Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cheating in Relationships and Marriage, Part 1: a Symptom, Not a Problem

Part 1 of a 3-part series: Many people think that cheating in a relationship is a major problem. It is in fact NOT a problem at all, but a SYMPTOM of a real and much bigger problem. Fix the problem and the cheating goes away, at least as long as the problem doesn’t come back. The questions are “What’s the problem?” and “How do I fix it?” I will answer both…

I’ve had more than the usual number of e-mails in the last couple of weeks asking about detecting and dealing with affairs, as well as casual “cheating,” in sexual and other forms. Indeed, one of the largest and most involved discussions on our forum (http://forum.makingherhappy.com/) is that of the affairs that usually accompany mid-life crisis, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the relationship, and you really should join us and cover that material so you can be prepared to spot the symptoms developing if it should happen in your household.

Cheating and affairs are one of the hardest aspects of troubled relationships for people to deal with, regardless of their personality or mindset. It’s time we go through a series of lessons on how to detect, understand, and stop affairs and cheating, and we start today.

I have some readers who really, really make me proud to have them onboard. I’m proud to have anyone onboard who has the sense to realize they have a problem and the guts to look for an answer, but in addition to that, there are a few of you who don’t just blindly grab whatever is said and follow instructions like some sort of robot. Instead, these special people take my lessons and advice and think about them, and abstract from them other lessons, some which are parallel, other which are advanced concepts from the basic points I provide, and it’s always delightful when I receive one of them.

For example, ponder this question that came in response to the “What Do You Do When You Know She’s Cheating?” article which we will revisit tomorrow as part of this series:

“Is it cheating when she spends hours every day talking to people on the Internet rather than talking to her husband? It sure feels like it.”

This guy gets a big “high five” for seeing past the end of his nose and making the connection. Why?

It is a form of emotional abandonment, and that’s why it feels like cheating. She’s spending a disproportionate amount of time with other people and unavailable to you. However, this isn’t the problem; it’s only a symptom of the same problem that causes what we think of first when we think of “cheating,” an affair.

She’s bored because he is no longer tripping those biological triggers that make her feel attraction for him and make her want to spend that time with him having fun and getting that “swept off her feet” feeling. There’s no longer anything interesting or fun about talking or being with him. The only difference is that for some reason, whether her value system, opportunity, or whatever, she’s seeking intimacy and/or adrenaline rushes in e-mail, a chat room, or on the telephone, or being absorbed in some form of hobby or volunteer work that gives her a reason to be around other people where she thinks she has a better chance of escaping he boredom instead of being caught up in a sexual affair.

This doesn’t mean that she is or is not vulnerable to and/or looking for an affair, or that there is anything wrong with having a hobby, but it does mean that if she is spending a lot of time away from her husband and sees nothing attractive about him, she is vulnerable to an affair, whether she wants it or not. And make no mistake; the answer is NOT to start hammering on her trying to control her time like a dictator or to start whining like a wuss that she spends time with everybody but you. And for crying out loud, DON’T start telling her how much you NEED her. That’s the kiss of death. The dictatorial route might be VERY TEMPORARILY effective, but if it is, it will be VERY short-lived. The correct answer?

He needs to trip her attraction triggers and get on the same wavelength with her in communications so that she’ll be focused more on talking to him and having fun with him and much less (if any at all – some women need more social connectivity than others no matter what is going on at home) on chat room companions or phone buddies. Of all the women in my test panel, every one of them admitted to spending too much time on the phone and in chat rooms before their husbands started applying what they learned from my book, and all found themselves not even being tempted when their husbands got back on track. Indeed, they freely admitted that their time spent outside of their marriage felt like they were “settling for less” in the absence of the man they thought they married.

Her primary reason for being in the chat rooms for inordinately long periods is to combat that terrible boredom that grips women when their man isn’t creating enough attraction for them, which is good news for him, because it means he certainly can fix it, UNLESS SOMEBODY IN A CHAT ROOM HAS CREATED ATTRACTION ALREADY, in which case he will have to compete with the new guy and while not impossible, it is VERY difficult to catch up.

Women will focus on sources of attraction and protect them, even from family and friends. I cannot overstress this. But as I’ve told you before if you’ve been with me for a while, because the chat rooms, excessive phone use, and affairs, both emotional and purely sexual, are all symptoms of the same problem, BOREDOM, solving that problem eliminates ALL of the symptoms that are or may become present.

And yes, she probably did try to tell him about it at some time in the past, but he couldn’t hear her. When she said, “Do you think everything’s okay with us?” he had no idea that she was in fact making the statement, “I have a problem with what’s going on between us and want you to talk with me about it.” He just said, “Yes, it’s fine,” and she thought, “Well you insensitive jerk! Well, if you don’t want to talk to me, I can sure find somebody who does!” Questions are statements and statements are questions; men state, while women negotiate (see my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/144-Free-Reports! or my book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” for more on this).

Let me be perfectly clear on something here, spending a few minutes a few times a week to check in on friends by phone, e-mail, instant messaging or in chat rooms is not cause for alarm; even a little while each day is not excessive. Women are social creatures and if they become cut off from the rest of the world, as is common in new relationships and with young children, she will find a way to maintain a social circle, no matter what.

HOWEVER, if the majority of the day that she has available to spend with you is spent avoiding you and seeking the company of others, it’s a problem, and no different than if she’s disappearing every evening to socialize or even have sex with someone else. Luckily, it’s a problem you can fix, and if you haven’t let it run on to the point that she’s done with you (which WILL happen if some other man creates attraction for her – it’s a double-edged sword, and a powerful one!), she’ll be more than willing to let you -- or even help you – to fix it.

There are exceptions, as always, starting with the chronic/serial cheater who has so little self-esteem that they are constantly seeking approval from any and all available sources and will commit any feat of self-destruction and take any risk to get it. There are also psychopaths and sociopaths, parasites and predators who seek opportunity at any cost, and it doesn’t matter how much you give them, nothing is enough. But don’t be alarmed…

There are some very important things about these people that you can recognize and some more that you must know. First, there is a common thread running through all of them that you can easily spot: feelings of scarcity and an entitlement mentality. They feel it is their right to cheat, and they will get very angry with anyone who would even suggest otherwise. And that sense of entitlement permeates everything they do; you’ll see a lot of situations where they are expecting you to do something for their benefit when there is nothing in it for you, and will often use guilt to make it happen.

What you must know about these people, all of them, is that they are almost always unsalvageable. The mental and emotional defects or damage that make them like this is beyond anything you can help. They don’t WANT to change. They want the rest of the world to suit them. Even those with abysmal self-esteem will often prefer to keep seeking self-esteem through the approval of others rather than its one authentic source, personal achievement, because it is far easier to flirt and drum up anything from a smile to an affair than it is to work and achieve something – they feel entitled to the easy way out.

