Being
a Man
Archive
2001
 

Dr. Dennis W. Neder is the author of Being a Man in a Woman's World. Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? He'll answer all letters. Write E-Mail for answers or visit: www.remingtonpublications.com

Confidence - How to Show It - Even If You Don't Have It
Cowboy Gets a Hoof To The Head
Don't Mess with a Good Thing
Follow-Up On "How To Never Be At A Loss For Words"
How To Never Be At A Loss For Words
How to Sell - for the Single Mother
It's Never Too Late To Date!
Meeting that special someone
Men: Learn How To Be Approached
Pass On Those Leads!
Overcoming Rejection - Handling Objections
Relationship Management During a Crisis
Take That Risk!
10 Signs That It's Time to Break Up
The Test
The Value of Male Friends
What Are Your Goals? Girl-Friend or Girlfriend?
Why Do Men Fear Commitment?

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Other Relationship Issues, Books

Why Do Men Fear Commitment?


Dr. Neder,

Why does a guy bolt for the door, when he has everything he wants? I seem to be getting a lot of "I'm afraid of commitment", "We are too close", and "You're great but I'm not ready"

I never even used the word "commitment"! It seems that just because a woman wants to spend time with her guy he thinks he going to lose his freedom. How do you get them back after they bolt??

Thanks, "Spotless"

Hello "Spotless"!

Men are very, very sensitive about anything that even smacks of "commitment" (like I have to tell YOU!) In fact, I actually get this question quite often!

The concept of commitment means something very different to men and women. Women interpret commitment as security, future, and possibly marriage and children. From the time women are little girls they are constantly given the image of the white wedding, the house with the picket fence and kids. In fact, if you really think about it things like weddings, Valentine's Day, children - all are really for the benefit of women! Women (especially today) really have all the options. You can move between careers, go back to school, stay at home, leave a career to have kids, return to the career, etc., etc., all without the absolute responsibility of supporting the family.

Men on the other hand see commitment as something quite different. To men, commitment (or even the hint of it) means a lack of freedom! Why is this so? Consider what happens to men socially. Men pay 92% or more of all dating costs. They pay 74% of all family costs. A man has only one choice when he leaves school - go to work and become successful. The more he earns, the better women he can attract! Commitment means that he has fewer choices - in work, in women, in play, in time, and in life. He can't just "up and leave" a job when he is married. He has to think about his family. Thus, when a man looks at commitment, he sees a lifetime of struggle. On his own, he only has the pressures he places on himself.

Once a guy "bolts", you've got some work to do to get him back. Remember how he sees commitment. Women intuitively understand that their goal is to get a man to see the exchange of freedom for sex. This really is your key. There has to be something in your relationship that he wanted in the first place, and you'll have to make sure he gets it!

As well, there is another important thing you can do: realize that men are NOT monogamous. Yes, I know that isn't what you want to hear. But consider this, if you realize this up front, you're already way ahead of the game! Thus, your goal shouldn't be to get your guy to commit and be monogamous to you - it should be to become the women for whom he WANTS to be monogamous! Do you get the difference here?

One last point that is important: look at your goals. Is your goal to be married? I tell women this all the time - if all you want is to be married, I'm sure you can find someone this weekend that will marry you. So that shouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, if you want someone of quality that you love and that loves you back - focus on THAT goal instead! Don't worry about the "format" of the relationship - focus on the quality.

If you're really interested in how men think, I suggest you pick up a copy of my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's' World". It was written for men - just the way men talk to each other (when you girls aren't around!) It should really give you some insight into what goes on in men's minds.

Good luck, much love...

Pass On Those Leads!


Have you ever met someone that you might have been interested in but changed your mind after a while? Perhaps he or she wasn't your "type", or he or she didn't really click with you or whatever. Or, perhaps you have a friend that you think might work well for someone else. Or, let's say that you met someone and actually went out with him or her once - maybe through a personal ad, or by being set-up by a friend, but you found that they weren't what you were looking for.

Why not pass this "lead" along to a friend?

We so often forget that we're not the only one looking to meet someone new. If you know of someone that might work for someone else, you don't really have to play matchmaker (and get in the way); just pass that lead along.

What To Do If You Have A Lead

Ok, so you know someone that another friend or acquaintance may like - what do you do? You should first approach both people and get their permission before giving anyone personal information. Believe it or not there IS a protocol for such things!

First, check with BOTH people. All you have to do is tell them that you know someone that might "fit" their personality, and ask if they'd be interested in meeting that person. If not, just drop it and move on.

If they are interested, ask the person what information you can give to the other person. Is it ok to give a home telephone number, or is an email address acceptable? What about a person's last name? Obviously, if someone isn't interested in giving out any information, it's going to be impossible to help him or her meet.

Once you have the first person's permission, contact the second person quickly. Try to do this with a week or two at the most. Nothing creates more anxiety than expecting someone to call and moving on a month or more later, only to find that your information hasn't even been passed along yet!

When you contact this second person, ask them if they'd be interested in meeting someone that you think would be a good match. If so, ask them what information you can pass along, and give them the information of the other person. If not, contact the first person and explain why you couldn't pass their information along.

Next, get the hell out of the way!

What To Do If You Get A Lead

If someone gives you a lead - even if you don't think you'd be interested, you should contact this person anyway. Why? Because your friend went out of their way to try to help you! If you just ignore it, don't expect any more leads from that friend.

When you get a lead from someone - don't wait a long time to contact the person! You should probably contact them within a week or so. Why? Because you don't know how long the person that gave you the lead was sitting on it. What if they've had it in their hands for 3 weeks? If you wait another week - it will have been a month since the first person was asked! Even if you're busy, you should at least contact the person and say hello. Explain to them that you're very busy right now, but you'd be interested in meeting them shortly.

Finally, like any other cold contact, take things slowly. Talk via email or by phone and get to know the other person. Find out if they have the same goals as you, and see if they match your "plan". (You do have a relationship plan don't you?) If and when you finally plan to meet, keep it short and simple. Meet for coffee or a drink and see if you "click". If not, don't be afraid to tell the person how you feel or set another date!

Another question I get asked is if a person that accepts a lead from someone is obligated to return the lead. No, you are not. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't return it if you can however. If everyone passed these leads on, everyone would be expanding their contact lists dramatically. And, this is just another way to meet the person of your dreams.

Learning To Be A Sexual Person!


Dr. Neder,

I apologize if this is not an area of advice you wish to tackle, but I thought I would come to you with my question.

My girlfriend and I have a great relationship going. We're completely in love and have a wonderful time with each other. When it comes to the conversation and emotional field of our union, we're right on and connect with each other just fine.

When it came to our sexual relationship, we both decided, due to religious morality and social conditions that we would not partake in the full act of sex, but that we would "please" each other. Being male, this task is nothing short of simple for her and she makes me incredibly happy. But for me, things are quite difficult.

Forgive me if I come off a little crude here, but I don't really know any other way of conveying this to you. She doesn't want me to go down on her because she finds it uncomfortable and strange. She likes it when I finger her, though, but I've never been able to bring her to orgasm. In fact, she's never had an orgasm.

I feel this is unfair to her and I wish I could give her the same feeling I get when she pleases me. Can you help me??

Sincerely,

Inexperienced

Hello "Inexperienced":

Actually, I'm happy to field this question! And, by the way, nothing you've said is "crude". I don't believe that ANYTHING about sex is crude! Further, we're all friends here, so feel free to say whatever you want, however you feel it is appropriate.

I'm so pleased that you and your girlfriend have such a great relationship. As you've found the "three C's" are the key: Communication, Commonality, and Connection. As long as you BOTH agree on the point about sex, it's fine too. Many couples have only one partner that feels that they don't want to have sex. The other is then forced to accept or lose out. As the saying goes, "The convoy moves at the speed of the slowest ship." If you've found a way to satisfy your needs without actual sex, and you're both happy about it - great.

One other preliminary point; be aware that your girlfriend can still get pregnant if you even place your penis against her vagina; even if you don't climax. This is because the penis emits a small amount of fluid during sexual arousal and this can contain hundreds of thousands of sperm cells - enough to get her pregnant; so be careful here too!

Finally, I'm very gratified that you want to satisfy your girlfriend. Many men are just "takers" and either don't know that they should, or can please their lovers. She is very lucky, and I hope she appreciates this.

Ok, let's look at your specific issues.

Many women don't "warm" to oral sex (cunnilingis) immediately. This is due to a number of issues such as thinking that they're "dirty down there", social and religious stigma, etc. Of course, none of this is true, and in fact, the vagina is one of the most sanitary parts of the body due to its natural cleansing cycles. You might want to discuss this with her, and even pick up any of the hundreds of good books on female sexuality.

An even bigger issue is that of her inability to climax. Again, due to religious, family and social pressures, inexperience, perceptions she may have about her body, or any number of a hundred other reasons, she may feel put off by sex, and probably has difficulty in letting herself go and feel good. As you may guess, this is an absolute prerequisite to good sexual function.

I've always found it very, very sad that religion and families do this to our women. Why don't we celebrate our sexuality? If you care to look at it this way, it IS given to us by God. Humans are the only animals that have sex purely for pleasure. This says something to me. Further, it's the most powerful aspect of our personalities. Somewhere back in history, religious leaders, tribal leaders, parents, etc., found that if they could get control of someone's sexuality, they could control that person. This is the state many people find themselves in today - controlled by and obsessed with their sexuality.

So, what do you do about all of this? First, your girlfriend (and perhaps you too!) needs to get over any stigma she may have about her sexuality. Again, it is a natural, healthy part of who we are - it is something to be celebrated, not ignored. It is a powerful aspect of us, and in many ways, defines who we are. To deny it is to ignore that part of ourselves.

Have you asked her about masturbation? Specifically, does she masturbate, and if so, can she bring herself to climax or even to feel "warm and relaxed" as many women describe it. She knows just what feels good to her. She can touch herself "just right" and show you what she enjoys. I'm assuming that you know your "female sexual anatomy" here. Here's a link that describes it, but be forwarded - it is graphic, and rather clinical! www.halcyon.com/elf/altsex/vulva.html

Many women find that direct stimulation on her clitoris to far too much and may cause discomfort rather than pleasure. Thus, you want to ask your girlfriend just what feels good to her. This is one reason why many women find that oral sex is so satisfying. The tongue is much softer than your fingers are. Further, because it is very flexible and sensitive, it is much easier for your tongue to touch her "just right".

When you two are together, you might spend some time cuddling, kissing and enjoying each other. After a while of this, when she feels relaxed, sit behind her on the bed with her sitting against your body, between your legs and in your arms. Let her lay her head against your shoulder, close her eyes and touch herself. Take some time here - it isn't a sprint. Let her explore her body in an accepting, comforting and encouraging environment. Just let her touch herself in the ways that feels best to her.

While this is going on, you can encourage her. Tell her that you love her and you are so happy she feels good. This encouragement is very powerful and will help her to let go. You may find that after awhile her face and chest will flush red. This is a good sign that: 1) she is letting go and relaxing; and 2) that she is getting close to release. Don't try to force anything. Let her go as far as she likes. If she climaxes, that's great. If not, that's great too - you're bonding and being together. This is the real key in the beginning.

