1843. Sex Difference Redux—Part 86: Where Love Begins—02


Romantic love begins with his eyes and your ears. Enduring love begins with your knowledge of men generally, your man particularly, and yourself intrinsically. How those factors combine to fit together continues here.

11.  The more masculine you act, the less respectably and admirably appealing you appear to your man. The more admirably masculine he acts, the more appealing he appears to you. (If not true, then you, he, and perhaps both have likely bought into feminist-think.)

12.  After being criticized, you try to improve. Criticize your man and he proves it undeserved or you wrong. Either way you lose. He knows and values you highly for being able to correct him more indirectly. (Correcting him directly initiates competition which inspires him to avoid losing—to a woman.)

13.  You can expect your man’s immaturity to show up as mistreatment of you. If you mistreat him, look to yourself for immaturity. (Female-dominated maturation in childhood teaches one not to mistreat others.)

14.  Your man’s self-image is more important to him than his self-esteem. Confirming and expanding his self-image earns self-admiration that self-esteem does not. You are the reverse. Self-esteem is a foundation of your self-importance and self-image governs how you interact in life.

15.  You expect your man to provide affection; among other blessings it confirms your sense of self-importance. He expects to be admired as significant, so he focuses on your physical appeal and proving his significance in bed. He can’t understand why you don’t see it as fulfilling your expectation for affection. (It’s compounded by his nature not matching your craving for intimacy.)

16.  Just as yours wounds him, his sharp tongue wounds your spirit. A mature woman with a wounded spirit works harder to recover and do better. Men and immature females with wounded spirits seek someone else to nurse away their hurt. (Not taught in childhood to handle one’s hurts shows up later as reliance on others.)

17.  You can criticize your man and remain in love with him. Men can’t do the same. If he criticizes you, it weakens his respect and consequent love for you. Or, it signifies lack of his self-respect. (His respect for others is limited by his self-respect; our natures don’t allow us to share what we don’t have. In courtship, a man that persistently criticizes waves red flags as short of self-respect.)

18.  You are the relationship expert. Your man acknowledges his inferiority in this matter by paying little attention to the need for or the fulfillment of relationship maintenance.

19.  You can live with your man’s physical infidelity, but he can’t live with yours. You can’t live with his emotional unfaithfulness. He’s at a loss to understand it, but instinct tells him to argue to the contrary of whatever you assert. (Thus, he ends the competition of disagreement before he loses the argument—to a woman.)

20.  Your man’s drive to be head of the house far overpowers your natural objections to it. If you elevate him to chairman of the board, the vacuum makes you chief executive officer which empowers you perfectly for your other roles as chief nester, wife, and mother.

Hundreds of sex differences determine the outcomes of your interactions with men and your man. This ends the first 20 differences, but many more follow at ten per post.

37 Comments

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37 responses to “1843. Sex Difference Redux—Part 86: Where Love Begins—02

  1. Dear Sir Guy,

    BRILLIANT

    More please on NOT triggering a man’s competitive spirit (Whew! that is a HUGE drive!). Please offer more alternatives in the line of subtle respectful AND LOVING ways to connect.

    THANK YOU!!!

    🙂

  2. Ann B

    Yes, please, for the request by An Avid Follower and a Lady. Apparently, my man’s intentions or view of a conversation is apparently the only one that is truthful. All others are lying (trying to make him look bad) or or have poor memory. To not take his side/either side (when I have only heard his side) is also not acceptable to him. This rigidness makes him less respectable or admirable to me. I want to run away screaming obscenities and avoid him at all times.

    • Some Other Guy

      Dear AnnB, this is very simple for a man. Either you are on his side or you are on the other team’s side. That you even want to hear the other side of the argument is disrespectful to him. To even entertain that your man is not right you are a traitor to him. You may ask him questions about the incident. But you must take his side. to question his actions hurts very deeply. He will not be able to trust that you have is back implicitly. When he married you, he married you w/ the expectation of unquestioned devotion to him. You have to find another way to tell him that he is wrong. Or best is to just agree with him and support him. If he’s wrong about something, it will work itself out in the end. You must not be the one to correct him. it is disrespectful. A man disrespected at home will leave home and not come back.

