Home security is certainly an important topic, but home security companies seem to spend most of their advertising dollars targeting women. Women who live alone are particularly vulnerable, and are the fastest growing segment of the home security market.
Few guys would ever admit to being intimidated by another man. A man likes to think of himself as a "real man", a "man's man", a "Viking" who is master of his domain. Men are conditioned to be strong, fearless providers and protectors. They are wild bucks, kings of the jungle, and conquering Caesars who back down to no one, until finding themselves in the presence of the dreaded ex-boyfriend.
Men are uncomfortable with the thought that the chastity of their love has already been violated. They may push the thought aside, or accept it as a reality of life, but they would rather not ever be faced with it. A man may be confidently self assured of his place in a woman's life in front of men with whom she has no interest, but just the thought of her being with a flame from her past can make him doubt his relationship.
Why are men so intimidated by ex-boyfriends? Why is it that the testosterone kicks in with just the mention of a name? One reason is because a guy realizes that there will always be someone else who was special to his woman. He may be a girl's first "real love", but he could never be her first love. Regardless of how secure he may be in his relationship, he always knows that the "ex" had her heart before him. Most men want to see themselves as the only man to truly rock a woman's world.
There will also be the question of what feelings remain between a woman and her "ex". And some women can cast further doubt with statements like, "I still care for him, but I am no longer in love with him", or "He's in my past, I'm with you now". Though reassuring and momentarily comforting, those comments do not erase all of a man's doubts. As much as he may try to convince himself, there is always the thought that she may still care for her former boyfriend more than she admits.
There are other reasons why a man may feel threatened by a woman's past. Men can be territorial, egotistical, and internally emotional. If a woman frequently references a previous boyfriend, or maintains some level of close friendship with him, then a man may feel that his territorial rights have been violated, and his ego turns that into a "respect" issue. He may express his feelings through rational dialogue, but deep inside, he is emotionally crushed.
Some women use their relationship with their "ex" as an item of negotiation. They dangle their association as if she could always go back. For some it's a game, but for others, it becomes a serious threat when things are not going their way in the relationship. It is a form of manipulation that may keep a man forever wary. Men often want to create fond memories in a relationship, but they never want to compete with them.
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect mate. Physical appearance and personality traits define the initial attraction, but most people enter relationships with partners who fall short of being ideal. Communication and compromise helps overcome differences during the early stages of romance, but at some point, one person in the relationship will expect to see long term change in the person they grow to love.
Few couples fall in love and find that they are the perfect match. Most learn to accept each other as the persons that they are. They fall in love with their partners despite the differences, and often accept those differences as a part of the unique qualities that shape them as individuals.
People have different reasons for wanting to change the person they love. Some focus on encouraging the elimination of bad habits, such as smoking or the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. They may suggest exercise or weight loss programs if they feel their partner could be healthier, or improved hygiene and housekeeping habits if those are areas of concern.
People sometimes want their partners to change because they have experienced change themselves. Those who have recently achieved educational goals may place higher expectations their mates. If one person has broadened their circle of friends or increased their social activities, then they may push for their partner to do the same.
Some couples go through changes together. They embrace growth as a couple, and often find that facing challenges together is easier than going through things alone. They will engage in new or different activities, such as committing themselves to church, or taking ballroom dance classes, and find that pursuing such change together helps them to grow closer together as a couple.
Change is not as easy for some as it is for others. People develop their own process for implementing change, but they must usually be motivated to do so. The greater the motivation, the more likely that change will take place, but the decision to take action is strictly in the hands of that individual.
The bottom line is that most people implement change in their lives on their own terms, and pushing them does more to push them away than lead towards the desired results. Gentle encouragement works better than a nagging, although a good shove might be necessary every now and then.
Sharon spent two years observing as her husband's emotions drifted farther away. Like a developing cancer, she noticed the early warning signs. Late nights at the office became more frequent, as did the unavoidable business trips. When not at the office or traveling, he needed more time to unwind, more boys' nights out, more work related lunches and dinners, and basically, more time away from her.
