We Need To Talk

Reader:  I have GOT to get my husband to read this stuff. Somehow. I’m in hell right now; he loves me, probably too much, and that is both not enough and too much. Suddenly I see why. The inability to make a freaking decision, even over the seemingly simplest things, the excess forty, fifty pounds, the directionlessness in his career… I’ve tried to be supportive and properly subordinate but it’s like that just makes it worse. Nagging would only make things SO much worse so I don’t. But the attraction is disappearing, FAST. I am actively holding my tongue! Oh, and the baby-talk. Look, once in awhile is ok but it’s like that’s his default mode when talking to me now. It is embarrassing.

I mean, 15-20 lbs over, I can overlook, sure. I’m not looking for Adonis. but it’s rapidly getting out of hand. Then the way he comes onto me for sex, it’s like, here, I’ll feel your tits. Ready now? Uh, I guess!

Then his coworker shows up… I’m sure you know where this is going. Other guy kisses like he means it, like his entire body and soul mean it. and those eyes! My god, the look in his eyes is killing me. He never blinks. Then touches my face. omg.

I want to make it stop. OR, really, the rational, logical side of me wants to make it stop. The side of me that just wants to live doesn’t care whether living ends tomorrow, or sixty years from now.

Athol: If you don’t give your husband a fair warning, you will have decided to set yourself on a path where you’ll have to live with yourself inflicting the most terrible pain on him.
So hurt him somewhat now and come clean, or let it fester and really destroy him. The Primer should about scare the crap out of him and give him a plan to make changes.
Good luck.


  1. The Outsider says:

    Deciding to man up because your wife told you to is a bit of a Catch-22, so I can see why you'd rather he "stumble across it on his own." (wink, wink) That being said, now is not really the time for games. Buy the book, give it to him, and say, "Please. Read this and take it seriously. It's important."

    I'm sure Athol could offer some thoughts here, but you'll then have the tough job of giving positive re-inforcement as he struggles out of his beta habits. Maybe it will get harder for you before it gets easier, but at least you'll see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    One last suggestion. This is how you lose weight and keep it off forever. http://www.arthurdevany.com/

    No, wait, one more. Getting divorced is at best a least-bad option. It's a freaking nightmare, actually. It's worth an awful lot of effort to avoid, so don't give up easily. Your husband is lucky to have a wife with the self-awareness to identify the problem rather than just turn tail, but you've got to be on board, too. You have to quit making time with the co-worker. And for the love of God don't tell him about it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the thing that pisses me off most is I have already told him, back around mid-January, when it was "just" a hopeless crush. You know, a good dash of the ol Radical Honesty. It was the most embarrassing conversation of my life. I blocked the other guy from my facebook, stopped going out where he was apt to be. Spent way more time going on dates with H, etc. You know, the whole work-on-your-marriage-to-avoid-temptation strategy.

    The no-contact lasted a few months. I never quite got over the guy but it was sort of reaching manageable levels when my husband INVITED HIM OVER and started pouring moonshine.

    I mean, WTF?!

    I was three sheets to the wind when I told the boy how I felt. Part of me was hoping he'd laugh in my face– nothing kills fantasy like a bucket of icewatery rejection– but that backfired… immediately.

    Which I sort of knew it would. It actually feels like there are multiple personalities living in my brain, all duking it out, and it's exhausting. I find myself snapping at my husband for the most ridiculously small things… and then apologizing for snapping. I think he even suspects something is up, as I am the world's crappiest poker player.

    UGH Yeah, I don't want a divorce. There are small children in the mix. A divorce would be… stupid, stupid, stupid.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Ms. Reader: Why did you marry your husband? It obviously wasn't because he was such a fantastic lover.

    Pre-marital baby? Dated for 5 years and it was expected of the two of you? Just liked the idea of being married, but not necessarily to him?

    No point in fixing the marriage if it was born of the "wrong" reasons, you know?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I APPLAUD your efforts to keep your marriage alive and well. Judging by this post, your husband is either sabotaging your marriage on purpose or DANGEROUSLY naive. He needs Athol's materials NOW!

  5. Anonymous says:

    No, I was actually really, really into him. So into him I did some stupid stuff, like get married after about a six-month courtship. heh.

    He actually used to be awesome in bed. In a way he's still not bad. We still have sex at least once a week, which I think is not too terrible after nine years.

    SSRIs, maybe? He started those a while ago. Necessary, I think. He'd been very depressed for two years before starting them.

    But now sex is kind of, hm… halfhearted and sloppy, like he can't remember why exactly he is doing it. He's certainly cheerier, I give them that. Also the SSRIs are probably not helping in the weight-gain department.

    Anyway, he's really into the idea of marriage-as-unconditional-love, and the better part of my nature would like to give him that, but clearly there is more to my nature than the better parts.

    So thanks, Athol, for offering a vocabulary to even talk about it. Feels weird to admit that I care that he's fat, sloppily dressed, and can't pick a restaurant to go to, even if I make all the babysitting arrangments for our dates. Let alone the bigger decisions in our life!

    But yeah, if he'd drop forty pounds, put on some muscle again and stop that singsongy "but where do YOU want to go, Pookie?" it would probably help, yeah. Start giving me a little shit again. I miss those days. ha! Who knew I was so shallow?

    I expect men to care about appearance, but I thought we women were surely, SURELY above all that. ;)

  6. The Outsider says:

    Okay, Anonymous, you've got your marching orders. It's time for you to suck it up. You're feeling sorry for yourself because your man isn't what you want him to be. Knock it off! Life is tough. People are weak – including you. So what? You've got work to do.

    You didn't mention before that you have kids. That takes this to a whole other level. Divorce under those circumstances is not just sad, it's barbaric.

