Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sex as a Weapon in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2: The Tail Swings Both Ways

A woman writes to remind us that women aren’t the only ones who use sex as a weapon, and that it’s just as catastrophic when a man makes this mistake.

Before we get into today’s lesson, I would like to remind everyone that, our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, is now open to all; anonymous guests can now read all forum content until further notice. We have several hundred members, but as seems to be the custom with forums, about 2% of the members are doing the posting while the other 98% lurk, reading and learning from the other 2%. That may not be so bad as it sounds, since the few who are posting are posting some really intense situations and problems that about anyone can learn from.

For those of you who prefer your mobile phone to a PC or notebook, we have Tapatalk forum browser installed. You can get the app at your phone carrier’s app store and find our forum by searching for “Manville” in Tapatalk to find “Manville, USA: The MakingHerHappy.com Forum.”

I’d like our forum to be the new center of activity for all of us, although I will continue to distribute my newsletter and echo it through blog posts. The envisioned purpose and operation of the forum is still evolving, so if you have suggestions, please write or post in one of the suggestion box forums there. There will be both free and premium features and areas when we get a large enough user community, but all areas are free right now and for the near future, and there should be something for everyone. I’ve been adding forums and features ever since it came online and welcome suggestions. It’s your community; I’m just the mayor. ;-)

Ladies, you will have free access to all features and areas at all times, including coaching for your own issues, in exchange for your participation in helping the men to understand the female perspective, communications issues, etc. You will find it both educational and entertaining, and it will be worth your while to participate. Those who are already doing it seem to be having a ball, and a lot of them are finding that discussing things is very therapeutic for them. The men, too. So join us as soon as you can.

And now for today’s lesson…

Gentlemen, I hope you realize how privileged you are to have access to the experience and input of the women on my mailing list (and at the forum!). They frequently provide extremely valuable insight anonymously, to you as a stranger, that you can bet you would not hear from a woman you know. Take full advantage of this and use it to make your life and relationship better, because their knowledge and experience has been paid for with pain, embarrassment, frustration, etc., and you can bet that they don’t have an easy time reliving bad times to help you out.

I can certainly vouch for that in this case. This reader is a close friend of many years, single after two bad marriages to two bad men who on the outside would appear to be good men, or at least “the average Joe.” Meet my friend Elizabeth:

Dear David,

I read your newsletter today about women holding out in order to get something from their men. I wanted to tell you that the converse is equally true and just as revolting.

When I was married to a fairly wealthy doctor, I distinctly remember one Christmas party event (we had a buffet party for 45 persons each Christmas) where my husband gave me $500 to go to the mall and pick out a couple of new dresses for the party. He said that I had been working so hard preparing for the party (I did all the cooking) that I deserved something nice to wear to it.

I came home with two beautiful dresses and did wear one to the party that evening and received several nice comments on it, to which I told the story about my wonderful husband giving me money to buy the dress because of my hard work for the party, etc., etc. Everyone thought he was so great.

That night, after cleaning up the kitchen and house, I collapsed in bed, exhausted, and he wanted to start messing around. I told him that I was totally bushed and wanted to just get some sleep to which he replied, "didn't I get you two really nice dresses today?"

It has been twenty four years and I still remember how small and insignificant that question made me feel. I called him on it saying that I didn't realize that I had to repay him for my dresses with my body, to which he immediately backed down, but the comment stuck, and it was hurtful and demeaning.

Here I thought that I was making love when, in fact, I was repaying with sex any nice things my husband did for me. The marriage ended about two years after that incident and after many more similar situations, but please tell your readers that we don't want to pay for things that you give us with our bodies any more than you want us to withhold from you until we get what we want!

The tail swings both ways.

Sincerely,
Thanks, but no thanks


Think about that long and hard, guys. The way to make a woman love you and feel attraction for you is not to make her feel like a common prostitute who should trade her body for whatever it is that you have – or think you have – given her. It’s true that every exchange in a good relationship should be in trade, not in sacrifice, but trades should be “like kind swaps,” as the Internal Revenue Service likes to call it; love for love, nurturing for nurturing, trust for trust, respect for respect, good sex for good sex, etc., not lopsided arrangements that cheapen the traders as well as whatever is being traded.

Sex is the strangest weapon in existence. It’s devastating, yet no real victory can ever be won by using it; in any contest where it is deployed, everybody loses. Used properly, sex is not a weapon at all, but a celebration of life, living, love, and achievement. Used as a weapon, everybody loses.

Besides, if you’re doing what you should be doing and firing those automatic attraction triggers with leadership, authority, humor, mystery, adventure, etc., you don’t need any kind of “weapon” to have all the sex you want, and have your girlfriend or wife jumping on you to have it. And when every man is born to behave that way, why in the world would you use such a self-destructive tactic in the first place? All it takes is knowing a few things about women and yourself that you don’t know yet. (And if you think it has to be harder than that, just drop by the forum and ask the women there. They’ll tell you straight, it’s not rocket science, it’s exactly what I’m telling you.)

You may recall my favorite quote of Sigmund Freud, “The great question, which I have not been able to answer, is, ‘What does a woman want?’” It is a great question, maybe the greatest of all, and with the help of a few hundred women, I’ve answered it, and that answer can be yours in a few mouse clicks and keystrokes for little more than the asking.

So get ready to know what Freud never figured out and live the life you always thought being married should be about! Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get started.

