#105 The Real Problem with Dating Today with John Gray
So this is a subject - a topic - that is not well covered. I find it's really a detriment and it's really something that's holding back this kind of segment of guys who struggle and they read a lot of advice, they listen to a lot of advice, but it doesn't seem to help. Why is that? Because, if you have symptoms of anxiety, of lack of self-control, of lack of motivation, of lack of willpower, of lack of concentration and focus, and mood stability; these are all things that get in the way of your dating, sex, and relationships. You can see how these would affect your ability to just execute on advice, but also to be stable in relationships, and strong in relationships.
Another area I've seen often, recently, is adrenal fatigue undermining your energy, your motivation, of your life fixed. Addressing biochemical imbalances, or addressing these chronic health issues, which have become relatively commonplace in our modern day stressed environment, will really help you to make this whole journey much quicker and faster.
Today's guest has been looking at this subject more and more over the last twenty years, although he is very well known for pure relationship advice. Today's guest is John Gray, PhD - a psychologist. I'm assuming that pretty much anyone listening to this has heard of John's work. He has the No. 1 relationship best seller of all time: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, which was published many years ago. This and his other 17 books have sold over 15 million copies in 50 different languages. That's just astounding.
What most people don't know is that as the years have gone on John has focused more and more on these biological aspects, from hormones to other areas like brain biochemistry, and this is really the subject of our discussion today.
His most recent book is Staying Focused In A Hyper World: Book One, and he's really found this to be one of the big levers to improving relationship quality. In his own relationships, he's noticed how a lot of the difficulties - a lot of the things we struggle with - simply melt away once you've got some solid biochemistry that allows you to deal with relationship issues so much more easily, with less frustration.
So, quick story here. In the 90's, one of my girlfriends bought this book "Mars & Venus" and tried to get me to read it. That didn't work. I really wasn't receptive to new information at the time. It was long before my journey actually started with all of this, and I had this preconception of "Mars & Venus". The "Mars & Venus" title threw me. So it took me a long time to get around to reading John Gray's book, even though I'd been in this for a while. That's a real shame as they are very well researched and there's a lot of great insights to be taken from them. So if you have preconceived notions like I did, which I think a number of guys do (especially guys in the pickup artist community and areas like that), of his books not being relevant to you, please withhold them and listen to this interview.
I think you'll find that his work is not at all what you imagined and there's a lot of insights and 'gold' that you'll get from this interview, and his work in general. It's a real pleasure to have John with us on this interview.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- John's career and background in the relationship area, as well as perspectives in other areas over the years (05:16)
- Correctly interpreting women and understanding their biological emotional reactions (11:37)
- When women test men: maintaining your masculine energy (cool, calm, collected) (22:18)
- If you want relationships to work, don't expect women to be as accountable as men (37:45)
- Women make up for their lack of accountability by being more responsible than men (41:10)
- The primal fears of men and women (43:38)
- Men must have direction first in doing what makes them happy, and then the partner they are going to share it with who will appreciate what they do (48:22)
- The No. 1 inhibitor of oxytocin production in a woman is the feeling of not having enough time (1:00:20)
- The link between living in a more stressful society and how a woman will lose interest in sex compared to a man (1:01:32)
- Men do not want to get into long-term commitments as much as they used to: overstimulation (a form of ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) (1:13:23)
- What does ADHD mean regarding dating, sex, and relationships? (1:17:11)
- How to increase your testosterone and decrease estrogen (1:21:05)
- The best ways to connect with John to learn more about him and his work (1:26:51)
- Recommendations for high quality advice in this area (1:27:27)
- Top recommendations for guys wanting to improve in dating, sex, and relationships (1:28:10)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: John's worldwide best-selling book on relationships.
- Staying Focused In A Hyper World: Book One: John's book offering strategies for increasing focus, clarity, memory, motivation, sustaining positive moods, as well as information to improve connectivity in relationships.
- Marsvenus.com: How to connect with John and his work. He also recommends his daughter's columns / blog for guys under 35 years old.
- Transcendental Meditation (TM): While discussing his career and background, John talked about Transcendental Meditation (TM) and recommends it as a great form of meditation to use in dealing with the emotional aspects of relationships.
- John noted associate Dr. Warren Farrell for his books regarding relationships between men and women, and how women test men:
- As Good As It Gets: While discussing the differences in accountability between men and women, John noted this movie starring Jack Nicholson in which the actor's character (a romantic novel author) is asked, "How do you write women so well?" He replies, "I think of a man. And I take away reason and accountability."
- Arjuna Ardagh: John recommends Arjuna's work. John is also co-authoring a book with Arjuna called "Conscious Men".
Books, Courses and Training from John Gray
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: John, welcome to the show. It's so great to have you here.
[John Gray]: Thank you so much. It's a pleasure.
[Angel Donovan]: And you've had such a long career. You've had the longest career I've ever known in this area. We've spoken to a lot of people and there was a few differences; have you been doing this for 35 or 40 years or how many exact years? [John Gray]: Thirty-five years.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. And so it's been the seminars, the books, but it's actually a lot of contact with just thousands and thousands and thousands of people. How many people do you know you've contacted in seminars and that kind of experience over time?
[John Gray]: Hundreds of thousands of people and it's hard to remember them all when they've seen me.
[Angel Donovan]: I'm sure you can't.
[John Gray]: Well, kind of.
[Angel Donovan]: You kind of think, "Oh, yeah, I remember that time I worked on you one-on-one in front of the audience or whatever.
[John Gray]: I do fake it sometimes.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. You have to. They just can't get the perspective. I'm sure it's a bit like Tony Robbins' kind of thing. He comes into the same number of people and contact, so I can appreciate that because I've been to his seminars. We love to have people on the show who have a lot of experience like you. Just having dealt with so many people, you're obviously just a wealth of experience.
The other thing I found really interesting was that you've studied so many things. Some of the things I've picked up, I'm sure I haven't found them all, but there's things like [unclear 06:20], TM, Transcendental meditation, psychology hormones, brain chemistry. Could you give us a perspective of the different angles you've taken over time and where you've got to today, in terms of which perspectives you find are most useful?
[John Gray]: Well, 35 years I've been teaching relationship issues; 10 years before that, I was the personal assistant to Maharishi Maheshio [unclear 06:42]. And as a relationship expert, I was a monk; I was a celibate monk. I was totally into it. I guess that's what's unique about me when I do something, I get totally into it. I'm an extremist, but now I'm an extremist in moderation, so a little bit of everything.
So people say, "Well, how did you get into relationships and sexuality?" Because my first courses on relationship were about Tantra and enlightened sexuality and how did I go from a monk to that? Well, if you haven't had sex in nine years, that becomes the biggest interest.
[Angel Donovan]: Your biggest obsession.
[John Gray]: That's right, it was obsession. I started teaching classes. I said, "People, look, I've been interviewing women for the last year that I've had sex with and what makes them feel good." If you're a regular guy, women don't want you to do that because you're supposed to know. There's sort of this idea you're the guy, you should know, but when I told them I'm a monk, I've been celibate, I need to learn, teach me.
So I learned about sex in that year, then I started teaching classes on it and I would say, "What we're going to do here is just basically talk about what makes sex great for you and what doesn't." And so I continued to learn and then I went on from there to recognize that to keep the passion and sexuality alive, it's about love. It's keeping the loving connection. And not that I wasn't in love with the women I was with, but it was a lot and then you start narrowing down and you see how true love grows and you focus on one person and you grow and then becomes family.
So I'm just teaching as I go along and I think that of all the challenges that I've faced, but being a monk and being in the TM and having a form of meditation, and I think TM's a great form of meditation, there's lots of forms of meditation. There's no one right way, but there is something called practice that you do with some discipline and you put your heart into and be regular with it.
Before I got into heavy duty relationships and sexuality with women, I was able to find a center, a relaxation place inside me. I remember when I was reading some scripture or something, there was this phrase that popped out and said, "My mind has found its resting place." And I went, "That's it. That's it." That's probably the greatest benefit of all these years of meditation and everything.
I can just rest. Without falling asleep, my mind can just go into this calm relaxed place and that's a really important skill that people can learn, but it doesn't learn overnight; it's regularly practicing one of these mindful meditation, breath meditations, all kinds of meditations. But if you're regular with it, then when you're in a relationship and it's inevitable that when you get in a relationship with a woman, she pushes button to upset you. You get irritated. You get annoyed. You shut down.
You're always this guy who's enlightened, always happy and fulfilled and got in a relationship with women and suddenly, they say something or do something and I would totally shut down and inside I'd feel furious, rage or I'd go numb. I go, "What is this?" Well, these are all the kinds of emotions and things that were suppressed in order for me to rise above them and now I had to go in and process them and learn to deal with them.
I think it's really important for anybody who has practiced meditation and so forth, is that they learn to rise above it and there can be other ways you learn to rise above your emotions. That's a good skill because that means you can always rise above them if they get control of you.
But then it was time to reenter and embrace all aspects of who I am, which is the emotional part of my being and that's a big journey as well, but such that my emotions don't control me in any way. If I'm upset, I can process quite efficiently and come back to a state of openness, love, focus, motivation and interest, but these are all important skills that in a lifetime we want to learn and that's life mastering.
[Angel Donovan]: I know from coaching guys, something that they struggle with is being reactive to the situations like you're talking to, so would you recommend meditation, TM?
