Dear DSO: “I feel like I need a wife.”

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dear DSO:

I read your book (Now What? A Guide for Men Starting Over in Life After Infidelity, Breakup and Divorce) and I totally agree that I’m one of those guys that feels like he needs a wife to feel normal. I was totally in love with my wife for the 14 years we were together. I gave her everything. I supported her. I paid for her to go back to school and get her degree. She was my best friend and I was hers. We had two great kids. We did everything together. Then I found out she was fooling around with her ex-boyfriend that she had in highschool. They got back together when she went back home to Texas for a family reunion. All that time we had meant nothing to her. She treated me like garbage. That all went down about three years ago. Our divorce was fair and we share custody of the kids. I don’t have to pay child support or anything like that since she has a good job now.

I’ve been online dating for two years. I realize I’m totally the Provider that you talk about. I pay for lots of dinners and dates and I don’t have one longterm girlfriend yet. The second girl I dated after divorce seemed to be perfect. We had a lot in common and both fell in love pretty quick. She ghosted me after three months and I saw that she was dating somebody else. That felt like my divorce all over again.

I don’t know how to not fall in love right away. I’ve had sex with one woman in three years. I don’t know how to be the Lover you talk about. You make it sound easy but for me it’s not. I’m not made to screw around with lots of women and just not care if I don’t get a longterm girlfriend or wife again. The only reason I’m dating is to get another relationship and to settle down and have a normal life again. I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with that but at the same time I see that it’s not what works today with Tinder and online dating. You have to be one of the guys who doesn’t care or you will just get your heart broken and pay for a lot of dates.

Les

Les,

This is an incredibly common sentiment. You are absolutely conditioned to believe that the end goal of a longterm relationship or marriage is a MUST HAVE for a complete life. Because of this mindset, you project a very NEEDY vibe to the world around you… and you get the predictable results (nothing). You’re right, maybe dating isn’t for you right now. With your current mindset, you will just dig a deeper and deeper hole that you won’t be able to escape from.

Take a timeout. Forget women. Forget relationships. It’s time to rebuild. Just like I said in the book. You’re a PROVIDER because you tell yourself you are. You then take that mentality out into the dating world and… lo and behold… the women you encounter all treat you like a Provider. They use you and discard you. You’re a quick and easy meal and shoulder to cry on. You’re not a sexy diversion or a real long-term romantic partner candidate.

Sorry to be blunt… but what the hell did you expect?

If I walk into the lion exhibit at a zoo with a hundred pounds of raw meat attached to my body, I have no room to complain about being eaten alive. It’s all my fault. Sure, I can complain that the lions should know better than to eat a man. After all, the human zookeepers take care of them and treat them well and make sure they’re healthy… so why on Earth would they eat a guy just because he’s covered in raw meat?

Same for you. Sure, you read my book and read my posts and see what lies ahead for the Provider in the modern day dating game… but you decide to play that game anyway because, hey, you’re just not cut out to be anything else.

Sorry to be blunt again… but that’s just complete bullshit.

These self-limiting behavior patterns are just going to leave you sexless, depressed, or worse… with a complete nutjob of a woman who has zero attraction to you but needs you for the resources you so gladly hand over. You will end up with your wife all over again. You do not want that. Even if you think for a moment that you do, YOU DO NOT WANT THAT.

You’re using your Provider title as a crutch. Every time you get that hint of social anxiety and fear about doing something different, you just say, “Welp… I guess I am a Provider after all!” Then you get mad at the Provider results. Then you go back to being Provider. Then you get angry about more Provider results. The cycle continues…

You can be whatever the hell you want to be in this life. That doesn’t mean changing your ways will be simple and you will feel great 24/7. Changing your line of thinking may take a good deal of work and it may feel like crap for a while. That’s ok. That’s called living life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as you have learned. The problem is that your current line of thinking is resulting in misery and continued misery into the foreseeable future. On the other hand, a big change in thinking and a lot of hard work will result, in the long run, in a much higher chance of personal fulfillment and happiness… but also inevitable short-term misery.

Take a timeout. Dating is not an option for you right now. Read the book again. Read it again. And again. Let in sink in. It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it will. Talk to guys in your shoes. Join the private Facebook group. You need to live what you learn. Don’t just take what’s there, ingest it, get pissed off, and then do nothing productive with it. That’s like shooting 1,000 jump shots a day, but never playing a game of basketball.

What you’re describing in your email is, in part, called being “vulnerable”.  If you want to be in any kind of meaningful relationship with another person, it will require vulnerability. You DO want to be an unselfish loving person to your partner, but at the same time, you want to build a framework of strength that can successfully put up boundaries, recognize when things go south, and be able to endure hardship when it smacks you upside the face.

