A Look Inside The Mind of a Cheating Wife Who Filed For Divorce

A woman recently posted a very candid and honest story on the “Divorce” section of the super popular website Reddit. In the post, she outlines the conditions that led her to question her marriage and eventually have an affair. This coeherent chronological breakdown gives us a rare and unfiltered look at what goes on in the mind of a cheating spouse. I thought it would be interesting to break her story down into pieces and give my thoughts as the story unfolds.

In my case there was no abuse. We were together for 8 years that was mostly good and we have 4 kids. Right around 5 years I got a promotion at work and i got it in my head that my XH was dragging me down, or at least holding me back from more success and a better life. We never had a lot of money but with my promotion I was now making more than he was.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this scenario. There is a reason she started her story with her job promotion. This was the switch. So many infidelity stories start with some “switch” that breaks down the cheaters boundaries and gets the cheating machine whirring along. For many women, the simple act of making more money than her spouse starts the process. Why? Because her respect for her spouse just took a major hit. She WANTS to look up to him. She WANTS to brag on him. She WANTS to be able to see him as the super lover-provider combination that every woman dreams about. Since he’s a husband and a dad, his Lover qualities probably went out the window long ago. He was a Provider… now he’s not. What’s he left with? Nothing, other than an angry wife who grows resentful.

There is a phenomenon known as “hypergamy”. The terms refers to the trend of women marrying across or UP their social food chain. Women CEO’s tend to not marry garbage men, in other words. The opposite tends to not be the case for men. The male CEO will gladly marry the secretary, school teacher or cashier.

Before everyone writes me with, “Nuh uh! I’m a stay-at-home dad and my wife is a doctor and we’ve been married for a million years!” … Great. That’s awesome. I wish you were the norm. You’re not. You’re an outlier.

Back to the story…

I started working longer hours and at the same time his hours were cut so he was at home more. I really began to resent him because he was home and because he got to spend time with our kids. Most nights when I got home they were already getting ready for bed if not already sleeping. After a few months of my new job it was clear to me that things were not going well at home without me there. Some nights the dishes weren’t done when I got home or the kids hadn’t eaten or whatever else I could think of to be mad at him about. It really didn’t matter. He kept saying that he would try harder but that it was hard being home all the time. That always made me really mad.

She’s jealous. She’s angry. She is not happy being Mrs. Breadwinner. It creates a great deal of resentment in her. THIS is not what she envisioned when married. She points out that the house is not clean enough… but the truth is there’s nothing he could do to make her happy in this situation. Absolutely nothing. It’s over at this point.

For the next couple years things kept getting worse. My hours weren’t any shorter and his were on and off fulltime. There was no convenient time for him to be working full time because of my hours, but we also needed the money. Whenever he would tell me that he could get extra hours I would always complain and the less hours he worked the more I complained that he wasnt bringing in enough money. Whenever he brought up the contradiction I would tell him that he needed to figure it out. I knew that it would bother him so I started saying that a lot and for everything that I could.

Here is where she starts bluntly pushing him away. There is zero he can do to make her happy. She’s not going to tell him, “There is nothing you can do to make me happy, so just divorce me already.”  She is following the common cheating wife pattern of treating the husband with such disrespect that she actually gets more angry if he doesn’t stand up to her and divorce her (as she wants).

I really started to resent him and I pulled away from him. I knew that it was hurting him but I didnt care. If he didnt want to be hurt then he would at least try to make me happy. I used that same thing to justify when I started to talk to another guy at work. I thought he was just a friend but talking at work turned into texting at home and then pictures and videos and then trying to sneak some alone time with him. I knew that it was wrong but it made me feel so alive, and my husband had not made me feel like that in years. I was tired of being unhappy and I was doing this for me.

And here it begins. Didn’t take long. The “Must find new and better mate to procreate with” programming is off and running. The rationalizations come out in full force. I was doing this for me.”

The worst was the night that I came home at a reasonable time and found that he had cleaned the whole house, cooked the whole family dinner and picked out a movie for all of us to watch together. This would have made me swoon a couple years earlier, but that night I couldn’t even look at him and I pretended to be sick. I spent the rest of the night in bed while he waited on me and checked on me and even made me different food and brought it to me in bed. It made me feel terrible, and then it made me angry that he made me feel that way and by the end of the night I was texting with the other guy.

See? There’s absolutely nothing he could do to stop the machine from running. Nothing. This is why reconciliation and trying to “win” your wife back is so fruitless. He would be much better off if he got a head start and began the process of self-care and rebuilding. He’s wasting months and years he can’t get back.

Over the next month or two from that night it did not matter what he did. He was wrong just for breathing most days. He would get so upset with how I was treating him and I would just wait and egg him on into losing it because i knew it would happen eventually. After most of the fights we had he would apologize for whatever I told him he did wrong if there even was something, but I never did. I would usually find a way to make him feel even worse. I knew that I was right because he was wrong and that was all that mattered to me.

She’s pushing and pushing and pushing him away. This is the equivalent of kicking him in the balls and hating him for wincing in pain. She will do so until he either dies or comes to his senses.

I even pretended that I didn’t care when he found out about my relationship with the guy from work. It really destroyed me inside to see him holding back tears, but I wasnt going to let him see that. He was at his weakest and that was when I chose to tell him that I wanted a divorce. I could almost hear his heart shattering inside his chest. He talked and fought and said that we could work through it together. I really wasnt interested in fixing our marriage, but i mostly ended things with the other guy but only because i knew i could get it back if I wanted it.

The brutal coldness of the cheating wife is always astounding. In her mind, there is no human lower than the man she has deemed as, “No longer worthy of being my partner”. Their history together means absolutely nothing.

