Tag Archives: Relationships

What Lane is Your Relationship in?

Relationships are comprised of a series of destinations, pit-stops..with a dash of road rage and a hint of irony. Life can move so fast that we are susceptible to potholes in the name of love. We unknowingly hurt one another with our words, our individual decisions, and half-hearted “I love you’s.” Relationships are not easy and sometimes they warrant a check under the hood. A look at the coordinates on the GPS device.

One might wonder…”Why?” The answer is quite simple…which is that before you know it both of you will be racing down the highway of life without a clue where to go or how to get there. And, that doesn’t take into account our individual comfort levels. Some of us might like the Sunday afternoon drive while others enjoy the bumpy NASCAR ride while others still yet like the ole’ cruise control approach.

So I will ask you this…do you know what speed your relationship travels at…where your relationship is going and whether or not your co-pilot in life agrees? These questions sound mundane, but they can really be quite scary.

What if your partner disagrees? What if they really don’t like the direction and/or speed? What then? Fixable? Worth it? What about other couples….how do they deal with all of these questions?

I know people who sputter down the road so cautiously that their family and friends are nauseated. You know the ones…the couple that never wants to officially commit yet they have lived together for years. They never want to go further than two steps and one checking account withdrawal from gettin outta dodge.

Then there are other couples that are traveling so fast down the road that you wonder how they can honestly enjoy the journey. These folks met, got engaged, married, had 2.5 kids, got the house, moved up in their careers, AND got their 2.5 kids on the waiting list of grade-A preschool everybody wants in at…and all within a 3 year time period! Whew! Exhausting to even think about it…

Now of course these couples represent the outer edges of society…which leaves the rest of us. Many Normal couples go through ebbs and flows often changing directions and itineraries at a moments notice. There are couples who change seats, drive for a little while until their partner is ready and then re-assume previous roles and directives. Flexible you might say.

The challenge for all of these couples remains the same…can you honestly and with great humility check the particulars of your relationship? Can you evaluate what is and is not working well while traversing through life? You can, but many of you won’t. Harsh? No. Honest? Yes! Status quo and even contentment can be descriptors for a well-oiled machine or they can be indicators of apathy…a relationship that is on life support with no end in site because neither person believes it is worth it to change it up.

Am I describing you? Go ahead…check and see if you are alone in the room…no one is looking over your shoulder….so be honest. Are you apathetic to the current state of your relationship and its growth in the future? Are you emotionally hurtful? Are you limiting the potential of the relationship though manipulative means?

These are important questions even if you are not sabotaging your relationship. Never forget that relationships veer off course not because of the big potholes, but more often from the little ones. Those day-to-day interactions that point to confusion not coherence. Remember the days when doing the little things for our partner was fun? When we actually thought about what they wanted…even needed to thrive.

Tempted to Veer Off Course?

We did all of those things because we wanted our partner to feel loved…to feel special and unique and cared for even when we weren’t around. But, sometimes we forget our collective purpose and even direction. We forget why we chose each other and worse yet we forget that love takes effort…conscious effort.

If we don’t make a point of planning our collective road-trip we run the risk of glancing over into other more desirable lanes. Chevy Chase might have discovered Christie Brinkley in the movie “Vacation” while driving with his family cross country, but we all know who he ended up with in the end.

Images Appearing More Realistic in Your Mirror?

Don’t set a trap for your relationship out of pure fear. Ask the tough questions that will yield growth over time. I, personally, have had great results when I queried my partner on the mutual direction and satisfaction of our relationship and you can too.

If you scoff at this then maybe you already know the destination your relationship is headed for. A wise business man once told me that you never go into a deal unless you are prepared to lose or leave the deal.

Your relationship and its success depend on continued calibration and assessment. No successful relationship ever endured with an approach that celebrated ignorance.

We are all human and it IS Normal to have a change of heart, a change of direction and/or purpose. That doesn’t mean that our relationships have to suffer or end. Don’t be the couple that holds each other down out of fear.

Give each other a chance to drive the relationship and who knows…you might actually find your relationship accelerating in new and exciting ways.

