“My wife wouldn’t do that.”

When I talk about my own personal “awakening” during post-divorce life,  I usually mean in terms of recognizing the underlying truths in relationships and the psychology of my fellow humans, ladies in particular. Accepting REALITY and not what SHOULD be, in other words.

The reccuring subtext of this awakening: Just how mind-numbingly stupid men are when it comes to their relationships with women.

My first glimpse into baffling male behavior (other than my own special blend of stupid) came very early on. My ex-wife had just moved out. The kids were at their grandparents’ house and I had a rare night home alone. I was feeling VERY down.  I decided to send a text message to a guy that my therapist had put me in touch with. “His story is a lot like yours” she told me.

He didn’t text me back but instead immediately called me. “I don’t like texting and I’m glad you reached out.” Turns out he was eagerly awaiting my call and couldn’t wait to share his story and get things off his chest. He talked a mile a minute.

Of course, there were many similarities between our stories. He was the first guy who clued me into how all the guy stories are the same. “Let me guess… she did this and this and then did this, right?” It was like I was talking to some kind of psychic medium. Did he have cameras in my house or something?? Creepy how he knew everything.

His story sure was interesting. His world was flipped upside down when he discovered that his wife and mother of his two children was not only having an affair, but an affair with a WOMAN. She proclaimed that she was now gay and probably always had been.

Ouch.

He told me all the details of their storybook life.  Kids, his long hours at work, her going back to school… and then BAM! He sees messages from some guy. BAM! They’re having an affair. BAM! Oh wait, it’s a woman. BAM! She’s moving out. BAM! She wants the girls to live with her and her new lover most of the time… in a little two bedroom apartment in a not-so-nice part of town.

That was quite the five punch combo. Jesus… I thought I had it bad.

He says it looks like he’s going to have to spend some money and hire and attorney to fight for 50/50 custody… or better yet majority custody. She doesn’t work, so he probably has a good chance. “Is she going to try and come after you for money? Alimony, child support, stuff like that?”, I asked.

Here’s the kicker. Wait for it…

No, my wife wouldn’t do that. Everyone always asks me that… but I KNOW MY WIFE BETTER THAN ANYONE and she’s not the type of person to go after my money like that.”

This guy JUST told me all these stories about his life getting yanked out from under him by a wife who had an affair with a woman and is currently trying to take the kids away from him so that they can all live happily in her lesbian lover’s shitty apartment… and he was saying that he KNOWS his wife and she wouldn’t do something like come after his money???

My initial reaction was to chuckle… because surely he was joking.

Nope. He was dead serious.

He was conditioned and in complete denial. This guy probably saw more red flags than a Chinese parade during the course of his relationship. He didn’t do a damn thing about any of them and he STILL had his head in the sand about his cheating wife. His current situation wasn’t just a continuation of more and more red flags. His situation was the RESULT of years of ignored red flags… AND they were signs of even MORE inevitable bad things to come. It’s time to lawyer up and protect yourself, dude! All hands on deck!

But no… his wife wouldn’t do that. He knows her too well.

I have heard some variation of this more than a few times. Usually it’s when a man starts complaining about his wife and her new (not new, just amplified), confusing behavior. “She’s hanging out with the girls from work all the time… she’s ignoring the kids… the house is a mess… she’s always at work… she works out at the gym all the time… she goes down to the basement and listens to music for hours instead of being with the family… she opened up her own bank account… I caught her texting some guy… I caught her lying”.

Then somebody says “Do you think she’s cheating on you?”

“Oh no, dude… she would never do that. She’s not like that. She’s very much against cheating. Always has been.”

Uh huh.

What you’re seeing here is blatant denial. Why? Because a large part of the man’s reality is based upon one giant myth:

His wife is THE ONE.

And as THE ONE, she is above all of those basic stupid negative qualities so many normal HUMANS have. To think she would lower herself to such things… No way. Not his wife.

What about if Ms. Perfect mothered his children? Oh shit… then she’s got moral superiority points from now until the end of time. Mothers don’t do things like that.

And then… he finds out. She really WAS capable of that thing he said she would never do. Damn. “But you know what… no no… she may have done THAT thing, but she would never do that OTHER thing. I know her… deep down she’s good. Going one step further into awfulness? Nope. Not her.”

