Dear DSO: “What if your wife leaves you?”

Dear DSO,

I’ve been following you for a while. I started listening to your podcast after my wife left me two years ago. I’ve heard your story and it is EXACTLY like mine. I know you’ve heard that before. All of our stories are the same. There’s a huge problem going on in marriage right now. It’s not the same as it used to be and it will never go back again to the way it was. Women don’t need us anymore. They tell us this all the time. I’ve heard it from women that I have dated this year. They will say that they don’t need men to take care of them. They want to have fun and enjoy life. They had their kids with some other provider guy, they got bored, then they left. They don’t hide this fact, either. They openly talk about it with me all the time. One woman I talk to says that she can’t believe that guys today think that marriage is a good idea. She says that a bunch of her friends all think the same thing. They’re happy to have their kids, but they don’t see the purpose of having a husband anymore. A husband boring.

I’ve heard you and your wife talk on the podcast and you seem to have a great relationship. Since she’s a doctor, aren’t you worried that she will feel that you no longer have a purpose in her life and she will leave you? That’s the one thing that bothers me about your work. It seems that you are telling guys that you don’t need women to be happy, but you got married again. You used to be married to a type-A woman and now you just married an even bigger type-A woman. I’m glad that it’s worked out so well for you, but how long will that last? Aren’t you just playing with fire at this point? Why do you feel the need to be married again?


Excellent question! I’ll try to break it down as best as I can.

I love my wife with all my heart. She’s objectively a fantastic human being. But… what if she suddenly told me one day that she didn’t want me anymore? What if she had a giant change of heart? Well, it would suck. I would be heartbroken. But then… I would dust myself off, and I would probably get a gargantuan amount of sex with other women as well as a whole lot of free time. I’ve looked at both scenarios, and I’ve decided that I’d prefer to be with my wife.

See… I’m not some victim-in-waiting here. I’m not sitting back and biting my nails and wondering if my wife has feelings for other people and wants to leave. I’m not worried that she’ll have some mid-life crisis and run off to Aruba. I have looked at the scenario and decided to marry HER. I didn’t chase. I didn’t campaign to win my woman. Mutually, we decided to make this relationship work. That is how we frame this entire marriage thing. This isn’t some scenario where the woman is sitting back and saying, “You better keep up, or I’m leaving,” while I furiously try to measure up to her standards. No, I have every bit as much value as she does. She’d be fucking stupid to do something like that… because I’m a pretty damn good husband!

If you see the marriage thing as a giant gamble that the man takes on… where he signs over all of his rights and he risks being destroyed financially and emotionally, then yeah… don’t do it. Stay away. You’re bound to fail at this thing. Enjoy your bachelor life and the conga line of women you will encounter. There is nothing wrong with that.

If you’re like me, you value a strong partner to go through life with… but you recognize that you have to maintain your individualism. There are rules to this relationship game. Admittedly, the rules have drastically changed over the last few decades. As guys, the rules used to be in our favor. We had it pretty damn good for a while. We had jobs, and provided for our family, and the woman was happy to have somebody to take care of her while she spits out some babies. She may not have been that attracted to her husband, not fulfilled sexually, and a nervous wreck with all those kids… but society put up some pretty major obstacles in the way of her trying to change her life to accommodate her very real human needs. Now those walls have been broken down. No more obstacles in the way.

What has happened? We’ve uncovered an ugly truth. Most of you out there are not wired for this “stick with one person from now until the day you die” thing. When you release the unnatural constraints like “I better stick with this guy or else I will starve and be ostracized by my community”, you’re left with people who GENUINELY want to be in marriage and make it work. That seems to be the minority.

You and the ladies you meet… you’re in the majority! Congrats. Enjoy yourself. My wife and I, for the time being, seem to be in the minority that enjoys being in a monogamous long-term relationship. You can hear podcasts we’ve done on things like sex and money to see how we’ve navigated those waters. You’ll see that I’m not one to sign over my life to somebody and cross my fingers and hope for the best. I think that’s foolish. At the same time, I recognize that there is some measure of vulnerability that needs to take place in any relationship, especially in something like marriage.

I think the concept of “Yeah… but what if you get hurt?!” can be applied to a lot of things in life. What if my business fails and I go bankrupt? What if I drop that heavy weight at the gym and break my neck? What if I fall off that cliff I am climbing? What if I fail and people laugh at me? Well… you can certainly go through life guarded. You can just get a regular job, be a couch potato and never exercise, and stay home alone. You’ll be safe. You can sit back and laugh at the rest of us who are trying and failing. That’s certainly one way to go through life. I’d prefer to try, fail, try, fail, try… and then win.

That’s called living.