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Dear DSO: “If she has checked out, why is she trying to hang on and control me?”

Dear DSO,

Like everybody else that ends up writing you, I’m a reader of your book “The Dead Bedroom Fix”. What a fucking kick in the gut that book was. It absolutely floored me how you nailed my situation. The part where you describe the typical “talk” was especially freaky because I had that EXACT conversation with my wife the day before I read the book. I’m not sure if you’re some kind of psychic or if all the situations really are the exact same… but the book was excellent.

Here’s my problem and why I’m writing you. I fully admit I’ve not been the most attractive husband on the planet. Not even close. I gained 30 lbs after our first kid was born and haven’t gone back. My wife gained weight while pregnant, but she lost it right away by eating right and exercising. At the time, she tried to push me into joining her at the gym and to get me to stop eating like shit, but I didn’t listen. Like a lot of guys, I thought my high-paying job was enough for me to point at and say that I’m a great husband and father and I deserve sex. You can probably guess how good that worked out for me.

My wife got really into working out, looked like a fitness model, and actually became a bit of a super mom Instagram influencer. Companies would pay her to model outfits (yoga pants, mostly) and show their supplements in her pictures and videos. You would think this would be enough for me to wake up and realize that my wife is leaving me behind in the attraction department, but it wasn’t. I actually looked down on her for being so shallow and caring too much about her looks. She used to tell me she was hurt by my disrespect for her online business and wished I would support her more. I tried to support her and learn more about what she does, but it was obvious that we grew apart and were totally different people. I was the fat family Provider guy, and she was the hot mom that everybody wanted. I think when she started making decent money, she realized my purpose as a husband was going away completely. She just checked out 100%.

I’ll finally get to my point. Thanks for reading so far. If she’s obviously checked out, making some money on her own, able to get any guy she wants… why does she still insist on hanging on and controlling me? Why does she avoid talking about splitting up? I brought up once that we obviously grew apart and she FLIPPED OUT. Lost her mind. Screaming. Crying. Ran out of the room. Then one time she saw that I was on porn on my phone and she lost it again. More screaming and crying. She tried every tactic she could think of to shame me. She pointed out that I was a father, a husband, this was equal to cheating… it was all crazy.

So she won’t have sex with me (we haven’t done anything in almost three years), she lives like a single woman, she has multiple men hitting on her constantly (she openly chats with them and stopped hiding this about a year ago), and now she makes her own money…. but I can’t look at porn and I can’t talk about splitting up? Can you make any sense of this?

Thanks again for writing the book and thanks for reading this mess.

R.

Man, you have a lot going on here.

To try and oversimplify and very complicated issue… You are not alone. This is relatively common.

  1. Yes, obviously she has checked out. With this scenario, her having relationships outside of your marriage would be a very predictable thing.
  2. Even though she has obviously checked out and living life as a pseudo-single mom, she gets almost violently angry at any movement you make towards your own autonomy.

WHY does she do this? Well… it could be a myriad of reasons. Women in your wife’s shoes have a very toxic storm of crazy going on in their heads. They want to hang on to comfort and stability. Yes, even if that means being with a man who she has ZERO attraction to (I know that’s hard for us men to understand). They also want the new and exciting life that comes with their new lover, new friends, new career, etc. They’re constantly being pulled in opposite directions. One minute they’re making dinner and acting like a typical perfect loving mom and wife, and the next minute they’re running out the door in spandex and don’t return until 2:00am.

Every time you start talking about separation or fire up Pornhub, you’re tip-toeing towards the line of blowing up the sense of comfort and safety she feels with your life together. Make no mistake, you are the safety net here. The life of being the Instagram influencer hot mom may be bringing in some cash right now, but she’s probably done the math and she’s still not quite ready to pull the trigger on a divorce. It may surprise you to learn that she has already met with an attorney who has told her that she should save X amount of dollars first, research your financial situation a little more… who knows.

One thing I do get a sense of in your email is a tone of passivity. She seems to be very much in control of the entire direction of the relationship. You said it yourself, she has checked out. Years of zero physical intimacy spell this out loud and clear. Openly flirting with other men is another pretty strong nail in the relationship coffin. So… what do you want here, chief? Do you want to continue on like this indefinitely? Are you just waiting for her to drop the hammer so that you don’t look like the bad guy? You want to be able to point to her and say, “See!? She’s the bad guy, not me!”

It’s time to take control of the situation. Take control of yourself and do so without the approval or attention of your mommy/wife. She doesn’t care, anyway.

You can go on and on and beat yourself up about your obvious mistakes in the past, but it is what it is. You are at this chapter in your life, not back there in the past. That is over with and done.

Move on, my man. It’s time.

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