Soon she began noticing strange charges on the credit card bills, the scent of another woman's perfume on his clothes, and secretive "work related" calls that came at odd hours. She tried everything to regain his interest. Working out at the gym, sexy lingerie, candlelight dinners, but nothing seemed to work. It took a while for her to admit it to herself, but she was still unable to get him to confess that he was having an extramarital affair.
He was a good father to their two boys when was around, always ready to play catch or toss the football. And he frequently brought her flowers and gifts back from his trips, in the beginning. Now, he just complains about he tired he is, and shows little interest in initiating sex, unlike the first four years of their marriage when he couldn't keep his hands off of her.
Then one day she met the nicest guy while working out. He was pleasant with a great personality, easy to talk to, and complimented her efforts in the gym. She found herself making it a point to get to the gym when she knew he would be there. She enjoyed his company, and his attention, and by the time he invited her out for coffee at a nearby Starbucks, she had already made up her mind that she was going to have an affair.
A Growing Trend in Extramarital Affairs
Sharon is not unusual. Infidelity is no longer just a man's dirty little secret. Women have now gained equal standing in their marriages, and are proving that it is no longer business as usual when it comes to extramarital affairs. Men have long been known to be less faithful in marriages than women, but women have quickly made up for lost time by exploring new emotional opportunities outside of their marriages.
Recent statistics indicate that more and more married women are having affairs. Some researchers believe that between 45 and 65 percent of married women have participated in some level of infidelity during some point in their marriages. The numbers are misguiding because fewer women admit to affairs than men, but it's no doubt that women's views about cheating have changed over the past 50 years.
Why Women Are Cheating
There is never a legitimate reason for married couples to be unfaithful in their relationships. But where men seem to commit adultery more out of available opportunity and curiosity, women tend to blame abuse, emotional abandonment, and believe it or not, revenge for their extramarital encounters.
In her book, "Undressing Infidelity: Why More Women Are Cheating", Diane Shader Smith interviewed 150 female adulterers to find out what made them abandon their marital vows to enter into relationships outside of their marriages. She found that the actual reasons for cheating were as varied as the women interviewed, but that most were actually looking for something that their marriages didn't provide.
Who Are Women Cheating With?
Smith found that some women were in search of greater self esteem, some were in search of more passionate relationships, some women simply enjoyed the excitement of risk, while some women cheated because they became emotionally attached to men outside of their marriage. What is most interesting is that the women ranged from corporate executives, to a Midwestern school teacher, making it difficult to develop a preconceived idea about who might, or who might not cheat.
Women appear to be more particular about who they cheat with than men. Most women feel that they have to develop a comfort level with a man before committing to him sexually. For women, infidelity is less likely to be about a one night stand. Women prefer instead to have an emotional encounter. But while some women cheat with men who have similar characteristics as their husbands, most women gravitate towards someone completely different.
For many women, cheating leads to the fulfillment of a fantasy. They seek out men who provide an escape from the reality of their day-to-day lives. Cheating allows exploration in areas that may be taboo in their relationships with their husbands, but perfectly allowable in their extramarital relationships. They explore sexual variety, spontaneity, intensity, and even risk in fulfilling the curiosity of their affairs.
But cheating is never the solution to marital problems. It causes more feelings of guilt and anxiety in women than it does in men, and though statistics show that women are less likely to be caught cheating, they are just as likely as men to admit an affair when confronted. Extramarital affairs always have repercussions, and the fallout can be greater for women than it is for men.
I've found that there is an art to communicating with women that few men understand. Men become complacent in maintaining active and interactive conversations only months after lingering on a woman's every word. Women, on the other hand, never forget that it was his initial interest in her every word that first gained her attention.
Communicating with women is different than communicating with men, but mostly because their interests are different. While women are satisfied just knowing the final score of the biggest game of the year, men like to know individual statistics and details. But when women want to explain every detail of a successful shopping experience, men only care about the cost.
Listening is still the key. Effective communication is not a matter of sharing interest in the same passions, but being passionate enough to care about what the other person shares. Women often complain that men stop listening. Active listening involves interaction and participation. Asking questions, repeating key points, eye contact, and even sharing opinions shows that issues important to her also matter to you.
Men interested in improving their level of communication with women should remember a few points.