If she finds that her fingers aren't enough stimulation, you might want to buy her a vibrator. You can even make this a fun outing! Go to a store where they have these and look at the "toys" - just like when you were kids. Of course, these are "adult toys". Find something that is non-threatening. A huge black penis-like vibrator is NOT a good choice. Something small and pink might be better. Don't try to direct her choice - let her make it. Just continue to be supportive and caring. Vibrators are great for many women because they provide direct and constant stimulation in ways that her fingers cannot.

After you've practiced this for a while, you're going to find that she "learns" how to feel good. She can even show you exactly what she does so that you can do this for her too. Almost every woman finds that she has to learn how to please herself before she can have someone else do it for her. This is as much a mind-game as it is a physical one. There is a great book you might want to find called "For Yourself", by Lonnie Barbach. Here's a link to her website: www.sfsi.org/books/barbach.html

One last point is appropriate here; nobody - not a doctor, not another woman, nobody, can actually tell if your girlfriend is a virgin or not! I live in Glendale, CA, where we have a large Armenian population. This ethnic group heavily promotes virginity before marriage. They even have "specialists" that examine women to determine if they are virgins before marriage. The problem here is that no matter what they say, they can't really tell!!! Go figure.

Don't Mess with a Good Thing


Doc:

I recently broke up with my girlfriend of a year and a half due mostly to boredom. Then, I missed her and decided to get back together. Now, she says now that she doesn't love me anymore. From her attitude, it seems to be true; otherwise she is faking very well! I don't what to do! What can I do to get her back?

Hello!

First, she probably ISN'T faking it. It isn't difficult for people to fall out of love. Honestly, once a person loves someone else, they will always love that person. On the other hand, that doesn't mean that they LIKE the other person!

Can you win her back - yes, you probably can. The real question is should you? Look back and try to remember why you broke up with her in the first place. Try to remember the emotions and feelings because once you get back with her, they are going to come rushing back. You'll be looking to break up again and be right back in the same cycle. Believe me, boredom IS a valid reason for breaking up regardless of how minor it may seem after the fact. If your motivation to get back together is just sexual, then call it that. If you're looking to re-establish the relationship, please consider what I've already said.

Ok, so what can you do to rekindle the relationship? First, you're going to have to get past the hurt and rejection she feels. If your breakup was recent (within the past 2 months or so), you might want to wait for a while longer so that the memory of the hurt can fade. If it is longer than that, here's what you need to do. First, write a letter. Take some time and try to pack the excitement and fun you remember of the beginning stages of the relationship into it. Remind her of how well you two "worked" together, and why you got together in the first place. You should also address her hurt by telling her that you understand how she feels and that you regret having put her through this, but that your love and consideration are the foundations on which you want to rebuild the relationship.

After you send her this letter, give her a few days to "digest" it. Then, call her and ask her to meet you for coffee, or something - the location and format aren't important, just avoid movies, concerts, loud bars, etc. - you want to be able to talk intimately. Here, bring her something that is special just to her. Don't bring her flowers, unless it's one of her favorite flowers. Even better, try to remember something small and inexpensive that she wanted. It will show that you're thinking of her and her needs. At this meeting, don't try to get her to commit - you're really just courting her again. Use this time to really try to re-connect with her. She may be angry with you, but that will subside as you begin the reconnection. Unless you're getting a ton of "buying signals", don't try to get her back to her (or your) place. Kiss her and tell her you'd like to see her again. Make the date right there if possible.

Your goal should be to have her remember why you two were together in the first place. A year and a half relationship tells me that you had something. She may feel that now you've burned that bridge and you're going to have to rebuild it. Remember, this is going to be an uphill battle. If you decide to pursue it you'd better be in for the long-haul as it might take some time. As well, I suggest that you pick up a copy of my book, 'Being a Man in a Woman's World' as it covers a great deal about relationships, and how to keep them working.

Take That Risk!


Many men and women aren't successful in meeting or dating because they aren't willing to take a risk - the risk to say "hello", the risk to say "yes", the risk to ask for a phone number, the risk to set-up a date, the risk to ask for what you want, etc. They want everything in a nice risk-free, safe container. I'm going to give you 10 reasons why you should become a risk taker in a moment.

What does risk mean to you? Ultimately it means to put yourself out there and open up to opportunities. The Chinese use the same symbols to mean "crisis" and opportunity. These literally translate to "Crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind". If you're not taking advantage of opportunity, you're actually using your actions to fail. 

When I talk about risk, I'm not suggesting that your hurl yourself off a building at the end of a rubber band. I'm talking about "measured risk" - that risk that will bring you greater value than you can lose. Dating is really all about this. It's really about the opportunity to get something you want that you don't already have while managing your risk.

Let's look at why you should take that risk:

If not now, when?

If you don't do something today to change the way things are, tomorrow is going to be the same. So will next week, next month, and next year. Of course, if you're happy about the way things are, then do nothing. On the other hand, what are you waiting for? Get going!

You're not so special as to fail every time!

Sure, you're special bunky! But, you're not so special that you can avoid success. The only way to do fail is to give up, or to never get started trying. So, you've got to get moving and active. Do something - even a small thing. Then, do something else. Once you get started, these actions become habit and you'll find that you're doing something to improve your life all the time.

You've got game!

If you're reading this on the Internet, you have a wealth of information available to you right now. Not only will this information help boost your confidence, but you can make all of this a game. Read what others have to say and find the advice that seems to work for you. Try things and keep score - this quickly becomes a game.

Your "Mark" Doesn't Want To Be Alone Anymore Than You Do!

This is an important point that many people miss. He or she doesn't want to be by themselves the rest of their lives any more than you do. So, you already have that leg-up - and something in common!

You're no safer trying to avoid risk than by seeking it!

Studies show that danger is all around us. Who would have thought that just sitting in your office in a skyscraper, you'd be at risk of losing your life? The victims of America's recent terrorist attack understand this only too well.

So, what do you really risk by seeking not risk? The possibility of not having what you really wanted from your life. The knowledge that you settled. The pain of watching others get what they want while you don't.

Get what YOU want, or accept what life gives you

Sure, it's "safe" to simply wait, but then you have to take what you get - if anything. If you set out to make things the way you want, you may fail, but if you're goals are big enough, you're going to succeed along the way!

For example, if you set your sights on hitting the roof, you may only get the side of the building. If you set your sights on the stars, you may only get the moon! On the other hand, the stars could be yours too! Not a bad trade off - a little risk for a lot of gain.

Life's short

You have a limited number of days here. Further, you don't know how big (or small) that number is. Of course, we all hope it is a very, very large number. But, you can't really plan for that effectively, and like the poet said, "tomorrow never comes", all you have is today. Get going!

Put failure into perspective.

What does failure mean? Does it mean embarrassment or does it mean the loss of an eye or a limb. The risk I'm talking about is absolutely minor. Maybe you'll get shot-down when you ask her for a date or maybe he'll turn out to be a jerk if you accept. But, what are the possible benefits? You might make a new friend, get that number or meet the mate you've been looking for.

Learn to succeed!

What if you could manage and reduce your risk? What if you could reduce it to almost nothing? You can! Arm yourself with information. Buy that book, read that article, ask that question - in short, get yourself educated.

On the other hand, don't WAIT until you ARE educated. Some people use their education as an excuse. They spend their lives collecting information, but never learn how to use it. Do you know that your doctor didn't really know how to treat illness when he or she left school? They spent all those years studying ABOUT diseases, symptoms and cures. They didn't spent much time at all learning HOW to cure. That's where you come in. Every patient is a new experiment.

As well, every new person you meet is a new experiment. Thus, gather up information, knowledge and experience; keep track of what works and what doesn't work - but GET TO WORK!

What do you have to lose?

Nobody likes to hear "no". Some people go out of their way to avoid "no's", but not wise people. Many salespeople actually make it their goal to get a certain number of "no's" everyday. Why would the focus on this? Because, if you're going after a number of "no's", you can't help but get "yes's" along the way.

Don't let fear rule your world - make it your ally. What do you have to lose? Being alone on Saturday night!

Overcoming Rejection - Handling Objections


Those of you that have read my articles know that I talk a lot about selling skills. That's because I view dating much like selling. For example:

  • Selling and Marketing - Dating
  • Marketing plan - Dating plan
  • Prospecting - Finding and meeting someone
  • "Cold call" - Approaching someone for the first time
  • "Warm call" - Setting up a date referred by a friend
  • The "pitch" - Establishing connection
  • The "close" - Getting a number, getting a date, etc.
  • The "follow-up" - Moving on to the next step

Over the years, I have trained hundreds of salespeople and know that everyone can sell. As well, I've worked with many, many people and know that everyone can be successful at dating. By looking at dating this way, you begin to see that it really isn't just hit and miss - there really are rules that work for anyone.

One of the most important elements of selling is handling objections. This doesn't mean that you can convince someone of something - that isn't what selling is all about! Dating isn't either. You can't really convince anyone to date you, to establish a relationship with you, to sleep with you, etc. What you can do is to make it worthwhile for this person to make the decision on their own.

When you're dating someone, the best advice is to always consider how hard you want to work. If you've found the "immovable object" - that person that just won't budge, why continue to pound on him or her? It's by far easier to just move on and find someone that "wants to buy what you're selling".

On the other hand, there are some things you can do to help get your "prospect" off the fence. In fact, with many people, (particularly women), you sometimes have to put some work in. Again, keep in mind that you shouldn't work too hard - if someone expects that much, you're "return" isn't usually going to be worth it.

Let's examine some common objections and how to handle them.

Objection: Time

Everyone has the same 168 hours a week. And, whether you use them or not, they're gone. Because of this, many people believe that they are really busy. To them, they may be, but to others it may have just been a wasted of 168 hours. This is a often a matter of interpretation.

I know people that really get things done, and I know people who waste a tremendous amount of time. Every one of them thinks that they are busy. But, consider this; if you want something - really want it - you make time for it. If someone tells you they don't have time to date you time really isn't the issue, it's interest.

You may need to do some more selling. Suggest that if they knew you better, they'd feel that the hour or two spent with you was really worthwhile.

Objection: They don't "see" you that way or you're a "friend"

This is a killer. If you've slipped into the "friend" category, you've got an up-hill battle on your hands. First, you've got to change that idea in the person's head - especially with women. Women organize men into two categories - boyfriend material and everyone else.

If you're the "friend" you can say that you want to use your closeness and understanding of her/him as the cornerstone of your relationship. Say that your friendship is ready to move to the next level and that he or she may not see you that way yet, but they will. Then, set a date to take the out - but make it a date, not just two friends getting together! Do all the things you'd do if you were taking out a new person. This "new" person however is one that you already have history with. Don't let this history prevent you from doing the "date things" that you'd normally do with someone new.

You may find that your "target" is reluctant to set the initial date. Again, this may be difficult to get past, but it is not insurmountable. Remind him or her that they've been comfortable being with you on other occasions and this one will be just as comfortable. After all, you're just trying to see if you work as a couple or not.