I could see that he was trying and occasionally i would let him know, but for the most part I kept being a huge bitch to him for any and all reasons that I could think of. I’m not sure how much more the man could have done to make me happy besides finding a job that paid enough for me to not have to work at all. He said that he was looking, but looking and finding are 2 different things. It was around this time that I discovered this group and a few others. I started posting things about him, from my perspective only, and I got so much positive feedback for how I was feeling that I knew I was right. The more I posted the more validation that I got. It wasn’t just me who knew that XH wasn’t worth keeping around. I had the whole internet telling me how terrible he is. I started saying awful things to him and even outright ignoring him. I was so confident with mine and everyone elses opinion that I contacted a lawyer and within a couple weeks had filed for divorce. I continued to use this site and a couple others to validate my feelings and for encouragement to go through with it, and finally it was done.

For the cheating wife, there is no shortage of validation and “You go girl!” sentiment from her friends and strangers on the internet. She can do no wrong. This drives the husband completely crazy. It’s just human nature.

It went pretty smoothly. XH didnt ask for much besides to not get divorced and to try to work it all out. I didnt care about that though. He was broken, but I was free. I could do whatever I wanted without having to feel any guilt or answer to anybody. It was an amazing feeling of freedom. It didnt last long though. In the first month after he moved out I missed garbage day 3 times. There was also rarely a single clean dish and the laundry sat in piles so long that I had to start doing the sniff test to see if it could be worn again. I also never saw my kids more miserable. My oldest had seen some of the messages from the other guy months earlier and she knew that XH still wanted to try to work it out. It didnt take her long to stop talking to me at all except to say that she wanted to go to XH house. The others all told me that they wanted to live with XH too. I did my best to try to make them happy, but I ended up just buying them toys all the time and the happiness only lasted minutes. I also was having a lot of trouble with work. Being alone I couldnt work all those extra hours that I was expected to. I finally gave in and starting calling XH to watch the kids. He would always come over as soon as he could and he always asked me if i needed anything. When I would get home I would find clean dishes and laundry and even dinner sometimes. He would never say too much after I got home. He would just say to call him if i needed anything and leave. One night he took out the garbage and brought it to the curb because it was garbage night and I forgot again. He always looked so sad when it was time to go.

Oh, God. This poor guy. This is a conditioned man. He’s been kicked in the balls and spat on for so long… and yet he still believes she is his one true love. Can you blame him? He’s been told his whole life that this is the ONE thing he was to live for. In his mind, he failed. He failed at providing and maintaining a relationship. Everyone in the world is telling her she’s “the bomb”.In his mind, everyone seems to be conspiring to tell him how worthless he is. He has to improve and NICE his way out of this… otherwise he is in fact the scum everyone is making him out to be.

Finally after a couple months my friends convinced me to go out on a date. It was for dinner and a movie and I was excited and hopeful, but at dinner I started getting a feeling of overwhelming guilt. It got so bad that I ended up not even going to the movie. A week and about a million tears later I was on a therapists couch. I told her everything that had happened starting with the promotion that I got at work. She did not agree with me or with any of the encouragment to divorce that I got. I ended up in her office 2 and sometimes 3 times a week, and the more that I talked to prove that I was right, the more that I started to see how wrong I was. It was truely heartbreaking. I dont know if I cried as much in my whole life as i did in the first month in her office.

I had a therapist tell me once, “I can’t tell you how many times cheating wives have cried on that couch telling me that they couldn’t believe what they did… that they were acting completely out of control. Those same women were the ones that ended up doing it again and again.”

After about 2 thousand dollars of therapy sessions I learned that my XH had his faults, but I figured out that mine were so much worse. I did so many awful things and said awful things that I wouldnt want to be with me, but he did. I still remember him asking me in the meeting with the lawyer to please not go through with it. I did go through with it though, and then later I bragged on here how great it felt. I was so wrong, and now I can see it.

It took $2k of therapy to elicit feelings of empathy. This is not a good thing.

A couple weeks ago I went outside with him when he was leaving the house. I asked him about getting back together. When he looked at me his eyes were full of tears and a couple went down his cheeks. He told me that he didnt know if he could. He said that the pain has been too much for too long and that if we got back together that I might just turn around and do it to him again. He said that he always thought that I would realize how much he loved me and stop up until i signed the divorce papers and let out a big over exaggerated sigh of relief. He said that hurt him more than anything else and that he doesnt know if he can ever trust me again. I dont blame him. I destroyed a man who looking back was a great husband. I deprived my kids of having a great father in the house with them and I took his kids away from him. And me, the one who pushed for the divorce expecting happiness and a life of freedom, spend all my free time sitting at home or sitting on a therapists couch.

Good for him. He’s right. There’s no way he can take her back… because he’s not sure if he can survive another heartbreak, and he knows it won’t be the only time she has feelings of doubt and ends up cheating again.

It’s in her nature. She’s a cheating wife.

Interview With a Real Dad Starting Over – “David”

This is the third 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.

“David” is yet another man with a troubled past that has resulted in a need to rescue and “fix” the broken women he is so very attracted to. His baggage and subsequent life decisions very nearly cost him his life. Fortunately, David is one smart dude and has the gift of introspection and a good therapist. We can all learn a great deal from him.

DSO
Okay, so if you could… introduce yourself. Tell us your name, age, number of kids.

David
David J. 35 years old. Two boys –  9 years and 3months old.

DSO
Oh wow… a little feller. That has to make things interesting for you. So I assume you were married before? Both kids from the same woman?

David
No, two separate women. My 9 year old’s mother and I split amicably when he was 3. My youngest’s mother and I split before we knew she was pregnant. Last November.

DSO
Gotcha. So let’s start at the beginning. You…. good family life? Both mom and dad together?

David
My father passed when I was 14… Suicide. Mom and him divorced the year before. I’m the oldest of 4 boys. Mom is on her 4th marriage. I’m the only one of my brothers that has never married. Although, I’ve had longer relationshipships than any of them. I’m 8 years older than Steve, and 9 years older than the twins.

