Understanding The Woman In Your Life

A man's guide to a happy relationship

Steve Vinay Gunther

© Lifeworks Publications

Sydney

for internet reading only

Quick Quiz

Instructions

In each row you have Column A and Column B.

In each row the scores of A + B add up to 10.

Put a score in both columns. For instance if A= 10, then B should = 0. If A=8, B=2. If A=4, B=6.

Don’t think about it too much: just put down your first response.

When you have completed all the boxes, go back and add up all the scores in column A. Note the number in the scoring box at the end (Total A).

Do the same with column B. Your Total Score is Total A – Total B.

You can then interpret your score with the help of the Scoring Guide on the last page.

Discuss the results with your partner.

 

quiz

A column

B column

Absolutes

I talk specifically about what bothers me.

 

I generalise a lot.

 

 

Oral sex

I can easily identify what I am feeling.

 

 It’s hard to recognise what I am feeling.

 

I express my feelings in personal ‘I’ language.

 

I express my feelings through blaming ‘you’ language.

 

I speak my limits.

 

I react when I feel overwhelmed.

 

I express my feelings without a silent demand.

 

I expect her to do something about it when I express a feeling.

 

 

Red and hot

I express my resentments in a straightforward, direct way.

 

I keep my resentments to myself.

 

I express my anger cleanly.

 

I express my anger through intim-idation, indirectness, or sulking.

 

 

Womens’ wisdom

I am good at listening to her opinions.

 

I find it hard to listen to her opinions.

 

I trust her intuition, and am willing to look for the grain of truth in it.

 

I don’t trust her intuition and prefer purely rational debate.

 

Aural sex

I can listen without giving advice.

 

I need to offer my solutions when I hear her problems.

 

I can listen to resentments without justifying or explaining.

 

I get defensive and don’t have much ability to listen to resentments.

 

I can say ‘I hear you are feeling....’ and leave it at that.

 

I don’t have much patience for feelings: if something is wrong, lets do something about it.

 

I use my skillful questions and intuition to decipher coded messages.

 

I try to understand her logically and get confused by coded messages.

 

 

Cry me a river

I make space for her tears, and deal with my discomfort.

 

I can’t stand her tears. Why can’t she just face things squarely, like me.

 

I show my vulnerability and pain to her at times.

 

I prefer to stay in the strong role – that’s how men are different than women.

 

 

The keys

I find out what are the keys she needs when she closes the door.

 

I remain in the dark as to what on earth to do when she closes the door.

 

 

A common language

I am willing to find a common language by going to a workshop or reading a book.

 

No way you will find me going to a workshop, with my partner, or without.

 

Who are you?

I have a clear idea of where my growing edges are.

 

I’m right Jack. Don’t tell me about what I need to change.

 

 

Therapy for success

I have a friend, mentor or therapist who challenges as well as supports me.

 

I don’t look for a personal challenge from anyone. It’s the people around me who need to change.

 

When things are difficult in my relationship I go to couples counseling. In fact, I go even when things aren’t so bad, for relationship enrichment.

 

No matter how hard things get, I won’t go see a couples therapist. I would rather wait until it’s too late rather than voluntarily see a therapist.

 

 

The blessing of criticism

I can listen to criticism non-defensively.

 

I get defensive when I hear criticism.

 

I attack behaviour, not the person.

 

I make personal attacks when I am being critical.

 

I offer my criticism in short pieces.

 

I save up my criticism and give it all at once.

 

I include my own feelings when criticising.

 

I make the criticism all about her.

 

I can take responsibility for my part in a problem. I am interested in finding out what that part is.

 

I am not willing to look at the possible substance in her criticism. I don’t really want to know.

 

 

 

Liberating questions

I ask open ended questions, and am interested in the answer.

 

I ask questions with the ‘right’ answer in mind.

 

 

The trap

I speak of my own defensiveness when she asks an aggressive question.

 

I answer her interrogations no matter how tense I feel.

 

I sidestep double bind questions.

 

I try to justify what I do, and end up feeling I lose no matter what I say.

