“Dude, you’re freakin’ jacked!”
I heard these words a few days ago while lifting weights with some teenage boys at the gym. They normally see me fully clothed, but this time I took my sweatshirt off. I was sweating like a pig, just got over a virus and felt dizzy. I’m not ashamed to say that I felt like a million bucks when the 17 year old said that to me. Here he is in the prime of his life, and he’s looking at a 40 year old with admiration. Felt good.
The last time I heard something like this was when I was in college. I started lifting weights in a big way and was making fast progress. I looked damn good. I was getting on the elevator with a guy from my dorm. He was a football player for our school. “Damn son, you gettin’ BIG!” Same effect. I smiled for about 3 hours. Yes, even dudes like a little validation every now and again.
I’ve thought about when I’ve been the happiest in my personal relationships with women. Was there ever a time when things were going well for me and not a drama-filled soap opera ? Oh yeah. At the end of college and a few years into my post-college career… the early 20’s… and right now. Is it a coincidence that I was the most “jacked” during those two time periods? Nope.
A man needs to feel like he can take care of himself and can take care of his family. He needs to be able to look at himself in the mirror and say “Damn.” A man should fill out a shirt. Other men should give you the respectful man nod and get out of your way.
“Wait up kids… dad… fat. I hate me.”
Being “jacked” is awesome. Being awesome is… awesome. It permeates everything you do. You are respected. Women flirt with you. Men want to be your buddy. You are confident. Your work improves. Your relationships improve. As a man in his 30’s and 40’s and above… being muscular puts you in the top 1%. Just look around you. Fat dads. Everywhere.
Speaking of fat… I see a lot of guys, especially those older dudes, going down the road of “LIFT EAT EAT EAT EAT LIFT EAT EAT EAT”. They get into the “ME WANT BE STRONGER AND MORE MUSCLE” mindset. They get fat. Not healthy and not attractive. It’s important that you stay lean. All that muscle doesn’t mean anything if you look like a potato. Sure, you can lift a fridge… but nobody will give a shit and you’re not healthy. You don’t want to be a shape that women will say “ew” to.
Even a few extra pounds of fat will be enough to cover whatever muscular gains you’ve made in the gym. I tend to put on weight easily, so if I don’t really watch what I eat… I put on a quick 10 pounds like it’s nothing. Then I look sloppy. Doesn’t matter that I just did an awesome workout and pressed 100 lb dumbbells. My personal barometer is “Can I see my abs?” If so, I’m in good shape.
I’m not going to outline a workout program. Google it. “Starting Strength” is good. Any program that gets you in the gym on a regular basis is good. A program should be heavy on the weights and relatively light on the steady state cardio. Running around the block isn’t a workout. It’s just activity that you can easily do that convinces you you’re doing SOMETHING. You need to be straining against some weights in the gym. Watch what you eat and the fat pounds will melt off. The occasional game of basketball, treadmill or stairmaster is good to keep your heart rate up and the muscles working when not lifting. Get massages. Stretch. It’s really not complicated.
Again, if you hit the gym and take care of yourself… you are in the top 1%. Enjoy the spoils.
P.S.: Get your hormones checked. If your testosterone is low, you’ll just be banging your head against the wall and frustrated at your lack of progress.
You’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.
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.
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.
Let’s be really blunt here for a moment. Monogamy.. it just ain’t right. And by “right”, I mean… it just doesn’t make biological sense. It goes against the strongest of forces: Our primal urge.
I am a firm believer in science. Crazy, I know. Science tells me that we human beings are just animals. Super smart versions of the common ape. As such, we are slaves to certain underlying instinctual drives that seep through the social and moral safeguards that we put around us. In other words, no matter how much we say “I love you and only you” to our wives, that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to bang that hot young thing that keeps smiling at us at the gym. Our programming is setup to say “Bang as many young, fertile women as possible. Spread your seed. It feels good. It’s awesome. Do it again and again until you die.” But, we don’t. We wouldn’t want to do anything that hurts our beloved spouse and causes our life to crumble around us.