      • Thank you Some Other Guy,

        YOU REALLY PUT THAT IN CLEAR TERMS. I appreciate it very much. This loyalty issue is something where women REALLY miscue on. Some of us say things we think may be helpful but there is a REAL serious risk to it coming over as questioning his authority. Probably the last thing she intended! But we may have been talking and fixing and fussing with our girlfriends who haven’t got a clue and done unecessary harm by spilling over that manner of thinking. I really appreciate your clarity and showing a spotlight on your thinking process and how it works. I am really beginning to realize how women inadvertently trigger men. And what damage it does to him, and he probably is so wounded he won’t speak. Thank you 🙂

        • Some Other Guy

          Exactly. And the sad part is, most women don’t understand that this happens and are at a loss as to why he is pissed at her. The wives don’t mean to do this (for the most part :-)). But when your man is in a confrontation, his nerves are already on edge. He needs to know that you back him without question.

          Best regards.

      • Ann B

        A woman disrespected may also leave home and not come back.
        I have backed him, to the point that he disowned his only sister and family, has disowned his only brother and family (even though he still is in partnership with the business) so still deals with him daily. The ‘whining’ he would do daily regarding this, (yet they could have split the business for years).This I understand, have told him so, that I support him 100%. Apparently falls on deaf ears. I recently told him I was uninterested in hearing any of it anymore. Because if I had any comment, question or opinion on the matter, it was now directed at me…with screaming in my face that I just didn’t understand.
        One of our sons (two) does not agree with him (the boss that tells you to do work, then when you start, tells you to do it differently and still isn’t satisfied when you do it his way.
        This son tells off him rather incoherently (more like his dad than not) and they had a recent falling out. My husband claims cluelessness to any reason for any of this and I have backed him. We have three grandsons from this son, and I now get the feeling that because they are this son’s children, he would prefer they not come to visit. I get the feeling he wants me to cut back/disown this son…the grandsons/daughter-in-law.
        I asked if he was going to talk to this son, and he said no. The son must come to him.
        I’ve had enough cutting family members out. And enough hearing how horrible his brother is, and yet not doing anything to remedy the situation….for 18 years.
        Yes, I guess that love letter is in order, otherwise, to verbalize anything is ALWAYS twisted out of context.

        • Hi Ann B,

          In the love letter formula, you don’t even have to give the letter to the other person. But you must write it, clarify what is going on inside yourself, feel those feelings so you can heal them. Then you will know what to do. If you write the letter and sit on it a few days, and pray, you will know what to do. The formula says you must identify and find the feelings that well up in you when this stuff happens. If you check into the Mars Venus stuff, read some of the comments in that love letter chapter, its like a light bulb going bright. You expose the feelings in a clear but safe non-blaming formula – They say if you say “When you do …, I feel …” It is less of an avalanche for him to process. Gives him the ladder he needs to climb down on, we all need it sometimes. It sounds like your man is a real wounded bear at this point from the competitive arguing in the family, and seeing you in a lot of pain from being isolated from your loved ones, giving love and care to them. I bet he misses them too. He probably feels your pain too – that is enough to drop his self esteem into the pits because something he has done is hurting you and he sees you unhappy. Even worse now, he doesn’t have a clue as to how to get out of this mess, break the cycle. I bet the love letter technique can help flesh this out and break up the conflict.

          • Ann B

            Avid,
            Thank you. I am somewhat familiar with Mars and Venus books and the how to of the love letter. Will update myself and get the letter written…even if he never sees it. I really appreciate all the comments and helps from everyone.

  3. Katey-Anne

    Dear SirGuy,

    Please can you explain the difference between self-image and self-esteem what you wrote in this paragraph: 14. Your man’s self-image is more important to him than his self-esteem. Confirming and expanding his self-image earns self-admiration that self-esteem does not. You are the reverse. Self-esteem is a foundation of your self-importance and self-image governs how you interact in life.

    Many thanks!

    Katey-Anne

    Your Highness Katey-Anne,
    Self-esteem is how well you like yourself on the spectrum from High SE to self-loathing or self-hatred. Self-image is the picture you have of yourself in your world, such as qualities, shortcomings, etc. You’ll find much more about both listed under ‘Self-esteem’ in the CONTENTS page.
    Guy

    • Hello Katey-Anne and Sir Guy,

      I feel I have to check in on this comment with some images – Superman and Clark Kent.

      I feel like “self-image” could be seen as the man’s “Superman.” For me the “self-esteem” struggle is seen in the man’s “Clark Kent.”

      His “Superman” is his “out there in the world man,” super hero who competes, succeeds and achieves in the world. He is the boss that his subordinates answer to, he is the creator of solutions, the provider, the thinker, the doer, the best, the guy his peers look up to.