 

 

Negotiation

I can stand my ground and raise issues which are important to me.

 

I tend to give ground for the sake of peace, or out of fear of her reaction.

 

I am willing to consider my partner’s point of view.

 

I tend to bluster and generally hold my point of view as the correct one.

 

I focus on one topic at a time.

 

I allow other topics to come into the discussion, so it gets very complex.

 

 

Appreciation

I frequently take a moment to appreciate my partner.

 

I think she should know that I appreciate her, I don’t need to tell her.

 

 

 

Taking seriously

I am willing to take her concerns seriously.

 

I dismiss her concerns. She’ll be right.

 

 

I deal with problems as they come up.

 

I try to put off or avoid dealing with problems.

 

I know when to take a step back when things are stuck.

 

I find myself repeating myself, going over old ground.

 

 

Tests

I am willing to make a sacrifice for her when it comes to the crunch.

 

I don’t think I should have to give up anything for the relationship.

 

If I can’t meet a challenge, I reach out for support.

 

If I can’t meet a challenge, I tend to give up.

 

If I fail a test, I notice, and work to heal the tear by taking responsibility.

 

Her disappointment is her problem. She will get over it.

 

 

Magic words

I tell her ‘I love you’ [exact words] at least 3 times a week.

 

I think she should be able to tell I love her from what I do and how I am with her.

 

 

Empowerment

If I feel disempowered, I do whatever it takes to move from that position.

 

I often feel disempowered and stuck in that place.

 

 

Peas in a pod

I recognise when I have had enough together time and step back to attend to my own needs.

 

I keep going along with my partner in order not to rock the boat.

 

 

Viva la difference

I notice differences and support myself to stay with what is right for me.

 

I need her to be similar to me, and feel threatened by her differences.

 

I recognise when I am emotionally fused, and look for a way to differentiate.

 

When we are stuck I blame it on her, and consider she is the one who needs to change.

 

When faced with a challenge to grow, I centre myself.

 

When I feel anxious about something in our relationship, I manipulate her so I can feel better.

 

When there is a disruption in our connection I support, soothe and nourish myself.

 

When things are disrupted between us I accommodate myself in order to reduce conflict.

 

I confront myself on what I need to change.

 

I focus on how I want her to be different.

 

 

The bitch

When she is moody I give her space .

 

I try to cheer her up when she is moody.

 

When she is moody I sidestep any swipes she makes.

 

I tend to react or try to justify myself when she moody.

 

 

Apologising

If I stuff up, I apologise.

 

I don’t like to apologise. If I have to, I do so reluctantly.

 

I make simple apologies.

 

I add justifications onto my apologies.

 

 

Expectations

I express my expectations upfront.

 

I think she should be able to know/meet my expectations without having to declare them.

 

I hold my expectations as strong preferences.

 

I hold my expectations as unbreakable universal rules.

 

I express my disappointment when my expectations are not met.

 

If she resists my expectations I do any of the following:

o      make her feel bad

o      try to talk her out of her resistance

o      throw a tantrum

o      collapse and sulk

 

 

Family of origin

I have some understanding of how my upbringing affects how I am with my partner.

 

I am not interested in the past, and don’t want to think about it much.

 

I am willing to look at my core beliefs and question whether they still fit for me.

 

I don’t want to reflect on my beliefs, I know what I think and that’s enough.

 

I initiate conversations about the ways our different situations while growing up affect us now.

 

I focus on what has happened since we met, and don’t think much about the influence of childhood.

 

In-Laws

I honour my previous family and its’ importance, and I give precedence to my current relationship.

 

I put my own family of origin first sometimes, or let her do that with hers.

 

I ask for affection directly.

 

I act wounded and seek affection indirectly.

 

The kid

I have some idea when I sink into my wounded child.

 

I tend to act from my wounded child unconsciously.

 

I ask for affection directly.

 

I act wounded and seek affection indirectly.

 

 

Patterns

I can recognise patterns, and am willing to try something really different.

 

I keep trying the same solution to the same problem, I just try it harder.

 

I am willing to look at my part in keeping a pattern stuck.