Afraid to Ask for Directions?

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Dear Dr. Rod from Confused in California

Too Many Differences?

It is often said that opposites attract in the game of love. Others, who don’t side with Paula Abdul’s hit song from the early 90’s, believe that a perfect love connection derives from identical hobbies, morals, and values. I recently received a letter from a reader asking for advice on this very topic. Below you will find her question and my response. If you have a question you would like answered just send them to drrod@thenormalmale.com.

Confused in California:

“Hi Dr. Rod- First of all, let me tell you how much I have been enjoying your blog!  I’m a single woman in my early thirties and I recently started dating someone who is the polar opposite of me concerning religion and politics.  However, he is a kind person, treats me very well and we have an amazing time when we are together.  I am worried that our differences of opinion may cause issues down the line.  My previous relationship was very abusive, so while I appreciate being treated well this time around,  I know that shared values are important to me.  What should I do?”

-Confused in California

Dr. Rod:
Dear Confused in California,
I applaud your efforts to address these issues early on in courtship. Too often we rush to ride the roller-coaster without thinking about lunch afterwards. We fall victim to lust, novelty, and the chance to be and act like someone new and different. You are not alone in your dilemma. So many of us compare and contrast suitors to those from our past, our family’s wishes, and our social and work environments. Not only do we wonder if we can handle the difference(s), but we also wonder if those around us can.

To establish a firm foundation in love requires us to ask very personal questions of ourselves. Why this person? Why now? Will it work? What can I contribute to ensure long term success with this person? What personal patterns do I need to be aware of? What do I need at the present moment and what can I give?

Your ability to answer these questions will allow for appropriate reflection into the positive and negative patterns you have enlisted in previous relationships. Maybe through your discovery process you find that this man represents others from the past that were also desirable during similar life phases. Maybe he represents a challenge. Maybe he stirs your need for active and engaging conversation.

He may or may not represent any or all of these elements. Your truth will come from communicating your wants and needs, your deal breakers, and areas for consideration. For some, religion and politics represent the most crucial elements in determining relationship viability. The challenge becomes when or when not to address these differences. Do you address them now for sake of prudent responsibility or do you wait? Do you wait to see the level of religious/political practice and commitment? Remember that hoping for change is just that…hoping. You do not want to find yourself loathing the very idiosyncrasies you once found adorable.

Ask yourself this…Are you looking for comfortable? Can you respect others opinions without fear that yours will not be heard and/or counted? If you can say yes, then maybe it is worth pursuing. But, if you find yourself chalking the field with fears based on his viewpoints then all your doing is setting yourself up for a familiar outcome.

I will close with this…

“Who are you protecting if you leave now?”

And…

“What are you in fear of?”

Answer those honestly and you will have a better read on your life, as it currently stands, and the direction you want to take on your personal journey. You may find that your confusion lies within yourself and not with this gentleman.

Best Wishes!
Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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This reply should not replace therapeutic consult by a local professional and is intended for entertainment purposes.

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How Much is That Negligee in the Window?

Can I Help You?

We have all heard the tune from back yonder, “How Much is that Doggie in the Window” and been transposed to the days of our youth. Back when innocence prevailed or at least it did on T.V. and we lived a life of “purity.” That has come to a screeching halt…that of no surprise…to those of you reading today. We continue to be fascinated with those around us, the scandals they embroil themselves with, and the filthy gossip we bat around like a good ole fashion spat between Robin Givens and Mike Tyson. The dirtier, scarier, filthier it is…the better! Right?

Seeing others flail about is fun…right? Taking me away from my own reality feels like a gift from the Gods…right? Giving me pause, for entertainment purposes, is a way of giving back for the hard work and pain I have endured…right? Which brings me to a classic example of gawking that I just have to share…

The other night I was driving downtown Nashville with my fiance when we past the Hustler store (on of all streets, “Church Street”) when we noticed a gentlemen staring or should I say gawking through the plate-glass windows. As we sat at the red light, we both took notice at the level of commitment or should I say intensity with which this gentlemen peered into the candy store for adults. We both looked at each other and almost simultaneously said, “He looks Normal” as if to say he didn’t look like a stereotypical weirdo. Shocking no…surprising yes….

