Mourning the death of a friend’s marriage.

Note: I don’t have a moral to this story, and I see no upside. I wrote about it because it has been weighing heavily on my wife and me for several days now, and writing about it is oddly therapeutic for both of us.

Earlier this week we learned that my wife’s oldest friend is divorcing her husband. It is in my opinion not a frivolous divorce, but deeply troubling nonetheless. Her soon to be ex husband is a compulsive spender and after five years of broken promises, lies, and mounting debt she decided she couldn’t continue. Perhaps the most frustrating is the fact that with some very doable changes they could be very happy. Now the future is bleak for both of them.

My wife’s friend and her husband are both Muslim of Pakistani descent. I’ll refer to my wife’s friend as Amira, and her husband as Aban. Amira was born and raised in the US and is very western. At times she refers to herself as Muslim-Christian, which exemplifies the way she is trying to live in multiple worlds without choosing. She has a bachelors degree in Microbiology and a degree of feminism which doesn’t go over well at the local mosque. She didn’t take Aban’s last name when they married and at one point the tires of her 4×4 pickup were slashed when the men realized it belonged to a Muslim woman. She has a very traditional view of chastity and marriage, and has never been with a man other than Aban.

Aban is a smart, gentle, hard working, and easy going man. He is also a strange mix; when Amira suggested they go camping he agreed on the condition that they do so at a luxury hotel*. Aban prefers not to drive the truck because it intimidates him; he would rather drive a minivan or a car*. He is obsessed with the status he perceives as coming with the latest hot items from the most expensive brands/designers. He and his buddies like to watch Sex and the City*, and he is convinced that frivolous divorcées were just dealt a bad hand in life. He has a deep seated fear of dogs (he once jumped on the nearest couch when his boss’ toy poodle came into the room), and is afraid of guns*.

My wife has been talking with Amira about this blog for several months now, and Amira seemed to “get it” almost instantly. She was quick to share stories about a woman at her workplace who was bragging about her new boyfriend following her empowering (and frivolous) divorce. The colleague went from being married to a good man who was a successful dentist to dating an omega who when visiting the office explained that he always carries a change of underwear because driving in traffic often makes him so nervous he soils himself. She also picked up on the concepts of game almost immediately, and made some very insightful observations.

This week my wife learned that Amira has moved out and is filing for divorce. We knew they were having problems with Aban spending money, but we thought it was generally under control. It turns out that Amira moved out once before over the issue, and Aban had promised to stop his frivolous spending. She tried to help him by having him take cash to buy his lunch at work and cutting up the credit cards. Since internet shopping was a big part of his problem they turned off their internet service. They set aside several hundred dollars for eating out each month and bought gift cards for their favorite restaurants. When the gift cards ran out they would know they needed to wait until the next month to go out to eat. But nothing worked. He went to the bank during his lunch hour and withdrew money to shop. He went to friends’ houses to shop on the internet. He secretly took out a new credit card in his name only and racked up an additional $10,000 in only a year. Aban never saw his spending as a problem, even though both of them were working multiple jobs to pay the monthly minimum on their credit card bills on top of their nearly half a million dollar mortgage (they bought at the height of the housing market).

I don’t know what Amira could have done differently. If anyone has any suggestions my wife and I would love to hear them. Not only were they deep in debt and going deeper every day, but they are in their late 30s and neither has saved anything for retirement. However, while the reason for divorce isn’t frivolous Amira has now fallen in with a clique of frivolous divorcées. She has started parroting the clichés, saying things like “sometimes a couple stops clicking at the 10 year mark”, and telling my wife she won’t understand her like her new divorced friends because she is married. The speed of the transformation is astounding. This isn’t the same woman my wife has known since 7th grade.

While we have repeatedly gone over the reality of divorce for women on this blog, for Amira the future looks especially painful. Her parents had disowned her when she married Aban (he is of a slightly lower caste), and she is reconnecting with her mother now. But her mother won’t give her any peace until she has married her off to a Muslim man of sufficient status. As a feminist Muslim woman who divorced her Muslim husband, Amira will not be treated well by either the suitor her mother picks for her or the other women in her and her mother’s social circle. It is hard as a westerner to fathom the amount of pressure involved here. After Amira married Aban her family said they wanted to meet him. Her father brought a knife and tried to kill Aban. Years later her family contacted her and suggested she could reconcile with them if she met them alone in a private place and didn’t tell anyone she was meeting them. During the same period her grandmother in Pakistan wrote her to warn her not to attend her funeral when she passed, because once they had her in Pakistan they would have complete control over her.

As difficult as getting Aban to change would be, it strikes me as Amira’s best chance at happiness. I don’t know about her attraction (seems to be there more than you would normally expect for his level of betaness), but she does really love Aban. If she marries a non Muslim man she would have to break again with her family, something we don’t think she is willing to do. To her mother nothing short of an arranged marriage to a man of high status will be acceptable, and this would seem to mean a much older doctor or similar professional who won’t think well of her to say the least. They haven’t settled the divorce but from what I know it sounds like it will be about dividing debt and not assets. The one silver lining is they don’t have any children, so the only people harmed will be the two of them. For Aban the future also looks bleak, as I don’t see how he can manage to pay their 400k+ mortgage by himself. Once he/they default on the house his access to credit will dry up, and he will have to live on his own income alone. His days of buying $400 sneakers, getting the latest phone every six months and buying top dollar table cloths would seem to be numbered.

*They live in Northern California (Bay Area). Yes, I know NANCALT.

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122 Responses to Mourning the death of a friend’s marriage.

  1. Passing Gal says:

    Muslim-Christian? That is kinda weird. So Pakistan Muslims adopt the caste system of Indians? I learn a new thing everyday.

    I guess there are nothing Amira can done to change Aban. You can’t change the unwilling.
    The only other way she can do is asking his friends to help her stop the spending.

  2. Gorbachev says:

    I suspect she decided to divorce him and the community of frivolous divorcers just gave her a convenient rationalization.

    The only thing she *SHOULD* do is get away from her family. Frankly. Her family has serious social problems. That their culture normalizes these pathologies is irrelevant.

    There were cultures that practiced human sacrifice, too.

    Not all cultures are equal.

  3. greenlander says:

    Wow, what a story… thanks for writing it.

  4. Paige says:

    As a Catholic I would tell her to pursue a legal separation rather than a divorce. Live like she is divorced without the dating…for at least a year..and then work towards a reconciliation through a gradual dating process.

  5. Gorbachev says:

    Not a bad idea – but a year without the dating?

    It’s taking an awful risk. Neither side may live up to that, and her family is going to work on her endlessly.

  6. Amirantes says:

    A very sad story. I hate to be an armchair psychologist, but could there be underlying issues behind Aban’s spending that were never properly addressed?

    It’s one thing to cut up the cards, and give him spending money … but if the ‘why’ spending and status are so important to Aban is not looked at, isn’t it more or less a given, that the bandaids wouldn’t stick? The giveaway is the secret credit card in his name…

  7. red says:

    She picked poorly and her family knew it. As far as fixing the problem? I doubt there is one. At 40 starting over is not going to happen.

    Though now that I think of it legal divorce along with staying married in truth might not be a bad deal. She can save money and get some income from him and he can spend and bankrupt himself as often as he pleases. As long as they are not legally connected she can be responsible while he is not.

  8. Ceer says:

    Can they divorce legally and still live together in religious marriage, use all separate bank accounts and other financial recources, and get one of Aban’s more miserly relatives involved in the situation? If none of these are options, I’m not sure what can be done.

  9. Dalrock says:

    @Amirantes
    I hate to be an armchair psychologist, but could there be underlying issues behind Aban’s spending that were never properly addressed?

    I think you are on target with this. Unfortunately no one else of influence to him is pressuring him to change. His friends and the other men (and women) at the mosque are equally as obsessed with status, and his relatives from Pakistan are always asking him if he has the latest car or Ipod or whatever.

    @Paige

    Your advice seems like the best option. My wife doesn’t think her friend would do that now though based on the influence from her divorced friends and her family.

    BTW, thanks to everyone for your comments.

  10. NMH says:

    Aban may have some compulsive issues that could be treatable with drugs.

    They should watch a few episodes of “Until Debt Do Us Part” In that show, my observation is a third of the time its the man that is the spending maniac, a third of the time its the woman, and a third its both. However, there are solutions described on the show that help get the spending under control, that they may have not tried.

    Aban has no business being married until he can control his spending.

    Men complain that addition to general bitchery and obesity that American women are status whores, but it seems like most foreign women, on average, are worse in this category. Maybe not so much Amira but the mother who drives her to marry a man of high status is an example, and it seems like the foreign women Ive met here (in the USA) are obsessed with the man’s status than the average american woman. If American women were not so bitchy and obese they really would be the best women in the world.

  11. Kate says:

    Having lived with and worked with many peoples from this culture, they taught me a very valuable lesson: going against your family to marry a guy is never worth it. OK, well maybe if your family is in some unreasonable cult it’s worth just severing from them, but otherwise, this traditional rules have an excellent track record. Look at the stats for marriages between socioeconomic classes, ethnicities, countries, etc. They aren’t good. I almost got married to a guy from a different country that my family didn’t approve of, but I’m so glad I didn’t (the Romeo & Juliet tingle wore off thank God before we could go through with it). I have lots of friends, both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish, who had “modern” arranged marriages (different from the more backwards type because their is a courtship period and the woman makes the ultimate choice from a set of suitors unlike in rural Afghanistan where your parents pick some old dude when you are 7), and these women are very happy. It’s a radical idea these days, but your parents really do know you and have your interests at heart.

    My grandparents hated my mom and that caused huge rifts in our family. I’m looking for a more harmonious future and only dating men I’d like to take home who are of the same religion and value system.

  12. jules says:

    I’m from India and whoo! she’s got tough times ahead of her if she wants to stick with her family AND have a meaningful, independent life.
    Family pressure is a big deal in South Asian communities, but less so with the knifing and more about selecting a “proper bwoy”.
    I’d point to peer pressure as well. All South Asians have this weird need to compete with one another when they come here. Again, my experience has been in Indian communities where people compete for status within their means. But that’s seen more with independent couples like Amira and Aban. My Indian friend’s family (back home) excoriated him for buying a dinner table (from Ikea) because he had just arrived in America.

  13. PT Barnum says:

    I say this because I am apparently the only one empathic enough… hee, hee, really… to think to ask, are there fertility issues? Is Amira able to conceive? Is Aman sterile? Does she want children? Does he want children? Have them been trying? Children are a very, very serious important of marriage. Without knowing what is going on there, it is simply impossible to know exactly what is going on. “Excessive Debt” may not be the real reason at all. His erratic behavior may be based on other very serious problems.

    Also, the medical industry has been going through a brutal round of lay-offs…. just right now. She works in that industry?

