Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cute or Cruel? The Fine Line Between Play and Abuse in Relationships and Marriage

One of the easiest ways to learn how to do something right, including creating attraction, is to model the behavior of someone who is already skilled. However, you still have to know enough about the process to know whether the behavior you are thinking about modeling is the right behavior to model.

I hope you are enjoying this day as much as I am. In the July 13, 2011 edition of this newsletter (http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/770-Pleasure-or-Pain-More-on-Horseplay-and-quot-Picking-quot-in-Relationships-and-Marriage), I wrote to you about playing with women, and how many of the things we do with each other as men to bond and help each other develop “a thicker skin” are perceived differently by women, cruel in fact, because they use the same behavior to attack each other and therefore misconstrue some of our joking as an attack as well.

This is obviously not well-received by a woman from a man who tells her that he loves her. That lesson inspired the following letter from Nina, who notes the difference between ignorance and abuse (and yes, there are valuable lessons here for those of you whose relationships don’t involve abuse, so please stick with me here and you’ll see what I mean):

Hi David,

My husband and I have been reading your newsletters since we started having trouble last summer, and your book has made a world of difference in our life. We were in a bit of a death spiral, bored and frustrated with each other and had begun picking and sniping at each other in retaliation against what we both thought were deliberate attacks and disrespect, and I need to thank you for helping us get that all sorted out.

He’s back to being the man I married, and I feel better about our marriage and my life now than I’ve ever felt, because Karl never bores me anymore. He’s fun and playful one minute and strong and decisive the next, and in spite of his growing “spare tire” around his middle and his receding hairline, he keeps me in the clouds, if you know what I mean. And by the way, thanks so much for teaching him about the value of anticipation and taking it slow. We’re both enjoying that part of our life more than we did during our dating and honeymoon periods combined.

I wanted to tell you about something I saw today, and have been seeing since our new neighbors moved in. I didn’t realize what I was really seeing until your newsletter about how men and women play differently. I thought that this was what our neighbor Gene was doing to his wife Carrie, but I think I was wrong. Every time we’re over there, no matter who is around or how Carrie really looks (she’s usually very slender and fit but sometimes she puts on a couple of extra pounds when she has to work late a lot at the hospital here), he’ll walk up and say to her, “You’re looking pretty chunky in those shorts (or pants or whatever). We’re going to have to get that weight off of you!” And then he’ll swat her on her bottom or pinch her or grab her and pull her skin to make love handles. It embarrasses her so badly that she’ll start crying and walk away, and he just laughs.

I thought for a long time that he was really that stupid and insensitive, but I’ve noticed other things lately. She never leaves the house without him, and very often when we’re all together and she’s asked a question, she’ll look at him before answering, and won’t answer until he makes eye contact with her and twitches some part of his face. I’ve never seen him hit her, and haven’t seen any bruises, but I think he’s controlling and abusing her, because she never looks happy and often the only way I can describe the way she looks is “trapped.” Is there anything that I can say to her or do for her to help her through this?

Thank you so much for your help, and for listening,
Nina

My reply:

Hi Nina,

I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband have had such success, and I’m equally sorry to hear that your neighbor is having such trouble. There is nothing to help her through, except exiting the relationship, unless she wants to risk going to jail by cracking him in the head with an iron skillet next time he abuses her, and the best that can do is give her relief, not a good marriage. A good marriage can’t be had with an abuser.

Seriously, this is probably out of your league and hers. She needs some professional help to help her understand that she doesn’t have to tolerate his abuse and should in fact give him an ultimatum to either stop or leave, and that’s obviously not something that can be successfully handled by e-mail or phone, so she needs to find a local counselor.

What you can do for her is to point out to her that her accepting his behavior is self-destructive and unnecessary, that his behavior is controlling and abusive and not the “norm” for male behavior, and that if she is uncomfortable facing him down herself that she should get counseling from someone who specializes in abuse cases and start getting the problem handled. But be warned, she may try to suck you into her problems, or begrudge you sticking your nose into her marriage, and getting involved in your neighbor’s domestic disputes and relationship problems can land you in all sorts of trouble, including emotionally draining you to the point of damaging your relationship with your husband or causing a feud with your neighbor, so don’t let that happen.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David

What can the rest of us learn from this situation? First, some women are just as capable and skilled at this kind of controlling, demoralizing behavior as men; indeed, some of them are even better at it than we are. They may not even make a pretense of playing with you; they may just attack you outright in public, airing your dirty laundry, discussing your mistakes and failures, describing in detail your embarrassing moments, complaining about things you do, etc.

But not every attack is abuse. Pay close attention here so you can learn to distinguish between a desperate plea for negotiation and abuse…

When a woman does this infrequently and it’s limited to a single issue, like some on-going disagreement that you’re having, it’s a sign that the two of you are having a communication problem on that issue, she’s frustrated, and thinking that she may get you to work harder to listen to her if she gives you a dose of embarrassment and frustration as punishment. Not the best solution in the world for sure, but malice, control, and abuse are not the motivation behind the problem. She’s merely getting desperate for communication and trying to bully you a bit to get it and punishing you for making it rough for her. HOWEVER…

If the attacks are frequent, and not related to problems, but to things that destroy self-esteem, like overtly trying to embarrass you over your receding hairline or recent weight gain, being passed over for promotion at work, etc., hitting hot buttons that have nothing to do with anything in dispute and especially target your manhood and independence, you have a spouse abuser on your hands, seeking to control you and keep you close to home by destroying your self-esteem and making you seek their approval.

On the issue of abuse, we have it just a little easier than most women. Most of us don’t generally have to worry about our wife beating us to a pulp and putting us in the hospital. But that’s about the only advantage. They can still hurt us financially in any number of ways, including burying us in debt and keeping us there, relentlessly putting us down in front of people to the point that we withdraw from the outside world to keep from being embarrassed in front of anybody we know, acting seductive toward other men in our presence or even bringing them home, and in extreme cases, even mixing things like mild poisons, things we’re allergic to (peanuts, shell fish, etc.) in our food in just high enough a concentration to make us miserable without endangering us. Abusers, male and female alike, don’t want their victim dead, they want them utterly submissive, alive and healthy enough to fully experience the abuse.

If you are with such a person, you can leave or throw them out. There may not be any criminal charges to file, and life may be a bit rough for a little while as you get used to being on your own again, but the truth is that no matter how insecure your abuser makes you feel, you don’t have to take it, and there are others in the world who will treat you with love and respect. It may take you awhile to heal and regain both your self-respect and your ability to trust women again, but you can do it, and I and thousands of others are capable of helping you through it, so you don’t have to do it alone, either.

Being well-matched is one of the cornerstones of a great relationship, and something I devote a lot of time and energy to explaining and helping you to understand in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and being strapped to an abuser for the rest of your life is definitely NOT what anyone except possibly a masochist would call “being well-matched.”

Getting away from an abuser (and that includes predators who use attacks on your self-esteem to keep you submissive and in the habit of spending your entire life for their benefit at the expense of your own) first requires ascertaining that you are indeed with one, then either quashing their abusive behavior or separating yourself from them (almost everyone ends up doing the latter, because the underlying problems that make one an abuser of any kind rarely can be corrected, even with professional help, which is why we have nice, big prisons with lots of tiny cells), and then going through a process of healing and regaining your manhood and self-respect.

It also requires that you recognize that the odds of being struck by lightning are better than the odds of finding some way to reform an abuser, and accepting that they’re not going to change for you or anybody else, nor are they likely to change for their own sake. They live to find targets, and punish or exploit them. Nothing more, nothing less.