That “I wouldn’t want to do anything that hurts my spouse” thing? That’s reason. That’s rationality. That’s your “honor”. That’s your social intelligence recognizing the visceral feeling you have at that moment, digesting it, and coming up with a pretty good reason why you shouldn’t bend Buffy over the bench press and impregnate her right then and there. “That just wouldn’t be right. I couldn’t live with myself.”
But you know what… people DO bend the proverbial Buffy over ALL THE TIME. My eyes were opened to this after I had my divorce and started dating around and talking to other singles. Holy crap do people cheat a lot.
Yes… this applies to women, as well. Women cheat a whole heck of a lot. They are just as susceptible to the lure and draw of an extra-marital fling.
Why is this? What the heck is going on that people cheat left and right knowing full well the negative implications of an affair? Don’t they have the same voice in their head setting up a roadblock and stopping them from taking the next step towards a really big life mistake?
Yes, they do have that voice. The problem for some is that their moral safeguards may be temporarily down (there’s a whole host of reasons why this happens). This may in turn leave them open to attack from the competition. Once the enemy is in the gates, no amount of social intelligence or intellectual reasoning will be able to drown out the firestorm of feel good brain chemicals that an inappropriate secret relationship will create. Your task, as a man, is to prevent that from ever happening, because once it does… it’s over, Johnny.
The standard advice I give up front to men is to create the best version of you possible. The most attractive YOU may be enough to keep her eye from wandering and daydreaming about that guy from the office. Then again, it just may not be enough. You can’t be around to wow her 24/7.
So now, as a man, we’re in a bit of a pickle. You’ve done a shit ton of hard work on yourself. You’re awesome by every sense of the word … but man, your wife just did or said something that makes your instincts kick in. “Uh oh… something’s up here.” Now what do you do?
Well, two schools of thought here:
- Do nothing. If she can’t see the greatness you have created for you, her and the family.. and she STILL acting inappropriately and possibly looking for validation and emotional/physical connection outside of your marriage, you just let her go do her thing. Protect yourself and start a new chapter in your life. More than one fish in the sea, right!?
- Do whatever you can to stop the wife from walking towards that inappropriate line. If you sense something is up, you confront her immediately and get to the bottom of it and squash it. You have to do this VERY EARLY in the process. It’s too late if the deed has been done.
With option #1, you do come across as the tough one. “Don’t need ya. Your loss. Beat it, bitch.” You’ve maybe lost a wife, but you keep your ego and masculinity in tact.
With option #2, you’re running the risk of looking weak. “I sense something is wrong! I feel threatened! I’m going to prove to you just how much I NEED you! Please don’t leave me!”
This also has the negative side effect of pushing her more quickly towards the line and away from you. You’re being needy, and needy is unattractive.
So.. my advice? Do a little of both.
Let’s give a very real world example to illustrate how to pull this off. This may be a little familiar to some of you:
Because of your trips to the gym and new wardrobe, your wife has been also hitting the gym and buying sexy panties at Victoria Secret. She loves showing them off to you. She is looking GOOD. Like, REALLY good. Sex has been amazing. You two are sexting each other almost every day. You’re on cloud nine.
You won the battle of reigniting your sex life, but the war isn’t quite over.
The other day, you were at the grocery store together. You step away from her for just just a moment to get bread in the next aisle. You come back to your wife and she is talking to a man you’ve never seen before. She is beat red in the face. She motions towards you. The guy looks over, gives a little laugh and says “Oh, sorry about that… have a great day!” He walks away.
“What the heck was that all about?” you say.
“I think that guy was about to ask me out!” Her face is still flush and she has a sly smile on her face. “He said ‘Wow.. you are hot! What’s your name?‘ and then you walked up. I just pointed at you and said ‘That’s my husband‘ and he apologized and walk away.”
You listen and just laugh it off. Awesome, your wife is sexy. You already knew that. You reach over and grab her and pull her close to you. “That’s right… you are HOT. Sexy, even. Mmmm…We may have to go home real quick before picking up the kids.”
