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Manipulation. Mind games. Guys, you know what I'm talking about. Women have many ways of testing you. Sex equals power, and let's face it: in most relationships, the woman has the power.

But how can you avoid being manipulated? Easy. You just have to know how and why women test men, and you can avoid being manipulated.

Now, think back to any past relationships that you've had. Be honest now and don't feel bad if you answer yes to all of them. Have you ever:

• Changed your clothing, hairstyle, etc., because a previous girlfriend or lover asked you to?
• Have you ever gone to events you didn't want to otherwise: girlie movies, plays, operas, and other female-oriented events?
• Have you ever driven around or ran errands for a previous girlfriend?
• Have you always paid for everything on your dates, even though she has a great job and could pick up a tab here or there or you were short on cash?
• Have you ever been persuaded to buy an ex gifts continuously?
• Have you ever had sex on an ex lover's terms? Did she ever withhold sex because she was angry or wanted something?
• Have you ever called her and she did not return your calls?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may have been the victim of female manipulation.

Don't worry though, you're not alone. Almost every woman I know manipulates their man, and many times they do it unconsciously or don't even see it as such. As a man wanting to know more about women and preparing for finding that one special gal, you have to figure out why women manipulate and what you can do about it when it happens to you. By doing this, you'll save yourself a lot of frustration when you meet that special girl.

So, the first question is, why do women manipulate men? Is it because they like to do it?

Let me be honest with you. Power is very important. Women are attracted to men with power—they seek strong, successful men. Yet when it comes to the relationship, women know they can bring even the strongest man to his knees. This power makes them feel more in control and as if they have some leverage in the relationship. Other women manipulate men because that is the only way of getting what they want that they know. They're afraid of coming out and asking you for something directly, because they're afraid that they won't get it or that asking you will show their vulnerability. Still other women manipulate men because they see other women do it and think it's expected.

So why do women test their men? Sometimes women test their men to see just how committed he is to her or to test their faithfulness. Other times, women do it in order to see how well you really know them or to see if you'd make a good life-time partner. Still other women test their men just because they can, to prove to their man just how indispensable they are to his life.

For example, have you ever had a girlfriend who said, "Sure, go out to the strip club with your buddies, I don't care" ? You probably wondered if it was really okay to go. You might even have wondered if she really cared or if she was secretly fuming because you asked to begin with, or rather she just dared you to go so she would have a reason to be mad for an undetermined amount of time.

First of all, I can tell you honestly that she was hoping you wouldn't go. She wanted you to say, "Why should I go out and see some strippers when I've got the best looking woman at home?" What she hoped you WOULDN'T say was, "Okay, but would you stay up for me wearing that amazing g-string I really like so that we can fool around when I get home?" Your reaction to her will tell her a lot about how you view her and your relationship.

In essence, women test you when they want to get more information out of you. They may want to know how committed you are, whether or not you really care about them, and just how far your loyalties go.

If you are open and honest about your relationship and always tell her the truth, she'll have no reason to test you, because she can just come out and ask you. The best way to avoid manipulation is to keep the lines of communication open. If you think she's testing you, then simply ask her up front: "Is that what you really want to know, or is something else bothering you?" By showing her that you realize she's trying to play games, and that you care about what's bothering her, you take away her reason to play those games. Notice when she's doing it and point it out to her; she may not even realize she's doing it herself.

Make a conscious effort to love and reassure your new woman so that she has nothing to worry about. It will be your responsibility to show her that you are faithful, loyal and true and that you enjoy being with her and making her happy. Talk to her openly about your feelings and the limits of those feelings. Don't let her run all over you just because you care about her. You don't have to put up with mind games.

The key here is not to get mad and not to accuse her of trying to manipulate you. For instance, if you ever had an ex that tried to make you mad and then got mad at you when you did? She was probably trying to see if you would set limits for her or if you would get jealous. Instead, deal with the situation by saying, "I really don't like how you're acting towards me. I'm going out for a walk, and I'd like to talk about this further like two adults when we've both calmed down." By putting her behavior where it belongs—as something childish that harms your relationship—she'll see how destructive manipulation can be.

Another game that some women play is telling their man one thing and meaning something totally different. For instance, she might have told you that she doesn't care where you go out to eat, but has already made up her mind where she wants to go and just wants to keep you guessing to see if you care enough to figure it out.

This kind of manipulation can also come into play during more serious situations. Have you ever had an ex tell you that it might be best for the two of you to take some time apart, even when things seemed to have been going well? The likelihood is that she didn't really mean it; rather, she wanted to see your reaction. She basically wanted to see if you cared about her and the relationship. If you agreed that the two of you needed a break, then that is not what she wanted. If, instead, you told her how much you valued the relationship and asked her what she was feeling that would cause her to say that, so that you started an open and honest discussion about your relationship and where it was going and what you both felt about one another, then THAT was what she really wanted—even if she couldn't vocalize it to herself.

Just remember that women perform little tests in relationships so often they may not even realize they are doing it. It's in their nature, so try not to take it personally when your future gal does it.

Instead, work with her and realize that her "tests" merely come from a desire to be loved and wanted without putting her emotions on the line. They are a self-defense mechanism. Women don't want to be hurt, and testing you reassures them that you really care about them. Testing you also ensures that they maintain some control in the situation. Otherwise, they may feel like you have all the power in the relationship.

To break your girl's habit of manipulation, master the art of looking beneath what your girl says and does to her real feelings and emotions. Never get angry or take it personally; instead, when you suspect something, ask her openly and honestly what's wrong. Often, all women want to do is confess their true feelings to you, but they're afraid of getting a negative response from you.

Once you master these skills, then you'll ALWAYS pass a woman's tests by refusing to play games.


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