[John Gray]: I think TM is one, I would certainly recommend that. There's a lot of others. There are people that have been spinoffs of TM that maybe don't charge as much.
I do think it's good to learn from a teacher. There's just something about when you have a coach who teaches you, you've made a commitment to it and they can hold you accountable to it. Things we read in a book go in one ear, out the other, so it's good to be part of maybe even a little support group of people that are doing it and then you hear other people's experiences and it enriches you. Those are some various options and I think that's a really important skill.
My biggest insight that I've had as far as relationships when we're dealing with women, you've got your own issues and you have to learn how to deal with your own issues. We can talk about that today, but even bigger than that is correctly interpreting women. Because we're different, we misinterpret them all the time and that's a big key thing.
And since you brought up Maharishi or TM, I'm thinking back to my days when I was studying Eastern philosophy and there was a really key set of underlying message in the Eastern thought which is all suffering, and that's what we go through with women sometimes, it's inevitable; you've got ecstasy, you have suffering, they go hand in hand. And so you have those moments of suffering.
The essence and number one cause of suffering, which was the plight of all these ancient philosophies is ignorance; that was their term, ignorance. A great example of ignorance, and they were using it different from the way we do, I'm basically saying not understanding the situation and the analogy they used was people got all upset, you're in a dark room and you feel this snake and you see a snake on the floor and you panic and you get all upset and you've got to kill the snake, hit the snake, fight the snake.
Somebody says, "Well, let's just turn on the light," and you see there's no snake, it's a stick. That really is a lot of the essence of my message is there's so many things about men that women get upset about, there is nothing wrong with the man, you just have to turn on the light and realize you're reacting and making this big deal out of nothing. But I can never say to my wife, "You're making a big deal out of nothing." Once again, that's a disastrous statement to ever say to any woman; you just don't do that.
Women have got a good hundreds of years of men looking at them like they're crazy because they're emotional than we are and that's another aspect. It's a sexist thing to say women are more emotional except they are. Men can be emotional, but women are more emotional.
I didn't even start teaching that idea until I had the scientific basis. Thirty years ago, you could not say that or I'd be shot as a sexist, but now we've got evidence, biological evidence. This biology is helpful; it's helpful just to make sense of the situation, so it's not a snake, it's just a stick.
When we look at the brain of a woman and a man, one of the significant differences is the limbic system is much, much bigger and some studies have shown it's twice as big in women than in men; now, that's the emotional part of the brain. Another study shows that women process stress differently and when they are experiencing moderate stress, that means a problem, but it's not a big problem, it's not a medium problem, it's a little problem. So when women experience little problems, as reported by women, okay? She's saying it's not a big deal, she has eight times more blood flow to the emotional part of the brain than a man does; that is very significant. What is happening is women get upset over little things, but they're not saying it's a big thing.
Men have just the same potential of negative emotion as women, but we tend to only get emotionally upset when the problem is big and we don't know what to do about it; that's two factors, one the problem is big and we don't know what to do about it. If the problem is big, no big deal if I know how to handle it. It's, "Okay, I can handle this," and that's not for women.
Women haven't even considered whether they can handle it or if it's a big problem, they just have an immediate emotional reaction. We then misinterpret that emotional reaction and say, "You're making a big deal out of this," because if we were that upset it would be because we're saying, "It's a big deal and I don't know what to do about it."
[Angel Donovan]: Right. And what's interesting there is you're talking about uncertainty. Guys often aren't comfortable with a big problem and there's a lot of uncertainty about it.
I find a lot in our coaching is that guys are in that patch with women because they don't understand how she's operating and how she's working. And so they're in that area of uncertainty and then I think the relationship starts to stress them even more and they may get into a bigger problem because they just don't understand and it's an uncertain environment for them rather than their career or other aspects of their work which are more regulated and stable, as far as they're concerned; is that something you've come across a lot?
[John Gray]: Oh, you hit it right on the nail; that's one of the biggest problems is suddenly, a woman being upset. One of the things in Men Are from Mars is a great chapter in there called the Anatomy of an Argument. And I'll say this in front of our audiences and even get laughs, I'll say, "Now look, I've counseled thousands of people here, I've listened to men and women and their fights, I've analyzed their fights over and over again and every time, woman starts the fight.
[Angel Donovan]: You would say that, you're a guy.
[John Gray]: No, I only say that because I'm this big teacher and I'm on stage. If I said that to my wife, it would be death. So I'm on stage teaching this idea. I'm not telling men to say this, but I want men to understand this.
This is the anatomy of an argument. What happens is anything can occur. You forgot to do something, you're late, there's a traffic jam, whatever it is, a woman gets upset and that's the beginning of the argument because what we men then do is we misinterpret her upset as a big problem and we tell her she shouldn't be upset.
Now the good intention behind that is that if I'm with a guy and he's upset about something, it's a kind thing to say to a guy, "Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal. We can handle it." No guy is going to get blown out of shape like that, but women do.
If you tell a woman she shouldn't feel what she's feeling, she feels dismissed, she feels dissed, she feels put down, she feels patronized, she feels rejected, she feels injured by it, basically. And the same way that what I try to help women understand is that just as a woman doesn't want a man telling her how she should feel, telling her she shouldn't feel are minimizing her problem that's telling her what she feels. That's the number one thing, biggest complaint women have is he's making me wrong for what I feel.
I've turned that around for women and I explain for a man, the biggest issue we have is when women try to tell us what to do. So there's a doing and there's a feeling place wherein a man's sense of credibility and confidence primarily comes from his ability to do, to take action. Look what I can do. Women don't have that same reality; they can say they do, but their big reality is how they feel. This is like their precious place where they're most vulnerable.
If my wife cuts down what I do like, "You can't do that. You didn't do that. You'll never do that," that's cutting right into my being and it's affected most by how you appreciate what I do or how you put down what I do. But for women, it's about who she is and that's determined primarily about how she feels. And this is one of the huge issues is so women get upset about something, we misinterpret it as though she's making a big deal out of it when really, she's not, but it will become a big deal as soon as we resist. So she's putting her emotions out there and we're going, "Don't need to feel that way. Not a big deal. Not a problem. Why are you blaming me?"
We do two things, one is we misinterpret what she's saying as if she's making a bigger deal than nothing, that's one thing. And the second thing we do is once it gets big and there's some resistance, we take it personally as though she's rejecting us and we have to now solve this problem. And if she's blaming us, the only way to solve that problem is to explain to her she's wrong for blaming us and all of that's called arguments and that the anatomy of an argument.
She gets upset and we try to explain to her she shouldn't be upset and now she will resist us and it will escalate and we, as men, have to have the wisdom to not fall into the trap because it's a trap.
[Angel Donovan]: And how do we do that? I've got to ask. Is there an escape route or something?
[John Gray]: There's lot of escape routes, but the bigger umbrella of the escape route is to understand what's going on. Now just from hearing me say this is not going to stop. I knew this many years before I mastered this, okay? So it takes practice, kind of like if you're in a karate class and suddenly somebody's going to punch you, you have to step to the side; don't punch his fist, but move to the side and dodge. Dodge. And you get better and better at dodging.
There's an art to this and I know the art because I went through every step of it. The first step is we get in these arguments, and at a certain point when it's starting to escalate I call time out. And a man might say, "Well, she should say time out." No, that's our job. Maybe it will make you learn to do it.
But we, as men, have a greater capacity to stop escalation than women do. See women, when they are upset, when they're threatened, their brain is filled with emotion. Now once a man is filled with emotion, he has a hard time as well, but we have a lot longer time before we become filled with emotions if we have this awareness of saying I want to take a time out.
How do you take a time out? Well, I'll tell you what happens in domestic violence, for example, I've counseled these people; typically every time, there will be some escalating argument and a man will say something like, "Well, fuck this shit. I'm out of here," because his nature is to pull out of it because he doesn't want to hurt the person he loves until he loses control. And so he's pulling out, she will pursue him. She will follow him. She will say things like, "Well, you don't care. You don't do this," and she'll keep asking questions and suck him back into the conversation.
And if a guy is upset, this is a very important rule for guys to know, once you're upset and you put your feelings into words, you will only become more upset. Let's say I'm upset with my wife and I'm talking to you and I'm putting my feelings into words, you're just going to nod your head and go, "Yeah, I get it, John. Yeah, I get it, John," and my upset will go down.
But if I'm upset with somebody who's not going, "Yeah, I get it. Yeah, I get it. Yeah, I get it," if I'm getting any resistance, it magnifies and it just gets worse and worse. So guys are smart, if somebody can point out to them, "Hey, how many times has talking when you're upset with a woman worked?" Very rarely. Very rarely does it work.
[Angel Donovan]: You know what's really interesting about this, I don't know if you've heard of this along your travels is testing; have you heard of women testing men? This is something that comes up a lot in the pickup artist area and other areas, so they talk a lot and I find that some guys get quite obsessed with the fact that they're always being tested by women and it sounds very much like what you're talking about, starting the argument, could be exactly the same thing, in fact, it's just people giving it different words. I find that really, they're just not being calm about it and when they start perceiving that there's a problem, as you said they kind of validate it and you create the problem.
So, the people who start thinking about this testing or starting the arguments all the time, they tend to start creating that situation by acknowledging it, by validating it rather than kind of letting it blow over, which I think is what you're saying as a guy, if we stay cool like we kind of are normally, then things tend to roll past us and we don't engage them; is that correct?
