8 posts categorized "MEN"

March 06, 2013

A Note to Men: Don’t Ignore The Complaints…Even When They’re Not Spoken Directly

IStock_00silencemallI have to say that I have mixed feelings about what I’m about to say. You see, on the one hand it really is important to be tuning into the complaints that are made under a person’s breath or through their cold actions. On the other hand, though, it’s also important for people to truly speak what’s going on for them—clearly, respectfully and DIRECTLY. But, that’s a different post I suppose…

So...let’s focus on this post to help those of you who think everything’s fine when it really isn’t. I’m largely speaking to the men about this (although there are always exceptions) because in my experience women are often the ones who are complaining indirectly, while the men are often the ones ignoring those subtle (and not so subtle) complaints.

Women’s complaints often center around the men not being home, working too much, not talking, being too explosive, drinking too much, not playing with the kids and on and on. The men hear these complaints as proof that they can’t do anything right. More often than not, the men respond by either blowing up or blowing off the complaints, believing the women will “get over it.” And the truth is, the women do get over it…for a while. If the men get angry at their complaints, the women will often shut down. If the men ignore the complaints, the women often feel resigned and pull away or go underground with their resentments.

Continue reading "A Note to Men: Don’t Ignore The Complaints…Even When They’re Not Spoken Directly" »

November 18, 2011

What The Catholic Church And Penn State Tragedies Have In Common

IStock_0boycryinglI don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the tragedy at Penn State.  I cannot for a moment imagine the rage, anger and overwhelming sadness I would have had it been my son who was allegedly raped in a college shower stall by a grown man.  Add to that horrific life-altering assault, the fact that another grown man witnessed the rape and…told his father?  And his father advised his son—who just witnessed a 10-year-old boy being raped -- to tell a…football coach?!  Now mind you this football coach isn’t your average football coach—no way.  This football coach is the king of all college coaches...so he’ll know exactly what to do, right?  Wrong.  The horror unfortunately doesn’t end there, because the larger than life football coach then tells…his boss?  And so on, and so on, and so on…until one day, NINE years -- and who know how many victims -- later, the alleged perpetrator is officially charged with sexually abusing eight boys.

Hmmm, is this sounding familiar?  Does it sound like the tragedy that occurred over decades in the Catholic Church?  Here are just some of the similarities, as I see them:
1.    All the “players” in the Catholic Church and Penn State affairs are key men in key positions in their institutions. 
2.    In both situations, the “good ole boys” worked their butts off to protect…their own.  They were very loyal to…keeping “the secret.”  Their silence, cover-ups and minimal interventions allowed the sexual molestation to not only continue, but to thrive. 
3.    The silence, minimal interventions and passing on of the problem to other equally unprincipled men of power make each and every single one of these priests and men complicit in the rape and molestation of countless innocent children in our world.  Harming the reputations of their institutions is the least of their offenses.

Continue reading "What The Catholic Church And Penn State Tragedies Have In Common" »

July 06, 2011

A Note to Men: Want more Sex? 5 Things You Should NOT Do

IStock_00handsall In my work with couples, I often hear the men complain that there’s not enough sex and the women complain that the men always want more.  What’s up?  Besides the likely differences in sexual appetites, there are a lot of things men are doing that’s shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to increased physical intimacy with their wives/partners.

If you’d like to increase the amount of sexual intimacy in your relationship, below are 5 things NOT to do:
1.    Don’t turn every kiss, hug or handholding into a sign that you might get lucky.  Women complain all the time that they can’t even hug their partners without them turning it into a sexual move.  Really men?  Aren’t we past the adolescent days of even the wind blowing getting you excited? The more you turn the slightest act of affection into a sexual come on, the less affection your partner will show you.  Don’t be desperate—it’s a huge turn off.
2.    Don’t have sex be the only time you show any affection.  As Dr. Phil often says, “Foreplay should start 24 hours in advance of being sexual.”  It takes more for women to get into the mood than men and men need to know that.  Be loving, playful and affectionate long before you actually do the act.  Give her compliments, hold her hand, tell her you love her and act like you actually like spending time with her.
3.    Don’t be a jerk 90% of the time and then expect that your wife will want to be sexual with you.  Your wife/partner does not “owe” you sex.  This is crazy thinking that I hear from men all the time.  If you’re generally a pill to be around then don’t be surprised that your partner isn’t feeling intimate.  Stop the anger, harsh tones and meanness.  Similarly, don’t barely speak to her day-to-day and then wonder why she’s not feeling close.  Be engaged and respectful and act as though you love her if you want her to act as though she loves you.

