Many people have a feeling that their partner may be cheating on them, but they have no idea how to find out one way or another. Of course, you could ask them outright, but the chances are they will deny it. Also, if you falsely accuse them, it can have a serious impact on the trust in the relationship. On the other hand, you don’t want to face a lifetime of being suspicious and simply burying your head in the sand. So, what is the answer?
Well, short of catching your partner in the act or getting an admission from them, it can be very difficult to find out conclusively what has been going on. However, one thing you can do is to look out for possible signs that could indicate that your suspicions are correct. There are various tools that you can use and a variety of signs to look out for. In this article, we will look at some of them.
Some of the Signs to Look For
It is not always easy to determine which signs could be indicators that your partner is cheating, but there are certain signs that can make it easier for you to get an idea of anything going on. One of the things you may notice is that your partner suddenly starts to receive more calls, make more calls, or are cagey when they are on the phone. If you ask who was on the phone, they may even lie about it. You can use online tools that offer a range of functions, such as the ability to find people and run reverse phone number checks.
Another thing to look out for is whether your partner has started using social media differently. For instance, in the past your partner may not have minded you sitting right next to them while they were on social media. But these days, you may find that they keep the screen out of your line of sight. Perhaps they close the laptop or switch off the phone suddenly if you walk into the room while they are on social media. These are all behaviors that could suggest they are messaging someone and don’t want you to find out about it.
Another thing to look at is whether your partner is less interested in being intimate or in snuggles and kisses. Of course, you have to remember that there could be other reasons for this, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. However, if there are also other signs that your partner may be cheating, the lack of interest in a physical relationship could be down to them getting what they want elsewhere.
Find Out the Truth
By looking out for these possible signs, you can get a much better idea of whether your partner is cheating. You can then decide what you want to do in terms of getting on with your life and moving forward, maybe following our guide on growing a beard.
Buying that diamond ring is a big step. It’s a bigger step if you don’t know the first thing about diamond rings. Don’t worry we have you covered here. Before buying her a diamond ring, here’s what you should be doing:
Getting that ring is a big commitment. Not to mention a big investment also. Before going forward, you should be very sure if she is the right one. A few questions you should be asking yourself are, Is the relationship moving forward smoothly? Do you consider her your best friend? How well does she go along with your friends? Is there something you would like to change about her? Are those deal breakers? And most importantly, how do you picture the next 30 years with her?
The answers to these questions will help you decide if you want to move to the next step.
Figure out the budget
Ready to commit? Before you start visiting diamond retailers, you should be figure out how much you can shell out for the ring. Remember, you will also be planning a wedding in the near future, so you don’t want to put in all your savings in a ring. You can also consider getting the ring through payment plans. Yes, you can do that.
Find a friend
Do you have common friends? Friends whose style is similar to her. Ask her to come along while you go looking for the ring. Having a second opinion can be very beneficial, especially when it comes to something that’s going to stay with you forever.
Know ring size
While you can get the ring resized later on, but getting the right size is a sign that everything is following the perfect plan. You might want to ‘borrow’ one of her rings while you go diamond shopping. Choose one she won’t miss immediately.
Do some window shopping
Or online shopping. Get an idea of price, and designs. When it comes to rings, there are so many options. Some prefer modern design, while others prefer the traditional ones. And then there is also the option of manmade diamonds. You might want to get her opinion about rings somehow.
Also before choosing the one, look at a few options. Window shop literally. Visit a few stores. Look at what they are offering. Their prices and their designs.
Review the diamond
Once you finalize the design, review the diamond. A little knowledge of diamond quality will help you select the ring one according to your budget and needs. Ask the diamond dealer how the diamond rates on the 4C scale. The 4C scale is used to measure how good the diamond is. It refers to the diamond’s cut, clarity, color and carat size. The higher you go up the scale, the more expensive the diamond will be. So, it all comes down to your budget. Do a little research on this before selecting the one.
These days, with good jobs extremely scarce (and great jobs nearly nonexistent), it is essential to properly prepare yourself for an important interview. With so many great resumes out there, a sloppy wardrobe or bad haircut could very well be the deciding factor when a hiring manager is choosing who to bring back for a second interview (or even who they want to hire!).
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you are preparing for a big interview:
Get a good night’s sleep. If you aren’t well rested, you simply won’t look (or feel) your best.
Make sure your fingernails are clean. That means they are clipped to a practical length and there is no dirt under them.
Shave. In 95% of work situations, excessive (or even a little) facial hair is not appropriate. Make sure you are freshly shaven for your interview.
Get a haircut too. Similar to your facial hair, you’ll want to keep your haircut pretty conservative. If you have caveman hair, you are going to need to get rid of that. However, other than maybe getting a shorter cut, don’t try any new styles on the big day. You want to look as natural and neutral as possible.
Apply cologne sparingly. If you apply it at all, make sure you spray it on a handkerchief or tissue and dab it on. Do not directly spray. Smelling too strong can be extremely distracting.
Make sure you are freshly showered, your teeth are brushed, etc.
One word: manscaping. Make sure that everything is freshly trimmed: ear hair, nose hair, eyebrows, everything. There is nothing more distracting than a unibrow or a forest of nose hairs.
Make sure your suit is clean and pressed, your tie is tied properly, etc.
Is Your Partner Codependent? Look Out for These Red Flags
When it comes to building a healthy relationship, it’s safe to say that balance is one of the defining features. It means that both people are making an equal effort to hear each other out, meet each others’ needs, and occasionally, make sacrifices or strike compromises when there’s a disagreement. When there’s an imbalance, relationships can sometimes veer into codependent territory. And it’s all too easy to find yourself in a one-sided relationship without even realizing it.
Needless to say, codependent relationships can be emotionally destructive for both partners — no matter how much they love and devotion they have for each other. Because it goes without saying that relationships rely on a dynamic of give and take — and that simply can’t exist when one person is suppressing their needs and sacrificing too much.