    Second, bankruptcy is an option. Maybe the social humiliation will calm his *bleep* down. Of course, without knowing the child-having situation, it is impossible to really say.

    Kate hallucinated:

    It’s a radical idea these days, but your parents really do know you and have your interests at heart.

    Dan Rather’s book, “The Greatest Generation” is a shining testament to the humility and all around wonderfulness of oldsters. They are never selfish, even when spending every last penny of their inheritance from their parents to say alive one more hour. Do the grandchildren need to go to college? Do they? Do they need a house before they are 40? Of course not. They need Grandma. That’s who they need. She is doing it for them, really. Spare me.

  14. jules says:

    Family pressure in her case is more of the parochial kind, more hellbent on status in the community rather than choosing best for her that also meets the community’s approval. The modern way is to select a boy or girl from within the “caste” and let them know each other before going ahead with the marriage. The more liberal families even let the kids date and live together before marriage.
    Peer pressure in his case is of conspicuous consumerism. I’ve seen guys with kids buy sports cars and then speak jealously of the features in the latest toyota minivan.

  15. Svar says:

    @ Passing Gal

    “So Pakistan Muslims adopt the caste system of Indians? I learn a new thing everyday.”

    That’s what I was thinking too. I thought Muslims rejected it.

  16. Svar says:

    This story is pretty messed up

  17. JG says:

    It appears that Aban will not change his ways voluntarily and that nothing outside of bankruptcy and homelessness will force him to reflect on why he does what he does. Sad that the marriage came to this but Amira should not follow him down toward financial ruin.

  18. Badger says:

    Unreal. Sorry to hear about this extremely complicated tale.

    I can’t say I ever applaud someone who chooses to divorce, but there are times when it’s the right decision. If she already moved out once, she’s clearly given the ultimatum and following through is the right move.

    Don’t know how she could have seen it coming or prepared for it. Sounds like the guy has not a personality problem but a compulsion; if he was a hot mess all over his life I’d think he just had a discipline problem. Paging Athol Kay for a psych’s advice but I’m loath to view those as problems to work out the same way a couple might negotiate housework or deciding where to eat.

    Sad she is parroting divorce nonsense.

  19. Eric says:

    What this story illustrates more than anything else is that American culture is toxic to gender relations. It contaminates women with its intrinsic hatred of men.

  20. jules says:

    RE: the pakistani muslims and caste. Muhajirs (muslims from india who emigrated during partition) are looked down upon by people who consider themselves to be native, cultured pakistanis. There’s also ethnic muslims from the tribal areas who are the hillbilly types. There’s the persian/arab (origin) split and a sunni/shia split. Tajiki and Panjshiri muslims are despised. The head of Afghanistan’s CIA used to be a tajik and he was virtually ignored or called a pig/dog by the Pakistani diplomats.

    Less to do with the defined caste system of hinduism.

  21. Pickle says:

    I would say they should together, sit done and pursue some therapy for him and her. He sounds like he has a spending addiction. She absolutely must abandon the divorce band wagon at work. There will be no chance of fixing anything if she gets further into the mindset she is heading. It is probably still savable.

  22. PT Barnum says:

    TV Sitcom addiction continues.

    You imagine you have all the facts, because barring a surprising twist, the TV show has told you everything you need to know.

    This is the really real world.

    [D: Who are you talking to?]

  23. sestamibi says:

    @svar, jules–

    Thanks for the clarification re “Muslim castes”. That thought occurred to me too when I read the story. However, it appears that the Muslim divisions have less to do with hierarchy than Koranic interpretations.

  24. Kai says:

    “Kate says:
    Having lived with and worked with many peoples from this culture, they taught me a very valuable lesson: going against your family to marry a guy is never worth it”

    I would temper that with ‘when you have an otherwise harmonious relationship with your family’. When you have a good relationship with your family, and they don’t like the person you plan to marry, it’s a good idea to take a really good look at that person, and try to see what your family is seeing.
    But nice as it would be for all families to be functional, caring, and helpful, they are not. And if you already have a struggling relationship with your family due to other issues, I’d take their advice on your relationships a little less deeply.

    [D: Excellent point. The other thing I would add is not underestimate the amount of pressure your parents can bring to bear over the course of the marriage. If you aren’t willing to ultimately break with your parents, it will probably end with disaster.]

  25. Chris says:

    I’d like to agree with Paige, but this is a situation where she could end up bankrupted herself (marital debt) particularly if he is being dishonest. I agree that the status thing for Pakistanis is huge — I have had to be involved with managing this — and she could find that she has countersigned things she has not done because he’s forged things. (Yes, I’ve seen it). Or the tax man comes after them both.

    Dalrock, if there are kids and you are not mentioning them due to discretion, these need to be the priority.

    [D: Fortunately there are no kids.]

    Practically, I’d adopt her into the church (she may even convert, but the issue now is getting her support and the bridges with her family are burnt), get her finances sorted, out, and advise her to not make any moves (and tell the men sniffing around her NOT to make any moves — if you have good leadership this is do-able) until it’s very very clear that the marriage is over (ie. he’s filed or skipped or has someone else) or they reconcile.

    This is all extremely sad.

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  27. cleared in hot says:

    It also may be that the “parroting” issue is less that she really believes all that and more that it offers some sense of emotional understanding & comfort to her in the middle of a very difficult time…?

  28. Opus says:

    Dalrock,

    It is a very sad and strange story, but, there is only so much a friend can do. It is not, ultimately, your problem, or your wife’s.

    [D: Excellent observation.]

  29. A sad story.

    I’m trying to figure out if her feminism has nothing to do with what happened, or it was a stealth cause underlying her decision to leave.

    With the information available, however, I tend to agree with Gorbachev…it appears she fell in with the community of divorcees after the fact. But I guarantee you she was thinking about heading for the exit long before she actually did it.

    [D: I agree that she was clearly considering leaving long before it materialized. His spending had gone on for about 8 years, but it was only in the last 5 that she was really pushing back hard. To the extent that she was hearing whispers though I don’t think it was from divorced friends but from her mother; now of course it is from both.]

    Paige’s idea of a legal divorce without physical separation is interesting…and California is not a common law marriage state, so she’s got that going for her.

    @ Chris wrote:

    “Practically, I’d adopt her into the church (she may even convert…”
    If her bridges weren’t completely burnt with her family, this would do it. Being an apostate in the Moslem world is no fun.

  30. TGP says:

    D–

    Your description of Aban makes him sound, to me, like a woman.

  31. Opus says:

    I’ve re-read the story and pondered a little. A few things are now jumping out at me.

    Aban is lower caste (I, as a white male, cannot have any intuitive idea what that can mean), however Aban is also a compulsive spender. Both Aban and Amira are now in their late thirties and childless, and Amira is now getting together with the Eat/Pray/Love crowd.

    Is the problem this: Aban (who was nearly killed by his father-in-law by reason of Aban’s low caste) is, attempting to demonstrate to Amira, by reason of his profligate spending, (a substitute for) high caste. I suspect, however, that no matter how much he spends he will never be able to shake-off the stigma of low caste. Amira, however, is neither really accepted (by reason of Islam, and possibly colour) in America as an American or accepted (by reason of Feminism) in Pakistan as Pakistani. She is divided between what she knows and what her family are. She has bought into the female western dream (4×4, science degree, double income) yet is unfulfilled (as she can see her Pakistani relatives who are female would be) in that she is childless.

    Is this ultimately an indictment of the idea that the American Dream can be acquired by anyone, whereas in reality one has to be able to slew-off ones past like a snake its skin. Aban and Amira seem unable to do this. I can see only comparative unhappiness for both of them. I am at this point thinking of Governor Schwarzenegger, whose Austrian origin is never really apparent. He looks American , sounds (more or less) American and Austria is not that different (Xtian, same essential culture, samd colour).

    When I lived in the states (like De Tocqueville, briefly) I noticed most people said they were Italian American , Irish American or whatever, but to me their claimed origin was not noticeable. The same I fear would not be said of Aban and Amira.

  32. Lovekraft says:

    the two of them should watch, on Slice tv.ca, the show “Till Debt do us Part” which gives great advice on how to get out of the financial mess they are in.

    [D: We have that show in the US as well. We suggested that several years back but he doesn’t see his spending as a problem and wouldn’t watch it with her.]

  33. krakonos says:

    @Dalrock
    Haven’t you swapped sexes? Aban looks like a typical female®.

  34. TDOM says:

    I haven’t read the other comments, so someone may have already said this.

    Problems in a marriage are typically not a one-way street. there are several red flags here and aban’s spending problem is only the most visible symptom. You state that Amira is from a higher caste. she refused to take Aban’s name when they married. She is a feminist from a culture that is very patriarchal. Aban seems quite timid and not particularly masculine. Trucks and dogs intimidate him. he watches TV programs that typically appeal to women. He is obsessed with shopping (another primarily female activity). By these accounts she is the man in the family and he is the woman.

    Like trucks and dogs, he is probably intimidated by his wife’s dominance and she probably knows it, at least on some level. She is also willing to flaunt he dominance by purchasing the 4×4. It is her way of telling him he is less than a man. He is too weak and passive to confront this directly and spending money would appear to be the one way he asserts himself and is an attempt to gain some power and control in their relationship. It is passive-aggressive behavior because he is able to do it behind his wife’s back. Being from a lower caste, it is also likely his way of trying to rise above his station to a level that his wife can respect. Unfortunately, it is maladaptive and creating problems.

    It may or may not be too late, but marriage counseling would be a good idea. She needs to see that she is immasculating him and he needs to find the courage to confront this head on instead of with his passive-aggressive spending.

    TDOM

  35. Gorbachev says:

    What TDOM said.

  36. greenlander says:

    +1 TDOM

  37. Dalrock says:

    @TDOM
    Problems in a marriage are typically not a one-way street. there are several red flags here and aban’s spending problem is only the most visible symptom. You state that Amira is from a higher caste. she refused to take Aban’s name when they married. She is a feminist from a culture that is very patriarchal. Aban seems quite timid and not particularly masculine. Trucks and dogs intimidate him. he watches TV programs that typically appeal to women. He is obsessed with shopping (another primarily female activity). By these accounts she is the man in the family and he is the woman.

    I think there is much truth to this with some small caveats. I don’t think his caste ever meant anything to her, but it obviously did to her parents. Also, she bought the truck several years before they were married (before they even met). They’ve been married for 10 years, and I think her truck is about 13 years old. But I do think the roles ended up reversed, and it isn’t surprising that this would create a great deal of tension. I think they both are trying to have things both ways. He could easily have found a far more submissive Muslim wife. The women in their group often don’t even have a drivers license (and don’t want one). This is the case for his brother’s wife. By western standards Amira wouldn’t seem like a typical feminist (I was surprised when she didn’t take his name). She has always been somewhat shy when I spoke with her; she isn’t at all loud or domineering. I’ve never understood why Aban gravitated so much towards the feminine. Amira has always joked to my wife that this is normal for Muslim men, and I think she really would have preferred he be more manly. Like many other women, I don’t think she understood her own role in the dynamic. Being in a very liberal place probably made it all the worse, since masculinity is seen very differently in the San Francisco area than it is in say Dallas. He didn’t strike me as feminine when I met him after they first married. But this was when they lived in Colorado.