…and it got me thinking about this fascination with what is just beyond our reach. It also had me thinking about whether or not it was gender specific or driven by idiots. Was it something that only degenerates do or was this display of sultry desire a mere expression of hormones going askew? And, if gawking at negligees is Normal or accepted, what other ways do we ALL gawk at life and what assumptions do we lather onto the object of affection and/or disgust?

If men gawk does it turn women off? If women gawk do men feel mighty? Does it lessen one and uplift the other? Is it different if you are single and are “gawked” at? Does it sometimes feel good to stop others in their tracks with what you have done or what you look like? And, are there different forms of gawking that are unacceptable, equal, and/or just different? Would we consider tabloid journalism gawking? If so, then are we all guilty of the sinful pleasure of gawking through a news rack?

Let's Talk About Wants Instead...Whadda Ya Say?

Which brings us to the most appropriate and timely example….that of Mr. Tiger Woods. Millions probably watched Tiger’s apology today and formed immediate opinions. Many have been fascinated to gawk, I mean watch, the unraveling of an American icon. Now for many of you, this is an example of entertainment—not gawking. For some of you, like writers in the Golf world, boycotting is the approach of the day and for others it is mere water cooler talk.

Watcher or Gawker of Tiger's Press Conference?

Either way it presents as a perfect example for us to consider. Why is it that others successes and failures are far more entertaining and interesting than our own lives? Why do we get significant pleasure in the unattainable? Why do we want to bear witness (my apologizes to Lebron James) to salacious, scandalous, and murderous activities?

I must admit that I am the first to gawk at death on a Saturday night or two when I watch 48 Hours Mystery. I will say out loud that I am ready to, “…see dead people.” I say it with pleasure for entertainment and for my (I know I am not alone in this) desire to test out my detective skills.

Witness the NEXT Michael Jordan

I am not proud of my “gawking” and I want to continue to understand it. I think we would all do ourselves a favor by asking what it is that we gawk at and what are we truly going after. What lessons are we teaching our kids? How will they know when to intervene or will they just practice group-think and gawk with others when someone is in need?

Just recently a young girl was beaten in front of security personnel in Seattle and received no assistance or protection. Why did gawkers not turn into helpers?

Gawking can begin innocently. Gawking can merely be wishful thinking. The problem is that it sets the stage for an overall approach to life…One that places us on the sidelines of life assuming and placing judgment on people and circumstances outside of our purview and probably pay grade. Think about what you are gawking at and think even harder about the respect you are displaying to yourself and the younger generation looking for acceptable role models.

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Who Likes Angry, Sad, Crying Men?

Do Women Really Want More Complex Men?

Sometimes…and I am going to be completely honest here…I feel like men, Normal and abnormal, can’t win for tryin. I will admit that last night I turned on American Idol to see who had made it into the top 24. Beyond the cackles and snickers that the show has been known to garner…this was a very big deal for the participants. They are going after a dream and laying it on the line for all to see…

…and of course emotions became the Special Guest appearing alongside the contestants, their supporters, and the judges. So…why is it that when I turned on the radio this morning this first thing I heard about was the “unmanly” display of emotions from the male contestants?

Shouldn’t a young man who wants something so bad feel safe enough to express emotions that have never been owned, outright, by females…but rather the human race? Shouldn’t a male of any age be able to share his emotions as they happen when they are appropriate for the situation?

I say YES! I applaud all of the contestants for handling themselves with more dignity and honesty than the pundits who find joy in raking them over the coals the morning after. We have seen this before. We have seen this with athletes who have won or lost a big game…with actors who have won the coveted Oscar. This should not be considered a revelation. There should not be even a trace of sarcasm.

So the question then needs to be asked of women…

“Do women really want men who are emotionally complex and Normal or men who display emotion with hand signals and grunts?”