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sex As a Weapon in Relationships and Marriage, Part 1

So you think you’ve never paid for sex just because you haven’t visited a prostitute? If you’ve ever let a woman become even a little bored with you, you certainly have. Indeed, sex has been the weapon of choice for many women since the dawn of humankind because they can wield it so effectively, IF we let them…

You might remember Hannah, whose “ladies’ book club” had the contest to see who could entice their husbands to buy the most extravagant gifts for them just because they were bored, which you can review by visiting http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/235-Boredom-Just-How-Far-Will-a-Woman-Go-to-Escape-It-Far-Enough-to-Wreck-Your-Relationship-and-Marriage, and I would strongly suggest that you do, because it was a “must read” issue. Hannah, a real “whistle-blower,” wrote with another account of something that many women have been known to do that men never suspect, and this one is a real “zinger”!

David,

You might remember my group of friends that meet a couple of time a month for time away from the family and husbands, our book club, but there were time that we did invite the men to join us. At one of the dinners we had, one of the men stated that he had never nor would he ever pay for sex. Of course all the women at the table laughed and the men for the most part could not figure out why we thought it was so funny. I think that they just thought we believed he was lying to us. The truth was we know all men pay for sex if they are in a relationship, or in his case married for 12 years to one of us. LOL!

His own wife, Carol, had just snookered him out of a pair of Chanel sunglasses that cost a couple hundred bucks. She liked to shop only in the best places. No Walmart for her, only specialty shops where they cater to you every whim, in spite of the fact that she didn’t work and her husband was working two jobs most of the time to keep up.

She called her husband to tell him she was shopping and wanted those sunglasses and he told her that to spend that kind of money on sunglasses was crazy and this was one time he was going to say NO. Well you know how that went over and that night Carol did what most of the girls I ran with did when we really wanted something and were denied.

That evening after her shower she dressed herself up in her best and sexiest nightie and made sure he saw her every time she walked past him. That night she told him to go on up to bed that she was not really that tired and thought she would watch some TV and would be up later on. Later that night she crawled into bed next to him and made sure he knew she was there, but wouldn’t let him get close, teasing and tormenting him to death.

A couple of hours passed of her brushing against his leg in bed and she stated how hot the room was and takes off her clothes and climbs back into bed under the sheet once again making sure to wake him just enough to know what was going on. This time he made sure she knew he was there and as he started making advance toward her for some early morning naughtiness she did what some of us women do best. She reminded him of the sunglasses she had wanted and how much more she would be in the mood if only she could have those sunglasses so she could look good for him all the time.

As they lie together in what she described as “the afterglow of getting her way,” she told him, “Now wouldn’t it have been much easier to let me have the glasses yesterday and you could have had me all you wanted last night.” As I listened to her tell her story and then show all of us her new shades, I could not help to remind all of my friends that this was the same man that only a few nights before had bragged to all of us he never paid for sex and never would.

I would like to state for the record I am no longer a part of that group and have since learned what it is like to take pride in earning what I get, and am so grateful I have a wonderful man now that took years out of his own life to teach me a very valuable lesson on such craziness. We have sex when we want it, which is often more than once each day, because we have both earned the right to have each other at anytime.

I wanted to share this with you because I thought you might get a kick out of it.

Take good care,
Hannah

When I read that, I was thinking, “not just ‘damn’ but ‘DAY-UM!” (That’s “damn!” with the diphthong of a strong southern U.S. accent, about two steps beyond “hot damn!” for those of you unfamiliar with the dialect!) There might be a lot of ticked-off men around when this hits the press!

But wait a minute. I don’t like to talk about “fault” because it’s usually pointless, but an issue of RESPONSIBILITY we can address is what really brought these two to where they are? He’s doing all the work, she’s spending all the money, and since she has no real interest in or appreciation of their sex life, feels free and apparently justified in using sex to get her way and put undo strain on the family finances. That can only be because he’s a pushover – WUSS! – and she’s bored with him and using retail therapy to get her kicks.

Yes, we can divine that from the situation, because even if she had childhood issues with material deprivation, if she were feeling the attraction that a woman should be feeling in a healthy relationship, she’d be finding other ways to arrange fulfillment of her material desires and following his leadership in being responsible if he was presenting any. So guys, brace yourselves for a terrible truth:

If you have let your wife or girlfriend get bored, you are paying for sex. If you’re having any, that is. As in the case of so many toxic wives, you may be paying for the HOPE of sex that never happens. There’s no other conclusion that can logically be drawn. Does the word “prostitute” ring any bells?

Yes, that sucks. Out loud. Through a straw. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you were trying to get a woman’s phone number or a date with her and blew the attraction, you’d be done, but if you’ve been together for a while or have married, there’s a level of emotional investment there, for both of you. And that buys you some time to reignite the attraction and some motivation on her part to let you, and even help you! (Unless, of course, another man has unleashed the awesome power of attraction in her, rendering you pretty much yesterday’s news and a non-contender – it’s a double-edged sword.)

But you’re not going to reignite her attraction for you by letting her lead you around by the nose and trade you sex for expensive sunglasses – or anything else, of course. You’re going to have to take a good look at your life, figure out where the attraction was lost, figure out how to get it back (big hint: it left you in the very same instant that your self-esteem did), and learn enough about women in general and your woman in particular that you don’t ever screw it up again. Can you do that right now?

Not likely. If you could you would have already. Most of us simply aren’t born with what we need to get the job done. But there are a few of us who have the kind of personality that makes women like to talk with us and teach us things about themselves, and unlike most of the others, I chose to write a book and set up a forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, for you to learn about what literally hundreds and now thousands of women have taught me so you wouldn’t have to try to figure it all out on your own.

They taught me about how to really evaluate a relationship, how to talk with and listen to a woman (which is a lot more science and a lot less art than we have been led to believe), and how women think and act, according to both what is important to them and their involuntary reactions to biological “triggers,” such as leadership, authority, mystery, humor, adventure, etc. They also showed me how their emotional scales are entirely different from ours, and how they can get in such bad emotional shape that they can internally justify any thought or action, no matter how strange or destructive, to get themselves back into their comfort zone.