So should you identify your spouse as one of these people, you may make an effort to wake them up and get them to step up and be a worthy spouse and deserving part of your family, but if they do not do it, DO NOT get it in your head that this is because there is something WRONG WITH YOU. You have made a mistake, but they, their attitude, and their choices are the problem, not YOU, because they have gone somewhere besides you for resolution.

If you get your own self-esteem up to a comfortable level, start enjoying your life, having fun and being fun to be around and she still insists that affairs are necessary, point out that self-esteem repair did wonders for you and could do wonders for them. And if they reject that most self-evident of truths, cut them loose, else they will suck you dry and leave you in a heap while they continue to bounce from jugular to jugular, feeding on the lives and resources of others looking for something that will make them feel good about themselves but requires no effort, no commitment, or anything else on their part. Luckily for the human race, such women – and such men – are a minority, and easily spotted once you know what to look for.

Most women are not hard to live with, but it can sure seem like they are when you don’t understand them and can’t comprehend their needs, which in turn seem complex, but are in fact extremely simple, no matter how dramatic or complex they make it seem. You know from your life’s experience that most things that seem mysterious and complex when you know too little about them are ridiculously simple when you learn what you need to know.

What’s more, when you start understanding women better and communicating better with them, they respond with nurturing, loyalty, and intimacy on a level you cannot imagine until you’ve seen it. This is because of a biological drive to respond on an unconscious level and because they consciously know they’ve got a “one-in-a-million man,” one that every woman dreams of having and few ever find. Keep repeating that: “Biological, not logical…biological, not logical…” It’s not a choice, it’s a million year old biological program. So…

If you want to be the happiest man alive, do whatever gives you a sense of purpose so your own self-esteem is healthy, and learn the simple things you need to know about her and communicating with her, put that knowledge to use, and nature will take its course; making her happy will make you happy every time. It seems like forbidden knowledge; Sigmund Freud, the great psychologist, is famous for saying, “The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, "What does a woman want?

Well, I didn’t figure it out either, at least not without some help. I asked a bunch of women, nearly 200 of them, and made them prove to me that what they told me was accurate by putting it in the hands of their own husbands and boyfriends and checking the results. We refined it, retested it, and it is indeed accurate, and is working for everybody who is using it. Unlike everybody else in this business, I don’t get refund requests; I get questions and testimonials.

So now it’s your turn to know what happy men know and most men will never know. This seemingly “forbidden” knowledge awaits you at http://www.makingherhappy.com/ in an instantly-downloadable and easy-to-read e-book (on screen or on paper!) called “"THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s fully guaranteed to work for you, so now you have a choice: you can let things ride and continue to gradually decay, or you can choose to take charge and make things better than you’d ever hoped they could be. Choose well, because she’s watching…

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

Friday, September 09, 2011

Lying, Part 3: Lie Detection, a VERY Useful Skill in Relationships and Marriage

Part of determining whether you should attempt to reverse a break-up is determining whether you can trust your partner. Knowing how to detect a lie is a VERY useful skill, even when everyone is truthful!

No discussion of lying in a relationship would be complete without a discussion of lie detection, especially for men, because women are naturally more adept at both lying and its detection than we are; their brain structure makes them more sensitive to “tells” (and are VERY dangerous poker players if they have math skills!) and more creative. It could in fact take years with a woman to determine how her character dictates whether, when, and for what reasons she will lie to you, but chances are that if you are lying to her, you’re already busted whether you know it or not, so let’s level the playing field a bit.

And, by the way, I’m not talking about “leveling the playing field” in the context of helping you to lie, but in determining whether you’re being lied to. Nor am I saying that every woman is a liar and is lying to you; I’m saying that due to brain structure – higher creativity and more advanced communications infrastructure – they are capable of being far better at it than we are. That’s especially dangerous to a “nice guy,” who’s already too eager to excuse his own abuse.

Speaking of which, there was a testimonial left at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, over the course of several days, describing not only the recovery of a nice guy, but how it just about literally killed him. He (David, “Think-First” on the forum) also points out how being a “nice guy” is actually an insulting disservice to the people around you, some of the more profound writing I’ve seen in some time. I highly recommend you join us and check it out at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/123-Recovering-White-Knight. Everything is still full access, free of charge, so get it while it’s hot.

The following is from an article I first published as part of my crash course in stopping and reversing a break-up now, my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report, which you can download at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/144-Free-Reports! I’m reprinting it today both because it gets the job done and because my subscriber list doubles every few months, and many of you have not yet taken advantage of the very valuable information in either of the free reports linked there. I strongly suggest that all of you read those two free reports thoroughly; they contain more solid, proven information than a lot of authors’ for-fee products, and they can help you to avoid many of the potential disasters that can befall a relationship as well as start you on the road to recovery if you’re having problems.

Now let’s get into the meat of today’s lesson:

Lie detection is a necessary survival skill in all facets of your life, because unfortunately, there are those who think that lying is a survival skill. It’s not. The truth always ends up coming out, and then on top of whatever mistake you’ve made, you’ve destroyed trust. At best, it's a tactic for stalling the inevitable. The only people who get away with lying in the long term are those who spend their life on the run, bouncing from place to place, customer to customer, acquaintance to acquaintance, and not staying anywhere long enough for anyone to catch them in a lie before they’ve left. That’s not going to work in a long-term relationship, is it?

Gentlemen, the deck is stacked against you from the beginning with regard to lying, because women are better at both doing it and detecting it than men. Both of those advantages come from their more highly-evolved communications infrastructure and skills (as compared to our own). However, since you shouldn’t be lying anyway (statistically, women will tolerate just about anything before they will tolerate a liar, even if they are chronically “factually challenged” themselves), you need only concern yourself with how to detect if and when she is lying.

Making you an expert on the subject would require an entire book, and we only have the space of this article to work within, so I’m going to “hit the highlights for you to show you how easy it is if you have good information and then point you to some other very good information which, incidentally, I am not selling. (I am developing a primer on lie detection to include as a free report with my other e-books, and anyone who has read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at the time of its release will be receiving a free copy if I have your current e-mail address on file.)

First, everyone has heard about how body language can be used to detect lies. That’s true, yet not true. There are many body language clues that indicate both that a person is lying and that they are very nervous about telling an unpleasant truth. When attempting to determine if someone is lying, you must watch for several different indicators and make sure they are all consistently pointing in the same direction.

A person who exhibits a single indication of lying may indeed only be nervous about the truth, have an itchy nose, be trying to cover bad breath, etc., but when the signs start stacking up and you see multiple signs that someone is lying, the statistical probability that they are telling the truth becomes such a long-shot that a penny placed on that bet would win you roughly the sum of the world’s oil and coffee trade for a day – literally trillions-to-one. So where do you start?

