Saturday, December 10, 2011

Choosing the Perfect Greeting Card for Any Woman: Surviving the Holidays in Your Relationship or Marriage

We’ve talked about choosing the perfect gift for any occasion, and a reader notes that finding a great card to go with a gift or express a holiday wish is difficult to impossible. But! You still have options that will surprise and delight her!

We’re in the middle of a bunch of religious and cultural holidays right now, and greeting cards are making life rough on the postman and his shoes, as well as a lot of people who are trying to find something that really expresses what they are feeling. Selections are really pretty crappy, and one could wear out a good pair of shoes just trying to find something that comes close. “Lorne” does an excellent job of summing it up:

David,

I have to share with you an observation I made today. I'm sure many of your readers have noticed this as well. The selection Christmas cards we men have to give our wives' is horrible. I was at the local Walgreen’s [a drugstore chain in the U.S.] today to pick up a card for my wife and another from the boys for her, and honestly I couldn't much tell the difference whose was whose.

The “'From Husband” cards all portray us as either bumbling idiots who are just lucky to have a woman in our lives, or needy men willing to do anything just as long as we can spend time with our wife. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my wife and believe that she is a great person, but the message these cards sends out is "Thanks for putting up with me, I really don't deserve you." How can that be attractive to a woman? For one thing, if I knew I was that big of a goof, I should be shot for not doing something about it.

To me the message shouldn't at all be about me, but more about her. Something as simple as “I love you and am looking forward to a great holiday season with you and our family” seems to me much better than anything I found at the store. I've always had a hard time selecting Christmas cards that I felt had conveyed the right message, but now that I am really in tune with your writings, I finally understand why. Maybe I should start an online website for smartass Christmas cards, at least that way we'd have some options.

Anyway, thanks for all your work, I really look forward to reading your newsletter everyday.

Happy Holidays,
Lorne


Lorne’s experience is identical to my own, and I’ve received numerous complaints from others. I don’t know what’s going on in the creative department at Hallmark, American Greetings, and other greeting card companies, but the evidence could easily make the case that the greeting card business is all about getting women to say, “Oh, how sweet,” as if “sweet” is a term that any man would ever want used to describe him if he knew what it meant.

Wussitude alert: According to female readers and support staff, “Sweet” means “Nice, mushy, child-like, weak, and wussy.” It has nothing to do with “considerate” in the female dictionary. Think “Fredo” from the movie “The Godfather.” Michael Corleone’s sister Connie refers to him as “sweet and helpless” as she pleads with Michael to not cut him off from the family business because he’s too big a wuss to survive on his own.

So we’re clear that you don’t want to do anything that earns the title of “sweet,” right? Considerate, yes, sweet, no. Good. Now that we’re all clear on that, Lorne says something that has a blinding flash of inspiration for those who have the sight to see it. He says, “Maybe I should start an online web site for smartass Christmas cards…”

You don’t have to start your own web site, but get this: any woman worth having would be far more pleased with even a poorly-made self-made card that was your best effort than with anything that you can buy off the shelf, no matter how extravagant, as long as it looks like some time and effort went into it.

What???

Yep. Sure ‘nuff. Now pull your jaw back up to where your mouth will close and I’ll tell you why.

How many thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or possibly even millions of each card do you think a greeting card company prints? And in how many languages? Do you really think you’re going to make a woman feel “special” by giving her something that a great many women all over the world have?

Now add in the “lame verse” factor that Lorne mentions. So the upside is that she notices you remembered the occasion, the downside is that you handled the occasion by buying her something that lots of other women have and gets you the title of “sweet” instead of “my MAN!” That’s the bad news…

Now for the good news! The women I surveyed said they’d rather have a sticky-note that said something sincere and a bit romantic than an expensive card that said little or nothing and was mass-produced, because it would make them feel special and have a piece of their man in it for them to hold onto when they felt bad. They feel special when someone spends time to do something only for them – which shouldn’t surprise you when you consider how much time they spend doing for everyone else, especially in their household. And keep in mind, it was a free-form answer box in this survey, not a multiple choice that limited their selections. In other words, these are their words, not mine.

Such notes go into a woman’s “treasure box,” that secret stash of mementos that she drags out when she feels bad, especially when she’s missing you or she’s locked herself into a room after the two of you have been fighting. Pay attention here guys! The stuff that goes into her treasure box (which might actually be a shoe box, a drawer, a book with stuff pressed between the pages, even one of the felt bags off of a bag of Crown Royal (Canadian whiskey) – literally anything that can be used to store and hide small, special things) is what she uses to bring herself closer to you, and you would be wise to make sure that she gets several things over the course of the year that would be a candidate to go in there.

(And you’d already know that if you’d read "THE Man's Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage"!)

Now, for even better news. Anything is fair game. You can use greeting card software to create and print something as long as whatever is written inside is genuine, and preferably hand-written; don’t let the computer add the verse. Do it with a pen in your own hand, and if you have a good photo of something you know is a special memory for her and can be matched to the occasion, use it instead of the packaged art work for at least one of the panels. About any kind of paper or card stock is acceptable, as long as it’s not had fish wrapped in it or soaked in some kind of oil. One of the best-received cards I ever created was a birthday card made with crayons and brown paper cut from a paper grocery sack (the theme was a reference to her inner child).

The recipient was a 42-year old woman whose car was worth more than my house at the time, owned and ran three successful companies, and was as tough as nails. Like all women, she was simply so accustomed to receiving generic, mass-produced gifts and cards that she was overwhelmed by somebody taking the time to make something especially for her.

Now for a word of absolutely golden advice: if you’re not particularly creative and uncomfortable even starting such a project, enlist some help from somebody who is. DO NOT, under any circumstances, enlist the help of one of your wife’s friends, or even from any woman who knows your wife (or girlfriend, of course). This sounds counter-intuitive, but there’s a good reason for it.

