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Secrets to Controlling Your Man

Ben* has been happily married for 19 years. He recently told me the prime reason he married his wife is because, "She was the only girl I dated who could control me."

I had no idea what he was talking about. I don't know many people, men or women, who enjoy being controlled.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I dated a lot of girls, some of them pretty seriously. I was actually close to being engaged to one of them, but I didn't go through with it because she couldn't control me.

But my wife Christine* could. If I wanted to go out with my friends, she'd say, 'Have fun,' and that was it.

It was such a change from the other girls I dated, who used to give me a hard time, wanted to know where I was going and why they couldn't come with me. I went out for a while with one girl who actually said, 'Okay, but now you owe me' when I wanted to go to a wrestling match with a buddy. It was a major turn-off.

But Christine couldn't care less. Whenever I told her I wanted to go out without her, she'd just smile at me and say, 'Have fun.'"

"How exactly was that controlling you?" I asked. "You got what you wanted."

"Yeah," he said, "But as soon as I went out, I missed her. I knew she wasn't sitting around waiting for me to call. I didn't know what she was doing. And since she didn't give me grief about going out, I didn't feel like I'd made prison break. I ended up wishing I was with her, instead of with my friends."

Lest you think this is sexist, put yourself in Ben's place: Who would you be more attracted to? A guy who calls you three times a day, makes demands on your time, and harasses you when you want to go out with your friends? Or a guy who calls once a day (or a couple of times a week), asks you what you'd like to do over the weekend, and tells you to have fun when you want to go out with your friends?

Wouldn't you want to see the second guy more often?

The lesson here is, if you want a relationship with somebody, you must give him air. Give him his freedom. (It doesn't matter if you have nothing else to do except pre-treat the meatball stains on your blouse, keep it to yourself.) Smile and tell him to have a ball. Then let him wonder how you'll spend your time off.

Is it scary? Sure, it's scary! What if he meets another woman while he's scarfing down nachos at the local tavern? Well, what if he does? He's obviously not the right guy for you, and it's better to know that sooner than later.

But consider this: What if he goes out and notices the happy couples and wishes he were with you instead of his friends? What if it dawns on him that the unattached girls hanging out at the bar can't compare to the woman he really wants (you!)?

What if he spends the night thinking of you, missing you, wondering what you're doing and who you're with? Thinking about what a breath of fresh air you are, a woman who's secure enough to do her own thing and give him some time on his own?

What if?

*Names have been changed.

Terry Hernon MacDonald is the author of "How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams." Visit her website at

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