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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 douchebag 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 boob jobs online, 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 crap 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 sex 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 Douchebag McLoserstein comes along and slams it down with a gusto.

“HIM?!” everyone asks. Well, yeah. Who the hell 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, whether her kids are in too many sports… Hell, he hates kids. He can’t believe people have them.

Your wife is not a catch. She is a loser. How do I know? Because she threw away her life for the chance to bang 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 by 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 a 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 outpaced 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 heras 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 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 subconcious 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 tourrette’s-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

Weakness

The concept of “sucking it up” and “being a man” didn’t just fall from the sky. They are axioms that have been passed down from generation to generation. They evolved naturally as a response to the community’s needs and expectations.

Men who have been around the block a few times know one thing:

“We’re all weak. We all have faults and vulnerabilities. Deep down we’re all scared kids just trying to make it in the world. Yes, your girlfriend/wife/kids are free to emote and share these fears and vulnerabilities. The world will praise them for doing so. For you, the man... this isn’t the case. People will poke and prod and sometimes beg you to open up and share your innermost feelings and weakness and fear. After doing so, they will reject you or relegate you to inferior status. This is true of your friends, your coworkers, your boss, and your romantic partner.”

Some semblance of the above has probably been shared with you at one point or another, usually in a much simpler form:

  • Be a man.
  • Man up.
  • Deal with it.
  • Suck it up.
  • Get up. Don’t let them see you weak.
  • Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about.

The current political/emotional climate claims that the above is a manifestation of a larger issue known as  “toxic masculinity”. Those opposed to such displays feel that we must do all we can to stomp out such evil. Once we do that, we’ll have no more war, no more sexual assault, and men will be free to cry like babies with no repercussion.

Yeah… no. Sounds great in theory. Will never work in practice. It ignores reality.

The term “toxic masculinity” is misleading. It implies that these “suck it up” traits are somehow an evil, poisonous manifestations of human behavior that we must act agressively to remove.

Quite the contrary. If we remove “man up” and stoicism from our definition of masculinity, what is left? At that point, what defines a “man” other than the bits dangling between his legs?

We didn’t randomly come up with these “acting weak is dangerous” concepts on our own. This isn’t a grand scheme devised by males to hold power over others and make life more difficult for our fellow men (that makes no sense). Instead, it’s a reaction to a subversive and sometimes overt set of societal rules that we note again and again and again in our daily lives. We have listened, digested and reacted accordingly.

Men act this way because society has told us to do so. Otherwise, we wouldn’t go through the trouble. We wouldn’t hold in our emotions and have more heart attacks and stress-related ailments. We wouldn’t commit suicide at such high rates. We would seek out more help from our loved ones. We would emote. We would “let it all out” when the mood hits us.

But, we can’t.

Oh sure, we can take the outcome-independent approach, thumb our nose at convention and say,  “I don’t care what happens… I’m going to be who I am and to hell with everyone” and cave to our momentary weakness, but we have to be honest with ourselives. We will pay the price in some way. Most of us have learned this at some point or another in our lives.

Many of us try to momentarily let our guard down. For example, we men tend to emotionally soften when with our wives. We talk about our aching bodies. We complain about stupid little things in our day-to-day lives.  We complain about work. We look for motherly sympathy and love when we get sick. We cry.

What happens?

The wife sees the weakness. She recoils. She may do her best to disguise her feelings, but the discomfort is palpable.

You could survive a workplace injury with 50 stitches across your face, a severed finger and three broken vertebrae and she would say to her friends, “I had gave birth with no epidural and never once whined like this. Wow. He is so annoying.”  You could have the flu and a 103 temperature and your wife would snear and say “What’s wrong with you?” when you answer her questions in a less than cheerful manner (this happened to me all the time in marriage #1).

This is why women came up with the term “man flu”. Not because men are whinier than women (c’mon, seriously?), but because women just flat out can’t stand it when their man is weak and incapacitated. Her ability to empathize is overpowered by her acute disdain for you at that moment.

Don’t think that this is an anti-woman post. Not at all. Your job of retaining the “strong man” persona extends beyond the home.

Just try being weak in the workplace. Watch as Brad gets the promotion you worked so hard to earn. The only reason you can gather why Brad was picked was because he was outgoing, cool under pressure, and good looking. You would be correct. Your consistent 70 hour work weeks, excellent project management and unblemished performance reviews were no match for the time you got overwhelmed and choked up in the break room in front of your coworkers. That one moment put a permanent stain on your image, and subsequently your career. You’re “That guy that cried that one time.”

Your boss may not be able to verbalize it, but there’s something about you that’s just not leadership material.

Try being weak in sports. Be the guy who always gets up limping after falling down on the basketball court (we all know that guy). Be the guy who gets upset when he makes a silly mistake and hangs his head and pouts for the next 20 minutes. You’ll be on the bench where you belong. Who cares if you are the best shooter on the team and hit 90% of your free throws. You’re a wuss. It’s annoying and everyone woudl prefer you didn’t play.

