Episode 51 | February 14, 2017

Understanding Men, Women, & The Queen’s Code with Alison Armstrong

A Personal Note from Orion

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is a day dedicated to expressing love – showing our loved ones how much we value them and what a difference they make in our life. I don’t think I could have had a more appropriate guest for today’s episode, and I am so excited and honored to have had Alison Armstrong on the show today. This woman knows love – specifically relationships and how we can get the relationships we want, one where both partners are fulfilled, happy, and excited to be committed to each other.

The truth is, relationships take a lot of work, and showing our love and gratitude for our men – or them to us – is something that should be done every day, not just Valentine’s Day. Alison explains how we can learn to fulfill the needs of our partners and make ourselves – and them – happy. It all starts with loving yourself first, owning your mistakes, and under- standing the different needs and ways of communicating with each other.  Don’t worry, we break it down in the episode, so tune in and get ready to flood your relationship with love.



In this Episode

  • [02:10] – What is the most astonishing discovery that Alison has made about men and women, and they way they connect?
  • [05:02] – Alison has said that we see men as “hairy, misbehaving women.” She talks more about the way the genders interact.
  • [08:20] – Orion points out that men don’t like to report as much as women do; Alison takes it a step further, emphasizing how deeply ingrained it is in men not to expend energy on conversations like this.
  • [10:10] – Alison discusses Orion’s use of the word “obey” in relation to men, and talks about the importance of appreciating people’s good choices.
  • [12:13] – Alison talks about how to view the “part” in “partnership,” how important it is to show appreciation in the other person’s currency, and the “worth it calculation.”
  • [18:43] – What are some ways to find and speak our partner’s love language?
  • [20:02] – Alison offers an example to explain why love languages and appreciation currencies matter. She also talks about the teleclass called The Appreciation Equation on her site.
  • [25:15] – At Alison’s house, she and her husband have something called a “credit tour,” where they point out the things they need to be appreciated for.
  • [25:40] – What makes a woman attractive to a man? Alison’s somewhat surprising answer is that instead of worrying about being attractive, you should show that you’re attracted to him.
  • [30:00] – Orion talks about her Awaken Your Inner Goddess Challenge. She then asks Alison’s advice for what women should do to heal themselves. In her answer, Alison emphasizes the importance of forgiving oneself.
  • [37:09] – When Alison talks about “owning,” is that public or private? And how do we get to a place of owning ourselves and our actions?
  • [40:12] – Alison talks about Valentine’s Day, starting with her aversion to its disempowering history and false beginning.
  • [44:44] – Money is like a man, Allison says, and explains the connection. Again, she emphasizes the need to be impressed and appreciative.
  • [46:42] – Alison offers her advice on healing from betrayal, trusting again, and rediscovering faith in love. Much of this revolves around unspoken expectations on both parts.
  • {[53:02] – What are Alison’s three tips for living a stellar life? 1. Figure out what your shortlist (of things you truly need) is. 2. Make clear to everyone who you care about what your needs are, and ask if they’ll provide it to you. 3. Assess whether the shortlist of what people are able to provide to you matches the shortlist of what you need.

About Today’s Show

‏‏Hello and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. I’m your host, Orion. Our guest today is Alison Armstrong. Alison is a world renowned expert on male and female masculine feminine dynamics. She’s a sought after speaker in the area of gender differences, well being, empowerment, sexuality, and relationships. Alison will teach you how to understand men, she will teach you how to understand women, and she will teach you how to own everything that you are so you can find love again. Now, onto the show. Hello Queen Goddess Alison. Welcome to the show!

‏‏Thank you. Queen Goddess, wow!

‏‏You are, yes. My first question is what is the most astonishing discovery you made about men and women and the way they connect?

‏‏Oh my gosh. Out of 26 years, I have to pick the most astonishing? In 26 years of astonishment? Golly.

‏‏You don’t have to do anything.

‏‏Can I have more than one?