 

I focus on what she is doing to keep the pattern stuck.

 

 

The anxiety cycle

When I get anxious, I soothe myself.

 

When I get anxious, I try to control her.

 

 

Resistance

I notice my resistance and bring it into the open.

 

I go underground with my resistance.

 

 

Thinking in circles

I am willing to examine which of the faults I see in her are in fact also true for me.

 

I’m not willing to step out of my familiar identity. I know her faults & no way are they mine.

 

I look for the interconnection between something going wrong in the system and my role in the picture.

 

I tend to blame someone else for what goes wrong.

 

I look for multiple reasons for a problem.

 

I ask ‘why’, or ‘who is responsible’, and am satisfied with a single explanation.

 

Flexibility

I accept that she is going to be like the changing weather.

 

I insist that she be the same person she was yesterday, or the day before.

 

I use the regularity of her hormonal changes to predict what I need to do differently, and act accordingly.

 

I am surprised every month at how volatile she gets. Why can’t she just be more calm and reasonable, like me.

 

 

Not coping

When she is not coping I give her support .

 

When she is not coping I react (get hot) or pull away (get cold).

 

When I don’t cope I ask for support.

 

When I don’t cope I collapse, explode or run.

 

When we are both not coping I initiate seeking outside support.

 

When we are both not coping I resist support and get caught in our mutual pain.

 

 

Really losing it

If she is really down I am supportive and also set my limits.

 

If she is down I tend to either rescue her or tell her to pull her socks up.

 

If she is down, I see it as a symptom of both of us – it’s our problem.

 

If she is down I see it as entirely her problem.

 

 

Boundaries and limits

I am good at respecting boundaries and limits.

 

I tend to ignore boundaries, push past limits.

 

I am flexible.

 

I am rigid.

 

I practice my timing: sweeping her off her feet when she is in the mood, and stepping back when she is not.

 

I am rigid.

 

 

Projection

I am willing to look for the grain of truth in her projections, and own it.

 

I automatically refute her challenges or accusations – no way is there any truth in them.

 

I check out my beliefs about her thoughts, feelings or motivations.

 

I assume my perception is the truth.

 

 

Guess

I anticipate, intuit, guess, and use every means at my disposal to try to improve my ability to read her.

 

What the heck; if she wants something she will tell me.

 

Domestics

I negotiate the domestic duties.

 

I assume that she will do what I think she should do domestically.

 

I do my fair share of domestics.

 

I don’t do my fair share of domestics.

 

I am willing to learn new domestic skills from my partner.

 

I am not willing to learn new domestic skills.

 

I initiate conversations about domestic issues.

 

I leave it to her to initiate conversations about domestic issues.

 

I willingly take on some of the ‘yuk’ jobs.

 

Some jobs around the house I don’t want to know about.

 

 

Children

I take equal responsibility for my kids.

 

I consider the kids are my partner’s responsibility.

 

I spend time with my kids.

 

I don’t spend enough time with my kids.

 

 

Having Children

I’m willing to plan for kids and deal with my fears.

 

I am not going to have kids just because she wants them, I am not ready.

 

 


 

Work

I create a balance between work and relationship needs.

 

I put too much emphasis on my work needs.

 

I put work into the relationship.

 

I figure the relationship will fix itself, and doesn’t need to be worked on.

 

I deal with my avoidance of certain aspects of work.

 

I avoid work, or particular kinds of work.

 

 

Fun

I create time and space for fun with my partner.

 

I am serious too much of the time with my partner.

 

 

Money

I initiate discussion about values and priorities around money.

 

I argue about where to spend money and who spends it.

 

I notice and deal with my own extra consumption and spending.

 

I accuse her of wasting money.

 

I look at what difference money would make, and act on that in whatever ways I can, now.

 

If only I won the lotto, things would be okay.

 

 

 

Spirituality

I look into the larger questions of life, and explore answers.

 

I am not willing to look at anything spiritual.

 

I am open to my partner’s spiritual search.

 

I disapprove of or ridicule my partner’s spiritual interests.

 

I use my spiritual faith and practices to support me in the relationship.

