Modern-day men tend to be very agreeable dudes. We just go with the flow. We are the quintessential “Yes, dear” guys. Happy wife, happy life! “Okay, whatever you want to do is fine with me.” We gravitate towards the path of least resistance. Whatever causes less unnecessary drama and anxiety in our lives… we go for it. We get fat. We get comfortable. We just do whatever… as long as we can ocassionally escape to our “man cave” and keep our wife’s nagging and drama to a minimum, we’re happy. We’re simple creatures after all.
Therapists will often ask what spouses NEED out of a relationship. Men will boast about how simple they are. We just NEED sexual intimacy and food, and we’re good to go! Is that really the case? Turns out what we label as “needs” are really just strong desires. Our wife can lock the sexual gates for weeks and months and we’ll still gladly say “Yes, dear” as we take the kids to the soccer games, fix the broken thing in the basement, and listen to her complain for hours on end about everything. In other words, these needs really aren’t NEEDS after all. The relationship continues on whether we get them met or not. “Hey… whatever. That’s just the way marriage is.” The mantra of the modern-day man.
What brought about this lazy agreeable way of life? Well, a big part of it was what we viewed as our cultural norm for so many generations: MAN WORKS , WOMAN STAYS HOME AND TAKES CARE OF KIDS AND HOUSE. If the two partners have a list of “Things I need to do to keep this relationship going”, the man’s list consisted of one thing: “Go to work. Come home. Bring paycheck.” He was the PROVIDER. He was the provider of the fuel that kept the household economic engine going. He was the reason they had a roof over their head and a car in the garage. He was the reason the kids had popsicles in the fridge and tennis shoes every year for school. He was the reason the wife could go get her hair done every other week. He was the reason she had 120 pairs of shoes. The husband/dad immediately earned a high level of respect by virtue of his providership. It was known that you left dad alone after he came home from a hard day at work. You go to mom with questions about your homework. You go to mom about getting you to your baseball game. Dad was the boss. Why? Because dad brings home the bacon. Simple.
When you’re the king, there’s very little that will motivate you to go beyond your “king” status and kick things up a notch. Kings get fat. Kings get lazy. Kings also get drug out in the street by a horde of angry people and ripped to shreds… But I digress.
Fast forward to today… and the tables have been flipped. Women woke up. “Wait… you mean I don’t HAVE to play the part of Suzy Homemaker? I can make just as much, if not WAY more than these guys out there? “ With this drastic change in the economic landscape comes some relationship growing pains. Things don’t just change completely overnight. Women, overall, still feel that their prospective spouse/partner candidate should have some strong Provider/King qualities. In short, many successful women won’t look at settling down with the hunky plumber with the heart of gold. He’s a great person and great fun (and great in the sack), but the generations of conditioning and social pressure tells her that marrying him would be a huge mistake. She would always have to worry about “taking care” of him. Having a man in a subservient role is the ultimate turn-off for the ambitious successful woman. She doesn’t necessarily want YOUR money to take care of HER… she can do that herself, but she’ll be damned if she has to dig into her purse to pay for some loser’s way of life.
So let’s summarize the “problem” here: Women are making more than ever. As their bank accounts grow fatter, their list of spouse candidates goes down (there are only so many rich guys to go around). Many, not all, refuse to settle for a guy that they deem less successful and less ambitious than they are. Women complain that there are no good men left. They either “settle” for the good guy who makes less, or they go on dating and having fun with no end in sight. Most go with the latter plan of fun dating. If you asked them, they would say that they “have no choice”. They’d love to settle down, but it’s just not happening. Not with THIS pitiful pool of candidates.
Result: The marriage and birth rates are plummeting. Women drive the marriage industry, after all. When they put the brakes on, the whole system collapses. This will have huge economic implications for the western world.
Men are a little slower to adapt to the change.
Men still prop up their provider traits as their “awesome husband candidate” qualities. Show me a guy whose wife cheated on him, and I’ll show you a guy who says, “I paid for her schooling, I worked 60 hours a week, I paid for her car, I got her the house she wanted…” He’s still playing by the old rules. “I’m the KING, dammit!”