Let’s start with the eyes. The eyes move when the brain does certain things. When a right-handed person attempts to access short-term memory, their eyes will move up and to the left, whereas if they are lying, which engages a creative center in the brain, they go up and to the right. Oddly, this is reversed in left-handed people. A big clue as to whether someone is right- or left-handed (if you don’t know them well enough to know) is to look for their wristwatch or wedding band, which will be on the opposite hand, if you can’t get them to write something down for you. (Ask for their phone number, and if they try to hand you a business card, get them to write something on the back like their cellular phone number, business hours, secretary’s name – anything at all will do, just to see which hand wields the pen. In most cases, the hand that extends the card will suffice, but not all.)

The pupils tend to dilate when a person is lying. However, they also dilate when someone is taking some medications and herbal preparations, or when they are attracted to you or intensely intrigued by something you’re saying. So bearing in mind that you are looking for multiple signals, this signal is one to chalk up if you see their pupils suddenly dilate without a corresponding drop in ambient light and then return to normal size within a minute or so of the suspected lie. That sudden change is very dependable but not foolproof, so don’t jump to a conclusion without supporting evidence of other signals.

People also tend to become less animated when they are lying, clasping their hands or crossing their arms when you have observed them “talking with their hands” in most of the rest of the discussion. Liars will also tend to look away from you and even move away from you as they lie, a subconscious effort to try to distance themselves from an uncomfortable situation. Touching the nose and covering the mouth while speaking are classic body language signs, but as with dilating pupils, when you look at these, you’re looking for CHANGE in behavior, not so much the behavior itself. People do sometimes get an itchy nose, or realize they have bad breath or ugly teeth, or shift their posture because of an aching joint.

It’s because of this that you must realize that it takes several minutes of observing someone to make this determination, not just a quick jab with an incriminating question. You must see enough of how they act when they are speaking normally and truthfully (by getting them to talk about something non-threatening or non-incriminating) before bringing up the subject you think they lied about or before thinking they’ve lied about something they brought up with you. That’s the value of small-talk, something that most men are very, very poor at engaging in because we really just don’t like to talk that much; we prefer to take action. That’s another reason women have such an edge on us; they enjoy small talk and are very good at conducting it, especially in getting to the truth. However…

There are some techniques that can be combined with body language reading that nobody, not even experienced con-artists, can beat. They involve watching for hesitation in response to a question. Let’s say you think your partner was on a date with someone else, and you say that somebody she works with whose name you can’t remember stopped you in the grocery store to say hello and asked how you were getting along after the break-up, and mentioned that they assumed there had been a break-up since she was dating this other guy. If she is innocent, she will immediately protest, because she has no idea what you are talking about, but if she hesitates, it’s because she’s guilty and has to think and make a choice about whether it is safer in that moment to accept that she’s been caught or to try to deny it and try to bluff through. The hesitation before she speaks, not whatever she says, is what tells the tale. Responding by repeating your question back to you is also a hesitation, as it buys time to think.

Another good tactic is a diversionary one. You tell a partner that you know all about something they’ve been doing (that you really are only suspecting), and that you understand how and why it happened and are willing to let that go if they will promise that something lesser won’t be happening again, like hearing it from her friends instead of her. When she agrees to make the promise, which is easier than the confession, she has confessed to the transgression.

Even here, you can still take advantage of hesitation. A person with nothing to confess will immediately deny they did anything, and a person with something to confess looking for an easy way to do it will immediately make the promise or will pause while weighing their chances of getting away with another denial, the only reason for them to hesitate. I don’t care for this particular tactic because it requires lying to detect the lie, but my job is to instruct you, not judge you, and it is highly effective.

People also tend to objectify and generalize when they are lying. A person who really worked late will tell you that they worked until 10:30PM, while someone who is lying is much more prone to say they “worked really late.” Also, they will tend to say, “left MY office” if they were really there, as opposed to, “left THE office” if they were not. Again, this must be weighed with other indicators, as the use of these pronouns can vary because of personality, level of detail-orientation, etc. It’s the change from using words like “my” to words like “the” or the change from speaking actively, like “I did this,” to passively, like “this was done,” focusing on the event or act rather than on them that tells the tale.

There is a book by David Lieberman, PhD, called “Never Be Lied to Again,” that has been on the NY Times Best Seller list and is an excellent book if you really want to dig deep into this subject and become a true expert. I’ve also used a lot of the hand-held lie detection gadgets and computer software that do voice print analysis, but was not impressed; there were too many false positives and false negatives for me to see them as useful tools at the time (the manufacturers’ reports of their own tests indicated that they were proud of numbers like 62% accuracy, which is only 12% better than half the time, so a coin toss would be only slightly less accurate!). Over time, you can expect these products to increase in accuracy, just as voice recognition software that lets you give input to your computer has improved, but it may not happen until most of us are too old to care.

Communications is a tough subject, even when everyone is telling the truth. There are good and bad ways to ask questions of women, good and bad ways to start conversations, and good and bad ways to end them as well. When you’re already in a stressful situation like a fight or after a break-up, the last thing you want to do is trip over some protocol or miscue that you don’t know about and end up with your foot in your mouth and your signature on divorce papers because of it. Let me help you with that…

Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" right now, and get with the program. If your relationship is not in crisis, it will show you exactly how to not only keep it from getting there, but how to make it better. If you are in crisis, it will show you how to determine whether you should indeed reverse it or let it go, and if it is a relationship that you should save, it will show you what to do to quickly get things on stable footing and get everyone in a state where they are receptive to working things out and making positive change.

If it shouldn’t be saved, you’ll learn how to turn your combative soon-to-be ex into a cooperative soon-to-be ex who may go so far as to set you up with dates after a non-contested divorce without using control, threats, tricks, or deceit. Seemingly far stranger things have happened to my readers…

I’m sure you’ve heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure;” this is about a pound of prevention and it’s worth several tons of cure, and it can be yours for less than the price of a good meal for two, so get it done – or would you prefer to be alone after shelling out that $34,000 that the average contested divorce costs in the U.S.??? I didn’t think so!

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

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Lying in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2, A Reader’s Confession About Lying Nearly Ending Her Marriage

A reader tells of her own experience with lying to the one she loves. It’s not pretty, and is a perfect example of what I warned you about in yesterday’s newsletter.

Yesterday’s newsletter on lying to your partner got some pretty predictable responses. If you missed it, see the archived article at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/843-Lying-in-Relationships-and-Marriage-Part-1-Faking-It-Until-You-Make-It because it’s one you will definitely want to read. Also, we’ve been talking about female mid-life crisis, among other things, on our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, and women in true mid-life crisis are compelled to tell themselves some horrible lies, so you’ll want to keep up with us on that subject too.