    After they moved to Northern California was when his obsession with spending and turn towards the feminine first occurred. From what I now know of game I think part of the problem was how they started out. He came into her world when he married her. He moved into her apartment and they both worked like crazy for a year or two paying off her student loans. Then he found work in Silicon Valley and moved out there. They lived apart for about a year and a half (maybe 2) only seeing each other once every six months before she followed him and found a new job out there.

  38. Dalrock says:

    @Jules
    Peer pressure in his case is of conspicuous consumerism. I’ve seen guys with kids buy sports cars and then speak jealously of the features in the latest toyota minivan.

    The entire comment this was in as well as the one before it all rang true to me. The two sentences quoted above seem especially on the mark. I could easily see Aban doing this.

    I don’t have any knowledge on the subject of caste (your third comment). I would have thought it wasn’t an issue in Pakistan but it evidently is in some form, at least to her parents. I tend to think they could have overlooked caste if Aban had been a doctor though. Her mother had tried very hard to set her up with Muslim doctors, but they all expected a traditional Muslim wife. Amira wasn’t willing to sign up for that.

  39. TDOM says:

    I would say that the decision to not take his name is a good indicator that the caste difference may be more important than she lets on. She may be trying to put it aside on a conscious level, but unconsciously she holds onto it. Her family’s feelings about it reinforce it in her and it creates a cognitive dissonance that she hasn’t been able to reconcile.

    Being the dominant, controlling partner in a marriage doesn’t necessarily mean being loud, forceful, or “domaneering.” It doesn’t even mean being abusive. It sounds like she has taken on more of the “male” role in the marriage and is the head of household. She makes the important decisions even if she “discusses” them with him first. he moved into her world, she refused to take his name, she’s kept a vehicle that he doesn’t like, they worked a couple years to pay off her student loans, she left him, etc. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that his job change was her idea (even if she didn’t want the move to Silicon Valley). She probably picked out the house they bought. No kids, was that her decision as well?

    the job change interests me and may say a lot about the relationship. If it was her idea, how did he feel about leaving? Did he believe he was being cast out and had to prove himself worthy in order to have her rejoin him? If it was his idea, why did he feel the need to leave? Why did she rejoin him?

    One more thought. It almost seems as though she has arranged their entire marriage so that it could easily be exited. it may sound as though I’m blaming her, but I’m not. I want to understand her behavior to better understand his.

    TDOM

  40. Lia S. says:

    Coming from a cultural perspective that is similar (but not the same) to Pakistani culture (Indian), I am familiar with the complexities of how upbringing can play a detrimental role or a beneficial role in marriage.

    I was not born in the U.S., but was raised here yet my parents were rather ingenious in the way they raised my siblings and I. We are very Americanized but through our upbringing we were taught that our cultural values needed to play a huge role in our identities and the way we were to live life as we got older. There was a heavy emphasis on traditionalism and the importance of marriage as part of the milestones of life. My parents are not feminists, but somehow taught us that you can still achieve things in life (college, jobs, etc.) but that does not preclude throwing out traditional principles and beliefs. My parents weren’t perfect either– far from it– but somehow my mom especially, taught me the importance of being a wife, mother, and homemaker came first before a high-powered career.

    Unfortunately, there are also other cultural influences that can act contrary to traditional views on marriage and relationships between men and women. Hoards of Pakistani and Indian children– both boys and girls– are raised with the belief that you MUST be educated, you MUST go to college, get a “good” full-time job, be self-assertive, be a nurse/doctor/engineer/IT professional, come up with the cure for cancer, etc. The typical idealization of the American Dream given to most first-generation immigrant children. It seems to be worse if their children were born in the U.S., versus emigrating with the parents at a young age.

    What a lot of parents don’t understand is how they are going to feed their children this idealization yet balance it with traditional views on marriage and roles for men and women. College, getting a full-time job, assertiveness, etc. are rather masculine roles and aspirations that women are supposed to accept as well. YET, women are also somehow expected to be able to somehow have at least 3 children (because the parents want grandchildren before 55, you know), still care for the home and have it look immaculate, and bend over backwards to the whims of their in-laws (most of the time they are terrible to her). Ever wonder why a traditional Pakistani or Indian woman who has to live with the MIL or be around her a lot wants to get out to work? Because the MIL drives her crazy!

    Yes it is easy to place most of the blame on women, especially since in this case it really does look like the wife is more dominant than her husband. Can we really be surprised though, when these women are force-fed dominant attributes from childhood, are expected to excel at everything, and can have it all? Simply because they are in America? Women from these cultures are expected to put up with a lot, and oftentimes abusive situations occur where the father either abdicates his responsibility as protector or rejects it by becoming the abuser himself. Dalrock is right in saying there is a lot of cultural pressure– women are expected to accept the pressure as a typical part of life, and what would most people do to live with that kind of life? Women develop dominant characteristics that are part of their personalities, and it’s often paired with feminist ideals as well. For many women, it’s part of their survival. No, it’s not “right”, but that is reality. You are expected to “tough it out,” with a high exposure to hardship that would normally be expected upon boys and men from a Western standpoint.

    In my experience, along with what many others have shared with me, Pakistani and Indian men are often raised in the most beta-ized way by their mothers. They can never do anything wrong, are always right, have almost their every need and whim catered to them, and essentially are hanging off their mothers’ teat even into early adulthood. It continues a vicious cycle with son preference. This level of pedestalizing continues even into adulthood, with the mothers taking everything their sons want and say as golden truth, even eschewing the fathers’ sensibilities (and usurping the husband/father’s role, to cater to the son instead). It is extremely damaging when a son sees that his mother does not respect his father enough to put down the boundaries when it comes to him. As a result, many men come to expect this behavior. Is it really any wonder why so many marriages between Pakistani or Indian couples have difficulties? Sons often take their mothers’ sides more than they ever consider themselves joined to their wives. Mothers often continue to expect that they will come first even after their sons are married and have their own families. There is hardly evidence of “leave and cleave.” It is complete “momma’s boy” syndrome.

    Seeing that the family of the husband is obsessed with status is no surprise to me. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason the plain fact of being in the U.S. somehow equates to you must have the latest gadget or lots of luxury spending money, or anything else frivolous. Status for men and women, trumps traditional principles and roles, simply because you are in America. I suspect that is an underlying feminist influence, but do not know the mechanism for that effect.

    This couple doesn’t just need counseling– they need to distance them selves from family for a while in order to get their relationship in order. Amira needs to take a long and hard look at herself and ask if she did anything to enable her husband’s behavior. She should consider if she was actually feeding the problem more than helping to solve it. The fact that she tried to set up a system to curb Aban’s spending seems too controlling and invasive– cutting up the credit cards and only having so much spending money. I’d want to know– was budgeting ever discussed before marriage? What is considered luxury spending, necessities, etc.? If it was, what caused such a change to make Aban become such a high spender?

    In addition to Amira accepting and analyzing her contribution to the problem, Aban should also carefully consider what kind of husband he wants to be. Especially coming from a highly patriarchal culture, I am surprised that he would resort to many behaviors that are seen as feminine as a way to exert control and influence. For all we know, Aban may have married Amira because she had the qualities that he wanted to eventually seek to become a dominant man. Sometimes opposites are attractive because it’s novelty and there is a longing to gain a little bit of what the other has. Trouble is, he doesn’t know how to adopt those qualities or may be used to being “under” her that he figures why bother.

    I should also mention– there are different levels of “traditional Muslim wife” we need to consider. Amira may be more feminist than she is letting on. In the U.S., there are many traditional Muslim husbands who are able to exert dominance over their wives while allowing for a good breadth of independence. Amira and Aban both should cut down on the contact they have with their respective families, reconsider their roles within the marriage, and move forward from there. They appear to be easily influenced, and if they cared to make the marriage work would cloister together and ignore everyone. Even families may not always have a couple’s best interests at heart.

  41. Badger says:

    I initially thought all this discussion about the gender roles was much ado about nothing, but I’m starting to turn around on that…

    It certainly seems the killer issue is the man’s spending. Let’s say he had fixed those problems though. That’s not to say they wouldn’t have hit major issues with their marriage roles once the financial issues had been fixed.

  42. Sweet As says:

    It has probably been said before, but he’s obviously got a psychological issue — a compulsive shopping (addiction) problem.

    This is similar to having a gambling problem, etc etc etc. and it needs to be treated as such.

    While my own husband’s issues are different, this is a psychological issue that — like alcoholism — is at a certain measure without “blame.” Yes, he is responsible for his actions and his choices, but without the skills to work through his compulsion, he isn’t very conscious of what is going on.

    I would suggest that he seek out psychological help (in addition to third-party financial planning, which is often something that sponsors of compulsive shoppers demand, just as sponsors of compulsive eaters require a dietitian’s plan), and that — as paige says — she takes a legal separation for the time being, and sees how well he does with the new plan.

  43. Eric says:

    Reading through the comments from women on this thread, one I thing I noticed: there is a conspicuous absence of any concern for the husband. Probably this shouldn’t be surprising, empathy for males is hardly an outstanding female characteristic.

    True, the husband has a problem. So where are all the ‘trad women’ now with their ’till death do us part’ platitudes? No, the man has a problem—and a financial one at that—so he’s of no further use to the wife and therefore, expendable.

    It amazes me how these same women continually justify their attraction to abusive, dysfunctional thugs but are ready to jump ship on a decent man the minute he falls one iota short of their unrealistic standards of perfection. What if the gender roles were reversed and the wife had a spending problem? How would we judge the husband if he bailed on the wife when she most needed him? I think we all know the answer to that question.

  44. Ecclesiastes says:

    It’s a frivolous divorce. If she can’t separate herself financially from her husband, they go bankrupt together and she rebuilds her credit separately.

    I was able to separate myself financially from my wife, who went bankrupt. Only the real world can teach this lesson. It’s not a lethal one.

    She’s a quitter and deserves what happens to her in the future.

  45. Paige says:

    It sucks when you write checks and they bounce because your husband/wife took everything out of the bank account. It sucks when you go to buy a house and find out your credit is in the gutter and you may *never* own a home because of it. You can’t open a business…you may even have hard time getting a job because more and more employers are checking credit.

    Did you know you can actually go to jail for fraud because your spouse took the liberty to sign your name to a check that was no good?