He keeps moving the goalposts. He keeps changing the rules so that she never wins the coveted “She’s just an awful human being after all” trophy.

To men with no boundaries and a fear of conflict (and the subsequent abandonement), there is no choice but to put the woman at a higher level than him. She is the beacon of hope in a world filled with dread and anxiety. If that crumbles, what’s he have left to lean on?

To put it in wise grandpa terms: The boy done put the pussy on a pedestal.

 

It starts when we are young.

The hormones kick in. Puberty happens. Girls start looking VERY interesting. A boy just wants to go up to that cute girl in class and say “You are really pretty. Will you be my girlfriend?” But no… he wouldn’t dare. She is a beacon of beauty and sunshine. Just the thought of being rejected by her makes his face flush. He prefers to keep her at a safe distance so he can marvel at her beauty. This guarantees that he doesn’t experience the awfulness of rejection.

Then Jimmy, the confident and really tall kid in class, walks right up to her one day. “Wow. You’re hot. You should be my girlfriend.” And with that… they are officially a couple.

Jimmy knew one thing about Ms. Perfect: She’s just a girl. A pretty girl… but just a girl. She poops. She farts. She gets sick. She picks her nose. She has dandruff. She drools when she sleeps. She’s human. She has no superpowers. The worst she can do is say no… and who cares? A no from her has no more power than the no he got from mom and dad that morning before school. No more power than his coach that said no yesterday at practice. A no is a one word syllable which just means “Ain’t happening here.. try somewhere else.” Oh, ok. No biggy.

To the sad sap, chatting up Ms. Perfect is a monumental feat in overcoming fear and anxiety. It’s the same as jumping out of a plane. His heart is pumping. He’s thinking of all the right things to say. He doesn’t want to look like a moron.

To Jimmy… it’s just a girl.

 

The Teen Years

As we mature and become horny out-of-control teen boys, the pedestalization gets amplified. We are torn between feelings of romance/love and unbridled testosterone-fueled horniness. We dream of walking hand-in-hand with Ms. Perfect and talking on the phone for hours and going to the movies, and also fantasize about banging her in the basement on the washing machine.  Spin cycle, of course.

Our sap sits around with his buddies, staring at Ms. Perfect during lunch time. “I would eat a mile long trail of her shit just to get to that ass” his friend says. The boys all laugh. It’s hilarious and gross, but the message is clear: She is a goddess. Her value is beyond measure. Oh, the things you would do just to spend five filthy minutes with her.

Oh, great. Tall Jimmy again. He walks right up to Ms. Perfect and puts his arm around her. She leans into him and smiles. Wait, wasn’t he going out with Ms. Hotty last week? What’s he doing with Ms. Perfect today?! Man, these pretty girls just love these assholes.

No… Jimmy is not an asshole. He is just not intimidated. He sees what he wants and goes for it. He learned early on not to be intimidated. He can take rejection from a girl.

Remember, you don’t see the 18 other times he struck out. You just see the home runs.

 

Adulthood

Ironically, it’s rare that our timid hero is NOT married during early adulthood. You’d think he would be the one to not have a woman in his life.. but no. He’s the type that of guy that jumps on the first woman that gives him attention. It just snowballs from there.

Here’s the typical timeline:

  1. They were highschool classmates or met in college.
  2. She asked him out or he was pushed by friends to talk to her.
  3. The attention from her is overwhelmingly positive. He quickly dedicates himself to her. Instant monogamous relationship. What are the chances that he meet the one perfect girl for him… and in math class!? Weird how the universe works.
  4. He hasn’t had a woman before or since he met her.
  5. He deals with many red flags during their relationship but always looks at her good side. He thinks he’s a better person because of this.
  6. She leaves him. She usually cites their early relationship and lack of life experience as a motivation. An affair is discovered. This is usually after children are already in the picture.

This is all a result of the childhood female pedestalization continuing on into adulthood. He stil doesn’t dare approach women, so it took a woman to come to HIM or friends to PUSH him to a woman they feel was a good match. Usually this woman has the more masculine/strong energy to his more feminine/soft energy.

Now that he actually has attained the dream of getting a woman’s attention for more than five minutes, he’ll do whatever he can to keep her around. This is like becoming buddies with a celebrity. “Oh, we’re going to go out and party at 3am and do drugs now? Ok, sounds cool Mr. Rock Star. Can I get a photo of us together for Facebook?”