Those who don’t lie to their partners wrote in agreement, while the vast majority of those who do wrote in defense of their actions, saying ridiculous things like, “Good relationships are based on lies,” “It’s only a problem if you get caught,” etc. I feel sorry for those people, because they will never experience the wonderful feelings that real love, trust, loyalty and respect generate, which I’m glad to say that many of you, based on your responses, do seem to appreciate.

There was one letter in particular that I wanted to share with you, from a woman who got caught in a lie and almost destroyed her relationship with someone who seems to be a really good man. Meet Darla:

Dear David,

I wanted to share with you what really can happen when you tell a lie to the one you love. My story I guess is simple to many people, but it is hard for me to tell because I have to face something horrible to me. I come from a long line of people with addictive personalities. By addictive I mean to drugs and drinking. My mother was and is addicted to pain medication among other things and my brother has spent time in jail for his addictions. As for me I had started down the same road with prescription medications. Every day I thought I had to have one kind or the other, uppers in the morning and downers at night and had lived this way for a while. I was in a marriage that was the worst of nightmares and two kids who could care less if I were living or dead.

I met this wonderful man, one that loves me and God only knows how much I love him. He noticed right off I could have a problem if I did not control myself. We have had long talks about it and I really had made the choice to give up the drugs. I wanted to be with him and I wanted to love him and to be sober to enjoy what I had finally been given.

Yesterday morning I awoke with a migraine. I have them from time to time and it was bad enough for me to try a new medication my doctor had given me. I took the pill and a short time later he called me to say good morning and I was spaced out on the pills. He asked me about it and in a panic I lied to him and told him I had not taken any medication. It was the worst choice I have ever made. I should have been honest and told him what was going on, but I lied.

He was so upset by what I had done that he would not hardly talk to me and when he did I felt like the lowest life form on the planet, not because he was abusive or belittled me, but because he pointed out to me that there was nothing in our history that gave me a reason to lie to him, and I was mimicking my mother’s behavior, and we both knew that the idea of me turning into my mother was not going to work for either of us.

He has no problem with me taking a pain medication for pain, and has told me so on several occasions. It is just the issue of me abusing pain killers for things other than pain that he has a problem with. We did talk it over and after many tears on my part we decided that since I had not lied to him in the past that the migraine medication may have been responsible for my choice to lie this time, and he forgave me on the condition that I never lied to him again, especially about drug use.

I will never lie to him again ever, because no matter what you think you are getting away with you are not. If you want to lose the man of your dreams because you want to be a dumb ass then you deserve what happens to you. I’m just thankful that my John loves me enough to work it out with me not throw me and nine years away because I was worried about the truth where if I had just said to him I was not feeling well and had taken the pills and since it was the first time and I was not sure what they would do to me it could have been avoided.

What I am saying is tell the truth not matter what. It hurts worse to lie to the one you love and you are not a good person if you can lie to the one you claim you love in the first place. Thank you so much John for loving me and letting me still love you and you still love me.

Darla


My response:

Hi Darla,

That’s quite a confession; thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve studied people a lot over the years, and I’ve seen a few things that I’d like to point out here. Chemicals notwithstanding (a lot of medications can alter your personality, adherence to your value system, inhibitions, etc.), you would be hard-pressed to prove to me how anyone who truly loves and respects another could lie to them, especially to cover their own ass. That’s an act of cowardice and need, not of love and respect. If your partner is claiming to love you but lying to you frequently (or vice versa), you and they need to take a look at the meaning of love, need, attraction, etc. (see the article in my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report, which you can download at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/144-Free-Reports!), and get a fix on reality, because you’re not in it.

Another thing I’ve noticed, in my marriage, in the world around me and in the hundreds of couples who have been involved in the development, testing, and tweaking of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," is that there is nothing that two rational people who truly love and respect each other can’t discuss, no matter how bad it is. Of all the things that come together to make a good relationship work, unfettered, respectful, honest, and factual communication is the most important tool in the tool chest, because through it, all the other things are achieved.

Take care,
David


Do you know what kind of a relationship you’re in? Do you know if your partner really loves you, or if they’re just clinging on because they’re afraid to be alone? Do you communicate effectively across the gender gap? Has the honeymoon ended and left you as part of that ugly statistic wherein the average couple who has been together longer than two years has sex once every two months?

If you’ve become part of that statistic, it may seem like a problem, but you’ll soon see that it’s merely a symptom of a MUCH bigger problem. In any case, it’s logical to expect that you have or are anticipating at least one of these problems or you wouldn’t be spending the time to read these newsletters, so why keep putting off the solution?

Yes, what you need to know is in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s not going to get into your head where you can use it until you go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/, download it, and then read it. What you need to know is in there, laid out point by point and step by step, and people are using it every day to make their relationships better and better, some even snatching their marriage from the jaws of the divorce monster in as little as a week after receiving it. Do yourself and your partner a favor; get it and get busy, because life’s too short to spend it unhappy, bored, frustrated, scared, cheating, or celibate.

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Lying in Relationships and Marriage, Part 1, Faking It Until You Make It

Is lying to your partner ever a good attraction tactic? Is it ever good for anything in your relationship? Only if you’re a predator…

This lesson is the first part of a three-part series on the various aspects of deceit in a relationship, which will include, among other things, lie detection, so don't miss any part of it, even if you think everything is okay in your relationship! Reader comments indicate it is one of the most popular topics we discuss and the second most popular newsletter series I issue, and truth be told, I should probably turn it into a stand-alone report, so even if you’ve seen it before, read carefully and treat it as a “refresher course” if necessary.

By the way, there has been copious and candid discussion of various aspects of lying, such as faking it until you make it and lying to yourself about whether you have marital problems (a truly devastating self-deception) at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and you should join us and check it out. There’s nothing like seeing the impact a lie can have on you to make you a ruthless seeker of the truth.

I’ve been asked frequently about the tactic of “fake it ‘til you make it” when trying to revive stale relationship or rescue a failing one. We’ve not talked about it in several months (except on the forum, of course), and since many of you have commented (all comments are welcome and read) that you like it much better when we focus on a subject for a few days and thoroughly explore it, we’re going to focus on lying and deceit in general for a few days, such as detecting it, damage it can do that you may not expect, etc. Let’s dig in!

I recently read (for the fourth time) the scariest book I’ve ever found, with the possible exception of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” It’s entitled “The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right,” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, in an effort to find out why women do so many things that are bad for them and their relationships with men, and I don’t know if this book is “the root of all evil” in relationships and marriage, but while some of the advice it gives is sound and practical, especially on personal security for women, parts of it are pure poison, and there’s much for both genders to learn from it if you can filter the good advice from the bad.

