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How to Detach From Your Cheater Ex-Wife

A popular question I get from time to time:

“How can I move on and get over my wife?”

Let’s first look at what it is that men are talking about exactly when they ask for help “getting over” their ex (or soon to be ex-wife).

What they really mean is, “How can I break this addiction?”

Make no mistake about it, you are mentally and physically addicted to your wife. She has been in your little world for YEARS and every facet of your life has her stamp on it. From your daily routine, your kids, vacations, hobbies, etc… she’s there. She’s another limb on your body. For that to suddenly GO AWAY is not a little thing.

It’s traumatic.

Just like trying to break substance abuse, getting over your ex is a big F’ing deal and one that makes your body and brain naturally scream, “Now, hold on a second. Wait… Let’s talk about this first.” 

But just like with drugs, when you finally get over the hump and break that connection and start the real healing process… you’re left with this overwhelming sense of regret. “Why didn’t I stop drinking years ago? I feel so much better. God, what a waste of life that was.” 

Feel Horrible -> Get over the hump -> Begin rebuilding -> Feel a million times better than before.

So… how do you do it? How do you get over the hump?

Well… You just do it.

Sorry, there’s no magic formula here. I can only tell you what makes the disconnect happen faster (cutting as much contact as humanly possible and keeping busy), but It’s still up to you to make that first step and put down that proverbial bottle and not pick it up again. It’s up to you to call the attorney and get your ducks in a row and figure out the steps for an amicable divorce and moving away from her so you can rebuild.

The two rules of recovery:

1, You cannot rebuild while you are in the presence of your ex-wife.

2. You cannot overcome the grief if you are in regular contact with your ex-wife.

You cannot overcome alcohol addiction by having just a little shot of whiskey here and there. It’s the same damn thing.

You absolutely have to break contact with her. Completely. Cold turkey.

“But… we have kids.”

Then your contact should be kept to brief logistical text messages. “Making sure you’re getting kids after school today. I will swing by and get them at 6:00. Thanks.” or “Tommy has strep throat. Got meds from doc. He’ll be ok in a couple of days. I’ll stay home from work with him.”

No personal talk. No casual chats. No friendliness.

If she texts “How are you doing?”, you ignore.

If she calls, you don’t answer the phone.

If she shows up at your place, you don’t answer the door.  If she refuses to leave, you call the police.

If she bad-mouths you to the kids, you don’t respond. You let it go. You let your actions do the talking. You be the best dad in the universe and never say a bad word about mom to your kids. Ever. They will just internalize that negativity and think less of themselves. Your positive energy will pay dividends years down the line.

See, you can’t interact with or bad-mouth a ghost. “A ghost?” Yes… she’s a ghost. Why do I call her a ghost? Because…

SHE IS DEAD.

The woman you knew and loved doesn’t exist. She was an imaginary friend. You think fondly of your memories, but that’s all there is. Memories. Chapter closed. Movie over. You move on. Just like you do when a loved one dies. You didn’t sit around and cry for days on end when Uncle Bob passed away. You attended the funeral, you mourned with family, and you moved on. Bob is in the ground. Life kept going on without him.

In the case of your wife leaving you, you do much the same.

You get busy. You stay away from women for a while.  You focus on yourself. If you are not with the kids, you are Mr. Selfish. You only worry about yourself and what you can do to improve. The gym is your new temple.

IT WILL SUCK.

You will feel HORRIBLE for a little while. You don’t have your drug, after all. What makes it worse is that your drug is RIGHT THERE and only a phonecall or text away.  All you gotta do is answer the door when she cries on your doorstep, and you have your immediate shot of heroin.

You will just go right back to where you started.

Most men know all this stuff. They know you just have to get away from the broken woman for good, but most men don’t want to. They know how much the process will suck. They don’t want to give up the warm, comfortable feeling of familiarity that their drug provides. They don’t want to go into withdrawal and vomit all over the place while having delusions of a dead baby crawling on the ceiling (Trainspotting reference… awesome movie).

These guys are just scared and understandably so.

MOST THINGS IN LIFE THAT ARE WORTH DOING REQUIRE A SCARY LEAP OF FAITH.

Just fucking do it. Get help if you need to. Talk it out with friends. But make no mistake… you NEED to do it. If not, you will slowly die on the inside. It’s as simple as that. You don’t want to be 98 years old and sitting in a chair taking your last breath and saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I just fucking leave? God, I was so stupid. What a waste.”

That’s regret. You don’t want regret. There’s nothing worse.

ARE YOU WORTH IT?

Maybe that’s the crux of your problem. Maybe you feel you’re not WORTH anything better than a cheating wife. Be honest with yourself. Is that it? Maybe you need to dig deeper down into your past and figure out why exactly it is that you: 1. Were attracted to a woman like this to begin with, 2. Stayed with her even though there were lots of red flags, and 3. Tried to stay with her after the bomb drop of infidelity was discovered.

Why the hell aren’t you worth better? Did your wife’s mental issues and gaslighting convince you that you were a crazy, worthless husband? Did family constantly remind you of how lucky you were to be with a woman like her? Does your family now pressure you to stay and keep the family unit together?

Fuck ‘Em.

Seriously. Fuck all of ’em. Crabs in a bucket. They’re all dragging you down, my man. Get out. Move on. You can be whatever the hell you want to be. Do you want to be the guy that people say, “Awwww… I feel so sorry for him” when they see you picking up your kids from school? Or do you want to be the guy that makes them say, “That guy over there… the cute one? His wife left him and then he just totally changed. He’s got like five girlfriends now. Seriously. My sister dated him. He’s a really good dad, actually. Very cool guy.”

Sound stupid and far-fetched? It’s not. Could very well be you…. You just need to take that first step.

Books

Read. Learn something. It makes you less dumb.

“My Wife Wants An Open Marriage”

More and more I’m seeing the topic of “Open Marriages” come up from men online. Unlike what many people may think, it’s not the men making the case for sleeping with other women, but rather husbands caught off guard by what they thought was a seemingly happy wife pushing them to “allow” her to have sex with other men. “Hey,” the wife explains, “You can have sex with other women now, too!”

The man is confused, scared, angry… and yet… intrigued.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of this alternative lifestyle choice and why it is now so much out in the open and what it means for YOU.