1. Communicate with her as if it's a first date. Ask questions, and then listen to the answers. Be sincere in your evaluations or input, and speak to her as if you care about her feelings. A good conversation format to follow is to compliment, ask questions, listen to her responses, and then compliment again.
2. Think of a conversation with a woman like ballroom dancing. Women want a man to lead, without being demanding. Flow with the rhythm of the conversation. Maintain balance, both in objectivity and judgment. And staying centered, never leaning too far to the right or the left of her point of view. Remember, you're only there to compliment her. She's the center of attention.
3. Communicating with women takes greater patience and understanding. Not because they speak or hear things any differently than men, but because they are thorough and want a complete understanding of the subject matter. Women respond to emotional stimuli, interpreting pitch, tone, voice inflection, and even information in a different manner than most men.
There are also rules of engagement which should never be ignored throughout the communication process.
These are basic dos and don'ts that make interacting with women easier.
-Control the conversation, but not the woman. Women like for men to be in charge, but they do not like being told what to do.
-Suggest, but never imply. Women can take suggestions, but hate implications.
-Respect her opinion. Even if you disagree with her, she has the right to express what she feels.
-Compliment her. This was mentioned before, but it bears repeating. Flattery gets you everywhere.
-Tell her she's wrong. A woman is never wrong unless she's says she is.
-Initiate an argument. It's a no-win battle.
-Read her the riot act. This initiates an argument.
-Speak down to her. She's on a pedestal. You have to look up to her.
Does age really matter in a relationship, or is age more of a factor when it comes to love and compatibility? The history of relationships reveals that age matters little in establishing male and female liaisons. Older men have long been romantically linked to younger women, and in some cultures, that tradition holds true to this day. But the topic of age has become more prominent over the past few years, with the biggest twist being that older women are now openly dating younger men, and younger men are becoming more attracted to the wiser and more established older woman.
Dirty Old Men and Gold diggers have existed since the accumulation of wealth created the perception of power for men, and a life potentially free from financial need for women. Now, many of those same women, after years of involvement with men who could not or did not satisfy them emotionally, have taken matters into their own hands. Armed with an equal level of power and social status, either attained or self made, older women now establish relationships on their terms with little regard for age.
Based on these current trends, age does not matter when it comes to two consenting adults making a conscious decision to be together, regardless of the reasons why. Even in relationships where both individuals have motives other than love, their presence in each other's lives serves whatever purposes that they've attached to them.
But age does matter in a relationship to some degree. Not the physical age which is counted in years and has little relevance to whether two people can be happy, but the emotional age, which either widens or lessens the gap in long term compatibility. Emotional age is a much better determinate of whether two individuals separated by years, have enough in common to enjoy each other, explore each other, and grow with each other.
Everyone has an idea of what they want in the person with whom they share a relationship, but the reality is that people often settle for far less than what they had in mind. Relationship decisions are now made as much for convenience and security, as they are for love and a fairy tale ending. With more than 50% of marriages in the United States ending in divorce anyway, are people so wrong in making the decision to enter into relationships based on satisfying personal wants and needs?
The bottom line is that if two people like each other enough to enter into a relationship, regardless of any age differences, then few outside interferences will deter their decision. And the reality is that they have every right to do so, despite their reasons.
Who knows, they may just fall in love and live happily ever after.
Relationships offer a wealth of learning opportunities which prepares us for future life experiences. They provide us with real world training in how to better interact, nurture, grow, and flourish as we engage other people in our life's path. Learning from relationships is essential to our own personal growth and development, and in determining the quality of our relationships as we mature.
Every interpersonal interaction establishes some type of relationship, and there is something to be gained from each. Whether personal or professional, family or friend, emotional or platonic, or good or bad, we learn what we like or dislike about each relationship experience. As we change through the growth process, so do our relationships, as does the value that we place on them.
Every relationship has a purpose. Though the purposes will differ from one relationship to another, each relationship is valuable in the overall scheme of our journey through life. We place values on our relationships based on their importance to us at any given time. Our relationship with a banker becomes more important when we depend on his approval for the mortgage on our first home. Just as the relationship of a high school sweetheart, who at one point we never thought we could live without, seems insignificant on our wedding day with the most wonderful person we met six years after graduating from college.
