You can’t beat emotion. Stop trying.

On this site, my most popular podcasts and articles are by far the ones dealing with Dead Bedrooms. The next most popular topics are about Infidelity.

On the way more popular website Talk About Marriage, the two most popular “focused” topics are “Coping with Infidelity” and “Sex in Marriage“. No other topics even come close.

talk about marriage topics

So… bad sex and cheating spouses. That’s the bread and butter of relationship discussion on the web. How nice.

So… what’s going on? Why so many people searching for and commenting on issues related to infidelity and sex in marriage? Is it REALLY that bad?

First of all, yes… lots of people get caught cheating on their spouses AND a lot of people have shitty sex lives. That’s just a fact.

Second, there are a lot of men on the internet just trying to figure out HOW to fix things when they go horribly wrong. They want to know what steps they can take to go back to banging their wife 2 times a day. They want to know what they can do to get their wife to fall back in love with them after catching her riding the guy from her spinning class.

They also want to know WHY and HOW the relationship machine broke so “suddenly”. Surely there’s gotta be a relationship owner’s manual PDF they can download for free somewhere.

For the male victims of infidelity, more often than not the answer they get from their community is some variation of “Dude. Stop. Just leave the whore already.” He doesn’t listen. “Just leave” is an irrational, knee-jerk reaction that has long-lasting and negative repercussions to the family unit. Besides, all these people on the internet don’t know his wife. She’s really not the evil creature his story might make her out to be. She has just lost her way and there is STILL a chance to right this sinking ship. She just needs to be reminded of all the good things they have going on and she will snap out of this “fog” she is in and come to her senses.

This is the equivalent of a guy under the hood of his car, checking the oil and brake fluid while the car is engulfed in flames. “Hold on a sec… Let me just check the wiper fluid real quick. It looks a little low, too.” 

Men are fixers. We apply our RATIONAL, annoying Spock-like minds to these dramatic, emotion-filled situations and do all kinds of calculations and what-if scenarios to find the magic solution.

We are using our inherent manly qualities of tinkering and figuring things out and applying them to a situation where it not only doesn’t belong, but could actually end up making the situation even worse.

Sure the washer fluid is full… but you now have third degree burns over your whole body and the car is a pile of ashes.

DRILL THIS INTO YOUR HEAD: You can’t overcome emotion with rationality.

“I don’t understand. Doesn’t she realize what she’s doing to our family? This doesn’t make any sense.”

“She doesn’t have any money. How is she going to take care of herself if she’s on her own?!”

“The guy is a LOSER! How can she blow up our family with a guy like THAT!?”

“If she would just TRY to have sex with me every day, she would remember how much fun sex is and everyone would be happy!”

“I don’t get it. We just renewed our vows. The whole time we were so loving and devoted to each other… and she was having multiple affairs. It makes no sense.”

In cases of infidelity and sex, you’re not dealing with somebody who took out a spreadsheet and listed all of the pros and cons in their decision making.

You’re dealing with emotion. FEELINGS. Human NATURE.

In the world of emotion, 2+2 can, in fact, equal 5… as long as it feels right.

Emotion wins.  Every time.

Advertisers have known this for decades.

Do you want to sell a product?  Show the consumer how bad things can be without it. Show them how everyone else has it and just look how HAPPY and good looking they are now that they have this product in their lives. Create a culture around your product. Create an image and set of rituals around your product. Tap into their innate human programming while at the same time pushing those buttons that release a potent shot of dopamine. Once they feel like they are part of a community AND better than the other guy AND they feel a euphoric high using the product… then it’s over. They’ll pay a premium for the EXPERIENCE of your product. Doesn’t matter that it was made in China by slave labor and will break in one year.

The nerds say “Why buy the iMac when a PC for half the cost will easily outperform it?” They’re the same type of guy that says “Why would she cheat on me with that loser that works at Taco Bell?”

He doesn’t get it. It has nothing to do with common sense and rational thought. It’s emotion. It’s innate programming. It’s human nature.

You can’t beat it with your rationality, dude.  Don’t even try. You’ll just go crazy in the process.

“She’s nuts. All women are nuts.”

It’s extremely easy to throw your hands up and just proclaim all women to be varying degrees of crazy. It’s the knee-jerk way out of actually trying to think, empathize and understand people who can have a vastly different perspective on life. The problem is that once you DO get a better understanding of women and their psychology in particular, you inevitably come back with some variation of “Wow, it’s like she can’t help it.” This can be even more disturbing and shocking to a lot of men.

I know, “She can’t help it” seems to imply that she is a child that has no control over what she does in life. No, that’s not it at all.