[John Gray]: Yeah, let me explore that a little bit more with you, but I'm right along with you, I just have a different way of looking at. First of all, you said something about we need to stay cool.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[John Gray]: Absolutely. That's masculine energy. Cool, calm, collected, that's masculine energy, that's testosterone. When you have testosterones, the male hormone, we make 10 times to 30 times more than women, politicians and criminals will make 50 times more than women, just as a range, but it's always 10 times, 20 times more, 50 times more than women, so it's a huge male hormone.
Now when that hormone goes down, you become depressed, you become irritable, you become mad, you become angry, you become afraid, so we need to understand the way our bodies are working. There's a male hormone called testosterone that dominates men and when a men is confident, taking action, motivated, considerate, romantic, always his testosterone levels are up. When a man's testosterone levels go down, what happens is testosterone, when you feel you don't know what to do about something and you feel threatened. Now again, you're thinking this is a bigger problem than it is and you don't know what to do about it; you don't understand women. What happens at that moment is you don't know what to do.
When men don't know what to do and something important is happening, like this is the woman you love and you want her love and she's your partner and now she's bitching you and you're going, "What the fuck is this?" What just happened biologically is your testosterone has been converted into estrogen. When you don't know what to do, aromatase, an enzyme, gets produced that converts testosterone into estrogen and estrogen enfuels your brain with emotion. So this is a biological thing that happens in men when we don't know what do, so what I found is for me it rarely ever happens inside of me because I now know what to do.
So the emphasis here is one, you have to recognize that this is not a big problem. Whenever you know what to do, nothing's a big problem. I can handle this. So you have to have this I know what to do kind of a thing; now, that's the first step.
Second, is this whole testing thing. When you're using the term testing, one of the my friends, Warren Farrell who writes great books for men as well, you might want to interview him, he's really great; Why Men Are the Way They Are and a lot of things he's written.
Warren talks about how historically, women have been testy, meaning they would be criticizing, they would be upset with because they're testing what kind of man can actually be present and stay with her as opposed to she doesn't want a man if she gets upset, he's going to get upset and leave because that's the most important thing to women is you're not going to leave. So she's testing what kind of guy has a temperament that can put up with her because women know, on some level, they can't control themselves. They are the weather; the weather comes and go and whatever. And that's why women wear so much makeup, that's why everything about women is pretend. They put on makeup to look good because inside, on some level, they're unstable.
In my book Men Are From Mars, in a very politically correct way, I talk about women as waves and this is their nature. Their nature as waves is on some days they're going to rise up and be really positive and see men as lovable and attractive and then on other levels, their waves will crash and it's like nothing is good.
They get upset about things, they're bothered by things, and they make a big deal out of things from our perspective. So at those times, she literally becomes blinded and let me give you an example of that. There's some biology here to explain it for men. A woman's blood sugar levels are different from a man's, okay? This is all now measurable, we see it to be the case. If men have blood sugar issues, men tend to hold higher blood sugar levels, which is not good for us, by the way, causes oxidated stress in the brain, degeneration of cells in the brain and eventually causes diabetes, so high blood sugar is not a good thing. Women will tend to go high and then they crash low, so they fluctuate more than men. Men will fluctuate, but nothing like women. Women, if they're hungry, for example, that's a sign that their blood sugar has just dropped. They have very little warning when their blood sugar drops and when it drops, it drops much further than for a man.
So the bottom line here is that when a woman's blood sugar drops, suddenly she has no fuel to make serotonin in her brain and what happens is she forgets all the good things in her life and blood flow shoots into the brain to the hippocampus, which is twice as big in women than men, the hippocampus is the memory and she will tend to remember every mistake he's ever made. This is what really frustrates men in relationships because suddenly she'll say, "We never do this. We never do this. You didn't do this." How do they keep record of these things?
For a man to keep record of these things, he has to be really, really upset with this lady, but women, just under moderate stress, a blood sugar level will crash and suddenly they have no serotonin in their brain and they have this estrogen surge that causes blood flow to the emotional memory and they experience temporary amnesia. They forget any good thing he's ever done. This is biological.
[Angel Donovan]: This is biological.
[John Gray]: Yeah, this is real. They forget any good thing at that moment and they only can remember, like in technicolor, every mistake he's ever made. It just shows up right there if her blood sugar crashes. So this is a fluctuation that happens in women and what are they to do about it? Basically, what they need is somebody who will help them rebuild their serotonin levels and the way that's done is if you can be present and a woman believes you're going to be present, that's a big part of it. That's why therapists are so good for women because she anticipates you're going to understand everything she says, you're going to be on her side and everything is going to be okay so that she can talk about what's bothering her. The most powerful serotonin producer is talking about what's bothering you. Typically, men can store twice as much serotonin as women, this was a Canadian study that showed that. Because we have more muscle mass, we can make serotonin 50 times more efficiently than women. We can also physically do a little physical work, use our muscles, and it will produce serotonin for us because we have more muscle mass.
When you use your muscles and you're a man, we have 30% more muscle mass than the average women. When we use our muscles, the amino acids that build muscle are required for using your muscle, go into the muscles leaving tryptophan, which is the smallest amino acid to go right into the brain and produce serotonin. That's why we feel so good when we do some exercise is we can produce serotonin every effortlessly and through physical exercise; woman can't, they have to really push hard and exercise to do that or they can talk about what's bothering them.
So a guy wonders why is she talking about all these problems? He immediately assumes two things, one is she needs me to solve them; no, that's insulting to her sometimes and other times it's not. Again, how do you make sense of women? We'll get there. Or she's talking about problems and you're involved in those problems, we hear it as blame. And so suddenly we're this great guy doing all this wonderful stuff and then we're being blamed because we forgot to empty the trash, we left some dishes in the sink, little things women get upset about.
In our world, if you're my good friend and you've done a lot of good stuff for me and you track mud into my house, you're my good friend, I'm not going to say anything about it, it's no big deal. If the president I voted for comes into my house, he can leave his plates anywhere he wants because I appreciate him so much, I overlook little things; women don't think that way. They don't have the ability to think that way, particularly when they're really connected to somebody, everything is on an equal plane. And so when she's complaining about you did this, you did this, you did this, we're thinking she doesn't appreciate all the big things we do, but in her mind, she does appreciate the big things, but the little things are also important to talk about because they cause her stress, and anything that causes her stress, she tends to have a greater need to talk about.
It used to be historically, men and women did not talk, okay? If you go to Africa right now, you'll see at every little village there's two fires, the women are around one, the men are around the other. If you go down the Amazon, you'll see they don't have the fires, but they have a big building in the little tribal place and the men are all in one spot and women are all in the other and they don't connect. Women bring food to the guys and alcoholic drinks and whatever and that's about it. There's no connection. Why? We didn't understand each other because we talk about things for different reasons.
For a man, when he's under stress, if you look at the biology of what happens, two options happen. He can now have his testosterone go up which makes him feel good and his stress level goes down. And how does his testosterone go up? He mulls over the problem looking for a solution. When men look for solutions to take action when they're feeling like, "Okay, I'm going to find a solution here." He's mulling it over, his brain is sort of [unclear 32:58]. And you don't even have to have thoughts to be mulling something over, you're kind of just, "Hmm. Hmm, let me think about this." Little random thoughts pop around and that's actually a very important process of raising the testosterone and the estrogen going down.
Now, if he talks to the woman at that time, that doesn't happen, but usually when a guy is stressed, the first thing women are wanting is, "What are you thinking? What's going on? What are you feeling? Why are you reacting this way?" And we get suckered into answering those questions and interfere with our process and it only makes it worse.
You see, what she's sensing, and this is where we have compassion for women, women are very much dependent more so than we are, on feeling that connection. They feel the connection much more than we feel it, just like when we're having sex, we feel the connection a lot more. We come alive. Well women become alive not necessarily in sex, although they love sex and all that, but through the connection they're feeling with a guy. So we have to be feeling and then she feels connected to us. But when stress comes along, we disconnect from feeling. We mull it over. We disconnect and to her, we don't notice any difference, it's no different, but to her, suddenly you've just pulled away and she'll go, "Where'd you go? What's going on? What are you thinking? Why aren't you interacting? What's the matter? Is something wrong?" And we're saying, "No, nothing's wrong." She says, 'Yes, there is. What are you thinking? What's the problem? What happened?"
They're trying to get in there and feel our connection and what I teach women, and men, you can teach women, not as well from a book, somebody else teaching for sure, but you can explain things. You can say, "I just need to think about what you just said. I really want to understand it. It's a different point of view and I want to take it in before I talk about it." See, we have to give her some insight as to what's going on.
I've gotten to the stage in my marriage and I can teach this, and maybe you can too, to your girlfriend, wife or whatever, is there are times when women will be talking and we start shutting down. We start getting defensive. We start getting upset, that's when we have to notice, "Don't speak," but they want you to speak and they'll keep going.
What happens to women is when she's talking to you and you naturally start to disconnect, then she doesn't feel heard, then she has to repeat what she's just said and they can get into a loop and talk for the longest period of time. It's like if a woman is talking to you and you're going, "Okay, I'm just going to present to listen and think about something else." They'll never stop because they're looking for feeling a connection; it's all felt.