Objection: They're seeing someone else

The person may be in a committed relationship, but even this can be dealt with. You might want to interject some humor. Try saying this: "So what - are you some kind of fanatic or something?" Once you've established some ease between you two, go the next step and say, "I understand that you're seeing other people right now, so am I. I just think that we MAY have a spark we should explore."

Keep it light and simple, and remember, it's usually easier to steal someone else's boy- or girlfriend than it is to keep one!

Objection: They can't afford to take you out

Objections involving money - like time - are never to real objection. That is, there is something else you need to find. This is a question of "value". For example, if I could absolutely guarantee you a 50% return on your money, (and you absolutely believed me), how much would you invest? Would you take out a second mortgage on your home? Would you borrow every single penny from your friends and family that you could? Of course you would!

The problem here is that the person doesn't see the value in taking you out. Thus, you can eliminate this problem by going on the "zero-cost date". For examples of free and inexpensive dates, check this some of my recent articles on this site or at: www.remingtonpublications.com/self_help.htm

If you're still getting resistance setting a date, you need to look at other reasons.

Objection: They're afraid of you

Why are they afraid of you? Because they've been hurt before? Because you remind them of the person that killed their parents? What exactly does this mean?

This objection, like the one above isn't really about fear, it's about belief. You need to find out why they don't believe you're intentions are good. Here, you want to address their fears by showing them that you're a reasonable, "safe" person and give them the appearance of a way out.

Objection: Not interested or you're not their "type"

The real question is WHY aren't they interested? Could it be that you've just downed two garlic cloves and a pint of vinegar? Have you spent the entire evening making an ass of yourself?

You want to show this person why you're unique. That doesn't mean that you can stand on your head for 30 minutes at a stretch while finishing off a six-pack. It means that you aren't just "one of the boys/girls". Of course that also means that you meet their "dating expectations". Look around you and see the type of people they are with. Then, show this person why you're just like them, only better.

Objection: No response or they don't call

Too many people fear confrontation. Combine this with poor manners (brought on by poor parenting - you may want to contact this person's mother to find out why!), and you've got a no-response type of person. If you don't get a returned call you should probably move on, happy that you didn't waste another moment with a rude jerk.

If, on the other hand you're the adventurous type, you can try this. Call the person up, but don't leave messages on their answering machine or voice mail. Wait for the person to answer. Then, explain that you know that they're busy and wanted to make it easier by suggesting a time and place to meet. Then, have them open their calendars and write it in. If they "forget" again, you know it's not about being busy - they just lack social skills.

Men: Learn How To Be Approached


Recently, I've been getting more mail from women complaining that men are sometimes put off when women approach them. How ludicrous is this? Men, you've had to do all the work for years. If some women feel good enough about themselves to take on some of the burden - why turn them down?

Many men feel intimidated by women that are direct or even aggressive. It's time to get your own ego in check. What's going on here? Are some men so insecure that they feel intimidated by forward women? Well, yes - this sometimes is the case. On the other hand, many men are tied into the "attitude relics" of the past - including that men always have to make the first move.

To begin, let's look at why women DON'T approach men. Here are a few reasons:

  • Most women feel it's the man's job to do the approaching (attitude relic)
  • Women are sometimes even more uneasy about approaching men than men are about approaching women
  • Many women have never learned how to approach men
  • Men often don't want to be approached and react poorly to women that do

Women who approach men go through the same anxiety that most men experience - if they approach at all. So, the wise man will realize that he wants women to approach him. The trick (as many women know) is how to be approachable.

Being approachable is a combination of things. The first key is to make eye contact. Women will not approach a man whose eyes she can't see. Averting one's eyes is a defensive posture and tells people not to approach you. If she can't see your eyes, she doesn't know if you're shy or dangerous. 

The second key is to smile. A smile doesn't have to be a full-tooth grin. Just a pleasant relaxed smile in coordination with eye contact is perfect. This doesn't come naturally to many people and you may need to practice this in a mirror to make it so. Just look at yourself and picture the image you want to express to others. Then, learn how it feels to present that image on your face.

Eye contact and smiling may also have cultural implications. In some cultures it is considered rude to look someone in the eye. In others (such as Japanese culture), any display of emotion can be looked down upon. Thus, you should learn the local customs especially when you're traveling and make them work for you - not against you! 

The third key is body language and posture. You want to evaluate your body's posture. Slumping shoulders, crossed arms and legs are "don't approach" signals. Another "leave me alone" sign is turning your back or shoulders away from someone - or away from the center of activity. If you're sitting at a bar, you are likely facing a wall. Turn around and face the center of the room (or somewhere away from the bar itself). Then, don't slouch. Sit comfortably up-right with your shoulders up, back straight and your arms and legs unfolded, in a relaxed place - over the back of a chair or on the bar for example. This posture signals your "openness" to someone's approach.

If you're sitting on a bench or couch, don't sit close to the edge (signaling your distance). Don't sit directly in the middle either (showing your ownership of the seat). Sit slightly to the side with room on either side of you for someone else. This is a universal sign that you can be approached. 

One great tool to use is to imagine someone you respect entering a room. Think about James Bond or John Wayne entering a party alone. They show confidence, class, calm and comfort (the "4 C's"?). This should be your goal as well. If you're not sure how to act, stand or sit - imagine what they would do in this particular situation.

Even if you do all of this, don't be disappointed if you Don't get approached. The women that will make the first move are rare - very rare. If you're one of the lucky ones that get approached, take advantage of this gift!

The Test


Whew! The first date was tough. The second was easier - and more fun. The third found you in bed with her. Somehow after 3 more dates, you two are a couple. Now, something has come up that directly affects or might even prevent your relationship from moving forward - what do you do?

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like A Man?

From birth, women begin studying relationships. This continues the rest of their lives. Men on the other hand get very little relationship training before "hitting the field". When relationship issues come up, women expect men to handle them at a woman's level. Frankly, men just don't have the tools to do this. So, they end up making a bad situation worse, committing to more than they wanted to or worse yet, lying. 

"The Test"

"The Test" is that unexpected, unexplained, quirky situation inflicted on a man by a woman right about this time in the new relationship. It can take many forms - from not calling when she promised, to "forgetting" a date, to pulling something so egregious that it knocks the man right off his chair.

Make no mistake about it - women learn to "test" their men from very early in their relationship training. Think not? My friend, then you just the kind of guy that walks in front of the target! "The Test" is so pervasive in the dating world that it is even looked at with humor. In fact, it is so common that most people (men AND women) don't even realize that it happens! You've seen movies and television, read books and articles, etc. where it is dealt with as "that cute situation" a man is placed in order to win his woman.

Do men test women? Yes - it sometimes happens, but not very often. The reasons for this are: 1) Men don't really know how to test women; 2) The Test is designed to pre-qualify a love interest, and frankly, men aren't choosy in the same ways as women; and 3) Men use other techniques to win their loves; and 4) Men often assume (incorrectly!) that women think the same way they do. When men DO test women, it is usually because of a low self-image or they don't really have an interest in the woman in the first place. Women test because of a desire to be with the "right" man (Mr. Right)!

Women want men that can pass their tests. This shows them that their man is strong and capable and worthy of their affection. Fail the test and you're either going to get more tests, or lose the woman altogether.

Recognizing The Test

How do you know when you're being tested? Frankly it can be difficult - unless you pay very close attention. I recommend that men ask themselves first, "does this event make sense in the context of the situation?" and second, "would my best friend do this same thing?" If your answer is "no" to these questions you're probably being tested.

Tests take many forms but they all have the same pattern. If you can begin to recognize the patterns, you will see the tests when they come. Here are the things to look for:  

  • Something that seems totally out of context for her based on previous behavior
  • Something that seems totally out of context for the situation
  • Your reaction (or lack of one) will likely lead to a critical relationship "event" or other drama
  • You are being expected to "jump through a hoop" unnecessarily or for no apparent reason
  • If you don't react, you're likely to loose respect by her, or by others that she includes in your test 

There are far too many examples of tests to cover them all here. For specifics check my website at: www.remingtonpublications.com. Suffice it to say that, if an unexpected situation meets any or all of the above, you're probably getting The Test.

Passing The Test

Tests are not problems to be solved. They are situations created to determine how you will react. Thus, try to keep in mind the following:  

  • You're not in the relationship to cater to her whims
  • You deserve respect and consideration in all of your dealings with her
  • You can expect that she will support you and not cause you to look bad in front of your friends, family, co-workers, etc.
  • If you get angry, or loose your head, you'll fail the test
  • Your goal is to deal with it and put the impetus on HER - let her next action be the deciding one!
  • Resolve up front to walk away things aren't resolved satisfactorily.

Whoops! You Blew The Test!

I've talked to many men that have failed their tests miserably. What now? First, review what happened. Don't get angry - understand that she wants you to pass, but you're going to have to work harder. Next, decide that you're going to be the leader in your relationship - the "captain of your ship" as it were. Thus, you'll be in position to steer the test the next time it omes up. Finally, be ready! You're going to get tested again!

Good luck!

Meeting that special someone


You've met many people in your life. How many of them have been your ideal mate? Probably very few. You may have dated someone very attractive, only to find that they don't seem so wonderful after you get to know them. If you're going to find Mr. or Ms. Right, you're probably going to have to go through a number of people - possibly a large number!

Here are some ideas on how to increase your contacts and find your partner: 

  • Decide what you want in a partner. Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they spend planning their lives!
  • Be open and aware of people around you where ever you go. You never know when you might meet someone that fits your profile. Also, be prepared to say "hello".
  • Don't discount any particular method of meeting other singles. Chat rooms, personal ads, singles organizations, classes, etc., are all good ways. You're going to need a large number of contacts to find the few that fit your goals.
  • When you go out, dress! This doesn't mean that you always need to dress like you're going clubbing - just dress decently. Don't go to the store in sweats with your hair in curlers, and don't go to the bookstore in ratty shorts and a t-shirt with holes.
  • Practice saying "hello" - to everyone. When you're on an elevator, or passing someone in the street. First, make eye contact and smile, and then say "hello". This is great practice for when it will be needed.
  • Let your friends and family know that you're looking to meet someone. They may know someone from work or socially whom they think would work well as a match. Don't be too picky - you'd be surprised how well your friends know you.
  • Get a hobby! By having other things you're interested in, you become a more interesting person. As well, you'll find many organizations that provide information on those hobbies and might meet something through them.
  • Be open - many people unconscientiously close themselves off to others by averting their eyes, crossing their arms, and turning themselves away. Be aware of your body's posture and use it to tell others that you're approachable.
  • Finally, always protect yourself. Remember that the person you meet on-line or in a supermarket may or may not be the person you first think they are!

Be open to new people, but don't give people your home address until after you get to know them.

Relationship Management During a Crisis


Managing relationships when crisis hits is a difficult task. You often get into things you wouldn't otherwise or even use your relationship as a way to console your feelings of helplessness, anger and fear.

Here in California, I've seen this many times happen during our earthquakes, fires and riots. Even during the Gulf War, people naturally wanted to help ease their suffering and often turn to their relationships.