      But, every “Superman” has his “Clark Kent.” I see “Clark Kent” as the man’s interior struggle with self-esteem. And his “Clark Kent” shakes in his boots that you will find him out. He is the guy who worries about the next deal actually coming through, etc. He is the guy who just needs you to see the result and praise him for it when it is a done deal, not all of his rattled nerves while he battles for the deal, not the self-esteem issues he needs to overcome in tangling with the elements required to perform successfully and deliver that deal. He hopes you will never see how nervous he really is. You might reject him. He is the guy he doesn’t want you to see when he is in bad shape. Probably when his “Clark Kent” is in bad shape, that’s when he pulls away from you to protect you from seeing this lest you not care for him anymore. After all, most men show you proudly their “Superman,” their accomplishments, their most highly prized traits to win you.

      In the real world, I have come to know that “Clark Kent” haunts every man pretty badly. That was one of the greatest surprises of my adult life. Coming to understand it has made my life so much better. This blog just keeps putting flesh on that reality and I am ever so grateful. The more I understand it, the more free I am, not trapped trying to put round peg in square hole. A man’s “Clark Kent,” is the “not so sure of himself” guy, the one who, even though he actually makes million dollar deals can hardly believe it himself when he actually pulls it off, surprising himself. He’s the guy who really is secretly afraid of rejection when he asks you out even though he is knock down drag ’em out handsome and you have given him the highest sparkle in your eye you have ever given to man.

      Part of what I need is more ways to detect when he shifts from back and forth between these men. Learn to give leeway when “Clark Kent” is on a roll. Learn to give highest praise when “Superman” is at his highest peak. Not expect that peak to be constant. Keep faith when it is not. Show patience when it is needed.

      Any info on detecting those shifts, knowing good words or when to use silence always helps – as always!

      Thanks 🙂

      • Katey-Anne

        Very interesting ‘An Avid Follower And A Lady’..thank you for sharing these thoughts!

      • Some Other Guy

        Dear AVid. I’m a dude. And you have really nailed the idea that a man will get results, but will sweat bullets in getting those results. Men are not usually sure that the results will come. And the pride we show in getting those results are only partly pride. A huge part of basking in the glory of results is simply relief. Relief that despite all odds the results happened. Even for stuff that is humble, like installing a new toilet. we still sweat it.

        My personal struggle is that I will do something that requires a new skill, like hanging a picture, or changing a faucet out. I’m a white collar worker, so this is not routine. But my wife will casually walk by and say “why did you hang the picture there?”. Why did you do it like that? wouldn’t it be easier if you did …..”. Females have no idea how awful that is.

        I gave up doing handy man stuff because of this. what a shame. instead of sharing my glory, she tears it down. even after pointing this out to her, she still doesn’t get it.

        • Hi there Some Other Guy,

          Women have a tendency to fuss. It is part of wired-in-for-survival fussiness that is part of being a successful care-taker, mother (whether mother or not, it kicks in) which is in her nature – to care for a child, giving rise to protecting the new generation. HOWEVER!!!! when she turns this fussiness on a real man, he is cut to the quick. And she thinks she is making good suggestions …

          How about a real, keep it simple man-to-woman talk? She WILL BE IN THE DARK TILL YOU GIVE HER SOME CLUES!!!! I bet she doesn’t realize what she is doing, even further frustrated by the fact that when she makes a similar comments to a girlfriend, her girlfriend does not object even eats it up with a spoon because they are on a woman to woman frequency – that is classic Mars Venus communication break down – but it is solvable!

          The Mars Venus materials are great for road maps. Their is a love letter chapter and it is fabulous. You state in simple terms what the problem is, how it makes you feel when it happens, what you think could happen differently so it won’t happen again, then you AFFIRM your love and then praise something your partner does beautifully – this is a win-win mission!!!!!

          Its so good you are in touch with what is happening, got it figured out how you are getting triggered!!!!! Seems to me like your answer is right around the corner – even though for you guys these things are hard, I wish you courage and clarity for breaching this communication gap – and same for her 🙂 I was kind of shocked myself when I started finding out what was really bothering him – its hard and humbling to realize you have been coming over wrong – do give her a ladder to climb down on if it gets heated own on – Bet you can do it! 🙂

          Your Highness An Avid Follower And A Lady,

          You say: “You state in simple terms what the problem is, how it makes you feel when it happens, what you think could happen differently so it won’t happen again, then you AFFIRM your love and then praise something your partner does beautifully – this is a win-win mission!!!!!”

          Sure, it sounds great and practical. It begs the question, how could anyone object or not work through that process? Well, it works for women but don’t expect men to jump on the bandwagon. It’s designed for friendliness for females but not males unless they lean toward Feminism. It pressures men so much that most will simply dodge or ignore it. (I know the originator of Mars/Venus is a man, but that doesn’t mean he knows the nature of men very well.)

