When She Makes Sudden Positive Changes… For Bullshit Reasons

When you start running the MAP and making real and positive changes to your life, eventually your spouse will notice. Whether they like those changes or not is a separate issue, but they do notice that you’re changing. What usually happens though is they tend to be aware of you changing for a while but ignore it figuring that it will simply go away. It’s not until it’s really reaching a serious tipping point that they suddenly start asking questions and acting like you’re really up to something. Or it can even be that they are pretending to ignore you changing, and quietly behind the scenes they are checking your credit card, phone and Internet browsing history trying to figure you out.

The point is, when you change because of running the MAP, you really do change because you’re up to something and your spouse really should pay acute attention to that. To be sure you are up to “good” rather than up to “no good”, but how is your spouse to know that until they check into it.

What you also have to be aware of though, is your partner running some variant of the MAP on you.

So when your wife suddenly loses thirty pounds, sure you say “great job honey”, but you also have to wonder why that is happening after all the prior diets failed. When your wife suddenly stops nagging you about everything and actually encourages you to go on that fishing trip all weekend, that’s great, but you also have to wonder why she’s being so nice. When your wife decides to get a job, that’s great because you’ve been asking her to do that for the last year-and-a-half, but you also have to wonder why she stopped resisting suddenly. When your wife suddenly seems interested in buying lingerie, that’s great, but you have to wonder why she’s acting differently. When your wife suddenly wants a lot more sex, out-of-the-ordinary sex, or wakes you up to have sex, you have to wonder why she’s suddenly so damn horny. Which is admittedly, kinda great.

All of those things are good things. I mean who wouldn’t love your wife to drop 30 pounds, stop nagging, send you fishing, add more money to the family income, buy lingerie and be all over you wet, willing and wild. She sounds like the full Jennifer does she not. Now all of those good things could be happening for “up to good” reasons, but they could also be happening for “up to no good” reasons. So you have to find out what the song she’s dancing to is.

What you’re looking for is some clear explanation for her behavior. If you get a good clear answer, that’s probably the real answer, if you get some kind of half-ass non-committal answer, you’re getting bullshit. She needs an explanation that explains her high motivation because her behavior required commitment. Examples.

She loses 30 pounds.

Good: I want to look good for the wedding. I was in a changing room and I overheard the sales girls laughing about my weight and I was so ashamed of what I’ve become. Because the heart attack scared the crap out of me. I have flesh eating bacteria.

Bad:  I don’t know, I just wanted to.  I don’t know, it’s just so easy and really working this time. Why are you asking, aren’t you happy I’ve lost the weight? I’m doing this for you.

Stops Nagging and Fishing Trip

Good:  Because I’ve discovered that when I nag you, you just dig in and it never gets done. I read about it in these books and it seems to be working because the things I was nagging you about, you’re actually doing now anyway. It took so much patience to do at first though. Because when I drag you to my stuff you hate it and ruin it for me, and I have no interest in fishing. This way we both win.

Bad:  I think we both just need our space. I’ve given up asking you to do anything.

Gets a Job

Good:  Because now our daughter has started Middle School and gets the bus, I don’t have to do the pick up and drop off routine twice a day. Because we’re starting to go backward on the credit cards, we’re fine for now, but we need more income.

Bad:  I just want to earn my own money. You’re not making enough money, so I have to go back to work. Because you wouldn’t buy me a boobjob.

Buys Lingerie

Good:  Because my sister told me if she could have changed one thing about her marriage, it was that she should have worn lingerie to bed once in a while. Apparently he asked her to a lot and she never did. Then I remembered how you used to ask too and I always said I feel too fat to wear it… and then you stopped asking. I’m just so scared of what happened to them happening to us. I look ridiculous though and this thong is making my asshole itch.

Bad:  I don’t know, I just like it now. I have to be really in the mood for it though. It was on sale.

Me So Horny

Good:  I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey and it’s getting to me lol. Since you got me that vibrator I’ve had more and more orgasms and I think I’m just on a roll with doing more and wanting more. The hormone patches are working. Because you just look so much better since you got in shape. I just discovered how much free porn there is on the Internet.

Bad:  Why do you have to ruin everything by asking a question like that?

So… if you see major or unusual changes in your spouse, and you get bullshit answers as the explanation for why that’s happening… dig deeper.  And likewise if you’re making positive changes running the MAP and are giving your wife bullshit reasons, don’t be surprised if she starts going all CSI on your ass behind the scenes. I mean that’s what I would tell her to do.


  1. Blindsided says:

    Soooo… You’re saying I should ask my husband what motivated him to knuckle down and drop 12 pounds in two weeks, finally commit to stop smoking and dress better?

    Now I’m afraid I don’t want to know.

    That’s exactly what I’m saying.

