Sunday, November 04, 2007

Getting more sex from your wife

Getting more sex from your wife


I’m back. I sort of fell off the Bliss Wagon and didn’t want to spoil it for you… because it works, but only if you work at it. Actually, it more than ‘works’. Once oyu’ve seen inside her mind, your own mind can’t go back to its previous shape.

Let’s just say I am now exploring the furtherest reaches on the interior of this new continent that I discovered, my wife.

And let’s start with a little bit of orientation: I still surprise my wife with little (and big) gifts. I still massage her 2 times a week (with no promise of sex in exchange – and she sticks to that rule). Perhaps the most important thing for her is that we are now in business as equal partners. I have let go my command and control model and let her take the reins a lot more. And she is very encouraged and fulfilled by this.

I am still very sensitive to her need to feel equally valued. I refer to her as my ‘manager’, etc. and when we are talking to groups of farmers about climate change (this is our new enterprise), I introduce her as the ‘farmer’ and say she refers to me as being worth ‘half a sheep dog’ and I add “and she says I’m the wrong half” referring to my incompetence when moving our sheep.

But I am not Mr Perfect and I don’t clean and cook etc. andavoid laundry duty,etc… I have fallen off the wagon. But she’s not going anywhere, which was the objective of the exercise. I provide proof that I love her regularly.

Our relationship is good, but SEX doesn’t rear it’s ugly head often enough for mine. And too often for hers. She has gone through/is going through/who knows, “the change” and since that started 4 years ago she has been less interested in sex.

Her interest in sex and her pure animal energy first attracted me like a moth to a flame. I got burned, as you will read in the book. And lived with the smell of burning wings for many years. Now the irony is that her hunger for sex – which caused me so much grief with other guys and haunted me for years – has diminished. (I doubt it was ever there to the extent that I imagined. By now I have worked out that she enjoyed sex but enjoyed the excitement of the romance that went with it even more and that this was what she craved more than sex: romance. Sex was what made boys interested. It’s a common condition. It’s called “wanting to be loved”.

So, where does this leave me now? No sex for a week and I’m going bananas (quietly). She is very mindful of my needs and “does it” weekly. This reminds me of the Woody Allen movie Annie Hall, which stars Woody Allen as Alvy Singer and Diane Keaton as Annie Hall.

How often do you sleep together?

Do you have sex often?

Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.

Constantly! I'd say three times a week.
Like the other night, Alvy wanted to have

Three times a week? HEAVEN! And it is just now that I really find my wife more sexually attractive because I ‘know’ her better as a person, that fate has dealt this cruel blow. (Not blow job.)

So I googled “How to have sex with your wife” and I am afraid there’s not much hope for us. Here are some of the gems of wisdom I discovered:

One medical expert said: “Discuss the problem with your wife frankly, but be patient and supportive, always looking for mutually satisfactory ways to achieve intimacy and express love and affection.” (Do doctors have sex?)

One poor guy who gets none got this response from a chat room:

“Maybe you're presenting yourself as TOO nice, TOO needy, TOO interested; stop asking for sex, stop initiating it, stop staring at her; you may be appearing as obsessed instead of challenging; see how long it will take for HER to ask about it, then give her one of the excuses she gives YOU; this "role play" will hopefully and ultimately lead to a dialog where she SEES the issue more clearly; certainly, there could be alot of reasons for her disinterest, including hormonal imbalances, medications, or, as i mentioned, her dislike of your attitude, approach, etc; however, though she may have a legitimate reason for her feelings, it is still her RESPONSIBILITY to engage in open, honest discussion about them with you, with the goal of re-discovering the missing passion, and up to YOU to INFORM her that the lack of such dialog is UNACCEPTABLE; if she still refuses to cooperate, CONSEQUENCES would follow, but that's for a later email;for now, adjust your approach from needy to "aloof", as stated above, let her wonder about it awhile, then continue as outline.”

Souns like sound advice, but hard work and not very likely to work for me.

Then – as a little light relief (and don’t I need it) – I found this book: The Sex-Starved Wife: What to Do When He's Lost Desire By Michele Weiner Davis in Hardcover at SimonSays. (Oh happy day.)