    This isn’t frivolous at all. This is serious business. A husband/wife who compulsively spends can ruin easily ruin your life.

  46. Ecclesiastes says:

    Paige,

    Fraud was not part of the description. If he commits fraud, he goes to jail, not her.

    I was divorced, but I didn’t QUIT. You sound like a quitter, someone who can’t make a commitment. Someone who doesn’t know what a commitment is. Someone, well, kinda like my Ex.

    Smile!

  47. Paige says:

    Part of maintaining a stable marriage is letting the other spouse know that you are there by choice and you can quit at anytime. Neither husbands nor wives should get so comfortable that they think there are never any consequences to actions.

  48. Kai says:

    “TDOM says:
    One more thought. It almost seems as though she has arranged their entire marriage so that it could easily be exited. it may sound as though I’m blaming her, but I’m not. I want to understand her behavior to better understand his.”
    What reasons do you have for this? It sounds to me like she was living a reasonable life. Is a woman having a job and owning a car unacceptable because it gives her the possibility of self-support?

  49. Ecclesiastes says:

    Paige,

    Bankruptcy is a consequence and something about “for richer and for poorer” springs to mind. I don’t suppose that was in her vows nor yours.

    We’re not going to agree. I’m about the honor, and you’re about the money. My Grandfather told me to never confuse the two. Neither will substitute for the other.

  50. LBD says:

    I am surprised that nobody here has contemplated the high probability that the husband is gay. Muslim culture contains a LOT of homosexual behavior which is utterly denied by the participants. Amira may be entirely innocent of “feminizing” him. It may just be that the pressure of being a closeted homosexual in a very gay friendly community has resulted in his acting out in a very feminized, passive aggressive manner. His other characteristics described here may be a big clue–fear of things men usually do not fear, a taste for chick flick entertainment, etc. Perhaps he could only hide it for just so long before snapping. If he were not foreign, you might have been able to “read” him more easily.

  51. LBD says:

    …also, why should she be expected to stay in a marriage if he is gay and has not given her either children or a modest level of security?

  52. Paige says:

    How dare you sit there an accuse me when you don’t even know me! My husband doesn’t even have a fucking job…and he probably never will. I am in the process of becoming the breadwinner for my family. You nasty self-righteous fool!

    At least my husband doesn’t BETRAY me by racking up secret credit card debt. If I did that to him I would deserve whatever he decided to do to me. There is NO EXCUSE for that shit.

  53. Lia S. says:

    @Ecclesiastes:

    Aside from Paige’s er…colorful response I think you may have missed what was said earlier. She does believe that they should work it out, but is also pointing out the obvious fact that these financial issues need to be dealt with adequately. They aren’t to be waved away lightly and need to be considered within the entire context of helping the marriage. No, the fraud in itself is NOT a good excuse to get divorced or to pander to that as an option. I agree that separating financially would be the best way to start the healing process, if it was considered.

    @Eric:

    Please reread what was said. Both men and women have commented that they should separate, with men and women also stating that they should stay together. I attempted to explain the phenomenon from a cultural standpoint– which is something that needs to be considered in light of their marital issue. It may be not palatable to read and accept but that is reality. When a man is raised witnessing his mother override his father on important issues, especially with boundaries, he gets used to this from his wife as an adult. Bad– very, very bad.

    What is sad about this case, is the wife attempted to do that to her husband but her attempts backfired in the most horrific way. She emasculated him– what else would telling him how he can and can’t spend his money be? Research also shows that women tend to have worse personal finances, have more debt, and file bankruptcy more than men. Clearly, men are better at financial matters and a wife should be open to learning from her husband. Amira may have thought she was more knowledgeable and probably dismissed or overrode what Aban was trying to communicate. This is my own armchair interpretation, but I suspect he probably made a few bids early in the marriage but gave up after Amira placed herself as the Captain in that domain.

    Even more ridiculous is she has accepted the divorce-okay mentality. That is more concerning.

  54. Gorbachev says:

    I go with the gay thing. Not quite gay, maybe: Very effeminate. As he gets more comfortable, he shows this behavior more.

    I know guys like this. Lots of Asian and South Asian guys hide behind cultural norms, as masculinity is variously practiced – but there are tons of gay Muslims. I remember working with a guy who researched this extensively (who was also gay). He was Chinese; he was closeted, but open with some foreigners (it was nice: he was a massively successful pickup artist, in a way, but was uninterested in banging chicks; a superb dancer (salsa), sexy as shit for all the women – and utterly uninterested in them off the dance floor. When I was with him, I basically got to associate with one of the best male dancers around, buddied etc., and got my pick of the women who wanted him or his associates but he didn’t want. It was fantastic. The reverse of the chick with the gay friend.)

    But I learned a lot. I suspect there may be some sexual identity stuff going on, which the woman is equally unaware of. She likely has no idea what to look for, nor could see it honestly if she saw it.

    His behavior sounds very gay.

    Id ask what their sex life was like. Given that she has no reference point to compare it to, that may not be a fruitful avenue of inquiry, either.

    Lots of men (and fewer women) have gay tendencies. I’d put it around 5-10%. Outright gay, not that many. They tend to be obvious and to congregate. But kinda gay – lots.

  55. Kai says:

    “Lia S. says: She emasculated him– what else would telling him how he can and can’t spend his money be? Research also shows that women tend to have worse personal finances, have more debt, and file bankruptcy more than men. Clearly, men are better at financial matters and a wife should be open to learning from her husband. Amira may have thought she was more knowledgeable and probably dismissed or overrode what Aban was trying to communicate. This is my own armchair interpretation, but I suspect he probably made a few bids early in the marriage but gave up after Amira placed herself as the Captain in that domain.”

    Seriously?
    On average, more men are better with money than women. That still says nothing at all about any given individual man or woman. In this specific case, the man has clearly demonstrated that he is not remotely competent with financial matters, where the woman at least seems to have the desire and will to make it work. Any wife should be open to learning from her husband, *and any husband should be open to learning from his wife*. It is better for a couple to take a realistic look at which person has which skills, which might not always be the same gendered person in each different couple.
    This is not a case of a man who is good with money being emasculated until he can’t do anything else. Fiscally responsible people, when met with domineering partners, do not turn into fiscally irresponsible spendthrifts. A man who spends flagrantly, lies and sneaks to do it, and refuses to see any problem or look to an outsider (even a *male* outsider) for advice is not a responsible man who’s being emasculated. It’s a fiscally irresponsible man.
    And she’s not telling him what he can do with *his* money. There is no *his* money in marriage – it’s *their* money, and she has just as much right to comment on how it is spent. It sounds like there was an attempt to make a budget that did allow room for some fun money for each, and she didn’t attempt to dictate what was done with the designated *his* money. But when someone who holds your future in their hands throws it away and refuses to make any plans to change, it’s not emasculating to try to do something about it. It’s necessary.

  56. Kai says:

    “Gorbachev says:
    Lots of men (and fewer women) have gay tendencies. I’d put it around 5-10%. Outright gay, not that many. They tend to be obvious and to congregate. But kinda gay – lots.”

    Really? I had always thought that men were more often completely straight or completely gay, while women tended to be more open to switching. Are you basing that on stats? I’d be interested in the details if I’ve had the wrong impression all along.

  57. Butterfly Flower says:

    @Ecclesiastes:

    Why are you flaming Paige?

    I think she raised some legitimate points. Financial irresponsibility isn’t some frivolous grievance.

    Paige isn’t concerned about the money aspect; she just thinks it’s wrong for a husband to get himself into debt without caring about the consequences that might effect his wife.

  58. Kai says:

    “Ecclesiastes says:
    Bankruptcy is a consequence and something about “for richer and for poorer” springs to mind. I don’t suppose that was in her vows nor yours.
    We’re not going to agree. I’m about the honor, and you’re about the money. My Grandfather told me to never confuse the two. Neither will substitute for the other.”

    When people talk about ‘for richer and for poorer’, they are generally talking about circumstances causing the poverty – not one partner steadily making avoidable choices to cause the poverty. I suspect ‘amira’ in this situation would have no interest in divorce if her husband struggled to get a job, or was fired, or was working something that did not bring home a lot of money. A united couple can work through poverty together because they have the same goals and desires. A couple thrust into poverty due to the willful actions of one member is an entirely different story and not comparable.
    As for honour, we can certainly use that as the standard. Trust is one of the most important things in a marriage – living up to your vows is pretty much its basis. When one person betrays the trust by going behind the other’s back to spend money and endanger the future of the two of them, he has dishonoured the marriage. It is honourable to give second chances to someone who wants to change, and to do the best you can to help each other and to work through it, but when the one partner continues to betray the trust of the marriage – and deny any wrongdoing, and lack any effort to change and fix the problems, after a point the ‘honour’ of staying becomes stupidity.

  59. Lia S. says:

    @ Kai,

    Calm down. I was also alluding to Eric’s statements about how would a wife be treated in a similar situation. “Any given individuals”– in other words, “special snowflakes”–need not apply here.

    For all we know, Amira’s forceful nature in handling this situation probably created a tenfold effect. Each implementation to control may have caused her husband to want to fight against the restrictions more than the last. Not much learning can happen from either one in that situation.

  60. Chris says:

    Firstly, I agree that getting her involved with the Church may destroy her status in the family. Even in North California.

    Secondly, the issues of his compulsive spending and the damage that will do her are underestimated by many. She needs to be legally separate from him. If that was able to be done, and he was being counselled by someone (and there are Pakistanis who do have their heads screwed on around this — he’s associating with the ones who are all externals. He needs someone to point him in the correct direction) Then a period of separation, re establishment of a foundation for both of them, and then agreement to come back together may work. You would need both families to work on this issue together.

    There are other parts of this which will make it awful: NorCal is still hideously expensive to live in & the high wage / high tech jobs are in decline — structurally at this time, as the FDA is making it almost impossible to licence new medications.

    If not, the bridges are burnt, and the Church as to do what it is called to do. Minister to the broken.

    Without more information, it is impossible to counsel. But… this is not Dalrock or his wife. They can only offer to help — they cannot run these two lives.

  61. Kai says:

    “Eric says:
    Reading through the comments from women on this thread, one I thing I noticed: there is a conspicuous absence of any concern for the husband. Probably this shouldn’t be surprising, empathy for males is hardly an outstanding female characteristic.

    True, the husband has a problem. So where are all the ‘trad women’ now with their ’till death do us part’ platitudes? No, the man has a problem—and a financial one at that—so he’s of no further use to the wife and therefore, expendable.

    What if the gender roles were reversed and the wife had a spending problem? How would we judge the husband if he bailed on the wife when she most needed him?”

