Reader: Hey Athol, I’m a long time reader, and I’ve emailed you before, but never for advice. I was hoping you could take a few minutes and give me your perspective on something.
I had the type of marriage that made me wonder how you knew me so well when I read your book. 100% beta, and she pretty much walked all over me and took it all for granted. I spent years doing everything I could to make her happy, and she never was. I couldn’t figure out what to do for years, but I had bad enough oneitis that leaving was never even considered. We even moved across the country because things got so bad at one point that we thought a giant change would help.
Well, it turns out she was cheating on me most of the time. To my knowledge, she never slept with anybody, but there was flirting, then there was dirty texts, then pictures, then skype sessions, etc. At one point there was physical contact with somebody, but she said it never escalated to sex. I don’t know if I believe her. And I knew about some of this at the time, but too put it bluntly, I was too much of a pussy to confront her.
Toward the end of it all, she flew back to California to visit her family. She ended up being gone for a couple of months, and during that time communication got more and more scarce, until she was responding to texts with single acronyms, and telling me she couldn’t talk, citing reasons like, “I’m driving right now.”, “I’m too tired right now”, or “My phone is about to die, I need to charge it before we can talk.” Being the paranoid fellow that I am and knowing that she was acting extremely out of character, I started looking for cheating. I found texts, pictures, and phone calls that lasted for several hours that happened before and after every time her “phone was about to die”.
I wanted to fix things, and ended up finding your book. I read it in a day, and it was enlightening. Armed with that knowledge, I might have been able to make things better, but then I discovered that her online flirting had turned into an emotional affair, and there were “I love you” texts and pictures, as well as pictures of her as a kid, and other things you wouldn’t share with somebody when you were just looking for a quick and fun flirty type of thing.
I decided to finally confront her, and wrote her a letter. She told me about everything before I could give it to her, though. We talked, and we decided to separate. We thought we could do our own things for a while, and in a few months or a couple of years, decide what to do.
We’re both young, and we were only together for 4 years (married for 2). I still care about her, and wanted her to be able to survive and take care of herself, so I agreed to give her alimony. We agreed on an amount that is more than she would get at a low wage job, but doesn’t hurt me much, and I would continue to pay her part of the phone bill until the contract expired in two years. We also both wanted to keep being friends, since we were so close. It was a couple of months before she was able to physically leave the house, and by then we had both started dating other people.
That was about six months ago. As time went on, I became happier in my new life, and started going through a lot of personality changes. I immediately added a ton of alpha to my personality (or maybe it was there and just neutered by my oneitis and overall conditioning in the relationship from early on.) I got a wonderful new job. I met a girl who is so compatible with me in every way it’s insane, the relationship has been amazing and we’re both extremely happy. Not to mention I get laid at least daily. (She also reads your blog, and we’re both happy to know so much about the internal dynamics of our own relationship).
I decided I definitely want a divorce, I’m just saving the money to hire a lawyer. From when me and my soon-to-be-ex-wife talked about it, it wont be contested, which makes things easier. We agreed on the alimony, which I am already giving her, and there is no savings, property, or children. I told her I wanted the divorce a few months ago, and she was okay with that.
(There’s an actual need for perspective coming up, I just needed to give you the back story first. It’s an usual situation when a couple is this friendly after splitting up, so I thought the context was necessary.)
A couple of months, ago, she called me and told me she misses me. That she wants me back even though she knows she can’t have me. She told me that she doesn’t want the divorce anymore. I told her that I still wanted it, and that she can’t have me. She started calling me more and texting me just to talk casually, and I realized that being friends with her is more difficult than I thought. Eventually, I figured out that it’s just not healthy for me to be friends with her, even though that’s what we had wanted when we first decided to split up. I stopped responding to her emails and texts most of the time, and she asked me why I wasn’t responding to her anymore. So I told her that it’s difficult for me to be friends with her, and I can’t talk to her much like she wants.
Guess what? She started calling more. I kept ignoring her. I thought I was clear on the phone, but she didn’t get it. A few days ago, she moved back here. She said she was moving back here to be with a boyfriend she had while she was here, and she’s living with him right now.
We had a couple pets, and I still have them. I told her in the beginning of all this that she could take them as soon as she has a stable place to live where she can keep them. I am also holding on to her stuff in a storage unit I have in my building until she has a stable place to live and can come claim her things.
She sent me an email a few days ago after getting back into town asking if she can arrange a time to come over and see the animals again. I sent her a very clear letter saying that it wasn’t healthy for me to talk to her socially or see her anymore, and that she should see the animals when she came to pick up her things and was here anyway, but other than that I did not want her to come over.
