Do Women Have An Agenda?

Do women have an ulte­rior motive when they start a relationship?

Oh, yes they do! Now, let’s see how this works. I under­stand that it is a gen­er­al­iza­tion, but we are gen­er­ally either men or women, so this would apply to all of us to a larger or smaller degree whether we are aware of it or not.

Every­one knows what a man’s agenda is, at least at the begin­ning of a “roman­tic” rela­tion­ship. It’s sex, loud and clear. We men of course will not admit it out loud, but that’s what we dream of when we encounter a woman we “like”. Women know that as well and they use it, con­sciously or not, to attract men.  So, now women know what we want, but are we men aware of what and if women want some­thing from us. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, yes, unless we get “roman­ti­cally” involved, i.e., fall in love. At that point we’d like to think that we swept them off their feet.  In other words, we pre­fer to be blind and have our ego take over. We like to think that a woman was attracted to us for who we are, because of our per­son­al­ity, because we are funny, well-built, macho, smart, intel­li­gent, good look­ing, etc. Usu­ally noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth.

Our agenda when we meet a woman we are attracted to is sex; women’s agenda — whether they know it or not – is a com­mit­ted rela­tion­ship lead­ing to mar­riage. Women don’t date, only men do. That all-encompassing motive may have any one of many sub-motives, including:

-    Want­ing to be res­cued from a frus­trat­ing life sit­u­a­tion
–    Want­ing to get away from con­trol­ling par­ents or a dis­sat­is­fy­ing rela­tion­ship with a man.
–    Want­ing to be taken care of, finan­cially and/or emo­tion­ally, specif­i­cally, want­ing some­one to pro­tect her from the things that she fears. Those may include being alone and being respon­si­ble for her­self, mak­ing deci­sions, deal­ing with money mat­ters, or deal­ing with the every­day stresses and con­flicts of life.
–    Want­ing to be val­i­dated as lov­able and attrac­tive.
–    Want­ing a baby.

Just as a man trans­forms a woman into an object when it comes to his dreams about sex, so does a woman uncon­sciously trans­form the man into an object. She is attracted to him for his poten­tial func­tion in her life, a motive she will deny because she wants to believe that her motive is pure love. Her denial is no dif­fer­ent from a man’s denial when he says, “I really do love you. I’m not just after sex.”

In my expe­ri­ence most of the rela­tion­ships that fall apart started with “love” of this sort: blind­ness or the denial of real rea­sons and agen­das most likely were at work at the time. Just by look­ing at how rela­tion­ships started one can pretty much pre­dict how they will end if there were no per­sonal devel­op­ment work involved i.e., if the aware­ness level has not been raised and each per­son came to grips with real­ity. Rela­tion­ships that start with such infat­u­a­tion usu­ally start dis­in­te­grat­ing as soon as the orig­i­nal needs and motives for start­ing the rela­tion­ship have been real­ized. The rea­son for “lov­ing” has dis­si­pated and the man becomes just another annoy­ing per­son with all his pos­i­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics which were the orig­i­nal rea­son for enter­ing into a rela­tion­ship with him turn­ing into faults. His being strong and tough becomes a bully and insen­si­tive, being suc­cess­ful into “never spend­ing enough time with the fam­ily”, being funny into always telling crude jokes, etc. This is not to say that men have no part to play in these dynamics.

Men are equally respon­si­ble because of their resis­tance to look­ing at the true nature of the rela­tion­ship in the first place, along with the need to believe the unbe­liev­able – namely, that they are irre­sistibly lov­able just for being themselves.

The inher­ent rea­son for such auto­matic behav­ior on both sides is well explained in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship so I’m not going to repeat it here. Suf­fice it to say that 15,000 years of liv­ing in sur­vival mode have cre­ated deep roots in our way of think­ing and deal­ing with real­i­ties, that we most of the time oper­ate on auto­matic and rarely stop to smell the roses and attempt to be authen­tic because being authen­tic, although seem­ingly dan­ger­ous at times, will not sum­mon a saber tooth tiger to threaten our very life.

Rela­tion­ships that start with a healthy atti­tude and gen­uine love – which is often con­fused with “being IN love” – have a much bet­ter chance of sur­vival. Maybe there is some­thing to be said in favor of “arranged” mar­riages, but I’ll leave that sub­ject for future articles.

Love to all,




Natural” Relationships

In the last few years since I’ve been sell­ing The Rela­tion­ship Saver and coach­ing peo­ple in their rela­tion­ships, I have come to see an inter­est­ing trend in age-old beliefs and behav­iors taken for granted, never ques­tion­ing whether they work or if there is a bet­ter way to do things. Namely, there are two things that we pre­sume come to us nat­u­rally: rela­tion­ships and par­ent­ing. What we mean by nat­u­rally is that we should have inborn knowl­edge of the best way to be in a rela­tion­ship as well as to rear our chil­dren. In fact, there are very few behav­iors that are genet­i­cally pro­grammed and they are mostly about basic sur­vival. The way we learn about rela­tion­ships and par­ent­ing is from our par­ents and the way they learned it is from their par­ents and so on. So, what we know about rela­tion­ships and par­ent­ing is largely learned behav­ior and has very lit­tle to do with “nat­ural” knowl­edge. Acquir­ing knowl­edge in this way might have been okay 5,000 years ago when tribal struc­tures were dom­i­nant and nec­es­sary in order to assure the sur­vival of the tribe. How­ever, most of us do not live in tribes any more and the knowl­edge that we acquire from our par­ents – which hap­pens mostly on a sub­con­scious level – is far from enough to ful­fill our desires for being in a great rela­tion­ship or bring up men­tally healthy children.

It is curi­ous to observe how far dif­fer­ent branches of sci­ence and phi­los­o­phy have come in learn­ing about human behav­ior as indi­vid­u­als and in soci­eties, and yet the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion is largely unaware of the knowl­edge avail­able to them. Tribal cul­tural pres­sure still dom­i­nates our way of think­ing; we still think that we “should nat­u­rally know” how to cre­ate great rela­tion­ships and rear happy chil­dren. We are able to go to the moon and dis­cover the secrets of the uni­verse, but we are unable to edu­cate our pop­u­la­tion in these two basic areas. We go to school to learn all sorts of things to make us more able to get a “job” and make money but when it comes to rela­tion­ship and par­ent­ing our igno­rance is painfully obvious.

I have come to believe that the most impor­tant sub­jects through­out the school years should be Rela­tion­ships because the “qual­ity of our rela­tion­ships deter­mines the qual­ity of our lives.” Of course, if that ever hap­pens — which I doubt it will any time soon since schools are not inter­ested in our hap­pi­ness — I will have to change my pro­fes­sion as a rela­tion­ship coach, and I’d be happy to do so, not because I do not enjoy it, but because my dream would be fulfilled.


Effective Communication vs. Arguments (2)

In the last arti­cle we talked about prepar­ing for dif­fi­cult and pos­si­bly emo­tion­ally charged con­ver­sa­tion. In this arti­cle we will see how to actu­ally con­duct an effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion that may promise the res­o­lu­tion of a conflict.

The Rela­tion­ship Saver rec­om­mends agree­ing with your part­ner. Dis­agree­ments are unfor­tu­nately, often more accu­rately called argu­ments. (See the def­i­n­i­tion of argu­ment in a dic­tio­nary or in the pre­vi­ous arti­cle “Effec­tive Com­mu­ni­ca­tion vs. Argu­ments (1)”.) You must have heard the tech­nique that helps in heated con­ver­sa­tions to say “and” instead of “but” in reply to a state­ment. It is just a small part that points towards an agreement.

There are two parts to every con­ver­sa­tion: speak­ing and lis­ten­ing. Well, this may seems very obvi­ous but hold your horses, there is more to it than meets the eye. Let’s see what we say and how we say it when we speak and how we lis­ten when we do not speak.

Psy­chol­o­gists have iden­ti­fied three cat­e­gories of peo­ple and their behav­iors when it comes to heated dis­cus­sions: those who digress to threats and name-calling (tch, tch…), those who revert to silent fum­ing (mak­ing you, or them­selves silently wrong), and those who speak openly, hon­estly and effec­tively. Not sur­pris­ingly, they dis­cov­ered by fol­low­ing cou­ples with all three ways of behav­ior for 10 years, that the 90% of cou­ples who were able to resolve their high-stake, con­tro­ver­sial and emo­tion­ally charged dif­fer­ences in a respect­ful and hon­est man­ner stayed together; those who did not, split up.

As far as speak­ing is con­cerned, if you want to be effec­tive you need to be brave, not fear­ful, open, not closed, hon­est, not deceit­ful, coop­er­a­tive, not com­pet­i­tive, will­ing, not withholding.

Courage is nec­es­sary when you are vul­ner­a­ble, when you are about to dis­close the under­belly of your rea­son­ing, being the nec­es­sary com­po­nent of hon­est con­ver­sa­tion that will make your part­ner and some­times your­self, under­stand your inten­tions behind your behav­ior. If you are com­mit­ted to resolv­ing dif­fi­cult issues you must love truth, more than sav­ing your face and sat­is­fy­ing your ego.

In start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion it is always good to begin with agree­ing with each other. So, find some com­mon ground where you may share an opin­ion or describe the sit­u­a­tion that both of you would agree on. Make sure both of you are clear on what you are going to have a con­ver­sa­tion about.

Just the facts, Ma’am.”  Make sure you do not con­fuse opin­ions and facts. You can usu­ally both eas­ily agree on facts, but opin­ions are your own. Inter­pre­ta­tions of the facts and mean­ings of the events are yours only. Own them and men­tion that they are yours. Do not say things like “You are a jerk. You were very rude and you hurt my feel­ings when you talked to me last night when you came home.” Notice that all these state­ments in one sen­tence start with you. Being rude and a jerk are totally your inter­pre­ta­tion and the mean­ing you gave to his behav­ior. Maybe his inten­tion was some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, so do not present that his being rude is a fact. Sec­ondly, no one can make you feel any­thing. You gen­er­ate your feel­ings, so be respon­si­ble for them. Yes, someone’s words or actions may trig­ger your feel­ings, but you must be response-able i.e., you have a choice in how to respond. Uncon­scious response is called reac­tion, which is auto­matic. When­ever you are express­ing your opin­ion, start the sen­tence with “I”. So, this leaves us with facts: he talked to you last night when he came home. That is a fact. Every moment dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you must strive to rec­og­nize what your opin­ions are and not con­fuse them with an objec­tive truth. Say­ing, you are a jerk is not stat­ing a fact. It is your opin­ion. The bet­ter way to say it is: “You came across to me (or, I saw you, or I thought you were) as a jerk and very rude last night. My feel­ings were hurt.”

Another part is mak­ing sure that you rec­om­mend some sort of action towards the res­o­lu­tion. If you want to have a con­ver­sa­tion that will pro­duce results you must deal with specifics as opposed to gen­er­al­i­ties. As I men­tion in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship, effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­sists of only two con­ver­sa­tions: effec­tive requests and effec­tive promises. Effec­tive means that requests and promises are the only con­ver­sa­tions that will move pos­si­bil­ity into real­ity. Noth­ing hap­pens with­out requests and ful­filled promises.
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Always explain the rea­son­ing behind your state­ments and be open to the input of the infor­ma­tion from your part­ner. In this way you will cut the amount of often-wrong assump­tions on his part. If you are cor­rectly under­stood, it may very well hap­pen that after your partner’s input and ideas you will change your mind for the ben­e­fit of a win/win out­come. Humil­ity does not mean giv­ing up your point of view. Your pur­pose is to explore the sit­u­a­tion together, not to aban­don your per­spec­tive. It may hap­pen that your part­ner starts get­ting aggres­sive. As long as you stick to your val­ues and fol­low the above rec­om­men­da­tions you will not fall into the trap of auto­mat­i­cally and emo­tion­ally react­ing to his aggres­sion. Remem­ber you are in charge of your experience.

Now, a few words about lis­ten­ing, or shall we call it enquiry? Some call it active lis­ten­ing. How­ever you call it, here are some help­ful prin­ci­ples that if fol­lowed may pro­duce noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle. We have two ears and one mouth, thus we should lis­ten twice as much as we talk. A few sug­ges­tions on how to lis­ten: no mat­ter how charged a sit­u­a­tion is you can always achieve almost com­plete dis­charge by pay­ing com­plete atten­tion while she talks. It is more than that. Lis­ten as if nuggets of gold are pour­ing out of her mouth. It does not mat­ter if you share her opin­ion or not. You are get­ting the infor­ma­tion about her think­ing process, men­tal state, and the inten­tion behind her behav­ior. You are tru­ing to get to the truth, to the bot­tom of it. Truth does not come out eas­ily at the first attempt. It takes repeated enquiry and safe environment.

By intently lis­ten­ing and being gen­uinely inter­ested instead of hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with your­self, prepar­ing answers and hav­ing opin­ions, try­ing to fin­ish her sen­tences and pre­sum­ing that you know what she wants to say because you “heard it so many times before”, you will encour­age her to say what truly is on her mind. Some­times even she may be sur­prised by the truth that comes out of her mouth that she was not even aware of. Dur­ing the process of lis­ten­ing, do not speak nor give answers or opin­ions unless asked to do so. The other jus­ti­fi­able time to say any­thing is to inquire as to under­stand bet­ter what she is try­ing to say. Do not offer your opin­ions, rebut­tals, crit­i­cisms and such. Be very inter­ested. Your body lan­guage has to be con­sis­tent with your inten­tion to lis­ten. Do not fid­get, doo­dle, scan the envi­ron­ment, cross your arms and such. Con­cen­trate on her words only. Once you hear what she had to say give it back to her by sum­ma­riz­ing it, so that she a) knows that she was heard, and b) that you know that you got it right with­out your inter­pre­ta­tions and arbi­trary mean­ings that you might have slapped onto what she said.

Do not give your opin­ions, com­ments or solu­tions with­out her con­sent. Ask if she wants to hear what you want to say. Very often peo­ple just want to be heard. Strange as it may sound, just lis­ten­ing and “get­ting it” may be enough to dis­solve any dis­agree­ment between you two.

Acknowl­edge her for what­ever you can and even for what you can­not. You’ve heard about “pay for­ward” instead of pay back. Acknowl­edg­ment is a per­fect plat­form for such a “pay­ment”. Acknowl­edg­ment is not sim­ply a reac­tion, polite expla­na­tion of what hap­pened in the past and cer­tainly not a manip­u­la­tive tool. Acknowl­edg­ment can be a very pow­er­ful incen­tive to agree­ment, under­stand­ing and encour­age­ment for inti­macy and even behav­ioral change if gen­uine. The core of effec­tive lis­ten­ing has noth­ing to do with tech­nique; it is an atti­tude. By pro­vid­ing lis­ten­ing to her, you show that you care. As the say­ing goes: “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.”

These few points in this arti­cle about speak­ing and lis­ten­ing are tools not to be used on your part­ner but with your part­ner.  These are coop­er­a­tion tools and not manip­u­la­tion tools. So, do not keep this knowl­edge to your­self. Share it with your part­ner. Make sure you do not do it in a con­de­scend­ing way.

Lastly, keep the con­ver­sa­tion in integrity, whole and com­plete, espe­cially com­plete, when there is noth­ing else to say or learn. If you think that for any rea­son you can­not fin­ish the con­ver­sa­tion make sure that you have the time and the place set for con­tin­u­ing it until complete.

If you fol­low these prin­ci­ples in any con­ver­sa­tion the like­li­hood of bet­ter­ment and/or con­tin­u­a­tion of a good rela­tion­ship is almost guaranteed.

Note: Fred Kofman’s phe­nom­e­nal book “Con­scious Busi­ness” inspired me to write this arti­cle. Thank you.


Effective Communication vs. Arguments (1)

Before we start talk­ing about argu­ments and effec­tive  com­mu­ni­ca­tion, let’s define what we mean by these terms.

com­mu­ni­ca­tion |kəˌmy­oōnəˈkā sh ən|
• the suc­cess­ful con­vey­ing or shar­ing of ideas and feelings

ORIGIN: late Mid­dle Eng­lish : from Old French comu­ni­ca­cion, from Latin communicatio(n-), from the verb com­mu­ni­care ‘to share’ (see communicate ).

Also, here is the def­i­n­i­tion of argu­ment for our pur­poses as well, so that we know what we are talk­ing about:

argu­ment |ˈär­gyəmənt|
• an exchange of diverg­ing or oppo­site views, typ­i­cally a heated or angry one.
• a rea­son or set of rea­sons given with the aim of per­suad­ing oth­ers that an action or idea is right or wrong.