What you don’t realize is that the mystery grocery guy just set off a cascading series of psychological events. To her, that was REALLY awesome and unexpected and for a brief second she felt like a million bucks. That random guy moment was worth about a million Facebook likes. That was a million “You go girl!” text messages from friends all at once. That was uber validation.
Most people would laugh and be done with it. Smile, shake your head and forget about it. Maybe you take that energy into the bedroom. But, your wife was caught at JUST the right time and this had a profound effect on her. She would like another taste of that drug as soon as possible. It’s perfectly natural.
The next day, you are both lying in bed reading a book. She puts her book down and looks at the ceiling. “I can’t believe that guy said that to me yesterday at the store! I haven’t had that happen since I was in college! Any idea who that was? Don’t think I’ve seen him before.”
Ding… a little bell just went off in your head. Your antennae are quivering ever so slightly. You forgot about the incident. She obviously hasn’t. What does she care who this guy was? Weird thing to ask.
Three days later her friends come over to drink wine and gossip. They do this every now and then. You walk into the kitchen to get something to eat and hear a friend say “Tell Mary about that guy at the store the other day! Did you ever find out who he was?”
Ding ding… Now your eye is twitching a little. She’s still talking about it. She’s talking about it with friends. What the hell?
A week goes by and all is cool again. Then you walk by the kitchen and your wife is chatting on her cell at the kitchen table. “No no… It wasn’t Betty’s ex-husband. No, this guy wasn’t married. He didn’t have a ring on. Oh, he was ok. Kinda rough. No, I’ve never seen him at any school meeting. No idea who he was. It was weird. You’d think I would have seen him before.“
She’s STILL talking about this guy?! Jesus. Get a hold of yourself, woman! Some chick at the gym asked me if I was single the other day, I didn’t bring it up and I forgot all about it in an hour. This kind of stuff happens all the time!
Then..the last straw. She approaches you a few days later. “Hey, babe. I’m going to go out Friday night with some ladies from work. You be okay with the kids here? Not sure what time I’ll be back.”
Ding ding ding ding. She hasn’t done this in YEARS. Not on a Friday. Fridays are always your night together watching a movie with the kids, eating popcorn, and then wild sex when they all go to bed. This can’t be a coincidence. Time to probe a little.
You: “Who’s all going out?”
Her: “Oh, Rebecca, Amy, and Sally.”
Ding ding ding ding ding. SALLY. Sally is the lowlife office gal your wife has been bad-mouthing for the past 5 years. Sally has two kids from two different guys. Sally used to be a stripper. She is divorced. You personally know three guys who have banged her. She drinks like a fish. Giant fake boobs and likes to show them off at seedy bars and on every form of social media. Giant YOLO tattoo on her stomach. She is bad news.
You: “Huh.. Sally, eh? Cool. Tell you what, though. I’m going to go ahead and get a babysitter. I don’t feel like being cooped up on a Friday playing Mr. Mom. Need to go do something fun. Haven’t been to that new bar yet on 3rd street. Or that new club outside of town.”
Her: “What? Who are you going with? What club?”
You: “Nobody… just me. The strip club that opened last week. They have a special on Friday. Free beer with a lap dance. Heard about it on the radio. They said a hot crop of young girls from all over the country are there for the grand opening. I’ll get a cab and go out there. Might do me some good. It’ll be fun.”
Her: “Uhhhh…. what?”
Unless she’s completely dense, she will get it. You just said “That’s a really really stupid idea you have. I can do something equally stupid. I have options, too. Temptation is around every corner and in the time it takes me to call a cab, I can find it. Don’t forget it, sweet cheeks.”
You didn’t say it with explicit words, but with your actions.
What you’re doing here is a sly form of something called “Mate Guarding”. You sense the enemy circling. Your wife is just too god damn stupid or too caught up in the feel good brain chemicals to realize that with every mention of this mystery guy and with the newfound friendship with Sally the hooker and the unexpected Girl’s Night Out she is repeatedly walking towards that “inappropriate” line. She’s not crossing it… but she’s repeatedly looking at the line and tip-toeing closer and closer to it. This is not appropriate behavior from a wife with a loving and sexy husband and kids and she needs to be told this, but in a careful way.