  2. A while ago my husband asked me why I was suddenly interested in sex so much now. (He had asked for more) I answered that he had asked for more, so I was giving it and enjoying doing so. But then he asked me again a few weeks later – the exact same question. I realised my first answer must not have satisfied him. So I gave him all my personal reasons, at the risk of exposing how insecure I felt: ‘I’ve been reading about how important sex is for men, and I feel really bad that you ever thought I wasn’t interested in you, because that’s so far from the truth. And I knew I needed to step up my game so you don’t go looking somewhere else for it.’

    I was worried my raw honesty would spoil any feelings he might have had that I really was attracted to him. That he’d think it was ‘calculated’ on my part, and not from a feeling of love and attraction. It is both though. I know what to do better now (more sex, enthusiam), and I do it because I’m attracted and love him.

  3. CarolinaGirl64 says:

    Good post. If a person doesn’t call BS when they hear it from their partner the potential for an honest relationship will diminish. I like girl4’s explanation for how she was able to be more introspective and honest the second time her husband asked her the same question. I would bet that her husband was asking in a reasonable tone also, which makes it so much easier to share uncomfortable thoughts.

  4. Blindsided says:

    Ok, after reading all the “just be confident” stuff on the forum, this sounds counter-intuitive. I was *assuming* he made those changes for himself, me, us. Now my hamster is going. Is there another woman and I’m too thick to see it? I’m trying to be a big girl, here, and not need constant reassurance, but now I feel like the rug is ripped out from under me. I thought he was happy.

  5. Blindsided says:

    By the way, girl4, your husband is very lucky. I love your answer to him!

    Did you feel like he was accusing you of anything when he asked? I just don’t want to put my hubs on the defensivd when I ask him. I hear you on the fear of exposing your insecurity… Guess that’s what I’m afraid of, too, when faced with the real task of turnung the question on my hubs.

  6. Yes, he asked in a reasonable tone, it was very gently asked both times, he was genuinely curious. I understood his reason for asking in one way – I knew I had abrubtly changed from upset and distant, to pretty much a sex-vixen over about a two – three week time frame (after a few heart to heart talks and me then googling how to please him in bed). It was a very big difference and I’m sure it came as a bit of a shock to him and he was thinking it had to be more than from just his request for more sex.

  7. RedPillWifey says:

    “I look ridiculous though and this thong is making my asshole itch.”

    HAH! Does Athol have my house bugged?

  8. Highlander says:

    Sudden changes in any LTR are cause for concern unless these changes have been discussed for a while between the two of you, eg ” The doctor says my BP is too high, we need to change our diet and get some more exercise”. Another one to watch for is a sudden desire by the wife to clean closets of old clothes, she’s doing inventory before she goes…..

  9. @Blindsided 12 pounds in two weeks? You should be worried – it sounds like he has a life-threatening disease.

  10. Blindsided says:

    Actually, no. He’s been trying hard alluva sudden, very restrictive diet… It’s the initial water weight drop. I do like the way he reassured me, but there was no specific moment he cited that he can point to. Simply the desire to stay hot for me. I haven’t made any conscious changes, so that’s why I wondered what brought it on. Actually, I didn’t *worry* until reading this.

  11. Blindsided says:

    Highlander, good point. He had been musing for a while that he feels fat. I think he can pull it off; I think more about being healthy than a ripped bod. But, something finally gave, and he stepped up and changed his diet and is moving about more. He assures me it’s for me. At some point, I have to trust him. And, I wonder if as my hair is getting longer… Thanks for the sounding board. I can hear Athol now… “He’s crazy in love with you. Now stop it.” ;)

  12. holdingallthecards says:

    I would have to add that when the nagging stops, and things quiet down, one spouse has probably given up (like me). It may appear that I’m content with the marriage, but the only thing I’m content about is the lack of fighting and pleading and rejection.

    Yes, there could be a new person in the picture, which is why the spouse is suddenly working out and wearing new clothes. Or, like in my situation, the kids are just a moment away from college. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! It certainly won’t be the first time a divorce happens once the kids turn 18. Just arranging the priorities.

  13. I'm a man says:

    @Blindsided – Maybe your husband is secretly reading MMSL? Make this a journey that you’re both on with you doing the same. You said “At some point, I have to trust him” and when will this happen? Seriously, what will it take? if you don’t trust him he can feel it and it erodes his confidence in you. He’s left wondering why you’re not on the team.

    @holdingallthecards – Damn you’re depressing and angry, can you please run along to the husband hating pre-divorce angry women’s forums? Thank god you stopped nagging! I bet the kids are counting the days till you drop the bomb too. go now and spare everyone your martyrdom.

  14. Blindsided says:

    We have both been consciously on board with MMSL for over a year. He stopped reading a few months,agoo. I’m finding that continuing to read is destroying my confidence. I’ve become paranoid. And, yes, he can feel it. Making your woman nervous can backfire when things are good. I love his response…make sure I’m paying more attention to him than my fears.