Weakness brings about hostility, anxiety and sometimes anger from those around you. When you show vulnerability, people will POKE at you (test you) until you finally role over and expose your belly. Bullies know this. They test and test. If you continue caving in to them, the bullying escalates. It’s not until you break one of their noses that they finally back off.

Your wife will always be one of the biggest pokers/testers. “Shit tests” is what some men call them.  Little jabs here and there. She will poke. And poke. And poke. You will finally snap and say, “Hey, can you fucking cut it out please?!”. This will be met with disbelief. “Wow, you’re sensitive. Stop being such a baby.” Translation: “You should’ve told me to stop 18 pokes ago, you big wuss. Seeing you so affected by my words is a turnoff. Call me an asshole or ignore me, but don’t tell me your feelings are hurt.”

Not having the sex life you feel you “deserve”? You could do what most men do in that situation…. and cave in to emotion. Talk to her. Appeal to both her rational and romantic side. Show her how much your lack of intimacy affects your well-being. Show her how hurt you are.

When you realize how important maintaining strength is for a man in any relationship, doing the pitiful sob-story routine with your “low libido” wife is the absolute worst thing you can do.

“But… that’s what we MEAN by TOXIC MASCULINITY! This kind of stuff needs to stop! Men are DYING because of this mindset! Men should be able to emote with no fear of negative fallout.”

Ok. While we’re at it, we should also and tell men that it’s wrong for them to be attracted to young women. We should also tell women to stop being attracted to fit and rich men, for kids to not like candy and for dogs to stop hating cats so much.

It’s not going to happen. It’s human nature. We reward the strong men and avoid/punish the weak. Sometimes we have to stand up and help and protect the weak. That is noble. But, let’s be honest, the person you are helping… are they good “leader” material?  The kind of person you want helping you achieve your goals? A source of happiness? No. The moment you extend your hand, they are reduced to the lower echelons of the heirarchy.

As older and more experienced men will tell you, the ones that are the most vocal about wanting to see your “vulnerable” side are the ones that will punish you the worst. “I know I said I wanted him to open up to me… but not THAT much. Jesus.”

So, we just suck it up and deal with the internal struggle and suffer? Not necessarily.

I’m a huge proponent of the teachings of Stoicism. 

… as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting this moment as it presents itself, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Live in reality. Don’t be easily washed away in the emotion of the moment. Find the positive aspects of the reality you are in.

I’m reminded of the Tom Hanks movie “Bridge of Spies”. One of the main characters was Rudolf Abel, a Russian spy. Nothing rattled Abel, not even after being discovered. He just remained calm and went along with whatever was happening at the moment. An incredulous Tom Hanks finally asked Abel, “Aren’t you worried?” Rudolf’s response: “Would it help?”

Find help if you need to… but do so carefully. This is what a close male friend, your parents, a sibling or your dog are for. Do not burden your boss, your wife, your coworkers or your casual aquaintances with your day-to-day problems. Doing so paints you in a negative light and slowly chips away at your positive masculinity.

The world has little use for a weak man. Take solace in your role as the rational figure who doesn’t succumb to emotion.

 

Stop Blaming The “Other Man”

I find myself reading relationship-oriented forums and message boards. It’s a good way for me to reply to dudes in need … and also a good way to generate traffic to my website and possible book sales (just being honest).

One thing you see when you frequent these forums are definite trends in the overall groupthink. The tide shifts and changes depending on what the people on discussion forums think is right and wrong on that particular given day. One day it may be “Open relationships are cool” or “Dad bods are awesome”. Right now, I see a trend amongst men online that can be summarized as: “Your wife had an affair? Go after the other man!”

It goes something like this:

Man finds out wife is cheating or is on the verge of cheating. The internet tells him that he needs to do a better job of getting between his wife and the other man. Readers will reply and go on and on about “Players” and how these men are a danger to the welfare of the wife and their relationship. These evil men PREY upon these women and get them at their most vulnerable. They go after married women because they are easier targets.

Many of these people will recommend that the man get physical and confront the other man/predator/player before it is too late.

Please.

Can we PLEASE stop with this mildly sexist trope of “Poor defenseless woman being a victimized by evil predator men”? It’s getting old. Not only is it annoying, it’s wrong.  You won’t win your woman back with this mindset. She’s already gone by this point.

This is just another manifestation of the Not MY wife! phenomenon.  “It can’t possibly be my wife’s fault… it’s that EVIL MAN!”

By projecting his anger onto the other man, the husband is holding on to what little hope he has left for the relationship.  As long as it means upholding the lie of “My wife is a victim”, the man will even put himself in real physical danger to “defend” her.

Meanwhile, his wife, high up on the pedestal her husband put her on,  is looking on with disgust as she sends text messages to her next “predator”.

“OMG… he’s so stupid. You should see this. He’s actually fighting right now. He looks like a troll.  What an idiot. I’m horny. Want to meet during my lunch break tomorrow?”