“For the codependent person, it’s a problem because they lose their sense of self when they’re in a relationship,” says Dr. Erika Martinez, psychologist and founder of Miami Shrinks. “They’re likely to experience anxiety, depression and concerns related to their self-worth. The way that these issues show up tend to negatively affect the relationship. For the non-codependent partner (assuming they’re relatively psychologically healthy), they often complain that the person they fell in love with is no longer there.”
If you’ve ever noticed that your relationship feels imbalanced, read on for some common signs that your partner is codependent.
They Always Put the Relationship First, No Matter What
According to Mental Health America, people who are codependent tend to suffer from low self-esteem, and as such, they may rely heavily on the relationship to make them feel fulfilled. Because of that, you may notice that your partner puts a majority of their energy into the relationship, and making sure you’re satisfied and fulfilled. Making your relationship a priority is totally normal. However, if your SO appears to put it above everything else at all times, that could be a red flag.
“Partners who are codependent often go to extreme lengths to please their partner, even to the point when it is majorly inconvenient – behaviors such as skipping important work events or canceling plans with friends to be with their partner,” says licensed clinical social worker Melanie Shapiro.
Just as a codependent partner may put your relationship over others, they may also feel dejected when you opt to spend time with your friends or family over them. Shapiro notes that they may struggle with being alone, too.
And given that the codependent’s top priority is making sure their partner is happy, Dr. Martinez adds that they often lose sight of self-care.
“Codependents can become very disconnected from their needs when they’re in a relationship,” she explains.
They’re Super Indecisive All the Time
If your partner struggles to answer even the most trivial questions — like “where should we go for dinner?” or “what do you feel like watching on Netflix?” — that can be a sign of codependency. For example, Dr. Martinez notes that a codependent partner may respond with “I don’t know,” or “Whatever you want is fine.” This is because a codependent person is solely interested in keeping their partner happy, so they become uncomfortable voicing their own preferences.
They Never Argue With You
It goes without saying that when it comes to conflict, most of us would prefer less rather than more in our relationships. That said, an occasional argument here and there isn’t only to be expected — it’s actually healthy. So, when was the last time your partner expressed that they disagree with you? If you’re scratching your head because you can’t think of a single instance, that could hint at the possibility that they’re codependent. A codependent person makes an active effort to avoid rocking the boat because they fear that disagreeing with you could threaten the state of the relationship.
“The goal is to be agreeable no matter their thoughts and opinions so as not to jeopardize their partner’s love and affection,” explains Dr. Martinez.
In fact, a codependent partner might avoid contentious topics entirely — and according to Dr. Martinez, this can lead to a breakdown in communication.
“Talking about the hard things will just die off, and it’ll feel like the partners are just roommates or ships in the night,” she says.
In a similar vein, a codependent partner may have an extremely difficult time saying no to you. According to Dr. Martinez, this is because codependents tend to have a poor sense of personal boundaries.
They Always Need to Know Where You Are
Does your SO feel the need to constantly check in when you’re apart? That not only suggests that they don’t feel secure in the relationship but can be a sign of codependency as well.
“Your partner may get super anxious and feel insecure when you do simple things separate, like go to work or go to a family function,” says Shapiro. “They may start to get paranoid about things that are not linked to the reality of the situation.”
It’s worth noting that it’s normal to check in with your partner once or twice if you’re not seeing them all day, or if they’re out of town on a business trip. But if you’ve proven yourself to be a trustworthy partner, and they’re basically blowing up your phone while you’re enjoying a night out with the guys (and getting agitated when you don’t respond ASAP), that can suggest codependency.
If these signs are starting to sound eerily familiar, don’t stress. The first step is to acknowledge the role that you’ve played in enabling this dynamic to form. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to talk to your partner. Set aside some time to open up a dialogue about what you’ve been noticing. But there’s no need to bring the word “codependent” into the conversation — at least not yet. Putting a label on your partner’s behavior may put them on the defensive, making it very difficult to open up and be vulnerable with you about their feelings. Rather than using the term “codependency,” Dr. Martinez advises honing in on specifics.
“I always tell people to start by identifying the observable behaviors that the codependent person is performing, and getting curious,” she explains. “Ask questions like, ‘I’ve noticed that you’ve been letting me make a lot of the decisions about what we eat, where we go, who we hang out with. Before, you used to have an opinion about these things. What’s changed? I’d like to understand.’ Show them that having an opinion, disagreeing, spending time with friends or meeting their own needs is OK with you.”
Shapiro adds that once your partner has been able to acknowledge their role, you can encourage them to make decisions, set boundaries and rediscover their own individual interests, and support them in nurturing their friendships and other relationships.
“Model the kind of behavior you would like them to have,” says Shapiro. “That means being trustworthy, doing what you say you are going to do and providing security so they know you will continue to be there for them, even if you aren’t together all the time.”
You can also gently propose the possibility of counseling, if your SO is open to it, or even offer to go with them. Sometimes, a couples’ therapist can provide some unbiased feedback and advice that may prove helpful in changing the unhealthy dynamic.
Remember: Codependency isn’t necessarily a fixed dynamic. It’s totally possible to have a healthy, happy relationship — provided you’re both willing to put in the effort to make some changes. As they say, it takes two to tango, and that’s definitely true in codependent relationships. So, if you’ve determined that your partner is codependent, rather than viewing it as a concerning problem or a threat, view it as an opportunity for both of you to grow — and ultimately, to achieve a greater sense of trust, individuality, and yes — balance.
When I was growing up, other people thought of my father as a good man — a church leader and a pastor; a great speaker; wonderful, kind, and amazing.
But behind closed doors — when no one was looking — he was abusive.