    Come back in two days and tell us how the conversation went. But otherwise I think its time for you to get moving.

    You can do this. It matters.

  7. Mama Fish says:

    Can I second Arthur Devany – AFAIK that is THE eating philosophy that will see everything fall into place. Since eating this way, I have had no depression or mood swings, my sex drive has kicked in big time and I have loads of energy and spark again – haven't felt this good in years. Don't want to be all evangelical but get a copy of Everyday Paleo and start feeding your man.

    For all your sakes, hang in there, change his (and your) diet to cut out all the grains and processed foods, get him Athol's book and tell him he needs to do this. Yes, it might not be so much 'fun' as if he found it himself, but the Captain is not omnipotent – that's why he has a First Officer! Sometimes he gets abducted by the Borg, yk?

    Good Luck and please report back!

  8. Athol Kay says:

    You're probably spending a lot of time "talking to the medication" rather than to him.

    Seeing you already gave him a fairly decent warning, and that wasn't enough… and the meds can play a part in that… you need to make the next attempt heavy duty if you want to get through to him.

    It's going to get worse before it gets better. I think he needs to be told about the other guy too. He's clearly trying to posion the well on your husband… and your husband is probably going to go to him for advice about you.

  9. Anon 9:11, re-read her comment. And the original post. This is a place to be constructive, not criticize. Either offer up something specific to do, or shut up.

    Hell, she *did* tell him what was going on, and her husband invited the guy into their home. How is that her fault?

    OP, the other comments are much more constructive. Get the book. Short, clear, concise statement that he needs to read and take it seriously.

    And don't guilt yourself that divorce is evil. It sucks. A lot. So does teaching your kids that living life is miserable.

    I hope he listens. It sounds like you really want to make this work.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Just more reasons not to get married. Princess does not want to work thru a burned out marriage(ie other man) and beta boy is toast. And besides it is just to much mork to keep frame on spoiled American women.

  11. It's terribly frustrating when a wife speaks very directly to her husband about the relationship dynamics and things she needs and things she is feeling and changes still don't happen.

    There is so much at stake and changes aren't easy so you keep trying and trying until finally gets to the point where you realize he is happy (or at least willing to accept it the way it is) and your options are leaving him or living with it.

    So you live with it but you don't feel sexually attracted…so you continue to be responsive to his advances but you can't or don't want an orgasm with him. You are frustrated at the position you are in and snap over the smallest things. You become impatient with his inability which feels like unwillingness to make any decision about anything. It's a terrible downward spiral.

    Cheating is a symptom to a deeper problem. It is never the right choice and hurts all involved. There are only two choices really, stay and change or leave.

    Your husband has become complacent and is taking the path of least resistance. It's much easier for him to defer to you for everything. The more he makes his beta choices the more frustrated you get. He can't compete with the other guy and deserves to know exactly where you are. You may disclose and he may leave. That would certainly be a decision on his part, wouldn't it?

    I used to wonder why men didn't "get it". Then I realized a lot of them do get it, but aren't willing to invest the effort to change. It's a hard pill to swallow when you realize you and the relationship aren't important enough for him to invest his energy to changing. So again, live with it or leave…don't cheat.

    Suz had a good post here http://takeninhand.com/do.women.really.want.to.defeat.men The Taken In Hand site feels female oriented like MMSL feels male oriented. They both lead to couples having great sex. TIH because the men lead and MMSL because the women respond.

    Tell your husband what's going on, show him MMSl and The Red Pill Room, and do your part by completely disengaging with the other man and giving your husband time and room to change.

  12. Athol Kay says:

    Read the comments. Beta boy is jacked on SSRIs and brought the other man home and started pouring liquor.

    There's some effort in keeping frame on your relationship, and then there's fucking things up. Learn the difference.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If your husband believes in "uncondtional love" it may explain why he's acting lazy about changing back to his old self and directing all decisions to you.

    He annoys the shit out of you, you resent his blobbiness, he can't be bothered to give you orgasms, and on top of it he prefers walking around in his drug high than in reality with you. Your marriage is done if you're the only one working on it, and you'd still prefer to spend your time with the other guy.

    It has been my observation that the only Unconditional Love that exists is that of a mother's for her children. All other relationships are conditional of the way people treat each other.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Beta boy's self esteem is shot..probably thru her rejection over the years…he knows what is going on by inviting the other man to his house..he is just trying to blow the whole thing up.

  15. Athol Kay says:

    It has been my observation that the only Unconditional Love that exists is that of a mother's for her children. All other relationships are conditional of the way people treat each other.

    Good grief no. Why do think Everybody Loves Raymond was such a popular and at times painfully funny show?

  16. Der Hahn says:

    Wanted to wish you good luck. It's nice to hear from a woman who wants to be supportive of changes in her husband rather than just running him down or replaying the same shit-tests over and over again. I'm a single guy who has gone through some pretty drastic changes over the last couple of years but I was an awful lot like your husband in my marriage. From personal experience I can tell you it's going to be tough for him and, as a word of warning, it might not work. It took me almost thirty years, a failed marriage, and a failed LTR before I finally saw the light.

    I'd also urge you to try to get him a second opinion on the meds he's taking. I've not taken them but know people who have and you're describing the side effects they felt. Don't do anything without medical advice but regular exercise and proper diet can do a world of good.

    Again, Good luck and I hope things work out for the best for all of you.

  17. "Princess does not want to work thru a burned out marriage(ie other man) and beta boy is toast."