That’s a lot, and it’s a big book, too. But get this: It’s working for everyone who is using it. That’s because it’s not just a grand spew of theory and opinion. It’s a collection of facts that have been put together and tested, refined, retested, and ultimately proven. And among the many testimonials for its effectiveness that readers have sent me are some that I can’t even reprint because they’re too steamy for some adults to want to read and for any to want their children to see. That’s success, because that kind of intimacy doesn't happen in mature relationships that aren't working!

So whether you just realized that you’ve been paying for sex, you’re tired of fighting all the time, you’re sick of fearing – or seeing – affairs, or things have just cooled off a bit and you’re ready to kick them back up and save yourself the pain and aggravation of problems, this book is for you. So go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and get started. The longer you put it off, the worse it’s going to be, so the sooner you start, the easier and better it will be.

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

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Breaking Out of a Rut Can Save Your Relationship or Marriage

Readers frequently talk about “getting into a rut,” whether it’s personal, at work, or in their relationship. What do you do?

I’ve alluded to this problem on occasion, but never really addressed it because the solution has always been so obvious to me, but judging by the number of e-mails I’ve received on the subject, apparently it’s not so obvious for everyone else: How to deal with getting into – and especially OUT OF – a rut.

For men, getting into a rut is just a little too easy. Where women’s emotional scales (see http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/217-Understanding-Our-Emotional-Scales-Another-Key-to-a-Great-Relationship-and-Marriage for explanation) run from zero to infinity, meaning that boredom is as bad as it gets and both positive and negative emotions will often fit the bill equally, our emotional scale runs from negative to positive, with neutral (boredom) being in the middle. We prefer boredom to problems, and our first priority in any crisis is to return things to that boring norm before trying to move on to great things. Indeed, for a significant number of men, success is as undesirable as failure, because it means shaking things up, deviating from the safe zone around boring, and going to what for them is a stressful extreme.

Fortunately, most of us don’t strive to be bored, but for many of us it does have a way of growing comfortable (see the articles on being “comfortably unhappy” in the archive at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/370-Are-You-Happy-or-Comfortably-Unhappy-In-Your-Relationship-or-Marriage-Your-Life-Could-Depend-on-Knowing-the-Difference... and http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/519-An-Eye-Opening-Confession-About-Bad-Relationships-and-Marriage-from-the-Comfortably-Unhappy to get up to speed on this crucial concept). We fall into habits, and we hold there, taking a break from all the excitement in case we need extra energy to weather some new crisis that may jump up.

Guys, this is bad. If you want to experiment with peace and quiet and find out what words like “solitude” and “mundane” really feel like, plan on doing that during your retirement; it will most likely happen to you then anyway. While you are young and healthy (and by young, I mean any age under 70), habits that make you just cruise along without incident from day to day make you “dry up on the vine.” If you can look at your life over just the last month or two and see yourself doing the same thing every workday during that time, and spending your weekends the same way, like vegetating on the couch in front of the TV with a beer and snacks, you’re killing yourself, and likely damaging your career and your relationship as well.

How?

Glad you asked. Settling into that kind of routine and creating that kind of comfortable boredom makes you uninteresting, and often will make you unmotivated as well – being bored makes you boring to those around you. If you and three other people are up for a promotion, skills and experience are equal, and you’re boring and the other three are not, who do you think will be the first one dropped from the running just to narrow the focus on the evaluations? You guessed it. And unless you’re brand new to this newsletter, you already know that “boring” is the absolute worst label that a woman can ever put on you, because you are then at the most negative end of her emotion meter. If this is you, what do you do?

Break out! Do something different; not necessarily dangerous, wild, or crazy, but something fun or interesting that you haven’t done recently, or haven’t ever done. I strongly suggest taking on at least one mental and one physical self-improvement project (like taking up Sudoku, logic problems, speed reading or a foreign language to stimulate your brain and losing 5-10 pounds or taking up some kind of exercise regimen or sport) to give you a quick self-esteem boost plus a hobby to keep you away from the television.

It’s a huge bonus if the hobby can be some kind of relationship enhancer, something your partner will see you doing and be stricken with new-found attraction from having seen you exhibiting distinctly male behavior by doing something independent, adventurous, expert, and/or as a leader of others. Flood yourself with new and exciting things to do for a week or two just to see what really grabs your attention and breaks you out of old habits, then stick with the two or three things that really do interest you. That’ll get a personal or even a work slump (with a minor modification) handled, but what about a rut or slump in your relationship?

Same thing! Mix it up! Shake it up! Do something fun. Go to a new restaurant. Do something neither of you have ever done, or at least never done together. Take up something interesting and invite your partner to join you. Even if they are in the rut with you and resistant to breaking out, there isn’t a woman alive who can see a man having fun without her and not want a piece of the action. If you invite her to do something fun and she declines, do it yourself.

She’ll either join in or you’ll know for a fact that she detests whatever it is you’re doing. Women hate feeling left out of anything that might be even marginally fun, interesting, adventurous, or mysterious! Just keep doing fun and interesting stuff, day after day, get good at it, gain the confidence that comes from competence in your new pursuits, and she’ll come around pretty quickly. Like I said, there’s not a woman alive that can stand being left out of the fun for very long.

For most people, a great relationship is one of the most rewarding things in life, and devastating when it goes sour. BUT! Getting into a rut doesn’t have to end your relationship, even though it’s the root cause of more break-ups and divorces than anything else; as you’ll see out our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, there’s even a significant body of evidence that it’s a big contributing factor in the onset of female mid-life crisis, the nightmare of nightmares in a marital situation.