The short version is that women are highly competitive, and even someone who is supposed to be your wife’s best friend might be jealous and competitive enough to sabotage your effort so that she can “one-up” your wife or create some drama if she’s feeling bored. If you think not, just ask a few female friends.

Or better yet, just realize that this is one of the ways in which men and women differ. For us, the title of “best friend” goes to the person we feel closest to and feel most protective of, a combination brother, buddy, comrade-in-arms, and even soul-mate to a degree. For women in general, their best friend is whomever they spend the most time with and share the most information with, regardless of depth; it’s based on quantity of social interaction, not quality of emotional bonding.

(There are exceptions to this, and studies show a correlation between brain structure, testosterone levels and aberrant behavior, as in nearly any case where a woman displays more masculine behavioral tendencies – higher than average testosterone levels in women will change behavior long before obvious physical symptoms, like heavy facial hair or a masculine swagger, can be seen.)

If you don’t have any female friends whom you can trust and you need help, the women at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, would be delighted to help you with ideas. They’re bright, creative, and good people who like to help anyone who is trying to help themselves.

Like the best gift for a woman, the best card is one that shows thoughtfulness and personal involvement, a gift of self, time, forethought, and effort, not the most brightly colored or catchiest sounding mass-produced thing on the shelf. Like a hand-picked bunch of wildflowers or a live plant you have grown yourself, a hand-made card shows that you cared enough to give your time to her instead of just blowing her off with money. And there’s a word for that: ROMANCE. It works for all seasons, and all occasions. Except when the woman is a parasite or predator, that is.

So there you have it. If you want more, come see me at http://www.makingherhappy.com. For now, I’ll simply wish you “Happy Holidays!”

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

Friday, December 09, 2011

Learn When to NOT Apologize If You Want a Great Relationship or Marriage

Have you ever wondered why you can say something that to you seems entirely benign or even complimentary to a woman and she blows up in your face? Have you ever wished you could see it coming and head off the fight that you know is going to follow? Here are the answers you seek…

Women are going to take things you say the wrong way from time to time; it’s a foregone conclusion. They expect us to communicate like they do just as we expect them to communicate as we do, and as you may have surmised by now, we don’t. Same language, different protocols. They’re also going to verbally test you to see if you’ll buckle under pressure by spitting a little venom to see if you’ll get emotional (and wuss out or start a fight) or whether you’ll keep your head and act like a man. In any case, it doesn’t have to become a fight if you know what to do, and apologizing isn’t it…

It usually starts with something benign, or even complimentary. Most of us have had the following conversation:

Him: “Gee honey, that diet you’re on is really working! You look great!”

Her: “Oh! So I was a fat, disgusting cow before? Thanks, you asshole!”

Then the fight starts…

Him (somewhat apologetically): “Wait, no, I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant. I was complimenting you because I know that dieting takes a lot of will power and it’s hard, and I’m proud of you for going through all that.”

Her: “Oh, so I’m a fat, disgusting cow because I have no willpower now, huh? I make a little effort to try to look better for you, and you have to put me down! You’re an insensitive creep! I don’t know why I even try to put up with you!”

…And it pretty much goes to Hell in a hand basket from there, right? So what happened, anyway? And what can you do to fix it? Or more importantly, PREVENT it?

Many women are generally insecure about a lot of things. They’ve been hammered for so long to be insecure about their youth and appearance that most today probably don’t even remember why it’s an issue, and most men never knew...

It goes back to the days when women weren’t accepted in the work place and generally only ended up owning businesses if they inherited them, couldn’t get a decent job, and hence, marrying well was their only real means of survival. They had to compete with each other not just for a man, but for a livelihood, and were kept on the defensive. And that’s not been that long ago.

As women began to be more liberated and make their own way in the world, the fashion and beauty industries continued to keep the pressure on them, inundating them with advertising to foster insecurity and feed their competitiveness to the point that even the most successful and fiercely independent women still have attacks of challenged self-esteem far more frequently that what you would expect, or they want to tolerate.

This constant pressure keeps many women, as tough as they are, walking on the edge of feeling really crappy about themselves, and from time to time, when fatigue, illness, stress, etc., build up and wear them down enough, they fall into a mode where no matter what you say, they are going to take it in the worst way possible. Emotional energy builds up, testosterone falls and inhibition with it, and a blow-off needs to happen, and anything that triggers an emotional response, like touching a hot button around one of her insecurities, is going to trigger the eruption.

This is another one of those things you’re just going to have to understand and accept about women if you are going to live with one. It doesn’t make them stupid, inferior, weak-willed, or anything like that. We as men go through the same thing, except for most of us, it’s less frequent because we normally don’t live in an environment of people so aggressively trying to make us feel insecure about ourselves.

I say most of the time because sometimes parents, partners, children, or acquaintances can become depressed and try to make themselves feel better by putting us down, and we have a few advertisements for things like E-D drugs and hair restoration digging at our self-esteem, but for the most part, we usually don’t get in this state until we have a string of catastrophes get to us, like losing a loved one, a job, and a home all in a very short period of time. Believe it or not, it takes that kind of pressure to make the average woman do this, it’s just that she’s awash, all day ever day, in things trying to bring her down so the events that end up being the proverbial “last straw” don’t have to be as traumatic for them as what they end up having to be for us.

And as you’ve noticed in some of my other newsletters, this can also be brought on by a need for drama to vent pent-up emotional energy, as well as just be a test to see if you will wuss out and play into the drama or stand up like a man and reel her in. (Multiple causes, same predicament, and luckily for you, the same response is required to get through the predicament in good standing, so pay attention!)