    No. 'Princess' is busting her ass to take up the leadership position that her husband has abdicated. I had to do it for 3 years, AND run interference between him an our teenage son. Mine never took meds, and it took him two years to even acknowledge that he "might have been" a little depressed. He got through it on his own, but he is an unusually strong man. For a woman who is not inclined to be dominant, it's hard, scary work to "carry" a man who has fallen down. I'm concerned that she's stumbling under the pressure, but not surprised.

    I suspect the husband IS sabotaging the marriage – he may be unconsciously pairing up his wife with a strong man, because he is currently weak. She must now be doubly strong and resist, so that she can keep her family intact until her husband recovers enough to take over that duty. I applaud her for working so hard at seeking realistic solutions, and for understanding the causes of her emotions.

    OP, "You Go Girl!" Never thought I'd say THAT on a men's site, but you are "going" in the right direction, so keep moving. Ditch the co-worker and focus on the depression. If the meds aren't working, make a change – diet, exercise, new meds, whatever it takes. If your husband KNOWS he's depressed, you're halfway home. There's a good chance it will get worse before it gets better, but I think it WILL get better. And it will be worth it! Now that I have my husband back, (and that's exactly how I define it – he "left" for a few years) our 24 year marriage is better than it has ever been.

    Depression can be a major illness; it's the type of crisis that can make or break the strongest of marriages. When you come out on the other side, the two of you will be unstoppable.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I'm not talking about television land. I'm talking about real relationships.

    If there was unconditional love between spouses, we wouldn't have people divorcing.


  19. Thanks, Red. That post was originally a comment I made on
    TIH found it and asked if they could publish it. I recommended this and other sites to TIH readers.

    (Athol, YOU ROCK! Millions of people should be reading what you write.)

  20. Dreadpiratk says:

    Worst bit of advice ever. So you think you can comfort the devastated kids, whose lives have been forever lessened by the divorce by telling them not to worry, it just wasn't meant to be in the first place? Stupid. However it came to be, it IS now, and there are multiple lives at stake. It will be hard, and may never be perfect, but Suck it up, honor your vows and make the best of it. Your definitively moving in the right direction, and fear is a powerful motivator.

  21. Dreadpiratk says:

    Does your husband have any other men in his life that he trusts? Ones that can speak into his life in a way that he will believe? If so, confide in them and get them to speak to him. Sometimes men just need to hear it from other men for it to be real.
    If you are people of faith, find a church with an active men's group that isn't feminized (they do exist!) and push him into it. Or find a church with a strong Alpha pastor and enlist his help. Sometimes the realization that other people can see how bad it is, that's it's not just a dirty little secret anymore can motivate men to man up and deal.

  22. Are there things about her behavior and personality that doesn't inspire her husband to un-beta himself? Perhaps he's not as good in bed these days because he's not as turned on by her for some reason?

    I feel like we're getting only one side of the story here and dumping all over the guy.

    Oh, and SSRIs are garbage medication. Don't take them.

  23. I think I agree with you Jaz. I also think that we can get very close to unconditional love with our spouses, but a spouse that beats you down can destroy that.

    It is possible to love your spouse as a lover, spouse, friend, partner, teammate, father of your kids, and person. It is when you truly want the best for them and aren't always putting yourself first.

    I like to think my husband and I do that, but sometimes selfishness does creep in. I know that I want the best for my husband, and I know he wants the best for me. Can we damage that? Yes, but it is very, very hard to damage at this point.

    I do worry when I read so much anger and bitterness on here from people. I wonder if others are blaming their spouse when they are the cause of their own misery. They are just unpleasant and selfish, and can't see past themselves.

  24. Yes, we are only hearing one side because she came here to ask for advice. People are giving some good advice, and I wish her the very best in trying to save her marriage. Depression and the effects of anti-depressants are very tough issues. They may need medical help to resolve this. But the other things people have suggested should help too.

  25. Anonymous says:

    @OP, those meds are not helping him and in turn they're not helping you. It's like his thinking and perceptions are clouded compared to when you first met and married him. So I think you really should investigate diet.

    I have not perused Arthur Devany specifically, but I can speak positively for paleo and gluten-free in general as they have helped me get back down to and maintain my fighting weight into my 50's. Plus my energy level is pretty good for my age. You might start by changing the family diet; the changes should start becoming noticeable in a few weeks. Then can look at getting him off the meds.

    Remember you are fighting for your children's sake so that they may have a father in their home. Good luck.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Depression is really terrible to live with. Please dont have your husband stop his SSRI's without consultation with his doctor. There are other options available, but living in depression isn't a good one.

    If you were once really into your husband, that's something really good and solid to shoot for again. Don't give up. You can be attracted to your husband again.

    I'd also suggest picking up a book called Kosher Adultery (you don't have to be jewish to get benifit from the marriage advice). It focus' on bring the spark and excitement and interest back to you marriage with a strong focus on sexuality.

  27. Mr. Dreadpiratk,
    Ask ANY kid out there who's parents stuck together "because" of the kids what they think. It's a far greater disservice to the children. Our job as adults is to model love and self respect to our children. She is keeping her vows and doing her husbands job too. How's that for a lesson and example to children? Teaching them what love "isn't". I personally am sick of this "suck it up" mentality. I personally stuck in a marriage "for the kids" because it was the "right" thing to do for 20 years with a man on SSRI's and other misc. meds. You can't understand the damage to a child in these circumstances. NO DAD IS BETTER THAN A BAD DAD, or one who can't do the "simplest things"!! Ask the children.

  28. Anonymous says:

    "I wonder if others are blaming their spouse when they are the cause of their own misery. They are just unpleasant and selfish, and can't see past themselves."

    Lainey, I think that spouses have unrealistic expectations of marriage and the power of a signed contract. They ASSUME that they can say or do/not do anything, and their partner will just adapt. Hence, the fantasy of unconditional love.