There were some choice pieces of advice when some poor fellow submitted this tale of woe:

Subject: Why does my wife not like sex?

So my wife and I have been together for about 4.5 years now. I can count the number of times we have slept together on my toes and hands.. When I ask her about it all she says is " I dont know why I just dont feel like it." I love my wife and I know she loves me. What can I do? This is driving me nuts. I have not cheated on her but the thoughts are going through my head. I dont want to, but can this work with out sex? someone pease help.. I'll try anything at this point…


Sadly, for our sufferer, the first sympathetic soul was a God-fearing, no-sex-before-marriage guy who said:
“I'm not married, so I have no idea how you feel. I do know that God can help you here.” Maybe God is the person these complaints should be taken to. Afterall, He started this game, by making Men like Men and Women like Women. So, God, what’s the deal here? (He will answer in due course.) Meanwhile our unmarried, no-regular-sex guy had a good suggestion: “Continue to love your wife. Have you ever heard of "love languages"? google it. there's a book that might open your eyes to some things. like i said, i'm not married, but it sounds like you might not be speaking your wife's love language.” Right on. We’ll come back to this.

In the same string was this unkind contribution: “Maybe you suck at sex? What are you leaving out of this story?”

Someone else added: “If a person does suck at sex, and their partner lets them go blindly onward through life without ever mentioning that to them, then it's not just the partner's problem. People have to speak up, if they think their partner sucks at sex, right?.. It cannot be *simply* the case that he sucks at sex - his wife sucks at communicating about sex, just as much.”

After reading this description of the sex life of a fundamentalist Jewish couple, I decided I might like to become a Jew. Listen to this:

“Sex is the woman's right, not the man's. A man has a duty to give his wife sex regularly and to ensure that sex is pleasurable for her. He is also obligated to watch for signs that his wife wants sex, and to offer it to her without her asking for it. The woman's right to sexual intercourse is referred to as onah, and it is one of a wife's three basic rights (the others are food and clothing), which a husband may not reduce. The Talmud specifies both the quantity and quality of sex that a man must give his wife…. (From Judaism 101 -

So far, from what I came across on my search, we have ‘talk about it’, ‘don’t be no needy’, ‘try to speak her ‘Love Language’, and convert to Judaism.

Let’s look at these options:

1. TALK ABOUT IT: I said to my wife, when she started refusing sex more frequently, “I am a normal adult male with a normal sex drive.” That’s all I said. I didn’t say, “If you don’t come across, someone else will.” But that could be what she heard. Because it worked. For a while. What else can you say? “Let’s talk about this… I need sex and you don’t. What can we do about it?”

What a foolish exchange. In terms of the power situation, she’s got all the cards. As*name* writes in book, the partner least interested in sex determines the frequency of it. So I say talking is great, but have something compelling to say.

2. DON’T BE SO NEEDY: If you’re always pawing you wife (fondling, feeling up, squeezing, etc.) or always asking for sex when you are cuddling, she starts to feel you only want her for sex.

This is a BIG NO NO. Because it reduces her sense of worth as a person. Her “integrity” as a human being. So I have got to learn to keep my hands to myself.

3. LEARN HER LOVE LANGUAGE: Gary Chapman has a book called The Five Love Languages is based on the theory that each person has a different way of communicating and understanding messages about love from others.

The basic principle is this: She is more likely to make love to you if she feels love from you. You can only prove you love her by using the communication style that rings her bells.

4. CONVERT TO JUDAISM: (Or rely on a religious doctrine to regulate sex in marriage.) I don’t know about you, but I like to feel that my wife is getting off on what I am doing. Is she’s doing it out of sympathy, it is debased coinage. (Though sometimes I get so strung out that rape becomes an attractive idea.)

MY ANSWER: I think I have an answer, for me at least. My drought conditions coincided with the reduction in intensity of my seduction strategy: Love Bliztkreig. If I can return to a more maintainable level of total war/love attack, more acceptable to my own sense of integrity.