‏‏If I can have more than one then I can do it. This reminds me of the panels in our workshops. If we ask them what are your three favorite things about women, they’re so literal that they actually will sit there in front of a whole group of women and go hmm, is it that? I don’t know if that’s top three. I don’t know if that… Well… We’re like just tell us, forget the top three, we don’t care, just tell us everything you love about us! I think that’s one of my astonishments is that men are literal and they take our questions seriously and they commit to answering the question we asked. They’ll even think about the answer and really think about it. They don’t know that a woman didn’t really want the answer, like when she says why haven’t you taken out the trash yet? What she wants is for him to jump off the couch and take out the trash. Instead, he’s thinking, he’s thinking why haven’t I taken out the trash yet? I said I would take out the trash, I’m a man of my word, why haven’t I done it yet? Oh, that thing happened and then the other thing happened. Now he knows the answer to the question and he’s about to tell her and she’s already dragging the trash out to the curb while complaining. He has no idea what just happened. That would definitely be on the astonishment list, how literal they are and that they commit to answer our questions, and that commitment and the thinking about the real answer has them take so long to answer that we think they either didn’t understand the question or they’re blowing us off. Just that one thing could save so many lives, just knowing that.

Men are literal and they take our questions seriously and they commit to answering the question we asked Click To Tweet

‏‏Thank you. We see men as hairy, misbehaving women. Can you share a little more about the way we interact?

‏‏I’ve been doing a lot of work on this at a deeper level lately. It’s the whole realm that would be fairly called expectations, except for that word is overused and it stopped meaning anything. If people could just become aware of how many times their mind thinks that something should already be a certain way, it should already be happening, it should already have been done, they should have said a particular thing, they should have responded a particular way. On top of that, it’s owed to us. We shouldn’t have to do anything else to get it, it just should be. I should not have to call the front desk for towels when I check into a hotel, I shouldn’t have to. We apply the same thing to interacting with men and men do it with women as well. There are things that we are so certain that they should be that way, it’s just true that it should be that way. It’s invisible to us what it is the way it should be, it’s just invisible. It just appears when it’s not the way it should be and we’re upset and we’re angry and we feel ripped off. There’s just things that any decent person would know to do. We don’t know that all those shoulds are based upon what I call an idealized woman or a perfect woman. Men don’t know that they project onto us what’s obvious to them. We both just think it’s obvious how a person should be and that the other person is not being how they should be on purpose; they know how they should be but they’re misbehaving, they’re acting up, or they’re lazy which is another kind of misbehavior, or they’re stupid, or they’re clueless. We take it all very personally. Mostly, women get their feelings hurt because if you loved me more, you would’ve done what I would’ve done. Men, oh my gosh, men, their experiences have been disrespecting. They are so mad and we’re so hurt and then mad, and then they’re mad. It just goes down the toilet all because no one thought to actually state the obvious because human instinct says save your energy or you’ll die and don’t waste any energy stating the obvious and test everything that should be is obvious.

‏‏Men don’t like to report as much as women anyways. Their communication on their side, I think, is even more difficult to handle.

‏‏It’s stronger than don’t like to, it’s something that’s good to understand. That makes it sound like it’s a preference. Their entire system is pulling in the opposite direction. To them, wasting that energy, they feel tired just thinking about doing that. To them, they shouldn’t have to do that. How are you? “Fine.” But really, how are you? “Fine. Don’t make me spend any energy elaborating on fine.” Well, what happened at the meeting? “They bought it.” But what else? “What else matters?”

‏‏This conversation sounds so familiar.

‏‏Yeah. To them, they don’t know that it’s just basic human hunter instinct to conserve their energy. They see no value in providing more conversation. That’s one of the biggest problems that both men and women have is when we stop thinking it’s obvious and we take the time to tell our partners why it’s worth the effort, and then when they make the effort to show them in very tangible ways that it was worth the effort…

‏‏That’s a big one. It goes back to entitlement. You make a request and then they will obey but if you’re not grateful, if you’re not showing love and respect, then they won’t do it again.

‏‏I love that you used the word obey because—where is your accent from?

‏‏Israel. I like the word obey, too.

‏‏I love that you used it because it’s so honest and very few American women, or men, would ever confess that we expect to be obeyed. We’re much too enlightened for that. But you’re right, I should say what it is I want and you should obey. When you obey, now the only thing you get out of that is now you don’t deserve to be punished.

‏‏That’s not good.

‏‏You don’t deserve to be appreciated… People should be appreciated for going above and beyond, they shouldn’t be appreciated for doing what they should do.

People should be appreciated for going above and beyond, they shouldn’t be appreciated for doing what they should do.

‏‏In my relationship, I find out that the more I’m grateful, the more I appreciate, the more I get. I feel like my man wants to love me and he wants to do everything for me. I was listening to some of your interviews and you were talking about partnership, partnership from the word part, what is your part? Our part in the relationship is to be respectful, to appreciate, to celebrate what they do for us.