It's a good idea to draw off the strength of those you love, and to share yours with them, but be careful not to use the stress brought on by crisis against your partner, or as an excuse to over-commit. Let's look at both of these scenarios:

Turning Your Anger, Fear or Anxiety Inward to the Relationship

Some people don't handle crisis very well. This isn't a bad thing - who in this country really gets much chance to learn how? Frankly, up until now, we've had it pretty good. Because of this, when a crisis DOES hit, many are just not prepared.

Everyone hopes that they will act like a hero during a crisis. Obviously, there are a relative few that actually can. Of course, everyone wants to be that person, but few get the chance to prepare themselves, and even fewer have it in them naturally. This lack of preparation leads to overreaction, frustration, fear and anxiety. Many people start to lash-out at those around them, and often strike the person in closest reach - their lover, wife, husband, or partner.

Dealing with this situation is a double-edged sword - both from the standpoint of the person inflicting the damage, and from the person receiving it. How do you handle all the conflicting emotions? Is there a way to vent them without harming someone you love?

Yes - the first key however is to realize that you're having difficulty dealing with the crisis. During a crisis, you want to take extra care to deal with all the conflicting emotions you may feel. You may need to talk to someone.

You should also recognize that your partner might be having his or her own issues. It's easy (and natural) to turn your focus inward, but try not to forget that he or she may be going through many of the same things you are.

Using a Crisis as an Excuse to Over-Commit

We've seen this every time there is a major event - be it a disaster like an earthquake, or a war; people decide to step-up their plans or jump into commitments they wouldn't otherwise make.

During both World Wars, the war in Vietnam, and even as recent as the Gulf War, many people chose to get engaged, married, pregnant, etc., before leaving to separating. While this may seem romantic, it is rarely a good idea. Why should a crisis change the path of your relationship?

Of course, knowing that there is someone waiting back home may make the distance seem less important, but consider what may happen when you return. Perhaps this person has changed their minds. Maybe they only agreed to this to appease the person leaving, etc. There are hundreds of reasons why someone may decide to agree to change their relationship.

If you're the one staying home, you too may be tempted to change your relationship. Consider that, while your partner is away, many things may change - for both of you. The promises you make today may not be practical in a few weeks, months or even years.

What Should You Do Right Now?

If you haven't already, try to define your relationship to yourself. Be brutally honest - not wistfully unaware! If you're in the relationship for convenience or because you just don't have the heart to break it off, realize that. On the other hand, if you're building your relationship to a goal, accept that and define the goal even more clearly. Also try to view your relationship (as clearly as possible) from your partner's eyes, but don't feel compelled to share this with your partner however. You're building a personal definition only. Then, do nothing.

What? I hear you asking, "If I'm going through the effort to really define my relationship, why shouldn't I do something about it?" Because, you need to have a stable platform to work from. You need to understand that your definition of the relationship may be colored by your emotions of the crisis. However, if you don't give (or haven't up until now given), your relationship some meaning or purpose for existing, you can't easily decide the best way to act within it.

Unfortunately, too many people live lives as "wandering generalities". That is, they do all the things most of us do, but they tend to wander; to and from their jobs, with their friends; and in their relationships. Thus, without some definition, any action is the right one - even inflicting unintentional harm or over-committing to future plans.

Try to keep your relationship on a consistent path. Do the same things you did before the crisis. Go to movies or rent them if that's what you're used to doing. Spend time together but don't think you have to force yourselves together more often or for longer periods than before. There has never been a more important time to "live for today", because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

What Should You Do In The Long-Term?

It's ok to have plans - even to make them during a crisis. However, be careful not to act on them until you're in a more rational time and place. By taking the previous step and defining your relationship (for yourself), you at least have a yardstick to measure it by.

What if you already have future plans for your relationship? Don't change them - in fact, don't change anything about your life. Don't take money out of the bank or stock market, don't cancel plans with friends or family, and don't make major changes to your relationship plans.

Resources

Everyone in the world is affected by this recent cowardly act. Some are affected in deep, profound ways. Remember, you don't have to go through this alone. In fact, you owe it to your loved ones and yourself to insure you have the strength to move ahead with your life.

As President Bush as said, this is going to be a "dirty war". We are going to grow up as a nation and need to grow up as individuals. This involves learning new, more effective coping skills. Here are some resources you might want to use in helping to cope with this tragedy:

  • FBI Tip website
  • World Trade Center Survivor Database
  • Justice Department phone line to provide information to families about victims and services for survivors: 1.800.331.0075
  • American Red Cross appeals for blood: 1.800.448.3543
  • Cash donations to the Red Cross: 1.800.435.7669
  • Cash donations to the Salvation Army: 1.800.725.2769
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): 1.800.424.8802
  • FEMA Nation Map of Regional Offices
  • North American Center for Emergency Communications: 1.218.229.2887
  • Disaster Area Missing Person Search Form
  • Web pages set up for WTC Crisis folks to check in
  • Doctors who want to volunteer their help: 1.518.431.7600
  • Crisis services, coping information, forums, hotlines, emergency and crisis hotlines
  • Victims of Crime Resource Center: 1.800.627.6872
  • How You Can Help suggestions from Helping.org
  • National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • isting of
  • Disaster Mental Health Handouts
  • Steps You Can Take To Cope In Stressful Situations
  • Coping With the Aftermath of a Disaster
  • What to Tell Children About Terrorist Bombings
  • Sudden Deaths: A Survival Guide for Family and Friends
  • Craig's list Disaster Forum

Follow-Up On "How To Never Be At A Loss For Words" (From July 30-August 5 )


Doc:

I hope you can help! I have two questions: 

1) I have just read your previous article, "How Not to Be At a Loss for Words". However, when I'm with a woman, I just CANNOT think of what to say. I wind up just saying "uh-huh" much of the time and it just kills me. My friends say that I'm a nice, funny guy. But around women, I just wind up being quiet. Any suggestion is appreciated.

2) As a result of the above, I have never had a long-term relationship with a woman - nothing beyond a few dates or one-night stands. The hardest part is what to say to a date when they ask about past girlfriends. I certainly don't want to say I've never had one. I'm 42 and am by no means a bad looking guy. In fact, many say I'm very good looking. I hope you can give me an answer what to say in this situation. Obviously the whole situation puts my confidence at close to zero.

Thanks!

Talk Soup

Hello Talk Soup!

There is nothing so easy, nor so difficult as conversation. It's easy when you understand WHY people communicate [insert suspenseful music here], which I'll get to in a minute. It's difficult because few of us ever learn this valuable key!

Next to my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", (plug, plug!) the best book I've ever read is "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. The question should never be "Have you read this book?" The question should be "How many times have you read this book?" It is full of valuable insight and understanding into this critical skill: learning to communicate.

Let me cut to the chase. The key to communicating with a woman (or anyone else for that matter) is this: people are primarily interested in themselves. Go back and re-read that sentence 3-4 times until it really sinks in. This goes for you and me too! Everyone does the same thing: they spend 20% of their time listening to you, and 80% thinking about their own experiences related to what's being said. In fact, I'm not sure if women don't spend 95% of their time on themselves!

Ok, knowing that key, here's how you use it. Your date is interested in what? She's "...primarily interested in herself." Say that to yourself a few times. I call this "knowing your customer". The other key to all of this is "sell what your customer is buying!" If she's interested in herself, then sell her that! When she talks about her work, focus on her work. When she talks about her cat "Boots" focus on her love of cats! When she talks about the rising price of latex, ask her about her fetish wardrobe (well, not on the FIRST date!)

Here's a "dirty little secret" about the women we date: if they're under 45, they likely haven't read a newspaper or seen a news program in the past year. So, you can't talk about "current political events". To them, a current event is the release of a new shade of lipstick. And, let's face it; you probably aren't up to speed on this. So don't try. Instead, learn to get HER TO DO THE TALKING. You're going to be amazed at what a great conversationalist YOU'LL become when she rolls on for hours!

How do you do this? By learning to ask "open ended" questions. You read my article, so you know what these are. If not, go back and read it again. In fact, why not pick up a copy of my book, and get the whole picture? It will also answer your second question.

So, when she starts telling you about that "luscious" shade of lavender that Eve Whoever just released, you ask her, "So, why does lavender work with your skin tone?" When she tells you that Boots scared off her last boyfriend by using his leg as a scratching pole, ask her, "Where did you get your love of animals?" Practice this - you can get so good at it, you can keep her talking all night long - right up to your bedroom!

Regarding your second question, here's my rule: never cop to ANYTHING about your love life. Period. Believe me, it'll come back to haunt you and no good will ever come of it! So, here's what I do. Now, understand, I've dated A LOT. I've had many, many girlfriends and many more lovers. I'm not bragging here (ok, maybe a little!) But my point is this: I sure as hell don't want to tell any girl about my love life, and frankly, they don't want to hear it either.

So, when they ask about your previous love life, do what I do. Say, "Oh, there have been HUN-DREDS!" Then roll your eyes, smile, and go back to the above rule - ask her about hers! Say, "What about YOU? How many have YOU had?" (Note: women almost NEVER tell the truth here). And let her ramble on. After awhile this becomes a game to see how long you can keep her going. More important, you're gathering valuable information all the while. Use this information to determine if SHE'S good enough to be around YOU!

Once you master all of this, you're going to find that your confidence will grow as well. You'll begin to learn that YOU really can have power over the women you date! Believe me, this isn't just a confidence builder - it's an aphrodisiac!

Good luck, much love...

Cowboy Gets a Hoof To The Head


Last Saturday night I decided to go to a country bar. As I walked to the back of the building, a really attractive woman grabbed my arm and said with a pretty smile "Would you please save me at least one dance?" After a while the band was playing a slow song and I immediately asked her to dance. While dancing she told me that she had a premonition from God to come to the dance hall and the reason He gave her that premonition was He wanted her and I to meet.

After the song was over, she asked if I'd sit with her and her friends, and kept telling me how happy she was that she met me. We danced several more dances and with each one she would get closer and closer holding me tighter each time. A girl came in selling individual roses and I bought her one. She told me she would never throw it away. When it was time for the place to close, she gave me her phone number and asked for me to call her.

Sunday night I called her and she told me how great I looked to her and she was so glad that she met me. She agreed to meet me during the week for dinner. She said if I called her on Monday night she would tell me what night would be good for her. Well, when I called her on Monday, she told me that her daughter was working late all week and she needed to be home for her. I said that's no problem.

Next she tells me that she's throwing a birthday party for her Mom on this Sunday and has all this preparation to do. I told her that I would love to help her with it just to be able to share each other's company. She told me she's call to let me know. I heard nothing from her on Tuesday so I call her Wednesday and ask her if she would still like me to help her. All of a sudden I got the cold shoulder. She says that she's going to handle everything right at the local church. Now I ask her when will I see you again? She says she doesn't know and gave me more excuses. She told me that if she gets an opening she'll let me know.

To make matters worse, earlier today had flowers and a romantic note sent to her before we had a chance to talk! I just can't believe how this woman's emotions turned so quickly. I don't think I have a chance anymore. I would sure like to hear your thoughts on this one! 