  15. Ha — my husband just asked me what I’m looking at, as I was browsing the forums. So I told him, “Married Man Sex Life.” I’ve told him generally what the blog is about and he’s “caught me” looking at it several times, so he knows I read it. I suspect that he’s checked it out, but I haven’t tried to hack his computer to see.

    He asks, “Why do you read that?”

    My bullshit answer: “Because… uh… its fascinating.” Why is it so hard to just spit out the truth. :-/

    He hasn’t asked me about any of the positive changes I’ve made, but I’ll try not to give him a bullshit answer for those if he does actually ask. 30lbs down and he claims he hasn’t noticed that I’ve lost weight, even if his penis begs to differ.

  16. holdingallthecards says:

    @I’m a man says: You’re applying a double standard here. My situation matches most husbands, which is why I checked out Athol’s site in the first place. I’m using what I can, given the amount of damage already done. If you cheer for the husbands who rise back up, why not cheer for the women who successfully follow the FAP? There is plenty to learn from both sexes.

  17. “your partner running some variant of the MAP on you.”

    I’m going to assume that trying to keep the threads from going completely adolescent is the reason you haven’t coined the acronym “FAP” yet.

  18. I'm a man says:

    @holdingallthecards I didn’t mean to apply a double standard, my position is that there are so many women’s forums on the internet and so few men’s …your comments remind me of tons and tons of angry women’s stuff i’ve read online. I was hoping to get away from it here. There is nothing wrong with being unhappy and divorcing, shit happens. However, you’re the one handing out fake phone numbers and positioning yourself as the good parent based on your comments. Part of the MAP is confronting BS and sometimes it comes from ourselves. If you were a dude I’d say the same thing. I hope I’m wrong. Kids don’t mature much from 17-18 so i do hope your setting them, your soon to be ex and yourself up for success. Since you’ve given yourself 1 yr that’s not a lot of time to set things right. But if your going for the angry exit go now.

  19. Badger – I had a FAP joke in the 2011 Primer which I edited out.

    I believe I’ll tweak the MAP to stand for My Action Plan, or Marriage Action Plan.

  20. The Marriage plan!? Great now I have to find a better name for a series of posts I’m planning for my blog…thanks for nothing Athol…J/K. I knew the Marriage Plan would be too similar to the MAP and people might think I’m copying you.

  21. holdingallthecards, the infuriating thing about your rants about not getting laid on here to me is that u don’t recognize there ARE double standards around everything because the sexes think differently due to brain wiring. You ever hear of seduction? I couldn’t hold out on my wife if I hated her, any more than I can hold out on eating. Your problem just seems trivial to me. Become attractive and seduce your husband. It is almost impossible for a man to be in love with his wife without sex, since this is the primary way men express emotion. The MAP for dudes is comlex because women are complex and emotional; the MAP for women is brutally easy… Be hot and lay him like tile.

  22. Highlander says:


    “The MAP for dudes is comlex because women are complex and emotional; the MAP for women is brutally easy… Be hot and lay him like tile.”

    Priceless, one has to laugh at all the Cosmo articles on “Loving your Man”, it just seems women have to complicate the h@ll out of things ;~) On a serious note though, it makes me wonder a lot lately why men even bother. We are simple creatures who try and do the right thing, but women will seethe in silence for years , building a pile of bile rather than say anything. I think is many cases they really don’t want us to know, because if we “Fixed it” that excuse is gone and they have to look at themselves as being part of the problem……

  23. holdingallthecards says:

    @Tpoke: I got a 25 year old to ask for my number, so I think I’m doing okay in the looks department. As for the rest, my husband turned me off 17 years ago when he decided he’d liked being a dad in name only. Essentially I’ve raised the kids myself, and they know who shows up at their events and who doesn’t. An involved dad is a sexy husband, but I can’t force him, guilt him or nag him into participating (I gave up years ago). I take out my frustrations in the gym, partly for sanity, and the other part to follow Athol’s plan.

    I’m not really angry about it anymore because there’s a plan, an exit strategy, men are hitting on me, and the kids are too distracted and excited about their futures to contemplate mine. (They’re not dumb — they know it’s not normal for mom and dad to sleep in separate bedrooms. A divorce won’t shock them in the least.)

  24. I don’t know if it just me but I read holdingallthecards as pretty haughty. If that attitude is displayed at home that would explain the reason for a lack of relationship between you and your husband. You claim it is the type of dad he is but I sense there is so much more to it than that. Most of your comments on here have sounded pretty caustic toward your husband and a woman who would tear her man down consistently on an open forum like this on the internet is saying more about herself than her man. If your checking out other options already, why stay? Why not exit now? I know not every marriage is repairable, but the attitude I see in the comments is that your not even willing to try. I had to make myself vulnerable to my husband, to take full responsibility for my part of any breakdowns, and prove to my husband I was serious. I had to put away the caustic attitude and show him something different to get a different response. It took a little time, but the result has been good. A bit of sweet goes a long way and a man will respond if he knows it is real. The only honest options are to really work at it or exit. Why string it along and complain about it constantly? It makes no sense.

