Wake Up or
Break Up

Are You "Mr. Ever-Ready?"

Growing up as a man, I thought it was important to be "Mr. Ever-ready." If someone wanted to have sex and this person seemed interesting or attractive, "Mr. Ever-ready" was supposed to say yes. Or so I thought.

But there's a cost to trying to turn oneself into "Mr. Ever-ready." For example:

  • Have you ever found yourself in bed with someone you didn't really like?
  • Have you ever hurt someone you love because you were flirting or getting sensual with someone else?
  • Have you ever created problems in a good relationship because your eyes kept following the eye candy walking by or your sexuality got distracted by someone who was not really a candidate for a real relationship?
  • Have you ever felt unable to say to your partner, "Not tonight," because you thought it was unmanly to admit you're tired or stressed, or that you need to resolve some miscommunications first before you're willing to get fully vulnerable again with this person?
  • Have you ever pretended to be in the mood and then had a frustrating or lousy encounter with your partner? But if you had admitted you weren't in the mood for sex right now, the two of you might have had a wonderful time doing something else together?

There are dozens of excuses men tell themselves as to why they act like "Mr. Ever-ready." In the new movie "In Her Shoes" with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, there's a fascinating scene that reveals the dangers of being "Mr. Ever-ready" at the wrong moment.

Here's what happens: The character played by Toni Collette is a wise and caring lawyer who is starting to fall in love with a man from her law firm. She has a misunderstanding with him, however, and he feels horrible because he really likes her and wants to pursue the relationship with her.

So the guy shows up at Toni Collette's apartment with flowers to win her back. But Toni Collette isn't home and her younger sister, played by Cameron Diaz, shows up at the door with a shirt barely covering her pink undies and her naked legs. Several minutes later Toni Collette walks in to find the guy in bed with her sister.

She never forgives him, even though he insists, "I am truly sorry. When I was in high school I was chubby and I still have trouble believing today that a great-looking woman wants me." To which Toni Collette comments, "I don't care how fat you were in high school...I could never trust you again."

Now here's the question for each man to answer about whether you are being run by your "Mr. Ever-ready" Self or by your inner wisdom:

If you were very attracted to a terrific person with whom you were building a quality relationship, and then suddenly an extremely stunning sibling or friend showed up half-naked and tried to seduce you, would you be able to say no? Would you be able to put a budding relationship (and a person you care about) ahead of an easy wild encounter with an extremely hot diversion?

In addition, would you be able to say to your partner in a long-term relationship, "I want to make sure that if you're not in the mood to make love, we'll respect that. Or if I'm ever tired, stressed, or unresolved about some issue between us, I promise to be honest with you and not to pretend I'm always Mr. Ever-ready when I'm not."

Do you want your relationship to be about trust and honesty, or about gamesmanship and pretense? These are the questions that most men never talk about with their dads, their best friends, or even themselves. They are the questions that can make or break your personal life.

©2010, Leonard Felder

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Leonard Felder is a licensed psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles. As a popular lecturer and recognized expert on how to improve personal relationships, his books have sold more than 1 million copies. His latest book is Wake Up or Break Up: The 8 Crucial Steps to Strengthening Your Relationship He has appeared on more than 200 teleivsion and radio programs, including Oprah, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, AM Canada, NPR, and ABC Talkradio. He and his wife, Linda, have been together since 1980, and they hare the parents of a 12-year-old son, Steven. E-Mail or www.wakeuporbreakup.com

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