She eventually grows tired of the lack of resistance and longs for somebody with a little more spunk and backbone. This knocks her guard down and she repeatedly approaches the innapropriate line. It doesn’t take much to convince her to cross the line. Affair time.

But, let’s not beat up the poor guy too much. It’s easy to write him off as just being an anxious dude. But, It’s not all his fault.

 

Society doesn’t help.

As much as we strive for equality between the sexes, we can’t deny that there ARE differences. We try our best to push down the innate biology , but society knows. We all know. We just ain’t the same.

Case in point…

The boat is going down. You have an hour before it goes under completely and everyone dies in the cold Atlantic. Time to deploy the lifeboats. What does the captain yell out?

“Women and children first!”

We’re all well aware of this phrase. It’s been popularized in movies for years. Yes, it does happen in real life.

There’s a basic evolutionary basis behind this phenomenon. As far as survival of the community is concerned, the women and kids are more valuable. Her eggs are scarce and the kids can go on to create lots more kids during their lifetime. Men are a dime a dozen. You could also argue that the men are physically stronger than the women and children and so they have a much higher chance of survival on their own. But in the case of the sinking ship… no amount of testosterone will keep a man from drowning.

Regardless of the reason why, a man who pushes ahead of a woman for a seat on the lifeboat will be severely chastized by his community. Know your place, homeboy.

This “men are disposable” and “women are wonderful” theme permeates everything in our popular culture.

And yes, this disposable/wonderful phenomenon is a form of sexism. It’s a perversion of the biological differences between men and women. It makes the men out to be strong, respected, violent, impulsive and replaceable. Women are more thoughtful, timid, empathetic, silly, disrespected and prized.

For the man who already has a natural inclination to put women on a pedestal… the societal pressure to do so pushes him over the edge into full-blown denial and maybe even an unhealthy level of worship.

 

 

The Friendzone

For the sad sap not in a romantic relationship, he’ll very often have a lot of female friends. Why? They are less threatening to him for one. He doesn’t like the feeling he gets when hanging around other men. He feels intimidated and vulnerable. He’s sensitive to the underlying heirarchy that exists among men… and he’s admittedly at the bottom of the pyramid.

He’s also convinced himself that he can have a more open and honest form of friendship with women. Strip away the testosterone and the stupid male competition and you’re left with honesty and emphathy, right? RIGHT!?!

Our sap hopes to escape the primitive and shallow behavior that he perceives with his male friends… but he doesn’t realize he’s also knee deep in that world with his female friends. He’s just blinded by their beauty and female ways.

Completely platonic male-female relationships are extremely rare. There is normally some form of give and take. Usually he gives and she takes. He has no boundaries. She is fully aware of the dynamic at play.

Girls get their homework done for them. Women get free drinks and a shoulder to cry on.

Our sap probably wishes that he WAS in a romantic relationship with one or more of his female friends. Obviously, he can’t tell them this outright. He hopes that his emotion-laden friendship will win him romantic points and she will eventually open to him, sexually. If he eventually gets up the nerve to ask her out, it will be waaaay too late. Due to his excessively emotional and needy behavior, he has ruined any chance of being romantic with her. He’s just another girlfriend.

He feels used. He feels angry because she’s not seeing that he is the perfect guy for her (silly delicate flower of a girl just can’t understand). He gets mad that the Jimmies of the world who win her affection so easily. Years of pedestalization and worship won’t even get him to first base. Yet, he sticks by her side. In fact he will be there to protect her and listen to her when she cries about her relationships with other men.

He’s on the backburner and he knows it. He’s cool with that… because she’s a woman. She’s on a pedestal.

 

Wake Up

Any of these things sound familiar?

“I never understood what you saw in her. You were way outta her league.”
“Dude… you need to stop being a doormat. She’s taking advantage of you.”
“Why do you put up with that from her?”

You’re as disposable as you want to be. You have value.

Your wife “Wouldn’t do that“? Yes she would. Of course she would. She’s a human. We are all capable of awfulness. She is not different. Her vagina gives her no key to the kingdom of heaven. She’s not a magical being worthy of fear. You don’t have to walk on eggshells around her. Tell her no. Tell her to knock it off. Show her the same respect you give to men… by treating her as an equal.