This must all be followed by overcoming any lingering fear you may have of future abuse, and then gaining a complete and working understanding of what a high-quality woman looks and acts like, how she thinks, and what she wants, and then evaluating yourself to see if some part of you needs to grow in order to satisfy such a woman.

The growing part is actually easy, because nearly all of us are born with a hero within, a part of us that wants to do better, have better, and be better, and the only thing that suppresses that part of us is bad programming that we pick up from the world around us. Remove the bad programming by accepting your true nature, and self-improvement comes very naturally and aggressively, because you suddenly realize that you both want and deserve it, and nothing can get in the way of you having it as long as you make the required effort to get it done.

Great relationships don’t happen every day, but it’s not because they’re not available. It’s because even with all the school we attend and everything else we go through in growing up, very, VERY few of us are ever taught – by example or otherwise – what we need to know to find, build, and maintain a great relationship or marriage. We do what we’ve been programmed to do, or worse, what our insecurities, caused by our lack of understanding of the opposite sex, force us to do: settle for the first person who can tolerate is or is good in bed (or both) and screw things up royally, and it doesn’t have to be that way at all.

As I said, I and thousands of other can help you, including the friends waiting for you at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, to varying degrees depending on our expertise and specialty, with any problems you have, but you have to first admit there is a problem and then choose to do something about it before any of us can do anything for you. I’ve been helping people with all sorts of problems my whole adult life, and I’m not a bit shy about saying that I’m one of the best you’ll find to help you, because I have thousands of business and individual clients to back me up on it, and nobody will ever tell you that I couldn’t help, at least to the extent of referring them to other competent help if their needs were outside my area of expertise. You can argue with opinions, but you can’t argue with history.

So what are you going to do about your problems? Are you going to just continue to wallow in them and hope somebody gives you a magic wand or powder or pill that makes them go away, or are you going to take the bull by the horns and get some help to get things going your way quickly so you can get back to (or get around to, if you never have) enjoying your life?

If you’re tired of things being touchy, rocky, scary, boring, tense, lonely or celibate in your relationship, stop tolerating it and let me help you fix it, a lot quicker and more easily than you would ever imagine, because I have the one thing above all others that you are lacking: good information that has been tested and worked for EVERYBODY who has used it, and it will work for you, too. Just jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and get your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and you’ll see what I mean.

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

What Do You Do When She Leaves Your Relationship or Marriage for Another Man? Can You Get Her Back? Should You?

A simple, scary question with a complex answer: What do you do when the woman you love is with somebody else?

I’ve been talking with some people at another web site that tries to help people out of divorces and I’ve been getting a huge number of questions from them over the last few weeks. The most common one by far is “My wife left and is now seeing someone else (or is having an affair and refuses to stop). How can I win her back?” No big surprise, right? Do you want to know what IS surprising?

It’s not the answer to the question by a long-shot; indeed, the possible answers to that question are few and simple:

1. Stop abusing your wife

2. End your substance abuse, gambling, or fidelity problem and try to make a life with your wife instead of feeding your addiction

3. Read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and learn how to evaluate and manage relationships, connect and communicate well with your wife, and find out whether you can fire up her attraction mechanisms beyond the point the other guy has created to get your honeymoon going again so that she is only interested in you.

After opening our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and hearing from some of the men there, I feel compelled to add a fourth item to that list, as an item 3a: If you find that your wife is in mid-life crisis, learn all you can about it, make some decisions about how much you can take, and strap in for a long rough ride, because she’s going to need the strength of a loving, manned-up husband to anchor her and help her find her way home when she emerges from the fog if she’s ever going to make it back home, and be prepared for the possibility that she doesn’t come back because MLC is not understood or misunderstood by nearly everyone who has to deal with it, including most professionals, and a woman who is in MLC thinks that everyone else is the one with the problem and therefore thinks everyone BUT HER needs help.

One or more of those answers will take care of almost all cases. It won’t always take care of the case where the other guy has created so much attraction that you can’t get her attention to let her see your improvement; attraction is a sword of MANY sharp edges; "double-edged" doesn't begin to describe how many ways it can work for or against you. But the big question isn’t what you should do to bring her back…

The big question, and the very first one you should ask, is WHETHER you should bring her back!

That’s right! I’ve spent hours and hours cruising relationship and marriage help web sites, and everyone is frantically begging for help to bring their spouses back (and being advised on how to do it by others who are apparently in the same boat, giving a strong appearance of “the blind leading the blind,” at least as far as the forum threads and blogs go, something I do NOT tolerate in the slightest at our forum), but nobody is asking whether it’s the right thing to do! Indeed, they label somebody who acknowledges such severe problems that no marriage ever should have happened, let alone be possible to save, as a “quitter” and a “loser.” Give me a break! (That’s something else that we don’t have at our forum!)

Right now, a great many of you are having a knee-jerk and responding, “Of course it’s the right thing to do! She’s his (or MY) wife!” If you stop to think about it, there will be some cases where it may not be!

For instance, what if you are the host in a codependent pair, and she is a substance abuser that has sucked the life out of you for years with the cost of feeding her habit, legal and medical costs, worrying you sick, making you feel responsible for all her bad choices and leaving you no room to enjoy anything about your life, let alone what you have earned?

What if she’s not a substance abuser, but still codependent and has kept you working 16 hours a day every day of the week just to keep her out of a jam?

What if she’s a spouse abuser, and married you to have someone to punish because the person who traumatized her is not available, and you were both available and easily manipulated into taking and holding the job of whipping boy?

What if she’s always exhibited a fidelity problem because she’s a gold-digging hussy that married you for your money and has just moved on to somebody with more money, or because she’s spent all you had?

What if she’s always exhibited a fidelity problem because she has a self-esteem problem that she refuses to address, and would rather seek the attention and approval of other men because it’s easier and more palatable than to admit the reason she feels crappy about herself is that she hasn’t done anything in her life to feel good about?

What if the two of you got married because she was pregnant, never did get along and weren’t happy, but comfortably numb and unhappy, and she was just the first one to wake up and realize that you never should have been married to start with and wasn’t rejecting you, but making the same move that you should be making to rectify that age-old mistake?

What if she wasn’t pregnant, but the two of you just were young and lonely and desperate, thinking that nobody else would have you, and latched onto each other thinking a bad marriage would be better than being alone?

What if one or both of you were trying to escape your parents’ abuse and married the first person that came along that provided a way to get out of the house, thinking it couldn’t possibly be worse than home but not realizing that if it was almost as bad you’d still need better?

What if you’ve had such philosophical or value system differences that you’ve always fought and never been happy together and really don’t know why you ever got married or stayed married, because you have no compatibility beyond breathing air?

What if you have compatible values, but your tastes are so different that you have never been able to find a way to spend quality time together, and sleeping, sex, and an occasional trivial conversation are all you really share?

What if you’ve suddenly become disabled somehow, and she’s the one who thinks she’s the victim, ignoring the fact that you haven’t let yourself become a victim and are still a great husband because she’s just too enthralled with the drama and attention? Or just too stinking bigoted or even status conscious to give you a chance to show you that you’re still worth having around?

There are a hundred more scenarios like that, but surely at this point you get the picture. The first question that needs to be asked when things look like they are breaking up isn’t how to stop the break-up...

It’s whether there is any reason for you to expect to be happy with that person if the relationship were to continue!

If there is no expectation of happiness, why continue? There is no productive purpose in trying to save a marriage when the underlying relationship that defines every aspect of that marriage is not a happy one and has no history or chance of being a happy one. The whole purpose of marriage is to bind yourself to a person for your mutual benefit – love, nurturing, friendship, watching each other’s back, companionship, exclusive (and hopefully therefore safe!) sex, etc. -- is it not?