Abusive to my siblings, to my mother and to me. He used religion as a means to get us to follow his narcissistic commands. While the bulk of his daily abuse was physical, it took many forms. And while the scars on my body have since faded, the psychological scars it left on me will last me the rest of my life.
Though I’ve been out of his house since 2012, for years I was incredibly reluctant to discuss the experience. But as my journey as a survivor has progressed, I’ve realized the need to talk about abuse is an important one. For many survivors — male survivors in particular — the door to healing can be hard to open. The echoes of what happened years ago can still haunt you as an adult.
For abuse survivors, self-doubt and subconscious fears from years of trauma can be deeply implanted; they might be carrying years’ worth of pent-up emotions with them — things like anger, angst, shame, and hatred.
These emotions might seem like they can stay safely locked up and hidden, but the longer they are carried around, the more likely they are to burst open at the wrong moments. Not to mention that navigating through life holding onto this burden by yourself can be a harrowing experience.
That’s why the support of those in our lives is so essential. Unfortunately, many people in relationships with abuse survivors don’t know exactly how to do that. One upshot of that is that dating and getting married can be unexplainably hard for those who have gone through abuse during their youth.
Below, you’ll find some key factors men in relationships with abuse survivors should know based on things I’ve learned from my own relationship with my husband, conversations I’ve had with male abuse survivors and input from trauma therapists and mental health experts.
1. Don’t Try to “Fix” Things
When you see your partner having an emotional moment, your first instinct might be to try to fix things, but that’s not a viable approach when dealing with the trauma experienced by victims of childhood abuse.
Instead of trying to make things better for them, focus on trying to be there with them.
“Your partner does not have an illness; they are wounded,” says Dr. Lowell Routley, who has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and four decades of experience working with trauma victims. “Post-traumatic stress reactions are a result from this woundedness. By being with your partner during distress, you are showing them that relationships can be safe. Respecting their need to take care of themselves will deepen and strengthen your relationship. You will be seen as truly on their team.”
“Remember, this distress is temporary,” he adds. “Woundedness is not something about your partner that you have to fix. Just being with them will give them the freedom to experience the healing of their wounds. Healing cannot happen until the survivor can be in a safe place with safe people.”
Another thing you won’t be able to fix is your partner’s intense fears. As Routley points out, that’s in part because they’re rooted in something deeper.
“To help you as a supportive partner to understand and empathize on a deeper level you need to know about terror vs. fear,” notes Routley. “When you hear what seems to you like normal fear or anxiety, it is much more than that. Fight-or-flight is often a reaction where the survivor may become totally helpless and ‘shut down. It is as if their mind is playing dead. They are mentally frozen. Consider that their fear in a given life circumstance is really terror. No logical thinking will bring insight or direction to know what to do and how to be safe.”
As your companion might cry and try to explain themselves, triggered by things that remind them of their past trauma, they need you there with them by listening, holding their hand and loving them without needing to fix it. This will do more than you can imagine to help them on their healing journey.
2. Show Your Partner Empathy
Author and academic Brené Brown defines empathy as taking perspective; placing yourself in the other person’s shoes; withholding judgment and listening; recognizing emotion in the other person; and communicating that you recognize that emotion.
That list of traits is what everyone needs when handling those difficult emotions from past trauma.
But how do you get through the deeper parts of the relationship when it seems like the person beside you is breaking apart, triggered by something that might be completely unknown to you? I’ve been there. My husband and I got through it, but those moments can be some of the hardest.
First, it’s important not to brush off what’s happening just because it’s unpleasant.
“Never minimize a survivor’s experience,” says Routley. “At the point the survivor feels safe enough to share their story with you, accept what [they tell you] as valid. When they finally bring their past into the light of present day, that alone is a big deal — they’re taking it out from under a mountain of shame. There has to be a sense of safety with you, to trust you would not use it against them.”
It’s also important not to let what your partner’s telling you change how you see them. They’re coming to you for support, and if you pull back now and begin treating them differently, that will hurt.
“What is finally shared may be even more horrific in reality,” admits Routley. “But don’t let that color your relationship or the present day. They are indeed the person you know and love. Their genuine self is intact. Childhood trauma does not define a survivor.”
Routley also differentiates between sympathy and empathy. “Sympathy is different from empathy, in that it communicates pity for the other person, looking down on them rather than being with them in their struggle,” he says. “To simply say, ‘I understand’ is not being empathic. In reality, you did not walk in your partner’s shoes, so you do not understand. It would be much better to use these words: ‘I can’t imagine what this is like for you, but I want you to know that I am here with you right now. We will get through this together.’”
3. Engage in Random Acts of Kindness
Sometimes, a survivor still going through the stages of healing is fighting just to get through their day. When your partner is feeling depressed, close to tears and resisting physical affection, it’s so important that you pick up on those cues.
Instead of backing off, this is your opportunity to engage in random acts of kindness.
Your partner’s used to harsh treatment from a past abuser — whether that was a parent figure or someone else in their life or even multiple people. Their shield and their outer wall has been their strength and protection when no one else was there to help or stop the abuse from happening to them.
It’s not up to you to break through their shield, but it is up to you to unconditionally love them and win their trust. It’s your job to treat them the opposite of how they’re used to being treated.
Abuse survivors can appear closed-off or unemotional even when they’re screaming on the inside. Random acts of kindness with no expectations attached can help soften that hard outer shell, so it will eventually melt away.
Not sure what will mean the most to them? Well, there’s a good way to find out.
“When our partner has a history of childhood trauma, it’s difficult to know exactly how to be helpful in the moments they are struggling,” says Shannon Thomas, author of “Healing From Hidden Abuse.”
“The best approach is to ask,” she continues. “A simple question of ‘What would be helpful to you right now?’ shows you care [and] are there to be supportive, but also keeps you from overstepping into codependency by trying to fix your partner, or walk on eggshells attempting to read their mind or body language.”