It takes being fairly well-matched with a good partner, being able to communicate well with each other (which isn’t easy until you learn the differences in how men and women go about it), and keeping it fresh and fun and the sparks flying. That in turn will make the rest of your life improve, because a happy home life is for many of us the foundation for all other happiness; it makes a great career and everything else much easier to achieve because home-front stresses detract from everything else in your life, robbing you of capacity for and motivation to achieve.

You’ll find that if mama’s happy, everybody’s happy, especially YOU! That’s the cornerstone of the “Making Her Happy” philosophy. When your partner is happy, those wonderfully fun and nurturing things that come naturally for virtually all women get stirred up and she goes on auto-pilot doing the things that make you feel just as wonderful as she does. It’s not hard, and doesn’t involve putting on some act or memorizing a bunch of catchy jokes or lines, just learning a few things about her and yourself and putting them to use. Any man that is worth a hoot for anything can do it, and enjoy doing it as well. All you need is the know-how…

It’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” tried, proven, and ready to work for you. Jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy right now, because opportunities like this don’t come along often, and they can disappear in the blink of an eye…

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shopping Together As Foreplay? If Done Properly, It Can Really Boost Your Relationship and Marriage

Attraction is about flipping primal, biological switches that ignite the urge to procreate, or at least go through the motions of mating. Leadership and authority will flip them because it invokes feelings of power and protection; will shopping awaken these primal urges as well? My research and others’ says, “Oh yeah!” but it’s not retail therapy that does the trick…

Strap yourself in, because we’re going for a ride. I’ve written many times about how attraction and flirting are dying arts that are slowly being revived as desperate singles and bored couples seek out people like myself, Shelley McMurtry, John Alanis, and others and learn what it’s all about. I’ve also advised quite a few people to look back to the actions of their parents and especially grandparents, old movies, etc., for visual examples of things that they did then that most people don’t do now but are crucial for relationships. Why?

A lot of that old school, gender-stereotypical behavior that made for manly men and girly girls was obliterated in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s by idiotic ideas like “men should be sensitive instead of manly” when all women wanted was for manly men to continue to be manly men, but be a little more sensitive to things like a woman’s emotional state and her sheer dread of boredom. Incidentally, note that divorce rates began climbing exponentially through those years as well.

I was talking to my dad a few days ago and he mentioned how different things were now from when I was a child, and I asked him about what couples did for fun in the 50’s and 60’s that he no longer saw them doing. The first thing out of his mouth was a revelation: “Well, when you’re mother and I got married and until you kids were pretty much either gone or old enough to be gone, we nearly always did the grocery shopping together. Your mother would get all frisky and cuddly in the grocery store every time we’d go, even if she was ticked about something when we got there. Didn’t you notice that you kids were often put to bed a little early when we went to the store?”

No, I didn’t notice, but it sure makes sense now!

The act of hunting down and procuring food, and returning home with it is very primal, making the evening meal somewhat celebratory in a primal sort of way. He also talked about having other couples over for card games, and being accused of cheating because he and my mother were playing footsy under the table during the game and stuff like that, which was also primally attractive because of the competition and celebration involved, but I couldn’t get the grocery store thing out of my head. This had to be checked out, because my parents stayed married for 33 years and had five kids; their divorce happened after deep compatibility problems finally wore them down and out.

I’ve spent several hours each day for the last few days wandering around grocery stores and lurking in the parking lot watching for couples to show up (I was accosted by one store manager who thought I was acting suspicious until I explained what I was doing, at which time he took me to the security booth and we both watched the security cameras and tapes, which was a lot of fun for both of us!), and the results were more than impressive. They were downright awe-inspiring!

Couples would come in chatting, arguing, not speaking, even obviously pissed off at each other, and none of them seemed to make it more than about three aisles before they were walking closer together, him pushing the cart and her hand in the crook of his arm, or holding hands, or her stroking and caressing his back and shoulders, and the smiles and other body language was very clear. I also recall similar experiences with the women I’ve been involved with in my adult life, and it went right over my head at the time, as it may be going right over everybody else’s heads today. I wish my grandparents were still alive today so that I could pick their brains about a lot of things; they were married for 66 years, and I’m quite sure they could have told me about a lot more of these kinds of things if they were still around.

So guys, how do you put stuff like this to work? Start by understanding the underlying elements of creating attraction: leadership, protection, mimicking primal survival behavior, decision-making, competition, etc. Now, let’s build an evening out of it.

I’d suggest starting by planning at least an evening meal, and take your partner with you to get the groceries. Take your time and have fun perusing the aisles in the grocery store instead of just rushing straight to the things you want and grabbing them. Turn on a little of that naughty charm and steal a kiss or two, a playful pinch or grope, conducted covertly and intimately, as if you’re a couple of naughty kids getting away with something.

Go home and cook dinner for her, or for her and a guest couple. If you can’t cook, stay in the kitchen with her while she cooks and lead conversation about anything, even how to do what she’s doing. Women adore it when men ask open-ended questions about anything that interests the woman or that she does competently just as much as they like asking men the same things. And I’m not talking about “chit-chat.” I’m talking about real conversation. There’s no emotion or engagement in chit-chat; it’s just a time-filler.

Continue to ramp up the fun and tension after dinner through a movie (yes, a funny one, or one that if filled with action, authority, and some mystery!) or some other activity, like a sunset walk, or if you have the other couple over, engage in something fun and competitive like parlor games or card games, and occasionally when she gets up from the table to get something for herself or the guests, get up to help or suddenly think of something you need to remind her of (don’t worry about being rude, as they may be getting caught up in the energy and wanting to steal a kiss or a grope themselves!), and push the naughty envelope a bit while you’re out of sight of the guests. That “ramp it up and draw back a bit” play builds a delightful tension that women will savor for hours, and when the guests finally leave, she’ll lock the door and probably be tearing at your clothes if you did a good job at ramping up and pulling back.