Hello!

Well, your first mistake was going to a country bar! Ok, I'm just kidding. Actually, I see two fatal flaws here: 1) "Nice Guy" syndrome, and 2) "Too Much Too Soon". Allow me to explain.

This woman was all over you like a ton of bricks from the start. This is usually not a good sign. I mean, why so much attention and focus so soon? Why did she pick YOU out of the crowd? You have no way of knowing, but SHE may be the problem - at least in the beginning. Perhaps she just got out of a long relationship and is looking for someone to dump on - or someone to boost her sagging ego. You certainly filled both of those bills! Or, maybe she's just beautiful and crazy (check this link for more: www.remingtonpublications.com/why_are_beautiful_women_crazy.htm) While you're there, click on the "Self Help" link on the left-hand side for more information.

This immediate attention should have been a clue - remember, women are relationship experts. They spend their entire lives studying the art and science of relationships. Because of this, they know just how to time things to get what they want. In this case, this woman sure got what she wanted! So, let's examine the two fatal flaws:

1) "Nice Guy" syndrome. It's sad, but true. Women don't go out looking for nice guys. Most are attracted to jerks. Why? Because nice guys just seem to be willing to do anything - like drop their life's plans for a woman. Unfortunately, country bars are full of these guys - it's almost a stereotype! Take a look at those Black Angus commercials as an example of what I'm talking about - the simple cowboy and the beautiful woman - she kicks hell out of him; telling him what boots to wear, wanting to talk about their "relationship", etc., and he plays right into like an idiot. Oh - how cute! Oh - how insulting!!

You see, women don't look for nice guys because they are just too ready to drop everything and jump for a woman. The women that I talk to (and I get so much mail from them!) all say the same things. They want a man that is strong, confident, has a direction, and is a contributing, participating part of their relationships - not the guy that is willing to change his entire life to win them. The man that is willing to just drop everything is NOT the man they want to hook up with. So, why are they attracted to jerks? "The Jerk" is a man that already has a direction - and, he won't change it for anyone. In other words, he is self-focused and directed. He knows where he wants to go and doesn't mind making things fit that mold - including the women he dates. Women find this irresistible.

You, on the other hand cleared your week starting from the night after you met her, and were all ready to jump into her life. She's probably thinking, "Geez - doesn't this guy have anything else to do?" Then, you answered this question by being available to help her with her mom's birthday party! This sounds like something that she'd ask her girlfriends to do. Believe me, women prefer to jump into YOUR life, not the other way around.

2) "Too Much Too Soon". Women spend a lot of time thinking about their relationships. Even if they don't have one at that particular time. They dream of the men they crave, of how their lives will be when they find them, etc. Women have a built-in mechanism to help "custom fit" men into their dreams. This is a good thing for men - if they know how to play it. In order to take advantage of this mechanism, you have to give her time to use it. Not only did you call her the next day, and the day after that (at her direction), but when you didn't get a call the next day and called her again on Wednesday! She just has to be wondering why you're so desperate!

Further, you never gave her time to miss you. She was busy with her life, and you kept interrupting it. She never had any "down time" to think about you - and she doesn't even have a relationship with you yet! She'd have to wonder what it would be like if she WERE involved with you.

Ok, what can you do now? Frankly, you've probably blown her out of the water. When she gets the flowers, that's just going to seal the coffin. Is there any way you can prevent them from being delivered? I'd sure try anything I could think of to stop them, including bribing the delivery boy. In fact, you should probably avoid her all together.

If you have even the remotest chance of salvaging this situation; you're going to have to get scarce - very scarce. Of course, you shouldn't call her again for the next month or so. Yes, I know that seems like a long time, but bear with me. IF she calls, don't return her phone calls - at least not for a week or two. Especially, don't answer your phone on the weekend - this is what voice mail is for! Your friends and family will understand if you call them back. You just don't want to appear "available" to her - you've already made that mistake once.

If you see her at the club, here's what you should do. Walk up to her with a "glad to see you" look, and say "Hey - it's good to see you again!" Then, kiss her on the forehead and WALK AWAY! Don't try to strike up a conversation, and don't give her time to respond. Just go find someone (anyone) else to dance with. What if she comes up and wants to talk to you? Try to keep it short, light and detached. If it were me, I'd be checking out every short skirt that walked by. By doing this you're sending a message (in her language!), that you're moving on, and if she wants it, SHE'S going to have to earn it. Not only is this a better situation for you, but it is the only situation that will work for her. Here's a little known fact: women want to do the chasing. Yes, I know that you've been told that men do the chasing. After the first "Hello" it's the woman that wants to be the aggressor.

Now, after that month has passed, you may want to call her just to say "Hello", and check on her mother's birthday party. If she's willing to talk to you, try to keep it short and light - no heavy conversations about relationships, don't ask her out, don't tell her you'll call her, don't ask her to call you, and for God's sake - don't compliment her! She has to have something to shoot for. The only point of this call is to put you back in her mind. Then, be thankful if she calls you again sometime later.

10 Signs That It's Time to Break Up


Sometimes, good things end. That's just the way life is. Sometimes, bad things continue due to neglect or fear. This ISN'T the way life should be. 

I continue to tell people, the problem isn't that there are too many divorces - there are too many marriages! So many people hook up with partners that are (or become) unhealthy for them, then find that they can't bring themselves to break it off - sometimes out of fear of being alone, sometimes through convincing by their friends or family, sometimes through concern of how they will look, sometimes through simple neglect, etc.

When should a relationship break up? Simple: when it no longer provides benefit to one or both partners. In other words, if you aren't getting what you want or need from being with someone, or if you recognize that your partner isn't getting what they want or need it's time to move on.

I've had some people say to me, "Isn't that a little selfish - what about the person you're dumping?" To this I answer, "How can it be good for someone to stay with a person that doesn't want to be with him or her? After all, how low does your self-esteem (let alone your self-respect) have to be to want to do this? It is by far much healthier to go about finding the relationship that works for you - that gives you what you need, than to apathetically cling to something that isn't fulfilling. Life is too short or this, and you deserve better.

So, how do you know when to break off your relationship? Here are 10 signs to watch for. Note that most people encounter one, two or more of these things periodically. However if they you're finding that you experience more than a few consistently - over a longer period, it's probably time to move on:

10. You no longer look forward to spending time alone with your partner. You may still have a good sex life (or not!) but actually talking to your partner seems like a chore. If spending time alone with your partner seems like a prison sentence you may be up for a parole.

9. You begin comparing your partner to others.  This is particularly true when other people seem more appealing to you. We all find others - often those we don't have - attractive. If however, you find that you're comparing specific traits - a person's voice, their neatness, they way they carry themselves, etc., against others; especially things your partner can't change - you should re-evaluate your relationship.

8. You criticize or "micro-manage" your partner  If you're always concerned that your partner's socks aren't exactly right for his pants, or that she wears too much make-up, or that he or she just can't seem to take their responsibilities seriously, don't look at them - look at yourself. People that are in love tend to look beyond minor annoyances to the bigger picture. If you're having trouble doing this you may want to work on your exit plan.

7. You start trying to change your partner. Many people fall in love with people that excite them, but find that this excitement isn't good for them in the long term. On the other hand, they may find someone "stable" that doesn't provide enough variety in their relationship. If you find that you're constantly trying to convert your partner from the person you fell in love with, it may be time to bolt.

6. You re-connect with ex lovers  It's one thing to send an ex-girlfriend a birthday card. It is entirely another to take her out for dinner and a movie "just to catch up". The trick here is to be honest about your motivations. If you had the chance to sleep with him or her, would you? Are you looking for approval or an ego-boost from him or her? Have you forgotten why you broke up in the first place?

5. His or her jokes are no longer funny  Of course, you may have heard them 1,000 times, but people in love tend to look beyond this repetitiveness. They see that their partner is being humorous, not how funny something is or isn't.

4. You're doing all the giving - or all the getting. Relationships are about mutual benefit. If one partner is benefiting over the other, the relationship isn't healthy. This doesn't mean that everything should be exactly balanced. For example, just because one partner spends $50 on a birthday present, that the other should spend exactly that amount. Nor does it mean that both partners should always split a dinner check. If one person pays all the time, and the other doesn't at least cook a few meals, there is something wrong - and unhealthy about the relationship.

3. You constantly find ways to include others in your activities. Always including others indicates that you're not looking forward to being alone with your partner. Of course, you need time with your friends, but if you never have private time, or the only time you're alone is when you're having sex, perhaps the problem is in the company.

2. Your friends no longer like being around you when you're with your partner. Your friends don't have to dislike your partner - perhaps they don't like what affect your partner has one YOU! Consider that your relationship with your friends is at least as important in the long run as your relationship with your partner. In fact, it may be MORE important as they will see you as you really are, and will be there even if he or she isn't - IF you treat them right!

1. You no longer feel good about yourself. At first, this seems like a strange warning sign about your relationship, but think about how you felt when you first hooked up with your partner. You felt great - about yourself and your world. If this is now lacking where it was there before, you may want to look at your relationship.

Confidence - How to Show It - Even If You Don't Have It


Many of the women I talk to say the same thing: of all the things they find attractive in a man, confidence is #1. The wise man will understand this and use it to his advantage. If you're going to have any level of success with women, you're going to have to be confident, or learn to fake it. This article will explore men's confidence - what it is, how it appears and how to fake it.

"Confident" verses "Cocky" 

To begin this discussion, let's look at the difference between "confident" and "cocky". On the surface, they appear to be almost the same thing - and in fact, they come from the same place, and hold much the same outward appearance. However, a cocky person's subtle quirks are easily exposed by, and a real turn-off to women - exactly the opposite of what you want. So, how do we differentiate confident from cocky? The difference ultimately is the internal motivation. People who really are confident show it easily. Those that try to appear confident (without some coaching) come off as cocky.

Women are masters at picking up the difference, so it's tough to disguise. But - it CAN be done! We'll explore that in a few minutes. First, let's look at some differences in traits between the confident and the cocky man:

  • Trait The Confident Man The Cocky Man
  • Posture Comfortably erect Slouching or too erect
  • Eyes Look right into her eyes Shifting around - not into her eyes
  • Hands Relaxed, at the sides, on table, etc. Constantly touching something or himself
  • Speech Relaxed, slow and specific Strained, tense, choppy, fast and too loud or soft
  • Talks about Her, others and things in general Himself
  • Face Pleasant, easy expression Facial "ticks" or odd expressions
  • A Plan Has one! Doesn't think he needs one

Of course, you want to focus on the traits shown by the confident man, not the cocky one. The more you think about them the easier it is to adopt them. This is the way the mind works. It can only hold one thought at a time and reacts to everything. For example, if you thing about your nose, while you're trying to concentrate on her, you're going to start feeling it itch. So, fill your mind with other things - things that build confidence.

So, practice being confident, and watch out for or correct any cocky behavior.