On the other hand, if you have been truly happy, and have just drifted apart, there’s a most-excellent chance that you can get things back on track, especially if things have just been in a rut and one or both of you have become “maritally bored.” It’s not at all rare for women to have affairs, leave home, and even file for divorce as a way of communicating to a man that he’d better straighten up and act like a man and be strong, fun, and interesting like he used to be instead of the “chronically beer-swilling remote-jockeying couch potato who never pays any attention to her” that he’s become. And it’s easy to tell the difference…

A woman who’s completely done with you moves on immediately and completely. The divorce papers are delivered with a restraining order, and there are instant barriers up everywhere. You have no contact with her, or even any way to contact her directly.

Caution: Men on our forum have seen this behavior in their wives, who have shown most or all symptoms of mid-life crisis. This is a mind-altering condition that puts a woman in a deranged and often self-destructive state of mind, pulling out all the stops and breaking all the rules to regain what she thinks to be a misspent youth, among other things. There is a public domain, public service pamphlet posted on our forum to help you determine if this is what’s happening with your wife.

A woman who’s done with all parts of you except your checkbook still strings you along keeping you in approval-seeking mode and continues to be a drain on your resources, and may accept phone calls, go to dinner, etc., but you’ll notice that you pay for everything, and she keeps having money trouble that you need to bail her out of, even if she makes better money than you. She’ll also be chipping away at your self-esteem to get you deep into approval-seeking mode, making herself physically unavailable while talking about the future and getting back together, etc., trying to make you so utterly desperate for her attention that you’d spend your last dime trying to buy it while she’s out partying with others and secretly (or not) living it up at your expense.

It’s the woman who leaves or files papers, but continues to talk and especially to say things like, “I still love you, but I’m bored/not ‘in love with you’ (how I hate that convoluted expression!)/I can’t be with you right now/I can’t go on like we are and you’re going to have to show me you can change some things/etc.,” that has acted badly to get your attention and is wanting to come back home to the guy she wants to live with. She will tell you what it takes to win her back, and if you speak “feminese” you’ll hear her when she does and know exactly what to do.

Like when she says she loves you, but the guy she’s having an affair with makes her laugh, or is spontaneous, or anything about him that you are not, she’s giving you the laundry list of things you need to fix. Those things are not said to create competition or belittle you, but to communicate what is missing from your marriage. If she’s moved out and/or filed for divorce, and talking about the things you used to do together or the way you used to behave toward her, she’s telling you what she misses and what it will take to bring it back. And she may not “say” anything. She may ASK you if YOU miss things from the past to TELL you that SHE does!

But again, you have to speak “feminese” to understand, because she probably won’t just say, “you used to pay attention to me and make me feel special,” she’ll refer to things you did by asking if you remember them, like picking her a bunch of wildflowers, or cooking supper on the night that she had to work late, things that demonstrate how you did what she missed, and you have to be able to connect the dots to see what she’s really saying, because women never state what to them is “the obvious.” And more often than not, they will make these statements in the form of a question; “Do you think our marriage is good?” is in fact a statement that she thinks there’s a problem that she wants to talk about, and the next thing that comes out of your mouth could quite literally make or break your marriage.

Do you know what to say when asked a question like this, or why you should say it? Do you see how if you say something that rebukes her attempt to enter into a negotiation about the state of your marriage, that one act will be all she needs to give up? Or to take drastic action to wake YOU up so you can get things on track? The stakes are high at this point, so high that you MUST take responsibility for effective communication; failure to do so will cost you in more ways that you can imagine.

How do you learn to speak “feminese”? The same way you learn how to evaluate and manage relationships and learning how to be that alpha male that every woman wants and your woman will be thrilled to have, by downloading your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at http://www.makingherhappy.com before you do another thing, and especially before you take any more relationship advice from somebody whose own marriage is on the rocks, because this information has worked for everyone who has ever used it, and it will work for you, too.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Key to Conflict Resolution in Relationships and Marriage

Many people get so hung up on WHO’s right that they can’t see WHAT’s right, making them push a bad position to “win” instead of focusing on getting the right answer in everybody’s head and moving forward. Alienating everyone around them is all they achieve, and they’re usually the only one who doesn’t see it. That’s bad enough when at a social gathering, even worse at work, but what if it’s happening in your relationship or marriage? Just how long do you think such a relationship can last? Luckily, the condition is treatable with a little self-injection of self-esteem and an attitude adjustment.

Good grief! This has been the week for phone calls from very disturbed people. I just got off the phone with a coaching client who had just bought “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and he was frantic. His relationship with his wife was on the rocks, she had filed for divorce, and it didn’t take but a very few minutes to see why she was divorcing him.

First, a little background, because this lesson takes some details to set it up, so stick with me: The poor guy has such an extreme self-esteem deficit that no woman would ever have him for long (I questioned whether his wife married him for his money because he described her as coming from a rather “low-rent” background, he’s loaded with “old money,” and there’s just no way this guy was ever able to get attention from anyone through any means other than dressing well and exhibiting the trappings of money and power because his attitude and social skills were so crappy, as if everyone else were beneath him), and every part of our conversation he initiated was about “who was right” instead of “what will work for him.”

You’ve probably met people like him, and if you haven’t, ignore them when you meet them. Don’t bother trying to get to know them, because they will try to get to know you by telling you that they know more about your life than you do before you’ve said much more than, “Hello.”

His wife had apparently had enough of it and was bailing out after only two months, and he maintained that she knew nothing about herself, what she wanted from herself or him, didn’t have a clue what relationships were about, and he couldn’t get her to understand that he was smart because he was wealthy. Attention all disciples of the Church of Cause and Effect…all together now…1…2…3…CRINGE!!!

I’ve heard a lot over the years of being a business consultant and executive coach and now a relationship coach, but this guy beat anything I’ve ever seen in terms of being in denial, having a sub-zero self-esteem level, and having absolutely no concept of cause-and-effect relationships. He actually believed that inheriting a large estate made him intelligent! Being intelligent gives one the ability to build a fortune, but receiving an unearned fortune obviously does not include a brain infusion or transplant.

Now that you have the background, picture the fun part. He calls up, introduces himself, describes in great detail all of the above, and after agreeing to a $250 consulting fee for a 2-hour block of my time, proceeds to spend the first hour trying to first justify everything he did and then trying to tell me why nothing in the book he purchased could possibly help him, and that since he was wealthy, he could afford to spend time with me to suggest changes that had occurred to him as he was reading the Table of Contents – he had NOT yet read the book!

In case this is your first edition of this newsletter and you’ve not heard it before, a team of 118 couples helped me conduct and test all the research that went into this book, and anything that was less than 90% effective was not included; things that were between 50% and 90% effective were noted for discussion in this newsletter (you’ll occasionally see me mentioning test results and asking you to write with your own experience) and surveys to see if there might be a way to fine tune them for acceptable performance to be added to the book, and anything less than 50% effective was consigned to individual circumstances or personal tastes and omitted entirely. Now, stop and think about that for just a second…

…a 118-page book full of advice and concepts, each of which at least 90% of 118 women agreed on being effective with them, and at least 90% of men agreed were easy and enjoyable to do. There have been only five refunds since 2002, and all were the result of some misunderstanding about the purpose or content of the book (three of which had inadvertently purchased the same book twice and wanted one of them refunded, and two of which were plainly “library readers,” people who buy an ebook and immediately refund just to get a free book!). I also have unsolicited testimonials from almost everyone who has ever bought it stating that it works wonders. That kind of thing is unheard of with information products. Most authors brag if they can keep their refund rate down to 10%, and mine is currently under 0.00004%.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for error, does it? It has worked to improve everyone’s lives, but this guy, who’s bought this book to try to head off a divorce and starts the conversation with the words, “My name is XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX and my wife is divorcing me and I don’t know what to do,” is going to be charitable and spend an hour of paid consulting time telling me that everything in my book, which he has not yet read, is wrong and then asking me for help. Sound familiar? He’s not yet heard of the universal flaw in human design, the one which causes the mouth and ears to not be able to operate at the same time, and he’s rather “BE” right than “KNOW” what is right.