Heartbreak happens. You learn to live with the loss like any other. You move on to the next chapter. Such is life.

Good luck, my friend.

DSO

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Dear DSO: “My friend says my wife is cheating…”

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dear DSO:

One of my best friends went through a really bad divorce about a year and a half ago. His wife had an affair with a guy from her work (she’s a nurse). Ever since then he’s been talking to me about how women cheat way more than we think and most of the women out there today are just like his ex-wife. I thought he sounded like a typical divorced woman hater so I didn’t let it bother me.  I understand he’s going through a lot of pain.

 

He told me that I really needed to read your site and listen to your podcast. I liked what I read and told him it all made sense and I’m here to help him out however I can, but he needs to go easy on reading so much because he’s going to go nuts and he’s starting to annoy everyone we hang out with. He told me that he wanted me to read your site because he thinks MY wife is cheating too. I told him he was full of shit and going too far. He started listing all the signs of a cheating wife that you outlined and yes… my wife does do some of those things. But doesn’t every wife?

 

My wife has been going out with her friends more. After our daughter turned 6 and started going to school, she felt like she could go back to her old self and start to party and have fun again. I am supportive of her and don’t see any problems with hanging out with friends. I know all her friends and they are all really good people. They’re not the type that would support her if she cheated on me. I’m very close to all of them and know all of their husbands and kids.

 

About six months ago she asked me about getting breast implants. She’s always hated her body after our daughter breast fed. I think she’s gorgeous, but her self-esteem problems have had an effect on our sex life. She doesn’t feel comfortable being vulnerable and physical with me (in her words). She got the boob job and we are still paying for it. I thought the boob job would help fix things as far as sex goes but it didn’t. It hasn’t changed at all.

 

My wife has also become addicted to her phone and social media. She’s on it all day every day. She mostly does Instagram and Facebook but I also saw that she is on Snapchat. I don’t spy on her and don’t think any spouse should do that in a healthy relationship.

 

I would say that overall my wife has become more defensive and argumentative. Anything I bring up will usually end up in her getting pissed off. It’s now to the point where if it doesn’t involve her hanging out with friends then she doesn’t want to talk about it. She’s very defensive and will say that she deserves to go out and have fun after being home with our kid for six years and basically raising her alone (I work a lot of hours and travel).

 

That’s it. From those things my friend is sure that my wife is cheating just like his ex did. The two of them were friends (and still are), and my wife probably knew about the affair of her friend. She says she didn’t but I find it hard to believe. 

 

What do you think? Is it fair to really judge people like this just based on a few things they do?

Brian

Brian,

Let’s recap:

  1. Your wife’s friend, your friend’s wife, had an affair. Your wife probably knew when this affair was going on, but never brought it up or did anything to stop it. In fact, they’re still friends after the truth came out. Not good.
  2. Your wife is now partying it up after enduring six years of being a stay-at-home mom.
  3. Your wife got a boob job to improve her self-image and, presumably, to get her more comfortable being physical with her husband again. Didn’t work. Not good.
  4. You’re in a dead bedroom marriage.
  5. She’s always on her phone.
  6. She’s always looking to start a fight.

So… do I think she’s cheating? No idea. Do I think she has laid the groundwork for what is a fertile affair-growing environment? Yep.

Her actions are bad news. They lead to one of two places:

  1. A bad marriage
  2. An affair

She’s acting like a brat. She’s rebelling. She’s bringing up the six years of being with your kid at home as reason enough for her to act in this way. Based on the tone of your email, I would assume that you have done little to nothing to put an end to the behavior. It may be too late at this point, but you need to do something if you want this marriage to continue.

Your friend is understandably emotional over his divorce. Men in his position found answers to some of his troublesome issues on my website, so he’s excited and trying to share “the gospel”. It’s not unlike the guy who found Jesus after going to rehab. It’s annoying to everyone around him, but you have to understand where he’s coming from. Finally, SOMEBODY connected the dots and made sense out of his turmoil-filled life. He has solutions. He sees a friend in danger, and he wants to throw you the rope to save you.

You may have caught your wife early on and you’re able to stop her from crossing the line into affair territory… or maybe not. Do I think you should spy on her? Yep. She’s your wife. Your lives are far too intertwined to just leave things to “trust”. Her actions have shown that there’s something to worry about. So… you investigate. Get her phone. Get into her social media accounts. Track her car. I have a feeling you’re going to be surprised at what you find… and not in a good way. These type of behaviors usually coincide with a lot of secrets. Not necessarily CHEATING, but secrets none the less. Not good for a marriage.