She’s one of a billion. Knock her ass off the pedestal.

Think Being a Single Guy is Tough? Try Being a Woman.

I’m going to go off script here and talk about the other half of the species. Lets put on our virtual pair of Spanx and padded bra and take a peak at what it’s like as a single WOMAN today.

IT AIN’T ALL ABOUT SEX

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, single women get sex much easier than men. A woman can quite literally open her front door, pull her skirt up and say “Alright… you guys have 30 minutes. Who wants to fuck?!”, and SOME dude will come running. I don’t care how bad she looks, some guy out there will be desperate enough to bang her (and unfortunately this gives lower value women an inflated sense of worth in the dating scene…. like the 400 lb woman on Tinder saying “swipe left if you’re under 6′ 3″ tall”). There is never a shortage of desperate dudes.

It doesn’t take much effort for a woman to get laid.

  1. Install Tinder
  2. Swipe Right
  3. Get Sex

For dude… it’s a delicate souffle recipe of an effort. You have to get things juuuuuuust right, and even then it can all collapse on you in the last second and you’re back on Pornhub.

The successful player/lover is a guy who has the exact right sexual recipe… and all of us want to know what the ingredients are. He may be slow of wit and about as interesting as a box of dead puppies, but he has achieved a level of sexual conquest that most men dream of. That makes him a sexual winner in the eyes society. He gets the women. He could be sitting at the bar next to the smartest Nobel Prize winning academic in the world… and Mr. Smarty Pants would sit back in awe and watch as Mr. Playboy makes out with 10 different bimbo types throughout the night. He would then approach Mr. Playboy, buy him drink and say “How do you DO that??”

The “slut”, for lack of a better term, is a gal who opened the door, flashed her cookie and said “Next!” Nothing wrong with that… but nothing women will line up to learn how to do. It’s a one ingredient recipe: “Want sex? Ask for it.”

Sex is always there for her. That’s a given. But, if she’s a mentally healthy woman, she’s going to want more than to jump from penis to penis over the next 10 years. For her, sex is not the end game.

That is where things get tough.

We, as men, look at the female’s instant access to sex and think “Women have it easy.” They can reach the end game so much easier! We’re thinking like dudes (with our dicks). We are programmed to bang a bunch of hot women and spread our abundant seed wherever we go. Women aren’t. They’re programmed to find the best all around dude so she can hand over her precious eggs to him and hope for the best.

INTERESTING FACTOID: As the book “Is There Anything Good About Men” points out, DNA evidence shows us that throughout history, 80% of the female population successfully reproduced. How about the men? Only 40%. Two to one difference.  Only a select few men were able to conquer the temple of hoohah and spread their seed. Again… high valued men. The top of the pyramid.

(Yes this is going to be one of those annoying evolutionary psychology kind of posts. Deal with it.)

The thing is… it’s really tough for a woman to find the all around GOOD dude. She wants a guy that has a good combination of those lover/provider qualities she wants so badly. Sure, she has the sweet siren of the “Just go out and have fun. You’re single, girlfriend!” lifestyle calling, but she doesn’t want to be the living sex doll for some creep, or one of 39 women for some playboy, or the pedestal princess to some dork of a beta/provider.

She wants the combo of good qualities. She wants the super interesting player with the strong arms, big brain and a heart of gold. She wants James Bond, god dammit.

“WHERE ARE ALL THE GOOD MEN?”

After divorce a woman is mostly left with a lot of also-divorced guys in her dating pool. These guys are usually one of two personality types:

divorced playboy

The super playboy wannabe “I’ve been tied down before and prefer to stay unattached and fuck a new woman every week, thank you very much” type of guy.

needy provider

… or the “I know we just met but here are some flowers and I let me introduce you to my kids right away and say hi to my mom and let me pay for everything and I love you please don’t leave me” needy provider types.

This is precisely what single women mean when they say “WHERE ARE ALL THE GOOD MEN!?” Yes, I realize this is serious anger food for all you nerds with a bad masturbation habit. I can hear you now…

“We’ve ALWAYS been here! You won’t give us a chance! You women just go for the BAD boys!! It’s your fault that you’re so miserable! Serves you right!”