Frankly, I’d recommend that every man read it to see what kind of tricks and ploys are used to pull a man into a bad relationship to help him know that either his partner is a great woman who didn’t prey upon his insecurities or that he got sucked in and is being manipulated so he can take appropriate action to safely exit with confidence. Make no mistake, there are good relationships with fixable problems, and there are bad relationships that need to be dissolved, and no matter which you’re in, you need to know EXACTLY what you’re in to take appropriate action. Your first responsibility is to yourself and your own happiness, and until you’ve met that responsibility, you might contribute to someone else’s needs or cause, but not their happiness.

“The Rules,” according to its authors, is based on advice that a woman gave her daughter a hundred years ago or more on how to catch and marry a man. At that time, marrying well was a survival skill because many women could not make it on their own due to social prejudices, etc. Being “in love” was a luxury; “finding support” was a prime motivator in finding a husband; being “cared about” took a back seat to being “provided for.” Hence, much of the advice given under “The Rules” is how to prey upon a man’s insecurities to make him jealous and over-react to her scarcity, marrying her in order to control her availability.

This will get the job done, if simply getting married and being kept is a woman’s goal, but at what cost? In short, turning him into an insecure, jealous wuss that no woman could possibly be attracted to because a woman won’t respect and can’t feel attraction (that “swept off her feet” feeling that is an integral part of female sexual arousal) for a man she can control. This is a sure-fire recipe for disaster (especially if you have a healthy libido!), as it is what creates that marriage in which the woman spends everything the man makes but has sex with the proverbial gardener or pool boy instead of her husband.

I’ll get into more of this in a future newsletter, but what I want to talk about today, and the reason I bring this up, is that a “scary big” portion of the advice given in this book entails lying to men to attract them, in spite of the authors’ assertion that they don’t advise lying. I’m going to address that issue for the women in my upcoming book written for them, but it begs the more general question: “Is lying ever a good way to handle anything in a relationship, especially the building of attraction?”

The short answer, for both genders, is “Not just no, but HELL NO!” unless you are indeed some kind of predator or a total loser. Among other things, it leaves you feeling that you had to lie to attract the partner and therefore aren’t good enough to have him or her, even if you are! Indeed, feeling a lack of self-esteem can also make you feel that you have to lie to be worthy of someone else’s attention. And once you’ve done that, you have the stress of worrying about your lie being exposed to dampen any pleasure you might otherwise enjoy.

It also labels you as needy and weak, and is a tactic for losers and predators who cannot be attractive in their own right. That alone is devastating to self-esteem, if you have any (death spiral, anyone?), and when you look at the bigger picture, how can you feel or express love or respect for a person you lied to in order to have them involved in your life? Or for yourself? Can you love and respect yourself after lying to trick somebody into a relationship with you? Even without getting into what happens when you get caught, it’s a losing proposition for both sides.

What should you do? Work your attraction magic with things that are really part of you, incorporating new things that fit well into yourself if necessary. Start by emphasizing – NOT exaggerating -- your best behavior and avoiding and ultimately reforming – NOT disguising -- your worst. Then, take on a bit of self-improvement in areas that are appealing to you. If you’re not naturally funny, learn to be. You’ll find that as you pay attention to people looking for something entertaining, you’ll often find something that entertains everyone, and the more you do it, the more you develop the nerve pathways required for a genuine sense of humor.

Don’t just try to fake it, and stress over it. Study it, understand how it can brighten your life and your outlook on life, as well as make you more attractive to your partner, and treat it as a self-improvement exercise because it is. Don’t try to act funny, BECOME funny. Join Toastmaster’s or something and learn how to tell a good story and see the humor in things. Take dancing lessons if you’ve always thought about it but never got around to it. Learn how to have real fun and adventure yourself and you will be fun and interesting to a woman. Learn how to enjoy your life and just do it, and you will be irresistible.

Another example? Don’t try to act romantic, BE romantic. Develop a genuine appreciation for the great, the beautiful, the larger than life, by exposing yourself to it, and be able to spot it and point it out to others as you do in a way which helps them to get excited over it and appreciate it, as you see in the movie “Don Juan DeMarco.” Take a music appreciation, ballroom dancing or art appreciation class to get you started, or take up some kind of hobby where appreciation for greatness will be an inherent part of it as you delve deeper into the hobby, and gain self-esteem from your achievements as you progress.

Like to make sawdust? Study people like Sam Maloof. Like cooking? Read not only the cookbooks written by the world’s greatest chefs, but their stories; see how they became great chefs, and you will be impressed. And just as I said about developing a sense of humor, you can also develop a sense of romance, adventure, etc., by looking at it and for it.

And make no mistake, this isn’t changing yourself for her, it’s changing yourself for YOU, to have what YOU want, which is a strong, positive, attractive personality that you enjoy living with, people enjoy being around and which will attract viable candidates for a great relationship. And all you have to do to make it happen is actively explore and enjoy your life and the things that interest you.

Or, you could just try to “fake it ‘til you make it,” and be stressed out over having your cover blown and somebody seeing the real you and not liking what they see, kicking you to the curb while yelling “Fraud!” and walking away without another thought. No? I thought not.

This process is not difficult; indeed, it’s most enjoyable. Most people who don’t engage in self-improvement avoid it because of fear of failure, not because there’s really any reason for them to fail, while most people who do engage in it (and I do mean ENGAGE, not just buy the materials and set them on the shelf or skim them instead of using them) succeed, because they look forward to success and enjoying their life more. Besides, learning is fun when you can take it at your own pace and there’s a huge reward at the end of it.

By the same token, if you don’t have any exciting stories to tell, don’t make them up – get off your butt and get out and do something exciting! If you’re not an expert at something, don’t fake it and make an ass of yourself, pick something interesting and useful to you (and hopefully fun for you as well) and BECOME an expert. It is far better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt! Besides, a man needs a hobby. ;-)

Never, ever, lie to your partner. Even without regard for moral or ethical issues; it’s just too stressful for both of you, and too damaging to your self-esteem, whether you get caught or spend years trying to maintain a lie, not to mention damaging to the relationship. It’s far easier to actually become attractive than to try to just put on the act, and once you do become attractive, BEING attractive isn’t just stress-free, it’s fun! And then, if the potential for love is there, it can develop and make for a truly great relationship that stands the test of time.

There’s a wealth of solid, tested information in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” on what women find attractive, and just as important, what will kill it in a heartbeat, not to mention how to communicate with her in a way that has her talking with you instead of spending hours every day complaining about you to all her girlfriends, or the guy she’s having an affair with! It can even help you figure out if you’re in a relationship that has a good foundation and can make it or if you’ve been pulled in by a “Rules Girl” and are truly too mismatched for there to be any hope.

This is it, your best shot at getting things back on the right track no matter how far astray they’ve gone, so download your copy today at http://www.makingherhappy.com, because the information works, the price is right, the guarantee is unconditional, and life is too short to miss living it to the fullest. (There has been some discussion about that on our forum recently, too!)

