Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Auto-posted at noon CST. I'm on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic.
I'm going to share with the boys the true secret to the near perfect man. No man can be near perfect for EVERY woman. This is insight I gained from interviewing HUNDREDS of women of all ages, in and out of relationships.
Here's a little sidenote: these things can be FAKED, but not forever. You're not doing them for HER, you're doing them to test yourself. It is very important that you consider all of these items when you are dating a woman seriously. Ask yourself a question for each item, regularly over time: Is this something I want to keep doing with this woman, for this woman? If you get tired of doing many of these things, it means she's not right for you, she's a crush, she's Miss Right-Now.
With every item, you can only fake it for so long. With the right woman, a woman who actually fulfills you, you won't need to fake anything, and it will come naturally. Remember, though, that by regularly reviewing these things, you'll remember to STICK TO THEM. Prompted, but natural.
Dealing with Conflicts
Conflict Item #1: Conflict resolution through building walls. When an item of conflict arises, the imperfect man (or boy) puts up walls between communication. If a woman has done something wrong, addressing it EARLY can cause her to adjust her actions if she agrees that it is negative. By ignoring it early, the problem snowballs. By closing communications off, you will make the problem even worse.
Conflict Item #2: Making excuses for your mistakes. When we do something wrong, the worst thing we can do is make an excuse. Sometimes excuse-making comes naturally. We don't LISTEN to the criticism, we just defend it by coming up with reasons why we failed our woman. Instead, start a relationship off on the right foot by telling ANY woman you date that you have a tendency to make excuses, so you want her to address concerns right away. Ask her to give you a prompt when she has a concern. Have her say "I'm concerned about something and want you to listen." Also tell her that you WILL listen, you WON'T interrupt her, and you will be quiet until she says "Done."
Conflict Item #3: Never criticize her character or her person. If you have an issue with an action she's done, criticize ONLY the action. Don't point it back at her. "You've been looking at other guys too much" is better than "You act like a slut in front of guys." The action can be critiqued. If you have a criticism about her character, you shouldn't be dating her seriously.
Conflict Item #4: Never insult her. Insults occur because of a negative view of her entire person, not a specific recallable action. Insults create a psychological wall and are very hard to fix because they can't be taken back.
Conflict Item #5: Soothe her through criticism, don't be aggressive. If there's a problem that is realized and faced early, you can soothe her concerns about your view on the problem through light humor and a smile. If the problem escalates or gets worse before you address it, aggressive criticism can cause huge walls to be built.
Proving your stability and long-term comfort abilities
Being a near perfect man means displaying how stable you are, and how you are able to bring comfort to your relationship with her. Note that these items are not things you can brag about, they have to be things that she notices herself, that she picks up on. Some of these areas will require a LOT of work, so I recommend getting them out of the way BEFORE your next serious relationship.
Stability Item #1: Being free of family while still having lasting closeness. You shouldn't be telling her that you talk to your mother or father daily. You shouldn't be living with family, including siblings. On the flip-side, you SHOULD be able to mention that you talk to members of your family regularly, and see then regularly when possible. Don't be a momma's boy, but mention the time you hang out with your brother or sister. If you have conflict within your family, it will give her reason to believe that you're NOT a good family man. Resolve that conflict as best as you can; if it is impossible, have a GOOD reason why you can't resolve it, and a better reason why you've learned from their pigheadedness and will truly NOT mimic their problems in your relationships.
Stability Item #2: Open the gates to how you handle conflicts EARLY. If you notice items of conflict, address them early using the process I explained in Conflict Item #1. A man who addresses conflict before it blows up out of control is a stable man, and you will be appreciated over past boyfriends or lovers.
Stability Item #3: Progress in your individuality while also finding ways to integrate parts of yourself with parts of herself. Promote her own individuality as well. It is important to integrate as a couple, but it is also important to have your own space as an individual early on. Don't see her every day. Have friends you keep that are yours (preferably male friends here!). If she doesn't show signs of a developed individuality, she may be clingy, jealous, suspicious, and distrustful no matter how faithful you are. Women who try to box their men into their own personalities can lead the faithful man to stray. By giving both of you breathing room, while still integrating your lives in some ways, you will have a lasting trust and stability.
