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Dear DSO: “Why does my wife try to sabotage my efforts… but she enjoys the rewards?”

Dear DSO:

I’m hoping you can shed light on something that I have experienced. I know I’m not alone with this situation, but to see it firsthand is not a lot of fun. I’m totally shocked at my wife’s behavior. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s like she has read some of your stuff and is acting it out.

I read your book last year and started doing a few things differently. First, I started working out. I lost close to 30 pounds total and I’m putting on muscle thanks to a new trainer I hired from the gym. I had to get all new clothes so I started dressing way better. No more boring dad clothes. On top of all that stuff, I stopped being mopey and whiny and asking my wife for constant validation. I help out more around the house without asking for my wife’s approval. On top of all of that, I’ve been doing better at work. I think my new energy and confidence from getting in shape has spilled over to work. I got a big promotion just last month. This has been a really great month for me. Thank you for the much-needed motivation!

You’re probably wondering if this has helped at all in the bedroom. Yes. A lot, actually. We went from once or twice a month (if I was lucky), to averaging around 16 times per month for the past few months. Yes, I count the number of times we have sex. It’s still an old habit that I have a hard time breaking. I’m a data guy! I can’t help it!

Obviously, my changes have had a huge impact. My wife is in complete denial. She recognizes that we have sex more, but it’s almost like she’s putting on a show where SHE decided that she was suddenly sexual again and it has nothing at all to do with my changes. In fact, she still tries to stop me from going to the gym, she tries to feed me sugary food (something that I have stopped completely since last year), and she even had a major crying fit last month when I went to the gym like I always do before work.

What really bothers me is that I want my wife to be my cheerleader. I want her to support me or even join me. Instead, she seems to try and sabotage me… but she obviously enjoys the results of my hard work. We have more sex than we have in the past 12 years of marriage and she seems more calm and happier than ever. Every now and then, usually around her period, she will get super sullen and depressed about my changes… but then she goes back to normal again.

Is this just expected behavior? Are women really all like this?

R

It is an interesting and annoying phenomenon, isn’t it? It’s a multi-faceted thing and one that can be explained in a variety of ways. I’ll do my best to encapsulate it and give my take on the matter.

As I’ve said many times before: For women in long-term monogamous relationships, safety and security are paramount. Now, I can hear you and other men saying, “Yeah, but doesn’t my newfound physicality, confidence, and bigger paycheck provide her with a heightened sense of safety?!” Yes, in a way… but it also makes some women even more anxious than ever.

Your wife needs to make sure that you’re going to stick around and help run the family machine. She needs to make sure you’re not going to wander off and hook up with some younger prettier thing out there. Science has shown us that the number one predictor of male infidelity is: How many options does he have? To put it in extreme terms, the handsome billionaire with the private jet who flies all over the world leaving his wife and kids behind is FAR more likely to sleep around than the guy who works the stock room at your local Walmart. In the shallow rules of the “mating game”, the billionaire dude has a much higher ranking. So much so, that women are actually chasing HIM. This is a concept that 90% of men can’t fathom.

Now, hardly anybody reading this will come close to the levels of the handsome billionaire, but you CAN tip toe your way towards the top of the proverbial dude pyramid. If your wife is like many, she is acutely aware of any changes in your appearance or demeanor, and she knows which of those behaviors will result in you having more romantic options in life. Those are the changes that she will attempt to squash.

YET, as you point out, she sure does seem to enjoy the spoils of said changes, doesn’t she? She’s more loving, snuggly, sweet, feminine, happy, lustful… everything you always wanted (and probably everything SHE always wanted, too), yet at the same time she will claim, with the utmost sincerity, “You know that all that gym and dressing nice stuff doesn’t mean anything to me, right?”

Wow. Yep… welcome to being a high-value dude in a marriage. It’s sometimes hilarious, baffling, and even angering.

My advice is to just roll with it. Give her comfort when needed. Love the woman. Show her you’re still crazy about her. Continue on with your mission. That’s what winners do. Winners don’t let the inadequacies of others deter them from their purpose and mission in life.

There is a tipping point, though, where her behavior can go to genuinely unhealthy territory. Screaming, throwing tantrums, physical violence, using your kids against you (“Daddy would rather go to the gym than spend time with us”)… all of these are not to be tolerated. If her husband’s self-improvements send her into a severe mental tailspin of anxiety, well… that’s on her. She has problems. She needs to put her big girl pants on and learn to jump on the awesome husband train, or she needs to jump off and go find some boring schlub of a guy who she will refuse to fuck for months at a time.

This brings me to my next point. If a wife chooses to “jump on the train” as I often like to say, what does that mean for her? Does it mean she just gets to sit back, be lazy, and enjoy the spoils of being a wife to a successful man? Nope. It means more work on her part. It means effort. It means going to the gym instead of sitting at home and drinking too much wine. It means actually dressing up instead of wearing the same stained sweatpants again. It means dealing with seeing that woman smile at your man in the restaurant. It means seeing that young gal at the company Christmas party wrapping her arm around your man’s arm, pretending like you don’t exist, and laughing at all of his jokes. It means your man coming to you and showing you the topless photo that some bimbo at work just texted him. It means wondering what your high-value husband is up to while he’s away for a week on a business trip.

Let’s be honest here. For many women, this “living with a high-value dude” scenario sounds exhausting. It’s both mentally and physically draining. Anxiety-producing. Who wants to be with a man who has so many damn options in life that you have to wonder if some random bimbo is trying to lure him away? One interesting thing to note: The man in these scenarios is doing nothing nefarious. He tells the office bimbo that he’s happily married and to stop texting him. He even shows his wife the texts, in the spirit of complete honesty and transparency. He tells the handsy woman at the Christmas party, “It was nice talking to you, but my wife is looking a little lonely over there” as he walks over, calls his wife beautiful, and gives her a big kiss.

For many women… the anxiety of being with Mr. Perfect Man is completely on them. What do they want him to do? Become a lesser version of himself to soothe her inner child? Really? Is that how she treats all of her loved ones? Does she bad-mouth her sister who landed the big job promotion? Does she make fun of her mom for going to Yoga class? Does she drink wine while saying, “Brenda thinks she’s so much better than me because she got a boob job”? Well… I hate to break it to you. Your wife is a fucking loser. Don’t let her dumb ass drag you down.

So, yes, this is pretty common behavior. You’ll see this from a lot of people in your life. Just recognize when it goes too far, don’t be shy about telling her “bad girl”, reassure her, comfort her, reward her when she’s being good…. you know the drill.

Yes, being a high-value dude in a relationship is, at times, exhausting.

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