ORIGIN: Mid­dle Eng­lish (in the sense [process of rea­son­ing] ): via Old French from Latin argu­men­tum, from arguere ‘make clear, prove, accuse.’

Now that it is clear what the dif­fer­ence is between the two let’s see how we can start com­mu­ni­cat­ing effec­tively instead of argu­ing. If you hap­pen to pre­fer argu­ing, than you can just skip this arti­cle. I will not be offended in the least.

Let’s say at the begin­ning that heated argu­ments and anger are caused by fear and loss of power. When we iden­tify with our opin­ions and posi­tions, we per­ceive any dis­agree­ment as a threat to our per­son. As if some­how our iden­tity will be dimin­ished if we admit that we may be wrong and thus lose an argu­ment. Being right becomes tan­ta­mount to per­sonal sur­vival. Need­less to say, this is com­pletely auto­matic reac­tion aimed at sur­vival of our ego. The first step in con­trol­ling anger is as always to become aware of it and then rec­og­nize that our fear is ground­less. We do not die from los­ing an argu­ment. This is the first step in trans­form­ing an argu­ment into com­mu­ni­ca­tion; chill out and lose the fear.

If you do not want to get into argu­ment in the first place, it is impor­tant to get a lit­tle pre­pared before hand as well as being aware of your behav­ior dur­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Before any encounter starts make sure that you have a mutual pur­pose, or agreed upon rea­son for the con­ver­sa­tion. In other words that both of you want to talk about some­thing although you may wish for dif­fer­ent out­come. This process of agree­ment starts with your com­mit­ment to have the issue resolved and dis­solved into a win/win sit­u­a­tion. With­out this ini­tial and unwa­ver­ing com­mit­ment on your part there is no hope for mean­ing­ful res­o­lu­tion, and argu­ments will most cer­tainly persevere.

So, in prepa­ra­tion for con­ver­sa­tion first learn what your partner’s story is. Do not pre­sume that you know. Your knowl­edge prob­a­bly comes from hearsay or from your inter­pre­ta­tions of his behav­ior. Either of these sources may be inac­cu­rate. Find out what infor­ma­tion you missed, or didn’t have access to. What past expe­ri­ences influ­enced him? What is his rea­son­ing why he did what he did? What were his inten­tions (not your inter­pre­ta­tions and thoughts about his inten­tions). What are his feel­ings? How this sit­u­a­tion affects him? What is at stake? While “find­ing out” his story make sure you are not spy­ing on him or doing any­thing out of integrity. As they say in court, ille­gally acquired evi­dence is not admis­si­ble. In your case, it kills the fur­ther con­ver­sa­tion about your issue and turns into the issue of trust.

Next thing is to express your views and feel­ings.  Your goal is to express your views and feel­ings about the sit­u­a­tion or an event clearly, hon­estly and respect­fully. A word of cau­tion: Express­ing your feel­ings does not mean that you “dump” your feel­ings onto your part­ner. You should talk about your feel­ings not demon­strat­ing them in your behav­ior. You can say that you are angry. But do not attack her to show her how much. With­out express­ing your feel­ings try to com­mu­ni­cate your views, inten­tions, feel­ings and con­tri­bu­tion to the prob­lem or the issue at hand. In other words you can share your story. If your part­ner is will­ing to lis­ten at all, the chances are that after such an hon­est and brave encounter you may start to actu­ally coop­er­ate and have a pro­duc­tive and mature con­ver­sa­tion where you will be able to brain­storm cre­ative ways to sat­isfy both of your needs and ensure a work­able way to resolve your conflict.

As it is impor­tant to have a mutual pur­pose for a con­ver­sa­tion it is as impor­tant to have mutual respect. You must con­sciously pre­pare for this in advance, cre­ate a mind­set. Any show of dis­re­spect for her will pro­duce a defen­sive reac­tion and con­ver­sa­tion will imme­di­ately become unsafe. The moment that dis­re­spect is shown the con­ver­sa­tion is no longer about the orig­i­nal pur­pose  – it is about defend­ing her dig­nity and at that point any com­mu­ni­ca­tion will come to a screech­ing halt. If you are shown dis­re­spect do not get “hooked”. Stay true to your val­ues and do not just auto­mat­i­cally, emo­tion­ally react. Keep show­ing respect and request that you be shown one if con­ver­sa­tion is to con­tinue. Keep eye on the ball i.e. on the orig­i­nal purpose.

Final step in prepa­ra­tion is to ensure that you have con­ducive envi­ron­ment for a con­ver­sa­tion, proper set­ting. (It is dif­fi­cult to have a good con­ver­sa­tion when you are not phys­i­cally com­fort­able, cold, in a noisy envi­ron­ment with no pri­vacy.) Do both of you have time, are you ready to have a frank dis­cus­sion, are both of you in a mood for tack­ling the prob­lems at hand, etc.?

Stay tuned.  Next time we will talk about some things to keep in mind dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion that will get your dif­fer­ences effec­tively resolved.

Fred Kofman’s phe­nom­e­nal book “Con­scious Busi­ness” inspired me to write this arti­cle. Thank you.


Trust — Venn Diagram

Venn Dia­grams are great tools for solv­ing prob­lems and mak­ing com­plex con­cepts clear. Try and make your own. It is fun and you may even get some valu­able insights. It cer­tainly makes you think.

Start from cen­ter, then fill in the cir­cles as com­po­nents that make, or con­sti­tute, the cen­ter. In the end fill in the inter­sec­tions of the cir­cles cir­cles to rep­re­sent the result of two cir­cles get­ting together.


Disagreements in Marriages and Relationships

In my last arti­cle we talked about how the attempt to make clear what we are actu­ally talk­ing about may resolve many repeat­edly frus­trat­ing arguments.

Here I am going to dig a lit­tle deeper into the causes of dis­agree­ments and argu­ments in rela­tion­ships. Why do cou­ples argue so much? You would think that since you will­ingly started your rela­tion­ship that you must have agreed on most issues and even in the areas where you ini­tially did not you thought that as rea­son­able peo­ple you would be able to work things out. Well, after months and years of being in a close rela­tion­ship not only did the dis­agree­ments not get bet­ter, they got worse.

We do not see things as they are.
We see things as we are.


Jean Piaget, the French child devel­op­ment psy­chol­o­gist, con­ducted a reveal­ing exper­i­ment. He gave a group of chil­dren a wooden block, which was painted red on one side and green on the other. After exam­in­ing the block he would show them the green side and ask them what color he was see­ing. Most chil­dren younger than five years old answered “green”. They were inca­pable of rec­og­niz­ing that the per­son on the other side could see some­thing dif­fer­ent than they did. Older chil­dren gave the cor­rect answer. They under­stood that while they were see­ing the green side of the wooden block, the researcher on the other side saw red. These chil­dren demon­strated that they had devel­oped a sense of per­spec­tive, the abil­ity to appre­ci­ate the sit­u­a­tion from another point of view.

How often in your rela­tion­ship have you behaved as if you were younger then five? How often do you think that your point of view is real­ity itself and if your part­ner does not see the sit­u­a­tion or event the same way you do, he/she is plain “wrong”. That is called onto­log­i­cal arro­gance, think­ing that what you think is real is real for every­one else as well, that you are right while every­one else who does not agree with you is wrong. When our daugh­ter, Diana, was five years old, she would say that she didn’t like mush­rooms because they were yucky. In fact, the oppo­site was true. Diana called mush­rooms “yucky” because she did not like them. She thought that any­one who liked mush­rooms had no taste: a typ­i­cal case of onto­log­i­cal arro­gance. Ontol­ogy is the branch of phi­los­o­phy that stud­ies the nature of real­ity. Onto­log­i­cal arro­gance is the belief that your per­spec­tive is priv­i­leged, that your way is the only way to inter­pret the sit­u­a­tion. If you see green every­one else must see green also, oth­er­wise they don’t know what they are talk­ing about. While onto­log­i­cal arro­gance is cute and endear­ing in chil­dren, it is much less charm­ing in adults – yet it seems to be preva­lent in adults. It may become quite dev­as­tat­ing for a rela­tion­ship if your onto­log­i­cal arro­gance adopts the behav­ioral atti­tude of “it’s my way, or the highway”.

In charged sit­u­a­tions most of us assume that we see things as they are; it is not so. We actu­ally see thing as they appear to us. Check it out for your­self. When was the last time that you met an “idiot” who thinks exactly like you do? Do you think that peo­ple who dis­agree with you are idiots, or you call them idiots because they dis­agree with you? (Instead of “idiot”, you may sub­sti­tute the epi­thet which you usu­ally use on your partner.)

The oppo­site of arro­gance is humil­ity. Humil­ity comes from the Latin word humus, mean­ing ground.  Being a hum­ble per­son, a per­son with onto­log­i­cal humil­ity, means that you real­ize that you do not have a spe­cial claim on real­ity or truth, it means that you are well grounded in real­ity. Remem­ber, the first step to trans­form­ing any sit­u­a­tion is being in a pro­found rela­tion­ship with what is so. You would under­stand that other people’s and your partner’s per­spec­tive are just as valid as yours and that they deserve respect and con­sid­er­a­tion. Onto­log­i­cal humil­ity makes sense on an intel­lec­tual level, but it is not our nat­ural atti­tude. It requires, at the min­i­mum the cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment of a six-year-old.

If we are to stop argu­ing, dis­agree­ing about every­thing, quar­rel­ing, scream­ing at each other, etc., and as a result feel not under­stood, deserted, resent­ful, angry, aloof, dis­ap­pointed, not loved or respected, we must stop behav­ing as five-year-olds. We must make an effort to be aware of our own per­spec­tive and point of view, allow oth­ers to have their own, and attempt to step into their shoes and see their per­spec­tive on the world. Only then would we be able to start to under­stand why they think what they do and why they do what they do. This does not mean that you have to be a psy­chol­o­gist and under­stand every “how” and “why” the other per­son thinks; respect­ing another’s point of view would be suf­fi­cient. Also, by prac­tic­ing onto­log­i­cal humil­ity it does not mean that you are giv­ing up your own per­spec­tive. It is quite hum­ble to say that mush­rooms are yucky as long as you add “for me”. You may be hum­ble and still assert your­self, your views are com­pletely valid, as long as you do not oblit­er­ate and inval­i­date or dis­re­gard your partner’s point of view. This is why I had a whole chap­ter on agree­ing with your part­ner and why I refer to it in The Rela­tion­ship Saver.

Dur­ing our lives we all have very unique expe­ri­ences on the basis of which we form our world-view, our men­tal model of the world.  Your men­tal model is your own par­tic­u­lar set of deeply ingrained assump­tions, gen­er­al­iza­tions, beliefs, and val­ues. From this model stem all the inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings we give to our expe­ri­ences. Mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions, as I men­tioned in other arti­cles, are not “out there”. They are formed “in-here”, in our minds, and everyone’s men­tal model is dif­fer­ent, some­times only slightly, but dif­fer­ent nev­er­the­less. We must start being aware of other people’s mind mod­els and start appre­ci­at­ing and under­stand­ing them if we want our own mean­ings and real­ity to be under­stood and appre­ci­ated by oth­ers. Only then can we aspire to start hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions as adults, and not as four-year-olds. We might even learn some­thing we didn’t know that we didn’t know. It’s time to grow up.

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Meanings And Arguments

Have you ever found that after argu­ing with some­one about some­thing for some time you real­ize that both of you are actu­ally talk­ing about the same thing, but express­ing it in a dif­fer­ent way? If we were to look into the causes of these argu­ments the first thing that comes to mind is mis­un­der­stand­ing the mean­ing that your argu­ing part­ner had in mind.

The begin­ning of wis­dom is call­ing things by their right names, Con­fu­cius said. Well, what are those “right names”? Who says what the “right” mean­ing of the word is? Dic­tio­nary? Yes, that’s at least one way to start. But if we look a lit­tle deeper into it we will see that words them­selves have no mean­ings; we give them mean­ings, and sup­pos­edly the mean­ing that most of peo­ple agree with is recorded in a dic­tio­nary. That’s all very well, but when did you look for some of the fol­low­ing words in the dic­tio­nary to see what is the gen­er­ally accepted mean­ing for democ­racy, cap­i­tal­ism, abuse, gov­ern­ment, respon­si­bil­ity, integrity, love, hap­pi­ness, rela­tion­ship, mar­riage, lis­ten­ing, hear­ing, truth, etc.?

And how often do you actu­ally check if the per­son you argue with gives the same mean­ing to words, con­cepts, behav­iors and events that you do? Mis­un­der­stand­ing means “a fail­ure to under­stand some­thing cor­rectly” accord­ing to a dic­tio­nary. But what “cor­rectly” means is not the same for you and your part­ner. Unless you know what the cor­rect mean­ing is for what­ever you are argu­ing about with your part­ner, you may be argu­ing until you turn blue in the face talk­ing about dif­fer­ent things and try­ing to prove your point, at the same time not under­stand­ing how he pos­si­bly can­not agree with you, etc.

I have a self-proclaimed neo-con friend who is very hon­est, gen­er­ous, eth­i­cal and moral guy, and I am some­where more on the left if I must choose sides with what I hope are the same per­sonal attrib­utes I have given him. We, of course, kept argu­ing about pol­i­tics, and nat­u­rally dis­agreed about almost every­thing until at one point I sug­gested that we define the terms we were talk­ing about: such as free­dom, democ­racy, cap­i­tal­ism, social­ism, gov­ern­ment and such. What we found out was that in our argu­ment we were talk­ing about com­pletely dif­fer­ent things con­sis­tent with the mean­ings each one of us gave to those words. No won­der we argued ad infini­tum. Once we agreed on the terms we were using, we, to our sur­prise, agreed about everything.

Think about what it is that you repeat­edly argue with your part­ner and try to dis­tin­guish the terms that you dis­agree on, for instance trust, being heard, being rec­og­nized, affirmed, taken care of, respect, fun, hurt. What does it mean for you and him to be a man/masculine or a woman/feminine? What do you mean when you say things like you never lis­ten to me, or you talk too much?

Aware­ness exer­cise: The moment you start dis­agree­ing with your part­ner, start look­ing for pos­si­ble words, phrases and con­cepts that may have a dif­fer­ent mean­ing for him/her. Take time out and hon­estly ask with­out any expec­ta­tions what it means for him/her.

Next time we will talk about other rea­sons we may dis­agree. Until then please prac­tice find­ing out the mean­ings oth­ers have about the points of your disagreements.



What Is Happiness?

In The Rela­tion­ship Saver I sug­gested that one of the actions you need to take is to be in high spir­its, cheer­ful and happy. As you have prob­a­bly noticed, it’s eas­ier said than done. Just decid­ing to be happy does not nec­es­sar­ily make you happy. So the ques­tion is, how do you achieve this eva­sive hap­pi­ness that every­one strives for?

First, we must dis­tin­guish what hap­pi­ness is and the ori­gin of “ the word hap­pi­ness.  The word happy orig­i­nated in Mid­dle Eng­lish and meant the same as lucky.  In my lan­guage, Serbo-Croatian, we have the same word for happy and lucky. What I find inter­est­ing is that most of us still treat our hap­pi­ness as luck, some­thing that we have no con­trol of, some­thing that just hap­pens or not — as if we have noth­ing to do with it. In other words, we often think that hap­pi­ness is some­thing that’s pro­duced by out­side events, like money, stuff, shop­ping, pos­ses­sions, other people’s love, respect, com­pli­ments, care, etc. We often say some­thing like, if such and such hap­pens (get pro­mo­tion, dif­fer­ent job, new car or clothes etc.) or if you were only to do so and so (buy me flow­ers, give me a com­pli­ment, have sex with me, etc.) it will make me happy.  We also say to our chil­dren that if they clean their room or have good grades we will be happy. So inad­ver­tently we teach our chil­dren gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion that they are not respon­si­ble for their own hap­pi­ness and should expect oth­ers to do some­thing for them, or that the out­side world and cir­cum­stances should adapt to their wishes so that they can find hap­pi­ness in life. Although some events may induce a feel­ing of hap­pi­ness and even tem­po­rary eupho­ria, hap­pi­ness is not merely a feel­ing. The dic­tio­nary says:

happy |ˈhapē|
adjec­tive ( –pier , –piest )
feel­ing or show­ing plea­sure or contentment

Hap­pi­ness is also con­tent­ment. Con­tent­ment is a state of hap­pi­ness and sat­is­fac­tion. So, hap­pi­ness is not merely a feel­ing it is a state of being.