Unless checked, the wife will continue to tip-toe. It’s just human nature. She will say it’s all innocent…
laugh it off… and then keep inching closer and closer and closer to that line. Most of the time they do so with NO malice. They’re not literally telling themselves “I need something else beyond my husband. The hunky grocery store guy made me realize that I am wanted by other guys. Therefore, I’m going to put myself in situations that will open me up to inappropriate behavior and negative consequences.” If you were to say something about it, they would legitimately be flabbergasted. “I haven’t been out in years with the girls! Sally just wanted to celebrate her promotion! She’s harmless. You’re being stupid!”
Putting things into a perspective they can relate to, via your ACTIONS, and shocking them a little bit may be enough to snap them out of it. She may suddenly realize that, oh yeah, it is weird that she’s talking about that mystery guy so much and that no, she should NOT want to hang out with a person like Sally. Sally is a a whore.
Or not, and you enjoy a night of hot young strippers and free beer.
It takes NO time at all to cross right over that “inappropriate” line and never come back to this side again. We all innately know this. This is why jealousy is a thing. This is why my woman peaks over my shoulder when she hears my phone vibrate with a new text message.
Here are other “walking towards the the line” scenarios that are common:
- The wife mentions Chad from work. He is SUCH an asshole. He said something really stupid in a meeting. She heard he cheated on his wife. Oh my god, Chad said something really bad in front of the boss today! OH MY GOD, listen to what Chad did today! This is insane! (translation: Chad is on my mind a lot and I can’t stop thinking about him.)
- Your response: “Ya know… We should have Chad and his wife over for dinner. I gotta meet this guy. He sounds like a doozy. Tell him to bring his kids.”
- “You remember Steve from college? He Facebook friended me yesterday and says he wants to get together for dinner or something to catch up.”
- Your response: “Awesome! Let’s meet him at the new bar in town. Been wanting to check it out.”
The beauty of these responses is what you are NOT saying. You are not explicitly saying “Uhhh.. do you think this is appropriate, sweetie? You should immediately say NO to Sally and NO to Steve. You’re married. Did you forget!?” No, that would be viewed as insecure, jealous and controlling. Instead, you take the higher road of “Sweet! Let’s meet the guy!” or “Sweet! I’m going to go something fun and a little seedy, too.”
You know what happens? “Oh, we’re not going out on Friday now. Sally cancelled it. She’s a bitch. Let’s watch that new Netflix series, instead! Do I need to go buy popcorn? What was that beer you liked? I’ll stop and and get some.”
No matter how moral, intelligent, trustworthy and perfect your woman is, you MUST be the man and keep on alert at all times. You must be able to figuratively grab her by the shoulders and point her back in the direction she should be facing: away from the inappropriate line.
When it comes to romantic, long-term relationships… what is a NEED, exactly? It’s a quality that must exist in order for the relationship to flourish and continue. Sounds simple enough, but it never ceases to amaze me just how much us men don’t understand the needs of women.
And no… I don’t have women “all figured out”. As you’ll see, it’s not so simple.
There’s somewhat of a running joke among couples that “Men don’t NEED much… just sex and food and they’re happy”. This is illustrated by the rampant popularity of porn and repeated references on the internet to women making sandwhiches. The reality? Yeah… they’re not that far off. I would add the following:
We need a wife that looks nice and is not an evil bitch all the time.
So… things are easy for a woman. Look decent, and be nice. Be sexual. Help feed him. That about covers it.
And now… what do WOMEN need? Well, like I said… not so simple.
They have a lot of needs. A lot. And those needs pop up sporadically and should be addressed as they come up.
Think of it as a game of wack-a-mole. You remember wack-a-mole, right? The carnival game where the mole heads pop up and you hit them with your mallet. It’s a fun way to relieve stress and the perfect illustration of the female psyche.
One day the “Please be there and comfort me when I’m stressed and scared” mole pops up, quickly followed by the “Please make a decision so I don’t have to” mole… followed by the “Just take me in the laundry room and bang me like your life depended on it” mole. You think you have things figured out and can relax and out pops the “Show me that you care about our future and the well-being of our family” mole, but it’s quickly followed up by “But don’t be safe and practical all the time… be spontaneous and fun and dangerous, too” mole.