Now that this is hopefully in perspective, how do you handle it? First, early detection is a must. You may have noticed right before one of these explosions that she suddenly becomes quiet or gets a puzzled or stressed look on her face that turns into pain and anger. It may only take seconds for her to explode, or she may put it off for as long as a couple of days before it finally gets the best of her. You cannot wait for the explosion to fix this.

Nor can you invite her to explode in your face with a question like, “What’s wrong?” When she’s in this state, “What’s wrong?” comes across as “What’s wrong with you?” and that’s not a question you want an insecure person responding to, because whoever you are, everything will suddenly become your fault because you have just volunteered to be the outlet for her overload.

So what DO you do? What is the “magic move” that calms the storm before it breaks over your head?

When you see a seemingly inexplicable change for the worse in expression, tone, or demeanor, don’t wait for her say anything about it. Take the initiative – leadership is attractive, remember? – and say something about it right then and there. What do you say?

No, you don’t apologize. Nor do you start a fight to try to back her down because she most likely won’t. Besides, leaders don’t fight. They lead. Take the lead:

“Okay, I see from your [expression/voice/demeanor] that you didn’t take something the way I was intending for you to take it. I was [trying to pay you a compliment/simply making a joke/simply making an observation] that was in no way intended to be disrespectful or hurtful to you. If you have taken what I said to mean anything but that, then you need to back up and ask whatever questions I can answer to clarify it for both of us instead of remaining upset and then getting angry and we end up fighting.”

If you can spot the sign that something came across the wrong way quickly enough and say this with the confidence of a man insisting on being understood instead of fighting or sounding like a wuss trying backtrack and wiggle his way out of a confrontation, she will gladly comply and get things straightened out.

Women like to see a man take the lead in a touchy situation like that and work it out for the best. What they don’t like are men who wuss out and start apologizing without knowing what they are apologizing for or that get really weasely and look apologetic while trying to convince them that they were “just kidding.” They also don’t like men who see things starting to go the wrong way and instead of trying to fix the problem, bristle and growl and try to bully the problem away, using control instead of leadership to get them out of the situation instead of fixing the situation.

All you have to do is speak as if you expect to be heard and understood and you will interrupt the chemical rush that would normally move things in the direction of a fight, and probably help her to feel better about herself as well, because you were indeed sensitive enough to see that she had taken something the wrong way and strong enough to lead her away from an embarrassing and destructive blow-up over something that didn’t happen.

The one thing that will help you the most to pull this off is to be truly attentive when speaking with your partner. Most women don’t multitask the same way we do, and they really resent it when we don’t maintain constant (or at least near-constant) eye contact with them when we’re speaking with or listening to them. (Women sometimes truly multitask, but some think that having their mind bouncing all over the place is “multitasking” when in fact it’s just lack of focus, and those who do truly mulititask suspend multitasking when it conflicts with anything that is a social exchange of any kind, prioritizing eye contact and being polite above getting something accomplished, where we will speak to someone while holding our focus on our work or something else we’re doing and think nothing of it.)

Many women have said to me that men can’t multitask. I don’t know where that notion originates, because saying that men can’t multitask is like saying that women can’t drive a car, but it’s prevalent. Add to that the fact that one of the ways women show respect to each other is by either giving undivided attention or presenting the illusion of same if they’re not able to focus at the moment. Hence, the simple act of giving her your undivided attention as you converse will go a long way toward boosting her self-esteem, and will help elevate her mood a bit and keep her from being so quick to think that you are being insensitive, but it also has the added advantage of making sure that you notice as quickly as possible any change in her demeanor, expression, tone, body language, or anything else that can be a clue that she’s having a problem with what she heard.

Not only will she notice and appreciate it when you give her your undivided attention and make the extra effort to maintain eye contact, she’ll also notice that you don’t usually do this with others, and it will make her feel that much more special. Incidentally, the same thing goes for daughters – they’re women in training, right? It also goes for women you work with, neighbors, etc.

Men who truly know how to effectively communicate with their partner can literally go decades without a fight. One couple in our test group has been married since 1944 and claim to have not had a fight since their 20th anniversary in 1964, an argument that came up at their anniversary party over the appearance of an uninvited (and unwanted) guest that got out of hand. That’s 63 years of marriage and 43 years since their last fight. How did they do it? And how do they keep doing it?

They were well-matched and share very similar values (as well as valuing each other more highly than anyone else in their life, including their children) and compatible tastes. They learned over the course of many years how to communicate with each other so they could work things out instead of fighting about them. And Mason, the husband, is a master at creating attraction for his wife, and at 85 years old (and her at 81) they are still having sex at least every other day. Wouldn’t you love to live a life like that with your wife?

You can! Anybody can. Well, maybe not with YOUR wife, but with their own. ;-) Seriously, the secrets of their success and thousands of other couples, not to mention what women really want and what makes them tick, is all contained in "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage." You don’t have to spend twenty years figuring out whether you’re married to the right woman and learning how to communicate with her, nor a lifetime wondering how to flip her switches and turn her back into that wild woman she was before you married her. A few hours to read and understand this book and start practicing what it teaches you are all it takes, and no, it’s not a lot of work. It’s a lot of FUN!

Got a few hours to spend making the rest of your life a honeymoon? Sure you do! So jump over to http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" now, and get started. And drop by our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com and see what other great tips and tricks you can pick up just for the time and effort to read them. Or would you rather keep fighting for no apparent reason? Nah, life’s too short for that, right?

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

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Being Your Own Man: Crucial to a Great Relationship or Marriage

There are two ways to react to the successes of those around you. You can let them make you insecure and jealous, or you can learn from them and use them as example and motivation to bolster and enhance your own success. You might be surprised at the self-destructive power of the first, and the achievement and resulting self-esteem that can be brought on by the latter!