‏‏It’s also their part. I love that you brought up partnership because as you know that is my passion. We look at partnership as providers and receivers. In all different parts of life, someone’s providing and someone’s receiving. It’s the receiver’s part to provide clarity about what really matters to them and to provide acknowledgment of that need being met, and to provide appreciation for everything that the provider spent in order to provide that, even the things that they gave up in order to provide that. It’s the same no matter the gender. In our course for men, we teach men… It’s a funny conversation, Orion. The look on their face when they realize that they’ve actually been training the women in their life to offer less and less and give and less, that woman that they married that was so wonderful, they’ve actually taught her to do less and less for him. When they realized they did that, their faces are priceless. It’s because no one taught them either that their part is to provide clarity which means you’re going to have to spell out the obvious, dear, you’re going to have to actually say what you mean by that and not just think I said be direct, everybody knows what that means. Well, honey, if women knew how to be direct, they already would be. Not only do you have to provide clarity but you have to provide appreciation. The worst thing is you have to provide appreciation in the other person’s currency. Most people appreciate in the currency that they like to be appreciated in instead of the one that the other person has them feel appreciated. I finally articulated this very recently when [00:13:33], that’s going online. I’ve never articulated it so clearly before so I’m just beside myself. I call it the worst at calculation. One of the things that women don’t know about men and men don’t know about women is that part of human instinct is to almost constantly be calculating whether or not something is worth it. In that calculation is the value of the result, the value of the outcome. Let’s say this is worth 10, minus how much money and energy and time it would take me to provide that, minus everything I’d have to give up to provide that, what I wouldn’t be spending my money, energy, and time on to provide that. What people don’t know is that let’s say you have a 10 minus 3 minus 1 so you have a 6. You could have a result that’s a +6 or a +60 or a +600 or +6000. The bigger that result is, the more a person will generate that action without being asked. Another thing that people don’t know is that if it’s a small result or if it’s a zero, to a man coming out even, meaning I’m not in trouble but I don’t get any benefit, to a man that isn’t worth doing. You would actually consider it dishonorable to provide something in order to not be in trouble. You should ask Stephan about this. To a woman, we have such an instinct to be pleasing to anyone that we depend upon and to avoid displeasing that a zero is worth doing to us. Our instincts will have a zero be worth doing even though we’re barely surviving, we’re not thriving. We expect men to do things just to not be in trouble with us. If a man does that, he emasculates himself and he’s ashamed of himself. That piece people don’t know. The other thing that they don’t know is that the value of the result isn’t just factual, it’s not static, it’s the value of that result. Okay, let’s say the result is that the piano has no dust on it. For half a day, because dust shows up again, for a whole day maybe the piano won’t have any dust on it. That has almost no value in itself. But if the piano has no dust on it and his wife will be happy, then it has no dust on it and she’ll show her happiness to him, she’ll smile at him and beam at him, how happy she is to have a dustless piano and he provided that, now that nothingness, that’s 600 points. That thing you said about being grateful, being grateful is part of the value of the result, the appreciation, the gratitude is part of the value of the result. It’s the only way things that are meaningless to men become worth it to them to do for women.

‏‏Alison, what are the different ways to find and to speak our partner’s love language?

‏‏You have to separate love languages and currencies of appreciation. I think they have a relationship to each other. Gary Smalley’s work on The Five Love Languages I think is beautiful, it’s contributed a lot to me, especially in my relationship with my children to find out when they were teenagers what their love language was, totally changed my relationship with my son because I had it backwards. A lot of people are familiar with his work. Acts of service, words of encouragement, quality time, physical affection.


‏‏Gifts, that’s one of my weakest. It actually is my weakest, so of course I would not think of that.

‏‏Your love language is gift?

‏‏No, it’s not. Mine would start with quality time and affection. Acts of service, specifically, what occurs is support. They’re valuable, you can jump off of love languages into currencies of appreciation. But to give you an example—

‏‏Yeah, I want to know more about the currencies.