It really is that simple. I will say it again…it really is that simple. Why do I say this? Well, because men are trained early on that the gender holding the carrot and the one chasing the carrot are set in stone. We chase the carrot of your affection even if we do so like a drunken monkey at times. We will swing through the trees of life in pursuit and, in most cases, abide by your “rules” of engagement. Those men who scoff and wait for women to come to them are lonely gents who are probably still living in their parent’s basement playing video games!

Take Heed Little Man For the Emotional Police are a Comin

We, men, play a significant role in determining appropriate emotional expressions. Those men who want to provide a better experience of life for ourselves and the next generation of males understand the gravity of the situation. It is those that think I am being trivial that disturb me. How many little boys heard the DJ belittle the Idol’s who were crying and thought, “Wait a minute…when I didn’t make the soccer team I was upset…did I do something wrong?” Further, how many caregivers heard the same message over the radio and said nothing but laugh. Never forget that we often say more with what we don’t say than with what we say. All children listen and take notes…we are just foolish enough to think they don’t.

It can be very easy to laugh at the stereotypical man and the ridiculous and detrimental manner with which he responds to life. It makes for “funny” sitcoms and reality shows. Who doesn’t like to say, “Yup, another dumb man!” What we should be doing, though, is thinking ahead…for the long-term implications. How will my son, my brother, my neighbor, my cousin feel about himself and how will he even know how to express himself?

Could Global Warming Actually Help Man-Kind?

The answers to these questions become quite important for future romantic relationships. There will be days, ladies, when your partner responds like a caveman and you will say, “If only I had married a man!” And, there will be times when he cries in your arms and you say, “If only I had married a man!”

We need assistance from you. Other men won’t agree with me out of some unfounded fear that they will appear weak. Other men…Normal Males…will agree, let down their ego and proceed with needed negotiations. We want to feel safe enough that if we want to display emotion—it will be received in a loving and safe environment. We promise to embrace this New World and we will put the time into understanding our fears and how to better express them. We just ask that you, too, think about this New World where men share feelings, both good and bad, and include you in their thought processes. It would help us immensely if you thought about how this new, relaxed version of ourselves would impact you—how you experience the world, where you will turn your frustrations now that we are open communicators, and if you truly understand the systematic changes that will occur.

So many of us wish for the greener pasture…for that green grass just outside of our reach yet fail to comprehend that if you actually land on the greener pasture, you actually have to mow it, tend to it, and water it on a regular basis just like the patch of grass you stand on today. Never underestimate the impact positive change in one area can have on another. If men actually take this seriously…women might find themselves in some uncomfortable situations very soon. It might feel odd at first to see your husband expressing emotion, discussing his feelings and asking about yours—you might even think that he was abducted by aliens…but give him a chance and give yourself a chance. You might find that winning the emotional jackpot is worth it to you, your marriage, and your kids.

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Do Women Want a Father or a Man for a Spouse?

Marry Me?

We have all heard the wives tale that women like the bad boy or the rebel. We have all gone through the the riggers of middle school/junior high where the skater was the hip and cool guy often leaving the nice guys to finish last. But just like a prevailing wind stirs up dust and debris…women discover that once the dust settles what they really want in a man is someone who resembles a caretaker more than a rebel.

This of course may cause some of my female readers to scoff or even curse my name…you wouldn’t be the first ;)…but this is a reality that permeates a great number of marriages. Many women want to marry someone safe…someone like their father. The challenges to this scenario are obvious yet quite elusive to cure.

How is it that a woman can look at her husband and desire him sexually if she sees her father? How can a woman reconcile the fact that she not only despises her associations to dad, but knows that she has been a significant contributor to the problem?

Does Father Know Best in Marriage?

One could argue that we are truly battling ingrained evolutionary commodities. For thousands of years our genders have had pretty basic roles for the successful continuation of our species. Men hunt and protect…women bear and raise children. Others could take that premise and add a dose of social norms and practices to demonstrate the evolution of expected roles and responsibilities.