I got a call from a man who thought he had a problem, but really doesn’t, unless it’s a memory problem. He’s apparently forgotten who he is!

I didn’t get to take the call, but my publisher said that he was about fifteen years older than his wife, who had recently gone through some self-improvement and suddenly had the attention of a bunch of younger men. He described himself as physically fit, pleasant-looking, etc., and my publisher described him as articulate, intelligent, and outgoing and very personable. So what’s his problem?

The sudden spike in the attention others pay his wife has left him feeling a bit insecure. He’s feeling like he’s competing with men who are young enough to be his sons, maybe even his grandsons, and it has made him question his attractiveness. In addition, he’s been wrapped up in some work issues and is concerned that his wife may succumb to the temptations these younger men put before her.

What he’s forgotten is that it’s not him that has changed, it’s her. She has straightened her act up and brought herself more to his level of attractiveness. That’s a good thing, because her improved self-confidence will make her feel sexier and more playful, and enhance their intimacy. However…

If he lets himself be challenged by these younger men and responds by feeling competitive and resentful, he will lose the attractiveness of his intellect, self-confidence, personality, wit, etc., and begin appearing to his wife as an over-the-hill wuss instead of the man she was striving to upgrade herself to please in the first place! After all, these young men are only competition if he acknowledges them as worthy to compete.

The answer? Simple! Celebrate her success with her, and laugh at all the young bucks chasing her. She’s old enough to know that what they’re after isn’t a wife and children, and if he celebrates her success with her and shows her off instead of acting insecure about her new attractiveness, that confidence will spark desire in her like little else can.

Such action says to the young suitors, “You’d better grow a little before you try to climb into THIS ring, Junior.” And as always, his wife will follow his lead. It also expresses trust, saying to her, “Yes, I see you, I’m proud of you, and I know you love me and will stay with me because we’re both worth it,” where being insecure and treating her as though she might succumb to the advances of the youngsters forces her to ask if there is some reason that she should. It also expresses that he thinks that she cannot be trusted and might be swayed.

Many men fall into a trap when they see a beautiful woman, even if they’re married to her. They are intimidated, want to possess, seek attention and approval, and worst of all, have a bad tendency to “assign perfection” to a woman simply because she’s strikingly easy on the eyes. Why? Why close your eyes to things like intellect and character just because you like the way a woman looks? And in the worst case, why make a total ass of yourself and/or let your life be taken from you?

There’s a man on our forum (http://forum.makingherhappy.com) that made exactly this mistake, knew it, and ultimately could not gain real perspective because he was too busy lying to himself – and trying to lie to all of us, apparently forgetting that all his contradictions were there in his own posts for all to see – and seeking validation to address reality. And get this: he’s not the exception, but the RULE! If your self-esteem is not intact you are more vulnerable to this than you could imagine, too.

Read the chronicle of his evolution (his user name is “Lerxst” on our forum, and you can just pop it in the search box to see his posts) and see for yourself just how destructive this mistake can be so you can arm yourself against it. All the knowledge in the world about women and relationships will do you know good at all if you don’t know yourself well enough to know that your self-esteem or lack thereof is within you, not outside you and granted by some other person’s approval.

Ask any woman what they look for and especially respond to above all else in a man, and they’ll tell you: confidence. Not looks, not money, not power, not a fancy car or home. Confidence. Followed by a genuine smile. But, when they tell you, will you hear them?

If this man’s wife is like most women, she has told him repeatedly what she wants and expects from him, but like nearly all of us, he didn’t hear a word of it, because she didn’t say it as a man would say it. She said it as a woman would say it, and with good reason: She’s a woman! (Duh! LOL!) So he doesn’t hear it, and thinks she’s saying nothing and he therefore has to either read her mind or guess, and she thinks she’s being ignored – one of the oldest and most destructive stories in the relationship book.

She may even be telling him that he needn’t be worrying about these silly boys thinking they’ve fixed their sights on a “cougar,” (a mature woman who pursues much younger men, often young enough to be their son) that she finds them amusing and their compliments entertaining, even delightful, but not truly alluring. His non-responsiveness, of which she is totally unaware because she doesn’t know how differently men and women speak either, will be construed as weakness and push her exactly where he thinks she already is if he doesn’t straighten up pretty fast. Textbook example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?

Fortunately, he’s already purchased his copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and will be realizing all of this shortly when he reads and learns what he needs to know about both her and himself. His worst case scenario is that he may feel some subconscious insecurity triggered by the presence of these younger men until he comes to grips with the fact that he is not only their elder, but their better, especially in his wife’s eyes, and he’ll return to his confident, attractive self, then kick it up to notches previously unknown as he learns what makes women tick, what they want, and how understand them so well that they indeed think he can read their mind; he’ll be one of those rare guys who “just knows…”

A sagely word of advice: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Horrible grammar, yes, but an entirely valid point. And you can do better, MUCH better, by going to http://www.makingherhappy.com and downloading your own copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," or you can continue doing what you’re doing. Unless you really like the way you’re feeling right now, you’d better get your mouse clicking!

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

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

When She Gains a Few Pounds: Walking Through a Minefield in Relationships and Marriage

Cold weather and “the holidays” are here, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and many of us tend to over-feast and are about to develop that inconvenient layer of winter fat and we’re already wondering how many extra trips to the gym it will take to get rid of it. And it’s not just winter fat, either. Stress, pregnancy, etc., can put a major whammy on women, who are especially troubled in the Southern Hemisphere right now because bikini season is here! What do you do when she gains a few pounds? Inquiring minds want to know, at least if they ever hope enjoy being married again…

The holidays are here, and that means good food and parties. It also means a lot of scrambling around trying to do holiday shopping and eating out for lack of time, not to mention family gatherings, etc. That means that unless your wife is extremely disciplined or has an extremely high metabolism, she’s going to pick up a few pounds, and like it or not, you’re going to have to deal with it.

