Nothing is weirder or more difficult to explain than differences between genders. I'm a woman who's been married for years and still sometimes have no idea what's going on in my husband's head. And yet, in the end, I always come back to the fact that people are people regardless of gender. There are plenty of women I don't get, either.
So I was pretty wary when I picked up His Secret Obsession. This book is written by a relationship coach and psychologist who claims that he can explain to women the psychological secrets of men. From there, he can teach you how to get your man to stay in a relationship with you by triggering his male dominance instincts.
Given that I'm happily married, I'm not particularly impressed by these "psychological secrets." If I have to manipulate my husband to stay with me, and if I have to use manipulation instead of just talking to him, it's not a great relationship to begin with.
But after reading the book, I've come to the conclusion that I actually do recommend it. Not because I agree with all of the things being said, but because it did challenge me to consider why I disagreed with the parts I disagreed with.
I also think it's an interesting look into the psychology of a relationship counselor who apparently believes that the health of a relationship is based in a woman's ability to seduce her man with manipulation.
For Women Who Want to Understand Men
James Bauer is a relationship counselor who has been practicing for more than ten years. He's also the author of another book about the secret desires of men. This book is created for women who want to understand the men around them and make their relationships better.
This premise isn't terrible. In fact, I think the idea of a book that teaches women how to understand men is pretty neat. But the execution does get a little weird. The book is all about how men have these ingrained masculine instincts that can be triggered and manipulated at will, and it's hard for me to take that seriously.
But assuming we decide that the premise is sound, the book is a wealth of information about how to act around your man to foster relationship security. There are specific behaviors and phrases that you can use to improve the relationship.
Each of the phrases has a specific intention. For example, there are actions and words to increase your man's attraction, understand what he wants from the relationship, and unlock his secret fantasies. There's detailed explanations of what male psychology supposedly looks like and why these actions will trigger emotions.
One big piece of the book's premise is the 'Hero Instinct.' According to James, all men are harboring a set of masculine instincts that, when triggered, lead to masculine behavior. Every man has primal urges to find food, water, and sex. Every man is just waiting for the right moment to be an action hero who can put his testosterone to good use.
This concept is presented in a surprisingly thoughtful and insightful way. Unfortunately, I don't buy into the idea that all men experience this. I think it's more likely that James Bauer does and has decided that it's a "man thing" so he doesn't need to think about it.
Assuming your man does have 'Hero Instinct' - which is to say, assuming your man has a deeply insecure need to prove his power in any given moment - then you're in luck! The book goes on to teach you how to wrap him around your little finger and get anything you want. It's the best guide to exploiting hypermasculine men I've read in a long time.
James presents all of these manipulation tactics as immutable paths to a long and happy life together. I wouldn't be doing my duty if I didn't mention that I don't find them useful for this. However, if you really want to mess with a guy's head because that's how to get what you want, then girl, you've struck a gold mine.
The Seven Signals to Trigger 'Hero Mode'
The book outlines these seven tactics that a woman can use to make her man more interested in her. Ladies who don't want to have honest conversations about feelings and futures, take notes!
1. Relationship Material
This is the part during which James tells women how to be hotter to men, so we're off to a great start.
I love this section of the book, though. I love everything about it. It's an incredible step-by-step primer on how to capture the attention of a rich corporate executive, make him fall for your mask, marry him, get him to cut his family out of the will, and then watch him mysteriously fall overboard in international waters. It's a better get-rich-quick scheme than any financial help book I've ever read.
Just as an aside, though, don't change your personality specifically to become what a man wants if it's not a long con. Any man worth being in a relationship with will enjoy being around you for you. Can you imagine having to playact an entirely different person all the time? You'd be exhausted.
2. The Private Island
Once you have your rich corporate executive interested in you, the next step is the private island. This is the part during which you slowly manipulate and break him down until he no longer has any interest in anything except you. It's important because it'll help you get his family cut out of the will later!
3. The Ex-Back Signal
For women who aren't over their exes and want to get back together, this is a list of emotional manipulation tactics that will get him to come back. I'm not sure how you're supposed to heal whatever problems ended the relationship in the first place.
Also, I'm not sure how the relationship is supposed to last when he had no interest in returning until you spun a bunch of lies. If you're going to get your ex back using these methods, make sure it's for a revenge plot and not because you've deluded yourself into thinking this is going somewhere.
4. The Glimpse Phase
This teaches you how to be mysterious and alluring. Unfortunately, I think this might just have been James fantasizing about a hot perfect woman who's mysterious and alluring. This increases the guy's intrigue, sure, but it's not a relationship builder. It's the next step in your long con man-overboard scheme.
5. The Damsel in Distress Signal
Like a siren in Greek mythology, you should prostrate yourself on some rocks and weep helplessly so that you can drag the man who tries to woo you into the ocean.
6. I Own You
The weird thing about this negative title is that this might be the sweetest chapter in the book. It's about how to actually emotionally connect with your man and get him to share his secrets and insecurities. It's about becoming friends instead of just partners.
Unfortunately, the "I own you" title makes it clear that James thinks expressing emotions is equivalent to being collared like a dog. Ladies, I promise not all men have this issue.
7. Silent Action Signal
These are a bunch of ways to look sexy and alluring enough to make your man want to rip his shirt off. I guess that's a useful skill if that's the sort of thing you're into.
Women desperately need to read this book if they want to know how to manipulate really masculine guys like James into begging for them.
But I'm begging you, don't follow a word of the advice in here if you're genuinely trying to keep a relationship. A man worth keeping doesn't need to be manipulated into staying.