Are you like this guy, more interested in being heard or being “right” than in being happy? Is your partner? If so, can you see what a strain it’s putting on your relationship? If either of you are like this man, you can bet that at some point it will end your relationship if it’s not fixed; good relationships, of any kind, have compatibility and cooperation at their core, not conflict and competition. The first steps in fixing any problem is admitting there is a problem, defining it, and taking responsibility for fixing whatever part of it you can impact. Only after those three things are accomplished can an effective solution be developed.

And, by the way, taking responsibility does not mean taking the blame; it means committing to act in solving and eliminating the problem. Indeed, people who won’t take responsibility are very prone to focus on blame and point the finger everywhere but at themselves, making it impossible to show them how they may have contributed to the problem and determine how they might modify their perspective or behavior to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. As you might expect, this was the hardest part of this phone call – getting this man to see that his self-esteem deficit was the vast majority of the problem so that he could begin building self-esteem through genuine achievements and eliminate the problem. His argument kept coming back to “I’m rich! How could I have low self-esteem???” Yeah, right. A quick glance at Hollywood or Washington, D.C., will answer that.

It took two hours of him yelling and screaming and arguing with me, and me countering every argument with the very irrefutable facts he had given me, but finally a light came on (“No bad idea, no matter how popular, can withstand the onslaught of logic.” – Aldus Huxley) and he was able to see that he had spent the entire call rejecting the help he had paid to obtain because he wanted to be right, and that in itself confirmed low self-esteem.

There was no way to shorten the process. I kept asking, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” and he kept answering “I want both!” It was when he finally realized that if he could be both he would have never needed to call me in the first place that he finally had a revelation that made me think he’d had a heart-attack. He didn’t speak for about five minutes and there were all manner of stressful sounds on his end where he was trying to either hold back or silence his crying so I wouldn’t hear it. I mercifully let him get it out of his system without asking if he was alright, and he finally said, “Okay, I’m a clean slate. Tell me what I need to know.”

I said, ‘What you need to know first is that everything in that book you bought has worked for everyone who has used it; within the last week a young man in your predicament pulled his marriage literally out of divorce court, his wife is back home, and they’re making long-term career and family plans now. Just read the book, thoroughly, looking for answers instead of validation and expecting to be happy in the future instead of expecting to be right throughout your history, and then call me if we need to talk further. Now that you have come this far, I have every confidence you can go the distance.” Tear ‘em down and build ‘em back up the right way…facing reality and embracing it with a fury.

(Update: He did as I instructed, and he eventually turned out to be one of my star students. It turned out that he was quite intelligent, not because he was wealthy, but because he had an analytical mind and the ruthlessness to learn anything, once we got his ego and emotions out of the way; emotion and rational thinking don’t mix. His inheritance had in fact kept him from ever seeking or meeting any real challenge. Congratulations, J.G. – you still hold the title as my biggest challenge of this project, even bigger than finding a whole book full of facts about women that over a hundred women agreed upon!)

As I said, this situation can destroy your relationship – ANY relationship of any kind -- if it goes on continuously, but I didn’t mention that you can do extreme damage to your relationship in a single argument with this mistake. As tempers rise, things are said for which one can apologize, but not take back; you cannot “unring” a bell. When there is a disagreement, focus on WHAT is right, not WHO is right, and instruct your partner to do the same. You’re partners, and supposed to be a team, so the important thing is not to win an argument (competitive), but to score a win for the team in the situation (cooperative), is it not?

Cooperation does NOT mean compromise. When there is compromise, one or both partners are unhappy because they are unsatisfied. It means that you recognize the ultimate and final authority of reality, your values, your commitment, etc., and you reach a solution that makes everyone happy within the confines of reality and justice – forget “fairness.” Expect to get what you have earned, and hold your partner accountable as well. And if they are constantly upset because they don’t want to be accountable, don’t “polish a turd” by shrugging it off as “that’s just how they are.” “How they are” is lacking the character to act with integrity and instead of displaying entitlement mentality. A good partner will act like a good partner by trying to cooperate for the good of the partnership, and a parasite or predator will act like a parasite or predator by trying to push you to do all the giving and compromising while they get all the benefit of both. Know the difference and accept the truth, no matter what it is.

So why do people do this to themselves and their partners, the people whom they should love and seek cooperative and mutually beneficial existence with the most??? As with many people problems, low self-esteem puts people in a competitive mode, thinking that they’ll feel better if they beat somebody at something – anybody at anything! How much self-esteem will you be garnering by making an ass of yourself and putting your relationship on the rocks? Think before you open your mouth, because you can certainly get your foot in it much easier than you can put back into it any words that came out of it. Keep things in perspective, and you can keep things moving in the right direction always.

So, are you going to concern yourself with what’s right, or with who’s right? Have you ever heard that old ditty, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got…”? There’s a little more to it, but that’s the gist of it.

I’m telling you, straight up, achiever-to-achiever, I have what you need, right here. Solid, factual information, tested by over a hundred regular couples in long-term committed relationships, most of them married, all of them long-term enough to have developed significant problems that threatened their relationships, before this book was every published, and thousands more since. If you have any doubt at all, come to my forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and ask the people there what I’ve done for them. They’ll tell you, privately or publicly. Take a minute and read this one that was just posted: http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/542-10-steps-out-9-steps-back?p=3017#post3017. There’s a date and timestamp on the post, so you can see that it is current, and you don’t have to join to read it; joining is only required if you want to post.

What you need is in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s just a few mouse-clicks away. Download your copy today at http://www.makingherhappy.com, because with information like this and a little study and desire, you can start putting an end to silly little traps like this one once and for all within minutes of downloading it. And I have a LOT of readers who will tell you that you can’t get results like you’ll get with this information, anywhere else or at any price.

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Attitude Adjustment, First Step in Dewussification, Happiness, and a Great Relationship or Marriage

The first step in being attractive is a good attitude, and a good attitude is entirely a matter of choice.

Those of you who have been receiving my newsletter for a while have seen many letters from women complaining about their husband’s wimpy, wussy, defeatist attitudes and how much of a turn-off they are. We’re going to dig a little deeper into fixing that today.

Guys, in case you haven’t noticed, when you bitch, whine, and moan about how things are just crappy, you can’t get ahead no matter what you do, everything and everybody is against you, or “the system” is stacked against you and responsible for your present situation, or you’re some kind of victim, there are two things that you can be absolutely sure of:

1. Nobody wants to hear it
2. Nobody believes it for a second

The rest of us know that your life is what you choose to make of it, within the limit of your ability. How you deal with that is what determines your level of success, your self-confidence and self-esteem, and how people react to you – specifically, whether they want to spend time with you because they find you interesting and enjoyable to be around.