By the way, DO NOT confuse procurement of needed items with “retail therapy.” Retail therapy, the act of buying things for the thrill of the purchase with no real need or desire for some benefit of ownership, is something that people do when they are bored or suffering from some kind of self-esteem crisis, and make no mistake, it is damaging to a relationship or marriage. It creates financial strain, storage problems, and a lot of stress. Keep your shopping dates to things you know you need or have discussed and decided that you want to own and benefit from ownership, and avoid just grabbing stuff for the thrill of hearing the cash register bells; those bells are for the shopkeeper to celebrate, not you.

I’ve told you gentlemen too many times to count that the object is not to seduce your wife, but to actively induce your wife to seduce both of you by leading her to her sexy side. This is how you get that done, and I shudder to think of how many such secrets our parents and grandparents took to their graves. If yours are still alive and you’re comfortable doing so, you might ask them about their dating days and the early years of their marriage. You might be surprised at how eager they are to share with you.

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

Caution: not everybody’s parents and grandparents will have been good at playing the attraction game. More men and women understood it 50 years ago, but that’s a far cry from being able to say that ALL men and women understood it fifty years ago.

Before you start pumping the older folks for the advanced techniques of their day, you really need a good command of the basics so you can distinguish between something great that can add spice to your life and a mistake that an ancestor made that will haunt generations to come if they don’t know any better than to repeat the mistake. Oops! Where do you go for that?

Glad you asked! Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," where you’ll find all the basics and then some, on attraction, effective communications, evaluating and renewing relationships, and even how to gracefully end bad ones with cooperation and dignity. Yes, really! Here are a few choice excerpts from a reader letter I received today:

“...I think she is missing me more than she will admit and it’s because of the ATTRACTION that YOUR BOOK has helped me instill back in her...”

“...things are progressing back to getting the woman I love back completely...”

“...the thing I like the MOST is SHE is CALLING ME .... NOT Me calling HER...so I must be doing something RIGHT LOL...”

“...have a great day and thanks if for no other reason for making me a better man...”

This guy described himself as “the wuss from Hell” in his first letter to me, and was afraid he was too late to do anything about it; he mentioned in one of his letters that they’d been separated for a couple of years and she had told him that under no circumstances would they ever be together again, yet they’re dating, she’s chasing him, they’re getting totally intimate, and she’s fighting tooth and nail the whole way, testing him to make sure it’s not just some phony act he’s putting on and that this new man before her is here to stay.

He is, he’s getting results, and if a self-proclaimed “wuss from Hell” can have an ex of two years pulling him back into the bedroom after she declared that donkeys would fly through a frozen Hell before she’d ever sleep with him again, you have no choice but to accept that this information works, and you need to be getting with the program, NOW! (Right, “Michael” K.?) http://www.makingherhappy.com.

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

Monday, January 10, 2011

Airing Your Dirty Laundry in Public: A Great Way to Ruin a Relationship or Marriage

Problems at home can be so frustrating that you want to vent them outside the home. Don’t do it, unless of course you like the idea of sleeping alone…

We’re going to do something just a bit different today. I usually write primarily to and for the benefit of the men, occasionally throwing in something that the women reading will also find useful or at least amusing, but today I’m speaking to everyone equally, and I hope that the majority of you will have at least one person to whom you can forward this little wake-up call to help them stop making this really big mistake. It’s not just an attraction-killer, it’s a relationship-killer, as sure as the sun rises in the east every morning. It’s also a symptom of a pretty big problem, much bigger than the one being voiced when this happens, as you will see.

One of the two couples who live next door to me are an elderly couple who married late in life, and for the life of me, I figure out why they got married or have remained married. They don’t even like each other, let alone love each other, and don’t seem to need each other either, unless it’s simply in the capacity of having someone available to call for an ambulance if they collapse from a heart attack or other emergency. They seemed okay when I first met them several years ago, but either their relationship has steadily declined or they have become less concerned with keeping their problems private, and they are now constantly at each other’s throat whenever I visit them or see them away from their home in a public place.

The main problem seems to have started because they don’t communicate very well. They’re both head-strong, and neither are good listeners, but people manage to live like that for fifty years or longer without the kind of malicious behavior I see these two engaged in regularly. So what’s continuing to escalate the hostilities?

Every time I talk to either of them, they are demeaning and insulting the other, and even worse, wanting me to validate their insults and other behavior, and they both know this is going on, so when I see the two of them together, it’s like a competition to see which of them can say the nastiest things about the other to me and another competition to see who can defend themselves against whatever insults they suspect have been dealt in their absence. Hence, they’re both hurt, mad, and frustrated all the time, quite paranoid about what is being said about them while they aren’t present to defend themselves, and constantly seeking validation and approval from others.

I remember the day it started like it was yesterday. The man and I were standing in my front yard talking about grass seed, fertilizer, weed killer, etc., as our lawns had not fared well through the winter, and she drove up, having been out shopping. He had remarked to me earlier that she was out and he’d had to give her all his cash because they were out of checks and they had cut up all their credit cards, much more personal information than I would have ever been comfortable hearing from a neighbor. He went on to say that he hoped she’d not spent all his cash while she was out because the home center where he was going to buy fertilizer and seed was only a little over a mile from our homes but his closest credit union branch was across town and he didn’t want to have to drive that far out of the way to get more cash. When she got out of the car, he said, “Well, I’d better go see if I have any money left,” and she heard him. Most unfortunate…

She exploded! “What are you doing telling our neighbor that I spend all your money all the time??? What else are you saying about me behind my back???” she yelled. That one remark, taken almost entirely out of context, caused an explosion, the shockwave from which is still tearing their relationship down and the fallout from which has not begun to settle, several years later. What do you think happened next?