          Guy

          • Some Other Guy

            I appreciate that Avid 🙂

            • I bet it will work. I read your comment on Part 87 as well. If she is feeling some unresolved conflict, she will shut down on you, whether she understands this or not, she is doing it. Problem is, well OK she is feeling wounded for something she thinks you knew hurt her (bet you don’t yet have a clue yet! we women expect you guys to read our minds!). She is protecting herself but I will bet you a mountain of Krispy Kreme donuts that she is NOT telling you what is REALLY bothering her! She really is figuring you already know. And that adds insult to injury because you probably really don’t know, you may have even repeated what bothered her, not understanding that she expected you to read her mind. Yep, we really do that! I read up on unresolved conflicts as a barrier to love in the Mars Venus stuff. I am still working on it myself. It has helped a lot with these messes. One massively important thing in the Mars Venus stuff and this blog is how different men and women are – our rather icky feminist culture tries to delude us into thinking that is not true. This cultural stuff brings misunderstanding, catastrophe and heartbreak. I read this blog as much as I can to get an “undo” going on that cultural poison.

              I hope you keep doing some posting here. It is one thing for us ladies to sit here and work on it, but with another man blogging his honest input it just solidifies Sir Guy’s mission. It puts yet more flesh on these realities. I personally wish I would have found this blog sooner. It is making all the difference. God Bless Guy for putting it up.

              Thanks for putting man’s insights into this blog. I am going to be re-reading your thoughts. They struck home with me. They are showing me where I am right, where I am wrong and also giving me tips on how to handle what is coming next. Please keep contributing!

              Thanks 🙂

          • Hi Sir Guy,

            Thanks for the advice on “dodge and ignore” – it is always a risk to try something new – “dodge and ignore” is surely a possible outcome.

            My sense is that if both parties are really hurting, it can work. The motivation is to feel free flowing love again, end the alienation.

            One thing I sense is that a man will distance himself from his feelings simply to not feel them!!! Its just really intense for him. He is not meaning to hurt a woman, he just can’t stand the intensity. But the side effect of that is that the unresolved conflict is, well still unresolved! It still festers, like an unclean wound. Both sides hurt. Seems to me the REAL dance of compatibility is cleaning out that wound WITH LOVE AND RESPECT. That is why I am always asking you – how!!! Why? Because I recognize you as real alpha male. If a method(s) passes through your filter, its gotta fly!

            Its reverence for how the male mind is constructed by God – that is what causes me to seek to understand. And as Genesis says “It is not good for man to be alone.” So if the woman is shrewd (I like that phraseology that you use!) she will learn somehow to make it safe for him emotionally to “vent his spleen” – clear out those feelings which have been blocked from when she disrespected him and she didn’t have clue. If she messes up like that and wounds him she must be very cautious. He will NOT want it brought up, for sure. I get the “dodge and ignore” – I feel that way myself sometimes, I feel embarrassed or overwhelmed. But, in my heart I sense if he knew her good intentions he would feel relief. He would feel peace and empowered by the fact that she really does respect him. If it were possible to do this without tipping the apple cart it would be great.

            Somehow there has to be a good way to help this happen. Maybe its by subsequent acts of respect on her part … ?

        • Ann B

          I wonder if men who know that their woman does not intend to belittle him, can give her the benefit of the doubt….as we women do for our men. Until we just can’t take being doubted ourselves anymore.

          • Some Other Guy

            IDK about other men. All I can tell you is that having my wife question my work after putting in hours on a project, makes me want to never do another project. when she gives me “constructive critisizm” I do not hear appreciation in her voice. I hear that my efforts to improve the house are not good enough. I don’t want to hear criticism. So I just quit doing things around the house. People do what they are rewarded for doing. I was not getting rewarded.

            Think of it like this. if you have to nag your husband for flowers on your b-day. Then he gets you those flowers. Do you appreciate the flowers after that?

            • I really appreciate your voice here Some Other Guy.

              What I got out of the your last post is that all you are hearing is “constructive criticism” but no appreciation. That is a lesson. I wonder how many of us are just line-iteming things, just like we would do with a girlfriend at the hair parlor, and neglecting to say the parts that affirm the original effort, show gratitude.

