Nineteen Years Together

Not that the 16 Years post, or the 17 Years post had much to say, but the 18 Years one was a little longer.

Well…

Let’s see. This is has been the best and worst year of my life I think. I think if I called it ‘The Year of Starting, Survival, Transition and Body Building” I’d have it about right.

I’ve pretty much spent two hours looking at my screen trying to write something profound that explains the year, but it all sounds either too whiny at the hard parts, or too much like bragging at the good ones.

That’s about all I got.

Happy Anniversary baby.

I’ll bring the Jumper Cables, but I need you to go to the store for the butter. We’re all out of that.

 

Outcome Independence

Outcome Independence (OI) is usually thought of as making a move for sex on a woman and not caring about the outcome. Free of need for her to say yes, she’s impressed by your confidence and her panties fall off automatically.

What that means in practical reality is you ask for sex, she says no and you walk away trying not to act like Ralph Wiggim.

It’s a good thing to learn, but the true Outcome Independence needed to run a successful MAP is a lot harder than that. Eventually it may come to a place where you aren’t just gambling on a single night, but on the relationship as a whole. That’s all your chips on the table and a single roll of the dice.

This is why I see a lot of guys getting themselves to Phase Three Point Nine Nine and never quite making the jump to Phase Four. Everything is easy and safe in Phase One, Two and Three… but Phase Four and beyond… well that’s starting to get really risky.

But even not pushing to Phase Four is risky after a while, because a long term Phase Three with you being unhappy and not getting what you want…

… is really called Phase One.

The MAP is a bit of a roller coaster some times. Ups and Downs, but you can’t get off halfway if you don’t like it.

Anyway…  from the forum…

 @AlphaBelle talking to one of the guys:  It IS hard, but that’s what outcome independence really is. Not the whole “I didn’t whine when she turned me down for sex” thing it always gets trotted out for.

True outcome independence is saying, “I have no frickin idea how this is going to turn out. Is she going to come around and be a good wife? Am I going to have to go all the way to phase 6? Are we going to divorce? Am I going to push her over the psycho edge by not enabling her anymore? I DONT KNOW.  But I am going to keep moving forward in my MAP and become the best, kindest, strongest, wisest, most productive version of me I can be, and not let the unknown outcome of it all paralyze me or set me off course.”

Emotionally Independent of the outcome, I am MAPing.

Athol:  And frankly it’s no different for the women either. 95% of men and women come to MMSL with the same basic problem – they put up with too much for too long. Eventually you have to push back, stand up for yourself and grow a harder edge to yourself.

Kind by nature, cold by requirement.

And for @AlphaBelle, who is in the middle of her I don’t know…

The Real Reason the Blog has Sucked Recently

I always figured when I started MMSL, that I would somehow run afoul of some kind of combination of employer / feminists / appalled in-laws / basic poverty.

Well the in-laws were shocked, then appalled, then curious, then really appalled, then just sort of disorientated, then impressed and finally there’s a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy with my FIL and my MIL simply adores me.

Feminists… well honestly they never really showed. I’ve had vastly more hate from the Men’s Rights angle. Whatever.

Basic poverty. Well we’ve had some of that for a while, but that’s resolving.

Employer. This is where it starts getting complicated. Back in May 2011 Jennifer and I were taken to Human Resources and had a rather odd conversation in the aftermath of being on Inside Edition. Apparently we’re dangerously monogamous and offensively heterosexual enough to have resulted in no less than six calls of complaint to our employer. Like I said, I always figured I’d be taken to HR, but I really didn’t expect Jennifer to be dragged into it too. Jennifer does have a minor PR role for her company, so we do see their point, but even then, it’s no one’s business but ours.

Thus at the time: Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir.

There’s really not too much they can do to us directly, it’s not like you can be fired for kissing your spouse on TV. But after that point, I start feeling like the cross-hairs are firmly drawn on my back and I start getting disciplined at work for things that frankly I don’t think I would have been spanked for before that point. I.e. I see which way the wind is blowing, work my ass off and in June 2012 I jump to MMSL full-time.

Which brings us to now, or more correctly a couple months back.

