I’ve become convinced that I’ve communicated poorly to women on the general effectiveness of The MAP and MMSL approach. I keep running into cases where the wife is dealing with an intolerable relationship problem and instead of actually doing what I suggest to do in the blog/book, she either sends him to the blog, or buys the book, and sits back and waits for magic to happen.
/palpable absence of magic noted
So here we go… it’s a long post but you should see the full process better. There’s been some minor editing to blur Paulette’s personal details, but essentially the email exchange is unchanged.
Paulette: Feels weird writing a stranger about my marital problems but I am a desperate woman. I have recently started reading your blog and I also just finished Michelle Langley’s book, Women’s Infidelity. Your blog turned on the the light bulb of “this is what I need” and Michelle’s book scared the crap out of me as I can identify with most of it (except actually having an affair).
Things have not been ok for a while. Hasn’t helped that in the last 3 years we have endured major life stresses (foreclosure of rental property, underemployed and unemployed hubby who has made very little effort to look for work, hubby’s failed business that made no money, bankruptcy, in-law issues(related to money and overstepping boundaries) and in the process of probably loosing our home if modification is not approved).
Hubby thinks all has been fine until I flat out said I am not happy and something needs to change because I can’t spend the rest of my life like this. He has done all the beta crap that makes me more disgusted and makes me want to pull away and none of the things I need. I know I am not perfect and can be a better wife but I deserve better from my husband too. I am unhappy with many things (his lack of a job, sex life, lack of equal distribution of house work, his refusal to set boundaries with his siblings and parents and their involvement in our lives) and near the end of my rope.
I am seeing a psychologist and on Wellbutrin. (Athol – as an aside, I like Wellbutrin as an anti-depressant/stimulant choice.) Helps the depression a little but doesn’t fix the problems. I bought your book and was wondering if the timeline is something to be tried for this situation of if another tactic could be more beneficial. I don’t want to divorce and break up my son’s home life but I don’t want to feel cheated by marriage and this relationship either. Obviously all that I have done to this point has not worked. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
(Athol – the central problem killing her interest in him is his lack of income, so that’s the key issue that can get driven toward an ultimatum if needed. Losing the house is non-trivial.)
Athol: I think the MAP Timeline is equally effective for a woman as for a man. It is as you probably realize a pretty strong approach to take.
Work on fixing what you can on your end of things in the marriage, and then just start working on making yourself more attractive. He’ll either respond to it or he won’t. If he does, then good. If not… you’re in a better place to find someone new. Just don’t make it a speedy rush to judgment, just slowly turn up the heat on him and give him time to pull his stuff together.
He also sounds like a good person to actually read the book himself.
Basically no more complaining – just get into some kind of action.
Keep me posted.
Paulette: Thank you for your advice. I read all I can on the blog and now I am just waiting for the book to get here. No more nagging for me I am just going to keep up and intensify the working out and figure out the rest I need to work on. I am hoping my husband will read the book and I will keep you posted. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
Paulette: Just got the book, and have some questions.
Ironically I have been doing some of the MAP stuff before I got your book and found your website. I have lost 30lbs so far and know I am working on loosing more and getting to my goal. My husband has responded to some of the stuff. He is always groping me, compliments, etc but hasn’t responded in any way I need ( ie looking for a job, etc). He still has put very little effort into looking for a job and his passiveness just makes me ill. (Ex when he wants to initiate sex he will say ” I want to see your rack, if that’s ok?” The “If that’s ok” part just turns me off and his timing is horrid (when our 4 year old is running around and we are not some place private where our child won’t barge in, or at a very late hour at night when he knows I go to sleep even though he had opportunity an hour or two before when we were alone and I was still up)
My question is about the sex part. I am not attracted to him. Physically he is handsome but his passive personality and lack of responsibility just turn me off. I have a high drive but I just don’t feel it for him. I want to, but you can’t make yourself. Do I just have sex with him anyway while I am working the timeline? Bad sex sucks.
Also while I am working the timeline how do I approach the whole not really looking for a job crap? Do I stop giving him money while doing the timeline? I really resent giving him money and supporting him. He doesn’t even help around the house more while he has all this free time. He does spend time with his son but spends more time in his “office” playing video games, watching YouTube or messing around on the Internet. I feel like I have an overgrown adolescent instead of a hubby and that’s part of what’s killing the attraction too.