Romantic relationships tug at our hearts. Though family relationships can also touch us emotionally, few things move us as deeply as our romantic interactions. Learning form these types of relationships are often a challenge. They can take us through emotional extremes, from highs to lows, depending on the relationship experience. But they are also the relationships that we tend to learn from most.
Romantic relationships can be emotionally exhilarating when things are going well. Though every relationship has its share of ups and downs, we place greater value on those past relationships which give us the greatest joy. From them, we learn to share emotionally, to engage our passions, to explore our sexuality, and to grow within the realm of a relationship as opposed to simply as an individual.
We learn to extend trust, but when that trust is broken, we learn to exercise caution. We learn to forgive, but not necessarily forget. And also learn how important it is to be forgiven, because as perfect as we may be, we learn that we may not be perfect in every relationship. We learn what makes us feel good about relationships, and we learn what we will no longer accept. We learn that another person's idea of a great relationship may not be great for us.
Most of all, we learn the importance to commitment. We learn how to hang in there when things get rough, and sometimes struggle through situations that lead us to greater life experiences. We learn to be humble when it's in the best interest of the greater good, and how to soar as we expand our relationship's horizons.
But we also learn that some relationships end. And when they do, we pick up the pieces and move to the next. We learn what things to take with us as we move on, and what things to leave behind. We learn what worked, and what didn't, and what we never want to experience in our future relationships. We learn that in order to expect the best, that we must give our best, and that the success of our relationships is greatly dependent upon us.
Experts would say that it's best to get back on a horse after being thrown off, to get back in the batter's box after striking out, and to never give up after the disappointment of failure. But a clich is of little use to a person on the rebound from a broken heart, and getting back in the saddle could be the last thing on their mind.
Taking the first step towards dating again after being dumped by a lover is like to starting to walk all over again after an accident. The first few steps are a little shaky, but it doesn't take long to get back into stride. The most difficult part of dating again is letting go of the past, and the important thing to remember is not to move too fast.
Past relationships can be haunting. They can often keep us from moving forward long after the relationship has ended, and cause us to see things in our new associations that aren't really there. Letting go of ghosts from relationships past is essential to opening doors to the possibilities of the future.
Letting Go of Ghosts
There is nothing wrong with being a little cautious, but it's an entirely different matter when we allow the fears of our past to hold us back from achieving emotional fulfillment. Letting go of ghosts is not always easy, but it is necessary in order to move into more fulfilling relationships.
Allow Time for Healing
A broken heart will mend at its' own pace, but it is possible to accelerate the process. Allowing time for healing prior to jumping back into the dating scene helps minimize future relationship issues. Rushing from one relationship to another is a recipe for disaster. A bruised heart is a lot like a strained muscle, it still functions, but it is most effective after going through the entire healing process.
Have a Little Faith
Dating after being dumped is an exercise in faith. We often invest so much of ourselves into our past relationships that we feel emotionally vulnerable when things don't work out. Too often, we carry that baggage into other potential relationships. We shouldn't fear every dog just because we've had a bad experience with one.
Stepping out in faith does not mean to leap blindly. There is nothing wrong with learning from past mistakes, as long as they don't keep us shackled to our fears. Faith becomes stronger by taking things a step at a time, and that includes letting go, healing our wounds, and moving forward.
Eventually, as we begin dating again, we engage our new relationships with an open heart, an open mind, and very open eyes.
Women are complicated beings. Not every man can fully grasp the vast complexity of emotional, psychological, and physiological differences that separate them from men. Men acquire an early knowledge of interacting with women through early relationships with their mothers. So, when it comes to understanding the basics, men are not as clueless as women believe.
There will always more to a woman than what meets a man's eye, and it is moving beyond the basics that men begin to have problems. Identifying which personality will emerge during the monthly changes that women must constantly adjust to, is like looking into space and picking out which celestial object will best sustain life. You might get lucky and get it right, but there is a far greater chance that you won't.
But, men will never fully understand women because they can never fully understand the entire female experience. Men will never know the discomfort of going through monthly changes. And they will never endure the contrasting joys and pains of childbirth. Few men experience the challenges of having to raise their children alone. And men don't go through the hormonal upheaval associated with that period fondly called the "change of life".
