Today, I've got a letter that was sent in by one of the readers. I think it's a common issue, and one you'll be able to relate to.
Read on...and then read my answer.
QUESTION FROM A READER: Why doesn't he take the Lead?
Carlos, I read all your emails, blogs and have ordered lots of material from you and other relationship guru's.
I can honestly say I'm frustrated as it appears that most of if not ALL of the work on having a successful and loving relationship falls on the woman and what she should or shouldn't do.
I find that utterly exhausting and honestly disappointing.
As if we don't have enough to take care of already? jobs, family, etc.
I get it that men are simple, they don't know how to express themselves and will easily put up walls and run for the hills for seemingly little things, but so what!?
It's not any easier for women in any way and yet we still try our hardest to do what's best for a man, usually before whats best for us.
Why isn't the MAN taking the lead here as we were taught they should and learning what works for women as well?
Why is it that the woman is left to do most of the work and then has to sit back and wait to see if what she does or doesn't do works?
It feels backwards and it seems we are being taught to manipulate a man by saying or doing this or that instead of just being ourselves "right or wrong" and be who we are innately made to be??
If I can't get a man based on being myself then the work then becomes fixing myself if needed, but not to get a man, but rather to be a better person...
It just seems like a huge amount of work on the woman's part and frankly we are TIRED from the minute we wake up from all the expectations and responsibilities we have and need the MAN to step up and take the pressure off of us, take some responsibility for making things work with us so that we can effectively be his helpmate like we were meant to be...
- Deanna B.
Well, Deanna, I hear the frustration you must have. It's definitely a common complaint.
After all, how is a relationship supposed to work if both people don't put in effort?
Let's step back and look at things from a different perspective.
There's a certain dynamic that plays out in all relationships, and it's something we should review (especially when learning how to flirt with a man).
Keep in mind as I go through this that this is not set in stone, and we can flip-flop roles on occasion, but this is generally how we see things flow:
1) The man and woman meet. Through intention or happenstance, the spark of romance is struck.
2) The man initiates - usually asking her out on a date.
3) The woman accepts, and begins the role of the pursued.
4) The man, discovering that there is a possibility of romance - not to mention sex - begins the pursuit.
5) The woman - as she discovers the sincerity of his interests in her, allows him closer and closer.
6) At some point, sex happens. This is the stage often called "limerance" - where the couple is engulfed in the novelty and passion of a new relationship.
7) The uncertainty of just "dating" gives way to love and a more long-term bond.
8) If the two are compatible, they will usually stay together as a couple and stop dating others. Now they are "exclusive" - or "monogamous."
9) As the relationship continues, the woman looks for more commitment from him. If this is paced well between them, and there's no major imbalance of love for each other, the commitment will naturally occur.
But if the woman is more focused on the need for a certain level of commitment from the man ("where is this going?" - engagement, marriage), sometimes commitment can seem like a hurdle and an obstacle.
Sometimes this is due to the man acting more aloof, making the woman more anxious. This then can create a "downward spiral" where she feels like he's distant, tries to pull him closer, which then freaks him out and creates more distance.
Sometimes the pattern can be broken and the anxiety brought under control, but most times it becomes a real issue. Even women who think they know how to seduce a man run into these relationship issues.
Sometimes this is due to each of them having different expectations for the relationship.
(See my complete explanation of this in Forever Yours - The Secret Password To His Heart.)
Whatever the reason, the relationship now feels like he's not putting any effort in, and she's doing all the work to keep it together.
It feels like he was taking the lead (starting the chase), but now that he's got what he wanted, he isn't working on things anymore.
And there will be a shift of responsibility at this point, a natural shift that makes the woman the steward of the relationship.
If you resent him for his lack of relationship ability here, that won't lead to where you want to go, either.
Very often the loving feelings will cycle up and down, creating a tumultuous experience for each of you. That is, until you can realize how "love" really works.
Let me explain... You said:
"It just seems like a huge amount of work on the woman's part and frankly we are TIRED from the minute we wake up from all the expectations and responsibilities we have and need the MAN to step up and take the pressure off of us, take some responsibility for making things work with us..."
Which is the way a great many women feel.
But what would you say if you knew that men also say the exact same thing?
Men are also exhausted from working every waking minute on all the expectations and responsibilities placed on him as a man.
You'd probably say - "But he's not doing anything! How can he be tired?"
It may feel that way for you in the relationship, but men are working just as hard, but on other things. They feel they're working on their part of the relationship, that is not recognized by women.
Yet another study (YAS?) claims that women immerse themselves in their romantic relationships, while men tend to put their partners on an equal but distant footing.
Most of these studies show that - generally speaking - women *appear* to be more invested in their relationships than men.