Good luck.

DSO

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Dear DSO: It’s not so easy for some of us.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear DSO,

I know you talk about having to move on and get over your wife after she cheats on you, but it’s not so easy for some guys. My wife and I have been married for 17 years. We have two kids. We work together. Her dad owns the business where I work. It’s a business that has been in a her family for a really long time. My wife does not want to divorce. If I decided to divorce her, I’d probably lose my high-paying job with her dad’s business. I really don’t have much in the way of a resume that will help me get another good job. The job market sucks right now.  Where would I live? My parents live a thousand miles away. I can’t move there because then I wouldn’t see my kids. If we divorced, she’d probably get the kids almost full-time because I’m a dad with no money.

 

I’m basically stuck. She had one affair two years ago, and now I just discovered another. I love her still, but I’m starting to lose attraction to her. I can’t stand to lay down next to her at night. We stopped having sex almost completely after the first affair was discovered. Now I usually spend the nights sleeping on the couch.

 

I just want my life back.

 

So I just wanted to let you know that’s it not so easy for some of us out there.

Gary

Dear Gary,

First, I’m sorry to hear about your situation, brother. I can’t imagine the stress.  But, you’re right. It’s not so easy for everyone. It’s not as easy as sayin, “See ya, bitch!” for a lot of guys. Kids complicate things a great deal. Add to that your unique job situation, and your world just got a hell of a lot tougher than most.

Your situation illustrates two hugely important things:

  1. Don’t make yourself dependent upon your spouse for your livelihood. Ideally, you want to be the guy that doesn’t NEED his wife. The more you NEED her to function day-to-day, the higher the chances are that you will fail the relationship game.
  2. You really need to better vet your relationship candidate. Red flags? Run. I’m wiling to bet there were a plethora of red flags early on in the relationship that you ignored. Then you kept digging the hole deeper and deeper and find yourself in this predicament.

She currently holds all of the cards. This is not an even contest, by any stretch. You WILL completely fail at this game eventually. I realize you probably think you’re failing pretty hard at life already, but things will inevitably get much worse for you. It’s just a matter of time. She will at some point land an affair partner that will be dumb enough to declare her the love of his life, and you will quickly see divorce papers on your desk. She’ll make the big awful decision for you.  She has already replaced you in her mind, now she just needs to iron out the all the logistical stuff about ending your relationship. Step 1 of that plan is to get a new man and to make sure he sticks around (the other two affair partners probably used her for sex and weren’t interested in committing). Step 2 is to then cut ties with you completely. This is where she may try to get the kids away from you, lie about you, take money, make your life hell, etc.

The ideal relationship is one where two people that are completely independent and fine on their own get together because they love and adore each other and want to help each other go through the adventure of life. The more all of the facets of their respective lives intertwine, the more trouble pops up. If her hobbies becomes yours, if mom-in-law is living with you full-time, if you only hang out with her friends, if you work side-by-side, if the in-laws sign your paychecks, etc… that all leads to further intertwining of the two worlds and a whole lot of trouble.

Lawyer up. Now. You don’t have to file. But you need to be prepared. The lawyer can tell what to do and what not to do to prepare yourself for the inevitable.

Good luck, my friend.

Dear DSO: How do I get my husband to be more of a Lover?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear DSO,

I am a woman but somehow found your articles and I think they’re great! Very clearly stated why marriages fail and women cheat on “nice guys”.

Would be great to see an article for women someday – how to help a husband to become more of a lover and less of a provider? He’s never been a “lover” but we just became great friends and then more (my initiative, of course, his first serious relationship – textbook case, I guess). Good looking, wealthy, smart, caring and loving to extreme. But after 6 years I’m bored – I crave for jokes, fun, excitement, sexy, a bit selfish and independent man. I told him so many times. He wants marriage and kids; I dread that as kids would make him even more of a provider and I’m starting to doubt if my willpower will be enough and my innocent flirt with other guys won’t turn into more someday. I love him and want to make it work but not sure I can be satisfied with a provider all my life (I’m financially independent and have no desire for kids).

Should we split or is there a way to bring out “lover” in a man?

Mary

Hello Mary,
 
There are a couple of things that stick out for me in the description of your relationship. First and foremost is that HE is wanting to settle down and have kids. YOU are pretty much in the mindset of being an independent career woman and have no interest in having kids. Would you say you have no interest in having kids with HIM (since he is already a Provider type and, as you point out, kids will just amplify those traits) or is it more that you don’t want kids ever no matter who your partner may be? I think that’s a question you need to take time out to ponder for a while.
 