  25. I'm a man says:

    @Jacquie – i see it too. She said ” my husband turned me off 17 years ago”. It would take a ton of work to turn this around. She hasn’t addressed the fact that she has issues with being authentic…e.g. giving the 25 yr old admirer a fake phone number. She got her ego fix and he got played after a lovely conversation and connection. She’s too busy keeping score and doubt she can be vulnerable with her husband.

  26. FeralFelis says:

    If I had one wish for the comment section, it would be that posters would not use the generalizations “women” and “men” with such abandon.

    It is true that stereotypes exist for a reason, but it is also true that not ALL women act a certain way, and not ALL men think a certain way.

    I would rather read a comment which says, “MY woman” or “MY previous two boyfriends”; that feels more accurate and authentic to me.

  27. holdingallthecards says:

    For the thousandth time, I am staying until June 2013 when the twins graduate and move out to attend college and culinary school. I have stayed with someone I don’t love anymore so that the kids could have a stable environment. We don’t fight, we don’t care about each other enough to fight. We exist.

    Had Athol written his blog 16 years ago, there might have been hope. But for all the new couples experiencing what I’ve gone through, there’s probably a chance to turn things around.

    @Jaquie: It’s his lack of parenting AND the bad, 2 minute sex (which disolved into no sex over the years.) My vibrator is my bed companion now. I have orgasms, but I miss having a sexy man to admire and respect.

  28. Joe Commenter says:

    @HOLDING. I don’t know your history. Are you saying that your husband wont have sex with you? Have you asked for it and he refuses? Or is it more that you do not want to have sex with him? Or a little of he doesn’t and you don’t?

    I would encourage you to keep posting. A few people have ripped on you here. But they don’t know what you have lived thru.

  29. @HOLDING…Clarissa and I understand your situation pretty well – we think! – sometimes relationships just break down and it beomes not a matter of sex or indeed an intimate relationship but a matter of surviving … sex is totally so far from the list of priorities that its not worth mentioning. It helps to talk – to get past the grieving for the relationship and what was expected to the anger stage and then to acceptance and moving on. We’ve found when one is emotionally detached, its easier to implement strategies to change the other party so they are easier to live with, e.g. washing and grooming, stopping violent abuse etc. If you are lucky enough that the other party is functional and just incompatible, that must be easier. However, you cannot make apples out of oranges and you cannot make someone love you (or have sex with you). That said, I find Athol’s advice and the commentary of site visitors on how to make the best of oneself and how to influence others very good and useful.

    To sum up – Clarrissa and I think we understand your situation and hope things work out for the best, Try to do the best you can to improve yourself and try to influence your husband for the better.

    :-) Candice and Clarissa

  30. FeralFelis says:

    I’ve been ripped on this thread more than once, so I am reluctant to post anything that can be considered to be less than upbeat and encouraging.

    I would encourage you to be honest in your dealings with others (this is said WRT fake phone number).

    In college, I lived on the 4th (top) floor of a dorm, at the end of the building hall. I can’t tell you how many times a girl told a guy, “I live in Fowler Hall, Room 432″. But there was no 432; it stopped at my room, room 430. So I was left to talk to all these REALLY NICE GUYS who had been duped by lying women who didn’t have the BALLS themselves to just say, “Sorry, not feeling it”. I have never particularly liked women, and I often think more like a guy than a woman, and it made me furious to see guys being treated this way by women. Obviously, this was a string of Beta dudes, but I spent hours sitting around talking to guys who were facing their moment of rejection in front of my door.

    So, “woman up”. Tell him you’re flattered but don’t lie to him.

  31. holdingallthecards says:

    @Feral: No need to go back to the 25 year old, as I doubt I’ll run into him again. He was playing at a jazz/blues nightclub that my friend’s B-day party was held at, and it was only for a feel-good ego boost. If he was a Player, as one angry poster alluded, then this was all a Game, and I simply threw down the last card.

    Thank you posters for trying to understand my side. When the intimacy gap grows to a chasm, it’s like you’re married to a stranger. I admit that after giving up the nagging (mostly for him to take the time to attend the kid’s events), that I hardened my heart because I couldn’t handle his rejection of me AND the twins. They never wanted presents, they wanted his Presence. The sex part of it all just fell apart, and that’s both of our faults. Despite being home to raise them for the fist few years, I really could have used an au pair or nanny. Or a husband. Then I would have had the energy to have had sex. When they left for kindergarden, I had the energy, but he would only poke for 2 minutes with no foreplay (and think it was great).

  32. cards,

    I just can’t figure out why you married the guy – I find it difficult to believe this rejection of sexual vibrancy and family duties came out of nowhere.