Here’s the thing to remember, though: In breaking through the walls that survivors have up, it’s important to give without asking anything in return. Do something unexpectedly special for your partner without expecting them to return the favor. If they’re emotional, allow them to simply feel treasured — let them know you love them for who they are.
4. Let Them Be Emotional
It’s important to expect some unexpected emotions from a person who’s been through severe trauma, and be OK with them.
This goes back to empathy. Let them be in that emotional place, and look for their cues. Follow up on those cues. Sometimes, they’ll want to be by themselves. That’s OK — give them some space. But, within an hour or so, make sure you check in on them by being gentle.
Never judge them for random outbursts of anger or tears. This is not about you. What your partner is expressing is most likely bottled-up past emotions, still working their way to the surface. Instead of judging them, your job is to let them know you love them, and simply be there for them. Stay close. Express your love. Show them you care.
“Oftentimes, those affected by childhood trauma have a difficult time expressing it in words, especially if the trauma happened before they were able to talk,” says Ryan Smith, a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry.
“Bodily feelings similar to what they experienced at the time can trigger the emotions that corresponded to the trauma during times that may not make sense in the present context,” he adds. “It is important to be aware that the trauma victim needs extra understanding and support during these times [especially if] they are not sure themselves why they are feeling anxious in a seemingly innocuous situation.”
A person who has survived abuse is a force to be reckoned with. Healing after years of abuse is an incredible example of strength. Your partner went through hell and came through it, but they need to know they don’t have to be strong all the time. Give them a shoulder to lean on, and space to show weakness. Acknowledge their pain and let them get it out in the open.
Above all, be patient with your partner. Just knowing you’re behind them 100 percent, no matter what, will mean more than you’ll ever fully understand.
Know that throughout human history 80% of women had children, but only 40% of men did.
In our modern world where it seems that everyone is having sex, we forget that through most of human history some men were having a lot of sex and some men weren’t getting any. For example, Genghis Khan, the fearsome Mongol warrior of the 13th century may have done more than rule the largest empire in the world.
According to recent genetic studies, he populated it as well. An international group of geneticists studying Y-chromosome data have found that nearly 8 percent of the men living in the region of the former Mongol empire carry Y-chromosomes that were likely passed on by Khan and his descendants.
Imagine for a moment being an average man living during that time. You might have been killed by Genghis Khan’s army or you might have been afraid to have sex with any pretty woman because Genghis Khan and his top lieutenants took them all for themselves and you risked death even looking at a woman. If you were a woman at the time, would you choose to be married to a poor Mongol herdsman or be part of Genghis Khan’s harem and be married to the alpha male?
The fact that some males dominate and have more sex and others have less is present in many specifies of mammals, including humans. Dr. Roy F. Baumeister is one of the world’s leading social scientists. He has written more than 400 scientific papers and 21 books. In his book, Is There Anything Good About Men? How Cultures Flourish By Exploiting Men, he says, “Of all the people who ever reached adulthood, maybe 80% of the women but only 40% of the men reproduced.” He goes on to say, “That’s a stunning difference. Of all humans ever born, most women became mothers, but most men did not become fathers. You wouldn’t realize this by walking through an American suburb today with its tidy couples.” Baumeister says, “I consider it the single most underappreciated fact about men.”
A lot of men’s feelings, fears, and sexual behavior can be understood when we recognize that all men are afraid of being part of the 40% who are left out of the genetic lottery. Even alpha males who are having lots of sex are worried that they will be displaced and become sexual losers.
Become aware that men put women on pedestals and also pull them down.
Most men will recognize that in the hidden recesses of our psyches and often in our active adult minds, we look up to women and see them as superior to men and we also look down on them. We are conflicted by love and longing and also by fear and anger. The #MeToo movement has come forward and encouraged women to tell the truth about sexual violence. Men need to listen closely to what women are saying with open minds and hearts.
In The Little #MeToo Book for Men, Mark Greene addresses male fear and resistance. “As women take up the banner of #MeToo by the millions, many men are feeling conflicted, alarmed, angry, and even disheartened. How is it that men are challenged by a movement which says, ‘Don’t rape, sexually harass or abuse other human beings’? These are ideas we can all get behind, right? But it’s not playing out that way.” Mark’s book helps us all to understand the movement and our reactions to it. Check it out.
The words of psychologist and author Sam Keen resonate deeply with me and many men in understanding our conflicted feelings towards women. In his best-selling book, Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man he says, “It was slow in dawning on me that WOMAN had an overwhelming influence on my life and on the lives of all the men I knew,” Keen says. “I’m not talking about women, the actual flesh-and-blood creatures, but about WOMEN, those larger-than-life shadowy female figures who inhabit our imaginations, inform our emotions, and indirectly give shape to many of our actions.”
He goes on to share his own experiences with women. “But if the text of my life was ‘successful independent man,’ the subtext was ‘engulfed by WOMAN.’ All the while I was advancing in my profession, I was engaged in an endless struggle to find the ‘right’ woman, to make my relationship ‘work,’ to create a good marriage. I agonized over sex—was I good enough? Did she ‘come’? Why wasn’t I always potent? What should I do about my desires for other women? The more troubled my marriage became, the harder I tried to get it right. I worked at communication, sex, and everything else until I became self-obsessed. Divorce finally broke the symbiotic mother-son, father-daughter, pattern of my first marriage.”
We will always have a fear of being “engulfed by WOMAN,” until we recognize and accept the basic realities of being male, including the first reality of coming into the world out of the body of a woman. A wife woman, Anais Nin, said, “If a person continues to see only giants, it means he is still looking at the world through the eyes of a child. I have a feeling that man’s fear of woman comes from having first seen her as the mother, creator of men.”
Embrace the truth that males learn to be men in men’s groups.
It feels appropriate that I end this manifesto with men’s groups. It is the first rule in my book, 12 Rules for Good Men, where I share what I’ve learned to help men become the best they can be in life.