              Just a thought but back to women and their behavior. Most of us women analyze a lot. Its like at the hair salon we will talk endlessly about details of things. I understand a woman’s brain historically was designed to be that of a gatherer. If she could find a place where there were berries and life sustaining foods were growing and be able to render great detail about where and how to return there to get more, she was a great contributor to the family survival. She had to keep a bundle of details in her head and be really precious about them, keep track of the details, be able to repeat those details clearly as to where to collect food – no gps back then. And she had to control children, be on top of their every move and keep them from harm, grab them if there was danger close by, tell them and instruct them how to not get into that danger situation again. That is the instinct of a successful mother protecting the young. The man on the other hand was the hunter, succeeding by stalking his prey, spearing it after what may have been a very challenging conflict, then bringing it home to satisfy the family. I’m sure he wanted to be appreciated for that. After exhausting himself by slaying the mastadon he probably had precious little interest in hearing where his woman found all the berries for dessert. He probably wanted to be appreciated for the huge task he accomplished. Be congratulated for not getting killed in the process. He probably needed some rest too.

              When I started to look at things like that, I started to look at patterns in my communication that were not working. I looked at his day differently. I also stopped seeing it as necessary to share things with him in ways that I share with women friends. I now vent what I have to with my women friends who really understand and feel comfortable talking out things in great detail. I try more to soothe him. If I do that venting kind of talking with him he gets all frustrated as if he has to solve it for me, then he feels some how he fell short of my expectation. I do not let that happen. I give him appreciation and seek my gab and chat elsewhere. It is a really important difference that women have to get hold of. If she chatters on about details of a paint job or this or that it can be toxic. If she has thoughts to share about details, I understand the best formula is K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple and Safe (safe meaning express yourself with no harsh words, just thoughtful input). I really never understood how clear and simple things are for a man. A real heart felt “Thank You” seems to go a very long way for a man. I still feel that the love letter format could be a good way to map out a plan, even though you may not read the actual letter to her. The format makes you write clear simple sentences about what is making you feel anger, gives you chance to say in writing what she could do that would change that, gets you to state your affirmation in your finishing sentence that you really care – that is why the author calls it a “love letter,” you have to make sure it finishes with love. Its not that the stuff that comes out in it is love-y dove-y pretty! Its that you get those things aired, offer possible resolution, not just keep complaining about the hurt, give constructive possibilities for real change, then build the peace by ending the letter with love, that is the key, ending the letter with love.

              So I don’t know what Sir Guy is thinking about all of this!

              I, on occasion, visit the “love letter” communication technology to free myself. I explore my emotions so they do not unnecessarily burst out in conversation! I have not delivered a “love letter” in person but have used the clarity I get from a “love letter” when I feel all upset to make sure I do not come at him with things he is just not equipped to process. I work through it so I can say what I really mean in a way that is easier for him to hear. I just don’t see going through life with making pain where there does not have to be any. First I have had to understand how different he is from me!!!! THANK YOU SIR GUY!!!! Now I work on my roadmap to peace 🙂

              • Some Other Guy

                Do you have a link to the love letter. You’re right. it is much better to think out and articulate what is really bothering you. Otherwise arguments get off track and don’t make progress. I am here these for issues detailed in post #1412. I feel like I am my wife’s 5th priority.

                Ordinarily these “you didn’t hang the picture right” issues would be forgotten in a minute. But with these other lingering issues, every little perceived slight becomes a big deal. My wife does appreciate what I do. She’s just bad at expressing it.

              • A.GuyMaligned

                Your Highness An Avid Follower And A Lady,

                What Sir Guy thinks? You’ve written a beautiful exposition of women as relationship experts and so capable of relationship maintenance. Expecting a man to do the same thing invites him to abandon his character, which most men are unwilling to do. Trying to copy what’s natural for a woman forces a man to suppress the male dominant side of his psyche, which means to suppress his self-respect. It’s not easy and usually resisted with emphatic responses.

                Now, it probably looks like I alibi for men, but I don’t. If you want a man to act differently, to respond to your relationship management, you’re asking him to change. It happens only when a few rules are followed: 1) Expect him to act like a man and not show signs of copying a woman. That is, show respect for his manly nature as distinctly different from you. 2) Use indirectness to plant seeds and drop hints until your thoughts ultimately settle into his psyche. 3) Be patient until his imagination fires up such that he wants to please you as his woman. 4) Tie 1, 2, and 3 together with feminine charm, female modesty, and expressions of admiration for him. 5) DON’T try to manipulate through the use of guilt, sex, or showers of affection.

                Sir Some Other Guy, what say you?

                Guy

              • Some Other Guy

                Some Other Guy agrees w/ you. Men and women do arguing and thinking much differently from the other. I don’t think my woman understands this. So for me, jotting down my main concerns or at least thinking thru them helps focus the discussion. If we do not keep a laser like focus on what is important to ourselves, the arguments turn into “I’m unhappy because you did”. Then she says ” Oh yeah? well I did that because you did this”.