Remember, the Man Overboard is based on total surrender (to interrupt legal action or a walk out) and constant, regular proofs of your love. The man cedes victory to the woman, simply stops the struggle, and does whatever he can to win her heart again.

This works on the understanding that women have a natural sense of justice and will return the scales to the centre. But some women are so deeply scarred with the years of male insensitivity that this period of “positive discrimination” or capitulation to the woman can be long. It is easy to lose faith. (I did.)

I’m going to reduce her anxiety. I am going to reduce her feeling of being undervalued or typecast as kitchen hand and short order cook. I am going to romance her more subtly. And I am going to tell her if I find another woman attractive. The latter is not a threat; it is deepening our intimacy.

After all, she told me several times when we were young and times were rocky that she wanted our relationship to be such that she could tell me about her experiences with other men. (It terrified me at the time. It would turn me on now. Strange how the worm turns.)

I believe the answer to this ‘wife/sex/no sex’ issue runs deeper that this, and goes to the core of my identity.

More on this anon.

Friday, August 03, 2007

“Why was I so devastated when she left?”

I talk to a lot of men about wives who walked out on them and these men all have one thing in common.

Standing around a dying bonfire at 2am in the bush, drinking with a bunch of mainly men, celebrating the birthday of one of them. His wife had walked out with five children last year. It was 2am, we were drinking, so it was easy to start a conversation about marriage.

Each man I spoke to had been abandoned by a wife with children. It didn’t matter how long ago it was, the eyes told the story when the event was recalled: when they speak about it, you can see a special hurt around their eyes. It is the look of a small child who has been betrayed and abandoned. It is a deep, deep wound that time may heal, but, like an operation scar, can twinge and ache when the chilly winds blow.

I know the feeling. I was one of them. But I survived and I won her back. And even today, I ask myself the question: “Why was I so devastated when she left?” I felt completely secure and capable of making it without her before she announced she was leaving me. In fact, at times I had wished she wasn’t there, especially during the long silences we endured, the silences we filled with our own negative thoughts about each other and ourselves.

Well, my wish came true. Out of the blue. I had no warning. She betrayed me, stabbed me in the back, stole my security, my inner secrets, my intimacy. She took her secret knowledge of me to another man, who was my rival. She had my power and she gave it to another. He gained my power, gained possession of what was mine, my possession. My precious. Gone. My power. Gone.

Lying on my back in the hypnotherapist’s room I had a great realisation: I hadn’t lost a wife. I’d lost a mother. I had become so emotionally and practically dependent on her, she stopped being a wonderful person and became a support system for my infantile inability to cope with the details of life. She became my mother. I made her my mother.

And when a mother leaves a little boy behind, that little boy never forgets it. The little boy in me remembers the moment my wife/mother rejected me as her little boy. It shows around the eyes whenever the memory takes you back there to that room, that smell, that night, that dark cloud that descended, that cold feeling in the guts...

Here is the clue. A woman doesn’t marry a son. She marries a man. A grown up man who stands proud and alone with confidence and independence. An adult man who can make her feel protected and loved and valued and safe, like a little girl. (Ironic, isn’t it?)

Love is possible only between two emotionally-mature adults. Anything else is a form of dependency. No one wants a person clinging to them, depending on them, dragging them down.

So gentlemen, your mother may have waited on you hand and foot, treated you like a little god. But she’s not the person in your bed. Grow up. The woman who loves you wants to be loved by the man in you, not the little boy.

To give love you must first be capable of standing on your own two feet and being comfortable with who you are… all alone. Happy to be with yourself.

To find love, first be loveable, said Ovid. And I say, stay loveable.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Man Overboard now available as an E-Book

Thanks to the online smarts of my young colleague Fred Schebesta, the book MAN OVERBOARD is now available for purchase for what appears to me to be a very small amount of money at the following website:

I was giving it away, but that was fine when we had a flourishing business to support us. Now, we are drought-stricken sheep farmers in central western New South Wales, living through the worst drought in living memory. And we are campaigning on behalf of all farmers for the right to sell the carbon they accumulate in their soils by good stewardship.