So, how do we achieve a last­ing state of being happy? We must start with rec­og­niz­ing that any state we find our­selves in, whether it is hap­pi­ness or depres­sion, is gen­er­ated within our­selves, by us mak­ing mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions of the events that we find our­selves a part of. We often can­not influ­ence out­side events, but what we can always do is choose what inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings we give to those events. As I men­tioned ear­lier in my other writ­ings, mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions do not reside in events — they are solely a prod­uct of our own mind. There­fore, we have com­plete con­trol of how we inter­pret any event, although it cer­tainly does not seem like that some­times. We are in charge of con­ver­sa­tions with our­selves and unfor­tu­nately there is noth­ing new we can tell our­selves. What we do most of the time is auto­mat­i­cally regur­gi­tate the past in our mind, often blam­ing our­selves, feel­ing sorry for our­selves and in a word, being vic­tims and enjoy­ing it. Yes, there is a cer­tain plea­sure in being a vic­tim (more about this a lit­tle later).  Instead, we could use our intel­li­gence that only humans are endowed with and observe our thoughts and actu­ally choose what we want to think about. All right, so what could we think about in order to be happy?

You must be aware that your inter­pre­ta­tions an mean­ings are inti­mately con­nected to your set of val­ues. They are a dri­ving force behind how you per­ceive reality.

Now, what we need to do is estab­lish what our val­ues are. What is it that we value in our lives? Hon­esty, love, integrity, dig­nity, courage, rela­tion­ships, well­be­ing, pros­per­ity, co-operation and … add your own? I found that high­est val­ues that are not sub­or­di­nate to any other ones are truth, hap­pi­ness, free­dom, peace and love.
Now, ask your­self a ques­tion: how do I com­pro­mise my val­ues in every­day sit­u­a­tions in order to achieve cer­tain goals, such as being “suc­cess­ful”, mak­ing money, sur­viv­ing, keep­ing a job, main­tain­ing a rela­tion­ship, being loved, appre­ci­ated and respected? How often do you lie, cheat and deceive your­self and oth­ers in order to pro­duce a cer­tain result, to be suc­cess­ful? If that sounds too harsh for you, think of all those white lies and with­hold­ings of infor­ma­tion or truth in order to pro­duce or avoid a cer­tain reac­tion in oth­ers. Are all these actions that you are “forced” to do con­trary to your val­ues, which you ulti­mately want to man­i­fest in your daily life?

We are told that suc­cess brings hap­pi­ness, that suc­cess­ful peo­ple are happy. Look around you. Are they? Are you com­pro­mis­ing ful­fill­ment of your high­est val­ues by  achiev­ing inter­me­di­ate suc­cesses at any price, like mak­ing money, acquir­ing mate­r­ial things, win­ning a con­tract or some­one else’s “respect”, etc? It is fas­ci­nat­ing how we uncon­sciously grav­i­tate towards the things that ulti­mately mean very lit­tle to us and in the process we sac­ri­fice the very val­ues that moti­vate our behav­ior and make us happy. How often we do some­thing that we very well know we should not and that can be hurt­ful to some­one else and our lit­tle secret never gets recov­ered, but we fully well know that it was com­pletely con­trary to our beliefs of what is right and what is wrong. What often hap­pens is that they are exactly those behav­iors that we always dis­ap­prove of in pub­lic and make oth­ers wrong about. When­ever your emo­tions go ram­pant about cer­tain wrong doing of some­one else you may be sure that that is your own pro­jec­tion of what you do or did and which is con­trary to your val­ues. Those actions of yours and when rec­og­nized in oth­ers are cause of unhappiness.

So, you might have noticed here that hap­pi­ness lies in the process and not in the result. You can see that every action has two pur­poses. First you can act to move towards a desired result. Sec­ond, you act in order to express your val­ues. Align­ment between your behav­ior and your val­ues is a mea­sure of your high­est integrity. Your behav­ior always expresses your values-in-action. Your integrity hinges on whether your values-in-action agree with your essen­tial val­ues. The envi­ron­ment we find our­selves in con­stantly demands of us to make deci­sions and you inevitably face the ques­tion of pri­or­i­ties: you put integrity before suc­cess, or you put integrity sec­ond and go for suc­cess at all costs. It is fash­ion­able today, espe­cially since The Secret and The Law of Attrac­tion became pop­u­lar, to think that we are in total charge of our des­tiny and what hap­pens to us is of our doing. It often may be so, but it is a very sim­plis­tic way of think­ing. To actu­ally man­i­fest your real­ity requires much more than most peo­ple think, but I will leave that sub­ject for another arti­cle. Suf­fice it to say that other peo­ple may also be try­ing to man­i­fest their own real­ity in con­flict with our own, which may make things very com­plex and com­pli­cated. The fact for most of us is that most of the time we are thrown into sit­u­a­tions requir­ing that we sim­ply need to deal with them the best way we can. Think of play­ing cards. We are dealt a hand and we must play the best way we know how. In other words, we must acknowl­edge that God does not take sides (that is if you are reli­gious) and that we can­not change real­ity. But, there is still a lot we can do in any given sit­u­a­tion: we are in full con­trol of our inter­pre­ta­tions of any event and the choices we make. A sit­u­a­tion may not be in your con­trol, but you can always choose to act in integrity because you con­trol your own your thoughts and behavior.

Act­ing con­trary to your val­ues and com­pro­mis­ing your higher self for an inter­me­di­ate gain may rob you of the ulti­mate goal you want to achieve, to be happy now and in the future. This is the place where you have a choice between being a vic­tim of cir­cum­stances or being in charge of your life and your hap­pi­ness. By sim­ply look­ing into the future and solu­tions to your sit­u­a­tion and dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties instead of lament­ing how the life and the world is unfair, you will get empow­ered instead of vic­tim­ized, you will be con­tent know­ing that you are doing your best instead of feel­ing sorry for your­self and blam­ing oth­ers. Results are never guar­an­teed and we will fail more often than we would like to admit, mostly because of cul­tural pres­sures. But, when you are being in integrity through­out the process you will be happy even if you do not suc­ceed. You will know that you did the best you could because you did not com­pro­mise your val­ues and came out of it being in integrity, whole and com­plete. You will not relin­quish your power to the cir­cum­stances to deter­mine how you feel. You are always in charge.

In con­clu­sion, we may safely say that you will be happy when your behav­ior and your inten­tions are in sync with your val­ues, when you put the process before the result, when you are in integrity at all times. Wait­ing for cir­cum­stances, envi­ron­ment and other peo­ple to change and make you happy is a pre­scrip­tion for depres­sion, frus­tra­tion and mis­ery and a life of per­pet­ual vic­tim­hood. All you can do is what you do to live your life with­out com­pro­mise guided by your val­ues, and that is more than any­one else can do for you.

As you might have noticed, the prin­ci­ple of integrity applies to every area of your life with­out excep­tion. I want to leave you with the ques­tion: where have you been out of integrity, for­get­ting and com­pro­mis­ing your true val­ues in your rela­tion­ship? How often do you expect oth­ers to make you happy? Are you a vic­tim, or are you in charge of your life, con­tent and happy?
I wish you all the hap­pi­ness in the world.



Are You A Yea Or A Naysayer?

Here is how you can, with one almost mag­i­cal touch, not only repair, but have your rela­tion­ship back again.
One of the first things I say in The Rela­tion­ship Saver is that if you want to start repair­ing your rela­tion­ship you will have to start agree­ing with your part­ner. The first think that may think about when I say this may be some­thing like, “Why or how should I agree when he/she ______.” Before you start defend­ing your posi­tion on this issue stop and think what result you want to achieve. I pre­sume that you want him/her to change their mind and agree with your point of view. Of course you do, because your point of view is bet­ter, right, fair, cor­rect, eas­ier, more log­i­cal, etc., and, it may very well be so. But, again, think about what out­come you want and whether forc­ing the out­come would work. You might have noticed that it does not, espe­cially in con­fronting sit­u­a­tions. When your rela­tion­ship is fine, when you are in love, when you have noth­ing to lose includ­ing your face and your pride it is easy to agree, but in a sit­u­a­tion when things are not going well, sur­vival kicks in and you are dri­ven to pro­tect your­self and coerce your part­ner to be on your side so that you can feel safe again. Say­ing no in such sit­u­a­tions is auto­matic, backed up with sheer hope that if you say no over and over again that some­how he/she will see the light. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, it almost never works. Your part­ner finds him/herself in the same sit­u­a­tion like you, defend­ing his/her posi­tion and try­ing to sur­vive the sit­u­a­tion just as well as you do. So, your instinc­tual reac­tion to a dis­agree­ment from your part­ner is to dis­agree as well and then the rela­tion­ship rapidly spi­rals down­ward out of con­trol. Although it may be counter intu­itive, to stop the down­ward spi­ral from plum­met­ing you need to stop react­ing. Notice that re-action means tak­ing the same action over and over again. The way out of this quag­mire is to do some­thing totally oppo­site: AGREE. Start say­ing yes. Since no does not work any more, yes might, and this is why. Say­ing yes is unex­pected. It inter­feres with the flow of the down­ward spi­ral, stops the process of react­ing to one another. When he says that he is going to do some­thing that you may not agree with and you put a cog in the wheel by say­ing okay, at that moment he will have to take respon­si­bil­ity for his actions. At that moment he does not have to react to you any more by doing it “just because ______.” By say­ing yes you may not stop her from doing what she is bent on doing any­way, but by being okay with what­ever she wants to do you will stop the ani­mosi­ties in your rela­tion­ship. I should men­tion that by say­ing yes it does not mean that you actu­ally want your part­ner to go through with his choice action, and of course he will know that , but what you will do is show respect for his deci­sions even if you do not like them.

As you might have noticed, say­ing Nay most often does not make the world com­ply with our wishes, but by say­ing Yea we get in tune and agree­ment with real­ity instead ask­ing real­ity to change to our wishes. It never does any­way. In The Rela­tion­ship Saver one of the first rules for repair­ing your rela­tion­ship is being happy. It is no coin­ci­dence that the first rule of com­edy improv is never to say “no”, because it stops the con­ver­sa­tion in it’s tracks. You must have heard it before that if you want to have a effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion never say “yes but” because it has the same mean­ing as no. Instead you may say “yes and” which means “I agree”. Agree­ing with your part­ner is another rec­om­men­da­tion of The Rela­tion­ship Saver.

In con­clu­sion, the first step to change is being able to be pro­foundly related to what is. Unless you are able to fall in line with the real­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, you have no hope of chang­ing it. Liv­ing in a la-la land of your thoughts and wishes, divorced from real­ity and negat­ing it, is not only inef­fec­tive and unre­al­is­tic, it is down­right child­ish. It is time to grow up even if you do not want to, for your own sake!!!



Truth, Opinions and Points of View

I am sure you’ve had a lot of expe­ri­ences where your opin­ion about some­thing was com­pletely dif­fer­ent to other people’s point of view. It can be quite frus­trat­ing to have some­one argue against what you know to be true. When­ever some­one dis­agrees with your point of view you are quite cer­tain that that per­son either does not under­stand, is stu­pid, not as well informed as you are, did not have the expe­ri­ence you’ve had or that he knows that you are right, but does not want to admit it. All these jus­ti­fi­ca­tions – and feel free to add your own – are the proof that your point of view is cor­rect and that other peo­ple are at least wrong if not down­right delu­sional. So how is it pos­si­ble that other peo­ple do not see some­thing that is so obvi­ous to you? How can they be so short­sighted or illog­i­cal, lack com­pas­sion or love, be so incon­sid­er­ate and cruel or what­ever the par­tic­u­lar case may be? Some­times you find your­self won­der­ing whether the whole world has gone mad or if it is just you.

In order to be able to explain this phe­nom­e­non we must first dis­tin­guish what we are talk­ing about, i.e. , point of view and opin­ion. Def­i­n­i­tions from the dic­tio­nary may be of assis­tance here:

opin­ion |əˈpinyən|


a view or judg­ment formed about some­thing, not nec­es­sar­ily based on fact or knowl­edge : I’m writ­ing to voice my opin­ion on an issue of great impor­tance | that, in my opin­ion, is dead right.

the beliefs or views of a large num­ber or major­ity of peo­ple about a par­tic­u­lar thing : the chang­ing cli­mate of opinion.

( opin­ion of) an esti­ma­tion of the qual­ity or worth of some­one or some­thing : I had a higher opin­ion of myself than I deserved.

a for­mal state­ment of advice by an expert on a pro­fes­sional mat­ter : seek­ing a sec­ond opin­ion from a specialist.

Law a for­mal state­ment of rea­sons for a judg­ment given.

Law a lawyer’s advice on the mer­its of a case.


be of the opin­ion that believe or main­tain that : econ­o­mists are of the opin­ion that the econ­omy could contract.

a mat­ter of opin­ion some­thing not capa­ble of being proven either way.

ORIGIN Mid­dle Eng­lish : via Old French from Latin opinio(n-), from the stem of opinari ‘think, believe.’


When you give your opin­ion on some­thing, you offer a con­clu­sion or a judg­ment that, although it may be open to ques­tion, seems true or prob­a­ble to you at the time (: she was known for her strong opin­ions on women in the work­place).

A view is an opin­ion that is affected by your per­sonal feel­ings or biases (: his views on life were essen­tially opti­mistic), while a sen­ti­ment is a more or less set­tled opin­ion that may still be col­ored by emo­tion (: her sen­ti­ments on aging were shared by many other women approach­ing fifty).

A belief dif­fers from an opin­ion or a view in that it is not nec­es­sar­ily the cre­ation of the per­son who holds it; the empha­sis here is on the men­tal accep­tance of an idea, a propo­si­tion, or a doc­trine and on the assur­ance of its truth (: reli­gious beliefs; his belief in the power of the body to heal itself).

A con­vic­tion is a firmly held and unshak­able belief whose truth is not doubted (: she could not be swayed in her con­vic­tions), while a per­sua­sion (in this sense) is a strong belief that is unshak­able because you want to believe that it’s true rather than because there is evi­dence prov­ing it so (: she was of the per­sua­sion that he was inno­cent).

As you might have noticed, nowhere in these def­i­n­i­tions can you find that your opin­ion equals the truth. I heard so many peo­ple say, “It’s my truth”, and they leave it at that, as if their truth some­how becomes true and just as valid as The Truth itself. Of course they find many rea­sons and other opin­ions that attempt to jus­tify their opin­ion, but the bot­tom line is that all these rea­sons and excuses are just plau­si­ble sto­ries that often prove noth­ing. In fact it still boils down to no more that mere over­rated opin­ion. So how do you dis­tin­guish between truth and opin­ion? Let’s start by rec­og­niz­ing that we rarely come face to face with the truth. Objec­tive truth is a very elu­sive con­cept, and it is a con­cept because “the truth” does not exist in the mate­r­ial world. It is always and only an INTERPRETATION and MEANING that we give to any par­tic­u­lar event. Events have no mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions imbed­ded in them, they are not an inte­gral part of ANY event. Inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings are fully and wholly gen­er­ated by human minds and do not exist in nature per se. (Of course this is only my opin­ion.) Nev­er­the­less, like any­thing else, our opin­ions serve a very use­ful role in our lives and like any tool they can be used or abused. Now, how do you know if your opin­ions serve you or not? This is eas­ier said than done, but every bit worth prac­tic­ing. Self-awareness is the first step. Being con­scious and able to per­ceive your behav­ior when you are adamantly assert­ing that your opin­ion is the cor­rect one may make you aware of the futil­ity of your approach to the sit­u­a­tion and open your eyes to other pos­si­bil­i­ties and more effi­cient and effec­tive ways to deal with the sit­u­a­tion. Under­stand­ing that the inter­pre­ta­tions and beliefs we hold so dear come from our past expe­ri­ences and have become part of our per­son­al­i­ties and which we can­not lightly dis­miss, may help us rec­og­nize that other people’s opinions/truths as well as our own are just dif­fer­ent points of view. A point of view is just that: a point from which we view the world. Prob­lems arise when we neglect to rec­og­nize that from the point we see the world or an issue, has one major short­com­ing: we do not see the very point from which we make our obser­va­tion because we are stand­ing on it. Rec­og­niz­ing that there can be more than one point from which the world can be observed and thus be seen in a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive will allow us to be more flex­i­ble in our rela­tion­ships with others.