So what I say to my wife, and this is sort of after years of figuring this stuff out and maybe I'll do a few of the stages; one is we used to have these arguments and my wife would say, "You don't understand." Can you relate to that, women saying you don't understand?
[Angel Donovan]: Of course, every guy can.
[John Gray]: It's a woman's basic reaction, "You don't understand. You don't understand." And I used to say, "Yes, I do, it's very clear to me. What do you think I'm stupid, I don't understand what you're saying?" We don't need these arguments. I saw that one. One day I said I'm just going to respond to this differently and she said, "You just don't understand." I said, "You're right, I don't understand." There was silence. There was no longer any argument.
It's not the ultimate solution but it's a very important point, whenever a woman says, "You don't understand," you basically pause and you ponder it for a moment and you go, "You're right. I don't."
Now most men are terrified, at least unconsciously or consciously of saying, "I don't understand," because imagine you're a surgeon and you have a problem and the person says, "What should we do?" And he says, "I don't know." Well you're a loser then.
Our whole confidence is based upon having answers, being able to solve problems knowing what's true. It's terrifying, on some deep level, just not comfortable, we can put it that way to say, "I don't understand. I don't know," particularly when you think you do. You're listening to them, their words, you get it, but because the words are confronted to our sense of feeling open to her they might sound critical, they might sound like the same thing over and over and it pushes our buttons inside. We're trying to make sense and trying to stop this conversation; how can we stop it? The way you stop it is stop talking. It's periods of time where you get in these little tension things, I will take my time out and I'd go back and analyze and what happened? How did I make it worse?
The big issue for us men is accountability. If you want relationships to work, never ever expect a woman to be even close to as accountable as you are. I hear this with guys all the time. I say I'm sorry, I say my mistake, why doesn't she? They're not capable of it. Maybe if you are, but after you're having sex and babies and that whole thing, they'll lose it.
[Angel Donovan]: Guys get very upset with a girl not keeping her word, that comes up a lot, whether it's, "I'll meet you next Tuesday," or, "I'll call you later," or whatever it was. So this whole wave that you're talking about, which is actually biology makes her want to do something different the next day sometimes and it's quite normal; I know that guys get very, very frustrated with that.
[John Gray]: Part of the frustration we have with it is not just that lack of accountability, it's that they expect us to be accountable. They get upset with us for things and they want us to say we're sorry and we're willing, "Okay, I made a mistake. I'll try not to do it next time."
[Angel Donovan]: That's when the guy yells hypocrisy.
[John Gray]: That's right. That's right. You're wanting something from me and you don't have to do it for yourself. Well, they want it from you, but then nobody else is going to do it. You're cool, calm, collected and accountable.
There was that great movie with Hollywood movie star called As Good as It Gets and Academy Award winner, I forget his name, but he was in The Shining. Do you remember that famous star in The Shining?
[Angel Donovan]: Jack Nicholson, yeah.
[John Gray]: Who was it?
[Angel Donovan]: Well, I don't know if that's the actor you're talking about, but you have Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
[John Gray]: Jack Nicholson, yeah. I just didn't get the accent. Jack Nicholson. So there's another movie he got an Academy Award called As Good as It Gets and Jack Nicholson, he writes romantic novels for women and there's a scene in it where a woman sees him at The Oliver and says, "How do you know women so perfectly? You know inside out. How do you do it?" He says, "Well, I know men quite well, I know myself and I just take all reason and accountability and that's a woman." And he can say that and all the women laughed, but there's a truth there.
When women get emotional they're not reasonable, they can be reasonable. That's why it's sexist to say women aren't reasonable, it's just when you're emotional and when a man's emotional, he's not reasonable.
[Angel Donovan]: It's just it doesn't happen as often.
[John Gray]: It happens for different reasons.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[John Gray]: There's some guys, alcoholics, drug addicts and whatever, their testosterone is down, their estrogen's up, then they're going to be more emotional just like a woman, but more deadly. When men get emotional, talking about it doesn't help unless you're talking to a therapist or a coach or somebody. Women can be talking it out and it does help. It also doesn't help as much unless somebody's actually taking it in. But the difference between men and women is as the stress levels go up, men tend to want to take action, it bypasses the talking part of the brain to another part of the brain, and they've measured this when men are stressed, blood flow bypasses talking part of the brain to taking action and for women, blood flow doesn't go to taking action, it goes to the emotional part of the brain to the talking part of the brain. Her dynamic of when there's danger, "Tell somebody and get help." For a man's dynamic when he's in danger is do something fast and if you can't do it, then ask for help. So these are different wirings that allow us to survive, they're in there and by understanding them, like a woman's lack of accountability, you just learn to live with that and realize she makes up for it in her responsibility.
Now that's a subtlety most people don't look at but there's a difference between accountability and responsibility. We put them in as one word like you're not being responsible. Actually, when somebody doesn't admit a mistake, they're not being accountable. Responsibility is a desire to respond to the needs of others. Women are incredibly good at that, okay? The biggest stress that women have today as they'll say and they're right, "I give and give and give. I'm over-giving. I'm always giving to somebody. I can't give to myself." That's their ability to respond to the needs of others.
When they're stressed, they have a difficulty in feeling their own needs but what they do is they feel other people's needs, they give to those people, then they feel resentful or exhausted, then they feel their own needs and complain about it. It's harder for them to get back to a positive state, give to themselves, they're busy giving to other people. So there is a sense of ability to respond to the needs of others, particularly about little things.
We, as men, have an incredible ability to respond but generally, the problem has to big and we're willing to give up our lives for it. So I wouldn't say men are not responsible, but what I would say is that women are way more responsive to all the little issues of life than most men. So there is kind of a balance factor in the ability to respond to the needs of others, the less accountability they tend to have and I've heard this over and over and over and I tell guys, "So what?"
What I know about women is even though they don't say, "I made a mistake. I have a problem," if you are accountable yourself and make small changes to give them more of what they want, only small changes is the real key thing, otherwise, you become like a woman and resent that I did all this and I'm not getting it back. You do small changes and if they're the right changes, they make a big difference and then she will give you lots of love and support. She won't say, "Oh, my God, you're such a wonderful guy. I shouldn't have given you such a hard time," but they will be thinking it and that's what we just don't know what goes on inside of women unless you're their therapist. They melt inside, but they have such a bigger pressure.
Women cannot imagine the pressure we're under to be performers. Most men don't even know you're under that pressure, but when there's no money around, we're the ones that feel the worst and so we have a huge pressure to provide, to succeed and rise up and so forth. Women have a huge pressure which is to be good. This is their whole thing, to be good because if they're not good, they don't deserve to be loved and if they don't deserve to be loved, then they will be abandoned which is their deepest fear. This is a primal fear inside of women of being abandoned. The primal fear inside of men, abandonment goes in there, but the primal deepest fear is failure because if you fail, you won't be included in anything, you're a loser and no woman will want you.
So success is the ultimate drive for men and the ultimate symbol of success is a woman appreciating a man's success. And for me, and I'll just share this with men is that there was a part of me as a younger man never felt good enough. Never felt good enough. Pushing harder, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough. And it was with my marriage with my wife, Bonnie, who is this really typical woman who is like a wave, but she's very feminine on her female side. She's got all these female hormones and it allows her to do something which is very feminine which is to appreciate little things equal to big things. It also causes all kinds of irrational conversations when little problems are as important as big problems, which every man has experienced with a woman making this problem over here on the same level as this big problem over there; well, that has to do with estrogen. This female seeing every child is equal kind of a thing. It's the whole thing you have to give to all your children, you respond to their needs equally, it's universal love kind of a thing, but what happens is they need to feel that they're good and if they don't give in the right way, it's a real horrible feeling inside they have.
I remember this one time where I would say to my wife, "I always apologize for things. I always say I'm sorry. I'm getting sick of it because there's no balance in the relationship at all. I feel like I'm the only one who makes mistakes here and the only one that has to be better here." And she said to me, "John, when I was growing up, my mother always made me bad. I felt I was the bad one. I was the bad one," and inside for me to even say I'm bad, I'm terrified you'll nod your head and say, "Yes, you are and it would just crush me to the core of my being and I just can't say it sometimes." I said, "Okay, you don't have to."
Now I understand that the way she says she's sorry is by being nicer later on and I suggest that to men, you'll see it. If a woman is bitchy and you take some time to listen to her or do something and don't get angry back, you'll see the next day she'll want to have sex with you, she'll be kind to you, she'll say nice things about you, but she won't say, "Gee, I really gave you a hard time the other day. I'm so sorry." And just watch.
And so the wisdom there is just understanding their language of apology is to give more at another time, but you have to give them what they need to respond from that place. And what men don't know, and this may be the most important thing in our interview is from Men Are From Mars, the book, there's a chapter on Little Things Make a Big Difference, for women, their fulfillment and feeling love.
I guess the point I didn't just finish was I was cured of this need to feel good enough through my marriage with my wife. All my meditation and whatever, I could leave the world and be really high, but I couldn't perform in the world and feel good enough. If I'm meditating, I'm out of the world, fine, everything's perfect; found my resting place and I can be there. However, if I'm working in the world, there's always that sense of who's got a better car? Who's making more money? Who can do this better? What did I do? If I hadn't done this, I could do this. Why don't I have this? All those issues were there.