    • Katey-Anne

      I hope I’m not double posting..but just wanted to thank you Sir Guy for this clarification. Most helpful. Katey-Anne.

  4. This is for Some Other Guy. I am listing some examples of “love letters” since I really couldn’t find a link.

    Considering Sir Guy’s comment, I wonder if he will see this as feminist?

    To me, I see this material as intimacy building. When I first read these letters I could feel myself going through a journey. I could feel my own anger unblock. That is priceless!!! I don’t keep hidden tension when I am free of displaced anger. I am more open, flowing, understanding. I like myself so much better that way!!! It is easy for me to say what I need, he hears it and is most kind and obliging. And BELIEVE ME, I am SO appreciative of that! Its like it helps me avoid all the road blocks so expertly explained by Sir Guy.

    Any opinions about this method would be appreciated from you men!

    As I mentioned above, I use this from time to time as a private method to help me be better able to reach out to him meaningfully. I have lost many people in my life to premature death. I don’t want precious life wasted on fused unnecessary emotions, destructive emotions, that is. So I write out things and read them to myself to prep myself. Any good ways that you like being reached? Let me know – I would appreciate concrete solutions to my dilemma.

    Here goes:

    Love Letter format

    See “How To Communicate Difficult Feelings” – Chapter 11 in the original Men are from Mars Women are from Venus written originally in 1992.

    Paraphrasing an example letter – Michael & Vanessa disagree about finances – he started yelling, then he took a depth breath went into another room, got a grip and wrote a love letter:

    Dear Vanessa,

    1) (the Anger) I am angry that you get so emotional. I am angry that you keep misunderstanding me. I am angry that you can’t stay calm when we talk. I am angry that you mistrust me and reject me.
    2) (the Sadness) I am sad that we are arguing. It hurts to feel your doubts and mistrust. It hurts to lose your love. I am sad that we fought. I am sad that we disagree.
    3) (the Fear) I am afraid of making a mistake. I am afraid I can’t do what I want to do without upsetting you. I am afraid to share my feelings. I am afraid you will make me wrong. I am afraid of looking incompetent. I am afraid you do not appreciate me. I am afraid to talk with you when you are so upset. I don’t know what to say.
    4) (the Regret) I am sorry I hurt you. I am sorry I don’t agree with you. I am sorry that I became so cold. I am sorry that I am so resistant to your ideas. I am sorry that I am in such a hurry to do what I want. I am sorry that I make your feelings wrong. You do not deserve to be treated that way. I am sorry that I judged you.
    5) (the Love) I love you and I want to work this out. I think I could listen to your feelings now. I want to support you. I understand I hurt your feelings. I am sorry I was so invalidating of your feelings. I really love you so much. I want to be your hero and I don’t want to just agree with everything. I want you to admire me. I need to be me and I support you in being you. I love you. This time when we talk I will be more patient and understanding. You deserve that.

    I love you, Michael

    PS: The response I would like to hear; “I love you Michael. I really appreciate what a caring and understanding man you are. I trust we can work this out.

    So you write a letter and in closing it you ask for what you need for a remedy.

    This one I thought was kind of cute –simple, clear.

    Dear Henry,

    1 I am angry that you are so tired. I am angry that you just watch TV.

    2. I am sad that you don’t want to talk with me.

    3. I am afraid that we are growing apart. I am afraid of making you angry.

    4. I am sorry that I rejected you a dinner. I am sorry I blame you for our problems.

    5. I miss your love. Would you schedule an hour with me tonight or sometime soon just for me to share with you what’s going on in my life?

    Love, Lesley

    P.S. What I would like to hear from you is:

    Dear Lesley,

    Thank you for writing me about your feelings. I understand that you miss me. Let’s schedule special time tonight between 8 and 9.

    Love, Henry

    So Some Other Guy, I hope that is some food for your thoughts and may deliver some relief. Any thoughts that you and Sir Guy have would be great.

    • A.GuyMaligned

      Your Highness Avid Follower And A Lady,

      This is more mental exercise than an advice rebuttal. I draw back from the love letter concept. They can be beneficial I guess, but I see long range and more prominent shortcomings that outweigh short range benefits:

      1. The examples you cite are written with a professional flavor that misleads one to believe in the concept.

      2. The examples are very pleasant to the reader, but the theme is highlighting a spouse’s faults and matching it to one’s dis-likeability and perhaps disrespect of it. Men may accept it, but not from their woman. (When criticized, women try to do better but men argue to prove it undeserved or wrong.)