In con­clu­sion, remem­ber that many truths through­out his­tory were debunked and nowa­days make no sense even to a child but in the past were held as irrefutable truths. Think of the earth as being the flat cen­ter of the uni­verse. How about all the gods of ancient Greece and Rome? Newton’s physics is not the final word on our uni­verse any more either. At a more mun­dane level, you may find that what­ever you thought to be true about your par­ents, your part­ner or your chil­dren may not be so, for the time being anyway.

From all this you may be tempted to come to the con­clu­sion that there are many truths and that they all may be equal. That cer­tainly is not so. Some truths are more equal than oth­ers or some opin­ions are bet­ter than oth­ers. Cer­tain truths may be more true to some than to oth­ers depend­ing on the con­text because con­text in which opin­ions and “truths” arise is deci­sive. We’ll talk about con­text some other time. Stay tuned.



Monogamy isn’t easy, naturally.

Right-wing pro-marriage advo­cates are cor­rect: Monogamy is def­i­nitely under siege. But not from unclos­eted polyamor­ists, ado­les­cent “hook-up” advo­cates, rad­i­cal fem­i­nists, God­less com­mu­nists or some vast homo­sex­ual con­spir­acy. The cul­prit is our own biology.

Researchers in ani­mal behav­ior have long known that monogamy is uncom­mon in the nat­ural world, but only with the advent of DNA “fin­ger­print­ing” have we come to appre­ci­ate how truly rare it is. Genetic test­ing has recently shown that even among many bird species — long touted as the epit­ome of monog­a­mous fidelity — it is not uncom­mon for 6% to 60% of the young to be fathered by some­one other than the mother’s social part­ner. As a result, we now know sci­en­tif­i­cally what most peo­ple have long known pri­vately: that social monogamy does not nec­es­sar­ily imply sex­ual monogamy.

In the movie “Heart­burn,” the lead char­ac­ter com­plains about her husband’s phi­lan­der­ing and gets this response: “You want monogamy? Marry a swan!” But now, sci­en­tists have found that even swans aren’t monog­a­mous. (Nor are those widely admired emperor pen­guins, whose sup­posed march to monogamy was mis­con­strued from another pop­u­lar movie; their domes­tic­ity lasts only for the cur­rent breed­ing sea­son — next year, they’ll find new mates.)

For some, find­ings of this sort may mit­i­gate a bit of the out­rage vis­ited on the cur­rent and future crop of adul­ter­ers du jour, recently includ­ing but assuredly not lim­ited to Eliot Spitzer, Mark San­ford, John Ensign and John Edwards. For oth­ers, it sim­ply shows that men are clue­less, irre­spon­si­ble oafs. The sci­en­tific realty, how­ever, is more nuanced, and more inter­est­ing, espe­cially for those look­ing to their own mat­ri­mo­nial future.

First, there can be no seri­ous debate about whether monogamy is nat­ural for human beings. It isn’t. A Mar­t­ian zool­o­gist vis­it­ing planet Earth would have no doubt: Homo sapi­ens car­ries all the evo­lu­tion­ary stig­mata of a mildly polyg­a­mous mam­mal in which both sexes have a pen­chant for occa­sional “extra-pair copulations.”

But nat­ural isn’t nec­es­sar­ily good. Think about earth­quakes, tsunamis, gan­grene or pneu­mo­nia. Nor is unnat­ural bad, or beyond human poten­tial. Con­sider writ­ing a poem, learn­ing a sec­ond lan­guage or mas­ter­ing a musi­cal instru­ment. Few peo­ple would argue that learn­ing to play the vio­lin is nat­ural; after all, it takes years of ded­i­ca­tion and hard work. A case can be made, in fact, that peo­ple are being max­i­mally human when they do things that con­tra­dict their biol­ogy. “Doing what comes nat­u­rally” is easy. It’s what non­hu­man ani­mals do. Per­haps only human beings can will them­selves to do things that go against their “nature.”

And finally, even though any­one aspir­ing to gen­uine monogamy will, on bal­ance, have to swim upstream against the cur­rent of his or her evo­lu­tion­ar­ily bequeathed incli­na­tions, there are also con­sid­er­able bio­log­i­cal forces sup­port­ing such efforts. Some ani­mals man­age to be monog­a­mous. Cal­i­for­nia mice (Per­omyscus cal­i­for­ni­cus), for exam­ple, pair up and remain paired, for­sak­ing all oth­ers, largely because of the pay­off derived from hav­ing two par­ents to care for off­spring. Beavers estab­lish last­ing pair-bonds that enable them to coop­er­ate in build­ing a valu­able, com­plex home site. The Mala­gasy giant jump­ing rat has evi­dently made the jump to monogamy because of the predator-fighting ben­e­fits thereby pro­vided. And among pygmy mar­mosets, monogamy gives males uncon­scious con­fi­dence of their pater­nity, which in turn sup­ports their incli­na­tion to be unusu­ally paternal.

And human beings? Our species ben­e­fits greatly from bi-parental care. We can profit from shared, rec­i­p­ro­cated effort, espe­cially when we’re con­fi­dent both part­ners will be around for the long term. In addi­tion, human beings are endowed with an array of hard-wired traits that can be used to strengthen monogamy, among them a pen­chant (per­haps even a need) to attach and con­nect so-called mir­ror neu­rons that under­lie empa­thy; hor­monal sys­tems, such as those involv­ing oxy­tocin and vaso­pressin, that relate sex­ual sat­is­fac­tion to pair-bonding; and neural plas­tic­ity that pro­motes the strength­en­ing of brain cir­cuits asso­ci­ated with repeated reward mech­a­nisms — includ­ing, in all like­li­hood, those acti­vated via inter­ac­tions with the same individual.

Add to this the fact that peo­ple have big brains, and hence, an abil­ity to res­cue monogamy from monot­ony, as well as the capac­ity to imag­ine the future and a vis­ceral dis­like of dis­hon­esty, and the effect of biol­ogy on monogamy becomes com­plex indeed. Not to men­tion the adap­tive sig­nif­i­cance of that thing called love.

To be sure, monogamy isn’t easy; nor is it for every­one. But any­one who claims that he or she sim­ply isn’t cut out for monogamy misses the point: No one is. At the same time, no one’s biol­ogy pre­cludes monogamy either.

As Jean-Paul Sartre famously advised (albeit in a dif­fer­ent con­text): “You are free; choose.”

David P. Barash, an evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gist, is a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton. His most recent book — coau­thored with Judith Eve Lip­ton — is “Strange Bed­fel­lows: The Sur­pris­ing Con­nec­tion Between Sex, Evo­lu­tion and Monogamy.”


I Said I Was Sorry

by Mark Gun­gor on Octo­ber 5th, 2009

In my Laugh Your Way to a Bet­ter Mar­riage sem­i­nar I explain in detail how a man’s brain tends to com­part­men­tal­ize things. It’s like men have sep­a­rate boxes in their heads for every­thing: money, sex, kids, wife, in-laws, etc. And for a guy these boxes don’t touch. He thinks about one thing at a time and then moves on to the next thing since one box isn’t con­nected to another.

Then I go on to explain how a woman’s brain is like a big ball of wire where every­thing is con­nected to every­thing and there is no com­part­men­tal­iz­ing at all. Money can be con­nected to the in-laws and sex can be con­nected to the kids. Things can run together very eas­ily in a woman’s brain.

These two very oppo­site ways of think­ing and pro­cess­ing cause men and women to com­mu­ni­cate in very dif­fer­ent ways. There is one area this is par­tic­u­larly evi­dent and often problematic–the apol­ogy. Because men have this unique abil­ity to com­part­men­tal­ize, a guy can go to his “apol­ogy box”, say he’s sorry for some­thing he did, close that box and then move on to the next task or thing to think about. In his mind he took care of it, he said he was sorry, it’s done and life goes on.

Not so for a woman. When she has been crossed or hurt for some rea­son, the con­nec­tions in her brain make it impos­si­ble to com­part­men­tal­ize. She may attach all sorts of rea­sons, feel­ings, and ideas to that one inci­dent. While her hus­band has moved on to other ter­ri­tory, she hasn’t because it may take her some time to process her emo­tions and thoughts. So when a woman is still upset, sad or hurt for a cou­ple of days (some­times weeks depend­ing on the infrac­tion) it is often a puz­zle to the man. Guys will then per­ceive their wives as hold­ing onto a grudge, being unfor­giv­ing and unwill­ing to move on, and they can become very frus­trated. After all, he said he was sorry, why can’t she just get past it?

Because of the way women are wired with all these con­nec­tions in their brains, it’s more dif­fi­cult for them to get past the hurt. It’s actu­ally a really good thing for you guys because this is what allows her to put up with your non­sense! You mess up and say and do hurt­ful things and she’s still there because women have this abil­ity to form deep con­nec­tions. It truly works for men this way, but when you do some­thing extremely hurt­ful, it works against you; you will have to fix it, and that may take some time.

I hear tales all the time of men who have done hurt­ful things—huge things like hav­ing an affair or smaller things like say­ing some­thing very mean and spiteful—and then they say, “I’m sorry” and expect it all to go away. When it doesn’t these guys get upset and throw it back on their wives because his wife “can’t get over it”. It just doesn’t work that way for women. Men need to learn that push­ing her to “move on” isn’t the answer. The answer is for you to own the prob­lem that you created.

It’s not her prob­lem of unfor­give­ness. It’s not that she won’t accept your apol­ogy. She’s still hurt­ing and it’s going to take some time for her to get over it. Men see absolutely no con­nec­tion between the offense and the con­tin­ued emo­tions. It’s like they dropped the atomic bomb but don’t real­ize that there is fall­out beyond the ini­tial explo­sion that they will have to keep clean­ing up and deal­ing with. Men, when you hurt your wife and you see she’s still deal­ing with it, don’t you dare turn that around and put it on her. You look at your wife and say, “I see you are still hurt­ing. I under­stand this is still painful. I real­ize I did this to you. I’m sorry.” Then shut up! Don’t defend your­self, make excuses or blame her. Every time you see it, you own it. Even if you have to do it a 100 times. That’s just the way it is.

Remem­ber guys, when it comes to apolo­gies, there is no “apol­ogy box” in your wife’s brain. Don’t make the mis­take of think­ing or say­ing, “I said I was sorry! Just move on!” Don’t put the rap on her, or she will end up think­ing you are not sorry at all.


On Being Right II

Hav­ing trou­ble in your rela­tion­ship?  Here are three sug­ges­tions how to get it going again.

1.  Give up your right to be right.

It feels sooo good to be right!  I do not know a sin­gle per­son who does not enjoy it. It makes us smart, intu­itive, more respected and liked. Right? Not really. Espe­cially in our rela­tion­ship, when we insist on being right, fight over an issue, try to prove our­selves, look for approval, and behave aggres­sively. In fact, when we try to be right we make it impos­si­ble to have a con­ver­sa­tion. We can’t really talk to each other, and there­fore, we can’t be in a relationship.

How many rela­tion­ships do you know that have fallen apart due to one person’s unwill­ing­ness to give up the right to be right? You may even say: “But he/she was right. It’s the fact. I know it”. But it really comes down to a mat­ter of pri­or­i­ties. What is your pri­or­ity when it comes to a dis­agree­ment; to be right and dam­age your rela­tion­ship, or to really com­mu­ni­cate and help your rela­tion­ship flourish?

Giv­ing up your right to be right does not mean that you are going to let any­one abuse you in any way. It just means allow­ing the other per­son to have their point of view, which you are will­ing to con­sider, or agree to disagree.

If you are right, then you make the other per­son WRONG. No one likes to be wrong.  It would be much smarter to lis­ten to the other per­son and rec­og­nize what works with their point of view instead of what does not.

2.  Lis­ten

Most of us pre­fer to be heard, to say what we want to say, to express our­selves, to get our point across. What would it look like if all of us would do that all the time out loud? There would be no one to lis­ten. Every­one would be talk­ing. In fact, this is exactly what is hap­pen­ing all the time, except that we are talk­ing to our­selves while pre­tend­ing to lis­ten. We even pre­tend with our body lan­guage to lis­ten when instead we are judg­ing and assess­ing, eval­u­at­ing, think­ing about what we would say next, think­ing about some­thing entirely dif­fer­ent, or just sim­ply check­ing out. We have so much invested in what we think that we actu­ally believe that our own real­ity is the only valid and the right one, that only our inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings are real, good, right and true. We do not even try to con­sider other peo­ples views. We just com­pare them with our own views. If they match, then they are right.  If they don’t, then they are wrong. What’s more, we have fixed expec­ta­tions about what we will hear from the other per­son – espe­cially the ones close to us –that we have already decided about it. We hear what we want to hear and NOT what’s being said. What are the chances of the other per­son say­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and actu­ally being heard? As far as you are con­cerned, the chances are prob­a­bly nonexistent.

Con­sider how your rela­tion­ship, and in fact your life, would change if you were to lis­ten to the other per­son as if they may have some­thing cru­cially impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate to you. What if you could actu­ally learn some­thing extra­or­di­nary if you only lis­tened with­out all the thoughts that fill your mind? You might actu­ally hear some­thing. You might even dis­cover some­thing won­der­ful and new about the other per­son that would be so sur­pris­ing to you, and your whole rela­tion­ship might shift. We were not given two ears and one mouth for noth­ing. Just con­sider that.  Try it out. Your rela­tion­ship will improve by leaps and bounds.

3.  Be vulnerable

Both of the above skills require you to let your guard down. By talk­ing and being right we think we are assert­ing our­selves. Instead what is really hap­pen­ing is that our ego takes con­trol.  Our ego has only one agenda: to be right in order to sur­vive. We are still dri­ven by the neces­sity to sur­vive a saber-tooth tiger, but our lower brain with thou­sands of years pro­gram­ming does not dis­tin­guish between a saber-tooth tiger and a sim­ple con­ver­sa­tion. In for both cases adren­a­lin kicks in. So, every con­ver­sa­tion auto­mat­i­cally becomes a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion for us. The only thing that will save us from this self-destructive behav­ior, is to use our abil­ity to self-reflect and become highly self-aware, to observe our thoughts, feel­ings and actions. In other words, ask your­self a ques­tion: What the hell am I doing? Am I under­min­ing my rela­tion­ship and my hap­pi­ness by try­ing to sur­vive? Sur­vive WHAT? My recommendation…learn to be vul­ner­a­ble. There is really noth­ing to sur­vive. The only way to have a great rela­tion­ship is to let your guard down and be vul­ner­a­ble. Besides, being vul­ner­a­ble is very charm­ing and attrac­tive.  Try it!

Aware­ness exercise:

•    How impor­tant to you is it to be right in a con­ver­sa­tion?  (scale of 1 to 10)
•    Think of some past con­ver­sa­tion that has dam­aged your rela­tion­ship. Was it worth it?
•    Pay atten­tion to what goes on in your mind when you are lis­ten­ing to some­one talk­ing, espe­cially when you have some­thing invested in the out­come.
•    Notice your feel­ings when you think you are in a vul­ner­a­ble position.







Ego In A Relationship

ego |ˈēgō|
noun ( pl. egos)
a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance

I am not a psy­chol­o­gist, so I’m not going to go in depth about all the facets of ego, super ego, etc. For the pur­poses of this arti­cle, I will con­cen­trate on the above def­i­n­i­tion and what it means for rela­tion­ships. In this “new age” we often hear that in order to be spir­i­tu­ally and even morally and eth­i­cally advanced we must shed our ego because it is some­how in our way. Hav­ing an ego, or a large ego (what­ever that means), in our mod­ern cul­ture is a bad thing. Noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth.

Ego is not only indis­pens­able – you can­not get rid of it because it is part of your per­son­al­ity – but also very nec­es­sary in order to have, as it says above, a sense of self. Now, we can talk about a healthy or unhealthy, bal­anced or unbal­anced ego. Where in our rela­tion­ship does this ego, or sense-of-self, come into play? A per­son who has low self-esteem is prone to being a vic­tim, depressed, a drug addict, an alco­holic, etc. The other man­i­fes­ta­tion for low self esteem (the self-importance part) is when one’s ego is arti­fi­cially boosted, which usu­ally hap­pens in order to com­pen­sate for some short­com­ing. These peo­ple hav­ing a low self-esteem will do any­thing to mask it, hide it, pre­tend that they have high self-esteem and try to con­vince oth­ers of the same. They develop their own kind of sur­vival strat­egy doing oppo­site of the ones who acknowl­edge it and exhibit their depres­sion, vic­tim­hood and other short­com­ings, by being overly ambi­tious and very suc­cess­ful (which doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make them happy), or become bul­lies, abusers, right­eous fanat­ics, or even crim­i­nals. Exhib­ited low self-esteem and con­versely exag­ger­ated self-importance are detri­ment to one’s grasp of real­ity, thus cre­at­ing a dis­cord between their own per­cep­tion of them­selves and that of others.