Stability Item #4: Nurture her emotional side. Women tend to be more emotional than men because women are generally more open to showing their emotions. NEVER fear their emotions, even if they're negative, sad, or show signs of anger. Instead, let her emotions flow out of her, and show your emotional stability by listening, or holding her, or even just holding her hand while she sits and weeps over something you don't understand. The more you can nurture her ability to show emotions, the more stable the relationship will grow.
Stability is only half of what makes a near perfect man in terms of non-obvious qualities. The other half is what you have to offer in terms of a woman's comfort, as well as the comfort of the relationship.
Comfort Item #1: Dealing with a crisis. We all have crises: work-related, family-related, pet-related, finances, etc. How you deal with a crisis can show your ability to be a comfortable and safe man. Instead of freaking out and complaining, address the concern about a possible crisis before it happens. This takes work, it takes responsibility, and it takes practice and habit. A lot of imperfect guys complain incessantly about losing their jobs. Why didn't you save money in the past so that a job loss won't effect you? Is your debt load larger than your savings? Fix this. If you lose a family member, becoming a responsible go-to man will show her that she can be comfortable in knowing you're a strength in her life, not a weakness. The most common crises can be planned for and prepared for well in advance.
Comfort Item #2: Laugh. A lot. Laugh at your own mistakes and failures. Laugh when you do something embarrassing or stupid. Laugh when dumb luck finds its way into your life's path. Laugh when a problem pops up that you've already planned for. A man who has humor in his life passing on that humor during even the most trying times. A woman will see comfort in that humor rather than comedy.
Comfort Item #3: Be a stable and seeking sexual partner. Early sex is wonderful and sexy, but sex CAN get boring. Introduce yourself to what she desires, what she fantasizes about. Don't just put YOUR fantasies on her, but find out what she likes and what you have compatible with her. By fulfilling her fantasies and needs, she is MUCH more likely to fulfill yours. The best thing I hear in bed is "What can I do for you now?" That's a home run, maybe a grand slam.
Comfort Item #4: Tie future plans in with her by using "we" as often as you use "I." "Where should we go for vacation this year?" and "Do we need anything from the store before I head home?" Still use individual terms such as "I" or "you" but also integrate "we" much more often. By doing so, you will comfort her in knowing you're thinking of her as part of your life, not as completely separate.
Roots and Branches
Roots tie us to our pasts, branches reach for the future. It's amazing what acknowledging both of these things in terms of the relationship can do for offering a woman hope and desire for the future, while still focusing on the BEST parts of the past.
Root Item #1: Cherishing the past. Create a secret diary or notebook that she will not find. This is difficult, but it can be done. When you date, especially early on, take simple notes from each date of something interesting: her exact clothes and accessories and jewelry she was wearing, the color and cut of her hair, something about her past that she mentioned, something that she likes or dislikes. When you have the ability to recall these things months or even years in the future, it will make her know that you have good roots for a relationship to flourish.
Root Item #2: Shared separation of control. This is a tricky one, because it requires planning and note-taking. A near perfect man knows how to be in control of some things, and how to relinquish control to the woman in other areas. You can start learning how to balance control areas with simple questions. I like "Do you prefer to wash or dry the dishes?" If she says one or the other, or both, you know what area to fill in, with her in control. A perfect man knows what area a woman prefers to relinquish control, and he knows when to give up control to her himself.
Root Item #3: Build real trust. Jealousy issues come from childhood and from failed relationships. Don't act shady, instead offering a woman total insight in your life. If you have a female friend, introduce your woman EARLY. Let them exchange phone numbers and email addresses. If you run into her, let your woman know this. If you have to work late, let her know where you will be, and even invite her to stop by if she wants to visit you. Don't hide things from her, ever. If you own something that you are embarassed about (porn magazines or movies, sexual performance pills, etc), leave them out on your dresser. If she has an issue, it will be addressed right away.