It was my wife's ability, when I really got that she appreciated me just the way I am and I didn't have to do big things to win her love, but just the little things that I would do for her caused the same response big things did. I started getting this love without having to be superman and that gave huge peace to me. That's when I became very prolific as an author because I felt I didn't have to write perfect books. Actual literary experts say, "This is not literature," and I say, "That's right. It's self-help. It helps people. I could care less what you think."
There's a place where I don't have to be anything more than I am and I've come to the place of I'm the best John Gray in the world, that's it; nobody can be John Gray better.
[Angel Donovan]: So there's this part in one of your books, I think it's the second to last one where you say at one point that we should be focused 90% on what we're doing in life and 10% getting our love and what we need in life from our partner, from the girl in this case; is that a snapshot? Could you correct me there?
[John Gray]: What I'm saying basically, is a man has to have his direction first and then who am I going to share that with? That's where our essence of our self-esteem comes from is our actions, but then we need woman, if we're heterosexual, we need someone to love us and appreciate what we do. A young man feels happy and fulfilled by climbing the mountain, but once you climb the mountain, you can't be happy unless you share that with somebody else because that's getting in touch with the reason I wanted to climb the mountain in the first place.
The reason we want success is the mission and purpose to provide fulfillment for someone outside of ourself, that altruistic selfless part of masculinity is the happy place, so you have to have somebody outside yourself you're doing it for and then when you get to that place, it's like a punch in the gut or the balls when you are doing everything you can, look what I've done and it doesn't succeed in making her happy; that's devastating. It's like, "What's it all for?" That's why there's more male suicides. I did all this and it's not enough.
When men come to me and they want divorce, they always say, "The bottom line is I give and I give and nothing makes her happy."
[Angel Donovan]: Isn't it because they're going around it their own way? They shouldn't be doing it for their own satisfaction. Like, "So I want to go off and I want to climb Mount Everest because it's just something I've always wanted to do. It'll make me happy." When I'm doing that, I'll be happy, I'm motivated and then she'll be happy.
[John Gray]: Well, no.
[Angel Donovan]: No?
[John Gray]: I'm all aligned with the first step. I'm looking at steps. The first step is you do something because it makes you happy. The second step is its purpose is to get this outcome that will provide fulfillment for someone outside myself that I love. Love is very important for us, it's just not the first step.
[Angel Donovan]: I'm not sure the mountain is the best analogy; have you got another analogy we could use that would be helpful?
[John Gray]: Okay. I have a successful career; if I was to stop doing my career today, there's no way my marriage could make me happy. But once I'm successful in my career, my career alone would not make me happy if I wasn't providing for my wife and my children. That's the mission and purpose, the deeper level of men is that everything about testosterone is sacrificed for noble cause. Sacrifice doesn't have to be a bad thing, it means I'm doing this, but it's for something else. There's a lot of other things I could be doing, but often I'll do the hard thing, the difficult thing, but the noble cause is it serves a purpose.
I do this with my men which is think back to times when you felt really, really good, it's when you overcame something difficult. When you had a challenge and you overcame it, didn't you kind of feel like that's one of those signposts, you can feel proud of yourself, I did that. Now I'm not saying be a masochist all the time, life is a balance of difficult and easy, difficult and easy, but it's doing that which is difficult but having a meaning to it. It serves some purpose outside of our own personal fulfillment, that's where the higher level of fulfillment comes.
So when you're doing this and you're experiencing this sweetness of bringing a woman to a higher level of happiness and then she crashes down, it's like a knife in your heart. Why did I do all that for? And that's where men get caught into.
There's a little story I heard from Robert Bly that was very helpful to me on this one. I'm going to shorten it down. He would spend 45 minutes telling this story with drums beating and the whole thing; it was a good experience, I don't want to minimize it, but I'm going to tell a short part of it.
Basically, it's a fairy tale and there's a kingdom and a king and his princess and you can marry my daughter if you kill the dragon. There's this forest and whoever in the kingdom goes into the forest, they never come out because there's this terrible dragon. Nobody has ever seen the dragon, but nobody comes out alive.
So these three sons come and we're going to do it. The older son goes in and he's looking for the dragon all day long, doesn't find it. He's getting tired. It's cold.
He sees this little gingerbread house, it's nice and warm looking and a fire glowing in the house and the smell of bread. So he goes, "The smell of bread." He goes into the house, he smells the bread, but there's nobody there and so he takes a slice of the bread and eats it. He takes the loaf and he starts eating the bread and it was heavenly. And this beautiful woman walks into the room and she says, "Oh, you like my bread?" He goes, "Yes, it's really good. Nothing like a woman's love after a hard day's work." She says, "Oh, may I have some bread too?" He says, "Sure."
He hands her the bread but she accidentally drops it and she said, "Oh, would you pick up the bread for me? He said, "Sure." He picks up the bread and she turns into an evil witch and hits him over the head and kills him and then cooks him and eats him for dinner, so that's the story.
The second son comes in, there's a big story, same thing happens basically. The younger son comes in and same thing happens, she drops the bread and she says, "Would you pick up the bread?" He says, "My lady, when it comes to picking up the bread, bread is life and death and we're all responsible for our own survival. You'll have to pick it up yourself." And so she picks up the bread and she doesn't turn into the witch, but she stays the beautiful woman.
Now that story hit me so clear because what I see as my wife is this beautiful woman, but at these times, I will try to solve her problem for her and that's when she turns into a witch and beats me over the head with a stick. The thing is, if we can just back off from feeling responsible for a woman's happiness, and this is hard because if I'm having sex with my wife, for example, I'm taking her to higher heights that she can't get to herself and that's true. The male/female energy comes together. I can make her super happy, but I can't make her happy and it's not my job to make her happy; her job is to make herself happy. My job is to make her happier and if she's not happy, I can create a space for her to find her own happiness. I can't make her happy.
I explain to women understanding men, when a man takes you on a date, never ever criticize anything that happens. If it's a romantic date, you're putting your best, most loving self forward.
If I bring my wife to a movie and it's a great movie and she goes, "Oh, what a great movie," I feel like I wrote that movie, I directed the movie. I'm feeling fantastic. If she doesn't like the movie, don't give me all the details on why she didn't like the movie, unless I'm really interested, but most of the time if I want a romantic evening, I don't want to spend a lot of time on what went wrong. I want her to focus on what went wrong.
And I'm not saying you have to be this way all the time, you have to have some real conversations in a relationship, but on a romantic date, that's the time to be like you were when you went on dates, which is you overlook the problems and you focus on what's good and that brings out the best in someone. And so I teach women to appreciate his efforts rather than the outcome is very, very important.
Meanwhile, what I focus on for men is understand when women, it's little things make the same positive impact as big things. So what's a big thing? I'm monogamous, I'm married; these are big things. I go to work, all my income I share with my wife; these are big things. I bought this house; it's a big thing. So these are big things.
So men go, "Well, I've done all these big things, she should be happy with that. That should make her happy." Well, it doesn't make women happy. It makes them happy when they first get it, but then they're not happy. They want more. So how can I do more? I can't do more. There's no way I can get to more and more, but they want more.
Now, when men go where they shouldn't; why shouldn't they? Don't I want more success? Don't I want more opportunities to give my message to the world? Don't I want more? Of course, that's the nature of life is to want more.
Women will always want more in their relationship, but I'm already doing everything I can. No, I'm doing the big stuff. I'm trying my best to provide for my family. I'm a good husband. I get basically a few points for that, that's all.
The idea is to think of it in terms of scoring points, every act of love, big or small, scores one point and there's rules with this. If you offer something without her asking, you get an extra point.
Women really like it when you offer help, but when I teach women if they're not getting it, they have to learn to let him know what's important to them. But the secret is if I give her 36 roses, in my mind if I don't understand women, I'm thinking that's a good 36 points; no, that's one point. It's an act of love. I can bring one rose, that's one point.
I go to work, no matter how successful I am, after you're paying the bills, I go to work, that's just one point. I come home, that's just one point. I'm a good husband, I'm a monogamous husband, I'm a faithful husband, that's just one point; that's three points I'm making.
She's busy scoring points all day long. I worried about him. I cleaned up after him. I fixed his dinner that he likes. I'm thinking of him. I wrote a note for him to sign for a friend.
All these little things that women do, they're busy giving themselves merit points. I'm so good. I'm so good. I'm so good. And look what he's done, three points. Now somebody can say, "Oh, this is all just silliness." This is biology.
Now if I give my wife 36 roses, she's going to have a surge of a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is that love hormone. It makes women feel good. It causes their stress levels to go down. It doesn't cause men's stress levels to go down.
We cannot biologically relate to this at all. We can feel good when oxytocin comes up. When you have a climax, you're releasing lots of oxytocin. It's a love hormone. Love makes men feel good, it doesn't lower their stress; testosterone lowers our stress. Feeling successful and loving is ecstasy.
We have oxytocin as men, we can feel it, but it's not controlling our stress levels. It doesn't control our happiness levels; for women it does.
So if I bring her 36 roses, she's going to get a surge of oxytocin and then it will gradually start to go down in a few days, just like the flower dies over a few days, so the oxytocin goes down. I bring her one rose and she has the same surge of oxytocin; that's biology. It's these acts of love, acts of consideration, all those little things we do when we're dating are actually the surges of oxytocin.