 

My spirituality is a comforting theory rather than a living practice. I’ll get into it tomorrow, when I have time.

 

 

Giving space

I can give her space without being threatened by it.

 

I resist her need for space, and insist on closeness when I want it.

 

I balance my need for intimacy with my need for space.

 

I create distance when things get too intimate.

 

 

Give and take

I give to my partner in the ways that count for her.

 

I don’t give to my partner in the ways she asks for (indicated by her complaints).

 

 

Missing

I tell her when I miss her.

 

I don’t notice, or tell her, when I miss her .

 

 

 

Romance

I put effort into doing romantic things for her.

 

Romance is not important to me, or I couldn’t be bothered.

 

I do things to make her feel good, without rushing into sex.

 

As soon as she starts to soften, I try to move towards sex.

 

 

Chivalry

I make an effort to do considerate things for her.

 

She tends to be the one who is considerate, I am on the receiving end.

 

I do things for her without a ‘you owe me’ expectation.

 

When I do something for her, I expect the favour returned.

 

 

Sex

I am able to be in the moment, not worrying about shoulds, performance etc.

 

I get tense putting pressure on myself, or on her for a particular outcome.

 

I communicate about what works for me, and for her.

 

I consider myself a bit of an expert on sex, so why would I need to talk about it with her.

 

If there are difficulties, I look at what I can do to make a difference.

 

I am critical of her – she needs to do things differently to improve our sex life.

 

I find ways to be creative and unpredictable sexually, regularly.

 

I tend to follow a routine.

 

I know exactly what turns her on, and I do it.

 

I can never seem to get it quite right, and end up turning her off.

 

I find ways to experience intimacy, pleasure and touch at times other than sex.

 

My needs for intimacy, pleasure and touch are met mostly/only through sex.

 

Ten tips

I’m constantly learning and developing my skills, understanding, and sensitivity.

 

Sex – it’s basically about in and out.

 

 

The female body

I support her to deal with her body image and health, and don’t load any negativity on.

 

I tend to criticise or put pressure on her to look a certain way.

 

I accept her natural, healthy appearance with a peaceful mind.

 

I wish she was different.

 

I give her compliments regularly.

 

I am spare with my appreciation of her looks and dress.

 

 

Pairs and triangles

I am clear about whether I want monogamy or not.

 

I lean towards monogamy, unless I feel differently at the time.

 

I am monogamous because I choose to be.

 

I am monogamous because it’s the right thing to do.

 

I talk about issues of monogamy with my partner.

 

 It’s too difficult a subject and I get caught up in reactivity when discussing it.

 

I know where and how I tend to triangulate, and keep an eye on that as a danger zone.

 

Me, triangulate? No, I just like golf/football/booze/flirting with other women.

 

I am not willing to engage in deception – if I want to have an affair I will be upfront about it.

 

Some things are better left unsaid – what she doesn’t know doesn’t hurt her.

 

Fidelity

If my desire for other women starts increasing, I consider what is going on.

 

If my desire for other women starts increasing I just go with the flow.

 

I work to be contented with the whole package of my partner.

 

I often look longingly at younger women.

 

I know my own limits in flirting with other women.

 

I don’t like to put artificial limits on myself regarding other women.

 

I define clearly with my partner what fidelity means.

 

Fidelity means what I want it to mean at the time.

 

 

Jealousy

I acknowledge my insecurity.

 

When I get suspicious and jealous I start accusing and blaming.

 

I acknowledge my attraction to others, and reassure her of my commitment to her.

 

I deny my attraction to others.

 

I look for the grain of truth in jealousy: where is the relationship being weakened?.

 

I don’t see any valid place for jealousy.

 

If jealousy gets extreme, I address it through therapy.

 

If jealousy gets extreme, our fighting escalates.

 

I look into my own heart to determine whether my friendships with women are in balance, or not.

 

I see nothing wrong with having women friends, or being particularly good friends with a particular woman.

 

 

 

Ethics

I have my own clear code of ethics.

 

I have a general idea of my ethics, but couldn’t tell you exactly what they are.