Sounds like a no-win situation, huh? It’s tricky for sure, but not impossible. Here’s a typical letter about this most common problem, and a very sticky one to say the least. Meet Tia:

Dear David,

I need your help. The past few months I have put on a few extra pounds due to a medication that I have to take for my asthma. Everybody tells me that they don’t notice it and I look good, but to me I feel like the Goodyear blimp and have no desire to be intimate with my husband at all because I’m embarrassed over having curves in places that were flat. The more he tries to tell me I look sexy the more his advances just make me feel pressured, and I hate feeling under pressure this way. It has nothing to do with not loving him or not wanting to enjoy each other the way we always have. We have always been very in touch with each other and being together in the bed was always one of the best parts.

I was hoping you could give me some advice as to how I could bring this up with him. I want him to understand just how awful I feel I look and how it has nothing to do with him at this point.

Thank you,
Tia

Tia, I’m going to make this really easy for you, because it’s such a great question. Just print this article and let him read it, because I’m going to tell him and all the other men about this. He won’t know it’s you unless you tell him because I’ve changed the name to protect your privacy. Just tell him you want him to read it because it sounds like how you feel.

Get ready guys! Pay close attention, take notes, and make sure you fully understand what you’re about to read. This is some of the most critical information to ever appear in this newsletter and you need to get this down pat and cold, right now, because sooner or later, EVERY woman will experience a bit of weight gain that makes her uncomfortable with her appearance, and consequently, with YOU.

If you’ve read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," you know about the difference in the male and female brain structure. Aside from making our communications styles and methods grossly different, it also makes women visualize and dramatize to the extreme compared to males.

You also must remember that nearly all of the advertising in the fashion and beauty industries is designed to prey upon a woman’s sense of competitiveness to make her feel insecure about her appearance. Women are literally bombarded with this destructive programming everywhere they look, and while you or I probably wouldn’t even notice a little weight gain until we had to loosen our belt a notch or sew a button back on our trousers that had popped off, to them a pound or two can be nearly or wholly traumatic, especially if they’ve taken pride in a flat stomach for a long time.

We often respond to this by telling them that they look “fine,” “sexy,” “hot,” etc., and that is precisely the wrong thing to do. Why?

She knows what she sees in the mirror, and thinks that you see what she sees in the mirror. If she thinks she looks fat and you say she looks sexy, all that says to her is that either you’re lying or your standards are really, really low. Don’t go there, even if you really think she looks better with a couple of extra pounds because you like the curves, and whatever you do, DON’T tell her you like the new curves! That can get you killed, because in her ears, that’s, “But honey, I like you better when you’re fat like this.” Ladies, you are cordially invited to write and tell the men just that – I’ll reprint your letters so the men will know just how serious an issue this is. And guys, there are some women at our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, that will verify this and everything else I tell you, and often elaborate as well. Check it out.

So what are you supposed to do?

You’d already know this, too, if you had read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” because you wouldn’t be making those kinds of advances and doing really stupid things like asking her to have sex with you. You’d be tripping her attraction triggers with alpha male behavior, naughty talk and gestures, and making her have fun and get so hot that she didn’t concern herself with her additional weight because she’d still feel sexy and desirable, and she’d be coming after YOU!

When you know what a woman wants, what “makes her tick,” how to both listen and talk to her, and how to have fun with her, she doesn’t feel like a middle-aged housewife that can’t compete with the 20-somethings anymore. She feels like a real queen who rules the world at your side by day and a red hot vixen by night, keeping that naughty little secret for you and you alone because you create it for her. There's a time and place, not to mention a right way and a wrong way, for everything, and that includes delivering genuine, honest compliments, and giving them because they have been earned, not because you’re trying to get something in return. That’s called “flattery,” and it will get you absolutely nowhere with anyone who is worth getting anywhere with.

That, Gentlemen, is how a real man makes a real woman feel, and that is what you learn when you read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” So how many more times are you going to have to stick your foot in your mouth and spend the night in the doghouse before you go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy? Go now, and get it done, because there are far better things to do with your feet (and your mouth!).

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

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Is She Faking Orgasms? "Performance Monitoring" in Relationships and Marriage

How can you tell if she’s faking “the big O”? Does it matter? The truth may indeed surprise you!

It’s time to address a sticky issue. I keep getting hammered with this question, so I’m going to answer, and then I’m going to tell you something a lot more important…

The question is simple. Meet Todd, one of the many people who asked the question, and who did so in the fewest words while sounding intelligent:

Hi David,

How do I tell if and when my partner is faking her climax?

Thanks,
Todd

Todd’s a man of few but well-chosen words, isn’t he? To answer, there is no way to always tell with 100% certainty, at least not without medical monitoring equipment, but here are a couple pretty dependable bits that can help you figure it out.

First, if she appears to be screaming during the contractions (not between the contractions, but through them), she’s either faking or grossly exaggerating. Physiologically, that’s as near an impossibility as being able to hold your eyes open when you sneeze, and for the same reason. It’s in the “wiring” of her nervous system. The problem is that trying to exhale to scream during the contractions doesn’t work, so any noises of pleasure should be broken up by the contractions.

There are rare – and I do mean RARE – exceptions to this, according to what I have read in medically- and therapeutically-oriented books and studies on the subject, but the exceptions are mentioned in the context of nerve damage, birth defects, and anomalies so rare as, for example, having all your internal organs on the wrong side of your body (juxtaposition of organs is unrelated – the rarity is the point). Like I said, RARE.