Women are human and all humans have a “just can’t help it” line of autonomous behavior.

The “CLICK-WHIRR” Effect

In his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, social psychologist Robert Cialdini breaks down the mechanisms that cause people to DO certain things for certain people. He dives quickly into the dangerous world of our autonomic animalistic behavior. I say “dangerous” because people REALLY don’t like being told that they don’t have complete free will in their day-to-day behavior. We REALLY REALLY don’t like being told that men and women have different instinctual drives that govern our behavior.

In today’s society we often misconstrue “different” as implying “inferior”. That hurts feelings and causes anxiety. People are more than willing to gladly ignore science if it means not hurting feelings. See the uproar from the latest Google “manifesto” as a perfect example.

We humans feel that we digest every important nugget of information we’re presented with and at least TRY to create the most rational and altruistic response at all times.

Nope.

“You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.” – Sam Harris

Cialdini illustrates our autonomic programming with something he calls the “Click-Whirr” Effect.

Basically, think of a machine that clicks on and then the mechanism or tape starts spinning… that’s the whirr.  Every living creature has some type of programming in them that is setup to monitor for a specific stimuli (the click) and react accordingly (the whirr).

In a particular species of turkey, for example, they have an internal program that says “When I hear the very specific sound/pitch of a baby turkey that has just hatched, I will sit on it to keep it warm.” Scientists were able to bring a box into a cage… a box with no discernable turkey-like features… and get a female turkey to sit on it just by playing the newly hatched turkey noise.

The baby chick noise was the click. Mama sitting on the box was the whirr.

The turkey didn’t THINK “I hear a noise. Their must be a baby turkey inside this box, I must protect it.” It just REACTED. Instantly. No thought. No rationalizing. Thousands of years of progamming at work.

Cialdini takes the principle of the click-whirr and applies it to humans in the form of persuasion. Getting people to do what you want means knowing what specific buttons to click to get just the right reaction out of them. You can mimic certain innate behavioral triggers and watch again and again just how little free will people actually have.

The Click-Whirr Effect in Real Life

Take, for example, the infamous dead bedroom.

The dead bedroom is a response. You were having sex… something happened… now you’re not. Simple as that.

Responses like these, for the most part, are NOT thought out or intentional. There’s no genuine malice at play here. This is DEEPLY embedded if/then programming statements that have been around for generations. This is the kind of stuff that keeps the species moving along. This is biology. Biology doesn’t care that you are gold medal dad of the year for the past 10 years. Biology doesn’t care that you bring home a steady paycheck and paid for a new furnace last month.

All biology knows is that you did X and you now get Y in return.

Instead of using the harsh terms like “nature” or “programming”, we can also refer to this as “emotion”. They’re all inerchangeable. Calling it emotion softens the blow a bit and gives it a weakened image of “silly little girl” or “weak-willed man”, when in-fact it can be broken down into digestable and predictable chunks of stimuli-response. There’s nothing infantile or crazy about it.

After much life experience and research, I have reached the conclusion that men just need to push the following clicks/buttons, in no particular order, to elicit the classic “dead bedroom/infidelity” whirr responses we all read about again and again:

  1. Don’t look good. Give no shits about your appearance.
  2. Don’t stand up to her. Let her do, say and act however she pleases… even when she’s being an asshole.
  3. Don’t be fun and exciting. Allow life’s obstacles to give you an excuse to be dull and predictable.
  4. Stop being interested in other women. Don’t talk about them and don’t look at them. Pretend they don’t exist.

Show me a guy who says that he’s not getting his intimate needs met in marriage I will show you a guy that will say “Yeah, you’re right”  to three out of the four items above.

When you don’t look good, your wife’s hindbrain says “Not good genetic material for mating purposes… Not attractive to other females…must not procreate with this male.” The whirr: “Not tonight honey. I have a headache.”

 

When you don’t stand up to her and instead just say “yes, dear” twenty times a day, her brain says “This male is weak. He can’t even stand up to me… how will he stand up to things that are truly dangerous and protect me and the family?” The whirr: “I miss being single…”

 

When you stop being fun and exciting, her brain says “He must be getting older and less virile. Testosterone must be down. He won’t be able to procreate successfully or protect me from danger. “ The whirr: “I’m going out for lunch with Tom, my ex-boyfriend from college.”

 

When you stop looking at other women in a sexual way, her brain says “I have no danger of losing my provider. He doesn’t even do the most basic of horny male stuff. He ain’t going anywhere.” The whirr: “I’m tired. I’m going to put on my sweats and just go to bed. But first I will eat three pieces of cake leftover from yesterday.”