No, dipshit… you’re not the GOOD dude she’s looking for, either. She wants an all around dude with both lover and provider qualities. That’s ain’t you. You’re far too needy. Go clean your fedora.

As we know, women have lots and lots of NEEDS and it’s tough to meet them all. It’s especially tough with a woman who has been in a long-term relationship with another man and has kids to go with it. Almost impossible.

The poor single mom has her work cut out for her trying to find a GOOD dude who can check a lot of boxes she is accustomed to being checked AND will be willing to help care for another man’s offspring.  This is why most women end up settling for that guy they GUESS will be good enough (needy dork provider guy).

We all now how that turns out (Hint: 70% of divorces are initiated by women).

Or they stick with the party scene and bounce from bad boy to bad boy hoping that ONE of them has a heart of gold. This is that embarrassingly drunk older woman at the bar with the way-too-skimpy dress grinding her crotch on every guy within five feet of her. She’s advertising that she’s an easy lay and repeatedly wonders why she can’t find her James Bond. We have all seen that woman.

TIME IS NOT ON THEIR SIDE

Men cannot appreciate the biological clock that a woman is up against. We have no equivalent. With the right amount of time in the gym, the right attitude and the right paycheck… we can score hot women well into our later years. I’m not saying we can have deep, meaningful long-term relationships very easily, but we can have fun and get our sexual/romantic needs met and live a good life that is fulfilling.

For a lot of women, that just ain’t the case.

Forget all your “Cougar” and “MILF” talk.  In the woman’s world there is nothing more powerful than youth.

The world is the pretty young lady’s oyster. Society will absolutely bend over backwards to accommodate her. For most women, her best and most attractive years occur in her teens and early 20’s. How do we define “most attractive”? Isn’t that subjective? Well, let’s take a look at the data.

What better place to mine for data than the anonymous confines of the internet. There we can see what men search for on dating sites, porn sites and the like. We get to see what they look for when nobody is watching.

The data shows that YOUTH is above all other criteria.

To put put it in evo-psych terms, men look primarily for women of good fertile status.  Our programming is set to look for a certain list of qualities in a potential mate. Good hip to waist ratio. Good skin. Good hair. Softer, more delicate features. Those qualities are far more common in young women.

To quote the book “A Billion Wicked Thoughts”:

A woman’s body accumulates its maximum percentage of gynoid fat during adolescence. This accounts for teenage girls’ shapely bodies. Since these estrogen-fueled, gynoid fat-based ornaments are the best indicators of a woman’s long-term reproductive value, youthful forms of these ornaments evolved to become the most potent visual cues for men.

That’s nerd-speak for  “Young chicks are hot. We can’t help it. Sorry.”

To further illustrate, here’s a graph showing what men type in during their late night feverish porn searches (only age-related terms shown):

See the pattern?

Now you know why plastic surgery and makeup are multi-billion dollar industries. Women are well aware of how society puts youth above all else. They’re hanging on to what’s left of their younger self at all costs.

If she’s lucky enough to be a pretty young girl, she is turning heads left and right. Cat calls. Guys making obscene remarks. Men coming on to her at the office. Men falling over themselves asking for dates.

Then they marry.

They spit out some kids.

They slave away at their job.

They spend years chasing around kids, cleaning up messes, driving to soccer games, baking pies for the bake sale…

Before they know it they’re in their late 30’s. How the hell did that happen?!

The cat calls stop. Nobody is approaching them at the bar during girls’ night out. Everything about her from her sensible hair, belly pooch and comfy shoes screams MOM. At times she misses the young her and all that came with that life. She would kill for a cat call again.

But, she has her husband and kids and possibly a career to give her the validation and meaning she needs. It’s not all about the shallow things. There’s more to life than sex and all that goes with it. It’s about friends. The family unit. Her community.

God help her if she divorces.

After divorce the stark reality hits her… HARD.

What are universally deemed meaningful and valued personal qualities have next to no value in the shallow and cruel world of the sexual marketplace.

“I have a PhD” is the female version of “I’m really good at golf.”

She wants a good dude. She wants comfort. Companionship. Unfortunately the group of guys she is most attracted to are going for younger dumb women. To her, this is disgusting. Those guys she has pegged to be “good enough” for her just seem to go for the young sluts or refuse to be tied down.

They don’t even give her a chance… and it’s not fair.