The concept of an “open” marriage is not a new one. Two people being together in marriage but open to sex with others has been around (but kpt hush-hush) since… well… forever. It wasn’t until the 1972 book Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples came out that a how-to guide for these adventuresome couples was created and the concept further thrusted into popular culture. This was in the midst of a huge sexual revolution in America… the 60’s and 70’s. The baby boomers were challenging, well… everything. If it was “normal” it was “a drag”. Is there an institution that is more “normal” than good old-fashioned marriage?

Let’s not confuse people in open marriages with swingers. Unlike swingers, open marriage couples have fun without the other partner. Swingers go to parties together and possibly have sex with others in front of their partner. People in an open marriage go out and have dates and casual sex without the presence of the marriage partner.

What do the two have in common? Both are very strict about one rule: “We are married. We are partners. We are primarily with each other. Doing things with others is just sex. It’s just fun. That’s it. Our communication is always open and we do everything to avoid the complications of becoming attached to others outside of our marriage.”

As with most things in life, it ain’t that easy. This is especially true when sex is involved.

With the 1980’s came the Reagan era and AIDS. The party was over. Studio 54 emptied out, the bathhouses closed up shop and the sexually adventurous all got scared and went home. People they loved were dying and relationships were falling apart left and right. Hey… maybe boring monogamous marriage is ok after all? Seems to be a lot less trouble, at least.

The authors of Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples, reassessed things and came out with the follow-up book called The Marriage Premise. They conducted follow-up interviews with couples they spotlighted in their first book… and it wasn’t pretty. Most of the couples were not honest with each other about their extramarital affairs (so much for open communication and not getting feelings involved), and as a consequence, most of the marriages did not survive. The authors were upset that so many people took the concept of “open marriage” and defined it as “go out and have sex with whoever, there are no consequences”. They saw the concept more as “be individuals that have experiences outside of the marriage… oh, and that might mean sex with others, too.” Understandably, everyone saw “SEX WITH OTHERS” and went hog wild.

Wow. Who saw that coming?

Fast forward to today, and the social climate has changed dramatically since the 70’s. Women are more powerful than ever. They are the majority of our university students, they occupy high levels in the corporate world and they have stay-at-home husbands that take care of their kids.

With all these changes comes dramatic shifts in our relationship dynamics.

Many men point at times like the 1950’s as the Shangri la of marriage past. The man works and the wife stays home and cares for the kids. Divorce rates were much lower. Everything just clicked into place. What they fail to mention is that women weren’t necessarily happy with the situation, but the social pressure and lack of financial options may have left them trapped in unfulfilling marriages. She could divorce and be a broke social pariah… or stick it out and raise a family and try to enjoy life.

Both the social and the economic barriers to divorce have been broken down. Women now file for 70% of all divorces… even higher if she is college-educated.

Today we have a pervasive theme that has both good and bad repercussions. That theme is a deadly combo of “you go girl” and “you deserve it all”. When society tells you that your nagging feelings of doubt and unfulfillment are not only legitimate but can and SHOULD also be acted upon… well, that can be a recipe for disaster for the unsuspecting husband.

To summarize: We’re seeing a rise in women telling their husbands: “I would like to go out and test the waters to see what else is out there… but I don’t want to blow up this comfortable marriage we have going on here. At least, not until I know I have a for sure thing lined up. Cool?” In the past, this would result in a one-way ticket to DivorceTown, USA and a lifetime of social shame and financial struggle.

Today, it’s an empowering statement and realization of her own sexuality.

I did a search for “Open Marriage” and saw article after article that came up with the same basic conclusion:

“You know… maybe an open marriage isn’t such a bad idea.”

Is the cultural zeitgeist shifting? Is society overall more open and accepting of relationships that fall outside of the monogamous template we’ve known all these generations?

No. Actually, if the General Social Survey is to be believed, people today are more intolerant of sexual relationships outside of marriage than they were back in the free and sexy 70’s.

These articles weren’t based on research of hundreds of couple interviews with thousands of data points to digest. No, they stopped at, “She felt trapped, she wanted something more, she heard about open marriage and wanted to try it… and that’s ok.”  To say that Sally’s thoughts and feeling MAY NOT be 100% A-OK and could actually be destructive to the relationship would go against the much larger and more inclusive/progressive theme of “Anything goes… no judging here… be free.” In other words, telling Sally “Well, that’s a stupid thing to ask. Perhaps you’re just not cut out for marriage.” results in being labeled an oppressive misogynist.

Maybe we’re jumping the gun here and assuming the worst. These are genuine feelings that Sally and thousands of other women like her are experiencing on a regular basis. Maybe the strict confines of a traditional marriage are too much to bear. Hey, men always want to sleep around, right? They like porn and strip clubs and other outlets for their sexuality. That’s the equivalent of cheating in many women’s eyes. Maybe it’s time women tried out a more sexually free lifestyle. Life is short. Why be miserable?

Maybe your wife has genuine sexual desire that she feels can’t be confined to your one-on-one relationship. Maybe THAT’s why your sex life is so dull. Maybe she just feels trapped. Maybe she absolutely still loves you and her sleeping around will go on for years and years and you two will continue to grow closer and closer emotionally and live happily ever after.

It’s possible, sure.

I’ve never seen it play out like that.

In fact, based on what I have seen again and again, I feel confident enough to say:

A wife asking for an open marriage signals the beginning of the end of the marriage. She’s breaking up with you.

The wife is so confident in her ability to dictate the rules of the relationship (she lost respect for you long ago), that she tells you she wants to have sex with other men but still keep you around for the other non-sexual resources she needs.

She is bluntly telling you, You are a great Provider, but I need more Lover. Don’t go anywhere. Not yet, anyway. I need you for all that non-Lover stuff right now.”

I can’t think of anything more hurtful to a man, to be honest. Your wife is, in essence, leaving the romantic relationship… and telling you to put your feelings on hold right now while she figures things out.

Why is she doing this?

More than likely, this means that another relationship candidate has already been lined up. She would normally just have an affair behind your back… but that can get messy. This absolves her of any guilt or shame. It also keeps the logistics of her life in order until she can figure things out.

