On Love

Love is like a stand you take for some­one or some­thing — a stand you take FOR some­one, towards some­one, rather than it being an inter­nal state which you rep­re­sent with the word “love.” If that were true, if just that lit­tle bit were true, the dis­tance between you and the mas­tery of love would be very short. You and I could bring forth the phe­nom­e­non of love by virtue of a dec­la­ra­tion, “I love you,” where the dec­la­ra­tion was a stand, a com­mit­ment and we could see that that was not some “thing” called love, but an open­ing, a pos­si­bil­ity, a clear­ing in which our expe­ri­ences could show up as an expres­sion of the dec­la­ra­tion, of the stand, of the com­mit­ment, of the context.

If all that were really pos­si­ble, then the dis­tance between us and mas­ter­ing love is pretty short. You see, what shows up in a stand val­i­dates the stand. If a doubt shows up in the space of some­thing for which you stand, it shows up as an expres­sion of the stand, that is to say it shows up for you as some­thing to han­dle out of your stand, not as some­thing con­trary to that for which you stand.

So if love in our rela­tion­ships was a clear­ing in which life became present, even what we ordi­nar­ily think of as a neg­a­tive cir­cum­stance, in a clear­ing cre­ated by a dec­la­ra­tion of love, where the dec­la­ra­tion is some­thing for which you stand, even a so-called neg­a­tive cir­cum­stance does not show up in oppo­si­tion to that for which you stand, but shows up as some­thing to be han­dled within the stand. I know you’re sit­ting there say­ing “gee I wish it were that easy” and I’m say­ing it might be some­thing very close to that easy … just like that.

And I’m invit­ing you into this domain of pos­si­bil­ity where you don’t know the answers, where rela­tion­ship and love exist like a ques­tion. I know you think that love is a set of emo­tions and moods and thoughts and atti­tudes and out­looks and feel­ings. And I’m invit­ing you to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that, that sim­ply is one inter­pre­ta­tion, not one with which you are stuck. That you do not need to live the rest of your life with­out love when you don’t have that set of feel­ings which you have hereto­fore described as love.

…that it might be pos­si­ble to bring love into your life, like a cre­ation, like some­thing for which you could be respon­si­ble, like some­thing you could bring forth on your our own as a mat­ter of dec­la­ra­tion and as a mat­ter of tak­ing a stand. And that you could bring love into those cir­cum­stance in your life when the rela­tion­ships are most dif­fi­cult, most prob­lem­atic. And you could do it as a sim­ple act of being where being is that for which you are will­ing to stand. And that the stand comes forth in a dec­la­ra­tion and exists behind the dec­la­ra­tion as a stand.

- Werner Erhard

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How To Make Your Man Happy

After I say, “Give him sex when­ever he wants it,” I prob­a­bly have noth­ing else to add. But WAIT, there is a lit­tle more to it although not nearly as much as a woman* would require for her happiness.

The nat­ural instinct of men* is to “dom­i­nate.” That’s where it all starts. Men want to be deci­sion mak­ers and in charge, although the real­ity is that women always are. Men just don’t know it on a con­scious level. If you do not han­dle it right your man may become either openly or pas­sively aggres­sive. He is phys­i­cally stronger and his last resort is to use force. Be that as it may, you need to play a woman’s game. You are a woman; you should instinc­tively know how to do it. Play­ing a power game with a man is not a good idea.

Let him be in charge

So, to make your man happy you need to give him the illu­sion that he is in charge. This should be very easy to do because men LOVE help­ing women and solv­ing prob­lems. (Have you noticed how men are not so good at just lis­ten­ing? Men offer you solu­tions and help when you don’t even need it nor ask for it.) Start appre­ci­at­ing his enthu­si­asm and sense of respon­si­bil­ity for your prob­lems as well as his eager­ness to help you solve them. That’s how he expresses his love. He does not nec­es­sar­ily want to “fix” you. He owns your problems.

Men love and are proud of being able to pro­vide for and sup­port their woman, which can­not be said for women who really hate being the bread­win­ner of the family.