Did Father really Know Best or are we all experiencing self-inflicted wounds? We think battling debt collectors is tough…how about battling the entirety of a species groomed for procreation and protection from villains? I guess if extinction were our goal then we might all approach marriage like Liz Taylor. But, we don’t and so we look for men who will excite us during the initial chapters, console in the middle, and protect throughout the duration of our life’s story. Quite a lot to juggle. Quite a lot to comprehend on a random Friday night when he wants to be intimate and all you can think about is how long it has been since he took out the recycling.

Nobody teaches, men or women, that love evolves just like our greater species does. That love blossoms into appreciation and back to love like a fantastic yo-yo trick. We wish we knew how to manipulate love to coincide with our moods, dreams, desires, and fears…but that is the beauty of love and why we KNOW it when we feel it. Thus the challenge is to better prepare ourselves for the curves ahead even if the road may be winding to an unknown location. What we don’t want is to come to a pass where we are lost for words, pay attention to mundane things not related to love, and forget the reasons we found our spouse so exciting and sexy during the courting phase.

“I feel like my husband is my father more than he is my best friend.”

her confessions Her Magazine Nashville February 2010

Her Magazine February 2010

It can become quite sad…quite fast when a marriage has reached the fatherly-friendship phase. A phase marked by rigidity and ingrained roles that suit neither party. The woman and the man are unhappy yet feel torn. A man, for instance, likes the feeling of responsibility and safety he provides his family. He gains great satisfaction from knowing what is right and wrong. He relished the times when his opinion is sought over all others. That is how he was raised…either by a real, in the home father or by movies and t.v. There can be a great sense of pride for a man who knows he provides his wife and children such protection.

Normal Males do not want to feel alone or isolated as the Grand Pubah all of the time. They want to feel the great duality of humanity…that they can be the protector and recipient of protection and guidance too. Normal Males want their wives to feel safe, sexy, and secure. And thus we struggle to understand the delicate balance between knowing everything (which we do not but act like we do or should) and seeking the arms of our partners…making us a lot like you. Just as much as some women want to be married to a father figure…men too want to be married to a mother figure.

A Mother's Love...A Woman's Touch

And, so goes the pendulum…swinging back-and-forth between controlling…I mean parenting our spouse and loving and desiring our spouse. Both genders are guilty and maybe men are to blame even more because there are currently so few good men representing fathers and husbands. I would imagine women feel like we push them to mother us because we play dumb so often.

It truly speaks to the notion that we are what we are when we enter marriage with another human being. We are that lonely child wondering where dad is. We are that young person that desperately wants guidance from the parent of the other gender only to be disappointed with every missed visitation. We are that scorned lover who went bad only to miss the caress of a protector.

We are all of these things and more, and our challenge as men and women is to understand the ebb and flow of romantic love, know that it won’t cure the ills of a lost or jaded rearing, and that you too will change your wants and needs throughout your marital union.

After a series of setbacks myself, I am of the mindset that we, adults, can actually learn a thing or two from our younger generations. You see…when we all were experiencing the great rush of hormones we selected mates on attributes that excited and thrilled us. As we got older we begin to select mates out of a need to complete a Checklist. We did so after seeing our own caretakers and assumed that that was what love and marriage were all about–becoming friends whose greatest affection came after work and before dinner with a symbolic peck on the cheek.

We forgot that love symbolizes living. That to select a mate means that we are compatible on a number of levels…not just lust and not just protection. Nobody wants to be pegged as someone’s parental savior…you don’t want that for yourself because you will be forever disappointed…and you don’t want that for your partner because the only love you will get will be on February 14th in the form of a, “I couldn’t have written it better” card.

If you are married currently…communicate with your spouse the challenges of your wants and needs and I bet you will get a sigh of relief in return…because they are experiencing the same Normal feelings as you.

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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How Bad Are The Choices for Women? Looking for a decent guy can be difficult these days

Having Difficulty Finding a REAL Normal Man?

Yes…it is true. We have come to a place where inflatable men are now inhabiting my blog like a gnome pushing travel deals on television. I am not proud…nor giddy. What I am is perplexed. You see, I was recently speaking with a female colleague who shared how hard it has been to find a “decent guy.” I figured why don’t I take a look into this issue since we have all been discussing what men and women want.