    If such a thing existed, Athol's blog would be unnecessary.


  29. Anonymous says:

    Dreadpiratk is female.

  30. I beg your pardon Dread Pirate! My only experience with "dread pirates" is Roberts. My mistake!

  31. I have read a long term study on the effects of divorce on children that say despite the things we've told ourselves, despite the resilience of our children, they found children raised in unhappy homes are better adjusted and long term happier than children in divorced homes…even when both divorced homes are happy. There is something fundamentally lost when a child's family is split apart.

    I'm not judging anyone, and I'm not saying it fits every single family out there, just saying having children makes the fight to make it work so much more important.

  32. @Jaz71: Can you start putting your name in the reply as box, instead of making an anonymous post and signing your name at the bottom?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Yeeeeaaaahhhh….I think you'll need to cite that study, Red.

    Kids don't want to endure their parents fighting or silent treatments. You'll find most of them have hiding places when young, and spend free time at friends' houses when older.

  34. Yes, please cite Red. And I've never told myself any thing about the "resiliency" of my children. There is no one out there more invested in my children's (4) well being than I. So invested that I was willing to literally die to keep my family "intact". But "intact" is not whole. I wouldn't do that again. They really suffered. My children now live in a home much smaller and they've lost many other material things and they will tell anyone who will listen how much better off they are.

  35. The Outsider says:

    For what it's worth, there is another school of thought on the subject of the other guy. Athol, you're the expert here, and this is your gig, so I realize I'm thin ice disagreeing with you. However, in many circumstances there is a good argument for keeping your mouth shut.

    Two points to consider.

    1. Being cuckolded (i.e., raising another man's children) is the single worst evolutionary disaster a man can face. He has failed to pass on his own genes, and he has wasted his resources supported an unrelated family. In defense against this, evolution has given men a very strong reaction to unfaithfulness. Much stronger than women's. You may underestimate how badly he will react to this news.

    2. There is a temptation to unburden your conscience by confessing. This is selfish. It does nothing for your husband, only for you. You were the unfaithful one, not him. This is your cross to bear.

    Now, things are different if it's still going on, which it sounds like it might be. Maybe the argument for telling him so he can help you isolate yourself from the guy is dispositive. I don't know. I guess what I'm really saying is that this isn't a no-brainer in every circumstance, and you should tread lightly.

  36. I meant no disrespect and am not judging anyone for their decisions. All I'm saying is having children makes the fight to make a marriage work so much more important.

    There are children in divorced homes who are better off…and there are children who are not. There is no one fix for every situation. Sometimes we convince ourselves the kids will be okay because we need to believe the kids will be okay in order to leave.

    Judith Wallerstein: The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.

  37. Anonymous says:

    You told him? I am curios what exactly you said. If it was subtle I would expect it to have been missed. He is on meds then I would think the message would need to be given several times, directly and lovingly. I can tell you that will be hard for you because I can read a lot of bitterness in your posts.

    From the sounds of it, you have already emotionally cheated on your husband. And most Likely physically cheated as well. I am not sure why all the cheering because if a guy posted something similar he would receive all sorts of negative feedback.

    As Athol said, you need to give your husband a chance. I am currently coming up on year one of giving my wife a chance after being pretty direct.

  38. Anacaona says:

    Cosign Red
    People love to think that children are better off divorced if their parents are not happy. Lies all lies. Is always better to stick around. That being said it all depends on the circumstances but still the default should be "staying married" only divorce in the most abysmal of circumstances not because "I'm unhaaaapy" unhappiness for a married couple can be temporary the effects of divorce are permanent, YMMV.

  39. I looked up the study. It's actually a book; seems like it would be an interesting read. But certainly can't suggest it is a study,empirical or otherwise. The author took 131 children whose parents were going through a divorce and tracked them for 25 years and reported on 7 of these children and their trials and triumphs in relationships. To actually be a study one would need to track 131 children whose parents were NOT going through a divorce and pick out 7 of them and track their trials and triumphs. Again, qualitative measurements and would be anecdotal at best.

  40. David Collard says:

    Most men go through what I call "chump slumps". We are only human and can't play Tarzan constantly, especially when the vine snaps.

    The good news is that we do often recover in our own time.

  41. Is it working? You and your wife, that is.

  42. Just as anecdotal as those who say children are better off as a product of divorce as long as the parents are happy.

  43. IANAD, but I have gone through the whole depression/anxiety/SSRI thing before. There's a 50/50 chance (according to my old psychiatrist), that the depression will return. Which means there's even odds that it *won't* return. But those on SSRIs feel like getting off the meds would be a huge mistake, as the drugs did fix things earlier. It's a bit of a vicious cycle.

    Definitely need to get him back to the doctor who prescribed the meds and talk about a plan for getting off of them. They're a decent short-term solution, but the long term effects can be harsh to say the least. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have got the therapy route rather than medication.

  44. So wait — only 7 children were reported on out of 131? Sounds like a B.S. study.

    Besides, there are so many factors to take into consideration, like their friends, school, the neighborhood, I.Q. levels.

    Most of my friends were from broken homes, but we all went to college and are doing fine. We simply stuck together instead of hanging out at home where all the screaming and plate-throwing was going on.

    The trick was to remove yourself from the negative atmosphere (home) and gravitate to the positive people (like coaches and teachers and the cool moms and dads that would listen to us).

  45. Athol Kay says:

    Agree not to stopn the meds without the prescriber being involved.

    However attraction is not a choice, it's up to the husband to become attractive to her again. She can't will herself to be attracted.