‏‏Okay, let me give you an example that is so important to find out about. Public acknowledgment, public appreciation, you did a great job, thank you so much. My informal surveys, about a third of the people will raise their hand saying that that really does it for them. More than that, half of people, there’s people who don’t raise their hand at all. Half the people will raise their hand that to them they would rather nothing was done than that, that public appreciation is actually a negative to them. People who love to be publicly appreciated provide a lot of public appreciation, and they may not know that they are mortifying people. Another appreciation currency is accountability. To be offered a bigger accountability can be a currency of appreciation, like wow you really get who I am, you get who I’m capable of, you see me, you value me, because that’s what appreciation means, to value. Wow, thank you. You could have somebody who’s reaction to being offered a bigger, so called opportunity is seriously, I haven’t done enough for you yet. For so many men, being touched is a language of appreciation. To touch their hand, to touch their shoulder. They get touched so little. But there are people that touching is that’s not appreciation, that’s offensive. This is why it’s really important to find out. For some people, helping me is appreciation. To others, helping me is insulting that you think I need help. We have a telecasts on our site called The Appreciation Equation. It goes through all the ways that people’s behaviors are predictable based on their experience of appreciation. You can actually predict when people will go an extra mile or steal from you. It’s really pretty amazing.

You can actually predict when people will go an extra mile or steal from you. It’s really pretty amazing. Click To Tweet

‏‏That’s really cool.

‏‏It’s cool, it’s hot stuff. And, it emphasizes that you better figure out what occurs as appreciation to them because you may think you’re really appreciating people and they can’t stand you, they’re actively undermining you because of how unappreciated they feel. I discovered this by someone who thinks they’re really appreciative but I knew their employees and I knew their employees were actively bad mouthing them and figuring out how to take the appreciation that they wanted, like literally take it home with them in stuff, and realized that they just weren’t speaking the same currency, they weren’t expressing in the same way. That’s when I learned that it’s really funny but one of the currencies of appreciation is forgiveness.

‏‏How is that?

‏‏When a man blows it, they blow it with us, they hurt our feelings, they say the wrong thing.


‏‏They show up late, they aren’t dressed right, they don’t tell us we look pretty in our dress. There’s always things that they should’ve done that they don’t do. When we forgive them, we’re like honey, it’s okay, look at everything you already provide. That shows appreciation. You have so many points in the bank from all you provide, of course I’m going to forgive that. That has them feel appreciated. When we won’t forgive them, they’re like why do I bother doing everything I do for you? I don’t get any credit for it when I’m in trouble, I don’t get an get out of jail free card.

‏‏Oh, lovely.


‏‏I just started playing Monopoly. I get that reference.

‏‏Yes! If you wanted to do something huge, actually make one and say I so appreciate what you provide for me, what you did for me last week, here.

‏‏Oh my god, I was just thinking the same thing. I have to make one.

‏‏Anytime that I am mad at you, you can play that card and I will take responsibility for getting over it. It’s one of the most important things to be engaged in, most important things to provide, most important things to ask for. We get just resentful when we haven’t been appreciated the way we want but we don’t ask for it and we need to ask for it because we think it’s obvious that they should appreciate that we did that. In our house, we had this thing called a credit tour. When I need appreciation for something, I ask Craig, tell me what’s a good time for a credit tour. I’ll literally walk him around and point out the things I need to be appreciated for, and he appreciates me, and then I’m all filled up again.

‏‏Very good.

‏‏Yeah, big deal.

‏‏What makes a woman attractive to a man?

‏‏It’s a great topic, that’s a great question. One is how much she appreciates him. One of my favorite answers that I laughed off at the time, it wasn’t really until a long time later that I understood what he was saying. It was a panel of men and the question was what qualities in a woman do you find attractive? This one man was really candid, there’s this little grin on his face, and he said her finding me attractive. I heard it pretty cynically at the time and then I started learning more about it and found out how as women, we’re so worried about being attractive to men, we don’t know how much they’re dying to be attractive to us. When I talk to men about sexually objectifying women, the most common response is I’d like to be sexually objectified.

‏‏Oh, wow.

‏‏“You can objectify me.” They have the opposite response. “You could just want me for my body, you could just tell me I’m a hottie.” It’s so cute. They so want to be desirable to us. This showed up early, we’re talking 25 years ago when my husband and I started dating. We were in a class together and I needed something on the other side of him. I reached over and as I reached over, I balanced by grabbing his triceps, his upper arm. I reached over, I grabbed his arm as I reached over, and his arm was like solid rock. I didn’t know that about him, that’s new. I went wow. He looked down at me with this little smile and he said, “Everything I have ever done with that arm in my whole life was so that you would react like that.”