Curi­ously enough, our cul­ture treats low self-esteem as nor­mal, espe­cially if our behav­ior com­pen­sates for it; in other words if we pre­tend well oth­ers buy into it. In my prac­tice I have never met a per­son with gen­uinely high self-esteem. Peo­ple with “very high self-esteem” and grandiose think­ing are con­sid­ered to have delu­sional dis­or­ders (isn’t low-self esteem delu­sional as well?), and are usu­ally put into insti­tu­tions under the guise of Napoleons and Cleopa­tras. Those who do not end up in a men­tal insti­tu­tion become so-called great lead­ers such as Idi Amin, Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, and … you name it.

All these ego imbal­ances have con­se­quences and they show the most with those we are clos­est to in our rela­tion­ships. As you can see, main­tain­ing a healthy and bal­anced ego is of the utmost impor­tance if one is going to main­tain a happy rela­tion­ship. Med­i­tat­ing and hav­ing some kind of spir­i­tual prac­tice, doing yoga, exer­cis­ing etc., is all very well and they should not be neglected, but neglect­ing aware­ness about who you are, how you occur to oth­ers, hav­ing your bound­aries, pre­cisely defined val­ues, ethics, being in integrity and aware what you tol­er­ate (where you are out of integrity), in other words, with­out keep­ing your ego healthy and in bal­ance, hap­pi­ness and suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships will always be out of your reach. (Remem­ber, you choose your part­ners too.)

Hav­ing a healthy ego means hav­ing a strong sense of self as sep­a­rate from oth­ers. Hav­ing clear bound­aries and dis­tinc­tions between our own feel­ings, thoughts, needs and desires and those of oth­ers, and also being respon­si­ble for what’s our own.

I may be delu­sional, but I think this arti­cle is great! Of course I am never good enough, but that’s another story. :>)

Man­i­fest your best.



Responsibility In Relationships II

What respon­si­bil­ity means in a rela­tion­ship and how we avoid being respon­si­ble unbe­knownst to us. In The Rela­tion­ship Saver and else­where I men­tioned that the only effec­tive way to be respon­si­ble is to take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for your rela­tion­ship. How do you know if you are not being 100% respon­si­ble? Well, there are a few behav­iors that once you rec­og­nize them they will give you a pretty good idea of how respon­si­ble you are. In the coach­ing com­mu­nity we call it RACKETS. What it means is that we pre­tend we are doing the right thing when in fact there is a much more insid­i­ous rea­son for our action:  avoid­ing respon­si­bil­ity at all costs.

And the costs are high. But first, let’s see what a racket is and deal with what we get out of what is called “run­ning a racket.” The def­i­n­i­tion of a racket is: A fixed way of being plus a per­sis­tent complaint.

What is it that you do and what do you get out of run­ning a racket?
–    You are right and your part­ner is wrong.
Read the arti­cle “On Being Right”
–    You try to dom­i­nate or avoid dom­i­na­tion of a sit­u­a­tion or your part­ner.
This may include pres­sure, bul­ly­ing, insist­ing on your point of view, all sub­tle passive/aggressive behav­iors, etc., as well as the “don’t tell me what to do” syn­drome, even avoid­ing the dom­i­na­tion of your own promises. (Read the arti­cle on Integrity In Rela­tion­ships)
–    Your actions are always jus­ti­fied (by you, of course) and your partner’s actions and/or opin­ions are by default inval­i­dated.
We judge oth­ers by their actions. We judge our­selves by our inten­tions.
In short, what we get out of run­ning a racket is avoid respon­si­bil­ity and by default lose power.

You may notice that for most peo­ple this is a default behav­ior, we do not know any dif­fer­ent. But, the big ques­tion is: are we aware of the COST? Do you know what the costs are? I bet you don’t — these are very obvi­ous so here they are:
–    Love and inti­macy
Love starts with com­plete accep­tance of your part­ner (read the arti­cle on Love In Rela­tion­ships in this blog) and inti­macy is free­dom and the abil­ity to safely com­mu­ni­cate what­ever you are present to at the moment
–    Full self-expression
This means being free to be your­self at your best with­out hav­ing to jus­tify, defend, sur­vive, or in any way com­pro­mise your integrity (read the arti­cle on Integrity In Rela­tion­ships)
–    Health and vital­ity
You know how you feel when your rela­tion­ship isn’t work­ing. It can lit­er­ally make you sick. Depres­sion is another option. Vital­ity is nonexistent.

And now that you know what it costs you to run a racket you may try to become more aware of what comes out of your mouth pre­ceded by your thoughts. In order to become aware here is how to rec­og­nize if you are run­ning a racket or not:  When­ever you are frus­trated or upset and that state of mind is famil­iar to you, you think, “it always hap­pens,” you may be sure that you are run­ning a racket.

Run­ning a racket and thus pass­ing on the respon­si­bil­ity to oth­ers, cir­cum­stances and/or the envi­ron­ment is the best way to lose power and con­trol of your life and a say-so in your relationship.

Please also note that run­ning a racket is an instinc­tual, knee-jerk reac­tion and totally counter-intuitive. Nev­er­the­less, it is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of your hap­pi­ness in a happy and game­less rela­tion­ship to be prac­ticed on a moment-to-moment basis until it becomes your sec­ond nature and you can stop a racket in its tracks, even before it man­i­fests itself in lan­guage and behavior.

Absence of rack­ets in your life guar­an­tees hap­pier per­sonal life, stronger rela­tion­ships, huge leaps for­ward in your per­sonal devel­op­ment and valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to others.




Selfishness And Sacrifice In A Relationship

My daughter’s friend Edan asked me to write a blog entry with the title theme. So here it is. These ques­tions often arise in a rela­tion­ship. Am I being too self­ish, or should I be more self­ish? Or, what do I sac­ri­fice in this rela­tion­ship and should I?

When­ever you ask one of these or sim­i­lar ques­tions, you may be sure that your rela­tion­ship needs some work. When I say that your rela­tion­ship needs work what that usu­ally means that it is you who needs to sort some things out for your­self, like what are you afraid of, are you being abused in any way, are you clear on your val­ues, what do you tol­er­ate and what are your bound­aries. You may not even be famil­iar with what these terms really mean, let alone being aware of them in a time of dis­agree­ment and conflict.

If you want to have a suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ship, you must start with your­self and take care of your­self first. Being self­ish in that way is not only okay, but also nec­es­sary for a healthy rela­tion­ship. Sac­ri­fic­ing your own hap­pi­ness to make your part­ner happy is NOT the way to go. Sac­ri­fic­ing any­thing means dimin­ish­ing your­self in some way; the ulti­mate being your life. How can you make any­one happy by sac­ri­fic­ing your­self? Your hap­pi­ness comes first. If you think that is self­ish, so be it, be self­ish. It works the other way round too; to be happy at some­one else’s expense does not work either. You must have no regrets at any time; oth­er­wise, it is very easy to fall into a blam­ing game. This is an integrity issue. See the post Integrity In Rela­tion­ships.

Regret­ting some­thing means that you have sac­ri­ficed some­thing. Now, there is an impor­tant point to under­stand here: you must be able to take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for what­ever hap­pens to you. (Notice that I did not say blame, fault, shame or guilt.) Respon­si­bil­ity is to be able to respond appro­pri­ately. You may not be respon­si­ble for what hap­pens out there; although if you look deep enough it may have some­thing to do with you, after all. It takes two to tango – you do have a choice how to inter­pret an event and what you make it mean. See the post in this blog The Mean­ing And Real­ity.

In The Game­less Rela­tion­ship I explain in detail the 4 prin­ci­ples of a per­fect rela­tion­ship. If you take a lit­tle time to read it, it will explain in detail the dif­fer­ence between “me, me, me” vs. “us” and that sac­ri­fice has no place in a happy relationship.

Be happy!


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Relationships On Automatic

Yes­ter­day we went to see the movie 500 Days of Sum­mer. It was a love story, a rela­tion­ship story, which left me very unset­tled and frus­trated. As I was leav­ing the the­ater I kept ask­ing myself, what was it that was mak­ing me so uncom­fort­able, even angry? Since anger almost always comes from loss of power, I started search­ing for the source of the pow­er­less­ness that I felt.  Then it dawned on me that the char­ac­ters in the movie had no con­trol over their feel­ings and actions and they did not know why or how things were hap­pen­ing to them. Obvi­ously I was iden­ti­fy­ing with the male char­ac­ter in the movie. Both of them were like leaves in the wind of life. It all was very real. I bet that the screen­writ­ers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber must have had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences to be able to make a movie this powerful.

Such behav­iors which are com­pletely auto­matic, with which we are so force­fully genet­i­cally pro­grammed that we are pow­er­less when faced with it, are preva­lent in humans and although they may be counter pro­duc­tive in today’s soci­ety, they pos­i­tively rule our lives.  In order to start solv­ing a prob­lem, one must first cor­rectly iden­tify the core of the prob­lem. So, this led me to the ques­tion: “If I had to choose one thing that dri­ves each gen­der what would it be?”

From all my expe­ri­ence with peo­ple’ s rela­tion­ships, as well as my own, I came to the con­clu­sion that the bot­tom line rea­son for female behav­iors is SURVIVAL and for males it is CONTROL. Many peo­ple would say that feel­ings are what drive women, and power and sta­tus are what drive men, but both boil down to sur­vival and con­trol. This totally makes sense when you con­sider that women are directly respon­si­ble for the sur­vival of the species and that “self­ish gene.” On the other hand, man’s duty is to pro­tect and ensure that their “self­ish gene” will sur­vive too and the best way to do that is to make some sense and order and take con­trol of this world.

So is there any­thing we can do about it? Yes, I think so and that is to stop resist­ing our nat­ural devel­op­ment, EVOLUTION. We must evolve in order to sur­vive. By evolv­ing I mean adapt­ing to the ever-growing com­plex­ity of the prob­lems we face.  Here we are again, hav­ing to iden­tify a prob­lem before we can tackle it. So, In order to over­come our thou­sands of years of pro­gram­ming we must repro­gram our genetic infor­ma­tion and bring it up to date.  (Sci­en­tists are find­ing that it is not only pos­si­ble but that is nat­u­rally hap­pen­ing all the time from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. Our actions and behav­iors today will impact gen­er­a­tions to come.) The first step is to stop resist­ing it and argu­ing against it and become aware and present to its power over us, dis­tin­guish it as such, as often out­dated auto­matic behav­ior and bring our free choice into play. Are we ready for it? Some are and some are not. Only the future will tell.  So, go and see the movie and try to look at it through the lens of sur­vival and con­trol for woman and man respectively.


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On Looking Good

If there is one drive that all humans have apart from their sex­ual drive, it must be the desire to look good. By look­ing good I don’t mean just visu­ally but also intel­lec­tu­ally. What con­sti­tutes look­ing good varies from per­son to per­son. The com­mon denom­i­na­tor prob­a­bly is avoid­ing not being good enough. In all these years of coach­ing peo­ple I have never come across a sin­gle per­son who deep inside truly thought that he is good enough. This, of course, applies to women too. Appear­ance is every­thing. What will oth­ers think about you? Do you come across as stu­pid, incom­pe­tent, not lov­able, too old or too young, not sexy enough, not beau­ti­ful, rich, respected, well dressed enough? The list goes on. Pick your own rea­sons as to why and in which area you think you are not good enough. So now you may think what has that got to do with rela­tion­ships. Maybe you already have an inkling.

But first let’s quickly sum­ma­rize where this deep “know­ing” of some­thing being wrong with us comes from. It comes from our beliefs, which are mostly formed before our age of seven or so. Some­thing kept hap­pen­ing and we inter­preted it as if it was our fault, and if only we were some­how dif­fer­ent that would not have been hap­pen­ing. Well, with­out our know­ing it we could not have inter­preted it any other way because up to that age we are very self-centered and we are not able to see the world as sep­a­rate from us.

Then we become adults and for­get about the source of the deci­sions we made when we were five and keep believ­ing that that’s who we are — sad, but true. Now all the rest of our lives we try to com­pen­sate for our not being “good enough” by prov­ing that we are, pre­tend­ing, and try­ing to appear as good enough by doing every­thing to be attrac­tive, loved, respected, accepted, approved of, etc. In other words, we are imple­ment­ing our “sur­vival strat­egy,” not being aware that we do not need one in the first place. The orig­i­nal con­clu­sion, of which we for­got the source, was faulty and for the rest of our lives we are try­ing to cor­rect a nonex­is­tent wrong.

This is where the notion of love comes in. You can­not love any­one if you do not love your­self first, it is said. In other words, how can you sat­isfy one of the basic com­po­nents in your rela­tion­ship, i.e., to love your part­ner, if your focus is on look­ing good and pre­tend­ing to be some­one you are not, which is bound to come out in almost all the con­ver­sa­tions and espe­cially the ones where you are not in agree­ment with your partner.

So, now, start notic­ing when you are not being “you”, but some­one who you think you “should” be. How often do you still try to meet some­one else’s expec­ta­tions (like your father’s or your mother’s)? How often you feel uncom­fort­able because you “must” look good. You see, the whole life is one big med­i­ta­tion, being aware where you pre­tend and by pre­tend­ing you squan­der a chance of plea­sure to be authen­tic, your true self. This is who your part­ner or spouse want you to be – just you. Don’t you?

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Are You In An Abusive Marriage?

Are You In An Abu­sive Mar­riage?
Copy­right © 2007 Cathi Adams
Divorce Secrets

If a woman is not phys­i­cally or sex­u­ally abused by her hus­band,
peo­ple gen­er­ally con­clude there is no abuse. But women should
give this ques­tion more seri­ous thought. Abuse need not be
ver­bal, phys­i­cal or sex­ual. These types of abuse are suf­fi­cient
grounds to head straight for the divorce courts because a
phys­i­cally or sex­u­ally abu­sive part­ner needs pro­fes­sional help.

Abuse is a dan­ger­ous ele­ment in a mar­riage. Some­times, divorce is
the only solu­tion because a woman who is con­sis­tently abused will
have noth­ing left of her soul. Her self-esteem dis­ap­pears and she
will begin to think that she deserves nei­ther respect nor love
from her hus­band. She will uncon­sciously heap the blame on
her­self for the unhappy mar­riage. Men who con­sciously or
uncon­sciously ver­bally abuse their wives are not aware of the
con­se­quences of their deeds. Some­times ver­bal abuse can be worse
than phys­i­cal abuse.

There is, how­ever, another kind of abuse that can occur in a
mar­riage and is often ignored because no phys­i­cal harm is
involved. We’re refer­ring to eco­nomic abuse or more com­monly
known as eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion. This type of abuse is rarely
dis­cussed in ther­apy cir­cles because it takes a back seat to
phys­i­cal, ver­bal or sex­ual abuse.

Suf­fice it to say that eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion can be just as
emo­tion­ally dev­as­tat­ing to a woman. Imag­ine a once vibrant woman
who, when sin­gle, had a good cor­po­rate job, earned an excel­lent
salary and had the respect of her col­leagues at work. One day she
meets the man of her dreams and falls in love. They get mar­ried,
but lit­tle does she know that he wants her to stay home and be a
full time home­maker. She becomes preg­nant even if she isn’t
ready to be a mother. Deep down, she feels that she is hap­pi­est
when pur­su­ing her career.

How is a woman like her who thrives in an intel­lec­tual milieu
going to fare when faced with eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion by her

Eco­nomic abuse in a mar­riage is evi­dent in these circumstances:

* telling his wife to quit her job so she can stay home and take
care of the kids,

* con­fis­cat­ing his wife’s assets and other finan­cial resources
and for­bid­ding her from han­dling money or incur­ring expenses that
he does not allow,

* using his wife’s finan­cial assets to his advan­tage and
depriv­ing her of her rights to enjoy what is finan­cially and
right­fully hers,

* tak­ing away his wife’s credit cards and pro­vid­ing only a
suf­fi­cient amount of money to pay for the day-to-day.