So the Greek tragedy of this is a guy is thinking when he's dating, "I'm not going to give her the big stuff, monogamy, provide for her, at least share my income with her, come home to her; that's just three points. I'm not going to do the big things for her, I'll just do little stuff and test to see if little stuff is enough to make her happy." Then we do all this little stuff and she's all happy and then we go, "Okay, I can make this woman happy," then we do the big stuff, we stop doing the little stuff and then she becomes unhappy and we think, "What happened to the woman I fell in love with?" It's like a tragedy, it happens every day.
And so for men, and what you know in the whole pickup artist business and so forth, is if you can get a woman to talk, you win her over. When women can talk and share and you listen, you're building oxytocin points like crazy. And this is the dynamic of women today, which is one of the reasons there's so many problems today is that the number one inhibitor of oxytocin production in a woman is feeling not enough time.
Now every woman, if you counsel them, they go, "I'm busy. I have to do this. I have no time. I'm doing this. I'm doing this," so they're not making enough oxytocin.
They need serotonin to make oxytocin, they need to talk about problems to have oxytocin, but they need to have a good listener which is also a big producer of oxytocin. They need physical affection, they need compliments, they need eye contact, they need planned dates.
They don't need a guy to say, "What do you want to do tonight?" That's no oxytocin. It's, "Let's talk about what we're going to do next weekend." And then find out what she wants to do, find out a few things and then you decide so she feels not like she has to decide.
When women make decisions, testosterone goes up. When women feel someone's taking care of them, oxytocin goes up. But how do you decide if you don't know what she wants?
[Angel Donovan]: Is it a problem when testosterone goes up for a woman?
[John Gray]: Yes, it's a problem. What happens for women is that when their testosterone goes up, their estrogen levels go down. Oxytocin, even if they have it, it can't lower their stress. For oxytocin to work, they also need estrogen.
[Angel Donovan]: So the stress thing is important, in particular, today. For guys, for women today, I think we can all understand we're living in this higher stress society, right? And one of the big complaints in relationships is when a woman loses interest in sex and, of course, often the guy doesn't lose interest in sex and it's traditionally the woman who loses interest in sex; is there a link there between these things I'm bringing up here?
[John Gray]: Oh, absolutely. Men, at least in our younger years until our testosterone goes down, and that's not for me and not for men who know how to build their testosterone, but typically for the younger man up until about 45, he doesn't have any problem being interested in sex; after a while he loses interest in it. Now I'm in my 60s, I'm very interested in it.
[Angel Donovan]: That's good to know.
[John Gray]: Yeah. Yeah. You can leave it alive and if you go to indigenous cultures, men up to 100 years old are making babies.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely. Most of the guys in our coaching programs tested their testosterone these days for the simple reason that they're all coming back at levels of 200, 250, 300, which are pretty low. I know you've looked into this yourself, but these are guys in their 20s as well, 20s, 30s, not necessarily very old.
Based on what you were saying before about when we're feeling stressed and we have low testosterone and all of these things working together at the moment, how is that going to affect our relationships? Is this something you've seen in people that you've been working with, that guys overall tend to have lower testosterone and lower libidos these days?
[John Gray]: They're having lower libidos, but they can have a strong libido; this is a paradox and I can explain it. They have low libido once they've had sex with a woman several times, but if they go online and do pornography, actually, they can get all turned on, but actually that then prevents them even more from being turned on by a real woman.
The reason for that is there's always this balancing thing that goes on between testosterone and oxytocin. The more you know somebody and you care for them, this is my girlfriend, this is the woman I love, this is my wife and the more I know her, the more oxytocin I will experience when I'm around her. Oxytocin causes testosterone to go down, okay?
The more I depend on a woman for things, like I really depend on her and I'm feeling some need for her, the more I depend on her, I'm not saying you shouldn't, it's just everything's in balance, the estrogen levels will go up and estrogen suppresses testosterone. So this whole idea that my wife complains, "You don't do this for me," and then I complain back, "You don't do that for me," my estrogen just hit the bell, my testosterone just went down; that's called tit for tat.
That's another trap, women will complain and then men will complain back, whereas that man would have no complaints if she was coming home saying, "I love you just the way you are," and want to have sex with him, he'd be like, "Hey, where'd the complaints go?" They disappear once his testosterone goes up, but when a woman's testosterone goes up, she still has all these complaints. What she needs is to lower her stress levels.
So the idea of oxytocin, this is the paradox, when I get close to a woman, and this is one of the concepts in Men Are From Mars and later books as well, but when you get close to a woman, you feel good. You feel like fulfilled, but your oxytocin levels are going up. Your estrogen levels are going up as you feel you're getting something from her. She makes me feel good; your testosterone level is starting to drop.
At a certain point when testosterone drops, then you need to pull away to rebuild your testosterone. Independence creates testosterone; dependence creates estrogen. So we have a tendency to get close to women and then withdraw, to pull away. Now many women will shame men for that.
It's like I come home and I say, "Look, I'm going to the movies with my guys. What? You want to go to the movies with the guys? We haven't had any time together. What, you want to be with them and not me?" And the sensitive guy is going to, "Okay, I'll stay home." No.
What I said to my wife, I remember the first year this happened where she started wanting to control my own independence, I said, "Look, I want to have quality time with you as well, but I can't unless I go out and play basketball. I need to go out and spend some time with my guys, then we're going to go to a movie, an action movie that you don't want to see. Tomorrow I'll feel much better and I'm going to make dinner for you, okay? You'll see." Or, "I'll take you out to dinner," is what I said because I'm not a good cook.
So that was solved and she did not like it, but so what, I have to take care of me. But she's inside going, "Well let's see if he's really telling the truth." And the next day I took her out to dinner and she was like, "Wow. This really works."
After three or four times, she began to understand one of my basic ideas is you've got to take space from each other and it's at those times where women start to cling, that's when men need to take space the most because why is she clinging? Already, your hormones are changing and you're pulling away from her. You're needing to come back to rebuild your testosterone.
[Angel Donovan]: All right. So when your testosterone starts to fall, she starts to cling more?
[John Gray]: That's right. It's like they sense it because what's happening when your testosterone levels are dropping, what your body is wanting to do is rebuild testosterone. The only way you can rebuild testosterone is to disconnect from estrogen and oxytocin. So you disconnect from emotions, it happens very quickly and also, you disconnect from feeling bonded with somebody, so you pull away.
If you pull away and she follows you, even psychically following you, like disapproving of you is wanting you to come back, by the way. You disapprove of somebody because you're saying you're wrong, you should change. So here you are emotionally connected to somebody, they're disapproving of you, you're pulling away and she's following you, psychically, so you just keep wanting to get further and further away.
So women have to learn give men space and at those times, what do they do? They should go off and do something to make themselves happy.
But anyway, coming back to the dynamic of if I'm having sex with a woman, there's always going to be oxytocin produced. Much more oxytocin gets produced than if I had sex with a woman I don't know or a woman who's digital. So if you're getting off on women who are digital or in magazines, you're releasing your energy, there's no oxytocin being produced so basically, you can easily get turned on in the presence of someone that's not lowering your testosterone.
For me, I feel incredible successful in my marriage, so I can be around my wife and my testosterone levels go up. If my wife gives me grief, which she doesn't, I'll pause her. I'll say, "Hold on for a minute. It's starting to sound like I don't do anything good. I want to hear what you have to say, but before you speak more, would you tell me several things that I've done that are wonderful and great or tell me why you love me," whatever. She'll shift. She'll tell me and then I'll say, "Okay, now tell me more what you wanted to say."
Another thing I do, which I want to toss it in here, these are like amazing things that made a huge difference, she'll be talking and I know it's the woman's need to be heard. I don't have that need. If I have a neediness to be heard, I go to a guy, I go to a coach or I listen to myself. I don't need her to make me feel better; that's a key thing.
If men get needy with women, boy, it just pushes women away and it doesn't work at all. You're like a little boy in her eyes. So what you want to do is if she's upset, she has complaints or she wants to share her feelings, tell me more. Tell me more. And I listen and I dodge. I say, "Now she just needs to this for a little while and she'll feel better."
Now sometimes you get hit, it'll hit you and now you're starting to get a little defensive. As soon as I feel a little defensive, I say, "Okay, hold on. I need some time to think about what you're saying. I really want to understand it. And we'll talk again," and walk away.
[Angel Donovan]: All right. So this is basically a cue for you. When you feel a little bit defensive you're like my testosterone is dropping, I need to get out of here and get some space, go hang out with one of my bros.
[John Gray]: My girlie hormones are going up.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. So I'm like, "Oh no, my girlie hormones are going up."
[John Gray]: My girlie hormones are going up, I don't want that to happen.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. I like this.
[John Gray]: Then suddenly you're going to be both back and forth, so you take the time. And you had asked in the beginning what we can do at those times, because I remember as a young man I'd be defiantly walking out of the house and I go, "What do I do now?" See, I saw my father walking out of the house, but I don't know what he did and he probably didn't know what he did either. What do you do at those times?
I pulled away, now how do I rebuild my testosterone? And again, the key is that you're emotionally upset. Now whenever you're emotionally upset, you're blaming. All negative emotions are blaming and that's the opposite of being accountable and being testosterone. Estrogen is blame; testosterone is, "Okay, I can handle this. How did I create this? How can I make it different?"