Give him his own space, phys­i­cal as well as mental

Phys­i­cally he needs his “cave,” his space where he can be undis­turbed doing his own thing. This may be a work­shop, garage, office, a den or a cor­ner in the home that he can call his own where he “reigns supreme.” He should be able to do what­ever he wants in that space: sort out his col­lec­tions, make some­thing, read, write, watch foot­ball, or just do nothing.

Men­tal space is also very impor­tant. It may come as a sur­prise to you but men often think of NOTHING. They need to do that occa­sion­ally. So do not force a con­ver­sa­tion if he does not want to have one NOW. He’ll come back to it when he is ready.

Learn to take what a man says at face value. He means what he says. Stop look­ing for hid­den mean­ings as to what comes out of his mouth. When he says that he is busy and can­not talk to you now, it does not mean that he does not love you. It means “he is busy and that he can­not talk to you now.”

Too sim­ple for you? Yes, that is the real­ity about men. They are VERY SIMPLE, for bet­ter or for worse. Also, men do not express their emo­tions as much as women do. Men can con­trol their thoughts and their feel­ings, but it does not mean that they do not have them. It is a 50,000 year-old sur­vival strat­egy. Try not to ques­tion it and make him into an overly sen­si­tive man. Do not try to turn him into a per­fect hairy woman. One, you will not suc­ceed, but if you do, he’ll change just to please you. Two, if you suc­ceed even par­tially, you will not like what you have.

Show respect

As much as women are about secu­rity, mostly emo­tional secu­rity that is, men are about respect. Notwith­stand­ing the fact that adults should earn respect and not be given it freely, there are some areas where your man will love you and respect you back if you show respect for his inter­ests and hob­bies, as well as sup­port him socially.

In other words, do not put down his inter­est in motor­cy­cles, his gun and knife col­lec­tion, cars, sports, or even bal­let. He loves his inter­ests and if you ask him why, he may even be eager to explain it to you at length and in detail, if you have the patience to lis­ten. If you do not respect his inter­ests he will with­draw, resent you, hide it from you etc., which obvi­ously would make him very unhappy.

If you respect him and are sup­port­ive of him in pub­lic, among friends and fam­ily, he will inter­pret it as the purest form of love on your part. “Praise in pub­lic, crit­i­cize in pri­vate,” as the adage goes.

If you want to per­pet­u­ate the attrac­tion in your rela­tion­ship, keep the gap between fem­i­nin­ity and mas­culin­ity as wide as pos­si­ble. If a woman adopts too many male char­ac­ter­is­tics and a man vice versa, the roles may reverse, attrac­tion will evap­o­rate to be replaced by either con­flict or indif­fer­ence. No one rel­ishes the prospects of this happening.

These are char­ac­ter­is­tics which apply to most men­tally healthy men. Of course, there are indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences, but do not assume that your man is so com­pletely dif­fer­ent that most of the above do not apply to him. If that is the case, he may be a woman, or he may be reluc­tant to exer­cise his “man­li­ness” with you. Con­sider that he may be try­ing to please you too much.

Good luck.

*Note: When I say a man and a woman, I mean male and female energy and nat­ural, genetic char­ac­ter­is­tics. (I talk about it at some length in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship.) Every human being has both char­ac­ter­is­tics. Men have more male and women have more female, and that can some­what vary from per­son to per­son and sit­u­a­tion to situation.

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How To Make Your Woman Happy

Note: What fol­lows does not apply to ALL the women ALL the time, but in major­ity sit­u­a­tions it could be very use­ful and right on the mark.

I shall attempt to lay out as suc­cinctly as I can a guide to most com­mon issues we, men, need to deal with in our rela­tion­ships with our women. Too often we for­get that we are deal­ing with a “dif­fer­ent species” i.e. female Homo Sapi­ens and by default, if we want to be nice, we treat them the way we want to be treated. That’s what we have been told: “Do unto the oth­ers as you would have them do unto you.” Wrong! When deal­ing with the oppo­site sex, in fact with oth­ers in gen­eral, we should use the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of this rule:  “Do unto oth­ers as they would have it done to them­selves”. In other word treat oth­ers as they want to be treated.