DSO
Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. That had to have quite the impact on you, especially at such an important time (your early teens). Your mom’s subsequent relationships with men… Were the men all bad news, you get along with them?

David
The one after my dad was bad news. The next 2 were great. She divorced the 3rd after 8 years. I was nearly 30 and an adult when they married, after all of my bothers were out of the house. Without kids, they were both unhappy, and kind of became roommates. So, they mutually decided to go their separate ways.

The most recent was my Dad’s best friend be for he died, so we all know him, and like him. They waited over 20 years, to get together,  so none of us boys have any hard feelings.

DSO
Do you know the particulars of your dad and mom’s breakup? Did dad suffer from depression? Infidelity?

David
Dad, was a career military man, he suffered from severe depression, and was a closet alcoholic. I recall an instance of accused infidelity on my father’s part, just before they split. Then the accusations went both ways. Mom married the next guy, the day the divorce was final, only 6 weeks after meeting him.

DSO
How did you meet the mother of your first child?

David
I was an insurance agent and she was my office’s “smokin’ hot secretary”. We went out once, and spent the next 5 years together, inseperable. Jason, our oldest, was conceived after nearly a year together. She was 21, and I was 25 when he was born. She had an amazing childhood, originally from Canada, intact family, but was the black sheep in her teens and early 20’s prior to our son. She liked to PARTY. I was in the legal system, on probation for a DUI (yes, I was a moron) nearly our entire relationship, so I wasn’t much of a partier. We had a relatively boring relationship and stayed together for so long, because we both dreamt of an intact family for our son. But, one day when he was 3, we looked at each other and knew we no longer had romantic feelings. We parted, on great terms, she is an amazing co-parent. She got married about a year later, to an awesome guy, who I am proud to call my sons “other Dad”, and they had a little girl a little over 3 years ago.

DSO
That’s all to that story… You eventually grew bored with each other, not a great match, and you amicably decided to split?

David
The short hand version, is we just kind of bored each other… We had a great friendship, and lots of laughs, but literally zero things in common aside from our son and our mutual obsession with soccer, playing and watching.

I’m a few years older, and she liked that, but I’m also 5’6″ and she’s 5’10″… I blame the fact that she wanted a man she could wear heels around… Plus, had I ever gotten into a fight, i would have expected her to defend my honor… Lol

DSO
Ha. Did you genuinely feel emasculated around her? Did she “wear the pants” in the relationship?

David
Oddly enough, I didn’t… She was very gracious. When we first got together, I thought it would end up that way, so it was a fear. But, she never even brought it up. I had all the jokes, so in hindsight, it may have bothered me a bit. But, I was still incredibly proud to be with her. Especially after our son came… She is an awesome Mom.

There was a little push and pull regarding our son- but that quickly ended in us compromising on parenting time- and me agreeing to keep him away from my “hussies” as she called any woman I would date, until they showed some staying power, and we decided that we were going to try for the long haul. And I listened to her. We’ve always had a great deal of respect for each other, and our individual relationships with our Jason.

DSO
Well that sounds very mature. How soon after splitting did you both start dating?

David
She starting dating her now husband seven days after we split. Not going to lie even a little- that was a huge gut shot to my ego. I felt easily replaced. I started dating about a month later. Once I started dating, I realized my feelings being hurt was just my ego and that it wasn’t a contest. I dated several women, a month or two here and there, including the one my who would have my 2nd son, nearly 5 years later.  When Jason’s mom and I split, I let her and Jason keep the apartment and everything.  I went and lived with my folks.

DSO
Tell us about woman #2. How did you two meet?

David
My best friend married her sister.. Introduced us, a couple of months after my son’s mom and I split, and a couple months after she ended an insanely toxic 10 year relationship with a DIAGNOSED sociopath.

She was a very damaged woman, but so insanely pretty. Plus, I loved the way she talked to me, and complimented everything about me. Im originally from California, and she loved that I wasn’t an Indiana country boy. Did I mention that she was an ABSOLUTE KNOCKOUT!?!? Like, gorgeous.

We dated for about a month, split up, and then got back together a few years later.

We had a whirlwind relationship. She broke up with another guy after 2 years with him, and was essentially living in my house immediately. We were sleeping together, living together, and planning our lives together within a week. This was break neck speed for me, and cause for concern. I justified it, because we had dated before, and she was insanely gorgeous. She always made me feel like a million bucks. She complimented me, was amazing in bed, and in my eyes was just the absolute perfect woman. Red flags be damned. She would ask me on a regular basis if she could perform oral sex on me. Never had headaches when I was in the mood, dressed so incredibly sexy, and all if my friends absolutely drooled over her. I felt like I was THE MAN when I was with her. But then of course, the cracks started showing

DSO
Are you the guy women tend to go to when shit hits the fan and they need help?

David
They refer to me as “the guy with the 6 bedroom house.”… So, unfortunately, yes. My less politically correct friends, have sometimes called me “captain save a ho”

DSO
Do you get a sense of purpose by “saving” the damsels in distress?

David
I do… Kayla was so needy, and so broken, she gave me purpose. Little by little she revealed that her life was in shambles, and for ever problem I had a solution. And she knew how to show her grattitude. I summed it up to her terribly abusive childhood. I saw this amazing woman so often in her. But, alcohol kept drowning her. Then triangulation with other men. Then she became physically violent with me. Then the lies. Yes, I took her back, at least minimally a dozen times over a nearly 3 year period. Even while she was pregnant with our son. Then cheated on me, with 2 other men, throughout her pregnancy. My self esteem was in the garbage.

DSO
Have you had much time for introspection during all this? Wondering why you’re so drawn to broken women?