If she DOES manage to get a man’s attention long enough to get to know him… they only seem interested in quick sex. No relationship. No feelings. No nothing. A week of fun texting and a couple of dates… and the guy disappears.

This isn’t what she wanted in life.

She’s a good woman who played by the rules and did what society told her to do. She concentrated on her career, on her kids and on her family.

Sound familiar?

THE BIG LIE

Let’s look at another common group of modern day women: The childless.

I talked before about the apparent book of rules us men seem to be such fans of. There’s another book of rules that the modern day woman is playing by. It’s another form of what I call The Big Lie.

Some of us men experience our own version of The Big Lie. We’ve been told that being a sweet nice guy will EVENTUALLY get us the girl of our dreams. We just gotta hold out hope. Just ignore all those pretty girls going for the Lover types… you just focus on being Mr. Provider and all is well. The soft skills is where it’s at. Ignore the petty/shallow stuff.

We all now know it’s mostly bullshit.

For the young modern day woman, they are told “Yeah, sure you want to have babies in your twenties. We all have that urge. But, sweetie… seriously… don’t waste your precious 20’s on a family. Have fun and make some money. Live it up. Speaking of money, why should men take up all of the money-making career positions out there? You can be an executive if you want! You go out there and get your piece of the pie! Babies and family and all that can wait!”

Later in life they hear the clock ticking. Maybe they are in their mid-late 30’s or early 40’s. The career is fine…they’re having fun with their boyfriend or husband… but something is MISSING. That deep down natural urge to procreate is still there and it is SCREAMING at them right about now. Why? Because they know what’s always hovering over them like the grim reaper that it is:

AGE.

AGE is telling them to hurry up and get these last batch of eggs fertilized. You ain’t getting any younger, sister! There’s only so many eggs to go around!

They used to be able to ignore AGE, but now that the “climbing the corporate ladder” noise of the professional world is fading away… AGE is louder than ever. It’s literally driving her nuts at times. Fuck it… let’s make a baby.

Then they try to conceive naturally. It ain’t happening. Months and months of negative pregnancy tests. Shit. Time to visit the doctor.

The doctor tells them that their chances of having a baby are WAY lower now then they were when they were in their early twenties. “If I could I would go back in time I would tell all you ladies in your twenties to freeze your eggs and embryos” they say. Well, that’s awesome to hear NOW, doc. Then the ladies get to hear a lesson on how having a baby past the age of 35 exponentially raises the chances of developmental problems in the baby. Oh, great.

It’s almost as if the medical community gets off on pointing at them and laughing.  “HAHA!! You waited to have kids??!! HAHAHA!”

So their new reality is: Have career. Put off kids. Try to have kids. Can’t have kids. Spend thousands trying. Somehow get lucky and have kids? Here’s a laundry list of physical problems to worry about.

Awesome.

Now, combine all of the above with a lady who hasn’t yet found her GOOD man yet.

And you think you have it bad because that one really hot chick you like is hasn’t texted you back.

Try being a woman.

Baggage

Here’s a common term in the world of relationships: BAGGAGE.

“Baggage” is another word for all the negative shit that happened to you in the past and that is presumably deeply embedded in your psyche and ready to bubble up at a moment’s notice.  After a marriage dissolves a man will often talk about all of the ex-wife’s baggage she brought to the relationship and how he should’ve acted on this crucial data earlier on.

Examples of typical female “baggage” may include:

  1. No father figure in her life
  2. Comes from a broken home
  3. History of sexual abuse
  4. History of sexual promiscuity
  5. History of poor past relationships with men
  6. Past drug abuse

You get the idea. This is all a bunch of stuff that when us seasoned guys hear it we wince and say “Ooo… be careful, dude.” What we mean is “The chances of this relationship not working and you getting hurt are much higher than with a low/no baggage girl.”

This is true.

Also true: The chance of you finding a low/no baggage girl are somewhere between slim and none. This isn’t a typical condemnation of current western society, but rather a testimonial to human nature.

We ALL have baggage.  All of us. Every one of us.

What we ALL don’t have is the ability to COPE with said baggage. Therefore your litmus test for a good long-term relationship partner shouldn’t be “Does she have baggage?”, but rather “Awful shit happens to everyone all over the world… how does she DEAL with it?” This is the bread and butter of what makes a good partner. Staring life right in the eye when it gives us a shit sandwich and saying “That’s it?! What else you got?”