Jennifer gets a message on a Friday, she’s summoned to HR on Monday. Not told what about. I’m unsure if the intent was to ruin our weekend, but it seemed to achieve that goal. Considering Jennifer is the quintessential good employee, it can only be MMSL related and I feel both shitty and angry. We’re just on the very fine edge of me being able to carry the two of us on MMSL income alone, so I Captain up and green light her quitting her job at any point during that meeting.

It turns out someone from a state agency funding Jennifer’s employer, has been printing off a collection of blog posts and anonymously mailing them to the CEO of her company. So anonymous letter, coming inside a state agency envelope. HR really has nothing to say to her but, “Ahhh… this is awkward, but you need to know what’s happening.” It’s also kinda silly being outed to your employer 2.5 years after you were on national television. The surprise factor lacks a little.

Anyway… what it boils down to, is that someone reads this blog, actively hunting for ways to fuck my wife over… and they are willing to play dirty.

So shoot me if I haven’t wanted to write the blog recently.

Plus Jennifer is mentally distancing from her job, and I see the way the winds will probably start to blow as well.

Thus, I’ve spent the last 2-3 months working like crazy taking every coaching client I can take, growing that part of the brand as fast as I can. I’ve been way over my coaching caseload I feel relaxed with, hardly writing the blog and have next to no idea what is happening on the forum most days. It’s just all hands on deck for immediate cash, piling up a rainy day fund and getting the income level up to speed. Yes we went shopping for stuff for the house, but the primary goal was charting an exit strategy for Jennifer.

Which comes to yesterday…

She put her notice in. Three more weeks and then she’s done. After that, we can catch up on a lot of what I haven’t been able to get to recently. Plus she’s an all-purpose useful behind the scenes specialist. Office managing, marketing, billing, customer service… and a somewhat shall we say, “hands on approach” to managing the erratic ball of energy that is me. Purrrrr. Lots to do and it’s going to be fun. Okay, so it’s also a little like the first drop on a rollercoaster, but it’s going to be wonderful and we’ve worked hard for this. So very, very hard. So Jump vs. Push… meh, get over it, it’s just time.

Plus we plan to take exquisite revenge. Which for us means attending the next Wine Tasting Fundraiser dressed like Nordstrom Shopping Peacocks and doing the Mexican Hat Dance. I don’t believe Ms. Anonymous at the state agency will test us again. Which is almost a pity, because I think I could probably make that sort of thing go viral and we’d love the sales bump.

So TL:DR…

The week of Thanksgiving Jennifer will finally be home and like King Théoden… breathing the free air.

 Jennifer: It was an odd day at the office today…lots of “Nooooo!  But you can’t leave!” and then lots of questions about who had hired me / what company I was going to.  It’s odd that we’ve been so careful to be under the radar, that very few people in my office even knew about the coaching and the MMSL Empire that I’m leaving for.  Looking forward to being able to be more present on the forum and to putting my energies into building new and exciting things in MMSL Land. (maybe Empire is a bit much?)

Athol:  Sigh. Rescue a princess, inherit a queen.

Jennifer: I can haz a Galadriel video? The “instead of a dark lord you would have a queen!” one?

Athol:  No.

 

Your Wife’s AAAAAF Report Card (The “F” is for Sex)

I keep coming across this thing where a husband will positively gush about his wife. She’s an amazing cook, looks great, is kind and sweet tempered, keeps an excellent house, fabulous mom to the kids and on and on and on. Then the sad face comes… and he mentions that there’s hardly any sex. The husband always looks depressed and defeated because she’s far too good to leave but he never gets what he really wants from the relationship. There may well be delicious pie and a nice home, but it feels like he stumbled into a trap nevertheless.

For a long time I’ve been seeing that as a form of compensation on the wife’s part. She doesn’t want the sex for whatever reason it is, so she becomes like a kid coming home with a school report card with five A’s and one F. As a parent you kinda have to look at the report card and think… Well she did flunk math… but everything else is amazing, so I don’t think I can really be too much of a hard ass about it.

Except when it’s a marriage and she’s flunking sex, it really is way more aggravating than your kid flunking math.

“In fact”, I usually say, “you’d probably much rather have the house be a bit messy, have her dress down a little, have a little more noise from the kids and less perfection with the money, just as long as you got some more regular sex. Instead of an AAAAAF report card from her, you’d rather see her turn in a BBBBBB report card.” 