    The issue is not that the man has a problem. And of note – it’s not exactly ‘falling slightly short of perfection’ – he has a serious problem that is endangering their future.
    The issue is that the man has a major problem, refuses to admit that he has a problem, and has no interest in doing anything at all to fix the problem.
    If a spouse had a spending problem, and wanted to get it under control, we would think the other partner an ass for abandoning him/her in the time of need. If he could recognise a problem, go for counseling, commit to making a budget together and working through his problem, it sounds like she would be thrilled to stay with him and support him and work for a future together. Quite a few people have expressed concern for what might be underlying his issues, and the need for him to address that.
    It sounds to me like she doesn’t need him – but she wants him. She’s not throwing him away because he isn’t useful to her, but because he’s actively working against her.
    If the genders were reversed, the issue would be identical. One member of a marital partnership who is undermining the trust and destroying the future should be supported and encouraged to change and fix whatever is causing the problem. but if it is continued and unrepentant, there comes a point where it may be necessary to cut your losses.
    The mentions of financial separation without divorce are nice, but don’t usually work. In a community property state (which I think is most, but I am not certain how you do things), as long as they are legally wed, she is responsible for all his money issues, and cannot protect any sort of future for herself or him as long as they remain married.
    And beyond the money, any spouse that would betray the trust like that is bringing much bigger issues than finances.

  62. Kai says:

    “Lia S. says:
    Calm down. I was also alluding to Eric’s statements about how would a wife be treated in a similar situation. “Any given individuals”– in other words, “special snowflakes”–need not apply here.
    For all we know, Amira’s forceful nature in handling this situation probably created a tenfold effect. Each implementation to control may have caused her husband to want to fight against the restrictions more than the last. Not much learning can happen from either one in that situation.”

    I am perfectly calm – don’t know about you.
    If you were talking in response to the comment about women and men broadly, then that makes more sense. If commenting on this specific situation, it has nothing to do with special snowflakes – it’s just that the relevant individuals need to be considered as individuals, whether or not they conform with stereotypes, since it’s only the two individuals that matter, and not men or women as a whole.
    For one, we don’t know the exact details here. Dalrock phrases it as he promised he was going to stop the spending, and so ‘they’ set aside money for spending and ditched the credit cards. Most of the commenters are reading ‘she’ dictated everything he had to do. But the detail on that doesn’t really matter on the premise you’re giving.
    Even if she was overbearing and domineering, he’s still the one running up the accounts. Teenagers do things just because they will piss of their parents, even if it will also harm themselves. Adults are above that excuse. Responsible adults don’t lie to their wives and sneak credit cards and run up expenses just to get back at their spouses. It shows great immaturity on his part regardless of how she might have acted. A man might have decided to do something about her ’emasculation’. A child would merely act is spite. and i doubt that’s the case. It sounds a lot more like he continued despite anything she (or they) did, not because of it.
    As for learning, once you run up massive credit card debt and refuse to recognise the problem, you lose your footing to teach. If he had something to teach her *about finances* from the start, he would not have acted in those ways. If he had something to teach her about it now, he would be responsible, and deal with any marital issues they might have in reasonably mature manner.

  63. Stephenie Rowling says:

    I will like more info about this situation. Something is not adding up.
    I mean the fact that she is no devastated over leaving and is chanting the “eat,pray and love” platitudes seems off for a woman that is using divorce as a way to prevent going into an even worse situation.
    It might very well that the problem started years ago, but she didn’t considered moving out till her “friends” started to sell divorce to the solution to all her problems.
    I mean I don’t judge her for wanting to bail out, but the attitude is throwing me off, no to mention that it seems to me that instead of trying to seek counseling for his addiction this resulted on more restrictions where she controlled the money. I do wonder if she didn’t shit-tested him on some level and he failed.
    After all like Paige say there are alternatives to divorce and given that counseling was not considered before leaving…I don’t know I think something doesn’t fit with the image of the poor woman whose husband is an addict and she has no choice but to leave.
    Specially a woman with a history of feminist behavior like marrying the guy her family didn’t approved, not taking his name and other stuff. I think she might be not as trapped in two worlds as she seems to be selling and is more into cake eating, I know your wife loves her, but has she talked to her hubby? Heard his side of the argument?
    Women are masters of “poor me” “I’m just a victim” but again her attitude is different that of what I had seen a victim of addiction to their partners acts like, YMMV.

  64. Sweet As says:

    A legal separation doesn’t end the marriage, but it does impact the financial connection of marriage. It separates the finances. This is important in this situation, because it can keep her financially secure *while* they seek help in fixing the marriage.

    The next layer here is that they both have to be 1. willing to work on the financial issue; and 2. willing to work on the marriage. There are so many cultural and personal elements at play, I would have no clue where to begin — but if there is sincerity in the process, then there will be a greater chance of their staying together.

    Once the foundation is rebuilt and the finances properly managed, then they can end the legal separation and return to the financial benefits of marriage.

    End of the day, I didn’t advocate divorce or lack empathy for Aban. In fact, I posted the opposite — I understand the difficulty that he is going through (insofar as an outsider, arm chair “psych” can), and since my husband is fighting his own demons and I sometimes have to live with that psychological ugly — I certainly have experience in that process of things being sucky for him, but I still love him and want to be with him so I will embrace the sucky parts and do what I can to love him and create a great marriage.

    Why see every woman in some ugly light? Yes, what he is doing is extreme. She has a way to protect herself and re-establish her marriage. It’s what I would do. If i knew Amira, I would recommend it, help her connect with her mosque about it, and go from there.

  65. Opus says:

    I looked again at this thread before I retired last night (I am eight hours ahead of California Time) and was mentally ‘knocked sideways’ by Eric’s (very perceptive) remark. Re-reading, this morning, the comments from those who appear to be female, they all look at the marriage from the side of Amira (and justify to varying degrees her behaviour) whereas looking (if I may say so) at my own two comments (one aimed at Dalrock and Mrs D, and the other at Aban and Amira) they are both entirely neutral, I would say.

    I therefore considered a thought experiment. Suppose it were Amira who was the spendthrift and Aban who was now hanging out with his single or divorced buddies, what then would the female commentators have said? I surmise that they would have (implicitly) blamed the new Aban for leaving Amira so unhappy that she resorted to profligate spending to relieve her perceived unhappiness. Certainly my observation of women is that they always side with the woman, no matter, and of course most men being Manginas do likewise.

  66. Ecclesiastes says:

    Why am I flaming Paige? That’s a very good question, and only a third of the answer is about Paige.

    What Paige has done is abandon her very own values – confirmed in her own toil and blood- to provide cover for another woman. When I tie the two together, she burns with the contact of this ‘Amira’.

    @Paige, re-read what you wrote and tell me again you actually believe any of it. I’m betting all of that was the voice of weakness that you struggle with when you’re doing the right thing, the hard thing, in your own marriage. It is not compassionate to argue for wrong over right, it is self betrayal. Protect Amira, if you will, but not her vices. Amira is a quitter and she’s doing it for money.

    Second, I’m actually ‘flaming’ Dalrock for forgetting that every marriage is a self-reinforcing system of behavior between two people, and that nobody is innocent in a divorce. There is something wrong in his head, in how he deals with the world and the only way is stops is for it to fail. This ‘Amira’ has been enabling the self-destruction of her husband and would rather abandon him than face it.

    To repeat, bankruptcy is not lethal, unlike – say – cocaine overdose.

    Finally, I am taking aim at this ‘Amira’, a Muslim-Christian. She is straddling cultures in order to do this, taking the worst of both, and it is to *our* harm if we fail to recognize it.

    Nikkah – Islam’s marriage – is a far weaker contract than our marriage-as-contract, which still retains some of the Christian concept of marriage-as-union. It can be ended at the will of the husband for any reason or none. The wife has no defense from it and can’t challenge it. The wife, to divorce, *effectively* needs an Imam to speak the terminating phrase for the husband. The wife has no way to do it herself. ( To he who would point out the technical errors of that assertion, I said “effectively”. )

    So, here, Amira can bring her Muslim inclination that marriage is disposable at will and run it through a court system that gives her standing equal to a man. It’s no surprise to me that she would suddenly be hanging out with feminists.

    This blog’s author and readers may think this last bit was off topic, but I contend that if this blog is addressing ‘marriage’ that they should knowledgeably choose which institutions fall within and without. I assure y’all, Nikkah falls outside, much less Misyar or Mu’tah.

    To sum up, this has been an extension of an argument I had with grerp ( resolved here : http://grerp.blogspot.com/2011/03/piece-of-advice-91-know-when-to-walk.html?showComment=1300049658461#c2720853954202770760 ).

  67. Ecclesiastes says:

    @Kai

    You are correct and wise to understand that when honor is not offered that honor is not obligated. I would not argue with that at all.

    My problem with its application here is that Aban’s behavior, as described, sounds more like an irrational compulsion than conscious fraud. Any toy or benefit he gains in the short term he will lose when he becomes homeless, the natural end of his actions.

    It is not dishonorable or socially reprehensible to be less than sane. To deliberately and sanely evade the consequences is, but that’s a different issue.

    I think you’re arguing for the idea that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a marital breech and legitimate grounds for divorce.

  68. Dalrock says:

    @Ecclesiastes
    Second, I’m actually ‘flaming’ Dalrock for forgetting that every marriage is a self-reinforcing system of behavior between two people, and that nobody is innocent in a divorce. There is something wrong in his head, in how he deals with the world and the only way is stops is for it to fail. This ‘Amira’ has been enabling the self-destruction of her husband and would rather abandon him than face it.

    To repeat, bankruptcy is not lethal, unlike – say – cocaine overdose.

    I will have to give this some more thought. It is possible that knowing her (and liking them both) I am unwilling to judge where I really should. Nevertheless, this isn’t the plague that is facing our society. Men don’t fear marriage because they think their wives might leave them under this kind of condition after years of trying to resolve it. What I am struggling with however is whether this kind of thinking is what lead us to the slippery slope which brought us to the mess we are in.

    I think you’re arguing for the idea that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a marital breech and legitimate grounds for divorce.

    I think you actually weaken your own case significantly with this argument. Instead of Alzheimer’s, this is very similar to other forms of addiction. Gambling is probably the closest relative, but you could compare it to alcohol/drugs, pornography, illicit sex, etc. Bear in mind that this is unrepentant addiction. As for his sanity, all forms of addiction are psychological in nature. I’m not willing to give men or women a pass to feed such addictions on the grounds of insanity. If he is insane, then one should be able to find a judge who agrees and compel him to get the treatment he needs. At the very least she should be able to find an authority within the mosque or their family who will assist in intervening. The authorities have failed her here; none of them have any interest in intervening.