These clicks and whirrs are usually not overt or conscious. More often then not they are subtle and pile up over time. The woman is not taking out a flow chart to decide whether or not she still finds her husband attractive. It “just happens”. The subsequent whirr is absolutely mystifying to the unsuspecting husband.

This is when they hear things like:

“I don’t know why I don’t want sex like I used to. I just don’t.”

“It just happened. We were talking, we had a few drinks, he came over… I’m sorry.”

Push the right combination of clicks and the subsequent whirr will wipe your past out as if it never happened. Your history as a couple and all of the past good deeds are NO match for her emotion. “But but… we have marriage VOWS!” Dude… you’re not listening. The programming has already kicked in. There is no line of code that says “If marriage status = true, stop whirr sequence immediately.” It doesn’t work that way.

This is the “affair fog” you read so much about. The spouse becomes a kind of autonomous cheater robot.

*Beep boop* “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you.” *Beep boop beep* “It’s not you. It’s me” *Beep bop beep boop* “I think we need to take a break.”

You’re witnessing the whirr happening right before your eyes. Everything in her life but the affair is wiped out. You can call this “being in love”“obsession”“this is not my wife”…. or you can say that the other man came in at the right time, pushed the right buttons and the “copulate with competing male” whirr started spinning away.

Same result either way: She’s cheating. The whirr has started. You just let the machine run its course… and you walk away. For good.

Boundaries

Healthy people recognize the reality of the whirr. They recognize their capability for malevolence. To combat this, they construct what we call “boundaries” around themselves. They don’t put themselves in positions where clicks are abundant.

  • They don’t do girls night outs with that one questionably sane gal from the office. They say “No thank you!” and take their energy home to their husband.
  • They don’t keep the dirty text they got from the hot 19 year old neighbor girl a secret.  They tell the girl that it’s very inappopriate and immediately show their wife.
  • They don’t have drinks alone after work with the charming guy from the office. They tell him that he should ask his wife out instead.
  • They don’t stay and listen to the hot girl at the office talk about how she would kill to have a guy like him in her life. They say “Thanks”, walk away, and tell the wife about it.
  • They don’t keep messages from their ex a secret. They block the number and immediately inform their husband.

Beware the person who gets angry about having to put up boundaries to their behavior. Beware people who repeatedly claim “I would never cheat” and get angry when the thought of boundaries are brought up. That is clue one that they don’t have any boundaries and they are more apt to let their guard down and open themselves up to the dangerous clicks all around them. They’re in denial of their capacity for wrongdoing and they project their fears and insecurities onto you.

Crossing the line

It doesn’t take much to cross the line. Not much at all. People are more apt to cross it if the circumstances are right. They are more apt to give in to the impulses and clicks and let the machine take over and whirr away if they have the right stressors and emotional baggage in place.

In short, if you come from a broken home, have a history of abuse, were sexual at a very early age, have a history of substance abuse …. you are one finely tuned whirring machine. Your defenses are frequently down and it takes A LOT more consistent boundary enforcement to keep car from going off the road.

One common scenario I see again and again:

  1. Wife has baggage galore. Regardless of her past, she has become a successful and well-rounded person.
  2. Red flags are abundant but ignored. Her actions are questionable but they are always short of crossing the line. The man is led to believe that his nagging gut feelings make him a bad person. He looks at all the positives, instead.
  3. One or a series of bad life moments (stressors) take place. A family member dies. Job loss. Demotion. Illness. New job responsibilities. Something happens and it is enough to break down the few boundaries they may have… and they are off to the races. Strange behavior galore. Cheating. “This is not my wife.” The robot has been activated.

SEO: Sexual Energy Optimization

A little background on me… I do marketing work for companies. Mostly local small/mid-size businesses. I help them push their brand, look professional, and grow their business. I do a lot of creative design work, branding, photography, videography, social media… and website work. I’m the cost-effective and just-as-good alternative to going with a full ad agency. It’s basically just me and a young man helping me right now. I sometimes work in my pajamas from home. Yes, I have a good life.

When it comes to websites, I get the same question. Every time. Every single time.

“How can we be #1 in Google?”

In other words “I want the magic bullet that will propel my company’s website to the top of the list so that people looking for what I sell can very easily find me.”

So, here’s what I tell them:

“What you’re talking about, in part, is Search Engine Optimization. We need to construct your website in a way so that people will have no choice but to see you online and learn more about you.”

*client nods emphatically*

“Okay, here’s what we have to do. It’s not easy, and I will need your help on this. We have to add good, real content to the website. We need to update it often. We need to create separate pages for each product line. Separate pages for each of your branch locations. Photos of products. Photos of your staff. PDF’s people can download so they have the detailed info they need about your products and services. You have to be the undeniable go-to resource of information for your industry.