I can look around and see for myself that the quality members of my gender are few and far between. I am beginning to think that the Normal Males in our world are actually a secret society whose mantra is,

“Keep the dumb men in the public eye and there will be more opportunity for us!”

This group, of which I am waiting for my membership card, resides in the shadows of our communities. Comes out in spurts and pounces on opportunities to trump the stereotypical meat head, hick, beer guzzling, proponent of continued male “domination” guy that proliferates our airwaves, television sets, and fast food joints. Yes, the Normal Males of the world understand that the bar has been set quite low and the daily struggle is to avoid complacency. It can be very easy to look and sound better than the average bear. You might even say that Normal Males can do it half asleep. So what is the problem? Why could this be bad for the evolved male? Well, it is quite simple…there are more of them then there are of us!! Our numbers our dwindling faster than Teabagger Sarah Palin’s credibility on FOX. We are losing out to a legion of men dedicated to colonial days and chew. We are quickly becoming a collective gender that skips out of college, grooming, care for others, and dynamic and flexible personalities.

We are the poster children for “Have it Your Way!”

Poor Dumb Men...

If you don’t believe me you should read The New Math on Campus story from the New York Times. Women are looking for us in earnest and coming up donuts. They cannot catch a break and the danger for the Normal Males is that when there is an actual siting…we tend to scare women off because they think that we just might be too good to be true, a farce, a con, when in fact we are decent men.

We are not perfect. We are not completely evolved for this century…just yet. We still find ourselves slipping up (Dating Games Men Play article) and maybe that is because we are so used to being clumped together with the out-of-date man y’all think is Normal.

We understand that you are looking for your soul mates. We are too! We want to love and care for you. We want to grow old and discover new and wonderful things about each other. We understand that we struggle in marketing our message. We absolutely need to improve our elevator pitch and we need to be more proactive in letting you know that we are the way we are because we care about ourselves first and ourselves in relationship second.

Please do not take this openness as bravado or ignorance. We have watched Oprah and HGTV all the while taking mental notes for future uses that will excite and surprise you. We are working hard to recruit other Normal Males who will vouch for us. We understand that you will judge us on the friends we keep and believe me we are cleaning house. We understand that the responsibility falls on us to inform the coming generations of boys. We want them believing in a world that has depth, conversation, good wine, football, and the arts.

Evolved and Muscular 🙂

What we need, to increase your odds and our population, is a little publicity from all of the kind and wonderful women reading this post today. Applaud the men that demonstrate multiple facets of gender evolution (i.e. good hygiene, care for others, good conversationalists and listeners etc.) and please support us when we exercise our natural tendencies to be and act like a man (i.e. watch sports while wearing shirts with holes, occasional belching, and odd emanating odors).

We promise to clean up, act up, and be the kind of man that makes us both proud. And, when you catch us staring into a mirror just know that we want to look good for you and more importantly for ourselves and our health.

Now if that darn mail carrier could just hurry up and bring me my membership card!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Filed under Boys, Divorce, Dumb Men, Fathers, Good Men, Males, Marriage, men, Mothers, Relationships, women, Work

What Women AND Men Want!

How Far Do We Have To Go For The Right Partner?

Would you consider yourself a space traveler? How about a caveman or better yet a beer guzzling, in career transition, Homer Simpson-type that thinks women are supposed to fall at your feet? Are you a woman who has believed since birth that you are the Queen of Small-Town U.S.A. just waiting for others to notice? Have you screwed up past relationships? Have you promised your love and then shattered it within a day or two? Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I love you” to someone only to be followed with, “Oh s&*%” in your head? If you have then I want to officially welcome you to the human race. We are a unique species that you will find wonderment in. You will be astounded by our hypocrisy to each other and even ourselves. You will probably be blown away at how little we actually communicate to each other and how ridiculously in love we are with numero uno–ourselves!

Trying to answer the question as to What Women Want in a Man and even further the question of mixed or complex messages has been quite daunting for this author. I have received Top-10 lists, stories, emails, comments, retweets, short stories and even hypothetical transcripts depicting various male-female exchanges.