You guessed it! She found occasion later that day to come over to my house to defend herself, and make a few nasty remarks about him in retaliation. He walks up quietly behind her while she’s railing about him using her good towels (“the show towels”) and messing up the kitchen, stands listening for several minutes before clearing his throat to let her know that she’s busted, and then says, “And you had the nerve to jump on me about talking behind your back???” War was at that moment declared.

Since that time, they’ve thrown each other out of the house regularly; every other week I’m outside getting the mail or something and hear, “Why don’t you just pack your s**t an get out?!” and they’ve become the two unhappiest people I know; combatants seemingly locked in a duel to the death to see who can get in the last and worst word about the other.

The lesson? Keep your problems to yourself, especially your relationship problems, and don’t succumb to the temptation of verbally bashing your partner, whether in front of them or not.

Ladies, I know that is a particularly hard pill for you to swallow, but face it, if there’s a problem between you and your man, it’s between you and your man, not between your man and your fourteen girlfriends with you acting as the mediator. You know as well as I do that your girlfriends will most often say either whatever they think you want to hear or whatever they think will keep you upset so they can continue to feed on your emotion, and that’s okay when you’re discussing a television show or a party that didn’t work out well, but don’t take chances on screwing up your relationship or marriage by inviting your girlfriends into your intimate life. You never know which of them has secretly wanted your husband since she met him and might take the opportunity to drive a wedge that will help her get him, right?

Nor do you know which of them is competitive and jealous of your relationship and secretly watching for a way to help you become as miserable as she is, do you? Or what about the one who wants to break up your relationship or marriage because she wants more time with you? Or doesn’t like your husband and thinks she knows what’s best for you better than you do?

I know you’re driven to share and commiserate, but the stakes are too high when it comes to marital issues to risk having someone say something to you to manipulate your emotions or sabotage your relationship under the guise of helping you. And before you say, “Oh, my friends would NEVER do that, that’s what every woman I’ve interview on the subject has said before or while her friend did EXACTLY that.

I can give you an example from today, as a matter of fact. A personal friend of mine found out on Christmas Eve that his wife wants a divorce. I could write a whole book about what has happened since then, but her best friend, the person she always consulted about major decisions, moved out of town a few months ago and was replaced by a new “go-to girl.” The old friend hears about the divorce and that there was an attraction for an old friend and comes storming into town to read her the riot act, and then calls my friend and insists that he both call her new go-to friend and the guy who the wife may be seeing.

There was nothing to be gained from talking to the go-to because their problems include major compatibility issues that go back to before they were married and the wife is in the first days of mid-life crisis. Nothing the husband can say to the go-to can do anything except get him boiled in oil when the wife accusing him of going behind her back to try to manipulate her through her friends. And as for calling the guy, that’s the biggest wuss maneuver in the universe, as it only solidifies the other man’s position and defers authority to him, plus makes the wife angry at you meddling in her new relationship.

This “old friend” had nobody’s interests but her own need for drama motivating the advice she was giving, and she had been this 37 year-old woman’s “best friend” for decades. And if you know anything at all about female mid-life crisis, the two biggest elements at the beginning are panic and rebellion, so any push in any direction other than the direction the MLC woman is convinced she must go merely escalates and intensifies her efforts to do her own thing. So much for getting advice from your BFF, Ladies.

And guys, even though we’re generally not as socially-oriented as women, there are still times when you’re sitting in the bar, the barber’s chair, a coworker’s office or the break room, etc., during which you might be sorely tempted to vent as well. For some of you it’s like some kind of bonding experience to bitch and whine about your wives. Don’t do it. Nothing good can come of it, and disaster can come of it he the person you whine to happens to repeat what you said to anyone within six degrees of separation from your wife, since most women tend to think they must consult everyone about their relationship issues but men must not talk about anything outside the home and you will be punished, badly, when she hears about it.

Be a man, and deal with the problem at its source, and don’t wait for your partner to take the lead. That’s your job, and if you can’t do it, there are others who can. And you can bet she knows where to start looking for them and has plenty of time to do so while you’re out with your friends bitching about her instead of being at home fixing your marriage.

Indeed, do I need to remind either gender that anything you say can eventually make it back to your partner or spouse? Would you care to guess how much damage will be done? Kidding around about something can evolve into a ranting, railing fit of earnest rage if the rumor goes through enough people, so don’t join in on the “ball-and-chain” jokes, etc.

If you have a problem with your partner, you need to be at home fixing it, not bitching about it to someone outside your family. The person you need to be talking with is your partner, not your bowling buddy, your drinking buddy, your girlfriend, your hairdresser, or anybody else, other than maybe a professional counselor if the two of you can’t work it out on your own. The likelihood of anyone else being able to give you much appropriate and competent input is very slim at best, unless that person’s own marriage is such a shining example of a truly great marriage that they’re a bona fide expert, and that’s going to be hard to know if they are keeping private things private like they should. You never know what really goes on behind closed doors.

Look at what usually happens in such a situation, attacks bring defensive action and then counter-attacks, and then the feud has started and isn’t going to go quietly into the night. The fastest way on Earth to escalate such a feud is to bring the outside world into it, especially by trashing your partner in front of his or her friends. It’s embarrassing, demeaning, even humiliating, and if you think trying to take back something you’ve said in anger to your partner is hard to take back, trying taking something back that you’ve said to or in front of your partner’s friend or coworker, or to anyone who lets something you said get back to her.

Treat each other with respect. If some of your friends start trashing their partners or your partner’s gender in general, try to break the momentum quickly by saying something positive about your partner, especially if they are standing there listening, before your partner has too much time to wonder if you’re thinking the same thing about them. When you show each other that kind of respect and support instead of publicly airing your dirty laundry, you will be more willing and able to work your problems out peacefully, and will try harder to work them out before they become a heated debate or a fight that you’ll later regret. It creates trust, which is crucial in any problem-solving operation, not to mention a secure relationship or marriage.