That’s the husband’s cue to scream in relief that someone finally understands his situation. Up until this point, complaints about his wife to anyone else typically gets looks of confusion and polite questioning of the husband’s sanity. The wife is after all perfect, because the AAAAA part of the report card is what everyone else sees and only the husband has to lie awake at night with a raging hard-on silently cursing the cruel F that fate has dealt him.

So she’s compensating for her sexual disinterest by maxing out everything else. It’s a great strategy for keeping him on the hook.

But…

There’s another angle here too.

As much as she is compensating for her weakest area, she’s also mirroring her husband.

Pretty much all the AAAAAF wives have AAAAAF husbands.

These guys are really great. Hard working, good jobs, pleasant, agreeable, great with the kids, helps around the house, yada yada yada. But they all have a giant lack of attractiveness somehow.

Maybe it’s their weight. Maybe it’s the cluelessness about how to instigate and flirt. Maybe they just fold up like wet napkins any time she challenges them. Maybe they fail to do anything when other guys blatantly hit on the wife in front of them. Whatever it is, it all sums out to some huge defect in being attractive and pulling her sexual interest.

Meanwhile, the wife probably has her internal hamster treading water coming up with reasons to be happy in her marriage despite the bed death. He’s such a great guy, any woman would be happy with him… just… ugh. This would all be simpler if he just cheated so I had a reason to divorce him.

So…

Whatever it is that’s causing the F in your sex life, you have to find it and root it out. Helping you in that process are the books, the forum and the 1:1 coaching.

So get to it. Class is back in session.

Coaching Finally Available

One of the purposes of The Mindful Attraction Plan book was to widen the scope of what I write about to a whole life perspective. Which then is a platform to allow me to advise from a whole life perspective…

…which is a way to say we’re finally in the position to do coaching services.

There’s still some odds and ends to add to the website, but for now I’d like to get started. The website is http://mindfulattractionplan.com/

The intent is that the MMSL blog and forum continue to roll on into the future as they have been. By adding the coaching as a separate website it helps keep it distinct as a service.

Behind the scenes, it’s also been a very interesting time for us. The publication of The Mindful Attraction Plan has been extremely clarifying for me as a writer about what works and doesn’t. It’s also been a major income bump… though it’s hard to know exactly where sales will go, but all in all it’s doing moderately better than the Primer and the Primer hasn’t dropped in sales. So assuming it holds, I just doubled my income. Which is both awesome and mildly freaky.

Added onto that, we’re starting the coaching practice. Yes I said we. It’s an LLC and Jennifer and I partners. She’s far more business connected than I am and has been invaluable. Assuming the life coaching takes off and can expand to multiple coaches, she’s the first on the list for the job. In all seriousness she deserves it and would be good at it. What she’s doing for work now (it’s a small field, but she’s endlessly #1 in Connecticut for her job) isn’t that dissimilar.

So…

MMSL = Athol as an author.

MAP Coaching = Athol + Jennifer LLC

So anyway, what it sums out to is that I just signed another legally binding agreement with my wife. It’s the first one I’ve signed since turning on to the Red Pill et al. It’s a different experience. I expected some sort of “moment” doing it, but in all honesty it was anti-climatic and rather peaceful.

I think it’s called trust.

I trust my wife.

That’s a precious thing.

Anyway… go buy some coaching!  http://www.mindfulattractionplan.com

MMSL is the Manosphere Root Beer Part Two

Comment on Why Relationship Momentum Matters. As you read, watch everything play out exactly as you would expect… assuming the genders were reversed.

Audrey:  I recently ‘guarded’ my husband from a friend in the midst of going through a divorce. I’ve known her for years because our kids are friends. My husband casually mentioned that he was sending her some research on an item she was buying. I asked why, and he said that she’d emailed to ask him for help making a selection.

Pardon me? She approached HIM and not ME? Me, I’d have nicely told her to research it herself (lots of online info, library has Consumers Report, etc.). My life is busy enough. I don’t do homework for those who should be able to help themselves. I had to point out to him that she was playing the damsel in distress and that he was buying it. He was completely taken aback and pointed out that he was just trying to help as he would anyone. I told him that I knew there was nothing wrong with what HE did, but would he mind her estranged hubby calling me up and asking me to come over and help him with something I’m better at, such as picking paint colours or furniture for his new digs? He paused. And then the lights went on and he saw what I was seeing.