 

I consider myself and consider others equally.

 

I’ll do whatever I damn well please.

 

I engage in ongoing reflection about what my ethics are.

 

I have my ethics from my upbringing, I don’t need to think further about them.

 

I am willing to be challenged on how my behaviour matches my values.

 

I don’t like to be challenged and react defensively.

 

I am willing to speak what’s true for me, even if I am afraid of the consequences.

 

I bend the truth when it suits me.

 

I am interested in ongoing dialogue about what is ethical.

 

I think my own ethics are the best, and like to tell others what they should do.

 

 

Real Friends

I treat my partner with the respect I treat friends.

 

I don’t always act as a friend towards my partner.

 

I develop a range of friendships.

 

I turn to my partner for all my friendship needs.

 

I can share deeper things with my male friends.

 

My male friendships tend to stay on the surface.

 

I am open to (and invite) challenge from my friends.

 

My friendships are mostly about having a good time.

 

 

Straight from the hip

I ask directly for what I want.

 

I indicate my wants indirectly, and expect my partner to know what I want.

 

Too much Substance

I am in control of my substance use.

 

I am not in control of my substance use.

 

If I am not in control of my substance use, I can admit it.

 

I am in control of my substance use as long as I don’t have to change it.

 

If substances start to use me, I am willing to do something effective about it.

 

I am not that worried by or willing to change my substance use, whatever its effects.

 

I am willing to listen to feedback about my substance use.

 

I get very defensive when challenged about my use of substances.

 

If I feel shaky I will seek other forms of support.

 

If I feel shaky, I am likely to get out of it with the help of something.

 

 

Commitment

I am willing to commit myself and be fully present in the relationship.

 

I am ambivalent and reluctant to really invest myself in the relationship.

 

If it gets difficult, I will hang in and find a way through.

 

If it gets too difficult, I am out of here.

 

I find ways to keep my commitments and stay fresh in the process.

 

My commitments end up feeling like obligations I resent.

 

I didn’t see it coming

I take the pulse of the health of my relationship and look to the future.

 

I assume things are basically okay and prefer not to think too much ahead.

 

I listen carefully when she shows or tells me things are not okay.

 

I don’t take her complaints that seriously.

 

I am willing to face our problems.

 

I find it hard to believe things will get so bad she will leave.

 

I am willing to seriously work on myself.

 

I’m okay Jack, she is the one that needs to change.

 

 

Nearing the end

When things are really hard I encourage myself not to give up.

 

When things get really bad I think there is no hope and want to give up.

 

I can clearly identify what I need to work on, and what I need her to do differently.

 

I can’t really understand what she wants.

 

I get support and challenge from friends and therapy for dealing with difficult things.

 

I keep my problems to myself; I don’t like to ask for help or admit how bad things are.

 

I take time out when things get exhausting.

 

I don’t feel secure about either of us taking time out.

 

When all our strategies don’t work, I look for something really creative and different.

 

If all our strategies don’t work, I figure it’s time to get out.

 

I am willing to examine my 100% contribution to the situation.

 

I think she should take at least 50% of the blame, if not more.

 

 

 

Feminism

I act respectfully towards my partner.

 

I believe I have a right to act as I want towards my partner, and if she doesn’t like it, that’s her problem.

 

I negotiate what I want with my partner.

 

I expect my partner to do as I want.

 

I respect other ways of thinking than pure logic and reason.

 

I feel less respect for my partner’s views when she doesn’t think logically.

 

I can accept her withdrawal as well as her giving.

 

If she won’t give me what I want, I get angry and pushy.

 

I am willing to be challenged and consider any ways I objectify women.

 

I don’t mind a bit of an ogle at women occasionally. I don’t see the harm in making lewd comments, especially if they are not in earshot. Anyway, some women feel flattered by wolf whistles.

 

I sweep her off her feet in the ways she likes and wants that. I am tuned in to when to share the leadership or step back.

 

I’m the man, so I should be in charge.

 

 

 

Fighting

I walk away when things get too hot, and wait until we are both cooled down before trying to discuss difficult issues.