Continue reading "A Note to Men: Want more Sex? 5 Things You Should NOT Do" »

July 13, 2010

Women Who Bully…and the Men Who Take It

IStock_00angry womenl

There is endless information written on men who are abusive, intimidating or controlling of their partners.  There is much less written, however, about women who do the same.  Over the years I have worked with many women who fell into this same pattern of rage and control in their relationships with men. 

Although the women are fewer in numbers, the wrath they wield is intense, scary and damaging.

More often than not, I have found that men capitulate and duck in response to the violence of women just as I have found women to do the same in response to the violence of men.  (Note: Some also respond by returning rage with rage, but that’s a different post).  Not surprisingly, capitulating and ducking is no more effective when the men do it than it is when the women do it. 

Men and women duck, even though it’s ineffective, because of fear.  Women, not unlike men, are scary when they are highly reactive and prone to have fits of rage.  The male partners of these women believe there will be hell to pay if they do anything but give the women what they want.  Some of these men also try to avoid the women altogether, which only makes things worse.  Often, these men do indeed have reason to be fearful.  I’ve known several women to become physically violent, take extreme steps to get revenge on their partner or make threats about custody and financial ruin at various times in their relationships.  I have no doubt that these women meant what they said.  The men had no doubt as well.

Continue reading "Women Who Bully…and the Men Who Take It" »

July 06, 2010

Your Voices Have Been Heard

Thank you to everyone who took the time to send in a comment in response to my last post.  There were many comments by both men and women.  Most, if not all of the readers, are in agreement that the comment was not a good representation of most men. 

Although my readers are not a fair representation of the world at large, I believe they are  a fairly representative sample of people trying to have healthy relationships.  A couple of  readers were curious as to why the person who made the comment was on my site in the first place.  I choose to think he was looking for a little relationship advice since his way was likely not working :-). 

Many people were supportive of men as a whole, I'm happy to report.  Men and women alike believed most men don't think that way.  Even those who thought there are men out there who mostly think of women as objects, the consensus was that those men are the exception rather than the rule. 

Continue reading "Your Voices Have Been Heard" »

July 19, 2009


I often talk about women setting limits on men, however in this post I want to discuss men setting limits on women.  In particular, I am referring to conflict-avoidant men with high intensity, reactive women.

A common couple combination I see in my office is quiet, conflict-avoidant men, with angry, controlling and reactive women.  The women are often furious at the men for not talking, being passive-aggressive and making agreements that they seldom keep.  Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that the men are, indeed, all those things. 

What’s often missing, however, from this picture is the other side of the equation—the women. 

Many of the women in these types of couples become intense, critical and furious when they don’t like something the man did or didn’t do.  They yell, scream, make threats and become demeaning.  In response, the men cower, turn passive-aggressive and go underground. 


February 18, 2009


Throughout the years, I’ve worked with many couples in which the man was highly reactive and prone to rage, control, and verbal abuse; not surprisingly, the woman was often scared of his anger.  After living with the reactivity for several years however, the women in these types of relationships often get fed up and bring the men in as a last ditch effort:  he either stops raging or she’s leaving.  If he truly wants the marriage, he stops the rage and the marriage transforms.  If he doesn’t, the marriage is often over.


This is not the case however, in my experience, when the tables are turned and the woman is the highly reactive one.  In this situation the man is often so fearful of the woman that he does not call her on her behavior at all.  He’s afraid she will get angrier, retaliate, make threats, or get hysterical, so he tries to placate her and wait until she calms down. 


Unfortunately, this seldom works in the long run.  If her reactivity doesn’t subside and he’s too scared to deal with it directly, many men begin to escape via work, affairs, porn or depression.  



September 08, 2008


Women cannot stress to me enough how non-relational their husbands or partner are.  Unfortunately the men often respond to these complaints by saying the women are overly critical and insatiable.  They end up ignoring the complaints, changing nothing, and saying anything they did would never be enough for her anyway.

Unfortunately, a high percentage of these men are paying a heavy price for this lack of skill.

For those men who are brave enough to work their relationship muscles--in spite of how your friends or our culture will respond--here’s your cheat sheet on how to move a little beyond respect and into more connection:

  1. When your partner is sharing her day with you---please do not move into solving.  Men often struggle with wanting to solve everything for women.  When they actually sit down to hear about their wife’s day, they immediately move into fixing it:  “Did you try this?”  “Next time you should say this.” “Your boss is out of line, you should go back and tell him…”  Stop solving!!! When you respond to your wife’s sharing by trying to solve something you’re implying that she’s incapable of solving it herself.  This is incredibly frustrating for your wife.  You’re also assuming that there’s a problem to be solved.  Often women share just to relay information, not to change something.  Sit back, listen and do not solve unless you have been explicitly asked to do so.


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