How many men will our hero husband have to beat up (or take beatings from) before he says “You know… maybe it IS my wife, after all”?

The Wolves Are Always Circling

You can’t possibly fight off and protect your wife from the countless men out there who are ready and willing to have sex with her. You just can’t. Even if your wife is 100 lbs overweight and not much to look at, there is an army of men waiting to take her to bed. Yes, men are desperate.  Go create an average fake woman account on an online dating website and you’ll see what I mean.

Boundaries

The other man became the “other man” because your wife let down her boundaries and allowed him into her personal/sexual space. That’s it. Regardless of his own action, she also decided to cross the line.

Boundaries are everything when it comes to mental health and the health of your monogamous relationship. You are presented on a regular basis with things that would harm you and your marriage, but you look the other way or outright say NO without even giving it a second thought.

Here’s the kicker: Sometimes your wife will unable or seemingly unwilling to put up her own boundaries. Why? Simple.  She may feel the allure of crossing over the boundary line. It’s exciting. It’s fun. She may recognize this and ask you, sometimes in a very direct way, to put up the expected boundary for her.

There was a perfect example of this on the Talk About Marriage forum. A man went into detail about his wife’s platonic friendship with a “nerdy” guy from work. He didn’t like their frequent texting and hanging out, but he didn’t want to come across as some kind of weakling and say “YOU MUST STAY AWAY FROM THIS MAN!” So… he did nothing and kept a close eye on the situation.

Then, his wife predictably did what a lot of women on the verge of crossing the line do. She asked him to put the boundaries up for her.

“As they became closer friends at work, she asked what I thought about her making him her friend (as she lacks friends)”.

This was his opportunity to let her know what he thought. Instead, his response was “I told her that’s fine”.

Ugh. She obviously felt something was a little “wrong” about her relationship with the guy from work… otherwise she wouldn’t have brought it up. Much like she doesn’t bring up the 100 other banal things she does every day at work. But this guy… this is different. He’s at the top of her mind. This is fun, and it shouldn’t be. She needs some help. She needs some direction. She needs hubby to play the bad guy and do the dirty work for her.

What would I have done? I would say something like:

“I don’t have any close female friends. I think it’s just asking for trouble, to be honest. Not sure why you feel the need to have a close male friend, especially a close male friend at work. You’re really asking for trouble in that situation.  You’re fully aware that he wants you, sexually, right?  Of course you do. You’re not stupid. He’s a man. But, you still remain close friends with him. Do you do so because of the attention? Does he do things for you? Do you really think that’s a good thing?

You’re married. I suggest you act like a married woman. If not, you will find yourself single again. That’s not a threat. Just telling you how it is. I’m not joking with you. I have no need for a wife that hangs out with hungry men so she can get attention. There are lots of women out there who have gangs of men followers who they chat with all the time… I don’t want any of them for a wife.”

This probably wouldn’t go over well. You may be called controlling. Weak. Silly. Jealous. Abusive. That’s fine.

Recognize what these responses from her are: The last ditch effort to keep the dopamine hits she experiences with her new emotional partner… and a big test. She wants to see what you’re made of. Do you stick to your guns? Are you REALLY serious about dumping her over something like this? Would you dare follow through?

Will you stand up to her?

You’ll get the wheels spinning. This may or may not result in a better marriage for you… but one thing it will do is earn her respect. You are showing her a clear boundary and bluntly telling her what the price is for not respecting it. You’re not asking her to do anything you wouldn’t do. You don’t have close female friends, nor do you want one.

Do you know how many men stand up to their wife and enforce boundaries? VERY VERY few. Most do what the guy on the forum did: “That’s fine.” Translation: “Please don’t think I’m a mean guy. Please don’t think of me in a negative light. I see the other man is making you happy… so please, be happy!” Men just love to hide behind the facade of being “understanding” and “thoughtful” in order to win good husband points. In reality, they are just avoiding conflict and putting themselves further into the “shitty husband” category.

Hey, if you are truly cool and trust your wife 100% with the guy from work… then that’s great. More power to you. I wish I had your level of trust and naivety. But, if you’re like most men (like the ones that post on these forums), you reach out for help because something juuuuuust doesn’t feel right. That’s your gut talking. That’s many generations of genetic code embedded in your brain telling you  “Warning: Your marital investment is in danger.” Listen to it. Don’t listen to the blame-shifting and gas-lighting behavior from others telling you that you are crazy, controlling or even abusive.

Putting up boundaries is healthy.

Think about the situation in very simple terms: Your wife wants to hang out with other men? Ok… why? What does she have to gain by having another close one-on-one friend that is a man? Why not just keep him at workplace aquaitance/coworker status?

What if the roles were reversed? Think she would care? Of course she would. She’s not stupid. Women can be the most visciously jealous partners. Why? They know how quickly you can slip and go over the line. It happens every single day to many couples all over the world. None of us are immune to it.