I asked if he thought this woman with a master’s degree was really incapable of reviewing ratings on her own, or did he think it served her purposes better to play the victim and have other men do things for her. After all, other women’s husbands are safe since they can’t even expect a ‘perk’ for doing it. She just touches their arms, flatters them by saying how good they are at these things and how much she appreciates the help. You know, the stuff that many wives forget to do since busy spouses tend to take each other for granted over the years.

He went from thinking I was nuts to being irked about potentially being played. I think it’s safe to assume that she won’t be getting any more help from MY man. Besides, Miss I’m So Lost Since Hubby Left has three strapping sons at home, all well over six feet. If she really needs a man to do things, she needs to tap one of the walking appetites that lives with her.

What amused me the most was how THRILLED my husband was to have me ‘guard’ him. Seriously, he was all puffed up about it. I earned big points there and I wasn’t even trying to. LOL

Athol:  Audrey’s completely correct response reads exactly like we teach a husband to do when someone starts honing in on their wife. There needs to be a word for female cockblocking.

Anyway…

I realize probably a minority of my readers and certainly a decent number of other manosphere types think I’ve lost my mind and/or sold out with the new book. Sure it’s a softer approach, but the truth is I see the exact same issues playing out over and over in both sexes. 90% of the wives on the MMSL forum are the female version of Betaized Nice Guys. Too patient, too submissive, too frightened to stand up for themselves, no inner game, endlessly orbiting and sexually frustrated.

The overwhelming majority of my advice applies just as well to women as it does to men.

Get to the gym, get in shape. Dress well. Don’t allow yourself to be mistreated or taken advantage of. Be kind and affectionate, but only if you’re being treated with basic respect. Get good at something. Ask for the sex you what. Be loyal, but also be prepared to walk if the relationship is a disaster. Play up your sexuality and gender. Instigate, isolate, escalate.

I won’t lie and say the extra money isn’t nice and that the book isn’t more commercial. Of course I wanted to make money and sell more books. Duh.

But we gotta make Red Pill women, or it’s going to get very lonely for all the Red Pill men the manosphere is making.

This isn’t anything new. I wrote Why MMSL Is The Manosphere’s Root Beer nearly two years ago. I’m playing a long game here.

When a Blue Pill Nice Guy with a serious relationship problem comes stumbling into the Manosphere looking for answers, he comes with a pro-female mindset. After coming across variants of “All women are devious whores!” a few dozen times – something possible in the comments of a single post on some blogs – he can easily become repulsed and move on in his search for truth. Then we call him a Mangina for good measure. We do this because insults make other people listen better and consider our viewpoint.

Likewise, sympathetic women reading the same venom quickly become unsympathetic women. At some point we’re going to want some things to go to a vote and there are more women than men that can vote. Therefore we need the support of women to at least some degree.

So I see my role in the Manosphere as a diplomatic outpost. Some people start here and then explore the rest of the Manosphere. Some people start elsewhere in the Manosphere and get directed here after being jilted by what they first discover. Me being happily married, having a great sex life and generally being a quirky Vulcan makes MMSL taste like… root beer.

So watch the video, it’s a classic.

If other bloggers want review copies, let me know where to send them.

Transparent 3Dcover for website ad

Long Term Relationship Count: 3 + 1 = 4

Just reading Susan’s Cohabitation Blues post and got a memory jag about something I can’t remember if I already wrote about or not.

So…

Men will always be lied to about female partner count. You may as well just accept that. Yeah I know some tiny handful of women don’t lie about partner count, but they look like all the ones that do, so lots of luck figuring which is which. Plus the ones who aren’t lying probably aren’t terribly strongly sexually motivated, or are still “mint in box”, which is potentially another curve ball to think about.

However, women will tell you how many guys they’ve lived with like it’s a badge of honor. It’s a proper relationship, NOT at all slutty or remotely questionable. It’s all on the up and up. Not a problem. She’s an Official Girlfriend(TM) and putting out officially. Besides, the only difference between living together and being married is “a piece of paper”.