Well, the prob­lem arises when you have no idea how oth­ers (women) want to be treated. Espe­cially when it changes all the time depend­ing on cir­cum­stances and on con­stantly chang­ing feel­ings that women are so good at. Men are cer­tainly dis­ad­van­taged in this area. The best we can do is to become good at a guess­ing game. So often we find our­selves with a foot in our mouth not under­stand­ing what hap­pened and how we got there, although we treated our very much loved woman exactly the way we would want to be treated.

Here I will try to out­line some “rules” that will keep your foot where it belongs, on the floor.

Since this arti­cle is aimed at men I will deal with this issue in bul­let points. Here are some of the basic rules when deal­ing with a woman we love:

• First and fore­most: take full respon­si­bil­ity for what comes out of your mouth as well as how you choose to inter­pret what you hear.

• Reas­sur­ance. Our women need to be told that we love them. We erro­neously think that our actions like work­ing and pro­vid­ing for the fam­ily clearly com­mu­ni­cates our love for her. We often think that the more we work the stronger is the mes­sage of our love. Wrong again. Noth­ing can sub­sti­tute look­ing in her eyes and telling her: “I love you.”

• Emo­tions. Women emote very dif­fer­ently then we do. A woman hav­ing a dif­fused focus as opposed to single-focus of us, men, can­not con­trol what thoughts come into their head. Thoughts trig­ger emo­tions and we men find our­selves in trou­ble, not know­ing what hit us. There is no logic and no con­nec­tion to the present sit­u­a­tion. We can­not con­nect dots and We start ask­ing our­selves what did we do wrong. Most likely noth­ing. Feel­ings some­times go ram­pant in a woman. She can­not con­trol it. She can­not choose  what to think about. Say­ing “Don’t think about it”  does not help. Try to close the issue by resolv­ing the con­cern. Of course you need to find out what the real con­cern is and that may take some doing.

• Secu­rity. Again we think that the most impor­tant thing for a woman is that she feels finan­cially secure. That’s why, as I men­tioned before, you do your best to pro­vide for her. That’s awfully nice of you, but you may be bark­ing up a wrong tree. What she really wants much more than “money and things” is emo­tional secu­rity. This means that she can count on you to always be there for her and that she can count on you to be her best friend.

• Lis­ten­ing. We men lis­ten for a prob­lems and look for solu­tions. We also lis­ten for the point of the con­ver­sa­tion. We have no patience to lis­ten to a chrono­log­i­cal unfold­ing of a story with­out know­ing were it is going. As soon as our loved one tells us that she has a prob­lem, we are think­ing how to fix it. Wrong! Your women is quite able most of the time to fix the prob­lem her­self. If she can­not she will ask you for help. You need to trust that. What she wants from you is to lis­ten to her and acknowl­edge how she feels about it, because her feel­ings are the prob­lem that she needs to com­mu­ni­cate to you. Once you know that, it becomes easy (or not) to just lis­ten and not offer your solu­tions because there are none. She is deal­ing with her feel­ings which she has no con­trol over. So, next time she comes to you with a prob­lem, do not lis­ten to her prob­lem, lis­ten for her feel­ings. Do not offer help, wait to be asked for it, or ask if she wants your help.

• Sex. We men are very vain. When our woman does not want to have sex with us, we take it per­son­ally. Sex is our pri­mary drive in rela­tion­ship with a woman. Not so for them. In fact once you under­stand that woman’s “warm-up time” is much longer than ours and that she needs to be fore­warned so that she can antic­i­pate it, things become much eas­ier. It’s not about you. Women are wired dif­fer­ently and for a good rea­son. (I’m not going to go into it here.) Very often she just wants to be close to you, to snug­gle and be cud­dled. Of course, when­ever that hap­pens you think about sex. Hold your horses, not so fast! It DOES NOT mean that she wants sex. If you insist on it every time she comes close to you, she will start avoid­ing you. You scare her off. Take it easy, take your time. Once she gets into it, she WILL enjoy it as much, or maybe even more than you do, but patience is an oper­a­tive word.