(Athol – her 30 lbs of weight loss is a major red flag that she is already unconsciously gearing up to dump him. Instead of dumping him though, we’re going to leverage that very positive Sex Rank improvement to try and get him to shape up on the job hunting angle. This email exchange goes so quickly because she has already laid in almost all the groundwork to make herself more attractive.)
Athol: if you are still having sex with him (and looking even hotter!), and still handing over money to him, while he adds no effort around the house and doesn’t find a job, you are in factrewarding his negative behavior. Basically to a man, if you are fucking him and giving him money, and he doesn’t have to do anything, that’s a really good deal. Why would he change that arrangement???
Seeing you have already increased your attractiveness with the weight-loss and exercise, it sounds like you are at Phase Three of the timeline, and starting to think about going to Phase Four (Chapter 16) Though you may be in Phase Two still if you haven’t made the clothing upgrade and obviously started pulling the attention of other men. (Not saying you have to do anything with them, just pull their attention.)
So the next step is to give him the “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” speech and say you’ve just been going through the motions for the last (however long you’ve been working out). That you just don’t see any point anymore continuing things as they are because the situation is intolerable. “I want to live with a man who has a job and who I can respect. I would like that man to be you, but you seem determined to make that not happen. So you have driven me to a very difficult place where I don’t want to be.”
Then stop the sex and the money to him. If he doesn’t show a near immediate resolve to start looking for work etc, then you move into Phase Five.
Paulette: Thank you for getting back. The bomb dropped last night. I have been in stage 3 for a little while but in denial because I know things are just going to get worse for a while. I haven’t been having sex with him because I just can’t have sex with someone who treats me this way.
It all started with me leaving your book on his desk. He sees it, tells me “You left your stupid book in my office” and muttered something about my reading material being the cause of all our problems. Later on when I get home from my bike ride he is coming onto me, bringing up our 10 year anniversary, teasing about a present he bought me (with my money of course) and I don’t really reciprocate so he stops. He also tells me he is going to play poker at his brother’s house Friday night (for money). (Athol – LMAO you should have heard Jennifer react to that one!)
Fast forward to bedtime. He comes to see me after I have went to bed to ask me what’s wrong. I told him it’s the same thing that it’s always been. He asks me to refresh his memory so I say, “You haven’t been looking for a job.” He says so that’s why you’re punishing me. He proceeds to tell me that he worked all week (he did a side job with his brother on Wed, he thinks these occasional dead end side jobs constitute work, and he cleans the dishes and puts them away most days (I clean and manage everything else and take care of our son when I am not riding my bike or at work). I proceed to tell him this situation is intolerable and he needs to find an actual job with an actual company. He is silent, sulks, I let him know that he’s put me in a position that I do not want to be in. He sulks some more, gets up a goes to his office. I went to sleep and in the morning he was locked in his office asleep.
I sent him an email stating I would rather do this in person but since he got up and left I needed to somehow finish what I needed to say. Told him I love you, but not feeling in love, the situation is intolerable and I have been placed in a position that I do not want to be in. I continued to tell him (as you helped me in the previous email) I want to live with a man who has a job and who I respect and that I want that man to be him.
Don’t know if he read the email. I get home and he has moved from the office to our bed. He is still laying around sulking. Our son was up in his room trying to get dressed (he’s 4). I took our son swimming and when I got home he (husband) was in his office on the computer. His phone rang with his brother’s ring and he got up and left and didn’t tell me where he was going.
So I am in the midst of stage 4 with a husband who is giving me the silent treatment. Nice huh? I am still talking to him and being polite (biting my tongue a lot, occasionally slipping) I will still not have sex with him and I am no longer going to give him money.
If he chooses to get his shit together (to me that is doing a job search daily, have a completed resume, and applying to jobs each week and eventually getting a job; if he chooses to do side jobs while looking for a permanent job that is acceptable) then is it ok to go back to having sex and sharing money? I just don’t want to end up in the position of rewarding him and then he ceases all further efforts because the is now getting what he wants. That’s been the past pattern: He’d do just enough to appease me then stop because he’s get what he’s want or I’d stop standing up for myself.