 

I get caught up in the heat of the moment and engage in escalating arguments.

 

I find creative ways to vent my frustration rather than fighting.

 

My tension builds up until I explode and start a fight.

 

I ask what she is feeling when she is upset. I am willing to simply listen to her frustrations.

 

I talk about the issue rather than what is happening with her.

 

I am willing to drop my fixed views for a moment in order to see her way of looking at things.

 

I am right, damn it.

 

When dealing with differences, I stick to one topic at a time.

 

Either I or my partner throw in everything else vaguely related when we fight.

 

I don’t participate in generalising. I name specific gripes.

 

I generalise, make broad accusations when angry.

 

I never agree to discuss important issues when either of us is affected by drugs or alcohol.

 

Sometimes (often?) we discuss important topics when under the influence.

 

I initiate raising difficult topics rather than waiting for them to be brought up in conflict.

 

I wait until a fight to air my gripes.

 

 

 

Abuse

I don’t let myself be treated disrespectfully, and withdraw if necessary.

 

Even after getting stung, I keep staying there when it’s toxic for me.

 

I distinguish her anger from her treating me badly.

 

I can’t handle her getting angry at all. Why can’t she just speak to me calmly.

 

I use ‘I’ language rather than argue.

 

I try to defend myself when being attacked.

 

I can acknowledge the grain of truth and still stand up for myself.

 

I won’t admit to anything.

 

I remember to breathe deeply when things get tense.

 

I don’t even notice my breathing when things get tense.

 

 

Around and around

I ask for what I want from my partner 100% of the time, knowing I won’t always get it.

 

I tend not to ask for what I want, and end up resentful.

 

I offer support but don’t do it for her.

 

I often feel guilty or sorry for her, and end up rescuing her.

 

I know how I can end up forcing my way, and work towards negotiation instead.

 

Me force my way? No never! Anyway, if she doesn’t like what she gets, she can always speak up.

 

I don’t choose to stay the ‘innocent’ victim, nor do I stay stuck with the ‘guilty’ role.

 

I seem to end up always being the guilty party. Or else I am often the innocent one, the victim.

 

 

 

Responsibility

I cooperatively decide with my partner on who is responsible for what in our relationship.

 

I assume responsibility for certain areas and assume she is responsible for other areas without really checking it out.

 

I adopt an attitude of responsibility for the choices I make. I accept there may be consequences which I can’t always control and I don’t always want.

 

If something goes wrong, I tend to blame others and feel hard done by and bitter.

 

 

Men’s groups

I am willing to try out a men’s group to see if it’s for me.

 

I am used to hanging out down the pub, why should I consider anything else?

 

 

The vision

I look ahead at the kind of relationship I want, and talk about it with my partner.

 

I ‘go along with the flow’, take what comes, and tend to let her think about the bigger picture.

 

Total Column A

 

Total Column B

 

 

Total Score = Column A– Column B

 



 

1250+

0

You are God’s gift to your partner. You have a great relationship, can handle most of what comes up quite well. She thinks you are the greatest. If this doesn’t quite sound like you, check some of your answers.

Your strengths are qualified by a serious need to change your ways. Consider some dramatic efforts to stop sinking into mediocrity.

1000+

-250

Yeah, you’re doing well. Pat yourself on the back but don’t get complacent. See if she agrees with your self evaluation.

Not looking good here. If she keeps staying with you, its pure luck, and that’s going to run out some time. Don’t wait.

750+

-500

Not bad, but look into the areas you need to develop in. Why settle for less?

You need some serious support to change your ways. Be prepared for a lot of challenge and serious personal work.It will be worth the effort in the end.

500+

-750

Still on the up, but a few leaks here and there...deal with them before they get bigger. Be proactive, don’t wait till things start going downhill.

You’ve read the book, now start to apply it; you don’t have any room to move other than up. …and you’d better get cracking!

250+

-1000

Getting down to the wire. Quite a bit of attention needed to some major areas of your relationship.

Congratulations on reading this far. It is going to take a number of years to turn your boat around. Either that or keep hitting the rocks.