There is nothing about heated conflict that is good for a relationship. If you’re in one of those relationships where you’re constantly at the extremes, either fighting or in bed together, you need to take a good hard look at your relationship, your life’s desires, yourself, and your partner. I can tell you what you’ll find: a relationship that is based on attraction or need, not compatibility and love coupled with attraction. Lacking anything in common, your life together is one contest or conflict after another, one fight after another, and the only part left to enjoy, or escape to, is the sex. That’s no way to live, and you can both do a lot better.

Good relationships that last require being well-matched to your partner, communicating effectively, and keeping the fun and attraction level up to the point that you enjoy living your life and living with each other. That sounds difficult because you see so few couples doing it successfully in the long-term these days, but it’s not. The reason that you don’t see it often isn’t because it’s hard; it’s because very few remember how or ever learned how. “Knowledge is power” became a cliché because it was universally true, not universally false, right?

Opinions are like bowels; everybody has one, and they are usually full of crap. That’s why we don’t tolerate opinion-slinging and judgmental ax-grinding on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/; the stakes in relationships and marriage are about as high as they get, LIFE, so we stick with the facts. On the other hand, real, factual knowledge IS power, the power to create a great relationship and the power to fix one that you started but has become stale and boring over the years, as well as the power to take one that is going fairly well and kick it up to notches unknown to humankind!

That knowledge is contained in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and if you don’t have your copy, get over to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download it right now, because you’re missing out on a better life. Life’s too short as it is, without wasting it in a bad relationship that could be improved or replaced, so get to work!

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

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Ex's: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Former Relationships and Marriage

Depending on circumstances, ex’s can be a valuable asset, a nightmare, and worst of all, an attraction-killer to your present partner. Let’s explore…

As you may remember from the bio on the MakingHerHappy.com web site and in my book, a lot of people have called me “Doc” since childhood, not because am a medical doctor, psychiatrist, dentist, veterinarian, or college professor, but because I’m the guy that makes whatever ails you go away, no matter what it seems to be.

Hence, I spend a large part of my life hearing other people’s problems and providing solutions for them, and one of the problems I hear about most are “ex’s” – ex-husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, employers, etc. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but how people become “ex’s” in your life and how you deal with them once they do says a lot about you. We need to talk about some of the things it can say, because some of it is really good, and some of it is really, REALLY bad. And whether you have an ex now or there is some chance you may have one in the future, you NEED to know this and think about it.

Let’s start with the worst case first, and work our way to the better ones. The worst case is the ex that became an ex because war was declared, and you got angry and/or hurt and have never gotten over it. You talk about the relationship and the break-up all the time, even though it’s been years ago. Have you noticed how people react?

Have you noticed that they tend to “glaze over,” look at their watches, or roll their eyes, and suddenly remember somewhere else they need to be or rather aggressively change subjects? If not, open your eyes, because they do exactly that, and it’s costing you. People don’t like hearing the same lament over and over, and they don’t like being around people who harbor pain, depression, grudges, etc., instead of resolving their problems and moving on with their life. It’s annoying, embarrassing, and can be quite depressing. It’s also a major respect and attraction-killer, and labels you as a wuss who can’t deal with life and move on.

Face it, everybody goes through at least one bad relationship in their life, and they get over it. They learn how to better choose a girlfriend, wife, friend, business partner, employer, or whatever, and they move on to have a better life. Or they wallow in unresolved anger or misery and become a pain in the neck to everyone they know.

If you’re not resolving problems and moving on, the only thing keeping you from it is YOU. How you respond to past events is entirely YOUR CHOICE! Make the choice to accept reality and whatever responsibility is yours, stand up, dust off your pants, and step forward. If it was so traumatic that you need professional help, get it, and get it done. Life’s too short to spend it looking backward and feeling crappy (and annoying the hell out of everyone else) instead of moving forward and experiencing the joy that you were born to have if you only step up and choose to earn it.

“But you don’t understand!” you say. Oh yes, I DO understand. You loved her, you needed her, the sex was great, you really loved that job, you never thought that buddy would screw you over. You never thought you’d come home to find your brother or best friend in bed with your wife. You loved being self-employed, or having money, status, and respect. I’ve seen and heard it all. Lived through it, too. And I can tell you with authority that none of those things has any impact on TODAY, unless you CHOOSE to let them.

There are lessons to learn from the bad things that happened to you. Stop lamenting the events and seek out the lessons. Learn them. Consign yourself to using those lessons to be more successful in the future. And relegate those events to the past and never, ever look back. The clock is ticking, and every second that passes can never be regained. You can spend each second looking back and wasting it or looking forward and living a better life. It’s your call. Let that choice and that ability to choose empower you to live well and be happy.

Stepping down off my stump now… ;-)

The next worst case isn’t much better. It’s the dependent that you can’t quite get rid of. The ex-wife or lover that you’re constantly having to bail out of a jam that they stupidly chose to put themselves in but want someone else to pay for, the child who is well into adulthood that you keep bailing out, even though a person their age usually has a family, mortgage, and established a career, the ex-employer who either fired you and continues to call on you for help or the one you left that keeps leaning on you instead of hiring a competent replacement, any of which causes you to complain and be distracted when you’re around people who currently really do matter to you and want to enjoy your company.

Those don’t like listening to you repeat the same laments and frustrations any more than you want to hear it out of them. It labels you as a push-over, another breed of wuss who just can’t say “no,” no matter how badly “no” needs to be said. You guessed it, another major respect and attraction killer that will send both genders scurrying when they see you coming down the hall.