Actually, men could really care less about what women have to endure. Only when they find their lives altered or in any way inconvenienced do they show any concern at all. It isn't their problem that women go through what they go through, but most of them believe that they must still be a woman's first priority. But, men can be surprisingly different at the beginning of a relationship.
Men are chameleons. They understand that they must do the things and say the things that will attract a woman's attention. They adapt to environmental changes to avoid having their intentions detected, but always reverse to their true colors when safe in their comfort zones. In the beginning, men become whatever a woman wants them to be, when they feel that there is a potential payoff in the end. However, they have little desire to maintain such appearances beyond the point of absolute necessity.
Men and women operate in different emotional planes. Men are fueled by testosterone. They get excited about football, basketball, a good fight, and sex. Women, on the other hand, have more estrogen. They enjoy a good love story, cry at weddings, and believe in fairy tale endings. Biological building blocks make it difficult for men to ever understand why women shed tears over the "Cinderella" story, and few women see the excitement of getting beat up for money.
And though some men watch "Lifetime" movies, and may even shed a few tears, they will never fully understand everything that makes a woman a woman.
Sex will always be a part of advertising because advertisers know that sex sells. It may not sell to everyone, but market researchers know that sexual content in advertising grabs attention. As long as they have your attention, they can market their product. Even if the product has nothing to do with sex.
Advertisers do not market products to offend moral conscious. They advertise to sell their product. But, even individuals who find themselves offended by sexually explicit advertising still talk about them, and marketing executives still believe the old axiom, “there is no such thing as bad advertising”. Even when an advertising campaign generates controversy, it is still considered effective.
In a perfect world, advertisers reach their target customers, those customers purchase the manufacturers products, the manufacturers profit from their relationship with the advertising agency. At that point, everybody is happy.
But what happens when such intangibles as advertising reach, competitive market share, and an ineffective ad campaign effects the manufacturer’s advertising investment? Then, advertisers broaden their demographic scope in hopes of reaching a greater population. In such situations, men may have to sit through ads for feminine products, or women may end up viewing scantily clad beauties bouncing on the beach. The target demographic is still being reached, but non-target consumers may become uncomfortable by the ads.
Selling sex to men vs. women
Most people understand that women in bikinis have nothing to do with selling beer. But advertisers target beer commercials to their core demographic, who just happen to be beer drinking males between the ages of 21 and 36 years old. That isn’t to say that women do not drink beer, but research indicates that while a woman may have a beer or two, young men drink considerably more, usually consuming four to six beers in a sitting.
Advertisers also know when to sell sex to both men and women. Condom ads were once found only in male oriented magazines. But with the heightened awareness in safe sex and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), condom manufacturers now advertise their products to both sexes, targeting those demographics who research has found to be most sexually active. Consequently, condoms are now just as likely to be purchased by women as they are by men.
Selling sex to an older generation
Sexual performance and enhancement products are another example of how sex related content is now targeting an older generation. Such products are marketed towards “baby boomers” who may be beyond their sexual peak, but still enjoy the satisfaction of a healthy sexual relationship with their partners. Few men in the 21 to 36 demographic would admit to needing such products, but through the broad reach of advertising, they are aware of them. Such unfiltered advertising increases a manufacturers reach, but also guarantees future customers.
Advertising sexual content and First Amendment rights
But advertisers have another weapon at their disposal. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
To advertisers, this means that they have every right to market a product in any manner they see fit, as long as it does not present a “clear and present danger” to the people of the United States. Church groups have complained, but they are also covered under the same amendment.
Advertisers will continue to use sex
The main objective of advertising is to sell products, and sex sells. As long as consumers respond to ads with sexual content, then advertisers will continue to produce such ads. There are fewer inhibitions about sex than there were 40 years ago, and much of the sexual content used in ads today would have been censored then.
There will also continue to be individuals who oppose sex in advertising. But, until advertisers find a way to market certain products by depicting images of nuns or the elderly enjoying them, sexual images will continue to bombard our senses.
Let’s just hope that beer companies don’t start showing scantily clad grandmothers bouncing on the beach. But, then again, that could very well sell a product to someone.