David
This particular woman, is the ONLY broken woman I have ever had any sort of substantial relationship with. I sought therapy back in March, and still attend. The clear and obvious culprit is my mother, and my relationship with her. Fortunately, her and I have been able to frankly, and matter of factly discuss this, with the help of my therapist. I’ve been able to logically understand my need to save Kayla. I fight my feelings a lot. But, since identifying many destructive relationship habits, including trauma bonding, my own insecurities, and tendency to lose myself in romantic relationships, i.e. lack of outside interests, giving up hobbies, health, friends, and becoming completely absorbed in the idea of “us”… I’ve been rediscovering myself, establishing a strong sense of self, recognizing toxic traits in potential partners, and overall just taking time for myself. For instance, I don’t and won’t date at all currently. That is of my own decision… For now.

DSO
That is awesome. You should seriously be proud of yourself for that level of introspection and effort to improve. VERY VERY rare.

David
This one broke me… We all have that one that breaks us, I think.

DSO
I often say every dude should hit rock bottom at least once in their life. Usually men hit it via a relationship with a toxic woman.

David
Civilizations have fallen over a toxic woman. Lol. By being with them, we can become toxic ourselves. The whole “Show me the 3 closest people to you, and I will understand who you are” statement comes to mind.

DSO
Exactly.So you have two women you have fathered children with… and how would you categorize you relationships with them now? Has their brokenness affected your efforts to improve going forward?

David
It’s given me, at the moment, incredibly high standards, a desire to undergo a vasectomy, and 9 stab wounds from my 2nd sons’ mom’s ex-boyfriend. Yes, it has affected me. I can experience empathy, but it isn’t my responsibility to fix the things I feel bad for someone for. I can offer to help a person, but only if they aren’t kicking and screaming while i carry them uphill, and after a bit of help, they had better be outpacing my efforts. Most importantly, for my own stress levels, and mental well being, it is ok for me to say NO., even if I have the ability to help, or change a situation. I’m not obligated to anyone, even for something as little as an explanation,  and frankly, they aren’t obligated to me. Its not ok for anyone to make me feel guilty, for doing what I think is best for myself and my sons. Lastly, I don’t have to compromise my integrity, just to make someone else feel better, or so that they might like me. I may not be the greatest guy in the world, but I’m ok most of the time, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with just being ok sometimes.

DSO
Bravo. Very well put. For the readers… would you mind giving more detail about the whole “9 stab wounds” story?

David
Well, first off… I feel like a bad ass, compared to anyone who has been stabbed less than 10 times. Lol. This goes along with the damaged woman thought.

When my son was 6 weeks old, his mother was begging me back. I couldn’t do it. She was still drinking. Well, later that night, she got into a bit of trouble with CPS and the police. Drinking and driving with our baby. They didn’t arrest her, they had her mother come and get her, and take her to the 5th floor(like a mental hospital) and took our son while she was in there. Once she got out she immediately started dating another man. She said he was perfect and that they were getting married…blah blah blah. A few weeks go by, and she discovers he had given her a false name and was a registered sex offender, amongst other things. Violent, violent man. She breaks up with him…he didn’t like that much…once he supposedly leaves her apartment, she calls and asks me to come get our son because she’s stressed out, etc. I agree, and drive over. She asks me to sit and talk with her for a few, and tells me all about this guy. After a few minutes I asked her to pack his diaper bag, so we can get home. I step out to smoke while I’m waiting for her to get our son ready. It’s dark out, her neighbor is out, we start a conversation. After a couple of moments, I hear, “You want some mother fucker” from behind me, (he was hiding beside her apartment building) and a shirtless knife wielding man, is on my back, stabbing me. At the time, I didn’t realize I was being stabbed. I thought I was getting hit hard. I also didn’t know who he was. I get turned around to defend myself, and at some point realize he has a knife. I fought it away from him. And he suddenly stopped fighting, and just stands there. I look at him, and say, “You had a fucking knife!” At this point he runs away… I look at my son’s mother who had come to the door during the scuffle and say “I think I’ve been stabbed.” She goes into hysterics… Ambulance comes, she comes to the hospital with me, and just lays in bed with me for the hours in waiting on surgery. After all is said and done, she wants us again, I’m the man of her dreams, blah blah blah. Her ex is sitting in jail on attempted murder charges, 3 seperate cases for domestic battery, including one on a child, a DUI, and turns out has a different name than what he gave her, plus a worse background than the 2nd alias he gave her has. She was ready to marry this guy after 5 weeks. Had him around our son, and her 13 year old daughter, and expects me to just forgive her, and take her back with open arms.

I’m on temporary disability for the next 6 weeks at least, I have drain tubes coming out of my back, and over a hundred stitches. The knife took chunks of bone out of my spine and ribs, severed muscle, and she wants to talk about a relationship. My 9 year old has been devastated since he heard about it. When he was here, he literally hugged me, or sat on me the entire time. This is what happens when you entertain crazy for too long. They attract more crazy, and that crazy wants you dead.

DSO
Jesus H. Christ. Yes… crazy attracts crazy. So glad you made it out of that alive. Would you pursue taking away the child permanently from the mom?

David
This is why it’s so important for men to be so critical when choosing a partner… Especially if they already have kids. Yes, I will… Her ex-husband already got emergency custody of their 13 year old. My situation is a bit more complex. I’m waiting on paternity for Mason. I told her I will be his Dad, and not miss a beat unless a paternity test proves me otherwise. Paternity isn’t until January 10th.

DSO
I was going to suggest that. Sounds like you have everything as “under control” as possible.

David
She swears he’s mine. Even with all if her infidelity, says the time frames don’t add up for anyone else. Nobody else stepped up, so here I am. And I’ll be damned if I miss these baby months. If he were to turn out not to be mine, I just bought some diapers, and loved on a kid who didn’t have anyone else. No harm done… But, I think and hope he is mine.

DSO
Must be an extremely tough position to be in. So, fast forward seven years from now… Your oldest boy is 16. He’s getting way too interested in girls. What bit of advice do you give him?