Right?

Ah okay, let’s say you’re right.

So rather than worry about a couple of one night stands, or that thing that happened on vacation in Mexico, or anything that happened in high school… or drunk.. or in Vegas… let’s just count the cohabitations. Then you just add +1 to the total to see where you would fall in the progression should you take the next step with her.

So if she’s had three cohabitations, if you marry her, you should think of yourself being her fourth husband.

 

Wife Hunting 201: Loyal, Smart and Nice

One of my most loved and hated posts is the 10 Critical Things In How To Choose A Wife. It’s surreal to think that I wrote it all the way back in March 2010.

I’ve read it over again and there’s still nothing I really have any disagreement with. The post is right. But three years later I think I have some slightly different answers, that are also right, but a slightly different emphasis.

What you look for is loyal, smart and nice.

Loyal, because you aren’t perfect and it’s going to be her loyalty that covers your imperfections. It’s easier to own a mistake and make corrections, when every slip up doesn’t get held against you.

Loyal, because she is not perfect either and her loyalty credits her with a lack of wrong intent. It is easier to forgive when you think they aren’t out to get you.

Smart, because you aren’t perfect and sometimes it’s her input that stops you doing something stupid.

Smart, because you’re going to have to listen to her forever, so she needs to not be an airhead.

Smart, because smart people have learning curves. Marriage is a long time, you’re going to have to learn all sorts of new stuff together.

Nice, because nice doesn’t seem to be something that can be taught. If she is not nice now, she will not become nice later on.

Nice, because… well because it’s nice to be with someone nice.

The combination of loyal and smart, will head a woman into the gym with a positive discipline as long as you’re going as well. She’ll keep her looks and age well.

The combination of loyal and nice, will make her more easily sexually agreeable. Loyal women can start to see you as their personal kink, and nice means she’ll like to please.

The combination of smart and nice, means she’ll be able to do the arguing equivalent of “playing the ball and not the man.”

The combination of loyal, smart and nice, means she’ll also be a good mom for the kids.

I realize that leaves out stuff like “fabulous tits” and “likes anal”. My hunch is that you’re probably already screening for that sort of thing anyway and your penis has given you an informed perspective on such matters regarding your potential bride.

As an all purpose caveat to women… men tend to think of loyalty as a binary decision. I.e. you are either 100% Loyal or your are 0% Loyal. I’m not saying it’s right, or fair, or realistic that they think like that, I’m just saying that’s often how they do. So it can only take a single bad incident to switch their perception of you from 100% Loyal to 0% Loyal. If he sees you as 0% Loyal, he can’t love you.

Even when he’s having concerns about your loyalty, he’s not going to see you as being 50% or “mostly loyal”. He’s going to cycle between feeling you are 100% or 0% Loyal. Which is exhausting for him and makes him flip out and start ”suddenly acting all paranoid for no reason”. He loves you, he loves you not, he loves you, he loves you not.

And by 0% Loyal… I mean he experiences a such sense of stomach churning dread he wants to throw up.

I know of several couples where the husband is having long term difficulties with his wife, but based on her loyalty in the midst of difficulty, have passed up easy divorce options and free pussy from outside the marriage…even if they think their life would be easier and potentially better for splitting. Loyalty matters like nothing else.

Why You Need The Blue Pill Too

The Red Pill is great, but we do actually need a little bit of Blue Pill too. There’s a balance… let me pull up the Hitchhikers Guide for a second…

The Belcerebons of Kakrafoon Kappa had an unhappy time. Once a serene and quiet civilization, a Galactic Tribunal sentenced them to telepathy because the rest of the galaxy found peaceful contemplation contemptuous. Ford Prefect compared them to Humans because the only way Belcerebons could stop transmitting their every thought was to mask their brain activity (or its readability) by talking endlessly about utter trivia. The other approach to dampening telepathic communication was to host concerts of the plutonium rock band Disaster Area. Thankfully, during the concert, an improbability field flipped over the Rudlit Desert, transforming it into a paradise, and cured the Belcerebons of telepathy. A Disaster Area spokesman said that this was “a good gig”.

You catch that… sentenced them to telepathy.

If you actually knew what every person was thinking 24/7, you’d quickly go insane from hearing the random thoughts of everyone else.