The good news is that how you deal with life is entirely your choice. Let’s take an extreme example to make the point clear, and then apply the principle to more common situations in everyday life. Let’s say you’re walking down the street, looking wussy, staring at your feet as you shuffle down the sidewalk, shoulders slumped, pouting, and looking like you’re having a crappy day and want the world to know about it…

Out of nowhere, a stranger steps up in front of you, draws a fist back behind him, and punches you squarely in the face, BAM! He hits you so hard you land squarely on your ass about five feet back from where you were standing. What do you do? It’s your choice, right?

Do you sit and cry because the mean old stranger just walked up and punched you in the face, wanting everyone to feel sorry for you so somebody else will hit him back for you or call the police?

Do you stand up, mad as a wet hen, and punch him back, because you’re suddenly feeling violent and wanting revenge?

Do you stand up and realize that the man just woke you up to the fact that you were being a wuss and knocked you on your ass to prove to you that you could get back up on your feet and carry on, and thank him for the reminder?

Do you stand up and realize that the man just did something that you’re not capable of doing, and ask him to instruct you in how to do it?

Do you stand up and realize that the man who just hit you may have thought you were someone else, and simply ask why he hit you to get to the bottom of it?

Do you stand up and tell him that you’re running a two-for-one sale today, and that for the paltry sum of $500, you’ll let him do it again?

Do you stand up and ask him if he has any last words or wants to say goodbye to his wife and kids before you dispatch him?

Any one of those choices, and many more, are yours to make! I know at least one individual who would have responded as described in each of those examples; that’s how I came up with the examples! How you respond to the situation is entirely your choice, and nobody else’s, and you should make it the most positive and productive choice possible.

No, this isn’t a head game. It’s truly how you choose to perceive and receive the situation, and what’s more, choose how you respond to it. You’re not choosing among various lies to tell yourself, but from among various results of what’s happening in front of you. How many of these choices do you get to make during the day? You may well be shocked if you watch for them and count them.

Let’s say one of your coworkers comes into your office and tells you about something new he’s learned to do and that the boss has complimented him or her on it. You can choose to label the coworker as a brownnoser and talk trash about them around the office to try to get them fired, or you can recognize that if your company makes more money, your job is more secure and your retirement contribution will be bigger, and you can recognize that this new skill may help your own career, and therefore ask the coworker to show you this new skill.

Your choice is therefore between seeing your coworker’s discovery as an insult or as an opportunity for you to make yourself more valuable to your company and give them a reason to pay you more. That choice should be a no-brainer. Truth be told, you could be a slimy worm who gets the coworker to show you his new skill and then makes up a lie to get him fired, but if you’re that much of a scumbag, there’s nothing I can do for you, and I’d appreciate it if you’d unsubscribe right now. I’m helping men, not predators and parasites.

Another example: Your boss comes in and says that the job you’ve had and utterly hated for the last two years is being terminated, and you’re being moved to another department to a job that you’ve tried to get transferred to several times in the past. It pays a little less than you make now and what you thought you’d made if you transferred, but it does have advancement opportunities.

Do you whine and complain about having to make an unexpected change and gripe about being unappreciated because you’re taking a slight pay cut, or do you choose to see that you’re finally free of the job you hate and being moved somewhere that you can better both your job and your pay and go at your new job with gusto and start realizing the changes you sought in the past? Another no-brainer, or so you’d think…

I saw two people at a company for which I was consulting quit in this very scenario. Their pay was being reduced by a whole $10 per week (1% of their weekly pay) until the end of the quarter (about eight weeks from then) when a new budget would take effect, and I know for a fact that both of them were blowing far more than that every week buying coffee and single packs of cigarettes at a convenience store on the way to work every morning instead of making coffee at home for the drive to work and buying their cigarettes in a carton each week. They had that same negative, short-sighted attitude, and chose to be insulted rather than see opportunity. And they constantly complained about the lack of attention their wives showed them, too. Gee, I wonder why? ;-)

I saw a great example of attitude a yesterday on Facebook, too:

Katherine
I don't know just how many more lemons I can stand in life! LOL My timing is soooo bad.

Comments:
Teresa: Yeah I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sick of lemonade!
David: I like lemonade. With a bit of lime juice, some salt, ice and tequila, it turns into great margaritas!

So there you go. If life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, and if you get tired of lemonade, kick it up another notch by adding ingredients for margaritas and invite some friends over. Then get back to business. ;-)

I started to list several more examples of how you can choose to see adversity or opportunity, but rather than do that, I’m going to invite you to try to spot them around you, and write to me by replying to any edition of my newsletter or by posting comments to this post on my forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com and we’ll revisit this topic in a few days and compare notes.

Meanwhile, let me be very clear about this: There’s little you can do to make your wife, girlfriend, friends, siblings, coworkers, or anybody else want to avoid you any more than by consistently choosing to frame everything that happens in a negative context, and little you can do that will help your relationship with your partner and everybody else by keeping a positive attitude and looking for opportunity. It’s heroic, therefore romantic, and an attribute that is found in all effective leaders, and hence, trips those biological attraction triggers that bring women, especially the one you love, closer and closer to you.

It is indeed one of the first steps I look for opportunity to take in every intervention for a couple in crisis, because it is so important and because it is something that can be changed almost instantly, which is in turn because it is so purely a matter of personal choice. Positive attitude gets positive results, and negative attitude gets negative results. ‘Nuff said.

It doesn’t matter how bad you think your relationship – or your life – is, you will find what you look for with equal ease, whether it’s insult or opportunity. (You may recall a famous quote by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re absolutely right!”) Look for the opportunity, and when you find it, use it to achieve something, even if it’s only something small. Small chains of successes add up to self-confidence and big successes. Yes, that’s a choice, too.

Speaking of opportunity, how many times must I offer you the opportunity to know what every man needs to know about women before you stop bitching about me trying to sell you something in a free newsletter or a blog post and realize that what I’m offering you is something you’ve looked for all your life and thought you’d never find, and that it’s not even going to cost you as much as a good meal for two? That’s right Big Guy, opportunity is knocking here and now, and once again, you can choose whether to be insulted or to grab that opportunity and make the most of it. If you want to be a whiner, that’s your right and choice to make, but…

If you want to be one of us guys who people love to be around and who knows what every woman wishes all men – especially their partner – knew, then jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com and grab your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and make the change. That’s your right, and your choice to make, too!

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't "Find the Time," MAKE Time to Have a Great Relationship or Marriage

A reader asks how to find some time in a busy schedule to spend with her husband. In her case, and maybe in yours as well, finding time isn’t possible because it just isn’t there to find. When there’s none to be found, you have to make some!

I love hearing from the women who subscribe to this newsletter as much as the men. Their questions are just as relevant and they prove that women really do want time with their men to be intimate and nurturing and to have some fun. Meet K.:

Hello David,

I have a question for you. My husband and I work together as we own our own construction company. We are together 24 hours a day, and need to find a way that we can spend time together but not at work. It seems like when we get home we are too tired to have any intimate time together and when we are at work we are AT WORK. I want to know how I can separate work from pleasure with him. We don't have much family that we can rely on to take our son, and the one's that we do have that take him are sick right now. So when we need our alone time we want it.

How can we get this?

K


My reply:

Good morning, K!

Under the constraints you’ve listed, you can’t, so you’re going to have to make some changes, at least small ones. You’re going to have to change your priorities to make that time together actually important enough to take it, and then manage your schedule so that you can, no matter what that takes. Maybe until your babysitters get well, you might have to schedule one day a week where the two of you disappear at lunchtime for an hour or longer, to an intimate lunch or a hotel or whatever, or schedule a late opening one morning so that you can have a little while at home after your child has gone to school before going to work, or something like that. How you do it isn’t important as long as it doesn’t destroy your business, but you have to schedule the time and then take the time instead of just waiting for a window to open.