David
Man, that’s tough… In today’s climate, I’d almost want to advise them not to date until after college.

The reality is I want them to be safe… Be respectful… And to not fall in love with saving anyone. I will tell them if they don’t bring anything other than baggage and a pussy to the table, just leave the damn table. You need a partner, a teammate and a best friend. Theres no such thing as THE ONE, but there is such thing as mutual respect and love.  After some time has passed respect is more about your own personal integrity, and love is more about being a man of your word. Eventually, it stops being a gushy feeling, and turns into a decision. But, it should never be at the cost of who you are.

DSO
Amen, brother. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. You’re a great example of a guy who has absolutely had a truckload of shit thrown at him, and you just keep on marching forward. Hope you heal up quickly and please let us all know how you’re doing.

David
It’s been a pleasure to share… I really hope some of the other dad’s can take this all to heart and not make the same mistakes. Thanks for the website, by the way!

Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “William”

This is the second 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.

“William” is the an example of a VERY common scenario:

  1. Little experience with women before or after his ex-wives.
  2. Comes from a broken home with an absent father figure and strong attachment to mom.
  3. Strongly attracted to women from broken families, histories of abuse and has an intense need to help them.
  4. His kind/pushover nature eventually backfires on him as he is taken advantage of the worst way by predatory women.

DSO
So, if you could, tell us your name, age, number of kids

William
William. Age 48. I have three biological children and then two who are bonus children.

DSO
Bonus children… step kids?

William
One former stepson who I am still close to and one who I discovered was not mine, but am also close to.

DSO
Oh wow. Sounds like you do have a story to tell. And what ages are the kids?

William
30, 28, 27, 24, 23. The 30, 27, and 23 year olds are mine. Yes, it’s quite a story. 23 year old is the only girl.

DSO
That poor girl! That’s a whole lot of testosterone. Married how many times?

William
Twice. Quite a story with both.

DSO
Well let’s go with ex #1, how did you two meet?

William
We met in high school. I was a basketball player and she was a track/basketball athlete. She asked me for a ride home from practice every day and one thing led to another. The 30 year old son was born my senior year.

DSO
Started early! And how about her family life? Broken family? Abuse?

William
Her parents divorced due to her father’s infidelity. There were rumors of abuse between her father and her sister, but it never went anywhere. None between my ex and her father that I’m aware of.

DSO
And your family life?

William
My dad was an abusive alcoholic to my mom. I witnessed a lot of it. They divorced when I was six. I was not abused, but I have heard rumors that my older sister was. We’ve never discussed it. We are very close though. My mom is a saint.

DSO
Looking back on the early “courtship”, did you feel a bond with your shared family “issues”?

William
Not on a conscience level I don’t think.

DSO
So senior year, your son is born. How do you cope with that? Family help?

William
Yes. I quit basketball and started sacking groceries full time. I stayed at my ex’s house and got up with the baby on weekends. My mom and my stepdad were upset at first, but extremely helpful financially and emotionally. I got a job out of high school working in the billing office at a hospital and things went okay for several years.

DSO
College?

William
I took night courses at the local Junior college. Got my Associates degree in four years. Started at the University level about the time the first marriage fell apart.

DSO
So, “went okay for several years”, when did the wheels start to fall off?

William
We were married for five years. I came home one night after running in to my childhood sweetheart at a convenience store. I came home and told my wife about it. Shortly after that she insisted that we move. We did. As it turned it we were living caddy corner from her boyfriend’s apartment. At the time, I had no suspicion that anything was going on.

DSO
Oh, so the prompting for the move, in your mind at that time, was your surprise meeting with the childhood sweetheart?

William
Yes and no. I feel she used that as a justification in her mind, but she was already planning to set herself up with Plan B (him) in case Plan A (me) didn’t work out.

DSO
She was already in the middle of an affair with Plan B by that time… and for how long at that point (the move)?

William
I feel that it had been going on for several months before the move, but I have no proof. The fact that we moved in so close to his place was not a coincidence in my mind.

DSO
Oh… so not only did she want to move, but she had the specific place already picked out… right across from Plan B. Gotcha.

William
Yes. Again, just a theory.

DSO
Well that was ballsy of her. So when did you discover the affair?

William
After the move, she insisted we should separate. I moved in with my mom with the idea that we would work it out. She would give me no reason for the separation, just needed “space”. I went back to our place and discovered a note to him on the door. I don’t remember what it said, but the implications were clear. I started moving my stuff out that night.

DSO
Sorry to hear that… and pretty textbook. So now you have a son and a cheating wife. Was divorce pretty soon after?

William
Oh that’s where it gets crazy. We had two sons at that time. She came to me a week after I moved out and told me she was pregnant. I told her I thought it wasn’t mine. The state of Oklahoma would not allow me to divorce her while she was pregnant. They also told me that I not only had to prove the baby was not mine, but I also had to prove whose the baby was or I would be held financially responsible for it. I was not allowed to divorce her because the baby had to remain a product of the marriage in case the true father was not found.

DSO
Oh, no way. Wow. Are the laws still the same to this day in OK?

William
It took a year and a half for all the prelim crap to get done and the divorce to be granted.
I don’t know. I live in Colorado now and haven’t been married for 16 years. Doubt I ever will again.

DSO
So eventually you prove the child is not yours AND you find the father?

William
Yes. It didn’t take too much detective work on my part.

DSO
I know I’m getting into specifics here… but this whole “state forcing the non-father to pay” thing always amazes me…. What was the process for proving the paternity? Did the suspected father have to go through testing? Or did he/they just confess?

William
I had to subpoena the blood from the baby as well as the suspected father. The fact that she was able to just keep the truth to herself and hope for the best has always stuck a burr in my saddle. She was not asked to testify or anything.