Root Item #4: Past goals met. Make note of small and large goals you've met. She will ask you about your past, bring up the goals you met. If she digs deeper, tell her the story of why you set the goal, the difficulty you had in meeting in, your slip-ups, and how you finally overcame it. Goals met in the past lead to goals met in the future.
Branch Item #1: Include permanence in your talks. Use "we" in a future tense, often. If you talk about stories of people or places, tell her that you hope she will meet that person in the future, or travel with you to that place so you can show her what you loved about it. Building paths of choices for the future gives her hope for the future.
Branch Item #2: Enjoy your time with her. The best thing you can do with a woman is listen and show emotional connection to her talking. If she's happy, laugh. If she's sad, frown. There's little need to add comments or your voice to MOST conversations when she talks about herself. Show obvious enjoyment that she's talking to YOU.
Branch Item #3: Adapt to change in your life. Things change, people sometimes change, work and health and income changes. Adapt quickly to change. Show her that you're not adverse or scared of changes because you plan for them.
Branch Item #4: Learn to accept things that can't change. There are items outside of your domain of control that you can never change. Learn to adapt yourself to these impenetrable items. She'll have hope for the future if you show you can adapt.
Critical Character Traits
There are some traits that are deal breakers from becoming the near perfect man and staying there. If you have these traits, you should deal with them now rather than when you are in a serious relationship.
Critical Trait #1: Containing your conflicts external to your character. Men who explode whenever they're angry, blame the world for their problems, cry at every little thing, or develop resentment, grudges or frustration constantly are far from near perfect. Learn to contain your conflicts external to who you are. Don't let them settle into your personality, instead address them as outside of who you are.
Critical Trait #2: Promote open communication often. Don't just ask her about her day, ask her about how her day might affect her future or your future together. Little things that bother us today can accumulate to huge problems tomorrow. Diffuse problems by being open to listening to her talk about them. Also, share your good parts of your day, even if they seem quaint or silly. "I cleaned my computer keyboard today, wow was it gross!" can be a fantastic and hilarious tidbit of useless information that will endear her to you.
Critical Trait #3: Become intimate and passionate about her body, her face, her style, and her external traits. Learn to love every part of her outside, even the parts she doesn't like that you may not like either. Big asses, cankles, small boobs, wrinkles and hairstyles are all things women complain about. Learn that you love her for all that she is, and learn to love her as she changes with time. Even if you'd prefer her 20# lighter or with longer hair, adapt your fantasies to include every change she goes through.
Critical Trait #4: Separate your work life from your sex life. If you have a rough day at the office, let her know that being intimate with you is what you want. Too often, men who are stressed with work end up losing their ability to perform in bed. By bringing a positive to your relationship through mutually desired blow-off-steam-sex, you can keep the bedroom side very intimate and extremely fun and sexy. Don't bring work into the bedroom, use the wall to the room as your transition point from frustrated employee to attentive lover.
Critical Trait #5: Be a team in making decisions. Women LOVE decisive men, which is why I like to offer women two decisions as choices for her to be the final chooser. Not everything should be just you making final decisions. If you include her in making a decision, have at least TWO strong decisions made up in your head. If she asks for your advice, give her the options that you feel assured of. Letting her choose things shows her that you treat her as an equal.
Critical Trait #6: Setting goals together, as a couple and as individuals. Find out what her goals are, and what you can do to help her along. Setting goals as a couple means you want to work with her on mutually beneficial goals. For goals that her individually hers, don't give her comments or criticisms; instead, focus on being supportive of her choice. Don't criticize her decisions unless she asks you for criticism. Learn when she wants it, and when she just wants a cheerleader.
I know men who did these things from the start with the women they are with. They were solid, without needing a list. It's always great to see a relationship stabilize and flourish because the man is actually being a man, inside and out. On the other hand, MOST women who talk to me about their dating and relationship problems complain about THESE issues. They don't complain about infidelity, they don't complain about education or financial stability, they don't complain about lack of drive.
By integrating these items into your relationship from the beginning of monogamy and the commitment stage, you'll be able to test your own ability to delve into a deeper, possibly permanent relationship. If you find yourself working too hard to perform many of these items, you're not into her enough. Break it off, find someone else, before you look back at a decade or more of wasted life.