Along the same lines is another very telling sign, but in the opposite way. It is reported by medical authorities on the subject to be near-impossible for a woman to experience any significant level of climax without her toes curling. No kidding. Note that if she knows about this, she can fake curling her toes, but if she’s bucking and thrusting and making all kinds of steamy animal noises and her toes aren’t curling, either she’s faking or she’s one of those RARE cases mentioned earlier. I’ll say only that I have never personally observed one of those RARE cases.

Don’t even think about asking me how you’re supposed to keep an eye on her toes while in the act. If I even try to answer that question the spam filters (annoying pieces of crap!) will be trapping 99% of this edition and few will ever see it. (Don’t get me going about spam filters. I finally found spam protection that works better than anything that uses content filters – see http://www.mailvice.com if you have your own domain name and you’re interested.) Just use your imagination, get into a position, like “canine”-style or “rodeo” style that lets you see her feet without being obvious, and don’t obsess over it. If she’s hot enough to have you in such a predicament, she surely has assets that are much more interesting than her feet. You shouldn’t be worried about it anyway. Why?

Because you ought to be doing it right and know it by the fact that your partner is acting like you are the “King Daddy Pleasure God” by giving you sexy looks, being playful with you, inviting YOU to the bedroom, etc. If you’re being the alpha male (not alpha dog! – see my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report for the distinction! http://forum.makingherhappy.com/showthread.php/144-Free-Reports!) and engaging in naughty play as you should be, especially in the way of slowly ramping up the action through the day as described in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” using her anticipation for maximum impact, you’re going to know, in no uncertain terms.

A woman who’s happy in her bedroom makes it so wonderfully obvious by showing you that she wants to be there, and often! And she’s also a whole lot more open with coaching and feedback when she knows you’re listening to her, so getting those communications skills honed will help take a lot of the mystery (and consequent insecurity about whether you are pleasing her!) out of the equation.

Speaking of mystery, there are threads on our forum (http://forum.makingherhappy.com/forum.php) concerning all the signals that women issue and men miss, thereby driving women to frustration and even rage. It’s interesting and useful reading, and even if you think you already know it all, I’d strongly suggest you check it out.

As for your wife, if you’re having to worry about whether she’s faking, you have bigger problems than your sex life, and you’d better be getting your butt over to http://www.makingherhappy.com and downloading your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” before she gets bored and frustrated and you end up either celibate or cuckold (that’s what we old farts were taught to call it when your wife sleeps with another man). You know as well as I do that if Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy, and if Mama IS happy, EVERYBODY’S HAPPY, and this is proven daily to be your best shot at making that happen, so get busy!

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

Monday, December 05, 2011

Can You Ever Be TOO Prepared for a Great Relationship or Marriage?

A reader reminds us that it’s never too soon to start working toward a better life and relationship, and I provide additional tips on how to get it done.

I got a quick note from a new reader I’d like to share with you. It holds a wonderful lesson for anyone whose eyes are open. Meet Brad:

Hello David, I just bought your book and I just wanted to let you know that it is very insightful. I am still single but you have much needed understanding of the most interesting female mind...you've got to love them. Brad

Here’s a useful excerpt from my response, followed by additional commentary that may well bring a LOT of things into focus for you:

Hi Brad!

I’m glad you’re finding my book useful. I’ve had quite a few readers comment that they wish they had been able to read something like that before they ever got into a relationship, and others go so far as to say that it should be required reading in high school.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and don’t skip the first part of the book, the part on evaluating relationships. That part works wonders in troubled mature relationships to make sure they have a foundation sufficient to warrant improvement, and it also really shines if you use it as you see a relationship starting to develop and do your evaluation as you go in and as the relationship evolves, so you can get out early if you start seeing red flags. An ounce of prevention is worth several tons of cure when it comes to relationships and marriage!

Also remember that the rules for creating attraction are different in the dating world, mainly because your window of opportunity is very narrow in dating, so once you’ve finished my book, if you’re having trouble meeting women let me know and I’ll steer you to the dating gurus who can really help you; most of them are about as full of crap as most of the marriage gurus, selling snake oil and academic theory as if they were solutions, but there are a few that get results every time, and I know who they are and will be happy to point you in their direction if and when you decide the time is right.

Take care, and keep in touch. I can’t tell you how delightful it is to see a young single man taking the bull by the horns and doing his relationship prep work on the front end instead of trying to do crisis management on the back end.

David


Brad has it right. He’s thinking both ahead and “outside the box.” He’s single, but will be looking for a permanent relationship at some point, so instead of just looking for information on how to get phone numbers, he’s looking for what will help him understand women and choose the right one for the long haul. (Remember the old adage about dressing for the job you want, not the one you have? Same principle!) Getting the phone number might get you a date, or even two or three, but being a man who understands women and can converse comfortably with them near or at their own level, and knows what flips their attraction switches will get him his choice of women in a relationship that lasts for as long as he continues to act like a man.

It’s never too early to prepare to succeed, and not just no, but hell no, there is no such thing as being too prepared for success. If your relationship or marriage is anything less than a honeymoon now, it’s because you went in unprepared to sustain it.

If it is at honeymoon status right now, do you know that you know what it takes to sustain it, or are you just guessing that it will go on forever without you needing a back-up plan for when the novelty of the new relationship wears off and reality sets in? Be warned; you do indeed need one, because it won’t. Do you even know that there are chemical changes in men and women at between one and two years into a relationship that stop automatically providing the honeymoon spark? Ask anyone who’s been married more than a couple years where the magic went. They know it’s gone, but don’t know where.