I don’t think I should give into the sulking either. In the past he knew that’s how to break me. He’d sulk, I’d feel guilty even if my viewpoint was valid and give into whatever he wanted (that’s how we had a corvette at one time among other expensive junk)
I’m planning to give this phase a week. If he does not have a resume and is looking for and applying to work I am planning to move to phase 5. (Athol – Phase Four is a week at the longest.)
So I guess I just need to confirm that what I expect (a typed up resume and active job search) is proof that he is starting to turn things around and is reasonable.
Sorry for long post. Just frustrated and wondering how the hell my life ended up like this.
(Athol – note how reasonable her demands are – have a typed resume, look for a job, get one eventually. That’s not impossible to do. These are not hysterical emotional demands. This isn’t Fitness Testing. These are reasonable requests.)
Paulette: Sorry Athol it just got worse. So I’m thinking I need to to either just move on to stage 5 or maybe just fast forward to 6?
The husband just laid into me before he left for poker. Think he’s po’d because I did not give him money (in fact he scrounged up money from the change jars). He basically went on about how I am a nasty person and that I’ve been a complete jerk this whole last year. According to him I am unsupportive and should be nicer to him. (Athol – anyone hear shades of the unconditional love speech?)
I reiterated that this situation is intolerable to me and that I need him to find a job. I am also apparently the cause of all his anxiety attacks (he refuses meds or therapy). The issue of attraction came up and I did calmly tell him that my attraction is diminished because of this issue. He went off that I was a low scumbag for saying that, he’s never say that to me, etc.maybe he should tell me I am not attractive but that wouldn’t be true. I told him at that point that if there are things he is not happy with we should discuss them so we could work on them. He just continued to blame me for everything. Has never taken any accountability for his actions.
He was upset that I think he hasn’t been looking for a job. He says he’s been talking to people and that the job counselor he saw (I made the appointment before I found your site and book) said the most important thing he could do was to get out there and talk to people. Yet he has not personally put in applications anywhere, has not typed up the rough draft resume he worked on with the job counselor 1 month ago and does not do a job search ever (the counselor showed him how to do this and quite frankly if you can find things on the Internet shouldn’t one be able to pull up the want ads on Craigslist?). He also took a pair of 10 lb weights and threw them on the floor during this “discussion”. (Athol – I’m going to equate that to about the same thing as door slamming . No property destruction, just loud and noisy. If he does it again, I would advise dealing with it firmly, but if you don’t react to it, the behavior is likely to diminish. So we cautiously ignore it for the moment.)
So in a nutshell I am thinking I have possibly married the batshit crazy male version and just need to throw in the towel or does a man go crazy like this before there it real change?
Athol: sounds like you are on track. It’s hard I know, but it’s your only hope for being effective. A clear list of your expectations to him is important too. You absolutely can’t fold up now or you go right back to Phase One… for a very long time.
Hang in there. Write me anytime
Paulette: Just an update. Last night he came home 3:30 in the am. Apologized for the immature conversation we had earlier. I just restated what I need to make things work. Then this am. I get dressed up and go out on errands. When I return he tells me that he read my email. He’s acting panicked. He goes back and forth between trying to justify his behavior and slipping back into childish tactics. Throughout the whole conversation that I will know he is serious about working on our marriage if he has his resume typed up and email to the job counselor he saw for final review/suggestions and that he does a daily job search and submits applications for employment. Wow, the reaction I got. I got I can’t believe your feeling for me have changed, I still feel about you as I always have, I can’t believe the demands you are making on me (I came back with I am not asking anything unreasonable). Then went on trying to convince me that I was horrible for not being more understanding for the loss of the business and yada yada.
He also carried on about how he doesn’t know how to act around me now, he’s afraid to come up to me ant touch me, hug me, etc and that he just has to sneak a peak at me every now and then. He said “Well I guess if I am in a touchy feely mood I will just need to pet the cat.”
He really tried to lay the guilt trip that I was an unreasonable, unloving, unsupportive wife. I told him I am really hoping he will do what I ask so I can be in a relationship with him. I think he also thinks I have another man on the side ready to take his place.
So I stood my ground over a 2 hour conversation and am hoping when I come home from work tomorrow am that the resume will be typed and sent.
He also said once I meet your demands just what what I am going to demand from you. . .
Athol: everything is going very well then.