‏‏Yeah. As women, we want the wow, right? We’re always looking for the wow. We teach men your wows are the 100 points. If she doesn’t get your wow, she’s got to go collect 100 points, two points at a time. It’s really hard work, you’ll be really mad. Why are you flirting with everybody? She’s just trying to collect the wow you didn’t give her. We teach this in our Understanding Women course but we don’t know how much men need wow, they need wow from us as much as we need it from them. They need us to think they’re hot, handsome, attractive. One of my best friends, her husband calls on the phone and she says, “Hi, sexy!” That’s how she always answers the phone. He is, he lives into that, he’s just the sexiest man anybody knows.

We don’t know how much men need wow, they need wow from us as much as we need it from them.

‏‏I only say it on and off but I’m going to say it more.

‏‏Oh, yes.

‏‏I mean when I answer the phone, I say it a lot.

‏‏Very good, good for you. You can ask Stephan, would you get tired of me if I answered with, “Hi, sexy?”


‏‏He’d be like, “Would you get tired of someone answering the phone, “Hi, Beautiful?” No. That was on my list before I met Greg. I wanted a man who thought I was beautiful and told me so often. The first time I called him after our first date, he said, “Hi, Beautiful.” I thought okay, that will work.

‏‏That’s beautiful. You’re going to be our special Valentine’s Day episode and I’m so, so honored. What happened in my life in the last week is that I posted an online challenge, Awaken Your Inner Goddess challenge, helping women connect to more self love. For seven days, I’m sending them assignments. In 15 minutes a day, they’re going to love themselves more. I’m doing it, I’m guiding them, standing on the shoulders of giants like yourself. I wanted to know for our community, we got almost 350 women doing the challenge in just a few days. We have this amazing Facebook group and they’re all talking and they’re sharing from the heart, they’re sharing intimate stories, they connect with each other, they’re from all over the world, I’m so excited about this. It’s just amazing, super grateful. What would be your advice for them on what to do to heal themselves, and then what to do on Valentine’s Day?

‏‏Wow. As you know, so much of our curriculum is teaching women to honor themselves. That foundation of the Queen’s Code is honor yourself first and then others. Our instincts are to please have us on our others and lose ourselves in the process. This is going to sound super unromantic but it is amazing in the results that it creates. It has to do with something that’s not well known, the things that we’ve done in our lives that we’re ashamed of, which is one of the worst feelings people can feel, it’s one of the most intense feelings that men feel, by the way. When we’re ashamed, it’s an indication that we have dishonored ourselves, we’ve dishonored our own values, our own principles. It causes us separation from our own spirit. Some people never get over that. We found out it’s not hard to get over, it’s actually a path back to yourself. If you look at anything in your life that you feel ashamed of where you’re afraid you really disappointed somebody which may mean you really disappointed yourself. What there is to do is to own that, to just go yeah, I was really snarky to that person. I pride myself from being generous, and I was so snarky and stingy. I own that. Or, I was mean and I own that. I was bitter and vengeful and I’m not proud of myself for that, and I own that. Whatever it is, wherever you weren’t the person that you most love yourself when you’re that way, just own having been that way. It’s without justification, that’s the important part. Anything you justify, you’re not owning. Just own it. I failed, I came up short, I dishonored myself, I was mean to that person, I harmed someone else, I own that, I own that, I own that. Just the owning of it is like you’re grabbing hold of yourself again. I am the person that feels bad about that because only honorable people feel bad when they’re dishonorable. And then to forgive yourself, just forgive yourself. When you forgive yourself, then you’re going to take chances again. Then, you’re going to risk. In order to forgive yourself, what’s natural for people is to avoid all those things; avoid love, avoid relationship, avoid being in business, avoid interacting with their parents. People just avoid the places where they’re ashamed. If you forgive yourself, then what opens up is like life is asking you to commit yourself again. Come play, come back, we need you. It’s extraordinarily beautiful and empowering. I first learned about this years and years ago when someone asked my daughter, she was only 15 at the time. They said, “What is it about you, why are you so pure?” She said, “I forgive myself.”


‏‏“I forgive myself all the time.” People just say she’s so pure because she’s never done anything bad. No, I just keep forgiving myself. That’s why I set it up, this is going to sound strange, this does not sound like a way to love yourself, to own what you’re ashamed of, but it is one of the most loving, restorative that a human being could do. We provide opportunities for it in several of our courses and we have an exercise in our course for men, the course is called A Hero’s ChallengeWe have an exercise in self forgiveness and owning what they’re ashamed of because women have no idea how much men hold themselves accountable for it. We call it The Forest Process because in this exercise it’s like watching trees grow, the men literally get taller.