I have been told about parenthood, marriage late in life, and guys who try to pick up single moms and expect sexual intimacy after one date. You name it…The Normal Male has heard it. And, it has been through back-n-forth commentary with my readers that I have found something…something so simple that it could be considered devastatingly complex…maybe all of the back and forth between and within genders can be and should be traced back through the evolution of our species.

Please Help...Mork? Mindy?

Stay with me…there has to be a reason why males inherently want to be real-time, in the moment fixers. I mean let’s get real here…if we are so good and adept at solving problems why is it that we can’t see that not only do we not fix the problem at hand we actually exacerbate them? Why is it that for all of the women who say they want a sensitive and caring man they turn around and want to be “taken” during intimate moments? It is like we, as we are constituted today, are fighting ourselves and better yet our ancestors for a war we don’t even know exists. We are so wishy washy that if we had visitors from another planet they wouldn’t know where to begin…I am not even sure Mork & Mindy could figure it out!

Just a few months ago a survey was done that found women would like men to do more body hair grooming. So ladies, what you’re saying is that you can put up with a lot from men, but back hair has been present for far too long? Sounds silly and even a bit goofy, but if we are realistic about the litany of requests, obsessions, and compulsions we have about the other sex we would find that we are confused not only by their behavior, but in fact our own.

Need a Shave?

It can make one wonder if we are going through a change as we speak…Natural Selection?

I do not want to turn this into an Evolution versus Creationism debate…rather to note the obvious complexities in an area we all so desperately want to figure out.

Nobody wants to go through a divorce, be a single parent struggling to provide for their children, or be known as a serial-dater and/or scared of commitment. Do we? Maybe we do. Maybe we should stop trying to fight love and just surrender. Many of us have wondered, a time or two, if a good relationship and marriage are even attainable. Are we just playing the lotto or any scratch game hoping for the big win? You can’t tell me that marriage is left or should be left to chance…are you?

Some have shared with me this week that marriage should never end and people should and have to work at it. Others…disgruntled and well they should because they have experienced heartache, abuse, shattered dreams, and countless debt to their banks and families for the empty promises and countless discussions that are long past due. Many of us feel like we should be “paid up” for all of the misinformation, broken promises, and trips to nowhere we have stumbled through. We want someone else to pay and in the order of our choosing.

We often say that we want to punish those that have emotionally scarred us, but really what we do is punish the newbie in our lives for others past transgressions.

Where's My Southern Love Story?

Why? Because they are a warm body and we have to have someone pay for hurting us. We expected the Disney story, the Notebook ending, or at the very least a working phone number the night after a “what did I just do?” And, it is that flicker of hope that keeps us going. Keeps us looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right when all we see in front of us is “Oh No!”

We feel like we are in space sometimes and can sometimes be left to look to the stars for answers because we are lost and not in love. We treat the thought of love and marriage like something out of a science fiction flick that we can never quite put our finger on…but we get a feeling we know. It is the allure of love and marriage that keeps us looking for and expecting unearthly skills from the opposite gender on the off chance we become everything we aspire to be. This way we will have the perfect someone for our perfect-ness. It is ridiculous, but sadly true. Even Elaine from Seinfeld shared the prophecy when she predicted that her doctor-bound boyfriend would leave her after getting licensed. I mean if we can’t take our cue from the Seinfeld gang then I don’t know where to turn.

All kidding aside, marriage and love are meant to be elusive so that when we accidentally discover it…well we are blown away. And, once we have found it we take a chance…we each take a chance because to say otherwise would be self-proclamation of a higher order…one I don’t think any of us can be making. Chance? Yes!

Taking a Chance on Love?

Once found, though, we can’t leave success to chance. Success in a marriage for both parties requires significant reflection, insight, down-right work, and a slice of humble pie when all you want is a retribution sandwich.

Please continue to send your thoughts and comments as I will work to compile and share your experiences in a thoughtful and hopefully meaningful way. Wishing you all the best in love and marriage!

Dr. Rod

Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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