  46. Athol Kay says:

    Disagreements are fine. Agree that usually you should downplay the revelation of crossing the line if possible. It causes so much damage.

    However at this point though she's tried the "soft" way of bringing this into the open and he's 100% going to lose her unless she actively chooses to break through to him. So he's not going to listen unless she spills it in more gory detail.

    At this point she'd be doing him a favor. A painful favor to be sure.

  47. Athol Kay says:

    My point was millions of people recognized that family dynamic in their own.

  48. karenMar 17, 2012 03:05 PM

    Mr. Dreadpiratk,
    Ask ANY kid out there who's parents stuck together "because" of the kids what they think.

    I get annoyed when people say this. Your regrets and rationalisations are immaterial, so I'll answer this question as one of those "kids" who is now an adult. My parents "stayed together for the kids" and I think we would have been worse off if they hadn't. They divorced after my brother and I had moved out and neither remarried. It's sad, but I am grateful that I at least grew up with a father.

    If I'd have been asked at the time when my mom wanted to leave, I'd have said I wanted to stay with my dad, but my mom wanted to take us back to their home country. My dad said she could leave if she wanted, but she'd be leaving by herself. I shudder to think of the life we would have had if he had let her leave with us.

    A father is that important! Women also don't realise the stabilising influence of a man.

  49. Some of us do CL. That's why we're here reading, trying to improve or save our marriages, trying to be different.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I don't believe anyone here is saying "children are better off as a product of divorce as long as the parents are happy." The people reading this blog are usually heavily invested in trying to make their relationships work; otherwise they would not be reading this blog, they'd just be out filing. The decision to leave a marriage and when, is extremely difficult for some people when there are no children and nearly impossible when there are children involved. The choices left to you are all bad.
    "Is always better to stay around?" Seriously? Spoken only as one who has not been faced with those decisions.

  51. Anonymous says:

    If the man is stable CL! Yes, a father IS that important. I am so thankful you had one who realized this. How tragic when the father doesn't realize this and the mother is left with being the father and the mother.

  52. CL~ I don't believe I conveyed "regrets or rationalizations". I have none except that I did not make this decision earlier, for my children's sake. I was trying to convey the pain and indecision one goes through to make the best possible decision for your children. I am so glad your Dad insisted that your Mom could not take you away with her. He sounds like a good father. Not everyone is so fortunate. I too am sure you would have been worse off if they had divorced. Please entertain the idea that there are many other circumstances and dynamics that affect decisions.

  53. Dreadpiratk says:

    For the record, I am decidedly male. And I stand by my original comment. Deciding retroactively that you got married for the wrong reasons and therefore can throw in the towel is the rationalization hamster in overdrive. Once you're a parent you're happiness is secondary to you're kids welfare. I spent 10 years investigating child abuse, and can count on one hand the number of cases with two biological parents in the home, so yeah I do believe that short of serious physical abuse or addiction leading to physical endangerment, divorce is always worse for the kids.

    We're talking principles here, don't take it personally.

  54. Anonymous says:

    So, even if the other partner is NOT keeping their vows, you believe one should stay in a marriage because it is the "best thing for the children?"

  55. Dreadpiratk says:

    In short, yes, if there are kids involved. I do recognize that, not being in that situation myself it's easy for me to say, and I don't mean to minimize the pain of people going through such a horror. But again, we're talking about a principle here.

    What I don't get is the attitude that it's either total misery or divorce, no middle ground. Wasn't there a study not to long ago that showed that the majority of unhappy marriages that did not end in divorce reported as happy just 5 years later? Divorce can be like suicide, a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  56. Anonymous says:

    He did offer advice. I would love to know how she told him. Another case of double standards. "Go get em girl, he is fat and lazy, you tried." give me a break, didn't try to hard it seems to me. A man is expected to try and fix the marriage and it is said it could take years. But she can "tell" him once and that is all that is expected. He probably feels your lack of love and it just spirals out of control. Is he expected to change in a month, two months? how much time does he get? Oh ya, it was supposed to be your whole life but a month will do.

  57. Athol Kay says:

    I think the "stay for the children" vs "the children will be better off" debate is trying to make a general determination for something that has specific circumstances to consider on a case by case basis.

    Divorce can be better for some kids, and it can be worse for others. It all really depends on how bad the family situation is.

    That being said, the wife (or husband) divorcing simply because she's not haaaaaaaaaappy is going to damage the kids as opposed to staying in the marriage "for the children".

  58. Anonymous says:

    I agree and these people who spout this crap automatically assume utopia after the split. As if their new relationships don't have issues the kids see or worse with issues of dating, stepdads and moms. the list goes on and on. More rationalization garbage to try and make themselves feel better. If everybody wasn't so spoiled they wouldn't take most of this stuff for granted as family would be everything not some missing feeling I am looking for to fill this hole I have. literally

  59. Anonymous says:


    And it's subjective. My PD ex is still accusing me of leaving because is wa not haaaaaapy.

    You just gotta make the most informed choice you can. My children needed to live a different life, even if it's only half-time.

  60. The person who is dumped is of course going to be unhaaaaaapy, because it wasn't their choice.

    People should live on their own before marrying so that they're not so pathetically dependent upon their spouse when they get married. I believe the biggest reason that people limp along in marriages riddled with physical/verbal abuse, infidelity, substance abuse, and money problems is because one spouse is crippled with fear of being on their own.