  33. @Holdingallthecards

    Thoughts…and sharing some experiences for you to chew over…and taking you to task a bit…

    Met him (25 y.o.) at a girl’s night out b-day extravaganza eh? Lolz. Anyway…

    Well, I don’t know your whole marriage history here, and really how can any of us? But I am curious. What exactly has your husband been doing the last 17 years? I mean, is he working all the time? Does he have a high pressure/long hours type of job? Is he the sole source of financial support? That could play into it, not an excuse by any means, but definitely a factor.

    When you say he is not a good father or father of any kind, what do you mean? Do you mean he’s never home and out chasing women, he’s drunk all the time or he just can’t make school events? Is it that he is not a father or is it that you nagged him away from the attempt or is it just that he doesn’t do it the way you want him to do, therefore, he doth suck?

    To be a little contrarian to the others, and I don’t want to crap too big on you but I will a bit and I will also try to fill you in on some experiences of mine, it sounds like what you’re doing right now, at this moment, is allowing your anger to dictate your decisions and you are coasting while your current husband bankrolls you while you gear up the “new you” and wait for the opportune time (for you) to pull up stakes.

    It’s okay, lots of women pursue this strategy while they wait for “the moment” of truth or to clue hubby in on what they decided to do two years ago, lolz. Incidentally I think lots of mid-thirties and up, women also feel this unsettling nagging sensation that their looks are about to fade for real this time and they get nervous thinking that this might be their “last chance” to spend the last bit of pretty in the hopes of snagging a new Mr. Right. So they set about furiously hitting the gym, mentally divorcing their husbands before the divorce and taking test runs and not so test runs at cheating.

    I can’t say that I think it’s admirable that you’re hanging in there for the kids because it more sounds like you’re hanging in there until you can walk away more conveniently for you, and I suppose once the kids are 18 you feel that it will be easier on them, which really I think you’re hoping will have the net of effect of making dealing with the aftermath easier on you, and I suppose it will, a little bit.

    In regards to the 25 y.o. Sure that felt very good to you for the ego boost and no doubt the gym work has paid off but you are forgetting something. Just because a guy you met at a bar will throw one in you or on you a few times, doesn’t mean a guy or that guy, will have any sort of committed relationship with you. You wouldn’t be the first women who bailed on her marriage at 35+ or whatever, and thought she was going to clean up in the market and snag the “worlds most interesting man” and live happily ever after.

    Sure you can get sex, and if that’s all you want great – no problem, and I’m sure that will be fun the first year or so post divorce, but it will wear thin getting used over and over as a DNA specimen receptacle, especially since you are a woman.

    I know that personally I just love to meet recently divorced women. They are always, always DTF and are willing to do the nastiest things. I have sex with them, I treat them okay I guess, but no way in hell will I commit to them for anything other than more banging. When they get annoying and ask for more than that or they interfere with my other hobbies, I lose them or they get the message and go away on their own.

    I especially mark them down for this if they tell me things like they divorced their husbands because they “Just weren’t feeling it.”, “I fell out of love…” “We grew apart…” “I needed to find myself/who I am” Those are all signals to me of what category I should place her in: Disposable. “Why yes, I will help you find yourself!” “Insert this in your mouth, it has magical powers and it helps divorced women find themselves!” “Wait for the rainbow to come out – any minute!!!!”

    The reality is that I don’t think there is going to be a long line of rich doctors and lawyers who have been waiting all of their lives to sweep a middle aged divorced mother off of her feet and carry you off to live a life of ease in a tropical paradise. EPL was just a book, and a bad one at that.

    Nope. What you are going to encounter are guys like me, if you are lucky, that is. Because there is a whole frigging freak show of guys out there in post-divorce world that you really, really don’t want to encounter. Really.

    Let me tell you a little about me, because you’re going to run into guys like me about every 2 in 10 that you meet and you’re going to think I’m an awful good catch and such a better option than the 6 out of 10 clueless single guys you meet, and the 2 out of 10 single guys who are in jail or on parole that you will meet. You can rail against me and pooh, pooh me on the Internet, but I assure you that if you met me in real life, you would be really interested in seeing me again.

    I’m 41, moderately handsome (I have all my hair, teeth and haven’t gone gray! Hooray! +2 points for me!), I’m in shape because I lift weights like a mofo, I’m fun to be around, funny, social, I dress well, I have good manners and I chew with my mouth closed. I have a successful business that allows me the income to do as I please. Most importantly, I know things now that I didn’t know when I was 20-something. What kinds of things you ask? Well, let me tell you…

    I know that post divorce, at this age bracket, and in these times we live in, I don’t have to commit to a woman in any way shape or form to get sex. Awesome! Big thank-you to all the ladies for changing the market and lowering the “price” required for men to get sex. It is much appreciated.