A vari­a­tion of this eco­nomic abuse is also appar­ent in a
rela­tion­ship where the hus­band allows his wife to work, but
regains con­trol of her pay check and does not give her the
oppor­tu­nity to make any finan­cial deci­sions. We once knew a woman
at work who made good money and who man­aged to rise up the ranks
because she was hard­work­ing and knew how to make her­self
indis­pens­able to the com­pany. She never joined her co-workers for
lunch out­ings or shop­ping sprees because she didn’t have a
sin­gle cent on her. We asked her once why she never had any money
on her when every­one else was envi­ous of her salary.

Her answer: “My hus­band con­trols the purse strings. I don’t know
what he does with my pay check. I dare not ask.”

Are you in a mar­riage where you suf­fer from eco­nomic abuse?

© 2007 Cathi Adams.

Cathi Adams is the author of “Divorce Secrets: What Every Women
Should Know.” This invalu­able resource pro­vides steps to ensure
finan­cial secu­rity to woman faced with the pos­si­bil­ity of
divorce. Visit her web site for a FREE report –What You
Absolutely Must Know Before You Even THINK About Get­ting
A Divorce:

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How impor­tant sex is in a rela­tion­ship? It is as impor­tant as it is for each indi­vid­ual in a rela­tion­ship. Gen­er­ally speak­ing it is more impor­tant for a man than for a woman and it is more impor­tant when one is young then when one gets older. Of course, these are just gen­er­al­iza­tions. It depends on the cir­cum­stances and on one’s state of being.

Hav­ing said that, I would like to bring forth the impor­tance of sex and its over­whelm­ing influ­ence in our lives. The sex­ual impulse is one of the most over­whelm­ing forces we can expe­ri­ence. (Just think of an orgasm. We often say that some­thing is almost as good as orgasm, imply­ing that there is noth­ing bet­ter that can hap­pen to us.) The drive to pro­cre­ate seems to be a phys­i­cal expres­sion of the evo­lu­tion­ary impulse behind this entire uni­verse. What could be more pow­er­ful than that?  Humans are con­scious beings, prob­a­bly the only ones on this planet. Con­scious­ness is the universe’s way of becom­ing aware of itself and it is man­i­fested in humans.  A pow­er­ful sex­ual drive is a guar­an­tee that con­scious­ness will live on and evolve. There­fore, it had bet­ter be THE most pow­er­ful force at least among humans.  Andrew Cohen the edi­tor of Enlighten­Next mag­a­zine said: “When any of us feels the stir­ring of the sex­ual impulse within our own body and mind, we are feel­ing, at a bio­log­i­cal level some cre­ative surge that pro­pelled some­thing from noth­ing four­teen bil­lion years ago. But, of course, in our lack of humil­ity, too many of us under­es­ti­mate the power of what we’re actu­ally deal­ing with, and it’s easy to see why we often lose our bal­ance in this arena.” In other words, the force of a sex­ual impulse is so strong that an attempt to con­trol it is almost always futile, or it takes such a rig­or­ous train­ing to con­trol it that only a few ever take it on, mostly encour­aged and moti­vated by pos­si­ble achieve­ment of higher stages of con­scious­ness or even enlight­en­ment; the most com­monly known prac­ti­tion­ers being celi­bate priests, nuns and tantric yogis.

Real­iza­tion and acknowl­edg­ment of the enor­mous power of sex­ual impulse over our lives is the first and prob­a­bly the most impor­tant step towards under­stand­ing how and why our rela­tion­ships func­tion. Since sex­ual drive of such enor­mous power is pro­grammed into our genetic code we are mostly unaware of it and so our behav­iors that stem from those impulses are not under our con­trol at all. We oper­ate like robots, on auto­matic. Not that there is any­thing wrong with that; I am not propos­ing that you attempt to get rid of sex­ual desires. On the con­trary, I would encour­age the full expres­sion of them. The prob­lem arises when MOST of our behav­ior in a rela­tion­ship stems from our sex­ual drive unbe­knownst to us, which leaves us in total con­fu­sion when things go wrong.

Some exam­ples of obvi­ous sex­ual influ­ences in our lives are behav­iors stem­ming from courtship, flirt­ing and jeal­ousy. Being fash­ion­able and the desire to “look good” are some behav­iors that are not so obvi­ously sex­u­ally related. Some peo­ple will ratio­nal­ize their desire to be fash­ion­able by say­ing that they feel more com­fort­able or “good” by wear­ing the attrac­tive clothes when the real inten­tion is to be attrac­tive to the oppo­site sex. For men, to be rich and pow­er­ful has its basis in sex­ual attrac­tion.  For women, it means being attrac­tive. I do not want to sound Freudian but almost all our dri­ves and rea­sons for doing things can be traced to sex or rather to recre­ational instincts deeply seated in our genetic struc­ture. All this may sound very dis­cour­ag­ing and demean­ing. You may think that there is much more to life than sex, and I would agree with you. All I want you to do is to embrace the pos­si­bil­ity that sex­ual and pro­cre­ational power is almost omnipo­tent and that it per­vades the major­ity of our day-to-day actions. To the extent that you notice how much you are dri­ven by rea­sons of sex even if not so obvi­ous or direct, you can have fun with it, have more con­trol and power over your actions, develop more com­pas­sion towards oth­ers and start accept­ing peo­ple for what they are and for what they are not. In other words you will live and expe­ri­ence love more often.  Now “Go forth and  mul­ti­ply”, or just enjoy it.


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Thinking & Destiny

Some­times it’s good to be reminded of some basics, which may be very obvi­ous once brought to your atten­tion, but which we rarely   apply in our day-to-day deal­ings with our part­ners in our relationships.

So, here it is: OUR THINKING CREATES OUR DESTINY. I am not claim­ing that this is THE truth, but if you regard it as such your life will change for the bet­ter. We, our phys­i­cal bod­ies, are the exe­cu­tion­ers of our will. Every­thing starts with thought. Noth­ing hap­pens with­out it. Check it out if you do not believe me: your next move depends on what you are think­ing NOW. And, it is always NOW. Later becomes now and past when­ever it hap­pened, always hap­pened in what was then NOW. No one can put thoughts in your head. No one can make you think any­thing. Think­ing is a process that starts and fin­ishes inside your mind. It often looks as if some­one made us have cer­tain thoughts, but that is in fact impos­si­ble. All they do is they trig­ger some mem­o­ries and beliefs that we keep close and dear and when they are chal­lenged or con­firmed we REACT with our thoughts. These thoughts gen­er­ate feel­ings. There is no feel­ing with­out a thought except a phys­i­cal pain when we get cut, burned or hit. (This point can be argued as well, but I will not go into it at this point.)

Can you see how this can apply to your relat­ing to other peo­ple? Just because we are not aware that we are the cre­ators of our thoughts and/or are not will­ing to take respon­si­bil­ity for it, we tend to blame oth­ers for our des­tiny, for how our life and our rela­tion­ships go. By pass­ing on our respon­si­bil­ity to oth­ers we will­ingly give power to oth­ers to cre­ate our des­tiny and in return reserve the right to blame them and make them wrong. This is the way of the vic­tim, and I can see how being a vic­tim can be com­fort­ing. Hav­ing no respon­si­bil­i­ties is like being a child again, no power and seem­ingly no wor­ries. Being an adult means, to a large extent tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for your actions. And, since every action (and inac­tion) starts with a thought, your free­dom and the well­be­ing of your rela­tion­ship starts with your con­scious action for tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for what goes on inside your head. Your future, your life and your des­tiny depend on it, no more and no less.

Best regards,


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Responsibility In Relationships I

This should have been my first entry, but since the issue of respon­si­bil­ity is time­less this may be just as good a time as any to bring it up and clear some air about rela­tion­ships in gen­eral, and your rela­tion­ships and my writ­ing in par­tic­u­lar. So, since you are read­ing this blog I’ll make it about you. Let’s con­sider that the qual­ity of your rela­tion­ship has NOTHING to do with your part­ner and EVERYTHING to do with YOU. In other words you are the one who is 100% respon­si­ble and has the say-so how it goes for you. This, of course is not the truth, but I invite you to start act­ing as if it is and notice what mag­ick may occur.

Now, how resis­tant are you to this notion? Take a lit­tle time and think about it. Does it empower you or does it DIS­em­power you?

Before you try to answer this ques­tion a few words about respon­si­bil­ity. When I say 100% respon­si­ble we need to be on the same page, i.e. we need to agree what is meant by respon­si­bil­ity. In this con­text what I mean by respon­si­bil­ity is NOT bur­den, fault, blame, credit, shame or guilt. Respon­si­bil­ity sim­ply starts with say­ing you are cause in the mat­ter and that you are able to choose a response. You may not be able to choose what hap­pens, but you are always able to choose how you will respond to it as opposed to sim­ply auto­mat­i­cally react to an event or a sit­u­a­tion. In tak­ing such respon­si­bil­ity there is no eval­u­a­tion of good or bad, right or wrong. There is only the stand that you take and the real­ity of what is.

Being respon­si­ble starts with the will­ing­ness to deal with a sit­u­a­tion from the point of view that you are the gen­er­a­tor of who you are, what you do  (how you choose to respond) and what you have. Again, that is not the truth. It is just a place to stand.

Now, in this con­text does being respon­si­ble make you more or less in con­trol of your life? Is being respon­si­ble an empow­er­ing way to be?

Take every chance to be responsible.

Best regards,


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Money, Economy And Relationships

In the past it was com­mon for divorce rates to spike dur­ing times of finan­cial inse­cu­rity. Back in the reces­sion of 1997, the divorce rate rose close to 20%. How­ever, econ­o­mists note that dur­ing really tough times, such as the Great Depres­sion in the early 1930s, divorce rates sta­tis­ti­cally decline because peo­ple can’t afford the lux­ury of split­ting into two sep­a­rate homes, and what is also very likely is that divorce was not as com­mon and as socially accept­able as it is today.

There are sev­eral angles we can look at this prob­lem. The first one is a mat­ter of

1. Integrity

Noth­ing works with­out integrity. (You can find much more on Integrity in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship ). At one point we made cer­tain promises and dec­la­ra­tions, like “For bet­ter or for worse” and “Till death us do part”, which we con­ve­niently for­get when times get tough. We very eas­ily find a “rea­son and excuse” for break­ing our promise. We make our­selves believe that these rea­sons are real and valid when in fact the are just a plau­si­ble story which we decided was true. Exam­ples: He is not mak­ing enough money. It is not good for my child to live in these con­di­tions. Or, she does not want to get a job to help out in this crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. This takes us to the issue of

2. Being a victim

It is so easy to take the role of a vic­tim, just stop being respon­si­ble for any­thing. Give your power to oth­ers and declare that none of this has any­thing to do with you. Again, find­ing a good rea­son and excuse is essen­tial. If you were hon­est you would dis­cover your rea­sons and find many ways to jus­tify your actions. The plain truth is that it is eas­ier to blame oth­ers and assert your right­eous­ness than remem­ber that you’ve taken an oath.

3. Rea­son for being married.

Did you marry for a com­fort­able life, sex, to have chil­dren, because you “had to”, because it was “the thing to do”. These rea­sons some­how come up as excuses when the going gets tough and are used as excuses to walk away with­out con­sid­er­ing that YOU made an uncon­di­tional promise. In other words, when you said “I do”, you lied to every­one, and most likely, to your­self as well.

Of course there are rea­sons, such as abuse, but very few that may actu­ally jus­tify aban­don­ing mar­riage, but ask your­self if abuse started before the econ­omy took a dive and you were sell­ing out, or has it become a good rea­son to jus­tify your leav­ing when ship is sinking.

There are a few other games peo­ple play when it comes to ditch­ing a mar­riage, but these would suf­fice and you can think of oth­ers for your­self. The point I am mak­ing is that money is NEVER the real rea­son for break­ing up a mar­riage, the above rea­sons are.

So, do not pass the buck and blame money (pun intended), look inside first.

Best regards,


Rela­tion­ship Saver

Game­less Relationship

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The Meaning And Reality

The core mean­ing of the word rela­tion­ship is to “respond com­pletely to another, like respon­si­bil­ity” says Krishnamurti.

Let’s see what this really means. Respon­si­bil­ity, as I explain at length in my book The Game­less Rela­tion­ship, is abil­ity to respond and not merely to react. Also, most of the rela­tion­ships most of the time are hap­pen in reac­tion to each other. (Ref. : The Rela­tion­ship Saver.) That’s why it is so easy for a rela­tion­ship to go into a down­ward spi­ral with­out appar­ent hope of sur­vival. We now also have to dis­tin­guish response from reac­tion. To respond is by no means same as to react. Reac­tion is auto­matic, based on our thoughts and inter­pre­ta­tions when we are engaged in a rela­tion­ship. Response is based on what actu­ally hap­pens, on the real­ity of the action, and not on our inter­pre­ta­tion of what we saw or heard. In other words one responds to what is being said and not to one’s own mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions to what is being said. To respond appro­pri­ately to any sit­u­a­tions takes much more than tak­ing the sit­u­a­tion at the face value. First, it takes thor­ough under­stand­ing of your own think­ing process and only then the think­ing process of oth­ers. This requires thor­ough aware­ness of your actions, by being an avid observer of your­self, by being in the present moment. So, as we can see the rela­tion­ships never hap­pen in the past. So, don’t bring up the past and don’t dwell in the future, in what should and should not be. Your trans­for­ma­tion of your rela­tion­ship begins with a pro­found rela­tion­ship with what is.

This needs prac­tice, so, prac­tice, prac­tice and prac­tice and .… prac­tice now.

Best regards,


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less­Re­la­tion­ship

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Why We Have Problems In Our Relationships?

Okay, let’s start at the begin­ning. This is old news, but we rarely get at the most basic causes of why it is so dif­fi­cult for a rela­tion­ship to work out smoothly. The most gen­eral con­clu­sion is that men and women are very dif­fer­ent. That’s why we have the “oppo­site” sex. And truly oppo­site it is. Not only are we obvi­ously dif­fer­ent bio­log­i­cally, but we have dif­fer­ent inter­ests, goals, and rea­sons for doing things in our lives. Our sur­vival strate­gies are also dif­fer­ent. Our “but­tons” get pushed for dif­fer­ent reasons.

To under­stand why this is so, we must first look at the inter­ests of our maker. And I do not mean God. I mean our genes, the very intel­li­gence that God has cre­ated you might say, that has designed us to be the way we are. Now, genes have one and only one inter­est on their “mind” and that is to repli­cate them­selves. For that pur­pose they use us humans as a tool for their repli­ca­tion. We are now talk­ing about human genetic pro­gram­ming. This pro­gram has been in oper­a­tion for hun­dreds of thou­sands of years. At this point you may ask: and what has that to do with my husband/wife leav­ing me? It may have every­thing to do with it, just bear with me for a moment.

What I am about to say may not apply fully to every woman or man, but it is way more preva­lent than you may think. Remem­ber, most of it is not done con­sciously; it is com­pletely auto­matic. We are for the most part clue­less about why we do the things we do, espe­cially the things that do not serve us or con­tribute to our hap­pi­ness and well-being. By the way, genes do not give a damn if we are happy or not as long as we repro­duce. The proof is in the pud­ding. There are more than 6,000,000,000 of us today mostly poor, hun­gry, suf­fer­ing and unhappy; dou­ble since 40 years ago.

The answer may lie in our genetic pro­gram­ming. Men can­not bear chil­dren and they need women if they want their genes to con­tinue to pros­per. They will use any strat­egy to seduce a woman and have sex with her. The more women they have sex with the bet­ter. Com­pe­ti­tion is fierce for young and healthy fer­tile women. Pow­er­ful men, men who dom­i­nate other men, and men who can rec­og­nize oppor­tu­nity quickly have more chance to repro­duce their genes. These traits are much more pro­nounced in men then in women even in areas that have appar­ently noth­ing to do with sex.

Women, on the other hand, have much more to risk if they are going to engage in sex. They do not jump at the first oppor­tu­nity they are patient. Also, they have a finite num­ber of eggs and can have only one child per year as opposed to men who pro­duces mil­lions of sperms a day and can make sev­eral chil­dren in a day (the­o­ret­i­cally). In order to see that they repro­duce as healthy genes as pos­si­ble and be secure dur­ing preg­nancy and beyond they have to care­fully choose with whom they have sex with. So women look for a man who can give them secu­rity, who will dis­play com­mit­ment to them and the fam­ily and a man who is will­ing to con­stantly invest in them mate­ri­ally, emo­tion­ally and time-wise.

As you can see the inter­ests of a man and a woman are on the oppo­site sides of the spec­trum, thus we have the oppo­site sex.