The wife is not stupid. She knows that asking “Can I sleep around?” will probably be met with “Are you out of your god damned mind?” So, she says what all women in this position say:

“You know, you can have sex with other women, too!”

Before she can finish the sentence, the dumb husband is already fantasizing about that one girl at the gym, that one cashier at the grocery store and that chick that smiled at him that one time at his kid’s basketball game.

Men can be so delusional.

He envisions a buffet of hot women at his disposal. A veritable conga line of hoohah ready for him to sample whenever he likes. This will be the sex life he has always fantasized about! It’ll be just like porn!

But, wait… that means his wife has sex with other men. That’s not good. Oh well… he can deal with that jealousy when it comes. The buffet awaits. This will be amazing.

TRUTH: THE FANTASY RARELY, IF EVER, PANS OUT FOR THE MAN.

You and your wife are living in two completely different worlds. Even if you look amazing, you’re charming, you talk a great game and have lots of cash to use on your dates… your success in dating will pale in comparison to your wife’s.

She’s going to get laid. A lot. You will not. It’s just that simple.

If you were the type of guy that could go out and get laid so easily, your wife probably wouldn’t be asking for an open marriage.

Fast forward to six months after you agree to the new arrangement, and you have a grand total of one woman that you had a series of dates with and one awful night of sex. It probably turned you off from the whole idea completely, but you don’t dare tell the wife. You innately know that your lack of success in dating will paint you as a lower status than her. That will be extremely unattractive.

Your wife, on the other hand, had many steamy nights of sex with the one guy she had already begun a relationship with. That didn’t work out, so she cried in the arms of another guy she kinda knew… a friend of a friend… and that resulted in a two-month affair that also fizzled out. While she was out with her girlfriends drinking her sorrows away, she met two more men she exchanged numbers with and ended up having sex with them both over the next two weeks.

You get the idea. Not the same ballgame. Combine a world of desperately horny men and a wife with zero boundaries and her new “I get to have sex guilt-free” card, and you are in for a world of trouble.

Please keep in mind one important thing: What your wife is doing is NOT just enjoying casual sex with zero interest in commitment. She is most likely looking for a replacement partner. Something or somebody pushed her buttons and her “must procure new mate” programming is off and running. She is back on the market and she won’t stop until she gets the guy that will check all the boxes. That’s when you’ll get the crying wife at home apologizing and telling you that she didn’t MEAN to fall in love with this guy, but it just happened.

There MAY be women out there who can casually date and have sex outside of the marriage and be completely unfazed and return home to husband with zero attachment to the other man. I have never seen nor have I ever heard about this scenario playing out successfuly. I just don’t feel that the majority of women are wired for such an arrangement.

Why Did She “Affair Down”?

Many times, when a guy tells me about his wife’s affair partner, he will start rattling off reasons why the loser is the absolute opposite of what you would expect from a “typical” affair partner:

1. He has a horrible job.
2. Everyone thinks he’s a loser.
3. He lives with his parents.
4. He’s not that great looking.
5. He has a criminal record.

Most of the betrayed husband’s observations can be summarized as, “He’ll never be a good provider for her. He’s a terrible prospect for a serious long-term relationship.” This goes against the common belief that a woman is always looking to “upgrade” to a better man if given the chance (a phenomenon known as Hypergamy). This guy doesn’t seem to be an upgrade in any sense of the word.

That’s precisely the first thing that draws her to him. He’s not the Provider. He’s not a long-term relationship candidate. He’s not a dad. He’s not her husband.

He’s her Lover.

Any “player” type of guy with no sense of morals will tell you one universal truth:

The easiest women to “pick up” are married women.

Why? The player doesn’t have to compete with thousands of other guys… just one.

Husband is caring, kinda boring, sweet, and a great father? Then just be dangerous, kind of a jerk, adventurous, and let her know in no uncertain terms that you think kids suck.

If he catches the right wife at the right time, the “must mate with this man” buttons are pushed in a big way. Surprisingly easy, actually.

Next thing you know she’s getting a tattoo, researching cosmetic surgery, starts making more disrespectful comments towards the husband and spends less time with the kids.

So, exactly what is going on here? What happened is that the Loser Lover stumbled upon a woman that was perfectly ripe and ready for plucking from the fidelity tree. For a variety of reasons, her boundaries were broken down to the point where she was willing to be intimate with a man whose sole criteria was, “Not my husband. Nothing like my husband. Just help me get away from all this awfulness in my life. Make me feel alive again.”

More to the point, the Loser Lover is not doing things to appease her. He doesn’t live FOR her. He’s not part of THAT world. Not even a little bit. He’s independent. He’s mysterious. He brings about some anxiety… but in a good way. In a thrilling way. In a dangerous way.

“So, wait a minute…” every exhausted husband says. “For years now, she’s been pleading with me to do all these things for her and the kids. Be more thoughtful. Be nicer. Be more helpful. Be a better dad. I bend over backward to accommodate her and to keep her complaining to a minimum… and the next thing she does is run off and have an affair with the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of all of that AND blow up our family in the process?! Seriously?!”

Yep.

Remember, this is emotion we’re talking about. Human nature. Don’t fight it. Don’t try to rationalize it. You can’t win.

Your woman gave you subversive signals and tests throughout your relationship. These came in the form of complaints, hissy fits and appeals for you to connect with her emotionally and to validate her feelings. There were also tests to measure your fortitude under pressure.

You probably failed these tests. Repeatedly.

On top of that, your woman probably has a great deal of personal baggage. Daddy issues. Substance abuse, maybe. Probably issues with overeating and/or spending money. She’s always looking for the next dopamine hit or something to silence her negative anxiety for just a brief moment. She’s never truly dealt with her lingering childhood issues and so the baggage builds and builds, and her self-damaging behaviors begin to bubble up, and she eventually crosses the line in the worst way.

Unbeknownst to the perfectly normal and not-a-total-loser husband, he is at the epicenter of the “I’ve just about had enough of all this all this B.S.” emotional storm that is in his wife’s head. Justified or not, he represents all that is wrong. He is why she has “lost herself”. He is the cause of having to continuously give and give and not feel appreciated. He is why she no longer feels like an attractive woman but instead like a doting mom and a fat nagging wife.

Her husband just doesn’t GET her and apparently never will.

She is trapped. This is not how this “married life” was supposed to be.