How to Fake Confidence

1) Dress and groom yourself well Dress better than the best-dressed person you expect to meet. If you don't, you'll feel inferior subconsciously which will manifest itself as nervousness outwardly. Also, make sure you're properly groomed. You do this for the obvious reasons just stated, but even more important - if you're not well groomed, you give any woman you meet a reason to look at you more closely - and, women can be critical enough without your help! She'll start to pick up small details that translate in her mind into your lack of confidence. By grooming yourself well, (including your hair, nails, moustache and beard, ear and nose hair, eyebrows, and having a good shine on your shoes) you won't have to worry about this on top of everything else. 

2) Build it up from inside Confidence is very difficult to fake, so you're going to have to help yourself by adopting a confidence "physiology" What does this mean? Specifically, by creating thoughts of confidence in your mind, your body will react and display that confidence. So many of the "quirks of confidence" come out in very small things - like an almost imperceptible smile from the corner of your mouth or the brightness in your eyes. These are all subconscious indications of confidence. You want as many of these coming through as possible.

First, give yourself an easy pep talk. Tell yourself, "I look great today!" and "I feel good about myself." These seem silly at first, but consider that your subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between reality and the things you tell yourself - if you do it with conviction. Of course, you're going to have to actually think you DO look good, so give yourself a leg-up and dress well, be well groomed, etc. Then, when you look in the mirror and say you look good, your brain adds the thought, "Yep - he's right!"

Next, run some confidence-building thoughts through your mind. To do this, get into a comfortable, quiet place - your living room or bedroom is best, but even your car will do - sit quietly for a moment and relax. Try to remember a time that you felt totally comfortable and confident. Try to remember the exact feelings you had and then recreate them. Try to feel exactly like you did when you felt calm, comfortable and confident. Now, with these feelings in place, imagine walking up to a woman you've never met and saying "Hello". If you lose the feelings, go back and recreate them and try again. Continue this until you can keep the feelings going while imagining talking to a new woman.

What you're doing here is programming your mind for success. You're telling your mind in the most direct way possible what you expect of it. It will respond if you give it the right messages clearly enough. Most of us spend time thinking of the worst thing that could happen. Then, what happens? The worst thing! Don't do this to yourself. Use your mind to build positive experiences and expectations.

3) Remember the term "Calm Confidence" One of the most obvious signals to a person's lack of confidence is in their nervousness. A confident person is usually calm and has easy, natural gestures and mannerisms. By adopting the correct physiology through the techniques just discussed you will add greatly to this. However, pay attention to your actions (but don't dwell!) and, if you find that you're gestures become erratic or large, play them down. Focus on the calm confidence you're trying to show.

4) Hold a drink in your LEFT hand! First, holding a drink (even if it's only water) gives you something to do with your hands and prevents you from fidgeting. This is important: always hold a drink in your left hand - not your right! Why? Because drinks, being cold will give your hand a cold, clammy, wet feel - a dead giveaway to nervousness!

5) Don't smoke before or while meeting someone Many people use smoking as a relaxing activity and falsely believe that it makes them calm. In fact, cigarette smoke is a stimulant. If you smoke before you meet someone your physiology will change, giving off all kinds of signs of being nervous including: 

  • Increased blood pressure
  • "Flushed" face and hands
  • Constricted pupils
  • Dry mouth

And a hundred other signals - any one or two of which are enough to set off red flags in her head. Further, it gives you "smoker's breath". Women constantly report that bad breath is one of their main turn-offs. 

On the other hand, if you are a smoker and you don't keep the nicotine level high enough in your blood stream, you're going to get minor withdrawal symptoms including the "shakes" - another giveaway. So the answer is to have your smokes well before you plan to meet someone. Then, brush your teeth, use mouthwash, etc. to help eliminate the breath problems. Your body will have a chance to even out the nicotine levels and return you to a more balanced state.

You should never smoke while you're meeting someone new. Why not? First, there is a heavy backlash against smoking these days - sometimes even by smokers themselves! Having your prospective woman complain about smoke in her face is not a good sign. Second, holding a cigarette in a nervous hand amplifies any shaking you may have - no matter how minor. Third, it really doesn't look very cool to have a burning weed hanging out of your mouth, regardless of what the ads say!

Remember: it is never inappropriate NOT to smoke. 

6) Limit the coffee, tea, sodas and other stimulants Just like with smoking, these increase your nervous signals. One cup of coffee may help clear a fogged mind, but an entire pot is going to make you wired. So too with sodas and even candy - many contain high levels of caffeine, and should be avoided. 

7) Shut the hell up! Nervous people just yammer on about only things they know about. By being quiet, other than to ask "leading questions" (those that require more than just a "yes" or "no" answer), you let her do most of the talking. Not only does this help to conceal your nervousness, it also gives her another focus - herself. You'd be surprised how great a "conversationalist" you become by letting the other person do all the talking!

Obviously, you can't go on and on without saying something, but don't confuse a speech with a response. Especially when you first meet someone, you just need to make contact and focus on your goal - getting the home phone number. It doesn't take many conversation tools to do this. Further, she is probably better at talking than you are anyway. Let some mystery help you along to your goal.

8) Practice. Many people spend years perfecting their crafts. Consider making a speech; very few people are born good public speakers. However, wouldn't it be easier to speak in public about something you already know well rather than about something you don't? And, wouldn't it be even easier if you had hours of practice beforehand? Of course! You can practice these confidence-building techniques anytime and you'll find that they eventually become second nature.

Making It By Faking It

Wow, what happened? Once you've faked it for a while, you're going to find something strange - you'll actually become confident! Certainly, your newfound success will help here, but it is really much more than this. Like I said before, when you adopt a confidence philosophy, your body begins changing it's physiology! With enough practice, you're going to find that it becomes second nature - not because you're getting good at faking it (you are by the way), but your body begins to accept it as fact! And, guess what - you actually become a more confident person.

Your mind and body don't know what is real and what's not. Do you doubt this? Then how do you explain the success of commercials? By repetitive viewing or listening, we begin to remember products and eventually buy them. Just as well, by repetitively changing our philosophies, and therefore our physiologies, we are actually changing ourselves. It makes you wonder; if a 30-second commercial can change your perception or memory about a product, what can a 60-minute television program change?

So, here's this article's lesson: "fake it until you make it!" 

The Value of Male Friends


Hi Dr. Neder,

I really enjoy your articles; they help me out quite a bit, thank you!

I have a question that concerns my friends and my ex. I met a nice girl and we hit it off quite well to the point we decided to see each other exclusively. Unfortunately, things didn't work out and after two months of trying to be boyfriend/girlfriend, we split up and haven't talked to each other since.

My friends got along well with my ex and they all commented how disappointed they were that we couldn't be together. But it got to the point that they asked me for her phone number so they can go out and do stuff together. I gave out her number with reluctance but I never vocalized it at that time.

Now, my ex is seeing someone new and some of my friends have met him and think he's terrific. They don't talk about it with me directly, but when we're in a group atmosphere or whatever they go on and on about how wonderful this guy is.

I'll be honest. I don't like this at all! I don't have any problems with any of ex's going out again, but do I really have to be subject to it? Do I have to be reminded about my failed romance all the time? I feel like my friends are betraying me in a way, once I spoke out and said I didn't really want to hear about it, but they just reply to grow up and get over it already. I feel like I'm being compared and I'm coming out on the losing end.

Do I have a right to feel this way? I just don't think my friends are truly acting like my friends.

I appreciate any insight you may have.

Thanks!

-Adam

Hello Adam!

What kind of friends are these? Not the kind worthy of your friendship in my opinion!

What the hell are THEY thinking? They obviously don't respect you or your friendship with them. Why would they: 1) ask for her number; 2) spend even a single moment with her and 3) talk about her and her new boyfriend in front of you? It's not you that needs to grow up - it's them.

There is nothing more important to us men than our friends. If we treat them right, our friends will be there through our dates, girlfriends, and ex- (or present) wives, and they'll understand when things go wrong as it did with this woman. Further, our friends will be there for us when we're ready to go "back out on the hunt" to find the next one. They'll understand that male friends help THEM get dates too. In my opinion, these guys have lost one of theirs. Worse yet, they don't understand the value of their friends.

Friendship in many ways is much more important that a relationship with a woman. Your male friends understand you in a way that your girlfriends never will. They see who you are without all the added emotionality and embellishment that women bring. They are critical, but that criticalness helps us to be better men. Next to our fathers, our friends are our greatest opportunity to learn to be the men that we are. If I were stuck in a Mexican prison one day, I'd call my best friend to help before I called a girlfriend!

What's the primary difference between your male buddy and your girlfriend? You and your buddy can sit on the couch and watch a ball game without speaking a word for 2 hours and not think your relationship is in jeopardy!

Here's a little rule I follow. When I first meet a woman for the first 5-6 dates, I don't introduce her to my friends, family, business associates, etc. No exceptions. I see this as a reward for being a good girlfriend and a critical step in our relationship. I'm very interested in meeting hers however, although I don't push her on the issue as I respect her privacy as well. Here's a little secret that most women understand but few men seem to: if she can bond with your friends, she can much more easily control YOU through them.

In my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", I talk about the value of male friends. I suggest you pick up a copy of it and commit it to memory. Then, pick up a copy for your friends and give it to them with a copy of this letter. It will be your last, magnanimous gesture to your parting friendship! Then, find some friends worthy of you.

Good luck, much love...

How to Sell - for the Single Mother


Doc:

I am a 39-year-old mother of 4 children, divorced and trying to find the 6 "right mate". How do I go about not scaring men off? 

Seeking

Hello Seeking!

Your question actually has two answers. The first one is simple: find men that aren't scared off by your 4 children! There are men out there looking for ready-made families, however they aren't the majority!

The second answer is much more complicated. If you've seen our website, you may have come across the article to men on dating single mothers (www.remingtonpublications.com/dating_single_mothers.htm) where I advise men to steer-clear. This isn't a jab against single mothers. It is a warning for men that might not otherwise know the pitfalls. Let's face it - with 4 kids, I don't know when you have time to date, let alone foster a relationship with a man! This is at least a juggling act.

So, on to your question. The answer is to become marketable! In fact, you want to place yourself into the best possible situation. Absolutely forget the "loves me just as I am" concept. I hear this all too often from women - they don't want to change or grow - they just want to find the guy that will take them exactly like they are. Of course, these are the same women that become bitter and lonely in their old age. Don't do this - let me give you an example:

Imagine the person that invents a new product. He really believes in it for doing whatever it does. In fact, he sticks to it without testing the market, and just jumps right in to begin selling it on his enthusiasm alone. Now, it may be the best thing since sliced bread, but nobody buys it. Why? Because it isn't packaged correctly, it's too expensive, it's too difficult to use, it doesn't solve a particular problem, etc., etc. So, years go by and the guy eventually winds up in bankruptcy because he isn't willing to fix his invention to fit his market. Who won? Well, he got his product out, but it didn't sell. So, his product failed, his market never benefited, and he lost.

So many of the women I talk to are like this guy. They don't want to change anything, and hold on with white knuckles to things just as they are. They expect that some man some day will find them and love them for who they are. Maybe this will happen, but it is a 1 in 1000 chance. You have the added challenge of your ready-made family. In short, if you aren't willing to change some of the things about yourself, you're not going to find that guy.