  61. I think he should try in this order:

    1) Start him reading Athol's book which you give to him. I also as Athol suggested let him know that you were very tempted to have an affair with his co-worker, who was open to it when you joked to him hoping (sort of) to be rejected. However you haven't;

    2) join a gym and start lifting weights (in weight machines to begin with);

    3) Alter his diet. Eat less in smaller portions but especially work hard to cut out most carbs like ALL snack carbs like chips, all carb desserts like ice cream, carbs as a side course such as potatoes, bread, and all sugar including in processed foods etc. Artificial sugar in small amounts in e.g. coffee is ok. I'm basically talking Atkins/Paleo here;

    4) Be willing to talk about stuff that he reads and answer honestly, but let him bring it up.

  62. The exercising is for three interrelated reasons.

    1)It will greatly help him in losing weight; muscle mass burns calories even when he's doing desk work; 2) it will increase his testosterone levels which will increase his confidence; and 3)it's likely to do a lot to counter his tendencies towards depression.

    Once he's regularly exercising I'd suggest he try going off the SSRI's. Those definitely inhibit sexual desire and lead some to weight gain.

  63. My understanding is that she didn't actually have sex with the co-worker, but was tempted.

    Telling her husband that would be a wake up call.

    Telling him that she actually gave in temptation and did have sex with another man would be something else. That I'd avoid if it's true.

  64. I agree.

    The meme that kids are worse off in a home that's unhaaaaapy is pure feminist ideology. Tons of studies have been done showing that children who's parents divorce have worse life outcomes, from how far they go in school, to income, to likelihood of going to jail, becoming and unwed mother, etc.

    Most of the time unhappiness can be worked through, and isn't horrible unhappiness either, as in the OP's case.

  65. Athol Kay says:

    Just so we're clear, I will continue to delete comments insistent that the reader in question has had sex with the coworker in question.

    Comments need to be productive and positive in tone and for lack of a better phrase, take the side of the reader asking for help. If you can't do that, stop commenting or continue to see your comments being flagged as spam.

  66. Cheating is often times a desperate move.

    It is totally possible that she has talked and talked to her husband about the issues in their relationship, possibly directly and explicitly, and yet he still hasn't responded.

    Cheating isn't the right thing to do and only adds to their issues. I'm in no way condoning it. But it may wake him up and make him willing to talk.

    It is so disheartening to talk and talk and talk and have your husband not respond. He won't say this is it, this is how I am, like it or leave it, and yet he won't change anything.

    She wants him to stop deferring every decision to her and stop kissing her ass. She wants him to grow a back bone and have an opinion.

    While maybe not the usual results, marriages can overcome infidelity. It will take change on both their parts. He has to be willing to forgive and listen and make changes and she has to be willing to have absolutely no contact whatsoever with the other guy. She also has to be willing to live a completely transparent life.

    Not an easy task for sure, but not impossible either.

  67. Been there.. says:

    'Readers' comments sure have generated a lot of commentary from some helpful people and some just opinionated. I would like to applaud 'reader' for her transparency and willingness to reach out. I can tell you have had a hard job holding up so much of the marriage and your willingness to keep at it. But, you are not responsible for your husbands choices and behavior. You can try like mad to keep your marriage together but if you're the only one doing it, you will work yourself to death and die (emotionally, spiritually etc.) The most poignant part of your comment was the "wanting to live" portion. I understand. That is a healthy, normal desire. I stayed with a depressed, medicated, mentally ill person for a long, long time and it almost killed me. I very nearly physically died too as I quit living. My children saved me. The knowledge that I had to be there for them kept me from dying. No matter how bad it was I could not make the decision to divorce because of the belief that it was just morally wrong, till death do you part, in sickness and in health, etc. And, of course the helpful advice of religious people who weren't living in my situation who kept reminding me "about the children". I never stopped hearing about responsibility and obligation; always tied to the "should's." What all these people miss is that God's desire for you is to have an abundant life, full of love. God's desire for you is freedom. If you can have that with your husband then that is the best possible thing for you and the children. The great outcome about your attraction for this co-worker is that it is showing you the missing parts (life) in your marriage and I can tell you are courageous enough to be out there fighting for those things. Good job! Don't give up on your marriage yet, but don't let your spirit die either. Have expectations for your husband and make them clear and give it some time but too much time means you are taking responsibility for the problem and he's still being a loser. And, just as an aside; He's not happy either. Happy people aren't depressed.
    And since everyone is throwing statistics around I thought an interesting one in my own area is that a statistically significant number of teen suicides come from upper-middle class two parent homes….hmmmm.

  68. "She wants him to stop deferring every decision to her and stop kissing her ass. She wants him to grow a back bone and have an opinion."

    I guess men feel they're being agreeable. And if they don't let the wife have her way, she'll start yelling and then cut him off for 2 weeks.

    Truly, we just want him to act like an adult, not another 5 year old that needs to be told what to do and cleaned up after.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Oops. Stupid touch screen keyboard. PD Ex-hubby accused *me* of leaving because I was unhaaaaaapy. Sorry!! Yes, I was absolutely unhappy. I could have written the comment below (march 19, 1:23). I absolutely have my reasons, and my family supports my divorce.

    Just a story from the other side to support the subjective nature of this decision of hers.

    And I still support her, no matter what she chooses.

  70. Karen, my point was that you said "ask any kid who's parents stayed together" as if the answer were a foregone conclusion (a negative one, of course).

  71. It is much more common and much more tragic when a woman unilaterally determines that the man is bad and SHE totally removes HIM from from THEIR children's lives. And by spinning her story to friends, family and church, she receives support, since she plays the victim.

    No woman that is honest and has experienced female dynamics should doubt the lengths that another woman will go to because of spite.

    "If a man is stable" LOL, what about the stable man with an unstable wifes that projects her unstableness on him and then divorces and retains custody? This more common these days!

    Nevermind, I sound like an angry man (and now I limit my rants to once a month).