Then along comes relief. This is something different. No, it’s not an awesome surprise or gift from the husband. There’s way too much resentment built up and no way for poor hubby to overcome it. Even if husband gave her an all-inclusive trip to Tahiti with round-the-clock massages and all the cocktails she can handle, she would still roll her eyes every five minutes and complain that the masseuse is too rough, the drinks are too weak, the sun is too hot, and she feels fat in her swimsuit.

Instead, relief comes in the form of the bartender with a horrible prison tattoo on his neck. He says, “I don’t remember seeing your sexy self in here before” while she was out having cosmos with her girlfriends.

That’s all it takes.

Her “have affair” button was right on the cusp of getting pushed all the way down (and had been for quite a while), and Dumbface McLoserstein comes along and slams it down with a gusto.

“HIM?!” everyone asks. Well, yeah. Who else would it be?

You thought she was going to be able to snag some billionaire fitness model with a strong jawline and a 140 IQ? No, he’s at the top of the dude pyramid. To him, your wife isn’t even a blip on the “woman I would take to bed” radar. Sorry if that’s insulting, but you’ve been wearing the rose-colored marriage goggles for a while. You’re not living in reality.

What about another guy like you with a good job, a good heart, a good reputation and decent looks? What, you mean a “normal” guy? No. Most normal guys can smell crazy and “ready to blow up and shove a fork in my eye if I say the wrong thing to her” a mile away. Your wife has a ton of baggage and is ready to pop. We ALL see it. You’ve been blind to it for a while, but the rest of us haven’t.

Finally, here comes Mr. Right. This guy has a freight train full of his own baggage. He probably has his share of mommy issues, addictions and constant chasing of dopamine hits. A “thrill seeker”, but not in any good way. Because of that, he doesn’t judge. He doesn’t care one iota about what kind of dinner she makes for her kids, whether or not she is 20 lbs overweight, what kind of grades her kids get, or whether her kids are in too many sports.

Your wife is not a catch. She is a loser. How do I know? Because she threw away her life for the chance to have an affair with a loser. That’s a pretty strong “I am not a prize” signal right there.

She “affairs down” because SHE is down there, too. She always has been. Her affair was lateral, not vertical. She found a “soul mate”, if maybe just for an evening.

You can’t see it now, but you will soon enough. Her spell over you will fade and you will be left with an overwhelming sense of “What in the sam hell was I thinking?”

You’re not alone. You’re a good dude who made a big mistake. That’s life. You ignored lots of red flags and allowed a human into your world that was WAY below your level. You were just too dumb, too love-struck and too GOOD of a guy to see it.

Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?

Anthony Bourdain

For those of you living under a rock, Anthony Bourdain, famous chef, author and TV personality, was found dead on Friday, June 8 in his hotel room in France. He was in the middle of shooting an episode of his popular CNN television show “Parts Unknown” with his best friend and fellow chef, Eric Ripert. Instead of meeting Eric and the crew for their normal group breakfast at the hotel, he hanged himself. Eric found him after he had already passed.

Tony was, by all accounts, a very interesting character.

He was an addict. He beat a horrible heroin and crack addiction.  He was never truly “sober”. Anyone who watched his shows can tell you that he never met a bottle he didn’t like. Fellow addicts were surprised at his openness with drinking. Typically, addicts know that they have to set limits to their behavior or else they will go down that dark path again. Tony seemed to laugh at that notion. Hey, he kicked heroin and crack. What more do you want from the guy? Try traveling all over the world and not drinking. Good luck with that.

He was passionate.  He loved what he did. He worked extremely hard on both his television show and his writing. He was gifted at both.  He loved the food. He loved the people. He loved the travel. He was not always the most outgoing and extroverted man in the room, but you could tell that he greatly enjoyed the time he spent with the groups of people that he called friends all over the world.  He loved to learn and he loved sharing it with his viewers and readers.

He was a sensitive guy. Beneath the “punk rock” persona he seemed so keen on cultivating and maintaining, there was a very sensitive and sweet guy. I’m reminded of the episode of No Reservations where he visited Spain. Throughout the show, he spoke in glowing terms about the quality of the food he was eating on a daily basis. He said chefs all over the world would “shit the bed” when they saw how lucky he was to eat all these magnificent dishes. At the end of the episode, he is having dinner and wine with his fellow chefs and proclaims it as being one of the happiest times of his life. His friend gives him a loving kiss and at that moment you see the real Tony. He felt true love in his heart for these people.

He fell DEEPLY in love with women. Tony wanted it all. He wanted to spend an inordinate amount of time on his passion and craft, and to also have the love and adoration of a woman. He wanted to be a husband. He tried marriage. Twice. After his first marriage ended, he publicly admitted in interviews that he experienced a deep depression that made him suicidal. He medicated himself with drunken benders and trips to French brothels to ease the pain.

Soon after, he found his second wife, a spunky Sardinian woman named Ottavia. By her own admission, she first came to the U.S. chasing a “bad boy” rocker type. She had no money and could barely speak the language. No relationship blossomed from her adventures with the wannabe Irish rocker, so she ended up working jobs in various restaurants to make ends meet. That is where she met Tony.  They both shared interests (booze, smoking, and partying) and quickly fell in love. Several days after meeting, they got matching tattoos. After a few more dates, they got married.

It was during this marriage that Tony went from simply famous to “household name” level of fame.  Ottavia was happily along for the ride. She would give birth to his first and only child.

Cooking shows were big on TV. You couldn’t turn on cable TV without seeing two chefs going at it in a contest to make the best risotto. It seemed that Tony was on every other show as a guest judge. He had his own show on the Travel Channel. The show won an Emmy. Then he later moved over to CNN for a giant pile of money. His travel schedule became even more hectic. He also continued with his writing, publishing several works of fiction and non-fiction.

Anthony Bourdain and OttaviaDuring this time, he and the wife grew distant. She needed an outlet for her “aggression” (her words) and decided to take up Jiu Jitsu and later MMA fighting. While Tony was off eating strange foods and tipping back drinks all over the world (and earning a hefty payday), his wife was rolling around with younger men and documenting it for the world to see. Arguably not the best behavior from a wife, but the social media world took notice and she became the “you go girl!” poster child for bored moms everywhere. Even publications like the NY Times featured her in articles.