Although being male is built into our billion-year evolutionary history, we learn to be men in men’s groups. The first male connection we are meant to have is with our father and his group of men. In indigenous cultures throughout the world, there are birth rituals where the men in the tribe support the father and welcome the new-born child into the tribe.
I’ve been in a men’s group that has been meeting now for forty years. I still remember the group meeting when Tony brought his newborn son, Noah, to the group. We all held him and welcomed him into the group of men. The poet, Robert Bly, said, “A young man needs to be in the presence of older men in order to hear the sound that male cells sing.”
Think what it means that we each have a male choir inside us that is 10 trillion strong. Imagine what it means to be a young boy growing up listening to that symphony, awakening his own voice as he resonates with the sound that male cells sing.
I remember during the men’s group having my son, Jemal, and daughter Angela, come with me to the group that met at Tom’s house. He had a bunk bed in his small house and my son and daughter were lulled to sleep hearing the men talk about things that matter in our lives. They heard the joy and sadness in our voices, the laughter and the tears.
My son will turn 50 on November 21, 2019. My daughter just turned 47 on March 22, 2019. They still talk about their time with the men’s group.
Like many, I grew up in a home without a father. I wrote about the impact of his absence had on my life and what it meant to me to reconnect with him before he died. At the beginning of the memoir, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, I offered the following quotes that captured the impact of a father’s loss on our lives: 
“A father may be physically present, but absent in spirit. His absence may be literal through death, divorce or dysfunction, but more often it is a symbolic absence through silence and the inability to transmit what he also may not have acquired.” James Hollis.
“Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that role, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.” Roland Warren.
“You will begin to forgive the world when you forgive your father.” Tennessee Williams’ psychiatrist.
It’s taken me 70 years to fully heal my father wound. My men’s group not only helped me heal, but they also became the brothers I never had. They also continue to teach me how to live fully, love deeply, and make a difference in the world. It’s not an accident that the first rule for good men in my new book is to join a men’s group.
I look forward to your comments and questions. I hope you’ll read the full Good Men Manifesto. If you’d like a copy of the whole thing, drop me a note to [email protected]. Put “Good Men Manifesto” in the subject line. If you’d like more information about the new book, 12 Rules for Good Men, let me know and I’ll send you the latest information.
Most of us believe that our genes determine everything from the levels of testosterone we are born with to how long we will live. But the new science of epigenetics shows that we can take back control of our lives and actually change the way our genes work. That’s good news for everyone, but particularly for men and their families.
According to Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, and author of the book Change Your Genes, Change Your Life, “Biology is no longer destiny. Our DNA doesn’t rigidly determine our health and disease prospects, as the previous generation of geneticists believed. According to the new science of epigenetics, our genes are shaped by what we think and what we do.”
I’ve been working with men and their families for fifty years now and have found that many men are locked into old patterns of irritability, anger, anxiety, and depression and are unable to break free. Many women are impacted by a man’s behavior but don’t know how to help.
In my book, 12 Rules for Good Men, coming out in November, I offer the most up-to-date information available on how to help men and the families who love them. After reading the book, Dr. Pelletier said, “Jed’s book is unique in offering an in-depth understanding of why men are the way they are and do the things they do. Based on his fifty years of experience working with men and their families, he gives all of us the tools for living fully, loving deeply, and making a positive difference in our lives.”
I have known about Dr. Pelletier’s groundbreaking work in the field since the 1970s when his book, Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer was first published and ushered in the field of mind/body medicine. There have been natural connections between his work and mine ever since that are reflected in our new books.
In Chapter 5 of Change Your Genes, Change Your Life, he discusses “Mind Matters” and how we can turn off our genetic vulnerabilities by reducing stress. He correctly recognizes that our early-life traumas can have a lasting impact on our adult health. “Research shows that undue strain or abuse experienced during a child’s development affects that young person’s epigenome far into adulthood, altering their patterns of stress response and often leaving them with lifelong physical vulnerabilities or emotional disabilities that require treatment.”
My own research recognizes that men tend to be forward-looking and action-oriented and often don’t recognize the impact of our early life’s traumas and as result, we are more vulnerable to everything from heart-disease and alcoholism to cancer and suicide.
In Rule #9 from the book, I described my own denial in addressing childhood wounds. It never occurred to me that my lifelong anger and depression and later my two broken marriages had anything to do with my past. All that changed in 1998 when I reached out to a colleague, Dr. Charles Whitfield, because I couldn’t seem to heal my depression in spite of the fact that I was receiving good therapy and was taking medications. He told me that the missing piece in my healing might be addressing childhood trauma. I learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and found they were very common, including experiencing divorce or parents who were depressed or alcoholic.
I found I had 4 ACEs, which is great if you’re playing poker. However, in the game of life four ACEs are very risky. The study found the following increased risk factors for those who had 4 or more ACES compared to those who had none:
A 4- to 12-fold increase in health risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempts.
A 2- to 4-fold increase in smoking, poor self-rated health, having more than fifty sexual intercourse partners, and sexually transmitted disease.
A 1.4 to 1.6-fold increase in physical inactivity and severe obesity.
The good news is that we are not the victims of our genes and we’re not the victims of our early-life experiences. Neither do we have to settle for healthcare that is impersonal and generic. In Chapter 6 of Change Your Life, Change Your Genes, Dr. Pelletier says, “Our challenge today is to jumpstart a transformation of healthcare for medicine designed for a ‘standard’ human to one that treats each individual as special.”
There’s emerging research in gender-specific medicine. Marianne J. Legato M.D, Director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine says, “Everywhere we look, the two sexes are startlingly and unexpectedly different not only in their internal function but in the way they experience illness.” For the first time, we can have healthcare designed specifically for the unique needs of males and females.
I guide men, and the families who love them, through the following 12 practice, or rules, that help men to live fully, love deeply, and make a positive difference in the world:
Rule #1: Join a Men’s Group.