Life in the past in smaller com­mu­ni­ties was heav­ily reg­u­lated and cou­ples did not sep­a­rate as often as they do today. There are too many con­flict­ing mes­sages in today’s soci­ety which make it very dif­fi­cult to make sound con­scious choices, espe­cially when we are not aware of our instinc­tual dri­ves and how they influ­ence us.

This is by no means the com­plete pic­ture, but I am sure that you will be able to see how our thoughts, feel­ings and behav­iors are quite auto­mat­i­cally dri­ven by the dif­fer­ent ways that men and women see their best inter­est in prop­a­gat­ing their genetic mate­r­ial. Dif­fer­ent cul­tures have been try­ing to reg­u­late these auto­matic behav­iors in dif­fer­ent ways, but this is a topic for the next post. This is obvi­ously not a very new topic, although it may be for some of you. Stay tuned, have happy hol­i­days and try to under­stand and show more com­pas­sion for your part­ners. For­give them, they do not know why they are doing what deep inside they don’t want to do.

Learn com­pas­sion and understand.



The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


Teenage Relationships

A while ago I was inter­viewed by a jour­nal­ist from South Africa by e-mail about teenage rela­tion­ships. I thought you may like it … and hope to get you inspired to com­ment or ask ques­tions. So, here it is:

Lita Fifield-Weaver wrote:
Hello again
Thank you for let­ting me ask you some ques­tions, sorry I can’t ring as I live in New Zealand.

1. What com­mon thread do you see in fail­ing relationships?

All happy fam­i­lies are alike, but an unhappy fam­ily is unhappy after its own fash­ion.“
Leo Tol­stoy (1828 — 1910)
Lack of the basic Four Prin­ci­ples that must be present in every healthy and suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ship: integrity, sense of respon­si­bil­ity, com­mit­ment and love. (To find out more about these I enclose my book The Game­less Rela­tion­ship) There are as many rea­sons as there are peo­ple as to why they are not able to keep the afore men­tioned prin­ci­ples in their lives. Rea­sons vary from imma­tu­rity to alco­holism, per­sonal beliefs acquired while grow­ing up to present life con­di­tions, get­ting together for the wrong rea­sons and abu­sive rela­tion­ships. Feel free to make up your own.
2. Is there a down­side to help­ing peo­ple with relationships?

No, if you rig­or­ously sup­port them in devel­op­ing the Four Prin­ci­ples. It hap­pens often enough, though that peo­ple real­ize that both of them would be bet­ter off if they split up. That does not mean that they have to be strangers or ene­mies. Peo­ple who do not under­stand the Four Prin­ci­ples as well as the pro­found dif­fer­ences between mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine nature should not barge into other people’s relationships.

3. What meth­ods do you use to help cou­ples or indi­vid­u­als with their relationships?

I don’t think that I am using any par­tic­u­lar method. I am a per­sonal coach. So, after hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple I usu­ally very quickly get to the bot­tom of the prob­lem and some­times have to use cer­tain meth­ods to remove the bar­ri­ers to their aware­ness to what is really going on and what kind of games they play. I find that a lack of self esteem and ingrained beliefs are most com­mon cause of problems.

4. You have a daugh­ter, does she, or did she come to you for help with her relationships?

Yes, and I am proud of it. When­ever she asks for help I have to put my “coach­ing hat” on, stop being a father (which is not easy) and become a coach. So far I have suc­ceeded, and so has she.

5. Have you used your own skills to improve your relationship?

Lately, yes, but, I wish I knew 20 years ago what I know now .

6. Are there cer­tain  per­son­al­ity types which are more suited to estab­lish­ing  a long-term rela­tion­ship in life?

I don’t believe so, con­trary, I am sure, to so many astrologers, and typologists.

7. What are the advan­tages of a long term rela­tion­ship early on in life?

I don’t see any. Men are ready when they are ready and women are ready (for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons) when they are. It is impor­tant that per­son is mature and will­ing. For some peo­ple it hap­pens at 16 and for some never.

8. Is it more com­mon that in some cul­tures peo­ple get mar­ried when they are older rather than younger?

It looks like that peo­ple in the West get in long term rela­tion­ships later in life. Fam­ily bonds and fam­ily sup­port in the West are much weaker, so peo­ple have to rely more on their own per­sonal strength to sus­tain a healthy rela­tion­ship, and that comes only with a cer­tain level of maturity.

9. What do you believe is your biggest suc­cess in life? Why?

I stopped smok­ing in 1983 after 20 years of smok­ing 3 packs a day. To beat addic­tion of any kind is the biggest suc­cess that one can have, in my opinion.

10. Is there any advice your regret giv­ing some­one? Why?

I do not regret any because, luck­ily, peo­ple never lis­tened to my bad advice. I am much bet­ter at it nowadays.

11. You want your clients to be at their best at al times,

Every­body is ALWAYS at their best. That is the law of real­ity. Peo­ple would always do bet­ter if they could. So they are always per­fect exactly the way they are and exactly the way they are not, NOW. (Please see The Game­less Rela­tion­ship chap­ter on Love)

12. But how do you man­i­fest your best?

You always do. The ques­tion is who you are going to be NEXT?

13. Have you dealt with arranged marriages/relationships in your trav­el­ling to Kuwait, Yugoslavia  and the United States, what bar­ri­ers did you have to over come in these circumstances?

In many cases, espe­cially in tribal and closed soci­eties arranged mar­riages work well. If they don’t, the peo­ple who had arranged the mar­riages did not see the pos­si­ble pit­falls. In a fast chang­ing world as it is today it is very dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the cir­cum­stances which may influ­ence peo­ple to change.

14. What are you opin­ions on teenage relationships?

It is only nat­ural that teenagers will form rela­tion­ships. It is a parental duty to edu­cate their teenagers. This is mostly done by the exam­ple of their rela­tion­ship with each other and their fam­ily mem­bers, strangers, and most impor­tantly by hav­ing a great rela­tion­ship with their chil­dren from day one. If they leave it until the time the chil­dren become teenagers, it is more often than not too late. The prob­lem is that the knowl­edge that the par­ents have about rela­tion­ships is what they’ve learned from THEIR par­ents which may not be very help­ful two gen­er­a­tions later.

15. Do you believe that teen rela­tion­ships are a dis­trac­tion? Why/why not?

Dis­trac­tion from what? School, maybe, life, no.

16. What is a healthy relationship?

We usu­ally know when we see one: peo­ple are happy, free, fully self expressed, ful­filled, love is present, etc. In other words they have the Four Prin­ci­ples as a part of their life, although they may even not know it if you ask them about it.

17. Look­ing back now, would you change any­thing about your life?

No, life is per­fect exactly as it is and it is per­fect exactly as it is not.

The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship

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Do You Act Or React?

React­ing means to act again, re–act. React­ing is based on what we already know and often so well that we do it auto­mat­i­cally. Some reac­tions are very use­ful for our sur­vival, like pulling our hand back from a hot fur­nace or jump­ing away from an oncom­ing car. In other words when our bod­ies sense dan­ger we react with­out think­ing. This kind of reac­tion is all very well in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, but the part­ner in our rela­tion­ship may end the rela­tion­ship very quickly with­out our even being aware that our reac­tions are auto­matic and counter to our best inter­est. So, what is the mech­a­nism of reac­tion? If we can be become acutely aware of this mech­a­nism when­ever we are in a sit­u­a­tion to react, or in other words, when our but­tons are being pushed, our rela­tion­ships and our lives may look com­pletely dif­fer­ent; we could be much more evenly bal­anced, avoid prob­lems and expe­ri­ence a much higher degree of hap­pi­ness. React­ing is a very use­ful sur­vival tool, it is based on learn­ing from experience.

Some expe­ri­ences are use­ful to remem­ber and remem­ber­ing them at the right moment can save our behind. The prob­lem arises when we react to the present sit­u­a­tion which is SIMILAR to the past ones. For instance, you were bit­ten by a snake once and now you are afraid of every­thing that crawls, like lizards and such. An exam­ple closer to rela­tion­ships would be that if you had an abu­sive father, now you think ALL men are abu­sive. Another exam­ple would be that your par­ents always told you what to do and now you get angry and resis­tant to ANYONE even ask­ing you to  do some­thing. If you thought that your par­ents did not love you, you will think that any­one who expresses their love to you is phony and lying or not hon­est. In these sit­u­a­tions you often tend to blame oth­ers for “mak­ing you feel that way” or “mak­ing you do cer­tain things”. So, you get the idea; cer­tain words and behav­iors by oth­ers push your but­tons or trig­ger mem­o­ries of the past and you are sim­ply RE-acting your past. You have no choice and no free will in the mat­ter. You can now begin to see how this auto­matic behav­ior can be detri­men­tal to your rela­tion­ship. But all is not lost. You actu­ally can take respon­si­bil­ity for your but­tons; they are yours after all and if you didn’t have them nobody would have any­thing to push.

This brings us to the alter­na­tive. Being respon­si­ble for your actions means that you are able to respond, thus response—able. What does this actu­ally mean, and more impor­tantly, how do you be response—able? For most peo­ple respon­si­bil­ity is bur­den, fault, blame, credit, shame or guilt. I sug­gest that if you take respon­si­bil­ity as will­ing­ness to deal with the sit­u­a­tion from the point of view that you are the one who has a choice about how you are going to act in a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion, you are going to gain power beyond your wildest imag­i­na­tion. Some­one said there is a moment between any stim­u­lus and a response and the choices that you make inside that win­dow of oppor­tu­nity is what your life depends on.  As you can see, respon­si­bil­ity is a mat­ter of free choice; it is an exer­cise in free will. Respond­ing is not sub­ject to your feel­ings or cog­ni­tion. It is inten­tional choice in accor­dance with your val­ues, ethics and morals and not some fleet­ing feel­ing, asso­ci­a­tion or thought. These belong in the cat­e­gory of reac­tions so it fol­lows that auto­matic reac­tions are irre­spon­si­ble actions. Now it becomes obvi­ous that no one can make you feel or do any­thing, ever. I do under­stand though that every action has its con­se­quences, but you are ulti­mately the one who will make the choice about what con­se­quences your actions will have.

Now that we have dis­tin­guished react­ing and respond­ing, I hope you can see that tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for any­thing and every­thing that hap­pens to you in your life, no mat­ter how unrea­son­able it may be, will make you more con­tent, pow­er­ful, suc­cess­ful and ulti­mately hap­pier than merely react­ing to what hap­pens to you.
Take charge of your life: be responsible.


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship

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To Be Or Not To Be … Attractive?

Am I attrac­tive? The bot­tom line truth is: you are and you are not. It depends on to whom you are talk­ing and what you mean by attrac­tive. Why do we play this “attrac­tive” game when we don’t know what we want to achieve by try­ing so hard to be attrac­tive? When you make your­self attrac­tive do you want to attract every­one or most peo­ple, or just one par­tic­u­lar per­son? Many would say some­thing like: “I am doing it for myself. I don’t care what oth­ers think. It makes me feel good.” Fair enough, it makes you feel good. But the rest of it is a lie and you know it. Thus, mil­lions of dol­lars and other cur­ren­cies are spent on mak­ing our­selves more and more attrac­tive in order to attract our soul mates, to boost our ego when oth­ers give us com­pli­ments, etc. So, by attrac­tive, we usu­ally mean sex­u­ally attrac­tive, or some­thing to do with looks any­way. Being attrac­tive to peo­ple we have never met is impor­tant for the first con­tact and with­out the first con­tact we can­not have the rest. This ratio­nale is a sound one. Unfor­tu­nately being attrac­tive in such a way is often false adver­tis­ing and although it may lead to an inter­est­ing sex­ual encounter, it more often than not results in unsuc­cess­ful long-term relationships.

Men like to look and women like to be looked at. Deep inside, instinc­tively and uncon­sciously, men look for fer­til­ity signs in women. Men can­not have chil­dren; only women can, so it is of the utmost impor­tance for a man to find a woman who will bear him many healthy chil­dren. Although these fer­til­ity signs may vary from cul­ture to cul­ture and change with time, men nev­er­the­less always look for sex­ual attrac­tion in a woman. Of course, women are always aware of it so they do their best to com­ply and be “attrac­tive” by being slim­mer, hav­ing par­tic­u­lar hair­dos, make-up and clothes; all in tune with the fash­ion of the day. Some of you may not quite agree with this, but that’s how we are pro­grammed and tens of thou­sands of years of pro­gram­ming do not go away so quickly. Think of the time when you were a teenager, when you stepped into adult­hood, when you actu­ally became fer­tile, able to have chil­dren. What were you mostly pre­oc­cu­pied with? Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture? Maybe. But you were mostly inter­ested in things of a roman­tic nature.

On the other hand, what women want from men is mostly secu­rity and pro­tec­tion. For women, attrac­tive men are the ones who are well off, in good health, strong and able to com­mit to long-term rela­tion­ships. So, men drive fancy and expen­sive cars to show their wealth, are suc­cess­ful in busi­ness to show their sta­tus and abil­ity to pro­vide secu­rity and for the same rea­son, go to a gym so that they can be phys­i­cally “attrac­tive” to women.

In a nut­shell, this is the attrac­tion game we play. Does it make sense in the 21st cen­tury, in the west­ern world where there are no saber-tooth tigers to prey on our women and chil­dren and the mor­tal­ity rate is min­i­mal? Of course it doesn’t when you stop and think about it. So what do we do? It depends on what we want. Do we let our­selves act from fear and the out­dated instinct for sur­vival, or are we will­ing to move up the evo­lu­tion­ary lad­der and act from the knowl­edge that all is well? When our instincts were impor­tant we lived in caves or in tribal soci­eties and with­out the appro­pri­ate resources to meet our basic needs so, often we were dri­ven to the brink of extinc­tion. Not so today, despite what the media are telling you. The media want you to be afraid because it serves this con­sumer soci­ety very well … but that is a dif­fer­ent topic. The fact is that there are no saber-tooth tigers any more, but we still behave as if they are around every cor­ner. The divorce rate in this coun­try is more than 50% which means that one in two mar­ried cou­ples even­tu­ally break up. What about all those other rela­tion­ships? How many of them are happy ones? Maybe we should look a lit­tle closer at the way we attract our part­ners and what it is that we are attracted to. Is it falling in love, or hav­ing great sex, or being cool or hot that will bring you a long last­ing rela­tion­ship? What hap­pens when you fall out of love, or are not cool any more because you’ve grown heav­ier? What if he loses his pres­ti­gious posi­tion or his car gets stolen and can­not be replaced? “For bet­ter or worse, for richer or poorer.” Yes, sure. The first thought is often: “I am out of here!”

Ulti­mately, it’s good to know that you can nei­ther BE attrac­tive, nor unat­trac­tive. Attrac­tive­ness is in the eye of the beholder. Some­one may or may not be attracted to you and that deci­sion lies in the mind of that per­son. It is not in the intrin­sic you. So, first you need to decide what it is that you want to adver­tise and who your tar­get mar­ket is. Then, what it is that you are sell­ing, and who you want to attract. All this may sound a lit­tle crude, but that is exactly how it works. Do you want to have sex, or do you want to sell your per­son­al­ity, or your real and authen­tic self? You know what they say about how you look or behave “in the morn­ing when you wake up”? If he loves you then he’ll always love you. If she still loves you when you lose your Porsche, or become poor, there is a big chance she will stay with you.

So, on the one hand you can never be attrac­tive enough for some and you will always be very attrac­tive for some­one else. Am I attract­ing the right peo­ple for the right rea­sons is prob­a­bly the ques­tion you may want to ask before you go to a party.

See you there.


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


Save Relationships By Giving Up

wave-goodbyeIn our cul­ture to give up means to sur­ren­der your hope, to stop pur­su­ing your dream to stop doing what you want to do due to obsta­cles and so on. In other words “giv­ing up” has a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion which some­how defines our char­ac­ter as weak, not trust­wor­thy, unre­li­able etc. In the con­text of giv­ing up what we want to do, what we promised, or what is expected of us to do in order to pre­serve our integrity (see “ON INTEGRITY”), to give up does not obvi­ously serve us. What I would like to draw your atten­tion to is a dif­fer­ent con­text in which “giv­ing up” may be very ben­e­fi­cial to our san­ity, good rela­tion­ships, and the rate of our growth as human beings.