Tony also took notice and decided it was best to join her on the mat instead of just following her on Instagram. He applied his focus and hard-working mindset to Jiu Jitsu and ended up doing very well, impressing everyone by eventually earning his blue belt and winning tournaments… a monumental feat for someone in their late 50’s, let alone somebody with such a prolific work schedule.

He got into amazing shape, lost 35 lbs, and cut down considerably on his drinking. He looked like a new person.

All of his changes were not enough. At the age of 60, Tony separated from Ottavia. He contends it was mutual. They had simply spent too much time apart (also the reason for his failed first marriage). She had her life and he had his. Somehow they made it work long enough to raise a child together, but they weren’t being truthful if they said they were a married couple.

In true Tony fashion, he quickly latched on to a replacement girlfriend. In Asia Argento (a member of the crew for his Rome episode of “Parts Unknown” and self-proclaimed “witch”), Tony found a kindred spirit. In no time at all, he had stumbled upon another Italian beauty 20 years his junior who shared his passion for travel and all things “punk”. They were both “circus freaks”, in Tony’s words. Misfits. Misunderstood people who came from privileged backgrounds (Asia’s father was a famous filmmaker) but tried their damndest to prove themselves to the world through their work.

Tony had found his soul mate.

Asia came with baggage. Lots of baggage. Picture the luggage-sorting facility at JFK airport. Now triple that. That was Asia.

Tony became her biggest champion during her very public #METOO campaign against slimeball Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Tony used his gift of writing to take to social media and penned articles in support of Asia and her cause. He wouldn’t hesitate to gloat about her accomplishments and how proud he was of her for being so brave and outspoken against Weinstein during the horrible rape allegations.

anthony bourdain asia argentoAround this time, Tony’s public persona became much more political and much more outspoken about social justice causes. At the ripe age of 61, his rebellious punk persona was in full swing.

With Asia, he found a new sense of youth he lost years ago.

It was at this time that friends would later admit they were concerned about Tony’s obsessive love for Asia.

Tony wouldn’t be the first boyfriend of Asia’s to speak out against Weinstein. Years ago, Asia confided in her boyfriend Vincent Gallo (another misfit Hollywood filmmaker) about the awful things that Weinstein did to her and other women in the industry. Vincent then went public with his disgust and outed Weinstein. His prize was an angry Asia who denounced Vincent, denied the claims of abuse, and then went back into the arms of Harvey. This is all well before the famous #METOO movement.

Yep. Baggage. Lots of it.

To a man with a strong head on his shoulders and a healthy sense of self-respect, a gal like Asia is what we call “bad news” or “has more flags than a communist parade“. To a guy like Tony, she was heroin. She was a pretty, young, dangerous, confident, strange and outspoken woman who just loved Tony for all his quirks. Here was this girl who shared his love and passion for the very thing that supposedly ended his first two marriages: his work. FINALLY a woman who not only checks all the boxes, but one who won’t later resent him for doing what he does best.

Dammit, it took him 60 years, but he finally found the right gal to make his dreams come true.

She made him feel alive, and he would go to the ends of the Earth to protect her.

On May 26, 2018, Anthony and Asia wrapped up work on an episode of “Parts Unknown” in Italy. Afterward, he headed off to France to start work on the next episode. Asia headed off to her home in Rome. Social media posts show they are still very much a couple.

Asia ArgentoOn June 2, Asia is spotted and photographed in Rome in the arms of Hugo Clement, a young French journalist. She askes the paparazzo to delete the photos that were taken. He refuses. She is photographed over the next three days coming in and out of a hotel with Hugo. The same hotel she had frequented with Tony over the past year.

On June 5, the photos hit the internet for the world to see. Tony stops posting on social media and unfollows Asia. His friends say he is in a “dark mood”.

On June 7, he misses a dinner with the crew and his best friend Eric.

On June 8, he fails to make breakfast. Eric finds him hanging in his hotel room.

 

Do I blame Asia? No. She was just doing what crazy people do. They spot good-hearted, easy to manipulate people… chew them up and spit them out. Then they find their next victim. That’s just their nature.

Tony was broken. Tony was smart. Tony was gifted. Tony was a hard worker that provided for his loved ones. Tony was passionate.

All of this was brought down by one thing: He hung all of his sanity on the shoulders of his “soul mate”. When that inevitably collapsed, he had nowhere else to go. He had nothing to hope for. Love was gone. Joy was gone. He had his work, but that paled in comparison to the high of being in a loving relationship with a woman who truly understood him.

When Asia snuck away with another man, that was, in Tony’s mind, the universe’s way of pointing and laughing at his good fortune. It was all just a big practical joke.

In his mind, he did everything by the book. He followed his passion. When that didn’t work, he was lucky enough to find the perfect life partner. He jumped on the rare opportunity to start over and gladly molded himself to become a “better man” for her.

She laughed and spit in his face.

He reached the pinnacle of professional success, but the lifelong goal of true romance eluded him.

For all this positive traits, for all he accomplished in life… Tony still needed the love of a woman to complete him.

That’s what killed him.

He may have kicked heroin, but he never truly got clean.

Seven Signs That Your Wife is Cheating

As I outlined in “My Wife Wouldn’t Do That” , there is a phenomenon of emasculated men that just CANNOT believe their wife would be capable of doing awful things like committing infidelity. Even when presented with ongoing warning signs and conclusive evidence, they deny and rationalize any odd behavior from their wife.

These warning signs are so damn common that every man early in life should be handed a pamphlet titled, “WARNING: SIGNS OF A CHEATING WIFE”.  The more we teach our sons these observational skills, the more likely they are to keep their girlfriends and wives off the proverbial pedestal and treat them with the same cautious optimism they give to every other human in their life.

Why are men so blind to the obvious?

We think like MEN. We have a hard time thinking like women. It’s an entire perspective on life that we don’t really have a very good grasp of. When we think of cheating, we think of it as a guy.

As guys, we are programmed to be polygamous. We physically want lots of different women (See: pornography, strip clubs, creepily staring at women, etc.). When us good guys are happy and comfortable in a relationship (especially after having kids), we may not be able to completely turn OFF that urge for other women, but we can set it aside and prop up the other needs in our life. We turn the “raging horny sex machine” dial down to a 4 and turn up the “nice guy dad” dial all the way up to a 10.