So there's a self-analysis of going back to what upset you and realizing, "How am I looking at this the wrong way? How did I set her off? How am I contributing to this problem?" And your mind will go into, "But she said this, she said this, she said this," and you listen to yourself. You listen to what's inside which is, "Yeah, she's this, she's this, she's this."
What I noticed for most men, myself as well, the first and easiest thoughts to look at are my blame thoughts. I don't speak them out loud because that's just going to make me more upset and now I'm a girlie. I'm coming back to you.
[Angel Donovan]: Don't validate your girlie side.
[John Gray]: Well, don't act on the girlie side, but listen to the girlie side. Okay, I know your girlie side, now I can listen to those reactions inside myself and not act on them, that's the most important thing.
The way you disconnect from this emotional part of the brain that controls you, you don't want to disconnect from your emotions, you just don't want them to control you. You want to be like a shepherd to them, a parent to them, a loving partner to them, a spiritual witness to them to embrace them, any of those things are true. And what you're doing is you're gaining control from this part of the brain to control this part of the brain.
When you're emotionally upset and you talk, if you're a guy, to somebody to change them, to argue, to win your point, if you're trying to change somebody, then the person who's in control is the middle brain which is basically the monkey brain and you've disconnected from the human bring which is capable of feeling empathy and compassion for another person's perspective. That's what we want to get to is feeling empathy and compassion. Not only does our stress drop, but if you feel empathy and compassion for a woman, immediately, no matter what you say, her stress level will go down; it's telepathic.
You can walk into a room and feel when somebody's there for you or against you, you can feel it; women can feel it 10 times more than men and when there actually is empathy, you cannot experience empathy once your button gets pushed. When you get a little defensive, the girlie emotions are coming up inside of you, blood flow has stopped to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, that's also proven.
When men are in dangerous situations and fear arises, blood flow stops to the front part of the brain, that's measurable and goes to the back part of the brain, fight or flight. You cannot feel empathy at a time when you have to kill and that's fight or flight and men are wired up much, much more so than women because we were the warriors. You can't go kill somebody who's attacking your family if you're feeling, "Hey, you're kind of like a nice guy. I bet we could work this out," and he kills you because you hesitate.
So we have that nature, nothing wrong with that, we sublimate it, we bring it to let the front part of the brain control it. And I explain this because with a lot of guys a big issue is monogamy. Guys are designed to make babies every day. We've got so much sperm we can make 10 babies a day.
[Angel Donovan]: Something I'm coming across a lot at the moment actually, and I don't see it in your book, is that guys don't want to get into long-term commitment as much as they used to; how do you explain that dynamic that's going on right now?
[John Gray]: Well, first of all, the actual reason for it is the whole book I wrote on Staying Focused in a Hyper World which is this overstimulation; it's a form of ADHD, basically. As kids, you see kids are hyperactive, hypersensitive, hyperdistracted or hypercompulsive instead of normal active hyper.
Our society has become hyper because we're being digitally overstimulated by all of our access to computers. I'm not saying not to, just become aware of it and take time to unplug.
We're also being hyperstimulated by a high carbohydrate diet, the sugar overstimulates, alcohol and drugs can hyperstimulate the brain to euphoric state, but then when happens is whenever your brain is overstimulated. You lose neurons and now you depend upon hyperstimulation.
So our fast-paced life, our big screen TVs, you know, I'm just watching Game of Thrones and I'd love to watch the whole thing in one day, but that would be so much hyperstimulation I'd have withdrawals from it.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely.
[John Gray]: Just one hour I get withdrawals from it.
[Angel Donovan]: You see a lot of people die quickly, as well.
[John Gray]: That's life and death, these are high dopamine stimulators. We have so much technology that's like drugs and Internet porn literally, the same part of the brain is stimulated as heroin. This is a major addiction that people are having to get turned on and the more you depend on hyperstimulation, your brain balances back and you lose neurons so now you're dependent upon that hyperstimulation and normal stimulation is never enough. So if you take away the hyperstimulation, you go through withdrawal feelings.
So hyperstimulation creates a demand for super romantic intense feelings in the beginning of a relationship and what produces those intense feelings at the beginning is the newness. When you have newness, that's the stimulator of dopamine along with plenty of serotonin. Serotonin diminishes as you have history with somebody, meaning this argument, this fight, disappointment. Your brain now can't just project perfection onto a blank screen.
So your brain chemicals, after one or two years in a relationship are no longer free and now your body is saying, "I need that hyperstimulation again." We've become addicted to the high stimulation and that prevents us from sustaining normal fulfilling stimulation in a relationship, normal sex, for example. What's found on the porn sites is they say people go from kind of just regular looking at naked women to then this and it gets worse and worse and worse.
[Angel Donovan]: It's more extreme. You need more stimulation to keep interested. So that's also where it fits in long-term relationships because I need a new girl. I need to meet a new girl. I'm kind of bored with what I have because I need this hypertense intense stimulation rather than just normal level.
[John Gray]: Normal level is now zero stimulation. Normal level should be [unclear 1:16:34].
[Angel Donovan]: Right. It's boring, uninteresting because there's no dopamine involved.
[John Gray]: That's right. That's exactly right.
[Angel Donovan]: Now I know you've got a ton of material in there and I'm conscious of time also, but I did want to bring up this ADHD issue because I've noticed in a fair amount of our students that I think they are having some troubles in learning and getting this part of their life solved. I think it's something that let me say, you can't fix it with the psychological tricks that we've learned which is things like meditation, learning mindsets, all the stuff that came from psychology and self-help, I feel it's not enough for some people, not all people.
Something I read in your book was you said almost every client I've helped over 40 years of relationship counseling has had, to some degree, an undiagnosed adult variation of ADHD; could you explain what that means. Does that mean things for relationships? What does it mean for someone in this area of their life, dating, sex and relationships? And could you talk a little bit about that conclusion?
[John Gray]: Yeah. The key thing is when I talk about undiagnosed ADHD, I'm expanding the definition of it. For a child, we just have child definitions, it changes as your brain grows, but basically, it's a dependence on higher stimulation.
Some people need perfection, that's the hypercompulsive person. "Oh, this person's not perfect enough for me. I have to have perfection." So that would be one, where you have to have a certain body type and you're just like, "Well, this is not the perfect body. I have to be perfect. My partner has to be perfect. They have to make a certain amount of money." This hyperperfectionism can be one thing that causes disappointment and lack of interest.
Hyperactive, basically as an adult, means that you need to feel more dopamine stimulation from your partner and now you're feeling bored. So the hyperactive child is really a child who feels bored easily. So as an adult, you start feeling bored in the relationship. You're not getting the nurturing you need.
The hypersensitive type is getting their feelings hurt. They feel like a victim in the relationship. They're always thinking, "I'm giving more than the other person." This person becomes hyperfeeling. "I'm giving more. I'm not getting back what I'm putting," and they feel like a victim and so then they lose interest in their partner.
And then there's hyperdistracted, what that becomes is failure to launch. You have a lot of good ideas, but you never put them into action and you tend to have to wait until the last minute to get things into action. This is where coaching really helps to have an accountability partner, someone that you have to talk to because then you have to say, "I'm going to do it and I didn't do it." So many people have this issue today and this is this overstimulation in the brain.
If I had known what I know now, some of my other cases would have been even more effective. Now everybody who comes to me always takes some nutritional supplementation because as we just talked about, I see the psychological tools can be helpful, but you have to look at the biology of this. There's physiological changes that are occurring in our brain that keep us from feeling passion, lasting interest in our relationships.
[Angel Donovan]: You're talking about brain chemistry here and basically imbalances which are pushing us to hypersensitivity and so on rather than the middle. Rather than looking at it as ADHD which we have in the present, it's called a diagnosis and it's medical, we're talking something a lot more broader here which is basically just un-optimized, just these imbalances which are stopping us to lead the ideal kind of life that we want to getting in the way with the different directions that you just pointed out.
[John Gray]: When I gave the broad definition that everybody had some version of ADHD, I should have probably said it a little differently, which is that imbalance of dopamine function in their brain.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[John Gray]: In book two in this series, which I haven't finished, I'm saying that that diagnosis of ADHD really could be just said to be high dopamine function in the brain, which means that you're depending on greater stimulation in order to feel alive. This is something we're all suffering from as a society, is we're kind of addicted to the fast-paced, we're addicted to the stimulation and we're addicted to the sugar, treats and so forth. We need to be able to experience a greater sense of inner fulfillment without being so dependent on this outer stimulation and just meditation and psychological tools which are useful and good is not enough because there are biological changes that have occurred.
Cleansing is a really key thing for men to fast, basically, one or two days on a regular basis. Just take lemon water, there's all kinds of fasts, I write about them, other people write about them. One of the most important things to get your testosterone up is to kick the estrogen out. There's also different supplements that can be available that help to push the estrogen out. Cruciferous vegetables do that; there's tongkat ali and a few other herbs that help boost the testosterone. These are all practical things that can help the whole situation.
For the brain focus, to restore brain function, we need to improve glutathione production in the body. Hot baths, steam rooms, these are traditional things that men have done a lot which can make a big difference. Forty minutes in a 103° temperature bath will help to increase glutathione in the body.
[Angel Donovan]: So there's a lot of things we can do to improve our brain chemistry and get back to a state that we want to be. So I guess I just wanted to make sure we got the main points out that...