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

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

"Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens Fall," THE REAL Alpha Male Attitude, NOT This "Bad Boy" Crap

Every great man I’ve ever known lived by the ancient code, “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” Women flocked to them, and their own wives worshiped them. Why?

Today has been a day filled with interesting e-mails from readers. One of these e-mails described a conversation that a man was having misgivings about having had with his wife.

They’ve been having compatibility problems – he’s extremely mature and she’s extremely immature, even though they are both within a year or two of 40 – and her immaturity has caused her to have no achievement in her life and hence, no self-esteem, and had become dependent on her marriage and her child for her feelings of achievement and independence, which cannot work because it makes the source of one’s self-esteem something other than one’s self.

This man is quite brilliant and a strong leader, recognized the problem, and loved her enough that when she left to go “find herself,” he didn’t beg her to come home or try to force her to come home, he told her that she needed to grow up and have a life before she was going to be able to share one with him, and that reconciliation wasn’t an option until she had grown enough to feel good about herself and be able to enjoy his company instead of being dependent on it.

Months have gone by, during which she has descended to an embarrassing level of immaturity and arguing with pure fabrication and fantasy to back her up (really sounding like full-blown mid-life crisis), but suddenly, over the last few weeks, it’s like she’s emerging from the fog, realizing that he was right, that all her machinations and fantasies have brought her nothing but trouble and hard feelings, and has become rational and responsible to a degree that neither of us would have expected for a long time. This is not uncommon when somebody bottoms out hard and realizes that the people who were thought to be their enemies and oppressors were actually the only people left who cared.

She has now set reasonable goals and laid very rational plans to achieve these goals, and has been dropping hints of repentance and testing the waters to see how much damage she’s done and if it can be repaired sufficiently to ultimately allow her to return home. Hence the conversation…

He wants her to tell him in full detail of her desires, goals, plans and whether she currently wants to come back home, and when that might be, but is concerned about whether he could live with the answer. My advice: have the conversation. Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.

That quote is attributed to Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, a Roman statesman by name of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus. Let’s take a quick look at its true meaning, and you’ll see why great men live by it and women find it irresistible.

“Justice” isn’t about law, or necessarily even about punishment. It’s about getting what one deserves – what he or she has earned by virtue of their choices and actions, good, bad or indifferent. What Caesoninus was saying was that they should do what was just, even if it upset and destroyed the natural order of things, in his case, the unseating of some powerful people, in our reader’s case, hearing something that was other than what he wanted to hear. Why is this so important? And attractive?

A real man knows that no matter what happens, if it is realistic and just, he can build upon it and make improvement and progress, even if he has to rebuild from ruins. He doesn’t like or try to create mayhem, but if that’s the only way that he and those in his charge can get what they deserve, good, bad, or indifferent, he’s prepared to go that route, because his word, his character, and his self-respect are important to him. This is how he sleeps well at night, and why he wakes up each morning looking forward to the day, no matter what the previous day held or this day holds. It is the guardian of his self-esteem, and the polish on the tools of his achievement: reason, character, and confidence.

Having read those last few words, is there any question as to why women would find this wildly attractive? A man with a strong sense of justice who consistently applies it defines and exerts authority in a way that inferior men can never hope to do: he can lead without having to manipulate or be a bully. This is one of those areas wherein the rules for dating differ from those for committed relationships; a woman looking for a night of fun and excitement may seldom look deep enough into a man to see this kind and strength of character, but a woman who is looking for or is in a committed relationship will home in on it from miles away. Such a man walks into a room and everybody knows without question that he owns it, and to a degree, owns them, because he will be the strongest man in the room in terms of reason, character, and confidence.

It may sound like this is a difficult way to live at first glance, but think about it, and you’ll find that it’s actually easier. There is no deceit to try to cover up, any messes you end up in are made up of facts that can be sorted through and worked with instead of having to struggle against everything to solve a problem, and women adore you, including your partner, for who and what you are instead of secretly wishing you were something else – and something better.

Strong character and a sense of justice, contrary to popular belief, is a choice, one of the most important choices a man can make, because it in turn is the foundation for most, if not all, of the rest of the choices he makes in his life. It is also one of the very few things about a man that can create both love (a sense of value) and attraction (a sense of excited desire) in a woman.

Add justice, in its true sense, to your personal code of values and watch what happens to the rest of your life, and the reactions you get from women. Those of bad character will run from you, while those of good character – and who will make good wives and mothers, or at least low-maintenance girlfriends, for those of you not looking for a committed relationship at the moment but like keeping good candidates around for when that time comes – will flock to you, and if you’re already with a good woman you’ll find that she’ll whip a running saw mill to protect her relationship with you. If you have any doubt of the truth or profoundness of what I’m telling you here, there are plenty of women at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, who will be more than happy to verify it for you if they haven’t already, as they have already spoken at length of much of what they look for, are attracted to, and enjoy in a man.

You’ll also find that other people – friends, employers, employees, vendors, customers, etc. – will flock to you. The old bromide “opposites attract” is only true all of the time when speaking of magnetism; otherwise it’s infrequent, fickle, and counter-productive most of the time, as it is most often the result of boredom, not effective matchmaking. Good relationships require compatibility; hence, “birds of a feather flock together” is something you can depend upon.

So you didn’t see that coming, huh? You would have if you knew as much about women as you should to be trying to live with one at all, let alone live happily with one. Do you know what she’s really saying when she says, “Fine!” and nothing else? Do you know what she’s TELLING you when she’s ASKING you a question? Do you know what question she’s asking you any time she’s telling you something? If you’ve been reading these newsletters for several months, I’m sure you can be right at least part of the time, but you’ll find that only part of the time isn’t good enough…

A partial fix to your relationship problems doesn’t fix your relationship. It merely slows down the inevitable break-up. No, that’s not a good thing; it gives you more time to make more mistakes, become more heavily invested in the relationship, and harbor more ill feelings when it does finally blow up in your face. Think that can’t happen? It is quite common for me to be working with couples who are on the brink of divorce or who have already decided to divorce when the wife ends up pregnant – with the husband’s child. When you’re in trouble and emotions are high, just about anything can happen, especially if it’s bad, because emotionally-driven decisions are only good ones by coincidence.

The only time that delaying the inevitable break-up is a good thing is if you have all the information you need to fix all your shortcomings in your hands and are working on learning it. So let me help you with that…

Everything you need to know to become the real man that you were truly born to be, will thoroughly enjoy living as, and can very easily become is in my book, "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," along with everything you need to know to fix your shortcomings in your relationship, such as your ability to evaluate your relationship and the people in it, and to communicate with a woman to such a degree that she tells her friends that you’re one of those extra rare guys who “just knows” what she wants, and understands her without being one of those crying wusses they tried to turn us all into in the 1980’s. Download your copy at http://www.makingherhappy.com right now, and get started; never put off until tomorrow the success and happiness you can have today.