We will work with you to create the right content. We will do the work behind the scenes to make sure everything is programmed correctly and that Google can see what it needs to see. This is the nuts and bolts of SEO work.

In addition, we also need to work on your social media presence. Your prospects and clients are there, and you need to be there too. You will provide links and references that go back to your website. Google likes that. You are creating the connections in the ‘web’. We need to create a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Instagram and Snapchat may also be helpful. All of these sites should be reflective of each other. If we’re pushing XYZ widgets this month, ALL of your sites showcase XYZ widgets. There should be no doubt that you have a special on XYZ widgets going on.

We also need to create videos and post them on Youtube. Video is, in my opinion, the best way to convey an idea in a relatively short amount of time. A one minute video can cover A LOT of ground, and if done right, can make you guys look like a million bucks. We will then link to those videos on all of the social media sites. We will embed those videos right on your website as well. The videos will reference your website.

We also need to work with your vendors to see if they will be kind enough to post the link to your website on their own sites.We can also post press releases out that that have links to your site. These may get picked up by the news sites… and they will in turn give links to your site. Google loves that. Again, we’re creating the connections in the web. That’s what the internet is all about.

When all that is done, you will most definitely be higher up on the Google results than you were before… but I can’t guarantee you will be #1 on the list. After all that is done, somebody out there may be just a LITTLE better than you. What I can guarantee is that somebody will find you and you will be better off than you were before. It just takes time and patience and you will see the rewards.”

At this point I get one of two replies:

  1. “Awesome. Let’s get rolling. What do you need from us?”
  2. “Well… we had a group come in that told us we could pay $700/month and they would make us #1 in Google..”

Can you guess which group is successful?

#1 recognizes the hard work involved, likes the idea of seeing their company out there and getting recognition, and is willing to do what it takes to get the work done and reap the rewards of a few extra clients. They are also more likely to trust me to get the work done and help out however they can. Their success will snowball and they will be a client for a long time

#2… They just want a quick fix. All of that stuff sounds daunting and they’re not sure they trust me 100% to get it done. Somebody already told them that it shouldn’t be work on their part… they should just pay $700/month and they will get them leads. What they don’t know is that the company will just put up Google ads, get some mediocre leads, and move on to the next sucker after milking them for a few grand. The scammy SEO firm will start doing work but also send the client emails saying things like “You guys should also create a Facebook page. That will help.” Client gets pissed that they have to do something. They thought $700 would take care of it all. They then come to me for help.

The game of sexual attraction is very similar. I call it SEO: “Sexual Energy Optimization”. You want your partner to be in a frenzied sexual state. You want them to WANT you. You want to see that spark in their eye. That desire. That “I just can’t help it” lustful gaze. You want her to grab you by the hand and take you in the back room and blow you.

You want to be #1 search result when they type in “Guys I really want to fuck.”

You don’t want pity sex. You don’t want excuses. You don’t want another “Not tonight, baby. I’m sorry.”

If you’re like most, you just don’t wanna do the work. In fact, you’re in denial that work is even necessary.

Instead of alt-tags and content, your SEO work should be fitness and health. Mental and physical. It should be a healthy combination of the “shallow” physicality and the deeper programming of abundance mentality and independence. It should be an acceptance of knowing that even if you do everything right, you still may not be #1… and that’s ok. You’ve constructed a great presence. Others will find you and are ready to buy.

Let this be hammered into your head: She cannot help that she is not sexually attracted to you. She can’t. It is not a decision. Sexual attraction is not negotiable.

It’s like getting mad at somebody for not finding your site. “How come you didn’t click on my site when you did your search?!!” — “Ummm… you weren’t on page one of results. I never go past page one.”

The physical act of sex is a decision, yes… but that visceral drive and feeling is not. It’s there, or it isn’t. It’s the difference between starfish “Just hurry up so we can watch Game of Thrones” sex and “Did we really do it for three hours!?” sex. You know it when it happens.

So many people buy into the magic of sexual attraction. That “spark” is just there with this certain guy, and they just don’t know why! They want to love their perfect little angel of a sweet husband/boyfriend… but why are they thinking about fucking that asshole from work all the time!?

It’s not magic. It’s not some little certain super secret undefinable quality… it’s a combination of things. It’s pushing buttons and needs in the right combination. It’s doing a lot of little things. It’s becoming undeniable. It’s being ok with not being everything to everybody. She doesn’t want to fuck you? Cool. Not a big deal.