Rule #2: Break Free From the Man Box.
Rule #3: Accept the Gift of Maleness.
Rule #4: Embrace Your Billion Year History of Maleness.
Rule #5: Recognize Your Anger and Fear Toward Women.
Rule #6: Learn The Secrets of Real, Lasting Love.
Rule #7: Undergo Meaningful Rites of Passage from Youth to Adulthood and from Adulthood to Super Adulthood.
Rule #8: Celebrate Your True Warrior Spirit and Learn Why Males Duel and Females Duet.
Rule #9: Understand and Heal Your Adverse Childhood Experiences and Male Attachment Disorders.
Rule #10: Heal Your Father Wound and Become the Father You Were Meant to Be.
Rule #11: Treat the Irritable Male Syndrome and Male-Type Depression.
Rule #12: Find Your Mission in Life and Do Your Part to Save Humanity.
In the words of Bob Dylan, truly, the times they are a changing. We now have opportunities never before available. To learn more, you can contact Dr. Pelletier at https://drpelletier.com/ and you can email me. We look forward to connecting with you.
I’ve been a marriage counselor for fifty years now. I’ve heard these words from both women and men. Whether you’re a man hearing them from your spouse or a woman hearing them from yours, the feeling is devastating. Most of the people I’ve counseled felt blindsided. “I never saw it coming,” one man said. “I felt like my heart was ripped to pieces,” a distraught woman told me.
When they hear these words, most people feel it’s the end—the end of the life they had built together or, for some, it feels like the end of life itself. When it happened to me, my wife and I had been married for ten years and we had two beautiful children. We had drifted apart, but I figured it was just natural, what with the kids and having to work all the time. I never expected to hear the words, “Jed, I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.”
At first, I got cold, then I got hot. I was stunned. I wanted to run and hide. I wanted to beat the shit out of her. We talked and we talked some more. She cried and tried to comfort her. I was ashamed to tell anyone about what was happening. After the first sleepless night, I went to work as usual and did my job. The pattern continued for many weeks. But I was dying inside. I lived in a daze. I felt hollow. She took my lack of emotional response as confirmation that our relationship was over.
We learned that the disillusionment that underlies the words, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore,” is not the end, but occurs in the third stage of a potentially good marriage. If we work through stage 3, we can move on to Stage 4, Real, Lasting Love, and Stage 5, Finding Your Calling as a Couple. But even so, it was a struggle. I wish I had known about Steve Horsmon and his program, How to Diffuse the Divorce Bomb.
Steve partnered with his long-time friend and men’s coach, Tim Wade, to co-create this powerful, imaginative, and humorous dive into what really works for men who are facing divorce. Here’s how Steve is described by Tim. “Steve used to be a Good Guy who tried to please everyone in his life (except himself of course). Today he is a Great Man who teaches other Good Guys who struggle in their relationships with women to become the confident men that their partners crave. From his years of experience as a coach, he knows how women think and the many traps that men fall into.
“When it comes to telling it like it is, Steve is a straight shooter with a heart of gold. You’ll never meet a more honest, openhearted man and he generously shares his strength and knowledge with men from around the world.”
When I first began counseling couples in 1968, it was usually the men who fell out of love and left physically or emotionally. It was usually the men who had the affair or office romance and the women who were devasted and did everything they could to cling to the man in the hopes they could save their marriage. There are still a lot of women in this situation. I counsel them regularly in my practice.
But increasingly it is a man who is hearing the words, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore,” from a woman who has fallen out of love. It’s the man who feels like he’s been kicked in the gut and doesn’t know what to do. In fact, its women who initiate two-thirds of the divorces today and it’s the men who are totally caught off guard.
Steve says, “Maybe your wife has grown distant and told you that she ‘needs space.’
Or seemingly out of the blue she declares, ‘This just isn’t working.’ Or she’s already dropped the Divorce Bomb on you.”
In these situations, men do one of three things. Most put their heads in the sand, deny what’s going on, and hope for the best. Some panic, react with righteous indignation and retaliate. A few smart men reach out for help from men who understand what’s really going on and how to deal effectively with the problem.
If you are in this situation, know someone who is, or just want to know what’s available should the need ever arise, check out Steve and Tim’s powerful and effective program, How to Diffuse the Divorce Bomb. As always, your comments are appreciated. Feel free to sign up for my weekly articles below.
It’s a rite of passage every child goes through: learning how to ride a bike. My son, Gus, learned a few years ago. My daughter, Scout, learned how to ride a two-wheeler six months ago.
I thought this was going to be a rite filled with scraped elbows, bruised knees, and a lot of tears. I thought I’d be frustrated trying to explain to my kids how to pedal, balance, and steer a bike. Because that’s how I remember learning how to ride a bike as a kid: me being hurt and my parents being frustrated.
But none of that happened with my kids.
Instead we sort of stumbled into a protocol that turned out to be highly effective and managed to make the process practically pain, anxiety, and parental-intervention free. A method where our kids learned how to ride a bike naturally and on their own.
It’s broken into three phases in which you introduce a series of multi-wheeled conveyances, that allow your kids to progressively learn new skills, until they’re ready to take off on a real bike.
Phase 1: Three-Wheeled Scooter + Tricycle
By the time my kids were two or three, they were zipping around on plastic three-wheeled scooters. They’re a safe way for your kids to learn how to balance on and steer a moving object — two skills required for riding a bike.
Get your kid on a scooter as soon as you can. They’re pretty dang cheap, which is good, because you’ll likely go through a couple as he hits growth spurts.
Besides the scooters, also get your toddler a tricycle or “Big Wheel” so he learns how to pedal.
Phase 2: Balance Bike + Training-Wheeled Bike
This is a balance bike.