‏‏We started out this workshop in December with these two men who were 6’4”. By the end of The Forest Process, they weren’t towering over the other men anymore.

‏‏What do you mean?

‏‏The other men were standing up so tall, the other men grew so much taller by forgiving themselves, by owning and reuniting with their own spirit that there was just now this whole room of tall men.

‏‏That is so beautiful. Actually, one of my assignments for them is forgiveness but I never had that distinction between forgiving myself and owning myself. I forgive myself for things that I’ve done but I’m still struggling with owning some of those things. When you say owning, is that privately, is that publicly, and how do we get to owning ourselves?

‏‏I can tell you that, and then your question about on Valentine’s Day, I have a counterpart to this. You can do it just in your own head, you can just think about it and just think to yourself I own that. Anything else about that, yeah, I own that, and I own that I did it there. You can do it in writing. In our Queen’s Code workshop, we actually hand out for women to own the ways that they have diminished men. They just make a list. I harmed this man when I did this, this man when I did this, and this man when I did that. You can just write it out and then they actually write out I own that. You can do it with another person, you can say could you just listen to me as an honorable person owning what I’m ashamed of? You may have to give them a minute to go okay, yeah, so I’m just going to own what I’ve done and I’m not going to justify it in any way, I’m not going to say any other side of the story or what provoked me, my good reason for doing it. I’m just going to own that I did it so please don’t try to make me feel better or tell me that it’s not my fault because that doesn’t help which, by the way, is what women do with men all the time. When men are trying to own what they’re ashamed of, women feel the pain of the shame and they can’t stand the pain that they feel the man is in. They try to talk him out of it, that wasn’t really your fault. It’s the equivalent of saying to a man, you’re actually not that powerful. You’re too weak to be accountable for that, that couldn’t possibly have been your fault, you’re not strong enough for that to have been your responsibility, you’re not smart enough, you’re not good enough for that to be your fault. It’s horrible for them, it’s horrible, horrible for me. “That’s not your fault, you shouldn’t feel bad about that.” Think about what you’re really saying. You’re powerless, you didn’t really do that, it was an accident. “No, I did that, let me own it.” You can do it in writing, you can do it out loud, you can pray if that’s what you do, you can do it in a conversation with spirit, God, whomever you were that. Just this morning, I just sent an email to someone and told them I was ashamed of something. They’ll respond however they respond, they may accept it, they may think oh no it’s not a problem at all, you’re fine. I had to own that I was ashamed of not doing something that I think was the right thing to do. In their world, it might be a really small thing. Most people would think it’s something that I shouldn’t even try to be responsible for. As soon as I sent it, I was more me again, I could love me more. Does that answer that question for you?

‏‏Yeah, totally.

‏‏The other side, I don’t know if you know my aversion to Valentine’s Day. It has a really disempowering history and a false beginning. I hate false beginnings that are exploited. Many years ago when I found out that Valentine’s Day was most men’s least favorite holiday, most hated holiday, I went and did a bunch of research on St. Valentine. Who is this guy anyway? That’s when I found out all the stuff going on with him which I’ll spare you unless you want to know. My point is that to me, it goes back to where we started our conversation today which is it creates a whole lot of expectations and things that people should do, especially men, what men should do if you really loved me, what you should do if you really cared about me. I’ve talked to men, I did this just a couple of weeks ago too, that there are men who as they approach their first Valentine’s Day with a woman that they could see spending the rest of their life with, they figure out how to do enough for Valentine’s Day for it to pass, but not so much that when they have to outdo themselves year after year after year. They know that Valentine’s Day is a set of expectations that breathes more expectations, which is one of the characteristics of expectations, they just breathe more, they’re like little bunny rabbits. When a guy does something great for your birthday or your anniversary or Valentine’s Day, the next year he’s supposed to outdo himself. I know men who approach it very cautiously if they think I could have a lifetime of Valentine’s Day with this woman so I better start out small. Talk about backfire, right?

‏‏Nasty bunny rabbits.

‏‏Yeah. What I try to do on Valentine’s Day is express love and appreciation instead of go looking for signs of love and appreciation. My husband is totally off the hook for Valentine’s Day, there’s nothing he has to do. If he gives me a card where he writes something personal in it, for me that’s the day if you’re going to appreciate me, appreciate me for being your love, your girlfriend and your lover, not your wife, your partner, your best friend, the mother of your children, just appreciate the sexy, romantic part of me, and chocolate is a bonus. I keep it very simple and from the beginning just let him off the hook, this is a sucker holiday, please don’t waste your time on it. I’d rather you love me everyday a little bit than that day. But tying into it, you and I are talking about how amazing would it be on Valentine’s Day to call or write to the people who bring out the best in you? What are the qualities you love about yourself and who are the people who bring that out in you? Thank them that they give you part of your best self when you’re with them. That would be a hot Valentine’s Day.