Here’s a common scenario. Let’s look at two different ways it can play out:

Woman standing in kitchen cooking. Husband walks up behind and puts his arms around her waist. Kisses the back of her neck. She winces. “Babe… I’m trying to get this done quickly. We have to be out the door in 30 minutes for the PTA meeting. Not right now.”

Reaction #1: Husband – “Sigh… whatever.” *He starts slamming things around in the kitchen. Stomps off mumbling something. Very obviously pissed.* Wife chases after him. “You know… you’re a real asshole sometimes. Don’t you see what I’m trying to do?! I don’t see YOU doing the cooking! It’s not like I can just get turned on and do whatever, whenever you want! Stop being a baby!”

He’s furious. He escapes to the basement to look at porn. “Can’t she just fucking ACT like a loving wife for once?! Fucking Christ.” He will probably pout and fume for a while. He will try again later with more forceful touching. She will once again roll her eyes and shame him for trying. She may even get physical and push him away or hit him. She is now officially repulsed.

Reaction #2: “Okay, baby. Mmmm… Those potatoes smells good.” Then he smacks her on the butt and goes away.

Reaction #2 says “I am not a slave to your emotional response to my physical advances. If you don’t want to do anything or don’t feel like it right now… that’s perfectly fine! No pouting. No anger here. Your libido and response is not my responsibility. I’m happy and sexy and awesome either way. I got shit to do… so see you later, sexy pants!”

The breakdown of reaction #1: Man wants woman. Woman says no. Man gets pissed because, gosh darnit, she doesn’t like him like she’s supposed to like him in that moment. He has NEEDS, dammit! She’s SUPPOSED to like him at all times. He had a vision in his mind of how that little kitchen groping scenario was supposed to work out, and she didn’t play her part appropriately (an example of a Covert Contract).

She really wasn’t feeling sexy in that moment right then and there. She hasn’t felt sexy in a while, actually. She has come to accept his needy ways and it’s a giant turnoff. She wants to NEED HIM, but she doesn’t… and that’s bothersome to her. Must she remind him every day of his inability to turn her on? Why doesn’t he get it? Why does he put her in that position? Just give her some damn space. Oh great… he’s pouting again. Awesome. What a fucking baby.

The breakdown of reaction #2: Man wants woman. Woman says no. He’s cool with that. Gives her a pat on the butt to assure he that he’s confident and all is well. He goes away.

Her mind at that moment: “Sigh… I kinda feel bad for that… but I have to cook this food right now. We’re running late. Hehe… little stinker spanked my butt. Jerk face. Where’d he go? Is he mad? He never gets mad when I turn him down. Why is that? I’ve only seen him mad like twice since I’ve known him. Does he just not care? No, he loves me. He says it all the time. I love him so much. Shirley at work said I’m lucky to have a guy like him. She’s pretty. Her boobs are awesome. Wish I had those. But my butt is better for sure. I showed her that picture of him at the beach and she told everyone about it. I wonder if she would do him? Probably. I think a lot of girls would. Would he do her? Not sure. Why does the thought of that turn me on? LOL. I’m such a perv sometimes. Wait, does that mean he has affairs? Oh god.. he did go away on that trip that one time and didn’t respond to my texts for two hours. This is how Sally said her husband left her! Oh man… where is he?? Did he leave the house? Oh shit, the potatoes are burning.”

Take scenario #1- What happens if husband walks in a second time, pushes her up on the kitchen counter and plants a fat kiss on her? I would think a very strong “WHAT DID I JUST GET DONE TELLING YOU?!” would happen. She feels assaulted.

Scenario #2? She’d probably not stop smiling for the rest of the evening.

This relationship thing… it’s a game. Stop acting like you don’t have to play it. Stop acting like you don’t have to play by the rules and put in hard work… just because.

Do the SEO work. Most of the work is attitude. The attitude comes naturally if you truly ARE the kinda guy who can get sex if/when he wants from who he wants. Women can smell it. Just as much as they can smell neediness.

If you do the hard work and you’re STILL not #1 in her search results… that sucks…but no worries. Got other shit and other people to do.  The ironic part is that with that “abundance” attitude, you are less likely to have to use it.

Post-Breakup Man Roadmap. Step 1: I NEED SEX!

I went through it. Every man I know who was cheated on and later divorced has gone through it. EVERY ONE.

The rabid sex stage. The “I will fuck anything that moves” stage. Right now divorced guys everywhere are reading this and saying “Hehe… yep.” We humans are such predictable animals.