  69. Paige says:

    I am not super critical of Amira for joining an EPL group anymore than I would be of a man sleeping with a slew of women after a divorce. While neither is a GOOD idea, it is a pretty typical emotional reaction to a major heartbreak. She wants to see her life as full of hopeful possibility so hanging around divorced women who seem “happy” provides her hope. If she hung around miserable divorcees, or the happily married…those groups wouldn’t provide the hope she is seeking.

    I can acknowledge that an action is natural and normal without also condoning it. Likewise, this divorce seems like the natural result of a betrayal of this scope…especially considering he is unrepentant. That said…I still think divorce is too drastic of a step and less severe options should be tried.

    As for siding with Amira because she is a woman…whatever. You can’t prove that, you are just guessing based on your preconceived prejudices that “awalt”.

  70. Kai says:

    “Opus says:
    Re-reading, this morning, the comments from those who appear to be female, they all look at the marriage from the side of Amira (and justify to varying degrees her behaviour) whereas looking (if I may say so) at my own two comments (one aimed at Dalrock and Mrs D, and the other at Aban and Amira) they are both entirely neutral, I would say.
    I therefore considered a thought experiment. Suppose it were Amira who was the spendthrift and Aban who was now hanging out with his single or divorced buddies, what then would the female commentators have said? I surmise that they would have (implicitly) blamed the new Aban for leaving Amira so unhappy that she resorted to profligate spending to relieve her perceived unhappiness. Certainly my observation of women is that they always side with the woman, no matter, and of course most men being Manginas do likewise.”

    It’s easy to claim that “teh wiminz are irrational and just side with each other”, but there is simply no way to tell in this case.
    I don’t really care about the sex of the participants – on a matter like this, I empathize with the person being betrayed and destroyed by the other. More often that is a man. Here it is a woman. My response is the same. As I mentioned above, a spouse spending wildly cannot claim it is due to anything else, as a rational adult does not respond to marital issues with behaviours that injure both parties. It’s immature and unjustifiable.
    Yes, I do see on a lot of women’s sites the ‘anything the woman does wrong is clearly due to the fault of the man who made her do it’ BS, with justification for cheating if he doesn’t make her happy, and all sorts of other crap. But that doesn’t mean it’s everyone. And I suspect the percentage of BS-justifying women on this site is much lower than elsewhere.
    I don’t really see the ‘who (s)he is hanging out with now’ as a major part of the issue. The problem is the divorce, and the problem there is the spending. The ‘hanging out with divorced buddies’ minor issue would solve itself if the others could be fixed. It’s just a symptom. There may be some interesting discussion as to what it means, but i just haven’t focused on it because it doesn’t actually matter.

  71. Kai says:

    “Ecclesiastes says:
    You are correct and wise to understand that when honor is not offered that honor is not obligated. I would not argue with that at all.
    My problem with its application here is that Aban’s behavior, as described, sounds more like an irrational compulsion than conscious fraud. Any toy or benefit he gains in the short term he will lose when he becomes homeless, the natural end of his actions.
    It is not dishonorable or socially reprehensible to be less than sane. To deliberately and sanely evade the consequences is, but that’s a different issue.
    I think you’re arguing for the idea that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a marital breech and legitimate grounds for divorce.”

    Dalrock has already said most of what I would have replied, especially in regard to the comparison with Alzheimer’s. Now, it could certainly be argued that drug addiction is a form of mental illness similar to Alzheimer’s, but I think the analogy needs that middle step.
    I agree that it sounds compulsive rather than deliberate – as most drug addictions become after a time. The problem is that he does not yet recognise any sort of problem and is not willing to try to fix it. I don’t believe that a compulsive spender can be committed to rehap against his will, so I don’t see anything else for her to do than to minimize the damage to herself. As an outsider, I can’t know – maybe she does just want to find an excuse to leave. But Dalrock doesn’t get that impression from her, and it sounds to me as though if he was willing to try to fix things, she would be willing to stay with him and support him and make it easier for him, and try to save the marriage (as was done the finding ways to still go out and have fun, giving cash to buy lunch, and such after he last promised to stop spending so much).
    But what is a someone to do when they are married to an unrepentant addict? I don’t think there are any easy answers. but I don’t think trying to minimize the damage to yourself is dishonourable.

  72. @Ecclesistaes got it right: “marriage” in different cultures mean different things. And Islam is very different from Christianity.

    So, if you want help her:

    1) Understand what type of marriage they have and help them understand it

    2) Muslims society is a society with very strong social norms. The pressure to behave and conform is huge.

    3) Muslims of lower socials status (caste in India, but the rest of the Islamic world is not much different) are betaized but often they are omegaized. There is no standing against authority, because authority has not boundaries. So they behave in front of authority and misbehave when out of sight. This is true for male-male relations, but it is true also for male-female relations.

    4) Gay/effeminate is not to be discounted. Albeit they have strict laws against male homosexuality (less against female), this behavior can not be legislated away, so they are somewhere tolerant until it is not out there. Their society is based on shame/honor, not guilt/penitence. If it is kept away from public knowledge or who do it is powerful enough to piss over every one with impunity, there is nothing to be ashamed. Not accepting responsibility for his spending habit is something possible in America (for now) but it would not be allowed to him in Pakistan.

    5) She need to look at herself and decide what is important and what is not and put her priorities right.
    Does she want children? With him? No much time left to decide.
    Does she married him because he was weak and a way to be free from her family?
    Does she want keep her family ties or not?
    Does she want be free? Why?

    My opinion is this:
    1) her family will take her back only as much as they can marry her and take away the shame of having an unruled woman in their family, possibly in Pakistan. This is the better she can hope. The worst is they will bring her in Pakistan and she will disappear or be found with her throat slashed.

    2) her husband need to be kicked out as unfit for marriage. When you enter a marriage you have to fulfill a few conditions and absolve a few duties. Even in Islamic marriage. In Islamic marriage, by the letter, the man MUST spend his money to upkeep the woman and the woman must give sex, work in the home and obey. A man living off the money of his wife is less than a man.

    3) She need to understand that one person need to love himself or herself before being able to truly love others. Until she keep her ties and don’t resolve them, she will never be free or happy. She will only bring her chains or her umbilical cord around.

  73. Kai says:

    “Ecclesiastes says:
    This ‘Amira’ has been enabling the self-destruction of her husband and would rather abandon him than face it.
    To repeat, bankruptcy is not lethal, unlike – say – cocaine overdose.”

    How has she been enabling? It sounds to me as though she has been doing everything she can to not enable it. What actions do you see as enabling?
    Bankruptcy is not directly lethal, no, but it has a lot more damaging effect on the other partner. And waiting around until bankruptcy seems like a bad idea. And the partner single-handedly driving a couple towards bankruptcy has already betrayed the marital trust (it is different if it is a couple destroying their finances together).
    If there was a way she could legally separate their finances without removing their marriage, that would be ideal, and hopefully he would get to a point of recognising the problem and a willingness to change. But I could also see why a partner feeling this betrayed might no longer have the will to wait for that to happen, or the interest in keeping the betrayer of the trust.

  74. Ecclesiastes says:

    @Dalrock,

    The Sunnah Sharia guidance on such things is that insanity is from Allah and one is to be thankful for it. There isn’t any recognition of innocence by insanity in Sharia and it is not, of itself, grounds for a wife to appeal for Talaq, roughly divorce.

    Seriously, until you’ve spent a few *months* getting inside a Muslim’s head, you should worry about everything you’ve ever heard. I highly recommend that you listen to what Muslims say to each other about what Islam is, rather than listening to anything said to a non-Muslim. That includes Wikipedia, which is a acceptable starting point for research, but never the end.

    Yes, the Alzheimer’s diagnosis is out of bounds, I was wrong on that, but divorcing for the symptoms without diagnosis is within. Regarding marginal sanity and the evasion of responsibility, I believe I referred to that as “a different issue”. I have seen alcoholics and other addicts redeemed. I have seen the rage and violence of husbands calmed and, less frequently, the insidious sabotage of wives repented. I don’t know where to draw the line in that morass.

    It is my opinion, though, that if Amira hasn’t let her husband go bankrupt and work his way out of it, that the divorce is frivolous. She’s just pissed off because he’s not listening to her.

  75. Tinderbox says:

    Sounds to me like she needs to break away from family completely or she’ll end up murdered (“honor” killing), especially if she ever goes back to Pakistan. The concern about her hanging out with the Eat/Love/Pray crowd pales in importance to that. The only way she’s going to survive physically, mentally, and financially is to change to Western culture entirely.

  76. Tinderbox says:

    P.S. Thank God they don’t have kids.

  77. True, the husband has a problem. So where are all the ‘trad women’ now with their ’till death do us part’ platitudes?

    Well, this “trad woman” first declined to comment because I thought the husband sounded gay. Gay is a deal breaker. Period. But I didn’t want to offend Dalrock by insulting his friend so I kept that to myself. However, since Badger and the rest have raised the subject, I’ll chime in.

    Secondly, I don’t think his financial irresponsibility is grounds for divorce. I think she needs to set boundaries by taking legal action that separates their finances while remaining married while they work through their problems.

    But this is all predicated on the fact that his sexuality is on the table. I’m still a little stuck on all this stuff that Dalrock described:

    Aban prefers not to drive the truck because it intimidates him; he would rather drive a minivan or a car*. He is obsessed with the status he perceives as coming with the latest hot items from the most expensive brands/designers. He and his buddies like to watch Sex and the City*, and he is convinced that frivolous divorcées were just dealt a bad hand in life. He has a deep seated fear of dogs (he once jumped on the nearest couch when his boss’ toy poodle came into the room), and is afraid of guns*.

    I have a gay male relative and this describes him to the tee, even down to the part about going into debt to be sure he’s wearing Versace instead of something from Kohl’s (the horror!).

  78. My word! I just realized that I said I’d be “insulting” this fellow by calling him gay. While my thoughts on homosexuality are framed by my religious beliefs, that was not what I meant when I said that.

    I was referring to insulting the man’s integrity by implying that he married this woman under false pretenses. I’m not interested in starting a debate about my homophobia. Please.

  79. Joe Blow says:

    Those behaviors made my gaydar ping pretty loudly. Sounds like there’s a bigger problem there than uncontrolled designer shopping.

  80. Kai says:

    “Ecclesiastes says:
    It is my opinion, though, that if Amira hasn’t let her husband go bankrupt and work his way out of it, that the divorce is frivolous. She’s just pissed off because he’s not listening to her.”

    Is it necessary that she go with him? It’s not just pissed off because he’s not listening to her – it’s also pissed off that he is destroying her future as well as his own. If they could be financially separate yet married, that would be great. If that is not possible though, do you think she has to go bankrupt and wait for him to figure it out before she has grounds to be upset?
    To me, it would not just be about the financial danger, but also the trust. A person who will hide finances and betray the trust of a marriage by sneaking around (even if just to spend money), is not living up to the vows to work together. I would feel betrayed and have trouble trusting the spouse again.