‏‏I totally agree with the idea that whatever you want more of in your life, give more. If you want more respect, give more respect. If you want more love, give more love. That’s the way it works.

‏‏Yeah. My grandpa would say what goes around comes around. It’s also true that what you appreciate grows. What you admire grows. I used to struggle about money a lot just like most people. A lot of imprinting from my childhood, and baloney, and stuff. I finally figured out that money is like a man.

‏‏That is very interesting.

‏‏If you wait for him to do something to appreciate it, that’s like looking for fire without putting wood in the fireplace. Money is like a man in that it wants to feel attractive and desired. You got to flirt with it, you got to wink at it, you gotta pay attention to it, you got to be impressed. You can’t look at something and go, $10? You get wooed, $10. Money goes, “If $10 impressed you, how about $100?” If that let you up, let me do better. That’s how men are, they’re so generous and they love to impress us. Too many women are like I’m not going to be impressed until you do something superman, I’m not going to be impressed by you taking out the trash, so that’s how they end up taking out their own trash. It’s not their fault, they don’t know what they don’t know about how this works, they think they’re dealing with hairy women who are driven by pleasing and avoiding displeasing. When a man is driven that way, when he’s driven to please and avoid displeasing, he’s resentful, he’s emasculated, and we don’t want him anymore. He feels weak to us and that’s scary, we feel safe when our men are strong but we tend to weaken them but we still want them to be strong, it’s a catch 22.

‏‏On the group, there are a lot of stories of heartbreak and betrayal. What’s your best advice on healing that, on trusting again, on finding that faith again, the faith in love?

‏‏Oh boy. That’s like you’re asking me my most astonishing thing I learned about men.

‏‏Your work is humongous, we can spend about five years non-stop just talking about it.

‏‏Just a little bit, yeah, we could, especially since it’s growing with every conversation.

‏‏5,000 years.

‏‏Yeah, we could just go on and on. Thank you for knowing that, I feel seen. There’s a couple of things. You brought up partnership before and the first part of partnership is part. One of the ways to regain trust is to disassemble what happened and look for your part. One of the things we discovered early on is that since women expect men to act like women, when a man doesn’t act like a woman, she thinks she can’t trust him. She can’t trust him to act like a woman but she thinks she should be able to trust a man like a woman, so when he doesn’t act like a woman he’s broken her trust. Maybe her trust was falsely assumed. Anywhere that you think you’ve been betrayed, look and see this way that I think this person betrayed me, did I ever ask them for that? Did I ask them for the thing they didn’t do? Did I ever talk to them about it? Did we ever have an agreement about it? Was that ever promised to me? One of the problems for women is that estrogen has our brain sort for commitments, our brains literally search for and grab onto commitments. So much though that we hear commitments where they weren’t made.

‏‏I’m aware.

‏‏A man says I want you to meet my mother, she assumes okay so now he’s going to change his status on Facebook, we’re in a relationship. But, she didn’t say does that mean we’re in a relationship? She didn’t say that. She just assumes it and then she’s betrayed.

‏‏Very literal, like you said.

‏‏They are, he just means I want you to meet my mother. He doesn’t know in a woman’s world how much meaning is attached to that, we talk about that in In Sync With The Opposite Sex but it’s just if you go looking for where do they actually promise something and not fulfill on it? That, they’re willing to be held accountable for. If you try to hold them to account for something that they didn’t commit to, that then would be a lie to say that they did something wrong, it would be dishonorable to cave to that pressure. They won’t, they won’t take accountability for not fulfilling an expectation that they never agreed to, which is one of the things that has women think that men won’t be accountable, they don’t realize they won’t be accountable for our expectations that weren’t a conversation. That’s one of the ways that women can recover themselves is go looking for where is my sense of betrayal and distrust because of what I expected and assumed and projected, and there wasn’t an actual agreement. That sounds really mean and unromantic. I also know the same thing happens for men, men are stunned when their wives cut them off from sex which happens all the time, sexlesst marriages are more common than healthy sex lives. They’re stunned because to them, it was obvious in the wedding vows, I’m going to be faithful to you because you’re going to feed me regularly.