It’s an interesting phenomenon. A man is betrayed in the worst way, and he of course goes through the normal five stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Shoehorned in there somewhere between #2 and #3 is the “fuck like your life depends on it” phase. It’s as predictable as the new gym membership. I think guys do this for several reasons:

  1. Wanting to be literally “touched” again. It’s therapeutic. Most divorces and affairs are precipitated by months if not years of a dead bedroom experience. Cold spouses who don’t give you loving attention. You may have attempted to bargain or work your way into your spouse’s heart… only to be denied again and again or maybe rewarded with “Oh fine, if it will shut you up” sex. A new start with new women means that this biological need for human touch and affection can now be experienced again. Hooray! I remember the first time another woman other than my ex-wife touched me in a “more than friends” way. Wow. That was electric. The euphoria. Like I was lying in a warm bath after a 5 day hike. A lot of negativity melted away when the woman squeezed my arm and lovingly stroked my back. And the first kiss? Forget about it. I was in heaven.
  2. We love the chase. I think most men will agree that human touch and eventually sex are awesome and necessary… but there is something really great about the chase. Seeing a woman, saying “I want that” and going for it. Playing the mating game. The push and pull. Having several numbers on your phone and texting several women at once. Setting up back to back dates. This whole experience makes many guys feel electrified.
  3. Prove that you are a man. There are several things in a man’s life that can make you “feel like a man”, and none of them are more powerful than being wanted by attractive women. Taking it a step further, nothing puts you further up on the man pedestal than actually having sex with these attractive women. It’s a very innate “conquering” type of feeling that you get. I saw it, wanted it, got it. Earned it. RAAAR!! Let’s do it again.

Immediately after this stage comes the “Ew… what was I thinking?!” stage. Not all of these women will be of substantial caliber. They may look the part, but they end up being crazy… or  even a few IQ points shy of being considered “special”. More baggage than O’Hare.  If you come out of this phase relatively unscathed, you are really lucky. You could have caught a disease, been stalked, experienced major drama, hooked up unknowingly with a wife, got one of them pregnant…. the list goes on and on. You’re in a nutty stage in life and you are NOT looking out for red flags. You’re looking to get laid. This sets you up for a whole slew of bad experiences.

BE CAREFUL. Recognize what this time period is: a crucial and normal step towards rebuilding into the new you. It’s one dip in the roller coaster. There are many more to come.

The Post-Divorce Dating Primer

dating after divorceYou’re newly divorced. You’ve joined a fraternity of men who spent a good chunk of their adult life with one person…. but now find themselves where they never thought they would be: Deep in the crazy world of single people.

It can be surreal.

Scary.

Wondrous.

Evil.

Mind-Blowing.

In short, dating today is really very much NOT what you expect. Not at all.

Prepare yourself, my son. This is a crash course in what the dating world is like for the divorced adult man.

I HOPE YOU LIKE TEXTING

The primary means of communication is now texting. Your dates will expect you to text at any time of the day. Since you’re a busy guy and can’t spend all day typing away at your phone… you will drive her nuts if you don’t reply right away. She’ll accuse you of playing games. This actually works in your favor. Nobody said the dating game was mature.

People today, especially young women, are now addicted to little doses of validation that they get from texts, Facebook posts, Twitter replies, etc.  So, don’t be thrilled if that hot thing from the bar carries on a 990 message long conversation with you about your awesome arms. They all do that. Just try and keep it short, sweet and polite (ha, good luck).

Oh, and look up Emoji. Install it on your phone. Get used to using funny face icons. Congrats, you’re 8 years old again.

DON’T BE THAT GUY. THE DESPERATE ONE.

Women are bombarded by men. If they’re online, they’re getting hundreds of messages. If they’re at the bar, they’re getting hit on every 20 minutes. All of these women will tell you that the vast majority of these guys are NOT guys they would date seriously. BUT… a lot of them will tell you that they may be guys that they string along for free stuff. They sense the desperation and take advantage of it. Meals, presents, validation… nobody provides all of that better than the desperate guy. He thinks all this pushover behavior may one day end in a relationship (sex). It never does. Don’t be that guy. Everyone is repulsed by him. You know she’s not interested. Be honest with yourself. Don’t waste your time or hers.

DON’T LET THE BAD APPLE SPOIL THE WHOLE BUNCH. WARNING: THERE ARE A LOT OF BAD APPLES.

You’re divorced, so your past notions of “Women are angels and not at all evil like us men” have probably been squashed long ago.  Don’t think that dating will help bring those old positive feelings back. In fact, you can easily slip into woman-hating mode if you allow it to take over.

If you play your cards right, you will be involved with a lot of different, attractive women. You will also witness a lot of horrible things:

  • Wives hitting on you.
  • Engaged women sending you nude selfies .
  • Bible-thumping, church-going women telling you that they want to fool around with you because they’re bored with life and their husbands “work too much”.