For most of us, NOT getting lots of different women in bed is not an intense struggle that we must battle with on a daily basis. It’s not a huge deal. If we are doing our job right as a husband, we’re getting plenty of intimacy from our wife. Still not enough? Well… that’s why we have all those outlets for our male libido.

So, when we good guys think of cheating… we frame it from our perspective: cheating is a result of the strong biological urge that we, as good guys, are able to temper and fulfill in other ways. From our years with our wife, it is safe to say that our own libido easily outpaces hers. Since we are able to fight such an admittedly strong urge, surely she can fight an urge that seemed to go dormant for weeks or months or years at a time.

Her affair is not so simple.

What men fail to realize is that the wife’s affair is not just a matter of, “I’m tired of the same penis and need something new”. It’s not something that could have been resolved with Pornhub, a little privacy and five minutes during a lunch break.

Her affair is a huge life-changing event that not only calls into question all aspects of her personal relationship with you but also her overall purpose as a woman on this planet. The affair will elicit extreme waves of emotion that we, as men, can’t conceive of. It’s an existential crisis of gargantuan proportions.

As a result, she will absolutely morph into a new human being right before your eyes.

This isn’t just your wife going out and getting a piece on the side. This affair was the result of a little chink in your wife’s armor (lack of boundaries) that eventually resulted in physical bonding with another man. That, in turn, caused a tidal wave of changes in her entire being. Nature took over at that point.

This person isn’t your wife at all anymore. Your wife died the moment she had sexual relations with another man. Saying she went through a metamorphosis is not strong enough language. You now have a stranger living with you.

Since you now have this strange person sitting in your living room, you start noticing all new behaviors. It’s kind of like when you first make a new friend and start hanging out with them for long periods of time. All of their unique flaws, habits, and eccentricities take center stage.

Your spouse’s new role as “adulterous wife” brings with it a whole new set of predictable behavior.

We know what she’s going to do… because they all do it! She’s not special. She’s a cheating wife.

Before we get started with the list…

One thing that I have to mention: Many adulterous wives begin cheating after some kind of stressful, life-altering event has taken place. This could be something as serious as a miscarriage, death of a parent, or major health scare…  or something as innocuous as a job promotion. That life event was enough to flip a switch in her brain and cause the boundaries to collapse and allow in one (or more) of the multitudes of men ready and willing to take her to bed.

So, if any of the below sound familiar to you AND you just endured some type of life-changing event, then it’s time to be worried.

1. She Spends More Time Away From You and the Family

While I contend that the wife you know and love has “died”, there is still a small part of the old her lurking in there somewhere… under a giant pile of all those new feelings she now has overwhelming her psyche. Every time she sets foot in the house, looks at you, hugs your kid, pets the dog… that little piece of the old her that is buried so deep starts to squirm a little. This is extremely unsettling for her. How can she best deal with this? She needs to get away from the family and everything associated with the old her as much as possible. She may “walk away” completely, but you typically see more time at the “gym” or “work” or the typical “girls night out” with friends.

When she’s away from the family unit and with her new man, that completely silences the old her that is buried so deep. This feels beyond amazing. Heroin and alcohol have nothing on this feeling. She will do whatever she can to keep it up. She can’t do that when you’re right in her face.

What if she can’t physically get away? Well, then she will mentally withdraw. She will spend way more time on her phone. Social media, text messaging, etc… They all give her the validation and attention she needs to not only escape from the real world but to also confirm that what she is doing is the right thing. Every little change she makes to herself will be documented and shared online. The response will be overwhelmingly positive. “You go, girl!”

2. She Suddenly Looks and Acts Younger

When the wife is having an affair, she is in the early stages of the mating game. She is restarting the clock and going back into “secure new mate” mode. That means projecting the most attractive version of herself possible. This will involve weight loss and probably dressing younger and more provocatively. She’s simply trying to impress the new man and get him to settle down with her and only her. It’s biological. All women do this early on in relationships when they deem their man worthy. They look their best, act younger and are more sexual.

What you’re witnessing is what your wife did with you early in your own relationship (hopefully). You just forgot what it looked like.

3. Random Thoughts Leaking Out of her Brain

Cheating women have a hard time keeping their secrets to themselves. Whether it’s due to a subconscious desire to spill the beans or the love-chemicals fogging their brain, they just can’t keep the cat in the bag for very long. If your ears are finely tuned to picking up the signals, you can hear some tell-tale phrases or questions that should have you concerned. Usually, they come at the most random moments with little to no context.

“I would never have an open relationship. Would you?”

“Tina at work is having an affair.”

“If you were to ever cheat on me, I would chop off your balls.”

Who are you texting? What are you talking about?”

“Why did you come home from work late? You usually get home 10 minutes earlier.”

“I bet you wish you could have other women. You’ve probably cheated on me in the past… like when I was fat and pregnant.”

“Have you heard about being Polyamorous?”

The cheating wife’s Tourrettes-like outbursts are sometimes a form of projection.  She doesn’t realize that you’re not in her brain hearing her thoughts, so when she randomly says “I would never have an open relationship” while you’re at your son’s soccer practice, she’s letting some the cognitive dissonance steam out of the pressure cooker in her head.  It’s kind of like the woman who declares on the first date, “We’re not having sex tonight! Just so you know!” as you are buying popcorn at the movies. You were just thinking about whether or not to also get M&M’s, and she’s thinking about you two having sex. This means you will most likely have sex with her that night.

4. She is Suddenly More Sexual and Experimental

The cold and frigid wife who used to cringe when talking about oral sex is now suddenly wearing crotchless underwear and asks you if you’d like try anal sex.

WOW!” most men say. “My wife finally got turned on! This is great!”

No, your wife misses her new man and is going to play pretend with you. You’re essentially a sex toy. She will shut her eyes and imagine that it’s him doing those things to her. At the same time, she’s also trying new things out on you before doing them with her new man.  She may even say something obvious like, “What does my butt look like from THIS angle? Not too fat?” or “Do you like it when I do THIS or THIS better?” or “Should I shave completely or leave some of it?”

For betrayed men, this is a very brutal time. They were sure that these moments represented true lust and attraction from their wife (towards them)… when in fact it was just the opposite.