Since December it has been quite desperate on the land in Australia, with farmers committing suicide at a rate of one every four days. Mainly the men. Several in our area have been on 'suicide watch' - never to be left on their own. One of our friends was found in his bedroom with a gun barrel in his mouth.

The pressure on marriages in such blistering drought conditions is unimaginable. Louisa and I and our son Daniel have been coping quite well by finding solutions to our problems in projects we can share. Public speaking on climate change issues and what they mean for farmers has seen us in demand and travelling around the eastern states.

I must admit I fell into a hole, a depression felt my many men on the land when you can no longer provide for your family (that traditional role that we retreat into in times of stress is not a refuge when the chips are down.) But good fortune came our way in the form of a whole lot of love from people we didn't know.

And I want to tell you the story of what can happen whenn you open up your heart and let a little love into your life.

I sat alone one night after a depressing discussion with Louisa about the flock and our money problem. We ran out of cash to hand feed our sheep and ran out of grass. She was deflated and I was devastated. I felt castrated. But I asked for help - just asked for help. Just then, I could hear on the TV the sound of a World Vision commercial. "Adopt a Smile for Christmas". Adopt a blowfly, adopt a mongoose, adopta chicken... these words went through my head. Then "Adopt a Sheep" popped into my mind.

So, faced with sending the entire flock of 2600 to slaughter and lose 7 years of breeding for superfine wool (which no one wanted to pay for anyway), we went public and appealed to people to adopt our sheep for $35 a head, the amount required to feed them for 100 days (the planning horizon during a drought). I put up a blogsite with PayPal to take donations. I thought we'd get 6 or 8. So I sent press releases to 2 Sydney daily newspapers... and waited. Two days, 3, 4, and a call from Tele asking for pix. Sent what we had. No, need a sad pic of farmer and wife. We took one, hard not to laugh. Day 6, 6.30am Sydney radio stations start calling. Small item in The Daily Telegraph (Tele). Channel 7 calls. Can they land a crew near
the house at Uamby? 2 hours filming reduced to 1.45 minutes on that night's news. Tele and Channel 7 put links on their websites. Channel 7 promos the spot on every break duiring the news and runs it last. Kabloom! 5000 hits on blogspot. 100 adopted. Next day: SMH online calls. More links. More radio stations. Louisa and Daniel, no training, giving interviews on air to listeners all over the eastern states. Orders pouring in. 10000 hits by start of week 2. Channel 9 sends a crew. Today Show. Daniel features. More links. More radio. Serious backlog of adoption certificates (personalised with name of sheep (+pic) and name of adopter. Calls from adopters - when will they get their certificates? Need them for Xmas. (Xmas! Forgot about that.) 20000 hits and 1000 adopters later, 3 of us getting 4 hours sleep a night, handfeeding sheep and churning out certificates, while fielding media and 'where's my certificate' calls. Recruit local business centre for help. Disaster. Customer complaints. Recruit sister-in-law. Great. Need more sheep portraits. Maxed out hard drive in my laptop. Crash. Byebye files. Phone keeps ringing. German journalist arrives to write a piece on the drought. In the next 3 weeks his articles appear in 4 major German online and offline newspapers. We are flooded with hits from Germany - 500 in a day. Put
up a German translation of the blogsite with link on landing page. Local papers and radio arrive late for the party. What's that rumbling? The rising drone of the online conversations about us. StatCounter lets me see where hits coming from. Follow hits backwards to source to find links. Turns out people are posting stories and links on their personal blogsites, discussion groups arguing about the rights and wrongs of farming in Australia, quilters and knitters and spinners and crafty ladies telling each other they adopted, highschool girls (lonelygirl15) adopting a lamb for company in their adolescent cocoons. People telling people what they've bought other people for Xmas. Wealthy people send a cheque for $1000, 'inspired' by what we are doing. Japanese man thinks he can take delivery of the animal. "Crikey!
You'll have to pay more than $35 for that, Cobber." That's Life magazine does a feature. More radio results. In the midst of the chaos, sniping comments left on blogsite by animal rights activists and farmers accusing us of not being financially crippled enough to deserve the money. (Response: "I'm just doing my best with what I've got.") Calls from farmers begging for some of the money. Charity begins at home. "I'll save my sheep first, then yours. I can't help anyone if I go broke." (We put full step-by-step instructions up on blogsite and flag it. We call NSW Farmers to discuss taking the program national.) Negative blog comments spark large response from other commenters, positive. Cards and letters flooding in. Visitors turning up unannounced. Guided tours. Every adopter says they're praying for rain. Christmas Day: People are opening gifts to find our one of our lambs, rams or 'ma'ams' have come into their lives. It starts to rain at Uamby. 40mls. More than we've had for a year. It's raining money, too. Results: Our target $87000. Total Week 8: $70000. (We had spent $60,000 up to when the appeal started.) Still fulfilling orders. Many fell through cracks when computer crashed. Also lots of no-show of certificate (sent via email) because customer changes email address, spam filter knocked it back, inbox full, etc. Still "where's my certificate?" Customer is always right. No, not "customer" in our case. Newfriends? No. We are now family. This farm is their farm. These sheep are their sheep. We got an email from a lady in Sydney asking if "Benny" (a male lamb sponsored on behalf of Ben, an elderly gent in London who loves Australia and cricket) would send Ben a note of encouragement, as he had fallen into a coma. I wrote back that I told Benny that Ben was ill and he said, "How sick is he?" I said: "He's as crook as English cricket." Benny said, "No one can be that crook..." and dictated a note to Ben. We heard later that, after getting Benny's message, Ben started coming out of the coma. Our first miracle!
Many people were effusive in their thanks (and we were the ones who were thankful) for giving them an opportunity to do something for farmers suffering in the drought. (We told everybody we weren't the most deserving, but they didn't care. We offered them the opportunity,. and the most deserving didn't.) It was hte Spirit of Christmas. Giving. Next steps: Expand the relationship. Expand the family. Learn how to love and be loved. Due to time problems, we developed a one word fulfillment letter body copy:


We meant it, too.


Monday, December 04, 2006

WHat makes a man the ideal sexual partner?

When 1700 Australian men and women were asked to rank their top three qualities in an ideal sexual partner, "someone who cares for you" topped the list for women. Not surprising. A man who can prove by his actions and attentions that he genuinely cares for a woman is usually not short of sex. The women surveyed by the University of Queensland researchers said their No. 2 attraction in a sexual partner was 'they're fun to be with' - and it's always fun to be with someone who cares for you and shows it. And No.3 they rnaked 'some who enjoys sex'. See what I mean? A man who can prove he cares would have to enjoy sex because she would want so much of it!

As for men, there was a different ranking. You guessed it, the men rnaked 'someone who enjoys sex as No. 1. SO guys, if that's what you want, now you know how to get it.

The study, by Professor Jake Najman, was published in the Marriage and Family Review.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dear "My Husband Insecure and Testing my Love"

Are you the person San DIego who spent 45 minutes in this blog yesterday? Call me from (612) 63740329 (in Australia). I believe I can help you. It's passed midnight here but I am happy to talk, anytime. BTW< he's not testing your love. He's asking for it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

"I hate your book"

I received this email yesterday - it came out of the blue. By coincidence, i was close to the writer's home town in the USA only last week and I left a copy of the book's manuscript with a friend, who doesn't know my correspondent.

Read on...

10/13/06 9:03a

I have read the draft of your book "Man Overboard" with dismay. It is a document that I will. to the degree that I can, advise anyone I can to avoid your book at all costs.

My objections are several but have a "philosophical" foundation so I would like to start with a few points of essential belief:

Women (as a generalization) are emotionally needy and addicted to the periodic fix of "hormone baths". They are slaves to the emotional roller coaster ride thus produced.

All sentient creatures operate from a position of self interest, that is actions are based upon what serves their need the most. There are other forces at play, (socialization, instinct, etc), but self interest is very powerful. More successful sentient beings operate (or usually attempt to operate) from a position of enlightened self-interest, that is if you in the pursuit of your self interest consider the interest of others, other will consider your interest.

