Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “Pete”

This is a first in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“Pete” is the perfect example of a guy who had very little self-worth combined with the all-consuming need to find “the one” to settle down and grow old with. When you combine the two, it can be a complete disaster.

DSO: Okay, so to start with… if you could, tell us who you are, how old, kids, etc..

Pete: I’m Pete. I’m 35 years old. Have 3 boys.

DSO: You gave me a little bit of you story before this interview… Are you technically still married as of right now?

Pete: Yes, technically still married at this point but have been separated since January 2017. Tried to reconcile this year, only lasted about 3 months and then I walked away for good. I had started over last year and I was in a really good place. All that went away during time period of trying to reconcile and that’s what made me realize it was time to let go and now for a second time I’m starting over again. 

DSO: Sorry to hear that. How did you and your wife first meet?

Pete: We met through her cousin that I was friends with. 

DSO: Did you have much experience with women prior to meeting her?

Pete: I had been in 3 or 4 relationships prior to her and had been casually dating a few other women but nothing real serious. 

DSO: And how about her family? Did she have a stable family life? Mom and dad in the picture?

Pete: Her parents had divorced when she was 12 and her dad remarried but her mom did not until this year. Her dad and grandmother raised her after the divorce 

DSO: Oh, interesting. Why was mom out of the picture?

Pete: She gave up rights because of a violent incident that occurred with her boyfriend and my wife and her brother. So, her dad got custody of them two. 

DSO: Did her mom cheat on dad with the bad guy?

Pete: It’s crazy because her mom had another daughter by the boyfriend after high school. It didn’t work out and then she met my wife’s dad and they had two kids together being my wife and her brother. Yes, she did cheat. 

DSO: Oh wow… Mom had some serious issues. So, looking back now on your relationship, were there warning signs/red flags with your wife and her behavior?

Pete: Yes. There were the violent outbursts towards me and the kids. There was a lot of secretive stuff on her cell phone. All this started happening in 2016 after our third son was born. Before that there was one or two instances where she would just pack up the kids and leave for 3 weeks the first time then 3 months the second time taking our boys with her. After she had come back both times there was messages on her phone from a guy she knew talking about what they had done and that he better not have told anyone about it. I confronted her about it each time and she just blamed me for it. 

DSO: Wow… your wife just took off with the kids for long periods of time? Sounds like kidnapping.

Pete: No, she would use a PFA each time making up stuff then dropping the PFA when we would go to court because I could prove the statements to be false that were made against me. Second time she left I didn’t see my two older boys for 3 weeks then got a visitation schedule through court with help from my attorney. 

DSO: PFA?

Pete: Yeah here they have a PFA or protection from abuse order that can be filed in family court. Don’t have to have any proof of anything they are easy to get. I have 3 that I have filed on her as well. With pictures and documents proving my statements. That’s why 95 percent of them don’t stick because there has to be proof beyond a reasonable suspicion to get one. 

To stick you have to go in front of a commissioner. 

DSO:  Oh, I see. So… if I understand the timeline correctly, she had claimed abuse and ran off with the kids (and to another man), returned, and this was before your third child came into the picture. After third child, she became more secretive and violent. Correct?

Pete: Yes. 

DSO: Well, this begs the question… Why stick around with her during all this?

Pete: Because I loved her, and I wanted our boys to have us together around them. Looking back at it now that should have been my turning point and that’s when I should have started over, but I wouldn’t have my youngest son if I had of left then and I wouldn’t change having him for the world. 

DSO: Understandable. Circling back…. How about YOUR family past? Any issues there? Mom and dad in the picture?

Pete: Yes, my mom and dad have been there the whole time for me and for her when we got married. They have seen all the ups and downs we had. They gave us a place to live for a few years because we couldn’t make it on our own with having our first two kids 12 months apart. 

DSO: Were they aware of all the issues you had, and did they ever suggest you leave?

Pete: They were witness to just about all of what happened. After a couple years we built an apartment and moved into that and out of their house. Thinking that it would make things better and it did for a couple years. 

DSO: Your thought was that the living arrangement brought about her behavior? Too close to parents?

Pete: She always blamed my parents for everything. Once they were out of the picture and it was just us then everything turned to being blamed on me then because no one was around, and she knew whatever she said happened couldn’t be refuted and it was just my word against hers with no witnesses like when we lived with Mom and Dad. Yes, that was her excuse that we were too close to my parents. They were the only ones that offered to help us out.

DSO: Was she ever formally diagnosed or under any kind of mental health care?