Yes, I know some of you guys are thinking “Dude… everybody has needs that change up from time to time.” No, dudes… we don’t have these NEEDS on the same level. Nowhere near the same. In fact, the few things I labeled as NEEDS to a man are really just strong WANTS and DESIRES for many of us. I know a huge number of men who don’t get nearly the sex they want and put up with an overweight and constantly nagging wife. Why? Hey… she’s his wife. What’s he going to do? Tell her off and anger her more? Leave her? Meh… not worth it. He’ll go do something else. Watch football or something. Life is simple. Who gives a shit? Women… they’re all like that, am I right fellas?! *High five.*
We’re not exactly HAPPY with such situations. Oh, we will pout on occasion when you’re not giving us sex. We’ll occasionally try to talk it out… but we rarely go the nuclear route and say “Do this and not this. I will not tolerate this behavior and I mean it.” Very rarely. Why? Part of it is the rampant pussification of males… the rest of it is our strong male sense of right and wrong working against our own best interest. She’s the mother of your children and the woman you gave your oath to… thus, she has the right to be shitty and we have to deal with it and make the best of it. Just concentrate on your job and the kids. Things will improve at some point. You feel selfish and like an asshole for thinking otherwise.
Women have an innate need to have each and every one of their needs addressed on a regular basis. Yes, you can miss hitting one of them every now and then… but if you repeatedly miss the same need, she WILL find someone or something to whack that mole, and it most likely won’t be you.
Fact: Women initiate up to 70% of all divorces.
Here’s the rub: When she finds something or someone to whack that neglected mole, she will absolutely forget that you hit all of the rest of the needs on a regular basis. This is emotion we are talking about. When emotion is introduced into equation, all bets are off. As far as she’s concerned, you have failed her as a good mate… and you will see things start to CHANGE a little:
- Less or no more sex
- Constant nagging
- She lets her looks go.
- She ceases doing things for YOU and everything becomes either about her or the family unit.
- She puts you down in front of others.
All of these things translate to “I’m losing feelings for you like I used to have, and it bothers me. I’m showing you pretty bluntly here, asshole, so get your shit together. You’re replaceable.”
I have never, in my many years on this planet, heard of a woman that has told her man the above in such blunt terms. Not verbally, anyway. They do with action. With emotion.
YES! I totally can relate to this! Our sex life is lame at best and my wife treats me like shit in front of everyone! Where have I failed?! I’m not a mind-reader!
I’m willing to bet you have neglected one particular need or sub-group of needs on a regular basis. How am I so sure? Because I’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s THE most commonly neglected need there is.
In general terms, you’re not gaining her respect. In more specific terms, You’re not demonstrating that you have a backbone. Ever. You constantly back down to your wife. Any honest woman will tell you that they respect their man more when he tells her bluntly how things are and if he won’t back down from his opinion. Respect is EVERYTHING to a woman. I repeat: RESPECT is EVERYTHING to a WOMAN. If she doesn’t respect you, she is not fucking you. She is not keeping herself looking nice. She is not being sweet and loving to you. She will find you to be just one of the many pathetic people she encounters on a daily basis. She will resent you for wasting her precious years living with you.
If you find yourself saying “Oh, I can’t tell her THAT… she will be super pissed or leave me!”… then you have already lost. This relationship thing is a game. The one willing to show that they have options and that they stand up for their beliefs wins.
Of all the moles that pop up, men think that beating the shit out of the “be sweet and a good provider” mole is all you need. Nope. Not even close. If you want to be the ideal husband to the wife you love, you have to be combination of the guy who beats the luvvy duvvy need moles, and also the guy who loves flexing his muscle and beating the shit out of the “show me you have the balls to stand up to me” mole on occasion.
This is the “well rounded” man you hear about. Not afraid to be sweet, not afraid to be mean, a great provider, great with kids, interesting personality and knows his way around the bedroom.
Nope, relationships ain’t easy, amigo.