I myself have baggage. A good deal of it, actually. I was dumped by my wife for another man (ouch). I was left with three kids that I have most of the time (double ouch). As a result, my professional life has suffered and I would probably have more money if it wasn’t for the divorce and expensive kids (triple ouch). My ex-wife is also fucking nuts (quadruple ouch). These things do not work in my favor. What DOES work in my favor is how I dealt with them and continue to deal with them on a daily basis. This translates into fortitude and strength. The kind of stuff you want in a partner of either sex.

A woman's emotional and psychological baggagePicture baggage as a bunch of luggage in the back of a car. A woman who has a shit ton of baggage is barreling down the road in a car with suitcases and duffle bags poking out of the back windows. The trunk is so full that it’s open and tied down with bungee cords. It’s a mess.

The weight of the baggage is SO much that it actually throws off the balance of the car. She has to keep her hands on wheel at all times and constantly make corrections with little tugs left and right. The second she takes her hands off the wheel… SCREEECH! She’s off the road and headed for a tree. Disaster.

That’s what baggage is. It’s all the shit that happened to you in the past that WILL have a negative impact on your life and relationships with others… UNLESS you recognize the baggage for what it is, live in reality, and take steps towards remedying the situation. If you don’t live in reality and say you have nothing to worry about… SCREECH… you’re running right off the road and into danger.

Here are some real life ways in which mature adults “deal with baggage” successfully:

“My entire family are alcoholics. I watched my mom and dad drink themselves almost to death and it ruined my childhood. Because of that I have vowed never to touch a drop of alcohol. I don’t know need it and I am fine without it.”

“I was sexually abused at a young age. Because of that I have intimacy issues and see a therapist on a regular basis. As a result I recognize that I have issues with impulsive promiscuous behavior, and don’t want to threaten my current relationship… so I don’t put myself in compromising positions. No drinks after work with colleagues. No sexual talk at work. No girls’ nights out drinking and going to clubs. I tell my boyfriend about all of the men that contact me and hit on me at work… I don’t want to leave anything a secret no matter how small. Trust and transparency is important.”

“My mother was abusive to my father. She would always hit him and belittle him and call him names in front of me. Because of that I vowed to never do that to my man… but, I recognize that I’m also attracted to guys like my dad and find myself later loathing them and sometimes acting like my mom. I need to get to the bottom of this and talk to a therapist. I need to learn to better control my anger.”

But, of course… it’s never that easy, is it? It’s VERY tempting to take your hands off the wheel for just a second. “I shouldn’t HAVE to always be steering the car. This is stupid. SALLY doesn’t have to steer HER car all the time! I should be able to take my hands off the wheel whenever I want!” – This is not a good thing. This is what we call a broken woman.  Mature people recognize that life isn’t “fair”. We all have our own little crosses to bear and we all overcome and navigate through life in our own way. We each have our own special prescription bottle with “take these if you want to be healthy and not hurt yourself and others” pills. We take our medicine every day and we deal with it.

So with all that being said…you’ll hear me preach abundance and not tying yourself to one woman to the point of ignoring red flags. I still believe that 100%. If you see things that make you say “uh oh” repeatedly, you don’t walk away… you run. Listen to your gut. If you are repeatedly running into the same issues that means that your woman, with all of her baggage, has taken her hands off the wheel and you’re about to be ejected through the windshield and end up as a quadriplegic face down in a mud puddle. Broken people bring down and destroy all those around them if they have the chance.

Don’t give somebody repeated breaks just because they otherwise make you feel good. This is your life partner we’re talking about here. This woman is potentially the mother to your kids. If she repeatedly crosses the line into inappropriate or destructive behavior, you’re in for big time trouble. Recognize it and get out of the damn car.

If your woman slips up and says “Alright… that was wrong. I’m sorry. I’ll fix this” and she GENUINELY tries to fix it… and DOES fix it? Then bravo to her. You have a winner. She’s an adult and she saw shortcomings in herself and saw a way to improve. There’s nothing more admirable than that.

Unless of course she screwed some other dude… then it’s just over. Sorry guys.

 

 

 

You’re free?! Divorced?! Forget about women for a while.