DSO
She knew she had the state on her side. Okay, so… two bio kids, one that is with her lover, and you are divorced. Does kid #3 have a relationship with bio dad?

William
Yes, but he always came over to my house with his brothers. Birthday parties, sleep overs, etc. He is currently getting his PhD and will be married in May. I’m invited to the wedding. He says his father is a 50/50 bet on whether he will show up.

DSO
Well, good for you and him both. Sticking with wife #1 for now. Looking back… any red flags through the short relationship?

William
Yes. She was my first, but she was known to have slept with a lot of boys in high school. I had some friends who warned me about her, but I didn’t listen.

DSO
You’re not the first and certainly not the last with that story. If you didn’t get her pregnant while in high school, would you have married her?

William
Her best friend got pregnant about the same time she did too. I think that was part of the plan.

Definitely not. I was trying to “do the right thing”. I wish I’d have been told by an older male role model that I didn’t have to marry her. Don’t know if it would have changed my mind, but it would have made the divorce decision come a lot faster.

DSO
And how soon after was kid #2?

William
Kid 1 was born 1987. We were married in 1988. Kid 2 was born 1991. We split up in 1993. Kid 3 (not mine) was born 1994.

DSO
Was #2 another “oops”?

William
No. He was planned. Maybe just a “trying to do the right thing” thing again. I am very close to my sons though. We have a lot of fun together.

DSO
That’s great. Did you have a fair co-parenting/custody sharing plan from the beginning?

William
Yes. But I was very busy working full time and going to college so I didn’t get to see them 50/50. That as used against me when it came time to calculate support, which makes no sense. I was doing my part when I had them.

DSO
And how has ex #1’s life gone since your split?

William
She married and divorced the guy she was sleeping with. She has just been released from the county jail and into a halfway house. Her and her new boyfriend were convicted on trafficking meth through the mail.

DSO
Wow. I’d say that’s a pretty low point in life. So how long after #1 did you meet #2?

William
I was sitting in a class in 1993 thinking about the aforementioned childhood sweetheart from before. All I knew of was where she worked, Wal-Mart. So I left class, drove to Wal-Mart and sure enough, there she was working the front. She took a break and I filled her in on my situation. She showed me evidence that her husband was physically abusing her. I told her that I didn’t want to wreck her marriage, but that if they broke up, I would like to give us a try. We began an affair, and she became pregnant with my daughter. There was and is no doubt that the child was/is mine.

So I guess it was only a matter of three months or so.

DSO
Wow. You weren’t wasting any time. Ran right into the arms of another broken one. Also not uncommon.

William
Haha. Oh ya.

DSO
So, the first red flag is obviously “I was abused” and “I am willing to have an affair and get pregnant”… what other red flags did gal #2 have? How about her family life?

William
Her mother was a mean bitch. I remembered it from my childhood. Nothing had changed in the years that followed. She was a tom boy and an athlete from the time we met, age 13, all the way through high school. She actually told me after she divorce her first husband that she never wanted to marry again. I was so happy we were together that I didn’t mind. We were living together and we had a daughter. My two sons, my bonus son, and her son were with us most of the time once I finished college. We were making the blended family work. She never initiated sex though. I thought she was submissive, but as it turned out she was hiding a deeper secret. Queue suspenseful music…

DSO
So… in hindsight do you feel she grasped onto you as a way out of marriage #1?

William
Yes. I also feel that she knew she could get away with what she had planned next because of what had happened in my previous marriage. I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t make me wrong.

DSO
So, she gets pregnant… how long after did you marry?

William
She approached me two years later in 1997 and asked, “Why haven’t you asked me to marry you?” and I said, “Because you said you didn’t want to get married.” and she said, “Well, we might as well. I mean, look at all these kids in our house.” and I said, “Okay”. Shortly after, I called the kids into the living room and I proposed to her. We eloped to Colorado and were married on Christmas Eve, 1997 in Aspen.

DSO
And after marriage… how long until the big bomb drop?

William
June, 2003 she told me she was leaving me. She didn’t say why at the time. We had just made our first payment on a new house.

DSO
Wow. What was the process after that? Did you start investigating?

William
I take that back. She told me she was leaving in April and the truth about why came out in June.

I helped her move into her own apartment. I told the landlord I needed a key since I was on the lease. When she took her son to the movies one night, I went to her apartment and found a journal. In it, she confessed her love to her new girlfriend who lived two states away and she revealed her plan to move there as soon as she could.

DSO
Wow.

William
It was shortly after that she admitted she was gay. She never told me of her intention to move. She intended to abandon us.

DSO
You were helping her move into an apartment that she planned on leaving soon?

William
Yes.

DSO
And her plan was to leave you and the kid?

William
Yes. and my stepson with his father.

DSO
Oh wow. How did she meet the girlfriend?

William
Work. The GF had moved away in order to prevent wrecking our marriage, or so the story goes.

DSO
I see. Did the wife later admit she always KNEW she was gay, or this was something she discovered later in life?

William
She said that she had always known she was gay. She said no man was ever going to touch her again and that her whole life had been a lie. She was celebrated for now “living her truth”. The fact that she had discovered it at the expense of so many lives was swept under the rug.

Maybe not discovered it, but verified it. Found the courage to admit it to herself. However you look at it.

DSO
And she has remained in the new lifestyle since then?

William
Yes. She has a GF now that she met when she was 45 and the GF was 17. Also something for which she has never been held accountable.

DSO
WOW. Well, this is usually the case in these relationship dramas. The damsels in distress will get the adulation… You’ll just go crazy trying to understand it.
So, how soon after the bomb drop did you divorce?

William
It took four and a half years. When I would go to court, the judge would give her additional time to appear even though she had left the state. Once I got Oklahoma DHS to start garnishing her paycheck for child support did she finally show up and the divorce was granted. She also got custody arrangements changed and once she paid her back child support, I had to start paying her. I raised my daughter for five years without help from her and then she came in and got what she wanted.