  72. 7man, most divorces are a result of infidelity, which brings out the ugliest and most viscious behaviour of the betrayed spouse, man or woman.

  73. alphaguy says:

    Many of us have been exactly where the OP and her husband were. Talk About Marriage is full of the same story, over and over again. Something needs to wake this guy up to what is going on. I didn't notice, but did the OP spell out what is going to happen if she doesn't get her needs met? We all have needs and hers aren't being met. I applaud her for being conscious of what is going on. My wife didn't know what was bugging her and both of us didn't really know what was going on til later. I know it's cliche, but marriage counseling helped us through and now we are happy and supportive. Then I found Athol about 16 months ago and the rest is water under the bridge. It's really pretty simple, this guy needs to wake up or he's toast…

  74. pdwalker says:

    I applaud the original poster.

    She appears to be actively trying to solve the problem rather than let her rationalization hamster run free. How many women are willing to do that? How many women are conscious of what their needs really are? Applaud her for that rather than criticize her.

    If I were in her husbands position, I'd be glad of having a woman in my life who is trying to fight for the relationship. I've seen way too many where the woman would not even make the attempt.

    Now, as for my advice? The OP will need to stop with any subtlety. Think "sledgehammer". Anything less subtle than "Read this!" will be missed, especially if depression is involved.

    Ultimately, he has to get off his ass and fix his own problems. All you can do is point him in the right direction (and this is a good place to start) and push him along. The meds are definitely making things worse. He'll have to get off them. Exercise, physical activity, getting out into the sun and fresh air are all things that he can accomplish that can go a long way to defeating depression.

    I wish you all the best. I hope you can find the man you married again.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I've not commented on this blog before, though I've been reading it for about six months now. I think Athol and Jennifer are great, as is the advice Athol provides. Very very helpful to almost everyone that reads it.

    However I felt the need to comment here. So far a lot of these comments have been "pro" marriage, about staying in it and that it's the worst thing ever for the kids for people to break up. I personally think that when you speak so generally, you're doing a massive disservice to the readers here (which you are some of..) and the only real way to comment is on a case by case basis.

    Yes in this instance it seems like things can be worked through, even though we've only heard one side of the story. There have been some great comments about this instance, of what the wife involved can do to try and amend things, of how hard it's going to be.

    But my parents divorced and split up when I was a teenager. Prior to that my dad, as much as I love him and enjoyed his company when he was alive, was an alcoholic. My mother tried for years, 18 to be exact, to make it work. He displayed Alpha traits, they had a good sex life, they both worked and when he was sober they got on. yet when he was drunk, he couldn't make himself do anything. Cook, clean, contribute to our upbringing. Yet when they divorced, my mother was happier, my father was happier. They both were able to spend time with us individually that was good, happy and fun.

    Now obviously this has no relevance to this situation, as it certainly sounds salvageable with hard work from both of them. Athol makes a very good point that the meds he's on will be having a massive effect on how he functions on a day to day basis. Yet I wanted to post, to mention it, as divorce is not always the doom and gloom situation that people have so far shown it as for the kids.

    - Dan

  76. Anonymous says:

    Are you going to change the name of the blog to something more suitable for the direction it is now taking? If you haven't noticed I think some of the good old posters are now gone and replaced with these people. It seems counter productive for me as a man to come here and have to argue with women.

  77. Kathy Farrelly says:

    "Nevermind, I sound like an angry man (and now I limit my rants to once a month)."

    Yes you do! And it's the same kind of rant over and over.

    You need to forgive in order to move on. Rehashing the past over and over does you no good. Gotta let go man.

    Brendan has said as much recently on a thread over at Susan Walsh's. And, he is right.

    You need to forgive and move on… For your own sake.(not hers)

    Onwards and Upwards. :)

  78. Jaz71—

    7man, most divorces are a result of infidelity, which brings out the ugliest and most viscious behaviour of the betrayed spouse, man or woman.

    I think when there are underage children living at home in the marriage, that infidelity is a wholly insufficient reason for divorce, particular when it’s male infidelity, he makes an effort to be discreet, is largely sex only with some affection perhaps, and continues to attend to her emotional and sexual needs pretty well.

    I do think that female adultery is far more dangerous to the relationship for rational as opposed to irrational exaggerated jealousy reasons. That’s because men don’t typically leave wives when they have young children just because they have sex with another woman or two or three. It’s rare for them to do so. Most men and particularly more alpha men, are by inclination polygamous or monogamous with promiscuity with other hot girls, when they can be. Most women are by inclination monogamous or serial monogamous, though a small percentage of slutty women are a good bit like men. Theytypically go from monogamous to serial monogamous when the have real good sex and an emotional connection with an otherwise suitable man, which causes their sexual attraction to their husband to dissolve even further than it had due to marital routine and stresses (and in America the cultural encouragement of white wives to betaize their husbands as per feminist messages). With the dissolving of her sexual attraction to her husband and less and less and less good sex with him, if any, comes a dissolving of her feelings of pair bondedness to him, and hence a feeling of loving him for being a good husband etc., but no longer being “in love” with him. Note this dynamic holds even when the man his wife was cheating with refuses to leave his own wife to marry her, which is by far most often the case. She’ll still often divorce her husband, keep the kids, commit divorce theft, with a view to hunting for new love and a new marriage afterwards.

    It’s typically wives who file for divorce if that happens after she discovers her husband’s infidelity. That happens far more often in America and to a lesser extent the rest of the Anglosphere because of the virulent misandrous militant feminism there.

    None of this typically happens when men are unfaithful to a wife that’s a good wife to him, and has remained physically attractive for her age.