I’m all about achievement and getting the job done, and this was a very hard lesson for me to learn as well; very early in my own marriage, my wife and I were both over-achievers and found ourselves in serious trouble before we realized that while we love each other dearly, we had inadvertently let our work schedules take over our lives, and had evolved from husband and wife into roommates and business partners. That was one of the problems that led to me doing the research to write "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and one of the first problems that I put to the test group to solve.

It turned out they all had it to some degree, either with spending all their time with their jobs or their kids, and for most, just scheduling one date and one lunch per week was enough to keep them close and engaged while continuing to get things more under control, and all of them found that once the schedule was made and acknowledged, it was very easy to keep to their commitments as long as they were smart about scheduling the time, avoiding times that were common for meetings, times that were in the middle of project start-ups, times that were during peak customer flow or when they knew they would have problems getting a sitter, etc., and they always secured a sitter before planning the date – “We need a couple hours some evening this week; when would be good for you?” was the question. And when the sitter gave them a date, it was set in stone, and only an event that produced fever or lots of blood was a good excuse for breaking the babysitting engagement and spoiling the date.

This isn’t as hard as what it may sound. An hour or two per week isn’t going to make that big a difference in your business, if any, and it will make a world of difference in your life together. Just realize that you’re together for the long haul, and you should therefore try to give each other the best part of your day instead of what’s left over after everybody and everything else has worn you out all day. Get up early and enjoy morning sex, breakfast, a sunrise, etc., before the kids get up, for instance.

When you do schedule an evening date, try to keep your day-time schedule a little lighter than other days to make sure you aren’t too tired to enjoy the time together, and never let yourself think that you are too tired to enjoy some time together without at least trying it. You’d be surprised how rejuvenating a little intimate, playful time together can be, because it gets your adrenaline pumping. Sometimes a long day doesn’t create so much fatigue as it does simple frustration and depression, and some time together in celebration of a job well done and a rough workday brought to a close can be the best pick-me-up of all.

And if you’re really all that tired and need some low-energy together time, while it would be better if you talked so you could connect more deeply, at least pile up together on the couch with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or anything that can be shared, sit close, clink the bottles or glasses in a toast, and just be still and relax together. No, it’s not steamy sex on a yacht or hiking in the Andes or some deep emotional discussion, but when you’re that tired at the end of a long day of over-achieving, even that quiet, mindless time spent in the intimate ritual of sharing food and entertainment is better than just crashing and forgetting about it. Do whatever you are able to do to indulge in what husbands and wives enjoy doing together.

Give this a try, and let me know if I can be of further help. You can do this.

Take care, and keep in touch!
David


A lot of couples make this mistake. They try to find time instead of making time, not realizing that when your life is in overdrive, even small amounts of time scattered through the week can make a huge difference in keeping your relationship on track, and if a couple hours a week is going to make the difference between your business folding or succeeding or the difference in you being able or unable to pay your household bills, you’ve got bigger problems than you realize and need to be finding some professional help. It’s like arguing over a nickel at the cash register; if that nickel is going to break either you or the vendor, you’re already broke.

Make the time for what’s important, and get your priorities straight. You will most likely outlive your career, your parents, and your friendships by a very long time, and while you may not outlive your children, they will be moving out of your house somewhere around age 20 and you won’t be seeing that much of them after they are gone. Your partner, on the other hand, is supposed to be with you for life, right? Common sense should tell you that your partner should therefore be your first priority, and if they are not, then you need to stop and figure out whether your priorities are wrong or you’re with the wrong partner.

Finding a new job, making new friends, or even making new babies is relatively easy compared to finding a true life partner and soul mate, and if you’ve found one and lose them, that lengthens the odds of finding another somewhat, does it not? Look at your life, and get your priorities in order, and then do whatever it takes to support those priorities. Yes, it’s really that simple.

When it comes to your partner, Gentlemen, doing what it takes to keep her happy and striving to nurture and excite you is a simple matter of communications and manliness, something you aren’t taught in school, and have no hope of learning from watching television unless you’re able to home in on that tiny percentage of programming that shows men and women being men and women, and not this homogenized New Age mess of political correctness and utter wussification and victim mentality that seems to be swallowing the world.

For a tested and proven, tutorial and definitive reference on “keeping mama happy so she keeps everybody happy,” go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage." I’d also STRONGLY suggest you join our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, and take advantage of the friendships and mentoring that await you there.

Do it now, too. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Life’s too short to let it pass under-lived and unenjoyed, and as anybody who has ever used it will tell you, this book is “the hook-up” you’ve been looking for.

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

Is Your Intimate Behavior Killing Your Relationship or Marriage?

When people are together long enough to get comfortable they start doing things exclusive to their relationship, like “baby talk” and wearing sloppy or goofy-looking clothes, that might be immediately cute or novel to them, but can kill attraction deader than a rock. Sometimes they get so comfortable with it in private that they give the rest of us a dose of it, too! (Yeah, YUCK! is right!) Look for signs of this in your relationship.

I had a visit from a couple of friends, Bill and Cheryl. It was a study in “what not to do” as they say. They’ve been married for about twenty-six years, and acted SO married it almost seemed scripted to watch them. They finished each other’s sentences, ate from each other’s plates, talked “baby talk” to each other (gag!!!), and were about the shabbiest dressed wealthy couple I’ve seen in a long time.

She was in an oversized men’s sweat suit (despite the 90°+ F. / 32°+ C. weather) because it was “comfortable” and wearing no makeup. He was wearing baggy cargo shorts, an over-sized graphic T-shirt, and sandals (accentuating his bow-leggedness, very knobby knees, and extremely large feet sitting below his rather robust torso, a left-over from his college days as a football player, and bird legs, giving him the look of some sort of cantilevered rock formation found in the deserts of the American Southwest).

Eventually she excused herself to the powder room, and I asked him how things were going, ready to bet the farm that they were comfortable and bored stiff; I would have won the bet. They had started out very into each other, having a lot of fun together, and things had cooled off quickly not long after their marriage.

They had joined that large group of couples in long-term relationships that sleep together every two months – yes, that’s a sad but true statistic, at least in North America. Adult couples in mature married relationships (two years or longer) average six sexual encounters per year. Sad, isn’t it?

These two were a textbook example of what happens when two people get too comfortable with each other. Take a close look at what they were doing. Is there anything whatsoever sexually exciting in hearing your partner talk like they are addressing a baby? Or like they are one? Not unless you’re a pedophile. “Sweet” as the girls say, maybe, but no way it’s sexy.

As for the floursack-esque, nearly homeless-looking attire, she might as well have been in an over-sized bathrobe with curlers in her hair and a cigarette dangling from a toothless mouth, and he might as well have been holding up a sign that said “will work for food” and looking like he hadn’t bathed in a month or two, except maybe in a bottle of cheap wine. Just makes you want to snuggle right up to one of them, doesn’t it? It's a shame, because properly dressed and groomed, they're a strikingly good-looking couple.

I also noticed that as they talked, if they weren’t doing the “baby talk,” they acted a lot more like girlfriends than husband and wife, especially the business with finishing each other’s sentences and reaching over to touch each other every time they started a sentence. Now, Bill is anything but effeminate, and when he spoke to me it was very “mano-a-mano,” and I found myself staring at him as he switched modes every time he switched between talking to me and his wife.

Don’t let this happen to you! A man and woman should communicate, freely and openly, but not in a way that kills their attraction for each other. They should be comfortable around each other, but not in ways that make you dull, sloppy, uninteresting, or project an extreme lack of self-respect.