And that their happiness and well-being is more dependent upon how things are going in their intimate relationships.
After all, who is the one who (usually) recognizes that things in the relationship aren't going well?
Who is it that typically seeks therapy or professional help with the relationship?
Who is it that mostly spends time on websites, going to seminars, reading self-help books and asking dating gurus like Carlos for advice?
Does this mean that men don't care about relationships?
This means that men are simply not wired to treat relationships the same way.
Here's my advice on guys:
First off, let's accept up front that men and women are different.
Yes, we're human beings, but in our distinctly different brains - we are very different in behaviors and drives. Neither side is any more "right" or "wrong" - we're just different.
Women are biologically hard-wired to be the nurturers. We usually accept this as a given.
Women are the ones with the skills to anticipate the needs of their partners, as well as take care of the relationship. She will also do the analysis and send up an alert when things have gone awry.
Men, on the other hand, are more biologically wired to be the protectors and providers. It's not that the relationship isn't important to us, it's just that we show it in different ways.
Men demonstrate commitment by working hard to provide money and put food on the table, establishing a career - and maintaining an emotional distance.
It's that last one that will freak out most women reading this.
Why does a man keep an emotional distance?
He does it to ensure the stability and foundation of the relationship that can endure.
If he were to be as emotionally involved in the relationship, it would make it difficult for him to accomplish the things he must do to fulfill his other expectations.
Sure, you may ask yourself, "How can I change him? How can I get him to be more involved in our relationship?"
This is a typical question I get from women when they ask relationship advice from me. And here's how I see it...
I say, you can't - and you shouldn't — so don't even try. Behaving as if you want him to change is what typically makes most men feel like they're not accepted, and then this alienation will push him away.
Before you fall into hopeless despair, stay with me...
Try this analogy on for size:
Let's pretend I drive a big gas-guzzling Hummer SUV. One of those vehicles that just screams - "Bad gas mileage!"
Now, let's pretend that I"m going to drive this SUV around San Francisco. If you've ever been here, you'll know that finding a parking spot is about as rare as panning for gold, much less one that could handle this beast.
If I were to expect that Hummer to A) be cheap to drive, and B) easy to park, I would be disappointed every day of my life.
If I want that from just about any SUV, really, I'm just fooling myself.
I should get a mini Cooper, or a Prius, or some other tiny car that will get better gas mileage, and fit in much smaller spaces.
The Hummer just can't give that to me.
But it does give me other benefits:
The nature of men in relationships is no different than this. Men can't be like another woman to you, but we can be all the things you appreciate and are attracted to in MEN.
We aren't ever going to change to become more "feminine" in relationships. Just like dogs aren't going to act like cats, we are going to stay true to our nature.
In fact, being a bit too "sensitive" is one of the signs of a man who is likely to be difficult to stay attracted to.
One of the biggest mistakes women make is to expect men to meet all their needs through their love relationship.
It does sound romantic and very Walt Disney, but it isn't at all realistic.
As you mature and get more experience in love and dating, you realize that this is one of the most damaging myths of relationships.
A man can provide many things, but you should watch out for the expectation of him being able to provide you with a "feminine" love style that he's just not capable of.
HOWEVER - Men are fully capable of learning and improving in relationships, and we do.
When we feel safe in our relationship with our woman, we will grow beyond those innate qualities.
We will strive to meet your needs as well.
We might not always succeed, but we'll keep trying as long as we feel the woman in our life is genuine - and that she understands us without having to change us.
Trust me when I tell you that there are expectations of how we men would like women to express their love that often goes unmet in the relationship as well.
So both sides often find themselves going "But why cant he/she just..."
I did a thought exercise once that helped me immensely with this dilemma. Let me share it with you:
If you knew that you would never get exactly what you desire from men, what would you do?
Would you give up on men completely?
Stop dating and become a recluse?
OR would you find a way to work with the limitations you were given to create the kind of relationship that could fulfill you?
After I asked these questions of myself - about women - I had some breakthroughs in the way I saw my relationships.
Very often it's the unrealistic expectations we put on relationships that dooms them to failure - because we never really accurately understood what love and a loving relationship is really supposed to do for us.
The Hollywood Myth of love is strong.
It's rare that someone explains how this ideal is not only crippling to our ability to become that better person you mentioned, it's unhealthy to our self-esteem.
For many people, this understanding I've just shared is disillusioning - and as you said "depressing." In fact, some of the women who read this will flat out reject it.
But once you work through it, you will come out on the other side - liberated from the mistaken ideals we learned as kids.
And it's then that you'll be able to take the next step toward creating the relationship that fulfills you in ways you hadn't imagined before...
Let me help you get there faster - CLICK HERE to get started...