If you’ve been in a steady relationship or a long marriage, you realize the value of having some “girl time” or “guy time:”
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Today’s question is one that crops up in every generation and probably will continue to be asked hundreds of generations from today: is it possible for men and women to be just friends without a romantic attachment?
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Lately I have chastised a number of male callers for being “wussy.” This label is often pinned on their wilted chests after I give some great advice which requires them to actually stand up at home and proclaim: “I am a man – not an animal!”…oh wait, that’s from the movie “Elephant Man.”
Well, basically the problem is that most men today are afraid of their women. Their wives can nag them into a grave and or cut ‘em off from any affection, attention, appreciation and sex. That’s pretty powerful stuff. And then women wonder why they don’t have passion and respect for their men.
I asked aloud on my radio program for men to tell me why they’ve cut off their own “giblets” by not taking care of business at home, even if their wives disagree with stuff that should be common sense (like the case of a 12 year old girl, who was wearing a thong and a short skirt which started and ended at her pubic area).
Neil, a listener, sent this answer: “As a faithful listener and devotee of your program, I have heard you scold men for being afraid of the wives/women, instructing them to act like or be a man. As a man, I heartily applaud your directives and only wish it were that easy – to simply snap out of a momentary distraction or passing lack of strength. Sadly and scarily, it is far from a mere lapse of attention or fortitude – we are in a veritable struggle for our male lives against an angry, entitled and politicized culture that belittles the role of fathers (sperm banks and single motherhood), demands equality just for starters and purveys an attitude of supremacy in schools (where two-thirds of today’s college grads are females), the workplace and at home.
“If only it were a matter of putting our collective foot down and simply demand respect, most of us men, husbands and fathers, would gladly oblige…stepping up to the plate to shoulder our responsibilities to protect and provide and lead – as we always have.
“But when you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back, skating on a sheet of ice as the rules continually change without notice, there’s little chance of success.
“So, we back off, uncertain even of what it means to be a man; confused about what is expected, further unsure about what we will be allowed to do. And, while I pity the beaten man today, I fear even more for the women, families and societies of tomorrow, who will bear the consequences of all of this misguided anti-male/masculinity behavior today.”
I second his concern.TrackBack URI
Philosophers throughout the ages have contemplated and agonized over what causes people to fall in love. Sociologists and psychologists have done the same over what causes people to stay in love. Now neuroscientists are trying to solve both their problems by taking brain scans of folks in love looking for the “cause” of love.
The report of their work prepared by the Wall Street Journal (2/8/08) seems to miss the main point. Looking for brain sites of increased activity in people who after many years of marriage still feel fabulously in love, is not likely due to some abnormal hyperactivity in centers associated with affection or pleasure. It is the opposite way around. People who behave consistently in a loving manner constantly stoke the fires of affectionate and passionate love – all which will show up in their brain scans.
The couple they “analyzed,” the Turners, are described up front:
“Ann Tucker is pushing a shopping cart through the produce section of a supermarket in Plainview, N.Y., when she turns to kiss her husband. The supermarket kiss is a regular ritual for the Tuckers. So are the restaurant kiss and the traffic-light kiss. ‘I guess we do kiss a lot,’ says Mrs. Tucker…Mrs. Tucker is living happily ever after, and scientists are curious why.”
Why? That’s easy: she and her husband constantly behave like people in love. Feelings follow behavior and both feed into brain pathways that become “well-worn” through constant activation.
So, stop looking for supplements, hormone injections, or implanted brain stimulators, miracles or moonspots. Instead, behave like a man/woman in love and you’ll create what you wish for.TrackBack URI
I sometimes hear from people who think I’m too harsh on my callers. There are many reasons for the way I deal with someone who calls my program, but my particular approach is always in direct response to what I intuit from the callers themselves. Here’s an email I got from Morgan, who titled her correspondence “Thanks For Your Advice and for TEARING Into Me!”
I called you the other day, and was shocked to hear you for real in my ear! My question was about why I was complaining about my fiancé a lot lately. My complaints were about his extra weight, being quiet on road trips, an, lately, his constant wearing of a baseball hat! You listened PATIENTLY to what I was nagging about, and then you truly laid into me…and well, I really needed it!
You told me that I wasn’t marrying myself, and if I wanted to be with someone exactly like me, well, marry myself (ha!), but not stay and complain. You also stated that I was comparing him to me, and that wasn’t helpful. He is his own man – a quiet, baseball hat-wearing man. Then you said that I should thank him for putting up with me for so long.
It is really interesting to me that I have always prided myself on treating others the way I wish to be treated– my students, my colleagues, my friend–but that I had been treating my own fiancé in a negative, terrible and condescending manner, instead of thanking him every day for coming into my life. He is the most gentle, generous and loyal person I know, and the truth is I have been feeling crappy about myself and projecting that onto him.
Well, I went home and re-read “Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives,” and got to the part that asks the reader to think about whether they would want their future daughter to be dating their partner. It really sunk in.
I’d love it if my future daughter would be dating someone like my fiancé, but I don’t think I’d want my future son dating someone like I have been lately!
Good wake-up call for me, Dr. Laura. I’ve listened to you for eight years. You are a true voice of reason, morality, and plain common sense in my head!TrackBack URI