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

Monday, September 05, 2011

Being the Protector in Relationships and Marriage: When Should You? Part 2, Reader Observations and Lessons

Readers respond to yesterday’s edition about knowing when to be a protector and when to let someone learn their lesson the hard way. I found their insight fascinating and adept, and you should find it useful.

In yesterday’s edition, I shared with you part of a discussion I had with a student/client/friend, who has correctly identified himself as too mismatched with his wife to be able to salvage a failing marriage. If you missed it, please read it now at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/839-Being-the-Protector-in-Relationships-and-Marriage-When-Should-You before continuing so you can be up to speed as we discuss these reader responses, because this is really important!

The gist of the lesson was that we as men are biologically wired for behavior that in some ways differs significantly from that of women, and that a tendency to be over-protective of everyone around us (as opposed to the natural female focus on protecting their children) and that there are times when we would be serving those we care about better by letting them make their own mistakes so they can learn from them, and make their own decisions in general so that we don’t communicate a lack of confidence to someone who needs our support as they try to mature and evolve, or to demonstrate to us that they have ALREADY matured and evolved.

What follows are the more interesting letters I received regarding that issue, and I must admit I’m rather proud of those who wrote them, because they are good questions that show analytical minds at work looking for answers, tools and opportunities for improvement. Meet Terry:

David,

You mentioned “a pretty typical story of an extremely intelligent and analytical male hooked up with a not-so-intelligent and overly creative female.” Could you elaborate on what is typical? My wife read that and said you were saying that it was typical for men to be smart and women to be stupid, and I didn’t take it that way at all.

Thanks,
Terry


My reply:

Hi Terry! You’re quite right. I meant nothing remotely resembling what your wife thought she read. It’s common for men to be more analytical and women to be more creative because of the neuron density in the left and right hemispheres of the brain that you find common to gender. There are exceptions, and there are also cases where you see things like a highly analytical man or woman who is also quite creative. The “norm” is for men to be more analytical and women more creative, but that does not mean that predominately analytical men have no creative ability or that predominately creative women cannot solve a problem.

I also did not imply that it was common for the man to be more intelligent than the woman; it is common for one partner to be a little more intelligent than the other, but if that gap is very wide, it creates a pretty serious incompatibility. What I was saying was typical was that when there is any kind of big compatibility problem, intelligence or the analytical vs. creative mismatch, problems are significant and difficult to handle without a lot of competent help, if they can be handled at all. Sometimes that compatibility problem is a marriage-killer.

In short, I was speaking of general tendencies in partner dynamics, not certainty in gender dynamics. I’ve met some incredibly smart and incredibly moronic members of both genders, as I’m sure everyone else has.

Thanks for writing, and keep in touch,
David


Margot’s insight here is impeccable. I’ve written on “red flags” before and neediness being one of them, but she pulled it out of this lesson as well. Check her out:

Hello David,

I couldn’t help but wonder how long this man had been trying to save this woman if he was trying to fight the urge to save her now. I should think that both a person’s need to be saved and an overwhelming urge to save someone are indeed both big red flags in a relationship. It’s one thing to want to love someone and engage in mutual nurturing, but it’s quite another to be driven to spend your life bailing someone out of one tough spot after another. If my husband were to get in a jam I’d certainly want to be there for him, but a pattern of choices that kept him in a jam would make me at least question how much importance he placed on his life and mine. I’ve found, as you may have, that people who make consistently bad choices aren’t stupid, but rather don’t care enough about themselves or the people around them to exercise the discipline to think and make good choices, which in my mind is a gigantic sign saying “DANGER!”

Cheers,
Margot


My reply:

Hi Margot, and you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. Finding yourself drawn to people in trouble is not a sign that you love them, but that you are for some reason attracted to their frailty – codependence is a very destructive basis for a relationship to say the least. Lasting relationships are built on love and attraction, which in turn creates friendship, trust, loyalty, fun, excitement, and sex, not on the guilt or need that causes you to want someone to bail you out or be obligated to you after you’ve bailed them out.

Good to hear from you again, and do keep in touch,
David

And this from Daphne, one of the women in the test group that helped with the research for "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and a regular contributor:

Hey David,

As usual, I have stories about things my girlfriends have done to capture a man that would make your hair stand up on the back of your neck. One they all talk about is the lengths they’ll go to in trying to make a man feel dependent on them to keep him home, and how they’ll create a crisis from time to time to make him feel good about having saved them. Three of my friends got married to men who fell for fake emergencies. They were looking for someone to give them a house and children, and somebody who would run to the rescue was an easy mark. Tell your guys to watch themselves!

Daphne


No, neither Daphne nor I are saying that every woman does that, or even the majority. Indeed, there are a cadre of really great women at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, who are happy to help you spot problems like predatory women and get rid of them. However, women, especially young ones who haven’t learned they can take care of themselves and developed the means to do so, and who want to get away from an abusive home or who are hormonally-enamored with the idea of making a baby and too impatient to go about it the right way, may go to extraordinary lengths to make it happen, to include ensnaring and marrying a man who will be tolerable to live with and a good provider in order to facilitate her desires of escape (possibly from oppressive parents or an abusive parent) and/or motherhood.

Such relationships can last for years, but they are not happy ones, and are usually focused on the children instead of the whole family. When the children start leaving the nest (if not sooner – often MUCH sooner), one or both parents will start succumbing to the pressure of trying to suppress and work around their incompatibility, and then the frequent fighting, frustration, disrespect, distrust, affairs, etc., start happening. Could this – OR DID THIS -- happen to you?

People unfortunately see these emotions and fights as the cause of their marital problems, but they’re merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. The cause was a bad decision to get together in the first place. That’s why I stress so vehemently in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" that before a man starts working on fixing a broken relationship he thoroughly evaluate the relationship, check for compatibility and other markers of a strong foundation for the relationship, and make an informed choice before proceeding with anything else. Trying to put off the inevitable is a fool’s errand; if it has to end, end it quickly, and with dignity for all involved if possible, instead of escalating the pain until everybody is too engaged in fighting a war to clean up a mess that never should have been made, and children and other innocent bystanders end up suffering for it.

"THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" is truly THE man’s guide to any kind of great relationship with any woman, and it’s become the new title of this book because it’s so fitting and reflects its true scope. Do yourself a favor and go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy today, and start getting things squared away in your life. Even if you’re in your 70’s or 80’s, there’s still time left in your life to be happy; don’t waste it trying to delay the inevitable when you could be enjoying the time of your life.

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

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Being the Protector in Relationships and Marriage: When Should You?

Men are often over-protective of women. It’s in our biological “wiring” in our brains; we’re compelled to do it. However, there are times when that urge must be fought off…

I’ve been working closely with one of my top “students” as he makes a dignified exit from a situation in which he and his soon-to-be-ex are grossly mismatched and have determined that there is just not enough common ground upon which to try to hold it together and be able to treat their differences as complimentary tools.