‏‏It’s like food.

‏‏It’s totally like food. I’m just going to eat in your restaurant and your restaurant is going to be open when I’m hungry, isn’t that the deal? But they never talked about it, they never aligned it out, I promise to have sex with you every 72 hours, it was never talked about. And then men feel terribly betrayed, but they don’t know that the woman didn’t think she was signing up for that. She thought that this is the 21st century and she was signing up for having sex when she wanted to. Isn’t that her right, to only have sex when she wants to? She doesn’t see any wrongdoing in she doesn’t want to anymore so we’re not going to do it anymore, but of course you’re not going to have sex with anyone else.

‏‏And then the man is starving and then he goes and goes somewhere else.

‏‏He does, and you know what? He’s ashamed of it. He’s ashamed of having done that. It’s what I have been saying for over 20 years, do not create a conflict between a man’s needs and a man’s integrity, that is mean. Do not create that conflict for him, it’s cruel. I know a man who went without sex for 30 years, he called it the drought. In his life, it’s the drought. He’s in his 70s now.

‏‏Oh my god.

‏‏He finally cried uncle. After 30 years, he said I can’t do it anymore. He wouldn’t be unfaithful to his wife so he got a divorce, that was the honorable thing to do. Not in her mind, he’s just a beast.

‏‏I want to speak with you so much longer but we are almost at the end of the hour. Before we end, what are your three quick tips to living a stellar life and where can people find you?

‏‏Quick tips, these are my quick tips on the moment, what I’m working on.

‏‏They can be long.

‏‏It’s okay. I would say figure out what your short list is, what are the things that you truly, truly need because when you get them, you become your best self, and when you don’t get them you become your worst self. Those are the big cost and the big payoff, those are the things you truly need. Figure out what your shortlist is, for every person you care about, and then take your list to them and ask them will you provide this for me? What do you need from me to provide this for me? This is my short list and I will expect nothing more of you but this that you’re going to agree to provide now. Figure out your short list, write down your short list, be able to describe what your short list looks like, when it’s met, and then take it to your partners and see if their short list of what they’re able to provide for you they’re willing to have be your short list of what you most need.

Figure out what your short list is, what are the things that you truly, truly need because when you get them, you become your best self, and when you don’t get them you become your worst self. Click To Tweet

‏‏Beautiful, thank you so much Queen Goddess Alison. Where can people find you?

A: understandmen.com.

‏‏And alisonarmstrong.com.

‏‏That too, that will work as well.


‏‏Thank you.

‏‏Wonderful, thank you so much, I love you.

‏‏I love you too. Bye.


Your Checklist Actions to Take

✓ Try to avoid asking a man a relationship question unless you want a literal answer. He’s more likely to try to genuinely answer it than to take any hint you intended with the question.

✓ Don’t take it personally if your guy answers your questions about his day with “good” or “fine.” It’s his hunter instinct to conserve energy showing itself.

✓ Be direct about what you want or need from your partner. You need to provide clarity if you want your partner to provide what you’re asking for.

✓ When a man does what you’ve asked, actively appreciate him; don’t just ignore it because he “should have” done it that way to begin with.

✓ Offer appreciation in the currency most treasured by the recipient. If you’re not sure what your guy’s appreciation currency is, pay attention to how he appreciates you.

✓ When your man messes up in relatively minor ways, forgive him. This is a way of showing appreciation and letting him know that everything he does counts for a lot.

✓ Take your guy on a “credit tour.” Point out everything you need to be appreciated for, and let him do it. Then do the same for him.

✓ To be attractive to a man, stop worrying about whether you’re attractive, and instead show attraction to him. Many men want very much to be desirable to a woman.

✓ Think of something in your life that you’re ashamed of. Instead of cringing away from it, acknowledge it to yourself and own it (without justifications).

✓ After you own the thing you were ashamed of, forgive yourself. You’ll find life opening back up, and you’ll be better able to take risks in life, work, and love.

Links and Resources:

About Alison Armstrong

Alison Armstrong, author, educator, and creator of the widely acclaimed “Understanding Men” and “Understanding Women” transformational online series, asks the question: “What if no one is misbehaving — including you?” She explores the good reasons behind the behavior of men and women such as fundamental differences in the ways we think, act and communicate. She offers simple, partnership-based, solutions to improve our communication and intimacy by honoring ourselves and others. She’s known for her insight, sense of humor and ability to articulate the human experience and predicament of gender.


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