  81. Butterfly Flower says:

    Alternatively, Aban could just be a Metrosexual; i.e. a straight man that emulates the homosexual consumerist lifestyle. They live in San Francisco , that sounds like a place where said behavior would be considered the norm.

  82. That’s possible, Butterfly Flower. Being a souther girl who fancies the Marlboro Man style over the Leonardo DiCaprio style of masculinity may make me more biased than I should be.

  83. Bike Bubba says:

    To add to the “gaydar” pinging off the scale, now where did he move from Colorado?

    OK, I’ll be fair; I don’t know, but yes, the gaydar is pinging. It may be that he simply thinks a little different than I do, but enjoys his wife just as much as I do mine. Let’s assume that.

    And OK, I will mourn with Dalrock–and I assume a number of you as well. My take is that someone who cares and knows this couple might do well to acquaint them with the work of Dave Ramsey. Finances are a marriage killer, and Ramsey presents this in a Biblical way. It could have multiple blessings.

  84. Eric says:

    Kai/Terry:

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that the husband is as bad as you paint him (I think to most women, all men are pigs, regardless); how did all his bad habits and possible sexual orientation escape the wife’s notice before she married him? Or, do you think it is more likely that she was too occupied eyeing the dollars he was spending so frivolously—and now that he’s not throwing them her way anymore, she plans to take it in alimony?

  85. Renaldo says:

    If I was the dude I would start a new life under an assumed name and not pay. Let the woman and society sort out that mess. Men need to be more selfish.

  86. Kai says:

    “Eric says:
    Even assuming for the sake of argument that the husband is as bad as you paint him (I think to most women, all men are pigs, regardless); how did all his bad habits and possible sexual orientation escape the wife’s notice before she married him? Or, do you think it is more likely that she was too occupied eyeing the dollars he was spending so frivolously—and now that he’s not throwing them her way anymore, she plans to take it in alimony?”
    It’s really unnecessary to keep claiming that women think horribly of men. The specific female commenters here are commenting on the specific man in question. Try other posts for how other men are views. Men are clearly not all pigs. I married an excellent one (who is financially responsible, too!)
    It is definitely a good question as to how things were before they married. I don’t know, dalrock? Was this something that he’s always done, or was it hidden, or did it only start after they married? I think financial responsibility is a critical thing that too few couples consider seriously before marrying. If your fiance(é) does not have the same values regarding money as you do, or does not spend in a similar manner to you, the marriage is built on a shaky foundation. That’s definitely something couples need to hash out before they marry. My husband and I, while both fairly simply-living people, had some different ideas about our spending. Although neither of us were ever in financial danger, it was something we discussed quite a bit before committing.
    I’m not aware of any bad habits he has besides flagrant spending – but that’s enough to be discussed.
    I highly doubt she is after alimony. It sounds to me from dalrock’s description that she would have been financially okay on her own without marrying him (the loans would have taken longer to pay off, but it sounds like she’d have been fine. Or is he the primary earner?), and at this point, seeking alimony would be delusional. It sounds like she’s getting out so that her own money can go to paying down debt and supporting herself – not because she expects anything else out of him.

  87. Even assuming for the sake of argument that the husband is as bad as you paint him (I think to most women, all men are pigs, regardless); how did all his bad habits and possible sexual orientation escape the wife’s notice before she married him?

    I have the most pro-male Christian blog (written by a woman) you’ll ever run across outside of the manosphere. I do not think that all men are pigs, Eric.

    As for hoq his bad habits escaped her notice before the marriage, I have no answer for that. It’s possible that her family’s objection to the pairing heightened the excitement level to a point that she missed several red flags. It could be that he didn’t have any money to spend so she didn’t notice his spending habits. It could be that she thought all his quirks were endearing displays of male sensitivity. What’s “cute” before marriage often becomes highly annoying when you live with the person day in and day out. My husband and I can bothe attest to this as can almost anyone married more than 5 minutes.

    Or, do you think it is more likely that she was too occupied eyeing the dollars he was spending so frivolously—and now that he’s not throwing them her way anymore, she plans to take it in alimony?

    I have no answer for that.But if she’s gainfully employed, and they have no children, how much alimony can she reasonably expect to get?

  88. Rollory says:

    Hard story. Only thing I can say is that this guy has fully earned whatever bad things happen to him, and she should have known better than to pick him in the first place. Women thinking they can “fix” men is a classic problem.

  89. Ecclesiastes says:

    Kai,

    Exploring Psychological issues is well off topic for this blog.

    Answering your question about what Amira did to enable Aban will demonstrate why we should have that conversation separately and privately:

    “She tried to help him by having him take cash to buy his lunch at work and cutting up the credit cards. Since internet shopping was a big part of his problem they turned off their internet service. They set aside several hundred dollars for eating out each month and bought gift cards for their favorite restaurants. When the gift cards ran out they would know they needed to wait until the next month to go out to eat.”

    and,

    “… both of them were working multiple jobs to pay the monthly minimum on their credit card bills on top of their nearly half a million dollar mortgage …”

    See? That’s two days and 10 pages of conversation explaining that right there. This isn’t the proper forum.

  90. Kai says:

    I agree that we can hardly know or explain what is going on. I think it is generally agreed that there’s likely something beyond just wanting stuff.
    but I don’t see the enabling.
    All those tactics sound like good ways to help him stop if he wanted to change. Cutting the credit cards and internet removes temptation, buying food gift cards lets them still enjoy the going out that matters to them but puts it on a reasonable budget, as does bringing cash to work for lunch. Those sort of things would be advocated by most debt-reduction plans.
    Or do you consider ‘enabling’ to be anything that stops him from heading towards rock bottom?
    I would disagree, as it sounds there as though he was saying he could change, and she was doing a lot of things to help and support him through it and make it easier for him to do so.

  91. Bike Bubba says:

    How did his bad habits escape her before marriage?

    OK, let’s be serious here; is there anyone here who does NOT know a woman married to a loser, or a man married to a loserette? Let’s be serious here; where sex is involved, sometimes people make really bad decisions.

    We don’t need to get to the bottom of this; it happens, my job is to pray for those I can’t help directly and try to help others directly, no?

    It’s worth noting as well that if they moved to the Bay in 2008 or so, they are most likely underwater on their mortgage, too. This is a “colonoscopy-prep-ugly” situation here, and it’s worth noting that in this scenario, it’s most likely that the wife is not going to pillage her husband’s assets–there simply are not very many. She is simply getting out before her husband manages to pillage her credit, credibility, and life.

    [D: They moved prior to that but rented until around 2008, so your description is pretty accurate from what I know. Also you asked above where they moved from. They were in the Denver area prior to the move.]

  92. Bike Bubba says:

    Dal, let’s just say I wish I were dead wrong on everything I’ve said here. I follow the evidence, but when it’s that ugly, I sure hope I’m wrong. Condolences to your friends, and point ’em to Dave Ramsey.

  93. I second Bike Bubba, and for those of us who believe in prayer, prayer is definitely in order for this couple.

    Dave Ramsey is great. He’s got a nationa radio show that’s worth a listen, but a good place to start would be his book, Total Money Makeover.

  94. Dalrock says:

    Thank you Terry and Bike Bubba (and anyone else) for your prayers. I think that is all we can do for them.

  95. Eric says:

    Kai/Terry:

    It is most certainly NOT ‘unnecessary to keep claiming that women think horribly of men’. Divorces stem from that very source; as evidenced by the fact that women continually do them against men.

    The story, and this thread generally, bothers me mostly on the cavalier attitude towards divorce, especially from the women. The wife in the story keeps up that she ‘loves’ and ‘wants’ her husband—even while preparing to fleece him in a divorce. Even if she doesn’t intend to collect alimony—how is her running out on him supposed to improve the relationship? I’ve seen plenty of cases where women protested how much they ‘loved’ and ‘needed’ their husbands; even while raking over lurid details in divorce courts; or depriving him of his children; or at the same time they were slutting around with other men. I’m sorry, but such words mean very little coming from today’s women.

    The problem is, by and large, that women have as little emotional investment in a divorce as they do in a marriage or any other relationship with men. A man is typically not only committed financially, but deeply emotionally invested as well; especially if children are involved. A divorce, to an average man, is devasting; whereas to an average woman, it is simply a matter of filing some papers and moving on to the next guy. Most women have no concern at all for how their actions impact a man—even if their actions were destroy a man, or even lead to his death, they would have no problem with it, so long as their own interests were served. That’s why the number of mental breakdowns and suicides are so high among recently-divorced men; whereas they barely effect women.

  96. Kai says:

    The reason it’s unnecessary is that that is not the issue at hand.
    We’re not talking about women as a whole – we’re talking about an individual couple. So what you think women think about men is completely irrelevant to the topic actually at hand. Most men don’t watch Sex and the City. This man does. What ‘most men’ do is not a relevant factor here. It is also not relevant what ‘most women’ do when looking at an individual woman.
    What ‘most’ men or women do is only relevant when you are looking at the population as a whole. ‘Most’ women are sexually attracted to men. that does not mean that if I grab Jane here, she’s necessarily attracted to men, and assuming it is going to mean that anything else I say about Jane is likely to be off as well.

    Her leaving is not supposed to help the relationship. She’s giving up on the relationship because she no longer has hope of helping it. I’d like to hear how you consider leaving a growing debt hole to be ‘fleecing’ though, unless you think she owes him enabling.

    Fact is, it’s one example, and you simply can’t know how much of the response is due to the gender and how much is due to the circumstances unless Dalrock posts a story about a man leaving his debtor wife.
    Personally, i just lack any respect for the financially irresponsible.

  97. tspoon says:

    “All those tactics sound like good ways to help him stop if he wanted to change. Cutting the credit cards and internet removes temptation, buying food gift cards lets them still enjoy the going out that matters to them but puts it on a reasonable budget, as does bringing cash to work for lunch. Those sort of things would be advocated by most debt-reduction plans.”

    I’m confused. They seem like good ideas. But all my life I’ve been told (by women and /or government departments advocating for women) that this kind of behaviour is ‘abusive’ and ‘controlling’.

  98. Paige says:

    “A divorce, to an average man, is devasting; whereas to an average woman, it is simply a matter of filing some papers and moving on to the next guy.”

    Nonsense. Do you really think that many women LIKE being divorced? Do you think they like taking their children away from their fathers? Who doesn’t dream of getting married and growing old with their spouse? Who fantasizes about step-families and custody battles.

    If you believe that most/all women are narcissistic sociopaths who don’t give a damn about anyones pain then you are a misogynistic idiot.

    The reason women seem cold in a divorce is because they are at the anger stage of grief once they get to the point of filing. Before that *most* women have tried various tactics to save the marriage to no avail.