Pete: No, she would never get any kind of help and I offered that multiple times she would say ok then when I would schedule appointments she would cancel and say that I was the one that had all the problems. Nothing was wrong with her. It was all put on me. 

DSOHey, you tried. WAY more than most would do, I would say. So… back to after the birth of the third child. What was the tipping point that made you say “Enough”?

Pete: After finally being able to buy a house together and moving in with each other to work out the differences between us this year. The tipping point was the lies she would make up and then she would go and stay gone for 10-12 hours at a time saying she fell asleep along the side of the road or that she fell asleep at a parking lot when she was at other guys’ houses with them and meeting other guys out at different places. The last time she was caught at a guy’s house sleeping with him and when I asked her about it she told me 4 different stories and I told her I was done it’s over I know your lying about everything. I can’t do this anymore. 

DSO: Wow. Was there ever a “She’s behaving just like her mom” moment… either from you or from herself?

Pete: No. Her dad did make a suggestion of the behavior being the same. Only he didn’t understand why she was being with all the different guys. 

DSO: I was going to ask if her dad ever pulled you aside and warned you.  I have an article I wrote on my site called “Baggage” that I think fits your wife perfectly. If you don’t make constant corrections in life, you WILL end up acting out your baggage. You saw that firsthand, unfortunately.

Pete: The other tipping point for me was the physical abuse on the kids from her. Once I saw that started then everything just fell into place with what I needed to do. And yes, unfortunately I did see that. 

DSO: Have you begun the divorce process? Does she still have contact with the children?

Pete: I have the paperwork filled out and turned in to my attorney. Right now, she has minimal contact because she was evicted from the house we had bought for not paying. So, the kids live with me full time in the apartment that I had built. 

DSO: I’m glad to hear they are safe. So, you have a long road ahead of you with the whole divorce process still… This is all still very fresh

Pete: Yes, a long road for sure. It was June of this year when I walked away for good. 

I had moved on last year got saved gave my life to Christ and became more of the man that I always was supposed to be by living a life for god and my boys. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this whole process so far and I realize now it wasn’t worth the heartache and having to start over again. 

DSO: Good for you.  Before wrapping this up… the big question: What was it about you that REALLY kept you in the relationship. That’s not something you have to answer now, but it’s the big picture that every guy in your shoes needs to answer, or else you’ll do it all over again. And no… you can’t just say, “I am a good guy, and I loved her.” That’s a copout. 

Pete: I wanted to have that marriage that when we turned 80 we could sit in the front porch holding hands and say we made it. Everyone doubted our marriage from the start and I thought I had met the woman I would be with forever. And I never really knew my worth as a man and how I should really be treated but after going through the years of abuse and narcissistic actions towards me I now know that I stayed out of fear of not being with my boys, making sure they were safe and taken care of, and lastly because I was afraid of losing her to the point I lost myself and no woman is worth that unless they are willing to do the same for you. 

DSO: What was it about HER that made you so sure she was “the one”, in spite of everyone and everything tell you the opposite?

Pete: The first time I met her it was like we were the only two people that were around like everyone else just diminished into the background. We just clicked instantly. That was the only time so far I’ve ever had butterflies in my stomach.  I just knew she was the one. 

DSO: So, you had serious physical chemistry. 

Pete: Sparks flew definitely. 

DSO: Typically, men that are so drawn to broken women in such a way have broken moms themselves. Or, they have little experience with women… Which is why I ask.

Ok, so where do you see yourself five years from now?

Pete: In five years, I see myself living life to the fullest with my boys. Buying a nice house for them and I. And to not be looking for anything or anyone. I know that in due time God has an ultimate plan for my life and for my boys and as long as I stay true and honor him, my blessings will come when least expected. 

DSO: Thank you so much for taking the time to share, and LAST bit of advice… Don’t you DARE take that woman back, Pete. 🙂

Pete: Definitely not doing that again. 

DSO: Good. All my best to you and the boys. Thanks again!

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 pro-open marriage articles aren’t based on hundreds of couple interviews with thousands of data points to digest. No, their research stopped at, “The wife She felt trapped, she wanted something more, she heard about open marriage and wanted to try it… and that’s perfectly 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. Who are we to judge? If she wants it, it must be ok.”

In other words, telling Sally, “Seriously? That’s a pretty stupid and selfish 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 evened the score and 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 side of the relationship… and telling you to put your feelings on hold right now while she figures things out and gets her mind straight.

Why is she doing this?

More than likely, this means that another relationship candidate(s) 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 her husband,“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.

Sexually, 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 extramarital affairs 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.

Recommended Reading

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.