Some things are not worth the price of having them. Yet sometimes people pay the price regardless.

My first objection is one of pragmatism, that is, doing what makes sense, or has proven to work. Thus I believe that if a man follows your advise what he is doing over the long haul is will not give him the desired result (or will give him the desired result at a cost vastly outweighing the benefits). It is pretty simple, one gets what one rewards.

You should have learned this from raising children. Your child throws a tantrum, makes a general pest of himself and spouts outlandish demands and you give him what he asked for you have just taught him what works. Now that he has learned this lesson, his tantrums and unacceptable behavior will escalate when he doesn't get his way, he has learned that if his proven method isn't working he simply is doing enough of it.

By the same token if you teach a woman that demands, threats, pouting, sexual blackmail, and other sorts of emotional hate gets her what she wants she will continue. The difference between your child and a woman is the child wants the thing he is demanding, and once he receives that thing the tantrum stops. Woman, on the other hand, wants your obedience (which she interprets as "love"). Once she becomes accustomed to a certain level of obedience that level will no longer cause her to experience that hormonal rush of oxcytocin that she equates with love, and, since her primary expectation is your unconditional devotion to her happiness,she will be constantly testing the "unconditionalness" of your devotion. "Will he put up with this?", "will he put up with that?" There is no end to the escalating love test.

I've been married for 24 years, at the very beginning I was clear by my actions that I didn't live to serve and that manipulation wouldn't work. It was obvious when I left her in a restaurant on our third date that I didn't reward bad behavior. I was clear that I was in the relationship for MY happiness and my needs to be met, and I didn't have a particular need to serve her. She knew right from the start that my motivation for making her happy was my happiness in the relationship. That makes me value the relationship and not want to lose it. I told her from the start she could deliver one ultimatum so she should be certain not to use it frivolously. She knew from the start the if ever uttered the word 'divorce' she would have one.

she learned that it was to her enlightened self interest to consider my enlightened self interest.

My second objection is less goal oriented. Simply, it's your choice if you want to sell your manhood, your pride, your autonomy, for some spoiled, narcissistic princess wannabe. But this is NOT a marriage for a man it be in, its a marriage for a eunuch to be in. You have sold everything you had of value so that she would stay awhile longer, Until she decides to raise the price. My firm belief (a belief that is confirmed daily by everywoman I meet, every human interaction I witness, and everything I read) is that a woman will USE a man who will let her, but never respect a man who allows himself to be used, but won't respect him and can't love him.

I hate that you are writing a book advocating that men enslave themselves on the altar of what you have defined as marriage. In the world of today,( as in all of history) there is enough trying to beat us down without our own advocating we beat ourselves down

(Name Withheld)


My response is here:

Dear Mr (Name),

Thank you for your comments. You obviously feel strongly about your relationships. And you have thought deeply about the issues. I applaud your strong stand. I believe men must take responsibility for their relationships.

On a point of philosophy, I believe our concept of human nature determines our expectations of how other people will treat us. Your beliefs about what drives human behaviour forms the foundation stone of your experience. That’s because life always seems to deliver what you think you deserve. Research among teachers found that children performed to the level the teacher was given to expect, not to their natural ability. Bright kids performed badly and dumb kids performed like bright kids whilever the teacher’s definition of them was ‘bright’ or ‘dumb’.

I guess you can see where this is heading. If women act in a certain way, is it because they are naturally like that, or are we simply manifesting our expectations?

Ray, I am not good at being a husband, father, etc. And my wife and I still have dark periods when she acts badly and vice versa. But we tend to give each other the room to ‘have a Jimmy’ (a little inner tantrum), secure in the knowledge that it will blow over. We didn’t have that trust before I changed my approach.

I tried for 30 years to be the Patriarch, the firm hand, the dominant partner. I failed. I felt insecure for all those years. But I didn’t feel secure until I stopped trying to control my wife. All I feel now is loved.

What works for me is for me. What works for you is for you.