    I know that I can date women in their twenties and I do it every chance I get. That’s your competition by the way, if you’re interested in dating men 30-45. If you don’t want to compete with the 20-something women then you’re going to have to jump up a decade and look to date men in their 50’s who would be happy to have a 35+ woman on their arm as a matter of routine. That is if you want a relationship. You can still get one-off sex from men of about any age, but if you want something permanent, you’ll need to date older than you think.

    Sure, going to the gym and staying in shape helps, a lot, but in the end you can’t run on a treadmill fast enough to reverse time travel. Yes I know, same applies for guys, but the fact is, we age differently and we have different factors at play in determining our overall level of attractiveness as a package than women do. It’s reality, even if you don’t like it.

    Also, be aware, that just due to life going on, the older you get, the less and less available men there are because we do weird things like die off or stay married to our original wives, or figure out that we can have three or four women around in our lives without too much fuss and bother, that’s not even counting occasional ex-sex for sport. Tis true.

    Where was I? Ah, yes..

    I also know that men like me don’t just grow on trees for the taking. When I was 20-something I didn’t have much going for me other than boyish charm and the potential to do something with my life other than wind up in jail. The girls were their youngest and prettiest and could name their price. Now, twenty years later, the tables have turned and I know it. They know it too. You can see it in their eyes. You can see it when they acquiesce to demands or put up with treatment from men that is a bit scandalous and mildly shameful.

    You see, I have in fact become a success in many areas and I have fulfilled the potential of my youth and continue to achieve more. I prefer to spend my hard earned social capital on younger and prettier things. I will habitually date women who are 35+ when I am 50-55.

    What’s that I said? I still plan to be single then? Why yes, woman. Why on Earth would I take on the burden of a new wife in today’s age? To meet her when she is 35 and get maybe 5-10 (at the outside) good years before decline. No, no my dear, too high a price to pay and to high a risk (marriage) for too slim a reward at this stage of the game.

    Let’s see…what else?

    Oh yes, I know that I can, and that I do date multiple women at the same time and I don’t even have to lie about it to them. Neat! If one of them mentions something about it, I just laugh, and they take it. And no, I’m not dating toothless trailer park princesses. I’m dating educated professional women who are empowered and just chock full of self esteem. It’s great! I have never had so many women coming at me in my life. This is a good age to be single and a man who isn’t a schlub.

    The saddest part? I don’t even have to try very hard. I’m not a player, super suave, a pick up artist or anything of the sort. The open dating market has just shifted in my favor by virtue of age and continued accumulation of success on my part versus my competition. Does that mean I can run around with 19 year old models? Nope, not yet, but I’m working on it.

    But I digress.

    As I was saying, the Divorce Fantasy for most middle age women is just that, a fantasy. The Divorce Reality is a little harsher. You should ask my ex-wife. Boy is she ever sorry that we are divorced. Let’s just say she had what I suspect are some of the same expectations you might of how swimmingly post divorce life and love were going to go for her if she could just free herself from the old ball and chain (me). Reality can be a cruel teacher. Sometimes she calls and cries and says that she wishes she would have been a better wife and that we weren’t divorced. I say it’s no problem, in fact, I’m doing very well and I wish her the best.

    For the record, your kids may not be surprised by your divorced, mine weren’t, but they are going to get hurt, a lot, even if they are older, mine were. That’s just the truth. There is no such thing as a pain free divorce or a free lunch. There just isn’t. Unfortunately sometimes you don’t fully internalize that until you are standing there in the aftermath of it and it looks like an emotional bomb went off and took out your family. Think hard about it.

    Am I saying that you have to stay there and be miserable? Well no, you don’t have to do anything, it’s a free country. I also do hear you when you say you are working on this “FAP” (giggity) plan, even though right now it more sounds to me more like a plan you enacted to prepare to leave than it does to reconnect with your husband. Ask yourself honestly, is this “FAP” being done to rescue your marriage from the brink or is it being done so that you can say in your mind, to your kids and to family and friends: “Well, ya know, I tried everything, so no one can make me out to be the bad guy! It’s his fault!”?

    Unfortunately, in real life, on the ground where these things play out, it doesn’t work out so easy and so black and white. For sure, your frenemies will all tell you that you did the right thing, etc. etc. and they got your back. Heck some of your single girlfriends might even wait six months before they try to date your ex-husband as a show of sisterly solidarity, hehe.

    Look, it just sounds from the tenor of your posts that a real big core issue is this simmering rage you have at your husband all these years. No, I don’t know that for certain because I don’t know you guys, but it comes across like that.

    Also, as you are probably thinking, no, I don’t know everything about you or “what you went through”. Maybe it’s justified. Then again, maybe it’s not or maybe it’s just one little thing piled on another little thing that was never let go, and that has added up all this time to a big pile of angry. Maybe it’s just kind of part of your personality to be that way. That’s not an accusation, I’m just suggesting that if you are the type who holds onto things and lets them build up inside, it might be worth a little self work looking into that, if for nothing else than your own health and well-being.