People who don’t want to be partners of some sort and share life with you, whether it’s a wife, girlfriend, buddy, employer, business partner, offspring, or whatever, don’t deserve to have you sacrificing yourself to their incompetence, delinquency, etc. Altruists around the world are cringing as I say this, but you know it’s true. Your life is too short and too precious to allow yourself to be bled dry by a bunch of parasites who won’t let go of your jugular vein. Let them keep themselves up instead of sucking you dry, Brother. Do you understand? Their need is not a demand on your life; a poor choice on their part does not constitute an obligation or emergency on yours. Remember that. Quote it daily.

There are good people around you more than willing to share life with you, no matter who or where you are unless you are a parasite or predator, so why cheat yourself and them of the great things you can do -- and BE -- together while throwing your life’s energy away to these parasites? You’ll find that when you do this, all you will attract are more parasites, as well as a few predators, because good, competent, independent people will shy away, not wanting your problem overload to spill over on them, while parasites and predators will be watching for a sucker like you to come along and latch on as soon as you give them an opening.

What impact do you think this will have on any relationships or marriage you might enter into? If the good people are steering clear of you and the bad ones have you targeted, well…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how that will turn out, especially when parasites and predators are masters of using guilt and a person’s own insecurities to manipulate people into doing things they know better than to do just for approval and acceptance. If this is you, you’re going for ride after ride until you either choose to live better or they drive you all the way to the gutter. And again, the choice is yours, not theirs, so make the right one.

The last kind of ex to which I want to call your attention is the only good kind to have, the kind with whom you have shared something for a while, and as you grew apart or found yourself at odds, you responsibly recognized that you were evolving in two different directions or at incompatible paces or that you started a relationship without sufficient compatibility to sustain it and you went your separate ways on friendly terms. You’ve probably seen this at one time or another, a situation where both of you recognized that you were both good people in a bad match-up, and knew that you’d both be better off at arm’s length than close-up, “better friends than lovers” as the saying goes.

This would be the former employer who keeps you in their Rolodex as a potential paid consultant and gives you a good employment referral (not just a reference, but calls up somebody in their own network to help get you placement), and to whom you would refer competent sources of help, materials, or whatever. We’ve all seen a bad fit in the work place, and employers appreciate how it can happen and will often treat you much better if you sit down with them to discuss it instead of trying to hide the fact that it’s a bad fit until you’ve found something else and have to leave on short notice, leaving them hanging with a job to fill and no warning.

It would also be the ex-wife or ex-girlfriend who steers opportunities your way, and to whom you steer good-quality people. Maybe you even double date from time to time to help each other meet new people, steer contacts to each other’s’ businesses, etc. This is highly attractive behavior to all but the most insecure of women, because it says that you can accept responsibility for your actions and decisions, keep a level head and reach workable agreements with people, and won’t be a needy wuss who hangs onto them if things don’t work out for the long term. It says that you’re strong and of good character, that you focus on the value in people, not their flaws. I don’t know about you, but that’s precisely the kind of thing that I want to be known for, and consequently, am known for.

Fights are neither necessary nor desirable to resolve a bad relationship of any kind. At 48 years old I’ve never been sued, and every conflict I’ve engaged in during my adult life has been settled in a logical and equitable manner by mutual consent, including all former marriages, contracts, employment, and customer relationships. I know of nobody that I’ve ever dealt with that I couldn’t call up right now and have a good conversation, and probably find some way of stirring up a business deal or some kind of fun. It sounds like quite an accomplishment, but while it may be unusual, it has never been difficult, and should not be difficult for you, either.

Why?

Because all it takes is the willingness and respect to deal squarely with those around you, looking for what you can accomplish together instead of what you can cheat each other out of, put over on each other, get away with, or control. Being known for being such a person makes you attractive to everyone in all respects, and when it comes to women, they want a man who will take the lead, act responsibly and fairly, keep a positive attitude, help them to filter drama, and keep things moving for them, not somebody looking for every possible way to screw them, cheat them, lie to them, etc., or who feeds their drama instead of trying to keep them from getting lost in it. Sounds rather like an employer, does it not?

They also want someone to share life with, who knows when to say, ‘Yes,” or, “No.” They evaluate men using an iron-clad rule: “If you can’t stand up TO me, you can’t stand up FOR me, and if you can’t stand up for ME, you won’t stand up for US.” They don’t mind you sharing yourself with others, moderately, as long as you save the best part for them, which in a good relationship is a very fair trade for the nurturing, loyalty, and many other things a loving wife will give a good man who’s making her happy. And I’ll guarantee you that if you are with the right partner, saving the best part of yourself for them will be automatic, since that will be how you experience the most pleasure yourself.

Knowing how to evaluate and maintain a good relationship at home, how to communicate with people, and how to create attraction in the woman you love has far-reaching effects, much farther-reaching than you might ever imagine before doing it. Look around you. Those men who are happy at home are happy at work as well, and they have solid relationships with all the people in their life. They know how to choose good relationships, how to communicate with people, and how to be the kind of guy that people want to be around.

You’ll find that when you do the things described in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," the rest of your life will start improving at the same pace that things improve at home. Your confidence level increases, your communications skills improve, and you become more fun, interesting, competent, and generally enjoyable to have around. You can keep putting it off because you don’t know if you can do it, or you can accept the fact that a lot have people have already done it, many of which may not be as sharp as you, and you can make just as big a difference in your life as they have, if not even bigger. All it takes is to claim your birthright as a man and BE a man.

Download this fascinating and highly-effective book at http://www.makingherhappy.com. It’s guaranteed, it’s fun, and quite frankly, you can’t afford to not do it, at least not if you realize just how short life really is and don’t want to spend it watching everybody else enjoying it more than you do. Join us, right now! Indeed, speaking of joining us, join us at our forum, too, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, where you’ll find friends, help, reinforcement, fun and motivation, to say the least.

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