So, what do you have to change? Since I don't know you, I can't really say specifically. Instead, let's look at what your "customer" wants to buy. Then, all you have to do is become "marketable", create a "marketing plan", and start selling your product (you!) Here we go:

*Becoming "Marketable":

Consider your "target customer". He's a single man, in a particular age range, of some level of stability and is interested in a relationship. Also, he isn't scared off by 4 kids. In fact, he loves kids. So, what is this customer looking for? He probably likes the idea of having a family and a wife - or at least a girlfriend (don't worry about the marriage thing right now). This is a woman that makes him feel good about himself. Perhaps she's a homebody, or maybe she's career minded. Maybe she's looking to the best for the family as a whole, and loves the idea of supporting him in his career. Note, that I'm not recommending any particular thing here - I'm only making suppositions - you have to (get to?) decide what this man is looking for.

What you're trying to do here is to determine what the man you're looking for ultimately wants. Then, all you have to do is become that woman! Consider this: what he doesn't want is a woman that has no time for him; that tears down his self-esteem; that nags him; or that just views him as a paycheck. He wants a partner. (Believe me, men don't want to be alone the rest of their lives anymore than you do!) He wants a lover. He wants a friend. He wants a teammate. Consider objectively - what things about you match your prospective mate's goals? Also consider, what things about you DON'T support your his goals? You might want to enlist the help of a trusted friend here. Have her (don't ask a man - he probably won't know!) help you with these questions.

The other aspect of marketability is being approachable. Do you sit with your head buried in a paper, or with your arms and legs crossed? Do you fail to make eye contact with people? Do you hide off in a corner at parties? In short, you've got to make yourself appear approachable by men. This doesn't mean that you have to "throw yourself" out there. Just be easily approachable - don't seem "dangerous". Also, consider that you don't know when you'll meet a man that piques your interest, so always dress well when you go out.

*Your "Marketing Plan":

Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their lives. Isn't this ridiculous? You too need to spend some time designing your life. This plan must be committed to paper. Spend some time here and really think through what you are looking for. We began the process in the last section (becoming marketable), but you need to expand on this. Consider, what does he do for a living? Where is he from? What are his political views? In short, you need to describe this man to the "nth" degree - be absolutely specific.

Once you've decided on who your man is, next decide how you're going to go about meeting him. Where is he? How are you going to increase your contacts so that you and he cross paths? Exploit every possible option you may have. Bars, health clubs, etc., are only a very few places. Of course, men are all over - all you have to do is be where they are!

Your plan should also include an "educational" element. You're going to have to learn what your prospective man looks for in women that he approaches. Then, you want to be that woman. There is a ton of information here. Start collecting it and adjusting your own persona to match. Learn to make eye contact and to smile if you don't do this already.

*Start "Selling":

Once you get your plan worked out - go work your plan! You need to meet a number of men - possibly a large number. Don't turn down any possible source of leads. Tell your friends and your family that you're actively seeking a partner. You'd be surprised how well they know you and what you're looking for. But, don't prequalify anyone. You really don't know who's going to match your plan until you talk with him. Also, you should use every other tool available to you. Use the Internet - there are a ton of singles areas on the web that match people. Use your local area papers - many have personals sections. Consider your work (but be careful) - who here might match? What about your kid's school - there are probably single parents involved there as well. You might want to take a class or two (try to think of where men might be).

You also need to learn the basic skills of flirting. Learn to look at everyone you pass and smile at them. These are the basic skills you need to meet someone. Men won't approach you if you don't look approachable. Adopt a pleasant, calm and confident manner - this is as attractive to men as it is to women! In short, become a student of these skills and practice using them everyday.

I also suggest you pick up a copy of my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World". It is written for men, but it goes into all of this in great depth and I get reports from women all the time about how they've benefited from it's information. Then, let me know how things turn out.

Good luck, much love...

How To Never Be At A Loss For Words


Do you ever get "tongue-tied" when you're talking to someone - especially someone you're interested in? Next to public speaking, this is the most common fear people have. But, fear be gone! We're going to solve this problem once and for all!

 To Be a Better Speaker - Listen!

An amazing thing happens when you learn to listen - you become a better conversationalist! It's a fact of communications - you've got to learn to listen!

Listening is an active task - it doesn't mean simply saying "uh huh" ever few seconds or nodding your head. You've got to actually pay attention to the person speaking. Why? Because you're going to use their conversation to keep things going. 

Also, if you're at all interested in this person, you show it with your body language and your ability to listen to them. If you're not listening, this person will detect it right away.

Starting Conversations. How do you start a conversation with someone that you're interested in meeting? This is one of the most common questions I get. People don't really just want to break the ice without having some way to continue, as this is awkward.

There has to be some "pay off" to making the first move. So, how do you do this without coming off like a stalker? First, forget using a "line".

Something like, "Did it hurt when you fell out of heaven?" is just going to make you look foolish and seem like you don't have anything else to say. Your prospective dialog partner is probably going to feel awkward as well. This isn't a good way to begin!

Instead, find something you have in common. If you're at a wedding, try asking the other person if they are a friend of the bride or groom. At a coffee house, ask this person if they've tried the caramel latte here. At the gym ask them if they've found a particular exercise useful.

In general, you should avoid complimenting someone. Why? Because, when you compliment someone you don't know, all you can focus on is how he or she looks. "You have beautiful eyes" is a nice thing to say, but the person has no control over this. They we're born this way. Many people feel uncomfortable when attention is drawn to their appearance. Thus, avoid compliments when you first meet someone new. 

For example, at the beach, you might ask this person, "With a tan like that, you must be a surfer," (this isn't complimentary - it's observational), "ever ride the waves in Hawaii?"

"Open-Ended" Questions

To keep a conversation going, you need to learn to ask open-ended questions. These are questions that have more than a "yes or no" answer to them. For example, "Hey, nice place huh?" is a closed-ended question, begging the response, "sure, what ever." On other hand asking, "Great place - what do you like most about coming here?" is open-ended. If gives the person the chance to express their opinions.

The other key to open-ended questions is to keep things somewhat focused. Don't expect the person you're talking to "jump through hoops." If you meet someone in church and ask, "So, why to YOU believe there is a God?" you're asking too much of the person. Try to stay more focused and keep it simple. A better question might be, "Why do you come to this church?"

What to Do With Lulls in a Conversation

Some pauses are natural in conversation. When they go too long, they become uncomfortable. This is where the art of listening really comes in handy. If you've been listening to what the other person has said, you have something to begin the next round of communication.

Instead of spending nervous seconds thinking about what you want to say to someone. Relax, and listen to them. Use THEIR conversation to keep things going. You can ask someone about something they've said, and this is by far easier than trying to come up with something on your own.

By using open-ended questions based on what they say, you can keep a conversation going almost forever. However, remember, this is a conversation not an interrogation! Thus, you don't want to "pick apart" everything someone says. Just keep it light and easy. "Yeah - I know what you mean" can go a long way.

Don't Interrupt!

Nothing is more annoying to a speaker than being interrupted. If you don't want to have the conversation in the first place, don't start! All conversations have a natural "cadence" or rhythm. This is similar to the waves at the ocean. All surfers know that waves come in "sets". These sets are combinations of large and small waves, and repeat. So too, do conversations. You want to time your interjections during the valleys of the conversation sets.

At the end of a set is a longer pause where the natural rhythm of the conversation slows down. This is the point to watch for. You can use this to ask another open-ended question, or to "close" the conversation (such as asking for a home number).

Don't Dominate The Conversation

Everyone knows people who take one deep breath and just continue a string of sentences that lasts an hour. They have no natural cadence to their conversation. So, here's a checklist to keep in mind when YOU are the speaker:

  • Get a clear thought of what you want to say.
  • Take a moment and think through the best (usually the shortest!) way to say it.
  • Say what you want.
  • Pay attention! If you're the only one having said more than a single sentence for the past 2 minutes, if your listener is getting glassy eyed or is no longer paying attention - give it a rest!
  • Get your listener involved by asking them what THEY think about the subject.
  • Now, shut up and practice your listening skills!

Communication with a Purpose

When you meet someone new you should have a goal. If you're trying to get the person's phone number then keep that goal in mind. If you're trying to make a new friend, you've got to find something in common. If you're just trying to pass the time, you're approach to communication will be different.

When you meet someone new, try to keep your conversations short. A comfortable timeframe is about 2 to 5 minutes. This may seem like too little time to make a connection, but you'd be surprised what you can do in this time. For example, this article is over 1100 words long, and probably took you about this time to read it. Now, look what we've done in that short period of time!

What Are Your Goals? Girl-Friend or Girlfriend?


What's up Doc?

I have a friend who I've gotten very close to in the past few months and I think I'm falling in love with her. I haven't said anything to her about how I feel because I'm not sure if the time is right. You see, she was seeing this dude for a while but have since been in a holding pattern. I don't think they have officially "Broken Up" but I can see it coming. I love our friendship and would hate to screw it up by jumping the gun. Do I wait or do I express my feelings? I feel some strong vibes that she may be interested in me but she won't act upon it. How can I reel this one in???

Thanks much,

Stressed-Out

Hello Stressed-Out!

Here's a sad-but-true fact: it's easier to steal someone else's girl than to keep your own!

Of course, this may work to your advantage, but consider this: if, for any reason this DOESN'T work out, you're definitely going to lose this girl as a friend. On the other hand, women don't really make good friends for men anyway. Why not? Because, in most cases, women's male friends are really just like boyfriends; she'll call to bend your ear when she's been hurt by her boyfriend, she'll call you to fix her car or if she needs a ride somewhere, she'll borrow money - in short she'll treat you just like a boyfriend - all without the sex!

Another thing to consider: While it may be easier to steal a girl than keep one, by far the most difficult thing is to turn a female friend into a girlfriend. Why? Because, as her "friend" she doesn't "see you that way". I don't care what vibes you're getting. After all, if she is: 1) having trouble with her current boyfriend, and 2) she's interested in you - then, why hasn't she made a move, or at least let you know that she's interested? You see, women control the speed and direction of the relationship. That's just the way it is. Men have been falsely told that it is THEY who do this. Wrong, my brother. Don't fall into that trap.

Ok, so are you doomed to admire her from afar? No, but here's what you're going to have to do.

1) Get over the friendship. If you are interested in pursing a relationship with her, you're going to first have to give up the friendship. If you're not willing to do this, forget it.

2) Help her see her current boyfriend's, er, problems! Well-placed phrases like, "Gee honey, you really don't deserve that kind of treatment!", "You deserve so much better than that!" and "You know, I'd never treat someone I loved like that!", etc., will go a long way to driving the message home.

3) You've got to change her thinking. Women organize men into two categories: boyfriends and everyone else. Right now, you're in the "everyone else" category - right smack-dab where you don't want to be! Thus, you've got to get her to start seeing you as boyfriend material.