[John Gray]: Let me throw another one out there. Not celibacy, but not ejaculating more than once a week.
[Angel Donovan]: Ah, okay.
[John Gray]: There's research now showing that if you have sex and ejaculate or you masturbate and ejaculate, whichever, but the research is on having sex and ejaculate, what will happen is your testosterone levels will tend to go down a bit and then over the next 6 days they will start to rise; on the 7th day, they double.
[Angel Donovan]: The 7th day. Wow.
[John Gray]: On the 7th day they double and then you start again the cycle. Imagine how much better sex is going to be if it just doubled. What happens is, a way to restore passion or whatever, is don't release your ejaculate, let it build for 6 days and then on the 7th day it doubles, that's the day you have sex and you find that sex is quite ecstatic and quite wonderful, twice as good as what it would have been if you were having several time sex during the week. It will also be twice as good for her because your hormones are up. Her hormones are completely dependent on his hormones to stimulate her hormones.
Life is moderation. There's a lot of other things in life other than sex. You can take that creative energy and put it into other things; physical use of the body, physical exercise, even just a little bit.
And here's the secret with physical exercise, I'll just take a minute to explain. The Japanese have proven this to be the most effective exercise possible and the easiest. Go for a 3-minute walk and then run for 10 seconds and then stop, sit down, or just walk very slowly and let yourself be out of breath. [Unclear 1:23:36]. Don't take a deep breath because that will normalize your breathing. You want yourself to be out of breath for 2 to 3, even 4 minutes once you get good at relaxing your brain. You'll be out of breath for 4 minutes. Animals will be out of breath for 4 minutes.
If you push yourself for 10 seconds, you're communicating to your body that I'm out of breath, so I need better blood flow. I need more mitochondria. You're actually communicating to your body to give me more muscle mass. Then you relax for 4 minutes, 2 to 3 to 4 minutes, then walk a couple minutes, then charge as fast as you can for 10 seconds. It can be on a bicycle, it can be on anything, you're just pushing for 10 seconds to get out of breath and then allow yourself to be out of breath. [Unclear 1:24:19]
So I'm completely in shape, if I want to jog to town and back, I can, I don't. All I do is walk my dog every day for about 20 minutes and during that time I just do the 10-second thing. We jog as fast as I can and then I just sort of slowly walk while she's smelling around and peeing and do my out of breath thing. You can't talk while you're out of breath, so this is somewhat of a solo thing you do.
And you let yourself be out of breath, that stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system to regenerate your body and create more mitochondria which produces more energy in your body and stop the aging process and give you more vitality. Anything that builds muscle mass will increase your testosterone. All that, do that little exercise. So those are two really good tips.
The third one on what to do when you're shut down, you back away, you don't talk, that's the important thing. You get out of the space of the woman completely. You go in your car or you go on a walk, you go somewhere else and you interact with other people that don't see you in a disapproving way, that's it.
Go to the grocery store, go help somebody, go talk to a friend. You can talk to a friend about what just happened, say whatever you want to say, but always try to come back to looking at how I created the problem as well. Once men go into victim, estrogen levels are sky high, testosterone crashes, it just doesn't work.
And for me, I also like to go watch movies. I'll go to the movies and watch some action, ridiculous car movie or Fantastic Four movie or whatever. A man will project into the movie screen and now I'm saving the world again, that will give a good boost to my testosterone.
But then I go back and I think about, "Okay, how did I contribute to making that conversation worse?" I don't go back and talk right away. Then I come back and start doing little things that I know make her happy like giving her hugs, being affectionate, giving her a little kiss. Not even talking about what we talked about before because that will then raise her oxytocin and when women's oxytocin goes up, most of their problems leave their consciousness and they start seeing the good of who we are and it's no big deal to them again. They're just talking to raise their oxytocin and they don't know any other way to do it and that is the most powerful way for them to do it.
[Angel Donovan]: Thank you so much for all of your comments. It's like a huge massive stream for guys to digest here, so we can certainly see the 35 years coming at us.
So thank you so much for your time. I've just got a few lightning round questions we always round off with.
What are the best ways for people to connect with you and learn more about what you're up to?
[John Gray]: Well, thank you. Marsvenus.com. And for guys under 35, my daughter's columns are even more relevant than mine. She even has a section in there called Winning Moves which is with her boyfriend, the things he does that wins her over and they're not a big deal.
[Angel Donovan]: Wow. So she's got her boyfriend there as well. How long have they been together?
[John Gray]: About five years they've been living together.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, great.
[John Gray]: She wants to be financially independent before they get married, which is a lot of women want that these days.
[Angel Donovan]: Cool. Cool. It's great to hear you're working with your daughter; that's pretty cool and it doesn't happen in a lot of families.
Besides yourself, who would you recommend for high quality advice in this area? Who have you come across that you've kind of learned from? You've already mentioned a couple of people today.
[John Gray]: You.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, thank you so much.
[John Gray]: Our conversations before this, I think you're brilliant, absolutely. I mentioned Warren Farrell. We go on a walk every week. We're writing a book together. Arjuna Ardagh; I'm also writing a book with him called Conscious Men. Maybe we can do another interview on that book. He travels around Europe quite a bit and I'll be doing a European tour on the book, but that's going to be Conscious Men. So Arjuna Ardagh, Warren Farrell, these are good guys that I work with.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. Great. Thanks for that.
And what would be your top 3 recommendations, and it could be stuff you've already brought up, but what would be your top 3 takeaways from today for guys who are feeling like they're starting from 0 and they want to improve this area of their life, dating, sex and relationships; what would be the top 3 things?
[John Gray]: Get into shape with your testosterone, lower your estrogen was a big thing we talked about. The easiest way to do that is build your discipline by going a day without eating, having water and lemon. Oh, if you can get some good mineral supplements, I talk about them on my website, it makes fasting very easy.
There's a place where a man's power is what attracts women and power is coming from a place of, "I did something difficult." You don't make it up, you actually have to do something where your willpower is being required. When you have willpower being used, you actually emit pheromones of confidence and strength and testosterone. That testosterone comes from applying willpower through difficult situations like lifting a heavy weight. You're doing something difficult, but you build your testosterone that way.
Fasting is one of the most powerful things a man can do, particularly in today's climate because it gets rid of that estrogen. Then go for a 2-day fast and you're doing lemon water and whatever.
I did a 30-day fast last year.
[Angel Donovan]: You did? Wow, that's impressive. Just a couple of weeks ago, I just did a 5-day fast.
[John Gray]: Wow, that's a big one. It's a big one.
[Angel Donovan]: But it's surprisingly easier than you think, right?
[John Gray]: Once you get over the 3-day hump, it's quite easy, as long as you don't have your wife putting food in front of you.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[John Gray]: You stay out of that. You have to stay busy or whatever.
[Angel Donovan]: So just out of interest, is a 30-day a lot harder than a 5-day or is it kind of more of the same?
[John Gray]: No. No. Once you're through the 3rd day, it's such a good feeling you have through the whole thing. But I didn't do lemon water the whole time, that was a soup fast, okay?
When you get older, you've got to regenerate, you need stem cells to stay vibrant. And if you do something called Bone soup, you cook this soup of bones of cattle overnight for 24 hours, you pull out the stem cells. It's just really powerful, so usually I just do a 1-week bone soup fast as well, and I do regular lemon water fasts on a regular basis.
Every man has to do something difficult and feel good about it, I just did that, but fasting is doing something which kicks out this estrogen. And all the pesticides, the glyphosates, the GMOs, the antibiotics, all these influences are coming into our body, the body thinks they're estrogen and so that's why you get such low testosterone levels in men is because a toxic environment is registered in the body as estrogen and it lowers testosterone in males.
So that would be the main thing is find difficult things, one, and to balance that by not being a workaholic. Take time, work hard, but then reward yourself doing things you want to do, then do things then with a woman, but you have to do things that make you happy that don't involve sex, but involve entertainment, exercise, a competition, whatever. You've got to balance hard work with lots of play and then you come back into the world of sex.
If you depend on sex, you become depleted. If you depend on play, you don't rebuild your testosterone. If you work hard and you don't rest, you become depleted of testosterone. All three together is the real secret.
Here's one other insight which is when you work hard, then you're tired, that's how you rebuild testosterone. Only by getting tired can you rebuild your testosterone levels, but during that time, you have to feel successful. I worked hard, you have to feel proud of yourself, then you have that brain chemical that stimulates your body to make more testosterone.
So when I wrote about men go to their cave after a day's work, they withdraw to themselves, read the newspaper, watch the news, watch Game of Thrones, whatever it might be, anything they want to enjoy doing for a little while, they're rebuilding testosterone and that's been proven. Watching a sporting even or whatever, is rebuilding your testosterone if you worked hard the day before or during the week, otherwise it doesn't and you just deplete more.
[Angel Donovan]: Same as going to the gym, got to build your muscle, work out and then recover for a few days. You need both to build a muscle.
[John Gray]: Right. And even that little thing about going 10 seconds and in 4 minutes to recover, that's what rebuilds the body is the recovery time. So we need a balance of all these things in our life.
[Angel Donovan]: All right. Well thank you so much for your time, John. It's been great talking to you.
[John Gray]: Real pleasure. So Marsvenus.com, they can get more of this information and check out my daughter's blogs, they're better than mine.
[Angel Donovan]: Very cool.
[John Gray]: Thank you.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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