids when they need leadership or discipline. Women sometimes don’t like that we demand more discipline of children than they do, but they never like it when they are left to be the disciplinarian and decision-making parent, especially the ONLY disciplinarian and decision-making parent. They’re wired for nurturing and we’re supposed to be wired for protection, so disciplining is most definitely in our job description, more than theirs, especially when you factor in that we’re supposed to be in the leadership role.

Make no mistake, most of the biological engine that drives female attraction is based on primal factors that would have made a man a strong provider and father in early times. I’m not saying that you should be a good dad just so you can get laid, and anybody who sends me a nasty-gram making such a ridiculous accusation will be fired. What I am saying is that you must be a leader in all areas of family life, not just in romance, because if you slip up in any part of it, the effect will be the same catastrophic withdrawal from intimacy as if you had said, “I don’t want to offend you, but is it okay if I kiss you?” on your first date. (And if you don’t see what’s wrong with asking that question, you and I need to be on the phone, because it’s time for an intervention.)

Relationships are complex, but the rules are not. The forms of female communication seem equally complex, but broken down into discreet components, almost 100% of communicating effectively with a woman follows one or more of three simple rules. What are they?

Go to, download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and find out. Be the first and probably the only guy on your block who knows what women want, what makes them tick, and how to work your way through that jungle of hints, signs, and signals that she throws at you every time your together so that you know what’s on her mind at all times (ever heard one say, “I want a man who just knows…”?). It’s easy, it’s surprisingly affordable, and it’s guaranteed to work, so do it now. Never put off until tomorrow the success you can enjoy today, because tomorrow may not come.

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

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