Your marriage is in the red zone – 25 years is a peak in the divorce graph, often the woman leaving the man rather than endure another 25 years with an emotionally-unavailable partner. Usually the male is blindsided by the woman, who left emotionally many years before.

I have 500 readers’ responses, mostly males. Only 2 responded to the manuscript as you have.

Thank you for the opportunity to cross swords. I should warn you that advising people to avoid a book is the best way to get them to read it – forbidden fruit, etc. Why not just say nothing about it?

By the way, how did you obtain the manuscript?




His response came back almost immediately:

10/13/06 1:24p

Thank you for your response. To clarify some of my points, I have never tried to be to be "Patriarch, the firm hand, the dominant partner", nor do I permit Diane to be. As an American woman, she was accustomed to have men "hop to" when she spoke. Her wish was their command, (its just the natural order of things here--and getting worse).

She quickly learned that I didn't respond, I refused to hear demands (and don't make them) I refused to hear belittling comments( and don't make them) It truly is a matter of mutual respect.

I am expected to know HOW she shows me her love, frankly it doesn't make me "feel loved" but I believe its fair that I understand it is her way, likewise I don't feel obligated to accede to her demands. If she expresses herself well (and we are both inclined to give the benefit of the doubt) and I understand her, I'm inclined to do what I can to make her feel good. I do this because it is in my self interest, her treating me with respect AND being concerned with my happiness makes me treat her with respect and be concerned with mine.

I do think you are correct, that people get (not what they deserve) but what they expect. I expect to be treated civilly and I expect my adult wife to act like an adult, I expect it, I ONLY respond positively to it, and I get it.

With regard to the 24 year mark, if she needs to go... she needs to do what makes her happy.



I responded:


Thanx for your note. I enjoy being challenged because I want to learn all I can about this issue. I am intrigued by your perspective. I agree that women try to control men and they are prone to making belittling remarks. It’s not an American problem. It is universal. I believe they are hardwired to do it. There is a fascinating book called The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle that admits that this behaviour is common among women. She contends that women lose respect for their male partners because of their behaviour. I believe their motivation provides a clue to putting an end to the phenomenon. In the manuscript I wrote:

“They sound like they are trying to control you because they feel insecure. When they try to arrange everything and give you a list of things to do, then check up on you like your mother used to, it’s because they are anxious. They feel responsible for everything. They believe nothing will get done without their interference. It could be you let her do too much and don’t pull your weight. You’ll put an end to controlling behaviour when she trusts you to take an active part in planning and carrying out activities. Pull your weight. Don’t leave running the household to her. Call the electrician. Pick up things at the supermarket that you notice you are running out of at home. Show her you are thinking about things she would normally have to worry about. Don’t leave it all to her or she’ll feel overwhelmed and start passing on her anxieties to you in the form of instructions and worse, negative comments about your decisions in other matters. Once she can trust you to be part of the team, she’ll relax and the pressure will come off both of you.”

I don’t believe men have to carry an equal share of domestic duties. I don’t believe women want them to. Women want to feel loved. They want to know that they are thought about. When a man cooks a meal, tidies a room, makes a bed, takes the kids off her hands, runs errands without being asked... He’s not saying “I am your slave.” He is saying, “I am aware of you. I care about you. I love you.” It’s the communication of emotion that eliminates controlling and belittling behaviour, not the physical act.

When a woman feels loved, a man can get away with anything. Far from being castrated, I am now far more likely to get what I want since I learned how to communicate my feelings by actions. Far from becoming a eunuch, I have a more active sex life now than at any time in our relationship, excepting the first 12 months.

Your refusal to be intimidated by demands and expectations is a very healthy response. Standing up for yourself is called “differentiation”.

Ray, my book is primarily written for men whose women are walking out on them. It is a strategy for winning back something that has been lost. When she’s walking out – and you want her to stay – it’s not the time for differentiating or standing firm. You do whatever it takes. My strategy is simply this: Stage 1: Surrender, fall on your sword, unilateral surrender. This should throw her off balance and make her curious enough to stick around for a while. Stage 2. Overachieve as an attentive lover – a massive love offensive on every front. For as long as it takes to convince her your love is real. Stage 3. Balance is restored gradually as her sense of natural justice kicks in.