She moved back to Oklahoma and started playing “supermom”

DSO
Wow. That seems to be the them for this story: “Wow” She moved back to OK… and the kids went to live with her?

William
Haha. I’m 16 years out and I still can’t believe it.

By the time she came back, my daughter was 13. She wanted to know her mom and asked if it was okay if she lived with her. I helped my daughter move. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. it is a fact that if not for her, I wouldn’t be alive. We are very close today. So part of what the gay ex got was what I allowed her to have for the sake of my daughter.

DSO
And she stayed with her for all of her teens?

William
Yes. But again, I would meet her for breakfast before school and I would have her and her friends over when she wanted. My gay ex knew I would do anything for my daughter too, which of course she used to her advantage.

DSO
And her relationship with your daughter today?

William
They are good. One year after I left OK for CO, my daughter followed me though. All of my biological children have left OK and moved closer to me, much to their mothers’ dismay I’m sure.

My daughter and her mother visit occasionally. I have no contact with her mother. We haven’t spoken in years.

DSO
So after the second divorce… have you had any relationships? Dating?

William
My first relationship after the gay ex (both wives were my first and second) I had an affair with the minister’s wife. She divorced her husband to marry me, but I told her I wasn’t going to marry again. That ended our relationship poorly. Had a GF for about three months in 2007 or so. She broke up with me because I told her I didn’t plan on marrying again. I don’t date at all now. I work hard and do my own thing.

DSO
There does appear to be a pattern here… not to play psychologist… and I don’t mean to overstep my bounds.
1. Being attracted to broken women
2. Ignoring red flags and jumping into serious relationships with broken women.
3. Pursuing relationships with women who are already attached to others.
Sounds like you nipped #2 in the bud and stopped the marriage train.

William
If I had to self-psychoanalyze, I’d say that I have a bit of a hero complex after seeing my mom take some hellacious beatings and not being big enough to stop it. I did not grow up to be an abuser. But instead I grew up allowing myself to be used. I didn’t stand up for myself. Now I do. I am fine on my own. I’d love to meet someone who would love me, but it is not a priority.

DSO
Did you have a close relationship with your mom? Almost a surrogate spouse to her?

William
Yes. She is a retired nurse and an absolute hero.

I’m about out of time. I wanted to plug the Straight Spouse Network. It is a support group among those who may have married homosexuals either knowingly or unknowingly. They are at www.Straightspouse.org. They have been very healing for me over the last couple of years.

DSO
Thank you for sharing your story!

William
You’re Welcome. Keep up the good work.

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!

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.

My Story – Part 3 – The Phoenix Rises

Rock bottom. I had hit it. From my perspective at the time, it was very sudden. The last 10 years were a blur. Moving across state lines. Failed business. Kids. Wife’s job changes. More kids. My job changes. Death. It all went by in about 10 seconds.

Somewhere along the line I lost touch with that young guy I used to like so much. The guy everyone else seemed to like, too. The guy who had so much enthusiasm and joy that he infected everyone. The good looking guy who loved the gym, loved playing guitar and loved basketball. The guy who read a lot. The guy who loved films. The guy who loved art.

Where the fuck did that guy go?! How did I forget all about him?! He was pretty cool. How did I let everything have such a negative effect on me?

So many questions. So many “what ifs”. Such is life.

Now here I was this single dad with no real close friends, no real passions, and no oomph for life left. No more wife. Three young mouths to feed. Three little ones looking to me to be their model for “normal”. Mom was not recognizable in her new life. She was, by all accounts, fucking crazy.

My daughter is 9 when everything goes down and takes it very hard. She cried herself to sleep most nights. We had long talks.. always being careful not to bad-mouth mom in any way. There was a tense but unspoken understanding of our new reality… but we didn’t ever acknowledge it. Mom ain’t coming back.

My son who was once goofy and extroverted was very passive and shy. The littlest one is in his most formative years, so time will tell how he is affected.

This really fucking sucks.

I went to a therapist. It helped a little. She put me in touch with a few other guys who went through the same thing. That was the biggest takeaway from my sessions. Wow, our stories were so similar. Like… almost identical. One of the guys suggested I check out some forum online. More stories. All the same. Just a bunch of “I swear… I used to be awesome” stories.  Pussified pushover dads whining about their crazy slut-wagon of an ex-wife.

What is going on here?

I read. I read more. I read even more. This whole idea of figuring out this phenomenon, while also going down the path of self improvement… this was my new passion. It took a giant smack upside the head to get me there… but there I was. SOMETHING to get me going in the right direction. A fire under my ass.

One thing I read again and again is about testosterone. Seems to be an epidemic of “low T” going on… if I believe the commercials. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies are just trying to push product. I read all I can on it. Very interesting stuff. There is something to it. Can’t hurt to get tested.

Yep… my testosterone levels are lower than what they should be… by a long shot. That explains some things. Is it the stress? Just being out of shape? Age? I know I used to have high testosterone years ago when I had a blood test done.

I hit the gym. I don’t feel the energy like I did in my 20’s, but I do feel better. The anxiety-induced weight loss has stripped pounds of fat from my body. That’s one positive aspect all this craziness. I need all new clothes. Now I want to fill in my frame with muscle. I was determined to step-by-step bring back that guy I used to like so much.

I go to a clinic in my area, get checked out and start a regimen of testosterone. They are a decent group and they help monitor all my vitals on a regular basis. Over the years, my blood pressure has never gone up, my PSA numbers are steady and my blood lipids have improved. About a month into the program I start to feel it. HUGE difference. This was the missing ingredient I needed. The only negatives are that my balls are smaller (somewhat remedied by injecting HCG) and I get acne on my back and shoulders like a teen again. No biggy.