• Beauty. A woman asks a man: “Does this dress make me look fat?” Man: “No, your fat makes you look fat.” Baaaaad move. That’s how you can talk to other man friends and not to a woman, because women are dif­fer­ent species. They will never inter­pret it as a joke, or just take it as plain truth. Remem­ber, it’s all about feel­ings. Her inter­pre­ta­tion would be …. well, make up your own. Women want us to find them attrac­tive. They want to be looked at and we, men want to look. Per­fect match! She has a deep need to know that she is beau­ti­ful for YOU. When she asks you how she looks do not say, just fine. Cul­tural pres­sure to look beau­ti­ful is great and it can hardly be avoided. So, tell her often and hon­estly that she is beau­ti­ful. You do not have to use exactly that word, but there are so many oth­ers and other ways to say the same thing. Be cre­ative.
These are just some of the points that we men often are not aware of, or sim­ply do not bother to prac­tice them. Try them, they work. Ask your women.

(Next arti­cle will be for women about men)

Let us know your thoughts and expe­ri­ences about this from both men and women.

Thanks

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Lust vs. Love

lust |ləst|

noun

very strong sex­ual desire : he knew that his lust for her had returned.

[in sing. ] a pas­sion­ate desire for some­thing : a lust for power.

(usu. lusts) chiefly The­ol­ogy a sen­sual appetite regarded as sin­ful : lusts of the flesh.

Yes, of course, we all know the dif­fer­ence. We talk about love, sing songs, write poems and recite quotes, express it to oth­ers, cher­ish it and gen­er­ally put it on an emo­tional pedestal. We all know that “Love makes the world go round.” Or, do we some­times con­fuse that ever present and overused word “love”, with another word which is “sin­ful”, not to be men­tioned in not only polite soci­ety, but some­how regarded as weak­ness prop­a­gated for cen­turies by most reli­gions as unde­sir­able. This dreaded word is, of course you’ve guessed it, LUST.

Yet, I sug­gest that these two words, love and lust, are much more inter­change­able in our lives than we would like to admit. This some­how applies to men more often than women, which is not to say that women are immune to lust. On the con­trary, it can be just as strong a dri­ving force in a rela­tion­ship although most of the time does not lead to a long-lasting and happy partnership.

Of course, as we can see from the def­i­n­i­tion above, lust is closely con­nected with sex. Although you may lust for money or ice cream, this is not what we are talk­ing about here.

This arti­cle is about being able to dis­tin­guish between love and sex. Why, you may ask. As I men­tioned in pre­vi­ous arti­cles, being present to, and con­scious of what is real and what we imag­ine in our own minds can and will make the dif­fer­ence in your abil­ity to make sound choices and cre­ate your own hap­pi­ness. How many bro­ken rela­tion­ships and mar­riages have you known that started with a cou­ple being “madly in love.” Maybe it was one of your own. The divorce rate in the mil­i­tary is about 80–90% mostly due to young peo­ple hav­ing sex for the first time, falling in love (read: lust) and get­ting mar­ried, and the num­bers tell you what the out­come is for the most part.

How many times have you con­fused love and lust? How many times have you told a woman that you love her just to get her into bed. How many times have you actu­ally believed it if you are a woman? What were the con­se­quences? How many hearts have been bro­ken because peo­ple could not dis­tin­guish between the two?

Men and women usu­ally “fall in love” for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Real, uncon­di­tional love has noth­ing to do with this phrase. For men, qual­i­ties, which mostly have to do with sex, i.e. looks, are impor­tant. By their good looks women are sub­con­sciously flaunt­ing their fer­til­ity. And, women know very well how to do it: thus, make-up, tat­toos, boob implants, high heels and such. For a woman, what is more impor­tant is the approval of her attrac­tive­ness and man’s abil­ity to sat­isfy her other needs. For a woman lust is rarely first on the list. Be aware, if sex hap­pens to be first on your list if you are a woman, run as fast as you can if you do not want an almost cer­tain break up in the near future.

This is in a nut­shell, how we oper­ate in rela­tion­ships. Our wants and needs go hand in hand. Nature has designed our mat­ing game to per­fec­tion. Our “self­ish genes” are ful­fill­ing their self­ish agenda very well — too well some­times. (There are 6,500,000,000 peo­ple on earth mostly poor and strug­gling for survival.)