Imagine having sex with your partner and seeing their thoughts flick off topic for a few seconds. Without telepathy you’d just see them shut their eyes for a couple of seconds and you’d assume they were into it. Instead you’d know they were thinking about the grocery shopping, the truck, fuck my thighs hurt, I wish he’d just cum, I miss my ex-gf, that’s a big zit on her forehead, I shoulda peed before I started, shit don’t cum yet, why the fuck won’t he tie me up, it’s the top of the seventh and coming up to bat with a .365 average is… ah dammit I came, is that it?

Hell I was standing in line at Dunkin Donuts today and the three teenagers in front of me in line seemed a little on the douchebag side and I had a whole fantasy about just beating their underweight asses into the ground. Look I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying I was thinking about smacking that one first because he’d just run, one shotting the other one and then staring down the other one and saying “When you’re unconscious I’m not going to stop hitting you.”

I just need my coffee and no one gets hurt. Just be cool. We’re all going to be like little Fonzies.

Anyway, obviously I didn’t do that, because it was just a random thought, but I would imagine if they actually heard all that, standing in line would have gone differently.

The trouble is, a lot of the Red Pill approach to life assumes a near telepathic assumption of negative intentions in others. Is it often right? Sure it is. But it’s almost impossible to live happily if you are endlessly paranoid and jaded about the intentions of everyone around you. If every woman is a hot mess of whorish desire and nothing else but a lying cunt of a hamster justifying her Alpha male sperm seeking… well it gets tiring being on edge after a while. Likewise every man is a third wheel seeking an opportunity and plots behind your back, pumping you for information about your woman, seeking to make a run into the endzone the moment you blink too slowly.

After living like that for long enough, well…

I see it a lot in Red Pill people. There’s often an expression of wishing they could just believe everything was fine, that love exists, that they could love and be loved… just for no reason.

I get it. I totally get it.

The standard line is that the Red Pill is the truth and the Blue Pill is the illusion. But it’s more like the Red Pill is muscle and the Blue Pill is fat.

To be sure, you want more muscle than fat on your body, but if you cut the body fat down low enough… eventually you keel over and die. You simply can’t be 0% body fat. Nor can you be 0% Blue Pill without being a rather paranoid and dysfunctional person. It’s simply not possible to sustain an endless state of assumed telepathy assuming your partner or opposite sex is out to get you.

If you see all women as gold-digging-cuckolding-false-rape-raptors, you can’t have a successful relationship with one. It’s no different than a dyed in the wool all-men-are-rapists-and-beat-women-as-a-default-setting feminist can’t have a relationship with a man. You eventually assume the worst and tear the relationship apart from the inside.

By all means pay excellent attention to building your muscle and getting your life in great shape, but at some point, you just have to say fuck it… and trust that your partner isn’t out to sneak some on the side as soon as you stumble for a moment. Obviously choosing a partner well is part of that decision matrix and having them on board with positive relationship standards matters too. But at some point you have to trust.

Jennifer and I do love each other very much… but it’s not a 100% perfect 24/7 experience. If we started fixating on the minor points of bad mood or inattention and assuming evil intent, we’d slowly tear each other apart. I’ve seen that effect play out with people snooping on their spouses over and over. I do advise at times getting your hands dirty and digging into their email and phone records to find out the truth, but I always say you should get in, get what you need and get out. Every time I see a spouse turn into a mini police state monitoring email… they slowly go insane reading and waiting for the slip up.

Do your due diligence, but at some point you have to trust.

Is a Religious Conversion Like an Affair?

From the forum…

Sleepy:  I was reading Athol’s blog yesterday “Quirky Gifts and Flair” and read this line… she starts checking out of the relationship because she’s unhaaaaaappppppy and about to Eat, Pray, Love an exit.

So, my wife of 20+ years and 4 kids who has always been anti religion started to convert to Catholicism in secret. When I figured it out, I felt like she was cheating on me (about 6 months of individual and couples therapy and I still feel this way) as this was done in secret and her reason for needing god was that we were no longer good as a couple and she needed “love”. I flipped and basically took a position of no contact as if this was an affair, which she has done with just enough complaint that I know she still wants too.

