At age 23, I married my first husband, whom I affectionately refer to as Mr. Tall, Dark & Handsome. Believe me, he is all that and a great guy too. By the time we divorced 6 years later, I was convinced that I simply was not the type of woman that men fell in love with, that men loved passionately and gave presents to, that men wrote poetry for and couldn’t wait to make love to. I explained this to myself with the theory that I must be missing the “Grace Kelly gene.” Whatever that Princess Grace-quality was that has men adore a woman, I just didn’t have it.
After my marriage ended, I began a relationship with a man who treated me like Princess Grace. He was very attentive, romantic, interested and passionate. I then decided that there wasn’t something wrong with me after all. My new theory was that I had simply married “the wrong man” and was now with “the right man.”
Lo and behold, after 6 months or so, I had the same complaints about my new boyfriend that I had about my old husband. He had definitely changed from that great guy he had been. Then I remembered that my husband was really great in the beginning, too. That’s why I married him (plus he was tall, dark and handsome!). Looking back, all my boyfriends had been wonderful at first, and they changed, too.
As I thought about the precise moment when men changed, I decided it was when they had “caught” me; the point at which I was unquestionably hooked on their attention and affection. The trick would be to never let a man know I was caught, I cleverly thought. I concluded that if I kept men guessing then they would stay on their best behavior. The only problem with this new strategy, of course, is that it is the opposite of how I wanted to be in a relationship. I wanted to be able to surrender to being in love, be secure, and have a future.
A couple of weeks after I devised my new and improved strategy, a friend of mine independently complained about the same phenomenon. Fatefully for me, the person to whom she voiced her complaint was a man.
“They pay lots of attention, they’re really romantic, they listen, they bring you flowers, and they act like they care about your pets. Then, after a few weeks or a few months, they turn into sports-watching, pizza-eating, beer-belching couch slugs.” (Imagine all that in a Texas accent – she was really mad.)
To my surprise, the man replied, “Oh, I see. You’re a Frog Farmer.”
“A what?” she asked.
“A Frog Farmer.” He elaborated. “Some women turn frogs into princes. You, my dear, turn princes into frogs.”
As you can imagine, my friend was not pleased with this answer at all. But I was completely intrigued. I immediately had a vision: a field with rows upon rows of frogs with the little human faces of my husband and past boyfriends.
I knew intuitively that it was true. Instead of this being bad news, to me it was great news. If I had anything at all to do with how men treated me, I wanted to know. If I it was something I was doing, then I could change it too. (Refer to the end of this article to learn more about the symptoms of Frog Farming.)
Thus began my research in February of 1991. I started with the question, “What if men are responding to women?” Since then I have talked with countless men about how they view the world, their lives, work, relationships, family and especially, women. What I learned completely surprised me. What I learned rocked my world.
As my research changed my view of men, it changed how I react to them, and talk to them, and think about them. My research also changed my experience of being a woman. I even discovered that I affect how much they change after they catch me. I learned that it was I that changed when they caught me, and their behavior followed suit.
They began asking:
Back then it would only take a couple of hours to explain what I had learned about men and some of their most annoying behaviors. Months, even years, later, the women would tell me that their relationships with men had never been the same.
In 1995, a couple of women, impatient to learn everything I had discovered, asked me to put it all together in one class. I’d been designing workshops and seminars for 13 years at that point, so creating a new one wasn’t a problem. I distilled all of the knowledge I’d gained over the years, extracted what I considered to be most important and applicable to most women, and used that knowledge to create our very first live program, which is now online Understanding Men.
What I learned has changed my life. I have amazing relationships with men friends, my son, and the men in my family. I have been married since 1993 to a very successful man who does all those things I had hoped for and more. The best thing is we are more in love now than when we married!
If you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, you may be a Frog Farmer. It is not your fault! Frog Farming comes from how we all have been taught to relate to men. It’s based in misunderstandings and miscommunication. We can help!
Ready to give up frog farming? Start Understanding Men.