I know that some of you are saying, “But, my wife is jobless. I’m still the main breadwinner. She stays home with the kids. It’s better that way. This is the way it should be.”
This is the point where I could go to my email or my Facebook group and bring up story after story from the quintessential Provider husband who paid for everything for years… only to have the wife and the government say to him, “Hey, thanks for all that providing. Much appreciated. We’ll now be taking half your paycheck, your 401k savings, most of your bank account, and the house… oh, and you won’t see your kids except for the occasional weekend”.
If you can make this Provider scenario work… awesome. Best of luck to you. Most cannot. Most will fail. That’s just the way it is.
Here’s what I’ll often hear from guys that jump back into dating after divorce:
The writing is on the wall, gentlemen: The days of the classic Provider are dead. Women are bluntly telling us this. Society is bluntly telling us this. We had our fun for a while, but it’s time to wake up to reality. In the “good ol’ days”, the Provider man was a safety net. He was the fuel for the household economic engine. He was the boss. You, as the man, had a product (your ability to make money on a consistent basis), you put it out on the market, and the buyers came (your new wife). The market has changed. Your put your product out there, and the market is saying, “Okay…. cool. What else you got?”
So, what else do you have?
For many men, the answer is “Not a whole hell of a lot”. They had the old book of rules and they threw EVERYTHING into that Provider role. They went to work, they helped coach the kid’s football team, they fixed the broken stuff around the house… but now the world just pats them on the head and says, “That’s cute. Now, kindly get out of the way. There’s a handsome guy with abs trying to get to the front of the line.” You see, when you strip away the elements of economic comfort and stability from the whole mating game, you’re left with the basic elements of human attraction: Women run the mating game… and they want somebody they both swoon over and respect. Yes, they want it all. No, they’re not going to settle. No, they’re not going to die alone with 12 cats and a bad case of diabetes. They have a long list of men that would be more than glad to buy them dinner and take them away for a fun weekend and no commitment. These women are not suffering.
So, is it hopeless? Of course not. You just have to change your entire mindset. You have strip yourself of the old you and rearrange your priorities to accomodate the new paradigm. You gotta get off your fat butt and stop crying about how things should be. You need to get in shape. You need to get your money situation in order. You need to become a more well-rounded and interesting man. You need hobbies. Interests. You need to do things that help out your community. You need to be an awesome father and role model to your kids. You need to do all of these things for YOU. You don’t do all of these things so that you can snag the next Mrs. Right. The chances are that you’re not going to find her, so… have fun! Enjoy. Once you’re ready, go out on dates. Realize what the dates are: two people that have a mutual attraction enjoying spending time together. There’s no need for you to get hitched, move in together, have kids, etc. The rules have changed. All that stuff is great. It’s magic when it works. But, it’s exceptionally rare. It’s like hitting the lottery.
You don’t need to hit the lottery to be happy. Everyone is telling you this. It’s time to listen.
You are free.
The concept of having the Provider weight lifted from your shoulders should be a freeing one. You can focus on YOU for a change. The days of setting aside your dreams and aspirations to make your wife happy are long gone. Is it a selfish way of life? Maybe. Is it safer? Much safer. Is she worth rolling the dice for and paying for everything while she stays at home? Probably not… and that’s okay.
Have a date with a successful woman who you really seem to get along with? Worried that she won’t see you as a professional equal? Cool! That means she likes you for YOU. She thinks you’re handsome and charming enough to spend an evening with. Enjoy it for what it is. You’re just two adults enjoying time together. That’s it. Throw away these old notions of playing the “Marry me!” game. You’re probably out of the running for that, anyway… and that’s okay. It’s more than okay, actually. Congrats… you’re the Lover. Let some other shmuck play the part of the Provider for once. You want to be the one she sneaks off with for a wild night of fun… not the guy left wondering why she’s out all night and not texting him back.