Your partner should be the most important person in your life (other than yourself – holding your spouse as more important than yourself makes for a good romance novel, but makes for a disaster in real life) if you have a great relationship, and as such, they deserve the best in you, not the worst, the most interesting, not the most mundane. That’s how life-long love relationships are enjoyed, by keeping in mind that all other relationships are likely to be transient, and are therefore less important than this one.

Many people would shrink back in indignation or jump on a stump and start preaching at the mere suggestion that your partner be more important than even your children, and I’m not going to debate that subject with anyone; however, I will ask you to at least take a logical – yes, entirely unemotional -- look at it for a minute.

Your children come along, and you live with them day after day for eighteen years, plus or minus a year or two. Then they’re gone except for weekly visits if you’re lucky, if you are the average parent. Your partner, if you manage your relationship properly, was there before the kids, and will be there long after the kids have gone, day after day after day, “until death do us part,” right? You don’t want your adult children living with you, but you want your spouse living with you for the rest of your life, at least if you have a good marriage.

So logically, who is more important to your life’s happiness, someone who by definition (early death notwithstanding) will stick around for 18 years and be gone, or somebody who (again, early death notwithstanding) could be with you day after day for 50 years or more, if you give them a good reason to stay, like loving them, being interesting and fun to be around, sharing their values and celebrating their achievements with them? Pretty obvious, huh?

Obvious or not, and whether you accept it or not, real-world experiences bear it out. Marriage and parenthood are diametrically opposed, and if you do not find a healthy balance point between them, one or both of them will suffer as a result. Men will probably be comfortable with this much more readily than women because of (as usual) biological factors, but everyone should think about it and come to grips with it as self-evident truth, because it helps you to at least appreciate the full significance of a commitment to a life-long relationship.

(And for any of you women who are right now thinking, “How dare he? My kids are going to come first and he can just get over it!” get this: if you make your husband take a back seat to your children or anything else, you give up your right to be upset, hurt, mad, or anything else when he chooses to let you take a back seat to something. Double standards and hypocrisy don’t work any better in relationships and marriage than they do anywhere else, so get some perspective before you make a choice that the whole family will ultimately suffer over. Put your marriage first if you want it to last a lifetime, or accept responsibility for spending your retirement years alone after alienating your husband by treating him like a second-class citizen.)

This doesn’t have to happen to you. It’s your choice, and it doesn’t take much effort at all. Basic awareness of the potential causes of the problem and choosing to do something other than commit one of those causes is really about all there is to it. Baby talk, men acting like girlfriends instead of men, and dressing yourself and acting in a way that does not project self-respect are only a few of the ways in which you can kill attraction dead, and knowledge is power!

Know what kills attraction, and what creates it, and use that knowledge to make one of those relationships that has you happy to be together for fifty or more years! (You wouldn’t believe the things people buy you for your fiftieth anniversary! Just kidding…) I put that knowledge together for you in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” It’s there, tested, working and guaranteed. All you have to do is go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download it, and then USE IT. If you run into something that doesn’t quite seem right, join us on the forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and discuss it until it works for you. It’s just that easy, and life is just that short that you don’t want to spend it being part of some miserable statistic.

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

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Be Tough to Have a Great Relationship or Marriage

Sometimes a woman quite literally NEEDS you to get a little tough with her. How do you recognize this, and how do you get tough without being abusive? Think “leadership”…

Yesterday was a really odd day. Everyone I know was having what you would call an “off day” of one kind or another. Allergies, summer colds, arthritis, lousy weather, vendor incompetence, boss incompetence, employee incompetence, customer incompetence, bad food, bad service, monthly cycle – you name it, somebody was going through it. The oddest thing was what happened with one of my best friends, Daphne.

We met nearly 20 years ago, and when we did, she was a mess. Totally submissive, living for the approval of others, and living under the thumb of a wimpy, manipulative, predatory, wife-beating husband and a highly-controlling and manipulative mother. She asked me one day fairly early in our friendship how I had come to be so tough and independent, and how I could live being self-confident and caring absolutely nothing about what others thought of me. I steered her to some targeted reading, especially some of Ayn Rand’s most excellent work, and we talked about different problems and how to solve them.

She became fiercely independent, ultimately “wearing the pants in the family” (not a surprise at all given her husband’s nature; bullies always capitulate when you call their bluff) and presenting such a strong image to her mother that her mother went from being dominating and manipulative to seeking Daphne’s approval at every turn because she was intimidated by Daphne’s independence. She’s held the line ever since…that is, until yesterday.

There had been a lot of turmoil over the weekend, including a funeral, a couple of family problems, a severe migraine, etc., and by Monday morning she was so mentally fatigued and her testosterone so depleted (it balances the creative and emotionally-driving effects of estrogen, and too much influence from estrogen makes women – and men – uncharacteristically – or more, for some of them -- erratic, unstable, and agitated, a medical condition known as “estrogen dominance”) that her self-esteem became challenged, and she suddenly started acting like she had when we first met, very dramatic, needy, approval-seeking, etc. As the day wore on, it was getting worse instead of better.

To finish putting this in perspective, Daphne is one of the brightest women I know, with an IQ of around 130-140, very emotionally aware, and extremely competent at self-evaluation. She’s one of the top women on the support staff who helped with the development of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and who continue to respond to surveys, questions, reader dilemmas, etc., with useful insight because she can “step in and out of herself” at will and remain entirely objective through the whole thing, which is very unusual among women, who tend to get wrapped up in the emotion of an experience and don’t want to quickly shut it down and analyze it, even when it would be to their extreme benefit to do so.

Do you have the picture now? A smart, fiercely independent woman who is quite adept at side-stepping her own emotions to rationally examine them has reverted to behavior not exhibited in nearly two decades, and as the day wore on, as I tried to point out what was happening, it got worse instead of better. I knew what was coming when she said, “I just feel like I need a good cry.” Why?

She’d been to a funeral, a sad event that jerks tears from most people, and yet she needed a good cry? Danger Will Robinson! Danger! That’s a dependable sign of MAJOR emotional energy build-up looking for an outlet; “needing a good cry” is bad enough, but when a woman has been to a tear-jerking event like a funeral and still “needs a good cry,” well, where I grew up they would say something like, “You ain’t seen trouble yet, but it’s comin’!” Emotional energy is like any other kind of mental energy. Thought is the result of chemical reactions in the brain causing electrical impulses at the nerve synapses. This tells you what?

That the stress of all the emotion from the weekend had put her brain chemistry out of balance. Some women have more of a problem with this than others, but the symptoms are the same; they get weaker and more clingy, then needy, then irritable, and finally they sound like they’re spoiling for a fight, and you can hear the stress and anger start building in their voice looking for an outlet. The big question is “what do you do?”

First, you have to avoid the urge to let her engage you in a fight. If you can spot the “I just need a good cry” stage, suggest to her that she sit down for a chick-flick, and invite a girlfriend over to share it with her if she doesn’t want to be alone, not because you don’t care, but because it would be bad for both of you if you step into the “girlfriend role,” even temporarily. If she can “bleed off” during the chick flick, she’ll be fine. But you can’t always catch her in that state because she may pass through it and be in bad shape while you are apart, such as while one or both of you are at work. If that happens, you’re going to have to deal with it; there’s no escaping it, at least not without extreme risk.