One of the reasons that the average couple who has been married for two years or more has sex six times per year is this body chemistry change, but you can overcome it easily if you know what will compensate for it. And the good news is that compensating for that lost chemical costs you nothing, not even time and effort, once you’ve learned how it works.

So if that spark is gone and even if it’s been gone for years (I got an e-mail from a man a while back that said he and his wife had not slept in the same bed or had sex together in 18 years, they had stayed together by reason of religious convictions, and he had her back in his bedroom permanently the day after finishing my book), that doesn’t mean it’s too late for any of you. Unlike in Brad’s world, where windows of opportunity are very small, perhaps only seconds long, and the window tends to get slammed on your fingers because there are so many possibilities and little or no vested interest in a relatively new relationship, couples that have been together a couple years have a vested interest (“sweat equity,” kids, real estate, time, life, etc.) in continuing the relationship and will only let it go as a last resort.

Hence, where a wrong remark or sideways glance can ensure that you won’t have a second or third date (or maybe even her name and phone number!), a woman will give you months, maybe even years, to straighten up and fly right, especially if she knows that you’re making an effort, not to just do everything her way, but just to try to meet her in the middle on some basic issues, like understanding her when she speaks, being a stand-up guy who exercises a little personal authority, enjoys life with her, and protects her from boredom by giving her some excitement from time to time, all of which is far, far easier than you’d ever imagine.

We’re seeing that proven more with each passing day on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com. The women there are demonstrating everything I teach, boldly and bluntly, such as how important good kissing is, their favorite romance scenes in movies and what men can learn from them, the body language and other signals that they issue and get crazy when we miss them, and a lot more. And when you’re brain has turned to mush from absorbing too much information about women, there’s a lot of fun stuff happening in the hobbies forum to relax with, too! It’s all there for the taking, if you’ll just spend a few minutes to join us.

Being the guy every woman wants is never hard to do; indeed, much of it is quite natural, and the part that isn’t all that natural is still a lot of fun. Imagine, after all those years of telling those jokes about the genie who could build a bridge from Los Angeles to Hawaii but couldn’t grant a man’s wish to know everything he needed to know about women, you suddenly knew! How would that change your life? No matter how much you think it will, based on the history of my readers, I’ll bet it will still be more than you think, and for the better.

Or maybe you’d just rather sit and wait and let things blow up in your face, like it has for your friends. None of your friends saw it coming when it hit them either, did they? And how’s that working for them, by the way? All that business of having their family torn apart, losing half or more of everything they own, plus getting saddled with alimony and child support – yep, sounds like something every man looks forward to, huh?

Frankly, I’d rather have my testicles pounded flat with a meat tenderizer than to go through that mess. How about you?

It’s never too soon and seldom too late to get on the right path, the path to personal authority, success, and happiness. Even if she’s gone, she may not be gone for good, and if she is gone for good, there are a whole lot more that will be lucky and happy to take her place after you’ve read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and become one of the few of us whom women recognize at first glance as a man “who just knows what a woman wants.” Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy right now, or wait awhile and let things blow up in your face and catch you unprepared, so you can see if you handle disaster any better than your friends did. It’s your choice; choose well…

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

Sunday, December 04, 2011

How Many "I Love You's" Are Enough for a Great Relationship or Marriage?

MUST READ: Some women keep writing about wanting to hear the words “I love you” more often. Others write complaining they hear it too much! Just how much is enough?

There are times when women’s emotionally-driven drama and antics really get on our nerves as men. There are also some things that appear to be dramatic because they are so irrational, but are in fact not dramatic at all, and things that you need to be aware of and address when necessary. This is some of the most important information ever presented in this newsletter, contains advice for both men and women, and if you miss part of it you can absolutely wreck your relationship with what you skipped over, so read this carefully and in its entirety and make sure you understand it. First, meet Tasha:

Hi David,

Can you tell me how to get my husband to stop being a needy little twerp? Every time his mouth opens, he says, “I love you.” It’s like a compulsion. He can’t end a discussion, enter or leave a room, or hang up the phone without saying it. It’s more like a greeting than a declaration of any kind of feeling. He’s coming across to me as saying it just to get me to say it back to him. It’s been happening for a month now, constantly since we went to my high school reunion (20 years) and I saw my high school boyfriend there (and his wife and pictures of their five children) and we talked for about 20 minutes and had a dance. He’s making me nuts!

Please help,
Tasha


Tasha’s problem was handled privately by a coaching session with her husband, in which I helped him realize that a 20-minute conversation to catch up on 20 years of absence and a dance, which didn’t even turn out to be a slow, intimate dance, was nothing to worry about, but do you see her primary complaint? Too many “I love you’s” equated to habit and insecurity, not an expression of love. Now for the other side of the coin, meet Carol:

Dear David,

I have read every newsletter you have ever written, and I have read your book as well and loved it. I had to learn to do many of the things in your book since I was taught a totally different way to handle relationships. I am sorry to say that I was one of these women that would let a man into her life and then totally turn it over to him to run because I wanted to be led. I learned that I was not letting them lead me, but was letting them run over me. Now I see just how wrong and how dangerous it was to me and to my future to let men run my life.

The reason I am writing this letter is because I want to know something and I felt like you would be the one to help me answer this one.

I know that my boyfriend loves and wants to be with me and that I am the only one in his life, but I still like to hear it from time to time. I know that sounds like I may be needy or insecure, but I’m sure you know all women like to know that both parties in the relationship they are in have the same feelings. I am sorry if that is wrong but that is how I feel.

Thank you for your time,
Carol


My reply:

Hi Carol, and thanks for writing. I’m going to point out something to you here, something that I know you’ve read in past editions but may have missed the significance of, and then I’m going to clue you and everyone else in on why this is the way that it is and how men should handle it.