Yesterday, she sent me the following email (the first one that was not friendly, by the way):
“Its kinda fucked up that you won’t let me come and see our animals unless I’m coming to get some of my shit. I don’t hav anywhere for that stuff yet. I need to buy myself some storage drawers for the clothes I do have. You hae to remember that these are my pets too and I want to see them. Its like having kids right now. We don’t have a custody agreement but what if we had kids and I wouldn’t let you come see them unless you were coming to grab some of your stuff? It would be frusterating for you too….I can’t come until I have that other money from you anyways…but still…you’re keeping my kids away from me” [sic]
Even thought it’s not really in my nature, I’m finally starting to get mad. I’ve done nothing but help her, even after a marriage where we had sex only every couple of months, she didn’t contribute to the household or the relationship at all (basically a bored SAHM without any actual kids, who didn’t actually do any housework – yeah, it was bad), and then cheated on me. I’m still helping her with alimony, even though there is no court decision yet because we haven’t filed paperwork. Plus, for what she is costing me in alimony, I could probably hire a lawyer to take this to court so she doesn’t get alimony at all. I have enough evidence of her cheating on me, and I have evidence that I tried to help her work and go to school during the marriage. Everybody I know thinks I am being way more nice to her than I need to be in the first place, and she’s just as ungrateful now as she was while we were married.
It’s only recently that I’ve started seeing the bigger picture here. Her calling me more, moving back here, and trying to bully me with anger like she used to are all some sort of mixture of wanting me back and batshit crazy.
I’m not exactly sure what to do about this last email. Having gotten mad at it, part of me wants to email back angrily and tell her that she should be happy I’m giving her anything at all and not fucking her over in court, seeing as how without the money I’m giving her I would have plenty of cash for a lawyer and she would be lacking rent money. At the moment, I haven’t responded, and plan to ignore her unless she emails me more. More than anything, I just want her to go away. I still want to give her alimony to help her get her life on track, I just don’t want to talk to her anymore. And I don’t want to see her. And if she does contest the divorce, I’ll just make her fight for alimony in court and use that money to pay a lawyer. I just want her to live her life and leave mine alone, and I can see that weather she realizes what she’s doing or not, it looks like she’s trying to get closer to me and hang on as much as she can.
What’s your take on the matter?
P.S. Thank you for reading the essay of my marriage. If you respond to this, I will by another copy of your book lol. And feel free to post this one if you want; I wonder if parts of it might benefit your other readers. “Cheating wife trying to get closer to her husband after he starts cutting her out of his life” probably applies to more men than just me.
Athol: Hiya, as you know, there’s nothing to salvage in this marriage because she has abandoned it. Her return of interest in you is simply to attempt to get you to continue to provide for her. Nothing more. There’s no reasonable hope at all you could ever let her back home and not have a repeat of the same behavior. It’s over.
To be blunt, she’s not your friend. You’re giving her cash for her doing absolutely nothing. You may as well be paying protection money to the Mafia for all the difference it makes. I’ve heard those sharply dressed gentlemen can be very agreeable and accommodating with their friends that pay them money on a regular basis for doing nothing.
You need to speak to a lawyer immediately. I’m absolutely not kidding about this at all. For now don’t do anything different with your wife until you seek legal advice and get the divorce process started.
My strong hunch is that as soon as you start “fighting back” and cutting off the “alimony” and forcing the issue with her stuff, she’s going to make an aggressive move of some sort toward you. It may be actual violence or property destruction, but will more likely be serious verbal harassment. The most dangerous thing she can be driven to do though is immediately get pregnant. If she gets pregnant to anyone…. you’re the husband and on the hook for child support as a sort of default setting. So there’s simply no time to waste on that account. Guido and Fat Tony swinging by to clear up your “little misunderstanding” is probably going to be less expensive than her getting pregnant while you’re still married to her.
Incidentally she absolutely intends to try and have sex with you on the “pet visit” and you’ve been right to avoid that. That’s just opening yourself up to all sorts of potential nastiness coming around and biting you in the ass.
So the next move you make with her needs to be her getting the divorce papers, and then following through with all the stuff your lawyer recommends for dealing with the “alimony”, the pets and her stuff.
Having said all that…
….you already knew that was the right answer, didn’t you.
The problem is that actually following through on it seems not very nice. The reason it doesn’t seem very nice… is because it isn’t very nice. But it’s certainly just. Look, she had all of your support and love and she abandoned it. If someone gets out of a car and announces “I don’t want this crappy car anymore” and walks away from the car… you don’t start pushing the car behind them in case they change their mind. (You just remove the stereo and tires and get what you can for them.)
In addition, you now have a new girl in your life. So lets review the Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey arrangement shall we.
Your wife is acting like a very bad tempered Donkey… and you’re PAYING HER to do so. So you’re treating her like a Princess Fiona.
Your new love interest sounds great and is laying you like tile. So she’s acting like a Princess Fiona and watching you send resources out of the relationship for no good reason. So to at least some extent, you’re treating your girlfriend like a Donkey.
Obviously that’s all messed up. And seeing your girlfriend actually reads MMSL… she’s going be doing the double fist pump woo-hoo in the air thing about now. You’re welcome baby… you are very welcome.
Your wife wanted pretty badly to be on the Donkey Plan, so actually put her on the Donkey Plan… stop giving a rat’s ass about her and let her be her own beast of burden.
And thanks for buying the books, much appreciated. Plus seeing you’re getting divorced soon, it’s kinda like they are 50% off.