    So, is all that anger going to go away by working out or giving fake phone numbers to strange men? No, it’s not. Maybe your husband is mad as hell at you for something and has been for a long time. We don’t know, only you do. Or maybe you don’t know. If you don’t, then you could have a heart to heart and find out. Honestly, if a guy won’t have sex with his wife, he’s probably pretty mad about something and has been for a long time. Even a guy who is cheating on his wife is still going to be trying to get sex from his wife, so something is seriously up, or down as it were.

    Is it possible that with all that nagging you said you did and other stuff done by you early on in the marriage that you turned him away from you and made him feel rejected and like a failure? Yeah, it is possible but again, only you know the answer to that. I mean, did you ever tell him something classy like he was shit for a father or husband or other nice things like that? Just asking.

    It almost sounds like you two have made it a habit to reject each other rather than to make it a habit to move closer to each other over the years. I know what that’s like, I lived it, and yeah it does suck. I wish I would have done things different. If you were to talk to my ex she would tell you that she wished she did a lot of things different.

    You know why it sucks? Because despite the fact that I’m a bit of an arsehole and doing okay in post-divorce world, I’m also a Ward Cleaver softy inside. It sucks because I’m never going to get to sit on the front porch with the wife of my youth, hold her hand and watch our grand-kids play in the front yard.

    I’m never going to get to hear my grandchildren tell me how they can’t wait to come over and spend the week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the summer. I’m never going to get to take those trips on a spur of the moment with my wife that you get to take once all the kids are out of the house and away at college. I’m never going to get to go to any of my son’s graduations, or engagement parties, or weddings without it being this big awful awkward jumble of emotional garbage for everyone involved. I’m never going to get to have another Christmas morning that isn’t awkward and involves scheduling and shuffling people around.

    I’m never going to get to look at my old wife and see her the same as I did when I met her at 19. Are you starting to get it? Are you understanding what I’m talking about? Yes a shitty marriage is shitty, but it’s generally fixable, as long as no one is drinking, drugging, cheating or hitting. You can’t fix a divorce, even a “good” one. Don’t kid yourself.

    It’s easy to be mad and stay mad. It is a lot of work to undo the anger and let the small and sometimes not so small stuff go. It might be worth a shot though to try that before anyone does something that there is no return from. So far I’ve not heard anything told in your story that seems to rise to that level.

    When my sons tell me they are angry and it is so and so’s fault, I always tell them that that person (usually their brother) may have done something that you don’t like but they are not inside your body pushing a magic “angry” button. Staying angry about something and holding onto it and making it a way of life is a choice. I guess you guys can keep going like that and crash and burn or you can CHOOSE to sincerely do something different.

    Here’s an idea – go to him and apologize sincerely for anything and everything you might have done to shit on him the last 17 years. The nagging, calling him a bad father – if you did, maybe you were talking badly about him to all your girlfriends and the people at the office. Maybe that made him feel humiliated and like a piece of garbage so instead of going out in public around people that he knew thought poorly about him he chose to retreat to his internal world, whatever it is you think you need to sincerely make amends for.

    Keyword – sincerely, and without saying “But”. “I’m sorry I did this, BUT…you, x,y,z” Is not an apology, it’s just another way of sticking it to someone and twisting the blade.

    Yeah, yeah I know – why the hell should you do that when he’s done X,Y,and Z and hasn’t apologized, and you’re mad. Blah, blah, blah. That’s just more excuse talk to leave things the way they are at. Well, if you want to turn things around someone has to blink first. Someone has to make the first move, and in your case it doesn’t sound like it needs to involve more gym time or handing out fake phone numbers.

    I get that you are upset. I get that you are mad. I get that you are disappointed. I get that you feel like you’ve put all this time into this relationship and you feel let down and kind of ripped off and cheated out of your years. I get that you think you’ve put in all this effort. I also get that it can be terribly hard to have suggested to you that yes, you put in effort but, you were expending effort in the wrong way perhaps.

    Can you look in the mirror and honestly say that you did everything perfect from your end and it’s all his fault? Seriously? Can you say with complete honesty that the result you have on your hands today is not also of your own doing? It takes two to make it good or to make it bad.

    I do wish you luck and that you can work things out. Unless the guy is drunk or on drugs 24/7, cheating on you, or beating you senseless, you still have a foundation on which to fix this even if sometimes it might feel a bit like pulling teeth at the beginning or even the very thought seems distasteful. After all, you loved him enough to marry him and have his babies. He loved you enough to marry you and stay with you all these years. That’s nothing to sneeze at and not to be thrown away if it can be helped.

    Final suggestion: put bio-chemistry to work on your side. Just lay him every day the next 30 days, even if it’s mediocre and you are hating him with your vagina – hehe. Just lay him and refrain from any complaining or reacting or interacting with him in a negative way. Everyday write down in a notebook one good thing about him at the end of the day. Just one thing. Even if it’s something silly like, he butters his toast well. Lolz. See if that doesn’t start to grease the wheels so to speak. Oh and if you guys are both depressed, go get thee some medical help.