Yet, we like to think of our­selves as con­scious beings in con­trol of our actions and lives. Noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth; lust and sex are the most ancient and the strongest impulses that are hard to con­trol. Yet there is hope. The vehi­cle to knowl­edge is lan­guage. The vehi­cle to wis­dom and hap­pi­ness is the con­stant expan­sion of our aware­ness of the dis­tinc­tion between real­ity and our inter­pre­ta­tions of it. In other words, call­ing a spade a spade might help. Timely dis­tin­guish­ing between lust and love may save you from a life­time of suffering.

In the end I would like to make clear that despite what the church, your mother or soci­ety says, there is noth­ing wrong with “lust of the flash. Lust is a hormone-driven nat­ural process aimed at repro­duc­tion and it is hard to fight. As long as we do not con­fuse it with love we can put it to our ser­vice instead of being its slave.

Love and lust! Just know the difference.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Who chose your partner?

Whether your rela­tion­ship is going well or not you can always think back to the out­set of the rela­tion­ship and, if you are able to look at those begin­nings with an open mind and objec­tively, you can always say, I told you so. Or at least your par­ents, rel­a­tives or friends could say it.

Our ini­tial rea­sons, feel­ings and intu­ition, or denial of the same are very telling about what our rela­tion­ship will look like in the future. No sur­prises here. If, say, when you first met your part­ner your intu­ition told you that he/she was not for you for any par­tic­u­lar rea­son or in gen­eral, and later you gave in to your feel­ings and rea­sons for not trust­ing your intu­ition, you may very well regret it at some point in the future. If you got into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda, when­ever your agenda gets ful­filled or is not per­ti­nent any more, the rela­tion­ship will most likely dis­solve. You may even be unaware of the real rea­son why you do not want to be in a rela­tion­ship any more, so you will look for some super­fi­cial imme­di­ate rea­son to end it, but if you go deep enough you will always find that orig­i­nal agenda being the real rea­son and cause for your “change of heart”.

Now imag­ine that your part­ner came into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda that he/she has never revealed to you. Often they may not even be clear about it them­selves, or they may be in denial about it. You may end up bewil­dered and con­fused as to what hap­pened. You will never get a straight answer from your part­ner for the rea­sons men­tioned above and you will have to set­tle for some other lame and unbe­liev­able excuse for the break-up. Either way, the real rea­son most of the time lies in the ini­tial rea­son for being in the rela­tion­ship in the first place.

So, who chose your part­ner? Were they your fears, long­ings, desires, inner child, inse­cu­ri­ties, low self-esteem, lone­li­ness, sex drive, you name it. These are just some of the rea­sons. Men and women usu­ally have very dif­fer­ent ones. That par­tic­u­lar dif­fer­ence makes it very dif­fi­cult for you to dis­cern what the real rea­sons are for your part­ner want­ing out.

But when all is said and done, the rea­sons for break­ing up most of the time are just that: rea­sons, plau­si­ble sto­ries, excuses and expla­na­tions. Orig­i­nal agen­das are rarely part of the break-up con­ver­sa­tion and tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for it is not even on the radar screen. It is much eas­ier to blame the other for your lack of com­mit­ment, respon­si­bil­ity, integrity and gen­uine love.

Aware­ness exer­cise: Being hon­est with your­self is very demand­ing, often uncom­fort­able, some­times even impos­si­ble, but nev­er­the­less, it is an essen­tial prac­tice for being in touch with real­ity and your growth and devel­op­ment. This exer­cise has two parts: a) no mat­ter how resis­tant and uncom­fort­able it may be, admit to your­self the real rea­sons you got into the rela­tion­ship in the first place, and b) remem­ber what your ini­tial reac­tion was when you met your future part­ner for the first time. What con­clu­sions can you draw from these mem­o­ries? Cau­tion: This is nei­ther the place nor the time to blame any­one, includ­ing your­self. Just notice what insights you come up with. You may even share them with your part­ner if you think it appropriate.

Please share those insights  with us.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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For Men

Here we go again about men/women dif­fer­ences! I keep get­ting calls and e-mails from men with trou­bled rela­tion­ships and the most com­mon prob­lem that I hear stems from a man’s lack of knowl­edge, aware­ness and accep­tance of the enor­mous gen­der dif­fer­ences that are the root of most of the trou­bles in relationships.