Your definition of human nature – the Utilitarian Theory (acts of love are merely enlightened self interest; people will take whatever they can get) - probably precludes Stage 3. My definition – the Unconditional Theory (true love is motivated by nothing more than true love; people will sacrifice everything for love) - makes Stage 3 possible.

Nonetheless, this explains why I recommend the approach you find objectionable. Mine is a recovery strategy. I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to start a new relationship. (Though during the Infatuation stage of a love affair, we feel inclined to do anything for the loved one.)

I AM FASCINATED TO KNOW how the manuscript came into your possession. I say this because I was within a few hundred miles of you for the first time in my life when I was in Vermont only a week ago. And I left the only copy of the manuscript I had with me in Vermont with a dairy farmer called Abe Collins from Stanton. Then I get an email from you in Mass. Did someone pass it on to you?

I am interested because I am a student of the way ideas move throughout societies. I am somewhat of an authority in Australia on ‘word of mouth” dispersal of ideas.

Michael Kiely

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why men won't talk about it

I received many requests for the book after our story was published in That's Life magazine. Most were from women and many had the same problem - they weren't able to talk to their partners about the problems in their relationships. In some cases it strated with a traumatic experience, like the death of a child. He closes down. Shuts off. Won't talk.
Now I am not a counsellor or a psychiatrist. But I am a man. And I can give you a few insights.
Men don't talk because it hurts. We have no words to say, no language we can use. All we have are feelings. Women can talk about their feelings easily and they can't understand why we can't. It's not that we don't want to. We just can't. Whether we're born tounge-tied or society makes us that way, that's how we are. If she wants to talk about "us", he knows he's on a hiding to nothing. No matter what he says, he'll be wrong. So why open your mouth? Just hunker down until it passes over. She interprets his reaction as "I don't care for you" when in reality it means "I can't cope. I love you but I can't take the pain of another one way conversation that always has me in the wrong."
Now what can we do with a man who refuses to talk? First, don't punish him. He will start to associate "talking" with punishment. Instead, make him feel secure. Tell him you love him, that you don't want to harass him or make him feel uncomfortable.
TO GIVE HER HEART. Try the Empathy Exercise: try to 'walk a mile in his shoes'; try to feel what it's like being him. It's very different to yuor life.
If you truly love him, empathy and compassion shouldn't be hard. (All through this exercise you should remember: you love this person. Let love direct your steps.)
Monitor your language - listen to your tone of voice. What is he hearing - a carping, accusing, moaning, complaining, bitchy version of the beautiful creature he fell in love with? Would you respond positively to that? No.
If everything mentioned so far fails, you might need to take drastic action: Have sex with him. ("Men need to have sex to feel loved. Women need to feel loved to have sex.") Remember, he feels insecure. He might be more open to talking after sex.
Now that's one approach to him - I would respond to this sort of treatment, I think.
But there's another aspect of this: He has a responsibility to do the hard yards and learn to speak his heart. It's a central part of the love contract - "I share me with you and you with me". Guys can't be allowed to shelter behind a 'weak male' syndrome. Life is about challenge. Growing. That's what being a male is about. Our ancient myths tell us this truth. The knight in shining armor who slays the dragon and frees the maiden and wins her heart is simply a myth story. The knight is the man, the maiden is his wife or partner, and the dragon is his ego. It threatens the maiden and must be vanquished by the male before he can be worthy of the maiden's hand.
My book - Man Overboard: A Self Defence Courfse For Men In Marriage - attempts to give men the language they need to understand and respond to their women's need to talk about "us". More work needs to be done in this area.
Guys, I have found that staying on the front foot makes like so much easier. Make the woman feel loved by your attentions and your actions. She won't need to talk about "us" all the time. And when she does, she'll be in a better mood. She'll feel secure in your love, buddy.
But, Ladies, he has to move in the right direction - or else. Or else you are faced with a decision - stay or go.

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