Balance bikes did not exist when I learned how to ride a bike, and these things are a game changer when it comes to teaching your kid how to ride the real thing. A balance bike is just a bike without pedals. Your tyke sits astride it with her feet touching the ground, and uses those feet to propel herself. When the bike gets some momentum going, your kiddo lifts her feet for a smooth glide.
Befitting their name, balance bikes teach what is probably the most important skill for riding a real bike: balance.
Because they lack training wheels, balance bikes allow your kid to take sharper corners, and feel what it’s like to lean to the side when taking a turn, but not fall over. (Something you can’t achieve to the same degree on a bike with training wheels.)
We didn’t introduce Gus to the balance bike until he was five because they weren’t yet on our radar. If they had been, I would have introduced it earlier. It was definitely the thing that made bike riding click for him. We introduced the balance bike to Scout when she was three or so.
Now you could just go from the balance bike to a regular bike, but the transition is not completely seamless; while a kid who’s been practicing with the former knows how to balance, he hasn’t yet tried his hand (and foot) at pedaling upright and braking.
That’s why it’s effective to have your child use a balance bike and a regular bike outfitted with training wheels at the same time (well, not exactly at the same time; that would be a circus-worthy act). Our kids would toggle between the two (and Scout would also return to her scooter and Big Wheel), depending on their whim that day.
Phase 3: Two-Wheeled Bike
After cutting their teeth on scooters and Big Wheels, and then playing around with balance bikes and training-wheeled bikes, both kids just naturally reached a point where they felt ready to put the former aside and take the safety net off the latter.
The transition to riding a regular two-wheeled bike was seamless for both of our kids. I didn’t hold onto the seat or handlebars, run alongside the bike, or really provide much in the way of coaching. Gus and Scout just jumped in the saddle, and started pedaling away on their own. No crashing. No tears.
If all that seems like a lot of little vehicles to buy in order to get a kid riding a bike, keep the following in mind:
Your littlest ones should be out on scooters/tricycles anyway. What’s a better form of play than being active outside? For that reason, all human-powered vehicles have been some of the few “toys” we’re willing to spend money on. And again, scooters are pretty cheap.
Spending dough on balance bikes (which aren’t cheap) can seem like a tough nut to swallow, since your kids are quickly going to outgrow their use. However, because of this, lots of people with older children have them lying around unused; we borrowed ours from relatives. There are also likely to be good, high-quality models available on the cheap from Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Training wheels are also cheap, and also something people often have lying around and are happy to part with. We got ours at a yard sale.
You’re going to get the two-wheeled bike that the training wheels attach to anyway.
In other words, the only “extra” equipment you need for this process — the stuff you wouldn’t have gotten anyway — is the balance bike or the training wheels (you pretty much need one or the other to teach a kid to ride a bike), and if you ask around you’ll likely find someone willing to lend or give you this equipment.
Your kids will have plenty of reasons to play outside as they have fun on multi-wheeled rides, and will easily take to riding a two-wheeled bike; you’ll need to do little to nothing to get them to that point. It’s a win all around.
If there’s one downside, I almost kind of feel gipped out of a quintessential Dad experience! But I wouldn’t trade this process for a bumpier one.
You’ve probably had a friend who started dating a woman that really made you scratch your head. She was flaky, possessive, and high-drama. Everyone could see that the gal was toxic and really bringing your buddy down…everyone, that is, except your buddy.
You tell yourself, “That would never happen to me.”
But then it does.
What gives? How do people end up in unhealthy relationships despite warning signs that their partner was bad news to begin with?
Answer: we’re blinded by love.
Using MRI machines, researchers at the University College London found that “feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought. It seems that once we get close to a person, the brain decides the need to assess their character and personality is reduced.”
Not only does romantic love suppress our critical thinking, but feel-good chemicals and hormones like oxytocin and dopamine cloud our judgment even more. Love truly gives us a drug-like “high,” and it feels so good that we simply ignore the red flags waving right before us. If by chance you do take notice of a gal’s negative behavior or attitude, you’re likely to minimize it, writing it off as a cute quirk, or telling yourself, “Oh, it’s not that bad. Besides, maybe I can be the guy to help her improve.”
Don’t fool yourself. You can’t force your partner to change; the change has to come from within. Also, problems that you notice at the beginning of a relationship tend to amplify themselves as the relationship deepens. Or as marriage expert Dr. John Van Epp says in his book, How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk, “The good doesn’t always last, and the bad usually gets worse.”
“Well,” you say, “I’m a manly man, dammit. I don’t let my emotions get the best of me in a relationship. I always think rationally.”
Hold on there, chief. Some research actually indicates that men, particularly men in their mid-twenties, “typically fall in love faster than women and are the first to take the lead in saying words of love in the initial stages of the relationship.” Women, on the other hand, are generally more apprehensive in the beginning stages of a relationship. In other words, just because you’re a dude, doesn’t mean you’re not susceptible to love blindness.
Knowing that your judgment is clouded, it’s important to enter any serious relationship with both your head and your heart. You need be able to distance yourself from the powerful emotions you’re likely feeling in a new relationship so that you can notice any red flags that might indicate that you’re destined for a relationship from hell. This is doubly important if you’re considering marriage.
But what sort of red flags should you be on the lookout for? While every man has his own personal relationship red flags or deal breakers, psychologists and marriage experts have found there are a few general red flags you should be aware of. Most of these are patterns of behavior in your partner that will likely (not definitely) result in a troubled relationship down the road.
Because people are usually on their best behavior at the beginning of a relationship, some of these red flags won’t appear for awhile. According to Dr. Van Epp, it’s usually around the three-month mark that deep-seated patterns start to manifest themselves. This delay is why he and other relationship experts recommend that you take romantic relationships nice and slow.
Below are some of the common red flags that researchers and therapists recommend you look for in a relationship.