5. She Needs Space

I’m reminded of the story of the soldier who is off to war in Iraq, burning up in a tent in the middle of the desert. He gets the typical “Dear John” letter from his woman back home. “I need space, she says. “Space? I’m thousands of miles away in Iraq! How much more space does she need?!” he screams.

“I need space” = You are no longer a couple. The emotional and physical jump from you to the new man is most likely complete.

She now feels comfortable enough to completely detach from you and attach to her new mate. She no longer needs the home base to return back to. She was testing things out for a while, feeling the emotions, figuring out the logistics of living on her own… and finally made the giant leap. By this stage, she has already opened a new bank account, got the tattoo, called up the cosmetic surgeon, met with the attorney and discussed the big life move with her friends.

You will most likely be completely oblivious to all this until it is too late.

6. She Rewrites History

While she is in the process of detaching from you, one thought is paramount: “What will everyone think of me?” Her social status is of the utmost importance. She can’t simply tell friends, “Oh, I left him because I fell for another dude that I think is way better.” No, she needs to come up with reasons that nobody can argue with.

“He peed on the toilet sometimes” and “He wasn’t good at doing laundry” or “He was just too nice and boring” aren’t enough to warrant the breakup of a family, so… it’s time to make up some stuff! Whatever it takes to make her the victim and justified in her actions, even if that means completely making up stories with no basis in truth, she will do it. Sometimes those stories can send a man to a police station for questioning, or worse.

That may mean saying these made up stories right to your face. Let that sink in. She will make up stories about your relationship… to you. The guy she had the relationship with.

If she can lie directly to YOUR face, just think what she is saying to others behind your back.

I shared the time that my ex said to me, You never support me in anything I do! You made me take this job!” after I told her that maybe she was leaving me alone with the kids and going out with friends too often. I was completely shocked. It made zero sense at the time. Now it makes perfect sense. It’s much easier to leave a tyrant than to leave a nice guy. Not a tyrant? She’ll just pretend that you are! That’ll do the trick.

7. She Lies About Everything.

With such an intense life-altering experience comes a very foggy mind that just can’t keep straight what is reality and what is a lie. She’s filled with anxiety, joy, lustfulness, sadness, depression… all these ingredients that make up the uniquely awful thing that is the mind of the wayward wife. Considering the turmoil in her brain, it’s no wonder that every little word coming out of her mouth must be scrutinized. “Believe what she does, not what she says” people will often tell you. So true.

More succinctly: She’s an addict. Addicts are liars.

Even the most mundane and innocent details of her life will not add up. It’s almost as if she’s thinking, “It’s so tough to keep straight all these things in my head, I might as well default to lying. It’s just so much easier… and safer.”

Let’s say you asked her if she stopped and bought milk on the way home. If she says yes, you immediately run to the store to pick up a gallon or your kids won’t have cereal in the morning. “Did you pay the utility bill?” “Yep!” she says. You better check to make sure it’s paid or your lights will get turned off.

“I don’t get it. Why did she lie about THAT?” – Every man with a cheating wife.

Don’t try to make sense of it all. Just realize that all of these things are typical cheating wife behaviors. They all point to a clouded mind, intense emotions and physical/mental metamorphosis. This is usually very bad news for you.

The One That Got Away

Professional women want it all.

The perfect family. The successful career. Perfect children. Respect from their peers. Adoration and appreciation from their family. Eternal youth.

We ALL want it ALL, right?

Well, yes, but we men tend to do a better job of compartmentalizing the different aspects of life and resigning ourselves to the barriers of reality. Job is job… family is family… marriage is marriage… age is inevitable. We put these parts of our life in their own little sections of the plate. We really don’t like when the peas touch the carrots, so to speak.

With our temperament, we men will often stay in one little section of the plate for an inordinate amount of time. It’s the one that gives us the most obvious and quick “reward” for our efforts. It’s the one that fulfills our desire to “provide”.

We all know the stereotype of the man who stays in his “work” box and doesn’t come out enough to spend time with his wife and kids or focus on his health. Like every other stereotype, this idea didn’t just fall from the sky. Men can often get hyper-focused on the the goal of completing work or just on the actual act of the work itself and put blinders on to the rest of the world. Next thing he knows, he looks up from his desk and it’s 6:30pm. He missed his son’s teeball game. Again.

As a consequence, we now have a generation of men that sit around nursing a bottle of beer saying to his buddies, “My dad wasn’t around all that much.”

Their dad was a Super Provider Dad.

Super Provider Dad doesn’t say, “Dammit… if I could just work 30 hours a week, I would be around my family more and give them the time they deserve.” He resigns himself to the work. The work is his mission. It gives him a sense of purpose. His job title and paycheck are his scorecard. He gets hostile if the wife bugs him about working too much. “How do you think we pay all the bills, Sally?! Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

I’m reminded of the story by Pat Croce, former entrepreneur and owner of the Seventy Sixers. He had so much energy and would get so enthralled in his business that his wife and kids used to write him letters about how they missed him.

Super Provider Dad knows he can’t have it all.  Duh. Why would anyone think they could maintain this level of work achievement AND be some kind of super dad and husband? It’s impossible.

It sucks, but he often chooses work over family and health, and that’s that.

In my generation of dads, we do a much better job of setting aside work and concentrating on kids. We’re a loving, hugging, soccer-coaching, homeworking-helping bunch of guys. Yes, our career suffers and so does the marriage and our health (dead bedrooms and dad bods galore)… but we learned lessons from dear old dad and recognize the dangers of ignoring junior when he needs us most. We closed up the work box, opened the kid box and dove right in.

That mindset doesn’t seem to exist in the professional woman’s world.

She WILL be the perfect mom, she WILL be the most awesome employee at work, she WILL be a fantastic wife, and she WILL be super sexy and pretty until the day she dies.

The result? Failure.  A lot of guilt, anxiety, depression… and botox.

Somewhere along the line, somebody told women that they can and SHOULD have it all… and if not, they are an abject failure. For a woman to hear, “I don’t know how you do it all” is a badge of honor, not an indication of taking on too much in life.

The female propensity for Neuroticism (one of the five personality traits) doesn’t jive well with her very human inability to juggle so many things at once AND utlimately succeed at every last one of them.