A recent email exchange with a reader reminded me of something. The most often asked question I get by guys who have discovered infidelity and see divorce on the horizon:

So… what’s dating like?

These poor guys are so conditioned to having a female by their side that the knee jerk reaction to losing one is to immediately look for a replacement. While some may say they just want to have fun with ladies while playing bachelor… they secretly all desire to find “the one” and get comfortable again.

My advice to them is always the same.. and it’s always ignored. Always.

“Forget about chicks for a while. Focus on you.”

I see men jump right into dating, get crushed, crawl back to their cave and say “Yeah… maybe I should give dating a rest for while.” Over and over and over again.

I know… I was one of them.

I am now with a genuinely GOOD woman. That is NOT because I bounced around for a while in online dating, worked my network of friends and neighbors and eventually connected with somebody I had a lot in common with. No… I just got lucky. Seriously. It had nothing to do with my repaired emotional state or doing everything by the book. No… I just happened to find a good woman who was going through much of what I was going through… at pretty much the exact same time. She was there through my annoying three year post-divorce emotional journey, and I was there for hers. We both agreed that we were dating way too soon.. but did it anyway. This could’ve ended in a catastrophe of epic proportions. Thankfully it didn’t.

In spite of doing everything wrong, we got it right.

Don’t do what I did. Just because I hit the lottery doesn’t mean you should go out and spend your next paycheck on Powerball tickets. Just because Jimi Hendrix did drugs doesn’t mean that you can be an awesome guitar player by shooting up heroin. You get the idea.

Oh yeah, I did some dating. I’m familiar with that world. As I’ve often said, 90% of the single women out there are not long-term relationship material. Have fun, go out every now and then, do your thing.. but realize that the chances of finding somebody worth calling your one girl are very very low.

YOU HAVE TO BE OK WITH THAT.

Hearing somebody tell you that you will probably spend your remaining years casually dating and enjoying the single life should put a big fat smile on your face. It’s shouldn’t make you sad. You’re a dude. FREEDOM is everything to you.

Don’t quite feel that way? You’re conditioned. You’re broken. Don’t start dating yet.

When you are in a super vulnerable state of being shit on and dumped… you tend to want to remedy the extreme anxiety as quickly as possible. Some of us figure out that you just have to power through it slowly and occupy your mind with stuff like the gym, work, hobbies, reading, writing, friends… but most of us look for the quick fix. That touch. That physical feeling. That warmth. A WOMAN.

Hey, it all sounds good. You go about doing all of those things that come with new found freedom, and you have NEEDS, so why not casually date? Well… I agree with the sentiment… BUT recognize that you will most likely set your progress back a little (or a lot) by jumping into bed with women right away. Recognize that it will whip up all kinds of feelings. Recognize that you may very well start falling for girls REALLY quickly. Recognize that you CANNOT TRUST YOURSELF right now to make the most rational decision. You cannot trust yourself to do what is right for YOU RIGHT NOW. What you can trust is that you are hurting and you will want to fix that hurt right away. You will ignore red flag after red flag if it means you feel good again.

Your feelings are perfectly valid… Your conclusions and remedies are not. You cannot trust yourself right now. You are an addict looking for a fix. “I can stop at any time. I’m cool. Don’t worry about me.”

Another way to look at it: You are an adult. You are probably a dad. You have an entire world of work, home, and family that depends on your to keep your shit together. Don’t run out there and jump on the first woman that makes you feel good again. Realize that you have a 1/10 chance of finding a good one… which means the remaining 9/10 are varying degrees of broken. They are cheaters, liars, depressed, angry, abuse-survivors, abusers, borderlines, bipolars, manic depressives… you name it, you will run into it. You want to risk bringing THAT into your world? You’re willing to risk having a crazy woman show up at your door on Taco Tuesday night with the kids,  screaming “WHY HAVEN’T YOU TEXTED ME BACK, ASSHOLE!? IT’S BEEN TWO HOURS!!”

You’re better than that. You’re a man. It’s ok to hurt. It’s okay to want it to all go away. What you don’t do is look for the easy way out. You work through the pain. You work through the anxiety. You work on yourself. It’s introspection time. It’s time to pick apart yourself and rebuild. It sucks… but it sucks worse to be sitting at the kitchen table with your head in your hands saying “God dammit… I did it again” as you find out your new girlfriend gave you the clap.