    Nonetheless I wouldn’t divorce a wife I discovered had or was cheating on me if we had minor kids. I’d not let my knowledge of the risks dictate my sense of what must inevitably occur. I would insist she immediately and completely seeing her lover. I would insist that she not do it again, or the result would likely be different. I would insist that she resume having sex with me and that it again become enthusiastic. (Or else, either divorce or I get a pass on fucking other women.) And I wouldn’t tell her this in advance, lowering the risk to her of putting our marriage with kids so much at risk.

  79. @jaz71

    7man, most divorces are a result of infidelity, which brings out the ugliest and most viscious behaviour of the betrayed spouse, man or woman.

    Are you saying 7man's ex is vicious because he was unfaithful? That's what you seem to imply with that statement and it's beyond the pale so you might want to rephrase it.

    It really takes the cake to assume a man was unfaithful because his wife divorced him and got nasty. This is assuming facts not in evidence. Remember that women are awarded large financial prizes for making up stories and other women usually sympathise with her while excoriating the man and caring little about the children.

    Unless you can back up your claim that "most divorces are the result of infidelity", you ought to think about not pulling stuff out of your ass to vilify men and let women off the hook. But I guess if a man committed adultery in his heart in her mind, that counts right?


    Maybe it isn't a matter of forgiveness so much as that a man doesn't just stop caring about the fact that every day that goes by is another day he spends without his children. But y'know, he shouldn't mention the war, lest he upset a woman! That a man is righteously angry sometimes doesn't mean that he has not forgiven.

  80. Athol Kay says:


  81. Kathy Farrelly says:

    I think 7 man can speak for himself CL. Sigh..
    I simply responded in agreement to his "angry rant" comment, because that's just how he comes across in many of his comments. One has to forgive if one is to move on. The needle is sticking in the groove and the the song is never ending.

    There is only so many times one can say the same thing.

    Of course a man does not stop caring about the fact that he does not see his kids..Nor should he!

    You are missing the point.

    This has nothing to do with upsetting any woman either. It's about him..

    Carrying bitterness and anger around is unhealthy. And as Brendan said it is really not possible to move on in one's life unless one can forgive.

    Continual angry rants and projection (seeing in other women what was in the ex) are a stumbling block to moving forward.

    "Unforgiveness is standing still and if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backward. It gives rise to bitterness, resentment and anger, all indications of being in the past not the present.

    Forgiveness isn’t about her, it's about him. Holding onto the old stuff does not make you feel any better. Have to let it go, otherwise it will eventually drag you down.

  82. Thank you for your concern and for caring about his kids. Nevertheless, my point stands and all you have done is repeat yourself.

    Many people are passionate about causes (and occasionally angry at injustice) – often because it has affected them, which is how they came to think about it in the first place – without being bitter and unforgiving. It says a lot about you that you can’t see the difference.

    How about you give up on dragging your Team Woman behaviour onto other people’s blogs like this? Women have a tendency to shame a man's righteous anger. A man’s righteous anger doesn’t necessarily indicate that he has problems; after all, men and women think differently and a woman who criticizes a man by shaming him lacks an understanding of men (and often dismisses needs of children).

    You might like: http://fullofgraceseasonedwithsalt.blogspot.ca/2012/03/dear-men-be-welland-stay-mad.html

  83. Anonymous says:

    Wow — you men here are freakin' bitter and angry. "Team Woman"??? Hahahah- that's so HILARIOUS that you're saying that on a Man's site. I thought men were supposed to be the logical ones, not the drama queens? Talk about exaggeration. You sound like little babies.
    Guess what, Einsteins — there IS NO DOUBLE STANDARD. We ALL get screwed (or blessed) in the end. It's what you make of it. Stop blaming some fake "militant feminist" or "liberal" agenda or "capitalists" (just threw that in there to show that I've got no dog in this polital fight). You sound ridiculous and paranoid. Go fix your own life and stop blaming your husband and/or wife. And stop projecting your own personal issues onto people who are truly trying to help or get helped.
    If you think that no one can read your comments and not see you for who you are — men who feel that the world shits on them, so instead you turn into anonymous bullies in the Comments section of a website that just wants to help — you're not only sad, you're stupid.
    It's a shame that these Comments are brought down by pussies like CL and 7man. Get your own lives in order, bra'.

  84. Thank you Athol. I stopped coming to your site because of some bad apples (who I see are continuing to comment!). They make it very well known that I, as a woman, am not welcome. Just because I've got 2 X's doesn't mean that I'm automatically vicious and hate men. I love guys and espeically my husband. But I stopped reading your stuff because after I did, I'd get so mad at men that I'd snap at hubby. Um, kinda the wrong message! Ha!
    I implore you to continue to have your site be a welcoming place for both men AND women.
    The thing that is most hurtful is how mean and bullying (some) of the men can be to the women who write in the comments. It's hurtfulbecause the women that come here are self-selected to actually be "cool" women. All the commenters that I've read (that are women) appear to really like men and be understanding. Even ifyou don't agree with what they say (and I don't automatically do, despite what one commenter said "Girl Team" or whatever). So allthe rude male commenters do is turn away the women who are most open to the MMSL message.
    Thanks Athol!

  85. Sexy Bearfriend says:

    Excellent reply, Athol!

  86. @ Anonymous Mar 21, 2012 12:12 PM

    Time for an irony self-check.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to the OP here. At least she is self-aware enough to understand what motivates her and cares enough about her marriage to actually try and fix it. NAWALT, indeed.

  88. Athol Kay says:

    I do moderate comments, but I also sleep and have a day job, so 15-16 hours can go by before I get back to the blog Mon-Fri. People say stuff.

    It's a delicate balance of MMSL being aimed at husbands, and yet open to women.

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