Home Page
ABout Susan
Bosswoman Newsletters
Speaking Schedule
About Coaching
Business Woman
Professor Destressor
BossWoman ENews
Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
July 2003

My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

    In this issue, you'll find:
  1. What Do Women Want, Anyway?
  2. BossWoman coaching
  3. Up and coming workshops
1. What Do Women Want, Anyway?

Sigmund Freud put the question into words that men have been puzzling over since Adam & Eve walked in the Garden. Why are women such a puzzle? Maybe it is because we act confused about how to use our power in relationships and therefore send confusing messages to the men in our romantic relationships. Clearing up our confusion helps us claim our power in relationships.

In a recent popular movie, "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days," Cosmo-type reporter played by Kate Hudson designs a writing assignment: capture a guy's attention, get him interested and then drive him so crazy doing all the wrong things that he runs the other way. By showing how women make men nuts she hopes to make the point how her readers should act to keep a partner: act sane, clear, and gentle. The plot tension is that she picks the wrong guy on whom to experiment. Ad executive played by Matthew McConaughey has his own career agenda for sticking with this crazy acting woman no matter what she does. Besides being an entertaining movie about the battle between the sexes, it offers a check list (although an extreme one) of what not to do in a beginning dating relationship including throwing temper tantrums, making demands, and sissifying the man and his apartment.

How We Give Away Power in Male-Female Relationships?

In our summer workshop entitled "From Mother to Daughter: Wise Women's guide to Extraordinary Marriages," we ask our audiences to see how many of these neurotic tendencies get them into trouble.

  • Playing games. Pretend to play hard to get and then be surprised when he doesn't want to get you.
  • Refusing to ask for what you need. Expect him to mind read. Get furious when he fails to figure it all out.
  • Making mountains out of molehills. One of Susan's clients was upset because her boyfriend was 10 minutes late for their date. She screamed at him, started beating on his chest, refused to get in his car to go out, and when he tried to leave to escape her violent outburst she beat on his new car with her spike heeled shoe causing dents and car scratches. The reason for his lateness: putting the last minute touches on her catered surprise birthday party he had planned for months.
  • Say "yes" instead of "no." This one can really backfire. A now-famous Redbook survey more than ten years ago asked readers if they meant "No" when they said "No." Twenty percent of the women said they really meant "No." The rest gave answers like "no" means "he should convince me" or "no" meant "maybe, under the right circumstances." While date rape is a serious concern and we don't mean to blame the victim, when one woman sends these kinds of confusing "maybe, maybe not" messages we all suffer. Men are confused about how to act and women are at risk. The more women say what they mean, the more men will listen to what they say.
Why Are Women Ambivalent in Relationships?

Part of our confusion comes from the rapid rate of change of the sex roles in the last 30 years. We want equal pay and opportunity but we want men to pay for dates. We want our men masculine but not macho. We want our men sensitive but not weak. We want the option of staying home to take care of the children but expect Dad to do an equal amount of child care and house work. Psychologist Dr. Phil Robison, who is doing a workshop next week for men on "What do Women Want Anyway?" says the two biggest concerns he hears from husbands revolve around unrealistic expectations. The first: Wives want their husbands to make big bucks but not work long hours away from home to do so. They want men to provide luxury and at the same time, to spend lots of time doing relationship activities. The second: Women overemphasize romance as a prerequisite for physical intimacy. Women expect seduction to be one sided instead of mutual.

What to Do Instead to Claim Your Power

  • Be clear in your desires. Do you want a big house with the big job(s) required for the upkeep of mortgage, landscaping, and housework? Maybe instead you would rather have a more modest home with money and time for family and recreational activities. Ask yourself, "What do I want exactly?" "What am I willing to sacrifice (there is always a sacrifice)?" To get away from double bind messages like wanting him to make more money and spend more time at home, make requests knowing that sacrifice is part of the deal.
  • Be clear in your communications. Ask for what you need; don't beat around the bush waiting for him to leap to an understanding because, "he loves you enough." He can love you a lot and still be confused about what you want.
  • Be direct in your requests. Don't ask questions when you have a need. "Are you ready for lunch, dear?" could be a polite question or a crazy-making disguised statement that you are hungry. Save the questions for times when you need information.
  • Be positive in your approach. Instead of complaining, state your need and then be quiet. Listen to your partner's response and be open to negotiating what you want. When two people love each other, they can find creative ways to get what both people need most of the time.
  • Be specific in your expectations. Don't announce, "This place is disgusting," when you really mean, "When the newspapers are all scattered like this, it makes the room look dirty and uninviting. Can we stack them in the corner and recycle them when we are finished?" People have different standards for "clean" and need to make those standards explicit.
  • Be effective in your methods. If things aren't going your way, don't wear yourself (and him) out by nagging. Instead ask clearly for what you want, negotiate what is going to happen, and then look for opportunities to "catch 'em being good" by using positive reinforcement to reward your man's behavior.
  • Be generous in your appreciation. If you don't say you like it, don't expect to see it again. Just because you have agreed on a division of chores, don't take it for granted when your partner fulfills his responsibilities. Say thank you to show appreciation for the things he does. (By the way, if he reads this, he should do the same.)
  • Be gentle in your startup. One of the findings from the Love Lab research of John Gottman of the University of Washington is that wives in happy marriage begin discussions about wants and needs with a gentle approach while wives of distressed marriages start the discussion at a fever pitch. Researchers studying marriage programs have found that discussions go better when both men and women sooth themselves while they are problem solving.
Coming in the August BossWoman newsletter:
The Power of Partnership

Most people would agree that the old sexist models of relationships are outdated. Culturally, we are all still looking for new models. Until you find the perfect one, try out the partnership model described in the August BossWoman newsletter. Tune in next month for the thrilling conclusion of this topic.


Use your power well. Get sane, act sane, be happy.
Susan Robison

2. BossWoman Coaching

About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a professional coach, speaker, author and seminar leader. She loves to coach women who want improvement in:

  • work-life balance,
  • career transitions,
  • building your business or practice,
  • time management,
  • increasing productivity.
She provides keynotes and seminars to business and organizations on the topics of:
  • leadership strategies for women,
  • relationships,
  • work-life balance,
  • change.
3. Up and coming workshops

"From Mother to Daughter: Wise Woman's Guide to Extraordinary Marriages."
Susan Robison, Ph.D. and Christine Robison Gray M.A.
July 31, 2003 7:30pm
Co-Sponsored by Columbia Baptist Fellowship and St. John's Catholic Columbia, MD
Place: Oakland Mills Interfaith Center; Columbia, MD
For directions and registration:
Debbie McCustion-Kahl 410-730-2026

"What Do Women Want Anyway?"
Dr. Phil Robison
August 4, 2003 7:30pm
Sponsored by Columbia Baptist Fellowship and St. John's Catholic Columbia, MD
Place: Oakland Mills Interfaith Center; Columbia, MD
For directions and registration:
Debbie McCustion-Kahl 410-730-2026

Subscribe to BossWoman e-Newsletter by sending an email with in the Subject to: susan@bosswoman.org

BossWomen e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

Copyright 2003 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

3725 Font Hill Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Office: (410) 465-5892
Fax: (410) 465-5967

Home |  About Susan |  Programs |  Newsletters
Speaking Schedule |  About Coaching |  Clients
Business Woman of the Year
email: Susan@BossWoman.org
Copyright © 2024