You’ve prob­a­bly already guessed: giv­ing up what does not serve us indeed may be ben­e­fi­cial to the hap­pi­ness we expe­ri­ence in our lives. The ques­tion is how do we know what to give up. If it is so obvi­ous that I am repeat­edly doing what does not make me, or oth­ers around me happy, how come that I still keep doing those things that I “know” do not work. Let me sug­gest that that you may very well NOT know that what you keep doing does not work. It is very hard to see. For exam­ple think about your insis­tence of being right, or jus­ti­fy­ing your actions although you know that you made a mis­take. Surely you gain some­thing by:

•    Being right /making oth­ers wrong
•    Jus­ti­fy­ing your­self / inval­i­dat­ing oth­ers
•    Dom­i­nat­ing oth­ers / avoid being dom­i­nated
•    Avoid tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for some­thing
•    Avoid being at risks (I do not mean a saber-tooth tiger, but some­thing like a conversation)

This is what we call a “pay-off”.

Now I want to think about what your pay of costs you. Let me sug­gest. How about:

•    Love / inti­macy
•    Health / vital­ity
•    Your self-expression
•    Your rela­tion­ship
•    Your participation

Are you will­ing to pay the price of the COST in order to get your PAY-OFF?

Giv­ing up your pay-offs in order to avoid the cost is “good” and use­ful as you might have noticed, but you may ask, how do I do it. The key is to be aware of what comes out of your mouth. Observe your­self, observe the oth­ers and how they react to you and observe, like a fly on the wall, your­self and oth­ers being in con­ver­sa­tion. What do you see? This is the time to be bru­tally hon­est with your­self. Be care­ful, though, do not cross the limit and start blam­ing your­self and mak­ing your­self “wrong” and being at the same time “right” about it. No one can fool us as we can fool our­selves. We are sim­ply mas­ters at it.

If there is un UPSET, FRUSTRATION, or FAMILIARITY in your actions then you can be cer­tain that you are about to, or that you re get­ting your pay-off. Give it up!

•    Exam­ples of what to give up:
•    Com­plain­ing about some­thing to a per­son who can­not do any­thing about it.
•    Gos­sip­ing, i.e. talk­ing about some­one who is not present.
•    Resis­tance to apol­o­giz­ing
•    Giv­ing rea­sons and excuses
•    Being dom­i­nated by your promises, etc.

Please share with us your insights. Since this is some­times so hard to see, your sto­ries may be a big con­tri­bu­tion to others.

Thank you


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship

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Love In Relationships

After buy­ing and read­ing the Rela­tion­ship Saver, some peo­ple ask for coach­ing. One of the most fre­quent rea­sons they men­tion for their part­ner leav­ing them is either they say their part­ner does not love them, or is not in love with them any more. These two may sound very sim­i­lar and peo­ple may eas­ily con­fuse the two, but dis­tin­guish­ing them is cru­cial for under­stand­ing what is really going on.

Being in love or falling in love is a tem­po­rary affair. It never lasts for very long. Peo­ple inevitably fall out of love. Lust is very often con­fused with being in love. Both have the same pri­mal pur­pose of mak­ing babies. One can either trans­form that feel­ing into the action of lov­ing some­one or not. In the lat­ter case peo­ple often leave.

To love some­one is a con­scious choice. It is not a feel­ing – it is a doing; an action of lov­ing. Lov­ing some­one is to love as opposed to be in love.

Also, there are dif­fer­ent ways to love some­one or some­thing. You can love con­di­tion­ally or uncon­di­tion­ally. Most peo­ple love some­one or some­thing because of some­thing. Think about what it is that you love about your part­ner. Is that why you love him/her? We love our part­ners because they are good look­ing, well off, funny, have long hair, smart, edu­cated, strong, for­giv­ing, obe­di­ent etc., take your pick. The prob­lem with this kind of love is that when the rea­son dis­ap­pears or changes you will say: I don’t love you any more. And, I am out of here or, I’ll stick around, but I will not be happy and you will know it.

Now the most reward­ing, free­ing, lib­er­at­ing, ful­fill­ing and reward­ing kind of love is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. I under­stand that it is much eas­ier for a mother to give uncon­di­tional love to her child. Most moth­ers are uncon­di­tion­ally pro­grammed to love their chil­dren unconditionally.

What does it mean to love with­out con­di­tions attached? It means accept­ing the other exactly the way they are and exactly the way they are not. Think­ing that peo­ple, or the world, or life should some­how be some­thing else and blame them for not being the way you think they should be, that they are not cre­ated in your image of them bor­ders with insan­ity. 

So the first step is accep­tance of your part­ner for what she/he is, NOW. It is impor­tant to under­stand that fight­ing what is, is point­less. It is what it is and at that moment can­not be any­thing different.

So, get with the pro­gram; imple­ment the sec­ond step towards an uncon­di­tional love and GIVE UP your fan­tasies about how things or peo­ple should be.

At this point you may start argu­ing with me that it is impos­si­ble, unre­al­is­tic, that you do not know how to do that, why should you do it when he/she _____________ (fill in the blank).

First, hav­ing the uncon­di­tional love in your life is totally your choice. No con­di­tions on that one either. I am sure that you can find many rea­sons for not being able, or not want­ing to do it. It is, as usual, up to you. Uncon­di­tional Love is avail­able to you for the tak­ing (read: express­ing). If you want to be pow­er­ful in life, love uncon­di­tion­ally. Be free and loved, happy and inde­pen­dent. You do not need any­one to love you. Love lives inside of you ready and wait­ing and want­ing to be unleashed. Are you afraid? Fine, love anyway.


The Rela­tion­ship Saver


Relationship Repair

How does one go about repair­ing a rela­tion­ship? We know how to repair other “things”, like cars, equip­ment, house, clothes and what­not. The ques­tion arises as far as rela­tion­ship repair is con­cerned, is a rela­tion­ship a “thing”? As I men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous posts, rela­tion­ship, although a noun, should not be treated as a thing but as a verb, or as an action, if we want to have any hope in our quest for rela­tion­ship repair.

So, in this con­text we will treat rela­tion­ship repair as an action since it is a verb. Action, on whose part? Who takes the action and what would the action con­sist of?

From our point of view, if only our part­ner would change his or her ways every­thing would be just fine “as before” and rela­tion­ship repair would be com­plete. Unfor­tu­nately, that is only our “point of view”. The prob­lem with our point of view is that from that point we see all other points but our own. We are blind to it, because we have so much invested in it that we take it for granted that it is as real as it can get. Our point of view is the only real­ity we are aware of. Our rela­tion­ship and our part­ner occur to us a cer­tain way, which is only real to us, and is the only real­ity we accept. Any other point of view when dif­fer­ent from ours, is sim­ply not cor­rect, not true and WRONG. There­fore, in our attempt to repair a rela­tion­ship we always look to the other side to change his/her behav­ior and their point of view to coin­cide with our own and to take this cru­cial action that would make every­thing OK so that rela­tion­ship repair can take place. Although repair­ing a rela­tion­ship may be much eas­ier that way, it rarely works and we know it. Try­ing to change oth­ers is a fruit­less endeavor for the same rea­son I men­tioned before: “oth­ers” have their own “point of view” and if you think that the way you see the sit­u­a­tion occurs bet­ter to them then their own view, think again. You can­not change other peo­ple! The sooner you accept it the sooner you will be able to pro­ceed to a rela­tion­ship repair stage.

As we are look­ing for the alter­na­tive to chang­ing oth­ers it would be good to notice that what we call “relat­ing to oth­ers” usu­ally con­sists of react­ing to each other. If that is so and if you can­not change your part­ner what is left to do is that you change your point of view. The first step is admit­ting that you have one. Whether you think that your world-view, your opin­ion of how things are and your point of view are the cor­rect ones or not is beside the point. If you want to engage into the process of rela­tion­ship repair you must look at your own behav­ior, which is usu­ally in your blind spot – you do not know how you occur to oth­ers – and real­ize that your part­ner is react­ing to your behav­ior there­fore cre­at­ing the con­flict and dis­rup­tion of your rela­tion­ship. Take note, this is not an oppor­tu­nity to blame your­self or start think­ing that it is all your fault. There is no blame in this process only respon­si­bil­ity to claim, which is the first step to true empow­er­ment and an oppor­tu­nity to take the sit­u­a­tion into your own hands towards com­plete rela­tion­ship repair. If you change your behav­ior, your part­ner shall react to that. Now you are in charge. Good luck.

The whole process is dealt with in The Rela­tion­ship Saver and expanded upon in The Game­less Relationship.

Com­ments and ques­tions are welcomed.

Thank you


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship

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Relationship Help

After deal­ing with thou­sands of peo­ple and their rela­tion­ships, it became very obvi­ous to me that the peo­ple who are look­ing for rela­tion­ship help usu­ally seek it after they have exhausted all the knowl­edge and tricks they them­selves had up their sleeve. By the time they start look­ing for rela­tion­ship help, it is often, if not too late, then at least more dif­fi­cult to get the rela­tion­ship help that would work than if they had started look­ing at the first signs of trouble.

So, what are the sources that peo­ple look for when they need rela­tion­ship help? As I men­tioned above, they first try to do what­ever they think would work. Unfor­tu­nately, solu­tions to a prob­lem can­not be found in the mind of the per­son who cre­ated the prob­lem in the first place, to para­phrase Albert Ein­stein. Rela­tion­ship help almost always must come from the out­side. At this point it must be said that not all that is intended to be “rela­tion­ship help” is actu­ally help­ful. The rule of the thumb is that the closer the per­son is to the trou­bled par­tic­i­pants in a rela­tion­ship, the less mean­ing­ful help they can offer. Our logic will tell us that the “closer the per­son is to me, like friends and fam­ily, the more they care about me and the bet­ter advice they will give me.” Not so. Rela­tion­ship help may eas­ily turn to rela­tion­ship hell when all the emo­tions of the peo­ple who care about you con­verge with your own. Rela­tion­ship help can come only from an unat­tached indi­vid­ual who has no stake in the rela­tion­ship one way or another.

Rela­tion­ship help is best pro­vided by peo­ple who can see the sit­u­a­tion clearly and who are neu­tral so that they can read between the lines and uncover the blind spots, thus cre­at­ing a dif­fer­ent con­text from which a dif­fer­ent point of view of the sit­u­a­tion can emerge. Rela­tion­ship help is also best pro­vided by pro­fes­sion­als in the field and often by older, wise peo­ple. The range of pro­fes­sion­als who offer rela­tion­ship help is vast. It ranges from social work­ers, doc­tors, psy­chol­o­gists, psy­chi­a­trists, coun­selors and coaches. Which one is best for you depends what state you are in. If you suf­fer from severe depres­sion or a men­tal dis­or­der, then doc­tors, psy­chol­o­gists and even psy­chi­a­trists may be for you. If you have a rel­a­tively small prob­lem and you are men­tally healthy, then a social worker or a coach may be your answer. Also, it is a good idea to con­sult a social worker first if you sus­pect a men­tal dis­or­der. From the feed­back I receive, rela­tion­ship help does not seem to be very fruit­ful if it comes from mar­riage coun­selors. This is not about coun­selors; the sys­tem is set up that way. It seems to be out­dated for most sit­u­a­tions. It pre­sumes that both part­ners want to get rela­tion­ship help when, in fact, many cou­ples go to coun­selors together just because one part­ner wants help with their rela­tion­ship but other is resist­ing it. In other words, one per­son wants to stay in and other one wants out.

I find, that at this stage a good coach often rec­og­nizes that the only per­son who can make a dif­fer­ence in a rela­tion­ship is the one who wants to keep it, the one who seeks help. There­fore, why bother with a destruc­tive party at all. Focus on and give rela­tion­ship help to a per­son who is com­mit­ted to the rela­tion­ship, the premise here being that a) peo­ple REACT to each other and b) no one can change any­one else with­out their consent.

So, if you want to keep the rela­tion­ship, you first need to see your rela­tion­ship in another con­text by hav­ing insights about what your part was in the rela­tion­ship break­down. Once you see that, the point of view about your rela­tion­ship changes and your behav­ior con­se­quently changes. When your behav­ior changes, your part­ner will react to THAT changed behav­ior and, voila, things turn around and a new rela­tion­ship is cre­ated. There­fore, if you think you may need help with your rela­tion­ship do not waste time try­ing to fix it your­self because if you knew how, your rela­tion­ship would not be where it is now.

I sug­gest you check out The Rela­tion­ship Saver first ( . It may be just all you need to get help with your rela­tion­ship. In case your rela­tion­ship is “just fine, thank you”, you still may want to read The Game­less Rela­tion­ship ( if you want to have an awe­some one

Good luck!


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship

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Relationship Test

Please answer

the fol­low­ing questions

as truth­fully as possible.

1.    How is your rela­tion­ship? If you auto­mat­i­cally answered “just fine”, think again.
2.    Is your rela­tion­ship as good as when you first met? Has your part­ner grown more fond of you or less? (More)
3.    Do you often acknowl­edge each other? (Yes)
4.    Do you often find your­self think­ing about the past? (No)
5.    Do you some­times com­plain about your part­ner to your fam­ily and/or friends? (No)
6.    Are you happy and if you are, do you show it? (Yes)
7.    Are you resigned? (No)
8.    Do you need him/her? (No)
9.    Are you try­ing to change your part­ner, or keep him/her as he/she “used to be”?  (No)
10.   Do you think that your rela­tion­ship would be bet­ter if only he/she would change? (No)
11.    Do you often talk about your rela­tion­ship with your part­ner? (No)
12.    Do you try to do cer­tain things to improve or fix your rela­tion­ship time and again despite the fact that it never works? (No)
13.    Do you always know what your part­ner is up to? (Yes)
14.    Does he/she keep secrets from you? (No)
15.    Do you often get blamed? (No)
16.    Do you often blame or make your part­ner wrong? (No)
17.    Do you often feel the need to jus­tify your­self and your actions? (No)
18.    Does your part­ner often jus­ti­fies his/her actions to you? (No)
19.    Do you take plea­sure in being right? (No)
20.   Do you know if he/she really loves you? In other words, are you accepted and loved for who you are … and not for what you do, know or have, or how you look? (Yes)
21.    Do you have a happy rela­tion­ship? (Yes)
22.    Could you use some help to make your rela­tion­ship really great? (No)

If one of your answers above does not match the ones in paren­the­ses
you may want to try The Rela­tion­ship Saver or The Game­less Relationship


Integrity In Relationships

Here is the theme and the state­ment of the day:  In order for any rela­tion­ship to work and have any last­ing prospect of exis­tence what it must have first and fore­most is INTEGRITY.

So, what is this thing we call integrity? We use the word usu­ally in rela­tion­ship with oth­ers, like politi­cians, busi­ness peo­ple, and such. We can say when ‘those peo­ple’ have no integrity. How often do we think about and con­sider our own integrity? Do we know when we are in integrity and when we are not?

In the con­text of who we are in our rela­tion­ships there are at least three lev­els of integrity to consider:

1. Obey the rules. This means the rules that you implic­itly or explic­itly agreed to keep. Like from “always wipe your shoes before you enter the house” and “ you stop at the stop sign” to “we do not call each other names” and every­thing you can pos­si­bly think of in between.
2. Keep your word. This means keep­ing your promises and hon­or­ing your word as you would honor your­self as well as hon­or­ing what oth­ers expect you to do and doing what you know that you should do even if you did not say you would do it. (Well, you may want to read this one again.)
3. Be con­sis­tent with who you say you are or who you want oth­ers to regard you to be. If you are a spouse, be a good one and the one you are expected to be. Peo­ple expect you to be cer­tain way and do, or not do cer­tainn things. It is a mat­ter of integrity to meet their expectations.

With­out integrity NOTHING works. The mean­ing of the word ‘integrity’ is ‘whole and com­plete.’ If it is out of integrity it means it is dis-integrated, there­fore it can­not work. So what has this got to do with us? You may even say if we dis­in­te­grate we die. Well, not so dras­tic, any­way. Our body is intact but our char­ac­ter and who we are per­ceived to be, there­fore our suc­cess in any under­tak­ing includ­ing rela­tion­ships is at stake. I hope you get the point.

Aware­ness exer­cise: Pay atten­tion to:
–How often you break rules even if no one notices it.
–How often you break your promises no mat­ter how small on insignif­i­cant they are.
–How often you are not at your best in any role you assigned your­self to be.
–How often you do not ful­fill another’s expec­ta­tions.
Try to be 100% (and no less) in integrity for any amount of time. Notice if any­thing changes.

Please share your expe­ri­ances with us.
Also, please feel fre to ask any ques­tions as well.

Thank you


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


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