If you have the gift of gab and women find themselves frequently “opening up” to you… prepare yourself for the mindfuck. Many an evening with single women have left me with me with a semi-permanent shock face. I led such a sheltered, boring married life. I had no fucking idea.shocked face

These women are not the rule. They’re not necessarily the exception, either. They’re just broken human beings. Listen to them, take it in, learn, move on. Up to you if you want to be intimate with them. You will end up hating yourself and them more if you do… but that is your call. Sometimes we are slaves to our balls. I get it.

SINGLE WOMEN TODAY ARE HAVING A LOT OF SEX. WAY MORE THAN YOU THINK.

Unless you have specifically stated this as a firm boundary in your relationship, don’t assume that the women you are dating is being monogamous and loyal to you. She’s most likely screwing around. A lot. She may have banged a guy that morning and then met you for drinks at 4:00. You have to be cool with that. If not, your dating pool just shrank down considerably. This is the new reality in the dating world.

Condoms are your friend. Use them. STDs are rampant.

YOU WILL NOTICE PATTERNS AMONG THE AGE GROUPS

The young 20 somethings are VERY picky about the men they sleep with. They tend to like the bad boys and aren’t interested in settling down at all. They are BRUTAL when it comes to the pushover/desperate guys. They hate these guys. They are approached every day by them. This group is where the “just be an asshole” techniques work the most, unfortunately. Ignore them…and they will come running after you.

The single 30 and 40 somethings are way more open and not as picky about who they date. Why? They’re ready to settle down. They’re way more loving and emotional.  Some may say it’s because they aren’t as attractive to the bad boys so they settle for the nice guys. Or, they’ve learned from life and now know what is valuable in a relationship. Might be a little of both.

Dating can suck. Hard. It’s enough to scare away decent guys who are just looking for the one soul mate in life. For those of us with an abundance mindset, and armchair psychologists like me… it’s actually pretty damn interesting.

Approach it like a game. That’s exactly what it is.

The Bedroom REBOOT

Ok… you’re in a familiar predicament. You want your wife, sexually. Sure, she doesn’t look like she used to. Sure, she nags you. Sure, she seems to be upset with life more often than not. But, dammit… she’s your wife. You love her. You gave your word to her and the people at the wedding ceremony that you would make this work no matter what. Plus, you’re a man and you have needs.

Problem: She doesn’t really seem to care much for you and has stopped wanting to have anything resembling a normal sex life with you. Attempts at opening up and communicating with her have actually made things worse. As I stated in Dissecting Dead Bedrooms, she’s just not that into you anymore. She’s given you lots of signals and tests over the years, and you have failed miserably. You’re now paying the price.

So, what to do? Well, it’s a problem and a solution as old as time. It’s simpler and cheaper than countless marriage counselor sessions. Easier than non-stop talking and communicating (you’ve undoubtedly tried this in the form of one or two real adult conversation attempts and a lot of begging, pouting and whining). Cheaper than flowers and chocolates. The solution: You just don’t give a fuck and go do something else. That something else is BETTERING YOURSELF.

That’s it. If you were just dating, you would say “NEXT!” to her and move on. But, you’re married. You gave your vows. You’re a man and you stick to your word. You don’t cheat. You don’t berate her. No whining. No pouting. No begging. You just… go away. Mentally and physically.

Where do you go?

  • To the gym. You work your ASS off. You hit the weights. REALLY hit the weights.  You go play sports with the kids. You go for a vigorous jog. You become a physical being like you hopefully were when you were younger.
  • To the doctor. Get a full blood panel. Lipids. Hormones. Total and free testosterone. Sensitive Estradiol test. You can actually skip the doc for this and pay out of pocket by paying for the test ahead of time on sites like privatemdlabs.com, and then taking your paperwork to any qualifying lab to get the blood drawn. You get the results later via email. Very quick and easy process. If you see that testosterone is in the low range, and/or estrogen is high… go online and search for a testosterone clinic in your area. Regular family MD’s tend to not know anything about hormone therapy. Endocrinologists tend to only prescribe if it’s a matter of life or death. Get your levels to a high-normal and healthy level and enjoy the numerous benefits. I personally go to Body Shapes Medical.
  • To the library. Read up on self-improvement.
  • To the internet. Read blogs like this!
  • To the clothing store! Read up on male fashion. New body means new clothes. Look better. Look like you give a shit… unlike 90% of American males today.
  • Hang out with guys more. Less time with ladies and more time with dudes is a good thing.
  • Hang out with your kids more. More one-on-one time. They’ll love to see the new you doing awesome things. You’ll get closer than ever to them.
  • Hobbies. Get to know them again. I like to play a little guitar and maintain this website. I also like photography and videography a great deal.