      3. Relationships are held but not glued together by love and affirming emotions. The best glue is the absence of irritants that accumulate, compound, and make a spouse unlikeable or unrespectable. Another glue is cooperation sponsored and energized by the woman while she avoids generating competition between spouses. (Basically, I expect men to respond by refuting each accusation in their woman’s letter, which puts them in the competition arena.)

      4. What if one or the other doesn’t respond as hoped for in the letter? New and perhaps deeper strains develop?

      I regret pushing against a reader’s contribution of such magnitude. You ask if I see it as feminist. Not the way you ask. However, twenty years after reading it I view the author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray, differently. I now perceive his ideas as heavily influenced by Feminism. (Writing my series the Dark Side of Feminism changed my perception of the changes that crept into the counseling profession since Feminism flooded the culture.)

      Mar & Venus sold over 50 million copies since the early 1990s. With that many readers, we should expect that coupledom would be saturated with marriages patched up by using love letters. What’s the record look like of husbands abandoning families, women cheating, and couples breaking up or divorcing? Until I see evidence of couples who have prolonged their marriage for decades after using the love letter concept, I have to disfavor the concept as workable for enhancing marriage over the long range.

      I have a counter proposal. Periodic letters to one’s spouse citing some features, characteristics, or typical behaviors for which the writer is grateful. I’ve had great success with it over the past decade or two.

      Guy

      • Dear Sir Guy,

        I really appreciate this.

        I am so glad you offer the counter proposal – “Periodic letters to one’s spouse citing some features, characteristics, or typical behaviors for which the writer is grateful. I’ve had great success with it over the past decade or two.”

        This gives me great hope. FYI, this is one of the default measures I have taken. The results are slow but real. Now with your affirmation I feel better about it and am encouraged.

        About the fact that marriages did not transform as a result of the Mars Venus book coming out in the 90s, in the midst of the feminism, etc. I sense that the material has merit – for example, he goes into issues that really offend a man, many of his examples are similar to your writings. I have heeded them and it has worked. But perhaps a large part of the book is simply appealing to my feminine sensibilities. Some of the exercises did help. But in other respects maybe it is not the greatest tool to really really reach the masculine man.

        There is another book which I did not mention but you may be aware of and I like it very much. When I reflected upon your above comments it occurred to me that Dr. Pat Allen’s “Getting To I Do” is really closer to what you are bringing us here in this blog. The book is great. One thing I learned from it was not to directly ask for things, but say things like “I like …,” “I don’t like …,” “I want …,” and “I don’t want …” it is therefore up to him to pick through this field of information and select what he thinks will be the best. Truly a task suited to a masculine man!!! He likes it and I loves when he does it!!

        ,So, she is a good writer, very “counter culture,” as you are, and has taken ot of heat for it. But I do stand by her recommendations too.

        She gives actionable things. All geared getting long with the masculine man. Have you read her book???? What do you think???

        And THANK YOU 🙂 !

        • A.GuyMaligned

          Your Highness Avid Follower And A Lady,
          Yes, I read “Getting to I Do” a couple of years ago. Dr. Allen is logical and clear and relies significantly on the opposing natures of men and women. I particularly liked Chapter 10 about how and who men love. Women know so little about that.
          Guy

          • Dear Sir Guy,

            Thank you for that input. I appreciate that on the journey.

            Your choice of words

            “relies significantly on the opposing natures of men and women”

            really speaks to me.

            That is what you are helping us realize too. Each step I take toward seeing how opposite we are, the closer I get to understanding. I really appreciate what you do.

            Yes, I will be looking into chapter 10. Thanks for the tip.

            THANK YOU 🙂

  5. anonymous

    My boyfriend has a big presentation for work coming up so I volunteered to be his practice audience. At the end I exclaimed how well he did and how he is such a natural presenter. He seemed to really enjoy the praise- couldn’t help but have a huge grin on his face. But then a few hours later he told me that he doesn’t think the presentation is as good as I think it is and so he is worried. My immediate thought was that he just wants me to repeat the praise, and so I told him, “What do you mean? It was great! There were no problems”. But now I’m thinking he might’ve viewed my dismissing his worries as telling him he’s wrong. IOW I told him he is wrong that his presentation is not good. Any thoughts from the men? Is it offensive to tell a man he is wrong even when praising his performance? Was he in fact fishing for more praise? Should I have responded differently?

    Your Highness Anonymous,

    Your second praise was ineffective because his final decision was made AFTER your input. Trying to convince him you’re right (second praise) is actually putting you in competition with him. His final opinion had set in and you couldn’t change it. Moreover, his final opinion is normal anxiety for presenting one’s work to other people. Some men don’t show or admit it, but it’s true only after making many of the same kind of presentations with success.