First, I want to caution you and all women, for reasons you will fully understand in a moment, that while the words “I love you” are good for an emotional rush, they should never be trusted in and of themselves, period. Your knowledge of whether a man or any other person loves you should come from their actions; a man, especially a psychopathic predator, could put a bullet or a cudgel right between your eyes or open your throat from ear to ear while saying “I love you,” but no man can keep up the act that creates the illusion of love for very long at all if it is indeed just an act. It doesn’t take a lot of testing and there’s no need for suspicion; simply check that his normal actions say that he loves you before accepting the words. For instance…

Does he beat the hell out of you and then say, “I’m sorry, Sweetheart! I really love you!” If he does, he’s a lying sack of crap.

Does he drink up his paycheck, and when he tells you there’s no money for groceries that week, say, “but I love you and everything will be okay”? No, he doesn’t. He loves his bottle, not himself or you.

Does he work at his job, come home, and spend quality time with you (and the kids if you have them)? Does he make decisions that consider how they will affect you as a couple? Does he treat you with respect, as if he values your company and your input, instead of putting you down or even worse, whining about how he can’t live without you? If so, listen when this guy says he loves you, even if he says it only silently through his actions, because he does. His actions prove it.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


Now to the hard part: Why is it that even the most secure women, those who live in a relationship in which it is blatantly self-evident from a man’s actions that he loves her deeply, constantly complain that they don’t hear “I love you” enough?

Guys, I have to admit that this evaded me for a long time, and it wasn’t until I learned how women communicate and about their socially-oriented nature that it made sense to me, and most of them are unaware of it as well, at least until it’s pointed out to them. You should have seen their faces when I asked them about it; it was like a light coming on when it struck home for them. Ready?

Women need to hear this because they are biologically-driven to need to hear it, just like they need to hear a verbal commitment to a relationship after a couple of months of dating or they walk out on a perfectly good thing. It’s part of the emotionally-driving biological mechanism that distinguishes their behavior, especially their socially-oriented nature and their communications methods and infrastructure, from ours.

They need to hear the words when they already know we love them because they are born communicators and also because they need that little romantic/dramatic lift that it creates when it “seals the deal.” They also need to see that we can say it frequently enough without blurting it out every few minutes like some needy wuss who spouts it like a litany to hypnotize her into staying around. It's like their need to share and emotionally milk their problems with their girlfriends; irrational, involuntary, and potentially self-destructive, but nonetheless a fact of life and a need that must be fulfilled, one way or another, by somebody.

Now, how much is enough? Or too much?

That depends on the woman, but generally speaking, no woman I’ve interviewed, when asked how she felt about the frequency with which her man said he loved her, who was satisfied said any more than once or twice a day (once every day or two was average), and for those who were dissatisfied, their men were at the extremes, either pestering or boring them to death with it nearly every time they spoke or going many days or even weeks without saying it at all. And hearing it without some context that tells that he was really feeling it at the moment was often mentioned as bad, too.

Take heed here: You can say it too often, as well as not enough. Women bore easily, and with most things, less is more, but there has to be some, because none is unacceptable. If you have a healthy love relationship, there should be some intimate moment come along every day or two, or even twice a day sometimes, that makes you realize how much you love this woman. When that happens, that’s when it’s good to tell her, because during those intimate moments is when she’d really like to hear it, and the situation and your body language will confirm that you’re feeling it, giving you credibility. It helps feed the emotions that she’s feeling, and if it’s honest, it’s right. No act, no routine, no pressure – simply letting it come out when it’s genuinely on your mind is likely to be just right.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, let “I love you” become a habit. We all hear so many people closing telephone conversations with it, as if it is some ritual greeting, and that’s bad because it makes the experience so mundane and boring. If you’re with somebody who has to hear it every time your mouth is open, that’s a HUGE red flag, because it’s not the emotion of love that she (or he) is feeling; it’s that really ugly one: NEED, the kind that breeds and feeds dependence and insecurity, the leper’s bell of a scarcity mentality at work and a high-maintenance dependent looking for someone to suck dry. And then you get to see the scarcity mentality’s really evil twin, entitlement mentality, up close and personal as this person becomes more and more demanding.

If that’s where you are, you’re in big trouble, and you need to do a serious evaluation of your relationship. And if you’re the one saying “I love you” too much as I’ve described because you want to hear it said back to you, you need to be doing something to develop some self-esteem, fast, or you are never going to find happiness, even briefly. There are several on our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, who are going through this process, realizing that they do have value and have the right to recognize it, and watching their evolution is both educational and inspiring. You should join us and check it out.

Relationships are only complicated when you don’t know enough about how they work, and/or about each other. Learning about them and each other doesn’t have to be a matter of reading an encyclopedia of dry, technical, academically-oriented psychological theories and then trying to apply it without knowing whether the theories even hold water. I’ve seen those books – they almost destroyed my marriage before realizing that I was going to have to figure it out on my own -- and if you’ve been looking for answers for your relationship, you’ve likely seen them as well.

They didn’t work for me, and indeed made things so much worse that I had to research and quite literally find enough answers to write my own book to have the improvement I needed. If those books worked for you, you wouldn’t be looking here, either, would you?

There’s a better answer, written in plain conversational English, that contains solid, tested explanations of how relationships really work, how women really think and speak, and what they really want, with examples and advice, and the best part is two-fold: you can afford it, and you can do what you find within it. Interested?

It’s called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and you can download it at http://www.makingherhappy.com and be reading it in the next few minutes. Go head, do it now, because while all the achievers are reading this book, getting answers and putting them to work to better their life, the losers are sitting around questioning whether it will work for them and going further and further down that unhappiest of all roads, relationship boredom and crisis.

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