Here we will address one of the very char­ac­ter­is­tic modus operandi under­ly­ing women’s behav­ior, which men in their sim­plic­ity can­not even fathom, let alone thor­oughly understand.

Why do men so often find them­selves bewil­dered by their wife/girlfriend’s behav­ior when she wants to leave? Men usu­ally ask them­selves: “What did I do? Noth­ing changed.” When men find them­selves in this sit­u­a­tion they usu­ally start doing every­thing wrong and the oppo­site to what they are expected, yes, expected to do. Women have expec­ta­tions, all the time. The most com­mon expec­ta­tion is a mind-reading abil­ity. Yes, men are sup­posed to exactly know what their women are think­ing at any moment even though she exhibits behav­ior that is com­pletely oppo­site to what she wants. For exam­ple: she will push her man away expect­ing him to pur­sue her so that she can be assured that he loves he. Never mind if you have been mar­ried for years. There is never enough proof of love and a feel­ing of secu­rity. What she wants is a MAN by her side with whom she can feel secure. And most men do just the oppo­site, they either get angry, or start grov­el­ing and ful­fill­ing any whim that she may have. If you get angry she’ll be afraid of you. If you grovel she will despise you. Women will end­lessly test you, although this may be done on a com­pletely uncon­scious level; nev­er­the­less, you are being con­stantly observed and tested for your love, pro­tec­tion, loy­alty and man­li­ness in general.

Secu­rity is the pri­mary moti­va­tion for a woman to seek a rela­tion­ship, while a man usu­ally only has sex on his mind. In order for a woman to feel secure she most of all needs to feel loved. Their basic secu­rity need is emo­tional secu­rity. Women usu­ally do not want the respon­si­bil­i­ties and chal­lenges that men seek either. They do not want to make sur­vival deci­sions, com­pete to suc­ceed, have to make money, or think how to buy a house. But, this kind of secu­rity — mate­r­ial secu­rity — is not nearly as impor­tant as the secu­rity in the knowl­edge – that needs to be con­stantly rein­forced — that her man loves her.

There is a prover­bial say­ing that when a women says “no”, she means, “yes”. This is not to be taken lit­er­ally, but there is more truth in it than you may think. When she is push­ing you away she most likely wants you to pur­sue her. If you are not giv­ing her enough atten­tion to assure her that you love her, she may even seek the com­pany of another man who will “adore” her, but we usu­ally know what he really wants, don’t we? A woman needs attention.

The worst thing a man can do is to ignore her, blame her or be angry with her. While a man can be angry and still love his woman, a woman can­not do that. Her only real­ity is her inter­nal, emo­tional real­ity of the moment. When she is angry with you, you may just as well be dead at that moment. Women are allowed to express their emo­tions and that seems to be their inalien­able right. On the other hand, men are not sup­posed to do that, as it is per­ceived as “irre­spon­si­ble”. Women often com­plain that men do not express their feel­ings, but when they do, women per­ceive men as weak and not manly enough, there­fore not so desir­able. It’s a Catch 22, lose/lose situation.

A woman always keeps a close watch on her man. Often her actions will seem to a man as unrea­son­able and con­tra­dic­tory, but you must know that very often she will test you, albeit uncon­sciously, to see how much you love her and how much of a ”man” you are. This behav­ior is most obvi­ous at the point of break-up, and this is where most men fail by behav­ing the oppo­site of what women want to see. Men start beg­ging, plead­ing and grov­el­ing, or being angry and resent­ful. Noth­ing can be more dis­gust­ing or fright­en­ing to a woman. Either way this just con­tin­ues the down­ward spi­ral towards the final break-up. Such behav­ior by a man is not sur­pris­ing and it comes nat­u­rally to men, because — sur­prise ! — men have feel­ings as well. Nev­er­the­less, in such a sit­u­a­tion a man must hold his ground and be what is expected of him, a MAN.

In con­clu­sion, men need to learn to walk the edge all the time. Women have to walk their own, but that is their con­cern. We men need to learn about women’s needs but per­sist in being manly in order to attract and keep a woman. Oppo­sites attract, remember?

What is your expe­ri­ence? I’d love to hear from you.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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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.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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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.”

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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.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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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.

Radomir

The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


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