Old Normal ——> Destabilization Period —–> New Normal
There will be a period of destabilization where he freaks out and tries to get you to back down, and return to the “Old Normal”, but just hold your ground and insist on getting to the “New Normal”.
You are being *very* reasonable. All you are asking for is proof of effort toward getting a job. In a sense he can’t even fail at that as all you’re asking for is effort. He can completely control his putting in the effort to finding a job.
He is threatening you a little at the end with his mysterious demand that he will put on you. I’m assuming he’s going to want hot sex, and I’m in a general sense I’d advise you to be agreeable to anything you’d also enjoy. It’s both a reward for him, and after all…. the actual goal you are looking for as well!
Incidentally… he read your email because he feared that you had possibly started developing a relationship with another man as the reason you suddenly switched things up on him. Which is true in a sense…. you met me! The good news is that I’m not out to split you guys up et al. He’ll like himself a whole lot better with a job, and deep down he knows that.
Keep it going. You are doing great.
(And for him who reads the email…. she does love you. But you gotta get your shit together or you will lose her. She’s gotten a taste of her own inner strength now. Find yours, you won her once, you can win her again.)
Paulette: Just a good update Today I came home from work this morning and went to sleep as I have to go back tonight. Did not ask hubby about the resume. He talked to me a bit but I went to sleep. Later when I woke up and was starting to get ready he told me he had something for me. He handed me his typed up resume.
He also gave me the bike helmet (I thought he had already bought it from the way he teased about it earlier in the week but he didn’t. He took the money he just got paid from the side job he completed to buy it) He gave me the helmet today because our 4 year old was go with him and couldn’t contain the surprise.
I was very happy about the resume. Let him kiss me, feel me up then he gave me great oral and I was so turned on I gave him a BJ.
Told he had to do a job search and submit applications every day this week if I was going to fuck him but also told him I would gladly give him a BJ for each day he did a job search and submitted job applications. I also let him know that things were on the right track and need to keep moving in this direction. He told me he loved me and that I look beautiful. I told him that once he got a job he better be prepared to have the brains screwed out of him for an entire weekend in celebration. He said you don’t have to give me a BJ each day I look for a job and I just looked at him and said, “Do you think that I don’t like sex?” Then he goes “No”
So hopefully progress will continue.I will keep you updated. I am not backing down and expect that my husband will be the man I need him to be and if chooses not to then I will move on with my dignity.
Oh to clarify earlier. The email he read is not the advice you have been sending me, it was the I love but I’m not in love with you speech you helped me with. I ended up sending him an email the 1st night this all went down because I didn’t get to say everything I needed to say to him because he left our room and locked himself in the office that night and I wasn’t going to see him in the morning because I had to leave earlier for work. I think he thought I might be seeing someone else because I dress a lot better to go do errands, I started riding with this bike club and mentioned the fact that most of the other riders are men ( left out the part that they are old enough to be my grandfather) and in his mind once a women says I love you but I’m not in love with you that usually means someone else is waiting in the wings.
Thank you (and Jennifer too!) because I couldn’t have gotten this far without your help.
End of email saga.
And I’m back!
A key thing to pay attention to is that her turning off the sex is a very appropriate taste of the future without her. Then as soon as he starts moving in the right direction, the sex resumes. Is it a dirty trick? A cruel use of sex as a weapon? Well kinda, but the reality is he was going to get kicked to the curb, and the sex with her was going to go away for good. It’s a tough love tactic.
It’s also important that she never has an expectation that he will have a job tomorrow. He’s just got to get off the couch and start looking. So she rewards the behavior she wants to see.
Likewise with the whole “Fat Wife” issue in the prior post. It’s simply not possible to be 200 pounds one day, and 130 pounds the next. The reward and positive encouragement have to kick in when she starts the process of weight loss.
Half the battle is simply stopping supporting them doing the behavior you don’t want, and offering support for the behavior that you do want. That you can have control over.
Also for the husband in question, he’s been painted as a bit of a lazy ass. Deep down though, I know he’s been quietly hating himself for not doing what he should be doing. As soon as he gets a job he’s going to feel vastly better about himself and more confident. It’s pretty hard to be anything close to Alpha without a paycheck.
Sometimes life sucks and shit happens. My hunch is that he’s a good guy that just got into a rut. A few months to a year from now, let’s all hope he’s a good guy with a strut.