    After the initial praise, something like this is actually more encouraging: “You’ll see.” Or “In that case, you might want to practice it a little more.”

    Guy

    • DrLfan

      I’m going to channel Dr. Laura (I could be wrong) and say that dismissing her praise as valid is a red flag to get out of this relationship. There are likely many more questionable behaviors that he presents that have given a clue to get out, yet, have been chalked up to things that won’t matter down the road. Maybe, but not likely.
      If he doesn’t trust her opinion now, he’s likely to constantly seek her validation/loyalty yet constantly dismiss it.

      Dear DrLfan,
      I’m unsure of your sex and who you’re pointing the finger at, Anonymous’ boyfriend or me. I am sure, however, that you’re misreading her situation and also not correctly describing the nature of a man.
      Guy

      • If he is feeling his “Clark Kent” my sense is Sir Guy is spot on. Whether the presentation was or was not terrific, one thing is for sure, HE is feeling it wasn’t! That is his self-esteem. That is his own “I’m never enough.” That may have come from a parent, or where ever, but it is REAL for him. He has to work that out, work through it. He needs time for that, as we all do. If, as Sir Guy says, she chooses to say “You’ll see.” Or “In that case, you might want to practice it a little more.” She is meeting him where he is and leaving him in his peace to work through it. Otherwise she is trying to “fix” him with real good feel good comments which, on his insides, he perceives to be horse manure. He may feel controlled. The real truth is that he is not ready to see himself as he is and the best she can do is support him in those stages and not try to fix him. He will surely pull away if she gives him what he sense to be cotton candy when he is in pain about being adequate and achieving.

        Your Highness Avid Follower And A Lady,
        I have for years defined high quality as a delightful surprise, such as your comment. Thanks but I suspect DrLfan isn’t paying attention.
        Guy

        • Dear Sir Guy,

          What you read above is a very real result of the help I have received from you blog. GOD BLESS YOU. I am learning. You don’t know how much you have helped. By passing through the gauntlet myself – doing things like anonymous – I KNOW that you are right. When I started reading your blog, I started changing my behavior to see what worked. What I was doing by myself was not working. So I changed from offering comments similar to those of anonymous to getting dead serious, meeting my man where he is on his insecurities and beginning to really listen to him. What I began to do was affirm his strengths, CAREFULLY!!! I have also learned to leave him in peace to sort things out. I stopped – or am in the process of stopping – overfunctioning. We women do it and it is a like a disease. I don’t believe he sees himself as he really is, but with prayer and the wisdom of this blog I hope to help him free himself. You do a great job. I could write a litany of things that I have derived from your many litanies! There are some really big issues I am working on right now in the relationship and it is really tough going. But it is getting easier because of your writing. I really had to wrap my mind around the fact that the woman is the “relationship manager.” That phrase alone was hard for me! In fact ! went around months almost resenting it! Why??? And here is one of the big lies of our culture – because I ASSUMED that since he is so vastly superior in his field of endeavor he would rapidly assimilate my comments and read them, read my mind, as another woman would. When he didn’t do that I was shattered. Then we were both lost. I was creating injury and distance by complete accident – very heartbreaking to see the time lost as a result of this. Now it is getting so much better. I am SO grateful. I feel so good when I see the look in his eyes, that long distance look, that tells me he is at peace. It is quiet and deep, calm. It is in his own space. I did not tamper, attempt to “fix,” or serve up cotton candy. Its as if he has received something that he did not realize he even needed (respect!) and he is amazed. I am going to keep your phrases “You’ll see” or “In that case, you might want to practice it a little more” under my hat as well. But it is not an amateur’s task to be a relationship manager! I am still reading and working on this 🙂 I love the bliss that results – I think he does too 🙂

          Thank you 🙂

    • anonymous

      Thank you to all for the helpful input…I responded with “you’ll see” when it came up yet again later. He replied “I hope you’re right” so I think he much preferred that way. And yes I agree he is feeling his “clark kent”.

      • Dear anonymous,

        How great!!! I could just feel it when I read what you wrote!!! I was thrilled when you said that he said “I hope you’re right” – now you are bonding with him, you are on his team for sure! This is a bigger step than you may realize just now. The first time I succeeded and “got over” this way, I did a big “Whew”! It felt really different for me. It has taken time for me in my relationship to get on consistent footing with doing so. I am aiming for consistency so he can rely on my calm, stable listening with occasional affirming feedback. If you radiate in his presence he will be as high as a kite. If he sees you believe in the REAL him – that is you accept his Superman AND his Clark Kent – you will set him free. You go girl!

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