It’s a pretty typical story of an extremely intelligent and analytical male hooked up with a not-quite-as-intelligent and overly-creative, emotionally-driven female. And before anybody starts sending hate mail, I’m saying it is the mismatch that is typical, not the female being not quite as intelligent as the male. During good times they get along fairly well, but when trouble comes, she grossly over-reacts, and then gets caught up in that emotional validation thing that women fall prey to, wanting to believe that an emotion justifies itself and demands repentance, atonement, and a permanent change in behavior on the part of the man when it was her choice and behavior that was the problem.

She becomes very morally ambiguous and even hypocritical in trying to defend the bad choices she makes because she over-reacts instead of either thinking things through or relying on his analytical skills to cut through the emotional madness and restore order. She went too far, then painted herself into a corner, and exposed a weak and deceitful character that he has chosen to stop supporting and enabling.

She continues to make very bad decisions and is digging herself a deeper and deeper hole, and he’s having a hard time not stepping in front of the train to try to save her. She’s about 40 years old with the emotional maturity of a 15-year old spoiled brat, and her biggest problem is that she needs to grow up and take responsibility for her life and achieve a thing or two to have some sense of self-esteem, so bailing her out of problems would work against her in the long run.

Now that you have the situation, let’s dig into our correspondence a little for a lesson for you to ponder, one which applies to not only to ex’s and soon-to-be ex’s, but often to a partner in a good relationship, children, other family, and friends:

Him: “I wouldn't dream of sacrificing my future in a doomed attempt to relieve HER heartbreak, but through all of this, I have never wanted one bad thing to happen to her. She may well deserve it, but I'm not that guy - revenge only interests me for fleeting moments. Part of being rational, I suppose.”

Me: “If she's earned a bad time, stepping in front of it to save her from it is just as bad an idea as giving her an unjust punishment in the name of revenge."

Him: “Thanks for mentioning that - I needed to hear it. There may be a newsletter in there somewhere, because I see men doing that almost as often as parents do it for their kids. It's going to continue to be difficult, particularly since she's [the mother of my son] and I'm reasonably generous, to let her wallow in her own mess. But I'll manage.”

Do you see the point? It’s part of a man’s make-up to be a protector, and sometimes we work too hard at that part of the job of being a man, so much so that we undermine the development of those around us, or weaken their self-confidence by inadvertently making them think that we’re trying to “save them” because they’re not up to doing it themselves.

There are times when we want to help, and try to help, that our help really isn’t wanted or needed, and is in fact offensive, as our wives and girlfriends, our children, our other family, extended family, friends, coworkers, etc., try to meet challenges and grow. Think about that…

If I could teach you only one thing in the rest of my life about relationships, it would be this: Self-esteem and independence come from only ONE source, and that is ACHIEVEMENT. Meeting challenges and coming out on top builds the confidence to stand alone and have a life, allowing a person to enjoy your company and share a life. Anything you do that impedes others’ ability to rise to meet the challenges of their life puts them one step farther from independence and one step closer to being a dependent, not to mention resenting your involvement in deterring their independence and self-esteem. Have you been accused of “smothering” people? If so, that’s what they’re talking about.

So what do you do?

No, you don’t just say “screw the world” and become a hermit so you don’t impede anyone’s ability to grow. Don’t’ be silly. What you must do is be patient enough to let others ask you for help before you go jumping in. If you can tell that somebody is in a bind, but don’t think they will ask because they are too proud, you can subtly offer: “Man, that looks tough (or “fun” if you think you can get away with it). Can I do something here?”

Asking in that way doesn’t force them to say they “need” your help; it allows them to say that you can be included, which isn’t demeaning at all, or could be of help, which is far less demeaning if they are trying to remain independent. It also allows them to say something like, “I think I can cover it, but if you’ve been through this and have any tips or tricks to make it easier, I’m interested,” or something like that. Whatever they say, they mean it, so if they refuse, just acknowledge their choice by saying something like “very well,” and DON’T add something that expresses a lack of confidence like, “You know you can call me if you change your mind.” If they change their mind, you’ll be the first person they call because you offered to help.

The hardest part about being a protector isn’t the protection, it’s knowing WHEN to protect and when to let somebody take their lumps and learn their lessons so they can grow. As far as your relationship with your girlfriend or wife goes, unless you are indeed with a dependent, they will appreciate you not smothering them and allowing them to give things a try before jumping in. It’s a vote of confidence in both their ability to perform and their ability to assess a situation and be adult enough and responsible enough to ask for help if they need it.

You have likely been told all your life that charity is a good thing, along with self-sacrifice. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you sacrifice justice, the principle of giving someone or receiving exactly what is deserved, no more and no less, to charity, the principle of giving the unearned to those who did not earn it, everybody loses. You lose the life that went into creating whatever you gave away, and they lose the opportunity to feel better about themselves by having attained something of value by their own mind and effort. It is a strong sense of justice, not charity or punishment, that makes for the most effective and respected leader.

By and large, women are neither weak nor stupid, and they resent the hell out of us when we treat them as if they are. They may not do things the same way we would, and at times may not even come close to doing them the best way if it’s something mechanical, but they usually can get it done, and being social in nature, they have no problem with asking for help because it turns it into a social event. However, when we let them see just how far they can get on their own and they make something work, they feel better about themselves, and they have not only a boost in their security and self-esteem as a result, they also have BRAGGING RIGHTS, which is not something we men have a monopoly on by any means. And bragging is by nature a social activity, right?

And what are bragging rights to a woman? RELIEF FROM BOREDOM THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO PROVIDE! So wise up and take advantage of one of those rare and wonderful things that makes something good happen without you having to work your ass off to make it happen. Speaking of rare and wonderful things for you to take advantage of, about a third of the members at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, are women who are there both to learn about us and to help us learn about them.

They’ll answer any question; all you have to do is man up enough to ask, and you’ll find out that in some ways, women aren’t that different from us; in others, they seem like they’re from another planet at times. (An old friend of mine used to say that there’s something on that extra leg of that second “X” chromosome that really messes women up!) Understanding our similarities and our differences are equally important in the quest for a happy and lasting relationship and/or marriage.

There are some things that are very masculine, some that are very feminine, and some that are simply and supremely human, and knowing these differences can make the difference in you being with a great woman for a lifetime and you being alone and strapped with alimony and child support payments while everybody in your former family except you enjoys the house that you worked (and are still working) to provide, so I strongly suggest you get wise, and fast!

The fastest path to such wisdom is "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," waiting for you in an instant download at http://www.makingherhappy.com. Get it while you can, because you never know what tomorrow may bring…but you can always hedge your bet with good information, if you can find it, and this is it!

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