They want it all -> They inevitably fail -> They experience great negative emotion.

People want what they can’t have.

In the world of pyschology, we know that if want to increase someone’s desire for something, you present the thing, pique their interest, and then quickly take it away. Dangle it juuuuuust out of reach.

“Playing hard to get” is a common ploy for both sexes during the mating game. Why? Because it works.

Men know not to answer a woman’s text message or call right away. Keep her waiting just a bit. Give her the impression that you’re too busy. You’re an important person. Keep her new relationship anxiety going, and then answer and watch her excitement boil over.

Women don’t cave in immediately to a man’s desire for physical intimacy because they don’t want to come across as sleazy or desperate. He has to jump through some hoops to win a chance with her. She’s a prize.

“I know you want this… but you can’t have it. Well, maybe you can. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Drives us crazy.

For many women, there is no greater carrot dangling in front of them the “The One That Got Away” (TOTGA).

TOTGA is the guy that really REALLY pushed her buttons. He may have been the one that had that combination of all those qualities that make up the all-around dream guy. Maybe he was just a fun-loving sexy type of guy that was full of adventure. Maybe he was the sexy loser that she would sneak off with and not tell her friends or family about.

The important thing is that TOTGA was presented with the option of entering into a longterm monogamous relationship with her, and he said, in no uncertain terms, “I don’t think so. Sorry. No.”

She wanted him. Couldn’t have him. Not because of something he did, necessarily… but, instead because she failed at being the quality of woman necessary to land a man of that caliber.

She had him in her grasp… and she just couldn’t hold on. This is like being denied that promotion she worked hard for. Like finding out her kid is having behaviorial problems at school. Like finding out her husband is looking at porn non-stop.

It’s failure.

TOTGA, in her mind,  is the living embodiment of “There’s something very wrong with me as a woman.”

For many women, if it weren’t for their biological and social pressure to “settle down” and start a family, she would absolutely still try to be with TOTGA.

I have known several women that openly admit the existence of TOTGA. One in particular sticks out as a textbook example.

Amy had a boyfriend. He was fun. She had an exciting life with him. She was very much in love. He said no to an extended long-term relationship/marriage. She was getting up there in years… a career woman. She quickly found another Provider man (a doctor), and within one year they were engaged. They married and soon after she was pregnant. Mid 30’s… so just under the fertility wire. Smart gal.

They are the most un-loving couple I have ever seen. You would think they are brother and sister.

In the very short time that my wife and I have known Amy, she has mentioned the ex-boyfriend to us both. It’s obvious the guy is her TOTGA.

My wife and I went with her and her husband to go skiing. It was my first time ever on the slopes. I was busy doing the “pizza” maneuver with my skis and trying to keep from breaking my arms and legs. Meanwhile, Amy was zooming around like a pro. I was impressed. I complimented her on her skills.  “I used to go skiing all the time with my ex. He was really good.”  Alright, was it really necessary to bring up the ex at that point? That made me take notice a bit. She could’ve simply said “Oh, Thanks. I’ve been skiing for years.”

She would later admit to my wife that she still is still in contact with her TOTGA, husband knows about it and he doesn’t like it. She chats with him anyway.

Every time she reaches out to him, it’s her way of saying “I’m really not ALL that bad, right?! I mean… there’s still some slight chance that, if the situation were right…”

She has to keep in touch with TOTGA. Why? Well, why the hell not? She wants it all, right? She has the dutiful provider husband, the baby, the career… but she doesn’t have TOTGA.

Hubby says, “I love and adore you forever”.

Baby says, “I love you more than anything on the planet.”

TOTGA says “Nah… I think I can do better.”

This is in part why, by my estimation, women have such a hard time enforcing boundaries. With boundaries, much of the concept is you saying to yourself, “Even though I can have it and I may badly want it, it’s not good for me and my current situation…so I’m going to have to say no.” That goes wildly against the “I want and deserve it all. Anything else is failure.” doctrine.

  • She wants to be VP of Sales for her company. Reality: That means working 70 hour work weeks and not seeing her husband and kids very often.
  • She wants to be super homemaker mom who bakes pies and attends all of the school functions. Reality:  No VP of Sales position for her. The guy who works 80 hours a week and never sees his kids gets the job instead.
  • She wants to be super sexy woman for the next 30 years. Reality: No more indulging in wine and desserts. You have to go to the gym 4 days a week and yoga on the weekends. Cosmetic surgery is a strong possibility. This will put you at the top 10% of women your age.
  • She wants to be the best wife possible. Reality: TOTGA is dead. He never existed. Focus on the now.

Learn to compartmentalize, in other words. Enforce boundaries.

It’s tough. It’s tough for all of us, but it’s especially tough for the ladies who like to not only mix their peas and carrots on the plate, but to also throw a big pile of cake on top of the whole thing and chase it down with three bottles of Dom Perignon. Then they complain that they have a belly ache.

This is why people say that women “multi-task” so much better than men. They find it very difficult to compartmentalize.

This goes back to my theory of about sometimes enforcing boundaries for your wife. It’s a delicate balance. You don’t want to be a controlling/abusive asshole that tells your wife NO all the time, but you also want to make sure she does what is best for you and your family. For many men, they can’t fathom having to enforce a boundary for their wife. She SHOULD KNOW not to talk to that guy, go out for drinks, send messages to an ex, etc. Yeah, well… what if she doesn’t? Are you willing to walk away? Are you willing to do things to keep her from crossing the line? Is your relationship worth the effort?

In the world of infidelity, there is no stronger candidate for an affair partner than TOTGA. None. He’s the dangling golden carrot. He’s the guy she let slip away. He’s a reminder of her failure.

He’s living proof that “having it all” is impossible… FOR HER. For a lot of women, that is a crippling realization.

If she suddenly grabs the TOTGA carrot, she ain’t letting go. He’s the trophy she holds over her head as she screams “See?! I CAN HAVE IT ALL!!”

You’ve been warned.

In another life, I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
In another life, I would make you stay
So I don’t have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away
The one, the one, the one
The one that got away
All this money can’t buy me a time machine, no
Can’t replace you with a million rings, no
I should’a told you what you meant to me, whoa
Cause now I pay the price
The One That Got Away – Katy Perry