Without going into all the details here (if there is a lot of interest I could add a thread in the 911 Relationship ER section) I guess my question is how evil am I and are there others out there who have felt this way?

Athol:  Well Eat, Pray, Love refers to a book, but the answer to your questions is yes / no / kinda / sorta / it depends.

It’s usually a critical junction when one half of a couple changes their religious status, either becoming more religious, less religious, or changing religions. They can be a wide variety of changes in personal interests and personality from benign to quite alarming as someone changes from one religious viewpoint to another. It’s always hopeful that an inter-faith marriage will stay stable, but the more divergent the expressions of belief are, the greater the stress is on the marriage.

This is largely the same effect at work as shared beliefs of any sort. Two democrats or two republicans are likely going to be more comfortable married to each other than a democrat and a republican are. It’s all about being able to relax with each other at the end of the day instead of wanting to disagree about something. Same deal if someone suddenly becomes crazy about a diet while the other isn’t. It’s a relationship stress to have one of you wanting to eat Paleo and the other being a Vegetarian… though the old joke stands that if you really want to piss off a Vegetarian give them vegetables to eat… most of them just want to eat pasta all day.

The more fundamentalist (Wikipedia) the conversion the greater the stress on the relationship is. Note that Wikipedia link to fundamentalist covers Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and even Non-Religious fundamentalism. As soon as one half of the couple digs in their heels and states they are right and their partner is not merely in misguided disagreement, but utterly wrong… or even literally damned and/or evil for whatever reason… the relationship is heading for seriously choppy waters.

If you’ve ever had your partner educated as to your total failure of morality by their near entire social group, you’ll know just how hopeless your situation is. You could be a tax-paying, law abiding, full and complete stop on red, look both ways before you cross the street, girl scout cookie buying sweetheart, but having 20-30 people tell your spouse that failure to believe in [religious belief] turns you into a horrible fallen person hell bent on destroying everything precious and good… well, it has an effect. Speaking as a good evangelical Christian back in the day my first serious girlfriend was Catholic… it doesn’t take many people giving you “Godly frowns of concern” to make you feel uneasy about your relationship. That was a Catholic girl too, not even a clutch-the-pearls Non-Christian… that would have had people directly saying things to me like, “I’d like to encourage you to seek the Lord’s guidance”, which is how evangelicals tell you you’re retarded.

And yes I get that there are a wide variety of expressions of belief from rather insipid, to rather psychotic in intensity, even within each faith or even denomination. I’m painting with a wide brush here.

Anyway… back to the question at hand…

My knee jerk reaction to your situation is that you have two issues rather than one issue.

(1)  The state of the marriage.

(2)  Her interest in Catholicism.

What she’s saying is essentially, “Because of (1) I’m (2)” which is trying to turn it into one issue. This is a poor solution because the marriage issues aren’t going to be fixed by going to church and it is obviously driving a bigger wedge between you.

My advice would be to figure out the marriage issues as marriage issues, and allow the religious issue to be handled as a religious issue. So grab the free forum booklet and answer the nine triage questions in a 911 thread on the forum and people can help you get to the bottom of things.

Or put another way, if the marriage is chugging along just great, everyone getting along well, lots of sex and laughter… would it matter very much at all if she was a standard issue Catholic?

I will say this much though, I’m not convinced she’s been hiding it from you as a way of hurting you, more as a way of trying not to lose you in the process. When I became an atheist, I kept that a secret a looooooong time. I thought I was risking my marriage coming out about it, which because my faith was part and parcel of my attractiveness to Jennifer, I think it really was. When I finally told Jennifer she bawled her eyes out with me feeling like the worst husband ever. Even after that, it took fourteen years before I felt comfortable publicly identifying as an atheist.

Anyhoo…

As official MMSL policy, I personally don’t care what you believe or disbelieve in. I obviously self-identify as atheist because I don’t believe in a deity, but I’m not trying to actively convert anyone to that point of view on MMSL. I only try and get involved in religious issues on MMSL when it seems to be clearly screwing with the marriage. At this point the entire fabric of western civilization is sufficiently screwed up that individual marriages are like sandbags keeping back the flood-waters. I don’t care what type of sand you have in your bag, just that you have a sandbag that isn’t going to fall apart.