    Wish you luck!


  34. “If he was a Player, as one angry poster alluded”

    Nice one! I had forgotten the cardinal rule of male-female discussions about sex or romance – the woman must, must throw in one of the following:

    -You’re angry
    -You’re creepy
    -You must not get laid a lot
    -You must have a small penis

  35. Draggin says:

    @ZLX1 +1

    The parallels to my life are uncanny, including being pissed off about missing out on the Ward Cleaver benefits of being with my only wife. It has been long enough since we split that I don’t really miss my ex anymore. The loss of my family goals for old age is taking much longer to get over.

    I’m saving your post to send to any women I hear of that are contemplating divorce. Hopefully it will make them understand the magnitude of the decision they are making and wake them up before it is too late.

    I think a lot of women have trouble discerning cause and effect, and don’t look far enough down the road, or they would work through the hard or boring times to get to those old age benefits. It’s like they want to live their emotions concentrated 100% in the moment, instead of realizing that you have to be making an emotional investment in the future too. It’s the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, except in this case it is not food you need to be worried about, but your overall happiness in the winter of your old age.

  36. John Q Galt says:

    ZLX’s post makes me sorry…I’m headed down that road. It illustrates how even if things go well for you, it’s a Pyhrric victory at nest…..like a nuclear war, even the winner loses.

  37. @ John Q Galt,

    There is no denying that divorce is a bitter game and like in the movie War Games, you can say about it: “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”


  38. holdingallthecards says:

    Badger: “I just can’t figure out why you married the guy – I find it difficult to believe this rejection of sexual vibrancy and family duties came out of nowhere.”

    Husband wanted to have his genetic code live forever, but did not have any interest in helping raising them (too much work/maintenance). With twin babies, this becomes exceptionally trying. Funny thing about kids is that you never know how they’re going to turn your life and marriage upside-down until you have them. Life was good before they arrived.

    ZLX1: “Met him (25 y.o.) at a girl’s night out b-day extravaganza eh? Lolz. Anyway…”

    I never said it was a GNO. It was just held at a jazz club instead of at Chuck E Cheeses.

    “Well, I don’t know your whole marriage history here, and really how can any of us? But I am curious. What exactly has your husband been doing the last 17 years? I mean, is he working all the time? Does he have a high pressure/long hours type of job? Is he the sole source of financial support? That could play into it, not an excuse by any means, but definitely a factor.”

    Well, ZLX1, he works, he golfs, he plays. I work full time at a great job with benefits. He has probably been having affairs while I’ve been shuttling the twins around and attending their events.

    “When you say he is not a good father or father of any kind, what do you mean? Do you mean he’s never home and out chasing women, he’s drunk all the time or he just can’t make school events? Is it that he is not a father or is it that you nagged him away from the attempt or is it just that he doesn’t do it the way you want him to do, therefore, he doth suck?”

    Response: He likes keeping the kids’ photos on his desk at work. Parenthood is not for everyone, and I think we all know people that have no business procreating. So, IMO he doth suck because I wanted a family man, not some guy that views his kids as accessories, like a nice car and wristwatch.

    With regards to the rest of your post, it is not a good argument for staying married to someone I don’t love and don’t have sex with. I’d rather be a single, professional woman with two grown kids who dates and lives life to its fullest. Whether I meet the real Mr. Right or not is irrelevant. It cannot be worse than vibrator love.

  39. ZLX1,


    That was a powerful, thought-provoking post. I found it moving.

  40. The confident expectation of all middle aged men seems to be that they can get lots of young women. I can’t help feeling that this cannot be true for all of them, there must surely be a finite number of young women available. Surely some young women prefer to go out with young men? I know when I was in my twenties nothing would have enduced me to go out with some old goat in his forties. I would have thought that was revolting.

  41. @Louise

    You are correct. Not all younger women will date an older man, but more will than you would think. Even more will try it on for size at least once.

    You are correct. Not all older men are capable of dating a substantially younger (10-15+ years) woman. Depends on each guy case by case, his local social environment and his target market appeal. Numerically, put it on “paper”, and see how it sounds. He’s 42, she’s 32, big deal. He’s 36, she’s 24, big deal. He’s 52 and she’s 40, big deal. He’s 40, she’s 29, big deal. Yawn.

    Incontrovertible fact: ALL men would prefer to do it if they had the option to, and don’t kid yourself otherwise. Lol.

    My Hypothesis: Almost every guy, if he takes even moderate care to stay in shape, dress well and not be a social douche, can date a lot younger than he thinks and a lot younger than the women his own age would like him to.

  42. ZLX1:

    That post on July 22 is brilliant. Required reading for any woman thinking of divorcing a husband.

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