If she gets bad enough to need a fight to bleed off, she’ll say something to put you on the defensive and then jump to get you to jump back; a big clue that this is about to happen is that whatever she seems to be upset about would normally be something trivial, or is even something that she obviously contrived, albeit involuntarily. It’s chemistry, and until you’ve been driven by something like this, it’s hard to understand or identify with it, but a woman will have very little to no choice about starting a fight once they reach this point. (Chick flick, anyone?)

Giving her a good fight will reset her brain chemistry, but it will also create a lot of embarrassment, hard feelings, scars and other aftermath that neither of you really want to deal with, and while she might be able to dismiss the things she says to you, even knowing that she’s in an involuntary predicament due to a chemically-altered state, you may never forgive or forget them, as she may never forgive or forget the things you say to her in response to what she said to you SPECIFICALLY TO PROVOKE THE ALTERCATION. We’ve all seen how things, once said, cannot really ever be taken back, no matter how much they weren’t really meant at the time. You need a confrontation, but not a fight. How do you do that?

Remember the many times I’ve mentioned leadership as a biological trigger for attraction? The chemical balance in the brain is a biological matter. When she finally had things built up to try to start the fight and made a snide remark to try to provoke me, I took a stern tone that she had probably never heard me use before, and said, “Just hold it! You are not going there with me!”

That’s leadership (decision-making), and authority (establishing a boundary), but it’s also a confrontation (denying her the fight and doing so in a stern tone). I thought for a second she had dropped the phone until I heard her breathe, and then continued, “This is not about me and you, or even me or you separately. It’s about all the emotional turmoil that you went through over the last few days, and you’re looking for a fight to sort it all out. There’s a better way to handle this.”

I went on to explain what had happened, maintaining the stern tone of a friend who is verbally roughing up another friend for doing something silly, and gradually softening it as I proceeded over the next couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes of silence as she took it all in, she interrupted me in mid-sentence with, “Oh my God! I’ve been doing this all day, haven’t I?”

It was like hearing somebody come out of a daze, and Gentlemen, you MUST understand this, for many women, it really is like coming out of a daze. When they get off balance like that, they are truly in an altered mental state, and may not even remember some things that happen or have an accurate sense of the passage of time. This does not in any way make them inferior, weak, flakey, or insane, any other kind of sexist nonsense. It’s just the way they are, and something that we have to be aware of and work around – NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE OVER -- if we are going to have a long-term relationship with them. It comes with the package, and you can help them though it or be made miserable by it. A pretty obvious choice, huh?

Eventually, after talking for a few minutes (and Daphne making several apologies and sounding very embarrassed), we got back to the point in a prior discussion about her saying that she felt like she just needed a good cry. Sometime before we spoke today, she watched some old sad movie, had a good cry, and was herself when I called this morning to share a reader e-mail with her. This brings up the other VERY important point…

When women say they “need a good cry,” they’re not being prissy little wuss-bags. They know that they are off-balance, and have learned over time that it’s going to take some kind of extreme emotional event that is sustained for a fairly long time (as emotional events go) to get things back in balance. It is VERY difficult to create a positive event that can create this intensity and duration of emotion, so they usually use something negative but inert, like a sad movie, to get them started and keep them going, and by the time the movie is over, they’re bled out, stabilized, and generally okay. Are you with me here?

Women don’t like sad movies because they enjoy being sad, they like sad movies because they provide a needed emotional rush and release that rids them of negative energy and sets their body chemistry right without having to engage us in a fight and damage our relationships. A woman’s life is mostly about managing her relationships, thanks to her brain structure and chemistry that give her the signature social nature of womankind, and they really do try to protect their relationships a lot more than many men. Hence, when your partner wants to watch a sad movie, don’t interfere. You don’t have to sit there through the whole thing, and again, should have her invite a girlfriend over to watch it with her, but…

If there is no girlfriend available or she doesn’t want to do that, you don’t want to be cast in the role of girlfriend because it kills attraction over time. Tell her that you don’t like sad movies and don’t play well in the role of girlfriend, and that you’ll be in another room, but if she gets upset and wants to be held a bit you’ll be happy to “pop in” for a few minutes if she asks. Being a strong shoulder to cry on is a far cry from being a girlfriend sharing in a drama festival. Crying at chick-flicks was part of the bad advice in the 1980’s that got us into this mess, so don’t go there, ever. You will indeed be very uncomfortable in the girlfriend role if you have an ounce of masculinity in you, and you’ll kill attraction and respect in her. There’s just no upside for either of you if you try to substitute for a girlfriend for even a minute.

If you do have to spend a few minutes with her while she watches, monitor her as she does, and if you notice tears starting to form sit down with her for a bit and snuggle her up, then a few minutes after the scene changes and she’s dried up for a few minutes excuse yourself for a bit. She doesn’t need a baby sitter, but it will feel good to have you there holding her when the tears come, and it will be endearing to her to have you tolerate a few minutes of that movie to help her get through it. Don’t feed into it, or egg her on, or start crying yourself. Just sit still, pull her close, and do whatever you do when she doesn’t feel good and you snuggle her up, such as hair-stroking, nuzzling, etc.

Incidentally, this is NOT the time to try to make sexual advances, but if she does, even subtly by holding a kiss longer or advancing from a “love” kiss to an aroused kiss, go with it if you can regularly bring her to orgasm, because that will release energy and reset chemistry just like a good cry for most women, according to those who have answered my surveys. If you can't, adding frustration to what's already bothering her is likely a pretty bad idea.

If she has difficulty with orgasm, or if you just don’t know how to get her there, I can point you to some helpful resources (just e-mail me at support@makingherhappy.com, visit our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com, where our women can be most helpful, or follow any of the reader-recommended links at the bottom of this newsletter), and I’d STRONGLY suggest you avail yourself of them, because no matter how much either of you try to downplay the issue, if she suddenly discovers that somebody else can while you can’t, or even suspects that somebody else can when you seldom or never have, you will have one of the worst of all problems on your hands: a bored wife in whom someone else has created attraction. Attraction is like a foot race, whoever gets there first wins.

Women are like us in a lot of ways, but in the ways they differ from us lie the potential for a lot of misunderstanding and lack of appreciation, not to mention good old-fashioned BIG trouble. They try to tell us what they need, but one of those differences is how they communicate with us, which really throws a wrench in the works. But, there’s help if you’re smart enough to know that you need it and man enough to accept it…

I brought a group of nearly 200 women together to find out what they want from men and life, and then worked with the 118 couples made up of the “attached” women in the first group with their men (about one-third of them were unmarried or divorced) and worked them over nine ways from Sunday to find out what went right and wrong in relationships, how men and women differed, how to communicate with them, and how to make or break that wonderful feeling of attraction, that emotion that women so desperately crave and which truly brings out the best in them when they feel it, so much so that they will literally kill to protect that feeling.

That research was compiled into my e-book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," which was given back to the couples for testing and fine tuning, and all of them, as well as everyone who has bought it since (unless somebody has failed to complain and get a refund when they felt like it, and can you imagine that happening today???) has improved their life and/or relationship, and I have more unsolicited testimonials to that effect than you could ever imagine. Some relationships can’t be improved because they never should have been formed in the first place, and this book helps you to identify and exit them peacefully as well. And the best news of all is…

That you can have it now! It’s an instant download at http://www.makingherhappy.com, 118 pages in PDF format, single-spaced and optimized for printing on standard letter-size paper, so you can read it on your screen or carry it with you and read it on the train, plane, or your favorite easy chair – YOUR CHOICE. Just choose! Go for it now, so you can start replacing boredom, frustration, and fights with happy times and a higher standard of living and self-esteem, because life is too short to spend it just wondering why things aren’t going so well when they could be going great!

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