Notice what’s missing above? Your wife.

You’re not giving her flowers. You’re not sending her love notes. You’re not doing more chores around the house. You don’t reward her for being so obvious with her dislike of you. You’ve tried all of that. You’re also not being an asshole. You just have a mission and that mission is YOU. It’s been neglected for too long. She SHOULD understand that… she’s been about HER for a while now, right?

But, don’t think it will be easy.

Oh boy will she be pissed. People get pissed when they don’t have their whipping boy around any more. You had your place in the household hierarchy. She had hers. You have just flip-flopped things in a BIG way and she does not like it.

At first she may laugh at the change… “Oh, look at him. Acting all manly and going to the gym. Cute.” She may even call you out at this point. “What is this, a mid-life crisis? What’s next… a red Corvette?” You just laugh and go about your business. Maybe you give her a pat on the butt every now and then. You are NOT bothered by her manipulative ways. You don’t CARE that she finds it funny.

Then, you’re hit the slightly angry stage. “Seriously, what’s going on here? Is this going to go on forever? You’re being silly.” If she keeps pressing, you just say “Just working on myself. Long overdue, baby.”

The next stage will come quick. “Are you having a fucking affair?!” NOW you’re making progress. What this means: “You’re now looking and acting good enough for other women to find you attractive and I am worried.” This is awesome. This is where a lot of guys might fold and start explaining away everything until they look meek and stupid in their wife’s eyes. You can just smile and say “Why? Worried?” and give her a fat kiss and hard ass squeeze. Leave her wondering what the hell that was all about. Or, exaggerate: “Yep. Fucking about 5 new women a day. All young. 18 year olds. Porn stars. I fly them in on my downtime… between the kids, the gym, work, my hobbies and home time.” 

Just remember: You’re doing NOTHING wrong. You’re NOT having an affair. You are just simply working on yourself. A healthy relationship would mean that your spouse would appreciate and support such changes. Maybe they get a little worried… but not angry and accusing you of wrongdoing. Her reaction is a good barometer of where your marriage is right now.

Next stage: S-E-X. Yep. This is your eureka moment. One day, you may come home to a VERY horny wife. You’ll go upstairs and you are SHOCKED by what you see waiting in the bedroom. “This is my wife?!” You have created the perfect storm of a more physically attractive man (the gym and clothes), a more interesting man (the reading and hobbies), a more social man (the friends), and a great dad (more time with kids).

You are also SCARCE. People want what they can’t have! She’s worried like hell now!

Women LOVE to know that you may be out there and wanted by other women! “He is wanted by all of THEM, but he picked ME.”

But, alas… there’s a rub. There’s always a rub.

You’ve worked so hard to get to this point. It was a lot of personal effort and sacrifice. You finally reach the promised land… and you’re not sure you like it anymore. Dammit. One of two things is going on:

  1. You don’t find her as attractive as you used to. Your standards just went WAY up. You really ARE attractive to a lot more women now. That young gal at the coffee shop is only 21 and she asked if you’d like to stick around during her lunch break and talk. An attractive single mom from the PTO meeting randomly squeezed your bicep and said “Nice, Hercules!” Some random young woman texted you a series of sexual messages and photos out of the blue. Your wife has never looked as good as her.
  2. You now resent your wife. You spent the last X years of your marriage getting the occasional pity sex out of her. You feel like you just had to jump through a lot of hoops to get to this point so that she can reward YOU with sex. Who the hell is she to make me do all of this to win HER? I stuck around with HER all of these years despite all of HER negatives and always loved and wanted HER. She knew how I felt about her but SHE DIDN’T CARE. I have to check off a list of her NEEDS so that she can fulfill one of mine? 

It’s tough. This is the rub. You work so hard to get to this point… and now you don’t want her… and she wants you more than ever. It’s a story as old as time and perfectly explained in this clip from the awesome buddy movie, Swingers.

My advice? You’re married. You have kids. You work it out. You let her know how things are going to be from here on out. You enjoy the spoils of war. You lead by example and watch her follow. You NEVER get comfortable and take your foot off the gas.
Welcome to being a MAN.

P.S. Yes… I realize there is another option in all of this: You do all then positive work and she still doesn’t want you. That sucks. But… here’s the good news. You have created the best, most attractive version of you available… and there are HUNDREDS of women near you that would be willing to enjoy your company and take pleasure in pleasing YOU.