I started dating almost right away. Online dating accounts were created. So stupid. I was nowhere near ready, but I was horny and wanted some company. Some people I knew also put me in touch with women they think I will like. Every single woman in their own way was another step towards taking away the last remnants of the fog I was living in. Nearly every one was a divorcee with a history of infidelity. Seriously. They also all had horribly terrible abusive ex-husbands with small penises. Weird how that works. *massive eye roll*

My dating experience alone is enough for a 20 part essay. Let’s just say… wow. Yeah. Crazy.

I start to take up guitar again. Not to obsessive levels like before, but I fiddle every now and then, and it’s fun.

I go to the gym now about 4 – 5 days a week. No matter what, I go. It’s my medicine. I play basketball regularly with my boys. I’m in pretty good shape. Compared to other dudes my age, I am in fantastic shape. My weight creeps up on my easily if I don’t watch it. I gain 10 lbs just by looking at a piece of cake. Damn you, old age.

My job situation has improved. About a year after the divorce I realized I needed more money and I needed more time at home with the kids. I met with my boss and came up with the idea of working for more than one company (as an employee). They each get a chunk of my time and I get a nice combined salary. I work from home. The hours can sometimes be weird (sitting on the couch at 1:00 AM on my laptop), but it’s my life now. It affords me the time I need to maintain my self, maintain my house and keep some semblance of being the dad my kids need. I get regular paychecks, so that’s a plus. I make more than I ever have. I don’t have to worry about paying bills or getting kids the things they need.

I hear from a guy on the internet who is going through the same thing. And another. It’s always the same story. And about 100,000 more out there just like it with a little Googling. I become the “You can do it, too!” guy to many of them. A little ray of sunshine to some men that are in a very dark place. I start this website and eventually the podcast. I enjoy the writing a great deal. It’s a form of therapy like any other outlet.

My kids are doing better. My daughter is now a teenager. She had issues with depression and self-harm. She’s riddled with anxiety. But… she seems to be on the upswing. We talk more as she gets older and more mature. We still don’t mention how or why her mom left. My oldest boy is back to normal and is a great student and very sweet and good-hearted kid. My youngest has started grade school and has his moments. He’s very hard-headed. Makes you want to drive him out to the woods and leave him there for a few days. But.. he’s my boy. I laugh just thinking about him. He’s the spitting image of me when I was his age.

As the years have gone by I have the normal ups and downs. Nothing nearly as drastic as that of the previous 10 years, but I can say with confidence that my trajectory is going upward. Now that the fog has completely lifted I am left with a great deal of regret. I keep telling myself that those 10 years were filled with great life lessons. I wouldn’t be ME without them.

Why on Earth did I let that young guy so easily slip away? I think it was the perfect storm of reasons. My ex-wife just wasn’t the right person to go on my life journey with. She folded entirely too easily. She pounced on the first sign of weakness and didn’t let up. She didn’t have the respect for me to say “You can do it. We’re in this together.” Instead, for the last 10 years of the relationship, she was left with an ongoing feeling of “I think I made a mistake with this guy.” I made a mistake with her too (obviously), but I was too caught up in the minutiae of LIFE to see it.

To use the terminology you’ll see so often on this site:  I was a good mix of Lover and Provider (more Lover) that later morphed into 100% Provider… but I unfortunately failed at providing. That left me with.. nothing. Effort doesn’t count. Results count. There’s no participation trophy in life.

I was stripped of all that was ME and was left with some pitiful shell of a guy.

Never again.

My current love life? I’ve talked about it before in other posts, and I feel weird mentioning it in the context of this post. I don’t want to taint what IS now with what WAS then. I’m a completely different human being compared to who I was 5 years ago and I’d like to keep it that way.

I have married again. She’s an absolutely wonderful human being in every way. I don’t know what  lottery ticket I won somewhere along the line to find her, but I did. We are a very good match. The romance and sexual side I lacked in my first marriage has been found in spades in this relationship. The love and support I never felt before is there as well. I’m not a hindrance or failure to her. I’m her man. I’m her man that was put in a shitty predicament and came out smelling pretty good. She likes that. She also likes that I am opinionated about our roles in this relationship and I’m not afraid to say when I don’t like something or if I want to go in a different direction. I have a vision for our future and she agrees.

She’s a wonderful step-mother to my children. They love her to pieces. If I had just found her 20 years ago… Sigh.

Some dudes will read “married again” and roll their eyes, groan and shut their browser window. Marriage is a losing proposition in many men’s eyes. I get it. Really, I do. You can get divorce raped. Your masculinity stripped from you. Any spare time you have is taken away. The nagging wife. The kids. Freedom gone. Your friends all gone (they too have a wife, kids and no life). Hobbies gone. You get fat. She gets fat. Ugh… it’s not fun.

But whose fault is that? Women can knock you down and mold you into something you may not want to be. I hear that a lot. Yep, that is true. They will poke and test you until you show your true self.  So does life in general… If you let it. Stop making women your excuse and stop hanging any semblance of individuality and happiness on their shoulders. They’ll resent you for it, and rightfully so.

Don’t lose your edge. It’s tough to hold on to… but if you don’t, the consequences are brutal. This world has ZERO patience for a dude who doesn’t measure up. Life will stomp on your neck and walk right over you.  You have a choice in the matter. Say “NO” from time to time. Frame your existence as a husband and father in a manner that serves you well. Be there for your wife and kids but be there for YOURSELF, too.

Get up early, make your bed, hit the gym, clean the house, go for walks, hang out with friends, romance the shit out of your wife, read, stand up to your woman, bang her like tomorrow is your last day, make money, keep learning, make more money, be a good model for your kids,… you know the drill.

Deal with the bad times. They will come. They always do.

Learn from me, amigos. This could be you. Ten years goes by quick. Hell, 20 years can go by fast. I was 25 yesterday.

Now I am again.