How do you begin item #3? Simple - start ACTING like the boyfriend. Call her up one day and say, "Hey - it's me. I don't know what plans you have for Saturday night, but cancel them - I'm taking you to a nice sunset dinner." Be somewhat subtle, but firm. If she tells you she's got something else planned, just repeat, "I don't care - just cancel it and I'll pick you up at [whatever time]." Women absolutely LOVE this bold, powerful approach. Believe me, I get letters from them everyday!

Two other points. First, don't take her to a movie, concert or show on your first 3-4 dates. Why not? Because you're going to use this time to talk to her. Not as her friend, but as her lover. Find out about her deep-down. Get to know about her wants, her needs, etc. Find out exactly what she DOESN'T like about her boyfriend, etc. In short - focus on her.

The second point? Make sure you give her at least a goodnight kiss! If you don't do this starting with your very first date; she's going to think you've just become the very nice friend that takes her to dinner - and you're back to square one. In fact, you're worse-off than before! Also, if she balks, she's telling you that she doesn't see you this way. Again - two choices: accept it and get scarce - give her time to miss you and hopefully time to begin seeing the possibilities; or begin working to counter her reluctance. Say things like, "I understand you don't see me this way YET - but I know you very well, and this will be the cornerstone of our relationship."

Good luck, much love

It's Never Too Late To Date!


Hi Doc,

I am 39, never married, and rarely dated. I am trying to get on my feet career and finance wise, but it is hard because I don't date or look aggressively enough to satisfy my semi-superiors in the corporate world. I want a relationship, but I am not out going enough.

Any tips?

Calvin

Hello Calvin! 

While there are some people that are "naturally outgoing" most of us have to work on it. You are right to associate some outwardness with dating, as there is a direct relationship between them. We'll explore this in a moment so bear with me.

First, let's talk about what women want. Not what "popular opinion" says they want, but what they really want. Through my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", I get a lot of mail from readers - both from men AND women. The women continue to tell me the same things - they want men that are confident, strong and have a solid direction.

The problem with "popular opinion" is that it is based on the wrong questions. We hear all the time that women want good-looking, wealthy men with large penises. These are based on questions like, "Is a man's attractiveness important to you?" What a stupid question! Of course it is, but it doesn't ask the two most important aspects of the question; 1) "HOW important are looks to you?" and 2) "WHAT do you find MOST attractive in a man?" Thus, most men are confused about just what women really want.

This all began with a "feminization" of society - about 35 years ago. You and I have been through that period when we "thought" that women wanted "sensitive" and "caring" men. Too many of us still believe this, but let me say my female readers don't agree. Women don't want men that are "feminized" - that's why they have girlfriends!

Ok, so what about you? I have asked hundreds of women this question: "What do you find MOST attractive in a man?" They continue to tell me the same thing: CONFIDENCE. Could it really be that simple? The answer of course is "yes and no". Women look for confidence in the initial approach. As you're already aware, it is our (men's) responsibility to make this first contact. Thus, if you carry yourself with confidence and act as though you EXPECT a woman to be thrilled to meet you, she will be! Note that I said "confidence" and not "cockiness". There is a fine line, but cocky men turn-off women.

Calvin, you first need to work on an approach but it's easy to get started. Begin by simply making eye contact with everyone you encounter. Don't worry if they seem to "look through you" - their reaction isn't important. You're only trying to establish a pattern of success here. Once this feels comfortable add a simple smile. Next, when this begins to feel comfortable, add a "hello". As you practice these skills, they become ingrained and feel begin to natural. At this point you are ready to begin meeting women because these are the skills you need - making eye contact, smiling, saying hello - and doing it with ease and confidence.

Along with your career goals have you set any relationship goals? Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they spend planning their lives. In my book, I cover this planning process in depth and highly recommend that you pick up a copy of it then commit it to memory. It also covers many other aspects of dating that you're going to need including communications, meeting women, and "handling your success" which discusses problems between your new mate and the rest of your life!

Get started today - believe me, you'll be surprised at how easy it all really is! But, if you don't do something today, tomorrow will be the same. If you don't do something this week, next week will be just like this one, etc. So, get going - you can do it!

Moving In Together


This week, let's explore the issues involved in moving in with your significant other.

Some people view this as a prelude to getting married; others see it as a natural "next step" without a further goal. Either way, this is a big commitment on the part of both parties. Of course, I'm talking about setting up house as a couple, not simply sharing housing costs as roommates.

Preliminary Considerations

Before you just jump right in and set-up house, you'd better consider what you're really doing here. Moving in together is just like getting married without the format commitment. This is a big step - one you shouldn't take lightly. Just like you shouldn't jump into a marriage, you shouldn't jump into living together.

There are many good reasons to move in together - security, finances, emotional support, etc.; but the primary reason should be to take your relationship to that next level. Many couples do this as a precursor to getting married - something of a "test drive". In fact, I can't imagine why anyone would get married to someone that they haven't lived with first.

Consider, however that statistics show there is a slight increase in the likelihood of divorce among couples that live together before marriage. I believe that this is because many couples find that they aren't as compatible as they first thought, and go ahead with the marriage anyway because that was the goal of moving in together in the first place!

If a couple's goal of moving in together is to test a possible marriage, this should be a clear understanding up front. There should be goals and each partner should have the freedom to say that they are or aren't comfortable getting married. This doesn't mean that the relationship has to break up however! Many relationships work just fine when they aren't constant live-in's. This needs to be understood up front. Just because you can't live with someone doesn't mean that you can't love him or her - and continue seeing each other from different residences.

How to Get Started

So, how do you go about setting this up? First - TALK! I've seen too many couples that just agree to move in together like roommates and then try to work out the details after the move. Don't do this! Both you and your lover deserve the luxury of having the details worked out in advance. Spend some time, and commit your agreements to paper (see below for some links that may help here). This doesn't have to be a formal, notarized document - just something you can refer to now and in the future when questions arise - and they WILL arise!

Next, consider your present situation. If one or both of you own a home, you may want to rent one or both of them out and establish a "neutral ground" for the new relationship. On the other hand it may be preferable to move into one home and sell the other. Consider all the factors in making this decision: length of time left on the mortgages or leases, the monthly payments, upkeep costs, taxes, size and age of the home, condo or apartment, and of course; location, location, location!

Next, consider your possessions. If you're moving into one partner's place, it isn't reasonable for the partner moving to just throw everything away and move in. There is going to have to be some type of "merger" of property. What isn't brought into the new home may be placed in storage. Further, things that were there before the move-in may also be put in storage to make room for the new things. The key to making this work is compromise from both partners. Few people want their things removed, or to have to do without things they are used to. So, find a balance that works before the move occurs.

Before all this happens, both partners should mark their things so that they know who owns what. I recommend that you both create written inventories of what you have - including what is going into your "love nest", what is going into storage, and what is being sold or given away. Yes - I know this isn't very romantic, but consider what you're really doing here - you're creating a business relationship as well as an emotional one. Both things that will be brought into the house as well as things that will be stored should be marked. If you have duplicate things (which is quite likely), you may want to have a garage sale or simply give them away. Remember however, that if things don't work out, you're going to want to have them back or replace them.

Other Considerations

Frankly, there are too many other possible issues to consider than can be listed in a single article. However, some of the things you should decide up front include:

  • Who is responsible for what chores?
  • What about kids - those that live with you and those that visit?
  • What about pets - if both people have pets, are they compatible?
  • Who decides on decorating?
  • What about space and closet needs?
  • Will you have separate telephones, computers, etc?
  • What about office space? If one or both of you work from home, you may need to separate offices.
  • What about privacy? Moving in together doesn't mean that you have to open up every possible aspect of your life.
  • What about solitude - most of us need some "alone time" just to remain sane.

Finances

Moving in together is as much a financial consideration as it is an emotional one. One partner usually earns more than the other, and may be expected to cover a larger share of the expenses. This is fine, but there is likely to be some expectation of return from the partner contributing less - usually in household work.

What about bank accounts? You might want to check with an accountant and/or attorney to decide what works best for your particular situation. However, I strongly recommend that you don't merge all of your accounts into joint accounts. If one or more joint accounts make sense for your particular situation, you may want to keep your existing accounts and create one or two others: a checking account (for paying bills) and a savings/investment account. Then both partners contribute their share into the account(s) from which bills are paid, investments made, assets are purchased, etc.

Correcting the Mistake

Oh brother! This is much more difficult than making the initial decision to move in together! Thus, it is much better to have not done it in the first place. Of course, that piece of wisdom doesn't help you much if you've already done it. So, let's look at the things you need to know:

Moving out can be just as traumatic as getting a divorce - especially if you've been together awhile. Consider, that you've probably purchased things together, have joint bills, and possibly joint bank accounts. All of these have to be split. Further, at least one partner has to move (possibly both partners), and set-up a new home elsewhere. And, of course, there is all the emotion involved.

During the time you've been together, you've both enjoyed a number of benefits - probably two incomes, two people supporting the household, two people paying the bills, etc. Usually, one partner makes more than the other and contributes more financially. Sometimes, the other partner makes up for this by performing additional work. Sometimes however, this isn't the case - and most times, both partners feel that they have contributed more than the other.

I recommend that you forget all of this and concentrate on the process of the splitting up the household. Consider that the person moving is going to need funds to get set-up again. How you split your assets is up to you, but I suggest this: be generous in the giving, meager in the expecting, and appreciative in the receiving. Yes - easier said than done, but it will go a long way to getting this split finished. If you're still going to stay together as a couple after all this, it will probably be much simpler than if you're breaking up the relationship. Remember: you got together in the first place. There was something you saw in the other person. Concentrate on the benefits you've both gained and try, try to make it easier on your partner - they deserve at least this much!

Also, don't bring friends into this breakup. They will be traumatized by it all anyway. There is no need to make it more difficult for them (and ultimately for yourself). You may want to ask them to help you move, but don't expect them to hate or dislike your (ex-)partner. They will have probably established a relationship with this person, and deserve the same respect for it, that they have given you. In short, don't try to pit your friends against your ex.

Final Thoughts

Moving in with your lover is a tricky, problematic event. Unfortunately, love isn't enough to make it work. Consider my 7 "P's": "Proper, prior planning prevents piss-poor performance". I know it isn't romantic, but I strongly urge you to create a "Cohabitation Agreement". This doesn't have to be 50 pages long, nor cost you thousands in attorney fees. Here are links to a couple of simple ones on the Internet: (or do your own search if you prefer) www.lawsmart.com/documents/cohabitation_agmt.html or www.stricklin.org/cohabitation.htm

You may want to download one or both of these documents and modify them to suit your needs. After you've set the "ground rules", you might want to have a lawyer review it to make sure that it will continue to protect you and your partner.

There is a wealth of information on the web about the issues I've discussed in this article. You might want to go to your favorite search engine and look for web pages that discuss "Cohabitation" or "living together" and see what you can find. As long as both partners have a good understanding of the other's goals and expectations in moving in together, the possible pitfalls, and the benefits, this can be one of the most wonderful experiences of your life.

Good luck!

© 2001, Dr. Dennis W. Neder

Other Relationship Issues, Books

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Relationship is a pervading and changing mystery...brutal or lovely, the mystery waits for people wherever they go, whatever extreme they run to. - Euroda Welty



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