Either way, that alone sounds like a relationship breaker for most people. He wants kids. You don’t.
 
Setting aside the kids thing for the moment, you say you would like to make your relationship work with him… but you need him to be more fun, sexy and independent. See, the way it works with men is pretty simple: BE BLUNT. Guys don’t work well with nuance. We don’t do subtlety. The best course of action is to simply TELL him what you want and LEAD him to it. Seriously. An example may be to say, “As I get older and more mature, I realize that our relationship needs to be dirty and more fun than it is right now. I need that extra oomph to keep me going. I love you for everything you are, but I do need more… and I’m not the type to go out and cheat. Instead, I want to have sexy and fun adventures with you. I want us to take our relationship to a new level.” See how he responds. He may be a little embarrassed. You may hurt his feelings. He may be extremely turned on. It could be that he has a kinky side to him but he has been shamed into being Mr. Nice Guy his whole life. That’s not uncommon. Maybe all it takes is his hot wife to say, “It’s okay to be crazy dirty. I love it.” 
 
Regardless of his response, the truth is out in the open and that’s always a good thing.
 
Let’s be honest, having to “lead” your man to be more fun and sexy may just completely turn you off. After all, you want a guy who is just a natural lover, not a guy you have to TELL what you want him to do. You’ll have to fight through that. This is what people mean when they say, “WORKING on your marriage”.
 
You’ll also have to cater to his masculine side when coming up with ideas for sexing things up. Consider watching porn together. Going to strip clubs. Role-playing. Sending him dirty photos and videos of yourself. There are lots of simple ways you can push his buttons. This is all assuming he’s a healthy adult male and his hormones are in check, of course.
 
So, in review:
 
1. Figure out the kids things first and foremost. You don’t want them at all, or you don’t want them with him?
2. You will have to be blunt and be the sexual leader. Watch how he responds.
 
Good luck!
 
DSO

“Dear DSO, What’s up with you and open marriages?”

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear D.S.O.,

I’ve been following you on Facebook and have read all of your posts on the website. I think what you’re doing is great and means a lot to guys like me. There’s one thing I don’t understand, and that’s why you seem to be so hung-up on open marriages. I have a friend that’s in an open marriage and they seem to get along great. My ex-wife and I were in a sexless marriage for years and I suggested to her that we think about opening our marriage. She didn’t agree with it, so we didn’t do it (it turns out the reason we weren’t having sex was because she was cheating on me for three years). I totally get why some people may want to explore that kind of marriage. If it works for them, what’s the big deal?

– Steve

Dear Steve,

I will be the first to say that anyone and everyone should be able to do whatever they please in the confines of their own bedroom. If it has no effect on me and my life and doesn’t hurt society in general, what do I care? Let your freak flag fly! I personally know people who are swingers and they seem to have excellent marriages. I truly do not care and don’t think it’s my business to preach what is what and what isn’t right for their sex life.

BUT… please understand the specific phenomenon that I am discussing in my posts. I’m looking out for men. My readers. Guys who have been hurt in relationships to toxic women and are starting over in life. This current phenomenon of “open marriage” isn’t about two people mutually talking things through and deciding that having sex with others would be a fun and good experience for their marriage. The phenomenon I’m talking about is a one-sided epiphany by bored wives who (understandably) want a little extra oomph in their life. Nine times out of ten, it’s actually a wife who has feelings for somebody outside of their marriage and they’re looking for a safe excuse to start an affair.

Thanks to the current social climate, the trend is for married women to treat their sexuality like a toddler that has just discovered a gun under dad’s bed. They have no concept of safety. It’s up to society to say, “No… you’re married, Susan. Put the gun down. It could be loaded. Quit waving it around like a madwoman. Put it back where you found it.” Instead, we have a media that seems hell bent on telling Susan to pick up the gun, put a bullet in the cylinder, turn the safety off, point it at her head and pull the trigger. Hey, she may survive and it will be thrilling!

To tell her to put the gun down and walk away would be tantamount to treating her like a toddler. That hurts feelings. That is mysoginistic. Bad husband.

In short… it’s a one-sided, manipulative, short-sighted, hedonistic and unrealistic ploy for women to have their cake and eat it too. She wants the comfort and familiarity of the Provider while testing the waters with a new Lover. I’ve personally never seen it work in the long-term. It usually ends with the woman becoming bonded to her new Lover and detaching from her Provider husband. Much like the reader who commented on the original post I made. 

“One day she came home just like you say. Crying. She fell in love. She couldn’t help it. So… that means we can’t still be married? Isn’t this an open marriage? No, because he doesn’t believe in open marriages. So she needed to divorce and be with him.”

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