Watch the Video
1. She’s a self-proclaimed “Drama Queen.” Beware of women who not only proclaim themselves to be Drama Queens, but also revel in the role. Drama Queens often swing from one emotional extreme to another; when life seems a little boring or flat, they’ll go out of their way to stir up a controversy. They’re often impulsive and demand to be the center of attention all the time. What’s interesting is that Drama Queendom isn’t just a character defect, it could actually be a psychological disorder called “histrionic personality disorder.” Who knew?Drama Queens can be very alluring and attractive in the beginning of the relationship because of their seemingly outgoing and often seductive personalities. But the shtick gets old after a while and constant drama in a long-term relationship just makes people miserable.
2. You can’t stand any of her friends. You don’t need to be “besties” with her friends, but if the thought of spending an hour with one of them makes you want to jump in front of speeding traffic, then you might have reason to be concerned about your relationship with your gal. There’s wisdom in the old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Your significant other likely has a lot in common with her friends — similar interests, temperaments, and beliefs. Because you’re not in love with her friends, you’re more likely to notice their annoyingly grating behaviors and attitudes. But because you’re infatuated with your gal, you’re likely ignoring or overlooking these same behaviors and attitudes coming from her.
Thus, if you can’t stand being around her friends now, there’s a chance you’ll feel the same way about your partner later. Don’t be surprised if your girlfriend is just like her annoying friend after the “Fog of Love” dissipates.
3. She says ALL her exes are jerks. There’s a possibility that every man she’s ever dated was indeed a jerk. If that’s the case, what does that say about her judgment, and what is it about her personality that draws her to losers? And that also means you’re probably a jerk too, as people tend to follow the same scripts and patterns across relationships.
The more likely scenario is that some — but not all — of her exes were jerks and she’s downplaying her role in the relationships going sour. This scenario is just as troublesome – as it shows a lack of self-awareness and an unwillingness to take responsibility. We all know folks who got fired from a job, received a bad grade, or got dumped because their boss was jealous, their professor was out to get them, and their girlfriend was nuts. It’s never their fault. Avoid relationships with this type of person like the plague.
4. She’s a flake. We all know that trust is an important aspect of a strong, healthy relationship, and it’s hard to trust someone who flakes out on you all the time. Watch to see if your gal follows through on her commitments in all aspects of her life. If she’s a flake with her employer, friends, and family, chances are she’s going to be a flake with you.
5. She treats waiters like crap. You can glean important information about a person from the way they treat strangers, especially those in a “server” role like a waiter, barista, or bank clerk. Psychologists have found that the way an individual treats strangers is often an indication of that person’s empathy, social conscience, and maturity of moral thinking — the same attributes that marriage and relationship researchers have found to be essential for healthy relationships.
6. She expects to be treated like a princess. When one person comes into a relationship with a sense of entitlement and expectation that his or her needs should always come before the other person’s, resentment, contempt, and anger are usually the results. Be on the lookout for subtle and overt clues that your partner has the “princess” mentality. (Hint: She has the word “Princess” stitched on the butt of her sweatpants.)
7. You argue all. the. time. There’s nothing wrong with conflict in a relationship. It’s completely normal, and in fact healthy at times. But if all you do is argue, then there’s a problem. Researchers have found that for a relationship to be happy, the ratio of positive to negative interactions needs to be 5:1. If your ratio is inverted, you’re going to be miserable. And don’t try to convince yourself that once you get more serious, things will get better. The first couple years are the honeymoon period! If things are already bad in the early stages of a relationship, you’re in big trouble.
8. She gets angry or guilts you when you want to spend time with your friends. We’ve talked a lot on the site about how important it is for men to spend time with their man friends — iron sharpens iron and all that. Unfortunately, some women don’t understand this and bust their boyfriend’s balls any time they want to go spend time with their buds – or they insist on always coming along to your formerly all-guy outings. A good woman will actually encourage you to spend time with the guys, understanding that it’s good for your overall well-being, which is ultimately good for your relationship too.
“What you want to see is a partner who quickly admits to wrong because the feelings of guilt register without much defensiveness or denial. Long arguments where you have to convince your partner that he or she was wrong or should feel guilty are a definite reason to worry,” says Van Epp.
10. She has a bad relationship with her family. As the relationship gets more serious, you’ll likely meet her parents and family. Watch how she interacts with them. Her comfort level with her family will often lead to her putting down her guard and showing her true colors. Patterns or scripts that your partner uses in one set of relationships will most likely be introduced into your relationship (Van Epp).If she gets along great with her family, great! You’ll likely experience the same in your relationship. However, if she’s cold and distant with her family, tread carefully. You might experience the same kind of hostility later.
Of course, there are cases where the apple truly does fall far from the tree. If her family is nuts or abusive, her distance is understandable and likely a good thing.
11. She’s not flexible. Marriage and relationship experts have found that flexibility — the ability to go with the flow and adapt to changing circumstances — is an important attribute for relationship success. If your girlfriend is never willing to compromise or gets frazzled when plans change or things aren’t exactly the way she wants them, there could be problems with your relationship down the line.
How do you know if your gal is the roll-with-the-punches type? Go on vacation together – ideally to a third-world country where things will invariably not go as planned. Or, just as good, take her camping. She refuses to go camping – even once? That’s a big red flag in itself – at least in my book.
12. You don’t share any core values or life goals. It doesn’t matter how much you love each other, if you and your gal aren’t on the same page when it comes to things like values or life goals, things are going to be rocky. Research backs this up — couples who share many of the same values and life goals are happier and have stronger relationships than couples who don’t.
14. She’s stingy with the appreciation. Feelings of appreciation keep a relationship strong and running smoothly. One of the things I love about Kate is no matter how many times I’ve done a run-of-the-mill chore or how small a favor, she always remembers to take notice and share her appreciation. If your girlfriend rarely notices and thanks you for the nice things you do, such stinginess will eventually run your ship of love onto the rocks.