    I have a good friend who is currently in a very unhappy marriage. Her husband isn’t guilty of any outlandish horrible behavior…he just isn’t that into her and he makes it pretty obvious by his complete unwillingness to do anything that would please her. She spent many years giving love that wasn’t reciprocated and now she is just plain old pissed off…her emotional energy is spent and she is overwhelmed by frustration of a loveless marriage. Her husband hasn’t ceased to be human in her eyes but she will probably need some distances and time before she can manage to feel any real affection for him. When you are in the thick of a miserable situation affectionate feelings are difficult…this isn’t just a female thing.

  99. Kai says:

    “Paige says:
    Do you really think that many women LIKE being divorced? Do you think they like taking their children away from their fathers?”
    I think it’s been made clear that that is exactly what he thinks.

  100. Kai says:

    “tspoon says:
    “All those tactics sound like good ways to help him stop if he wanted to change…
    I’m confused. They seem like good ideas. But all my life I’ve been told (by women and /or government departments advocating for women) that this kind of behaviour is ‘abusive’ and ‘controlling’.”
    The difference is whether it is something that one person does or that both people do.
    If she decides he’s spending too much and up and cuts up his credit cards and turns off the internet, that’s controlling (though ‘abusive’ would be silly).
    If he decides he’s going to try to stop spending so much, and they cut up the credit cards and agree to turn off the internet and live on cash and such, then it’s smart finances – even if one partner is coming up with the ideas.
    Dalrock uses the term ‘they’ in reference to those actions, and it is taking that as a given that I speak. I believe a lot of people are assuming that it is something that she did alone.
    I think it may well have gone along the lines of him promising to cut back on the spending, and her coming up with ideas to make that easier to do, and him accepting them, rather than necessarily full teamwork, but I am still assuming there was acceptance, based on dalrock’s terms.

    That said, if your wife was spending you into debt, I wouldn’t fault you for cutting up her credit cards against her will either..
    But as stated before, I have no patience for financial irresponsibility.

  101. Eric says:

    Paige/Kai:

    *Do I think women like being divorced?
    Yes, I do. Statistically, the divorce rate would be neglible if only men ever sought them.

    *Do I think they like taking children away from their fathers?
    Yes, I do. The fact that they continually do it—including the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies end in abortion demonstrates that they do.

    *Who doesn’t dream of getting married and growing old with their spouse? Apparently most women do not, since they routinely break relationships on the slightest pretext; and are constantly complaining that no man is ever good enough for them.

    *Who fantyasizes about step-children and custody battles?
    I would ask it this way: which gender profits from alimony and child-support? Do you mean that women NEVER consider this as an option?

    *If you believe that most/all women are narcissistic sociopaths who don’t give a damn about anyone’s pain, then you are a misogynist idiot.
    No, I am realistic. A culture that educates women to hate men and instills in them a sense of entitlement produces narcissitic sociopaths who don’t give a damn about anyone’s pain. And that description aptly fits most women I’ve ever come in contact with.

  102. Kai says:

    I don’t see any reason that was to both of us. Paige asked that question. In fact, I already correctly anticipated your answer to her.
    I don’t actually disagree with you on the stats regarding most women. I simply believe that those stats only apply when you are looking at a large group of women for trends, and that when it is an individual woman or an individual relationship, the large trends don’t matter. The individual in question could be a total statistical outlier. So regardless of what ‘most’ women do, an individual issue requires looking at the relevant facts – not the stats.
    On average, women are more interested in raising kids than men are. But if we’re looking at an individual stay-at-home dad (by choice), what most men do is not relevant to the situation, and the real facts of his case need to be considered to make any assumptions.

  103. Doug1 says:

    I would like to note that at least with middle class on up couples this far more happens in the other direction. That is the wife is the reckless spender.

    Further when it’s in that direction the husband generally gets little sympathy. Some combo of he should be better able to control his wife (despite having been stripped of all legal ability to do so by first white knighting then feminist law) and he should make enough money to satisfy whatever her spending proclivities are.

  104. Doug1 says:

    I’m gonna say something very non PC.

    What’s good about Pakistan as a culture or civilization?

    I can’t think of anything, aside from being human. I mean comparitively. In the modern age.

    Well I’m not wowed by earlier either. And yeah I know considerable amounts about the Indus river Mohenjo Darro civ. (sp)

  105. Kai says:

    Yes, the husband of a spendthrift wife doesn’t get a lot of sympathy in popular culture. But the commenters here are not exactly a cross-section of typical society. The comments may have been different if the genders were flipped, or they may not have been. As with most ‘what-if’s, we can’t know.

  106. Paige says:

    If you understood female psychology better you could understand their actions with less judgement and come to a more nuanced analysis.

    I could look at my personal anecdotal experience and decide that most men are cheating lying scum who only care about ego-gratification. But that would be an extreme over-simplification of my experience and wouldn’t lead me to any greater wisdom in regards to what motivates men.

  107. Eric says:

    Paige:
    There is nothing wrong with how I understand female psychology: it is completely geared (in our culture) to dominance over males. You yourself have written on previous posts how these ‘cheating lying scum’ are ‘female kryptonite’ and ‘make women melt’. That is, I think, a typical attitude of most women. But what it illustrates is that these kinds of scum and louts are sexually attractive to American women because—and this is very important—they have come to respresent women’s concept of the ideal male.

    This is why I don’t consider it at all extreme to argue that American women fundamentally hate men. Nothing but a deeply-instilled hatred for men could produce sexual attraction for the very antitheses of masculinity. To illustrate: would we consider a man normal if he burned with uncontrollable lust over fat, bitchy, slutty dominatrixes and ruthlessly abused any adoring swimsuit-model type who fell in love with him? No, we would think that such a man had SERIOUS issues with women. Why is it different with women?

    In fact, I think that this misandry is so deeply entrenched in female psychology that many women don’t even realize it’s there. Most of the women who post here, for example, argue vigorously that they don’t hate men, yet I can see anti-male sentiments in their posts clearly.

    There are, however, a few women who know this to be the case: a great article on the blog ‘The Spearhead’, posted on 5/13 by Lara Grace Robbins, is one women here should read and consider carefully. Dalrock has a link to the blogsite here.

  108. Paige says:

    You are over-simplifying.

    First of all- “alpha” qualities are defined by confidence. Confidence represents superior genetic fitness. Confidence tends to go hand-in-hand with high testosterone and high testosterone contributes to the “cheating lying scum” issue. So the attraction (which is subconscious) is triggered by the confidence/testosterone and the cheating-lying is an unfortunate side-effect. Arnold Swartzenegger is high testosterone and cheating-lying-scum (though not all High-T guys are that way..there is just a correlation).

    Women who follow their tingles instead of their reasoning will fall for the Arnolds over and over and over and over….because they are stupid that way. Women who use a bit more reasoning will usually choose a “greater beta”. Just enough beta to not be cheating-lying-scum but enough testosterone to keep attraction up.

    I would say it is true that women are at war with men but this is a manifestation of the war going on within themselves…between our reason and carnal instincts. It isn’t so different from male madonna/whore complex.

  109. Paige says:

    I don’t completely disagree with LGR’s comment at Spearhead but she over-generalized. A woman who has a very solid moral code and healthy world view may still have some of the destructive instincts typical of women but they won’t be at the mercy of them because they are strengthened more by their beliefs than by appeasing their instincts.

    Clearly LGR doesn’t know a lot of good religious women (which may because of her introverted nature) but they are not as rare as she seems to suggest. Traditionalism isn’t always a facade women use to pedestalize themselves.

    I dislike when some people seem to think that they have taken such a complete and exhaustive sampling of humanity that they think they can predict the behavior of someone they have just met. It is a really dangerous reductionist habit.

  110. Ditch the family, live your own life.

  111. Eric says:

    Paige:

    Confidence and high-testosterone are not mutually compatible. A man who has confidence in himself doesn’t need to be a ‘cheating, lying scum’ since he’s by definition, confident in a monogamous relationship. He doesn’t need to be pumping and dumping every female he sees just to prove to himself that he’s a ‘real man’. Those cheaters and liars are NOT strong confident types; they are radically defective characters.

    This is also illustrated by the fact that women not only are obsessed with these superficially-strong men; they also swoon over limp-wristed metrosexual manginas like Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson almost interchangably with the Arnold Schwarzneggar types.

    This is because female dominance is their prime motivation; and weaklings attract them. If women are raised, as they are in our culture, to see men as inferiors, it logically follows that inferior men become their ideal of masculinity.

  112. Eric says:

    Paige:

    On Lara Grace’s article: what you say is true about women needing a strong moral code and a healthy attitude, but our culture is so permeated with feminism and misandry that it’s nearly impossible for a woman to do so, even assuming she’s so inclined. Some of the commenters on the Spearhead opined that what American women need worse than anything else is to iniate a sort of anti-feminist, pro-male counterculture movement. That idea has some interesting potential.

  113. Kai says:

    Please show me an example of my man-hating that is not a specific disgust for a spendthrift.

    I’m not sure where you think the comparison would be if men were only attracted to ugly women. I was under the impression that the ‘alpha male’ usually included an amount of physical attractiveness. But that is not exactly an area I’ve studied.

  114. Eric says:

    Kai:

    Reading through your posts, one thing comes out openly: the presumption that the man is to blame—even suggesting that he might be a closeted homosexual—and the quick defence of the wife’s decision to bail on him when financial irresponsibility seems to be his only problem. What I’m reading in it is: ‘the wife doesn’t need him anymore, it’s time to move on because he has one bad habit’.

    I can’t tell you how many men I know who’ve stood by their wives/girlfriends through problems FAR more serious than these. (of course, they were usually ruthlessly betrayed for their trouble, but that’s another story). Men are usually willing to make nearly unlimited sacrifices to hold a relationship together; but women are perfectly willing to move ‘on to the next guy’ on any pretext whatsoever.

    IOW, I’m detecting a decided lack of any empathy for the man here. As I’ve remarked before, divorce is the female equivalent of ‘pump-and-dump’. The difference is that women will pump a guy for years, until he’s deeply emotionally invested and bonded—and then he’s deserted. (And then he’s shamed and blamed typically as well). Divorce is far more emotionally devasting to man; the woman rarely cares.

    Now, in this case, the husband needs help; and by the wife’s very independence and obvious intelligence; she is in a position to help him, if she really cared about him enough to do it. Her leaving him won’t help him at all; in fact, since his spending problem is probably indicative of a deeper psychological problem, this divorce could result his utter destruction; maybe even a suicide. But that would mean just ‘one less male pig’ to most women, whose only interest is looking after their own interests.

  115. Eric says:

    Kai:
    The problem is that the ‘alpha’ term is largely bogus; hence the confusion. If anyone observes the typical American female in any public venue, fawning and gushing over her ‘alpha’ man—usually a half-evolved male dressed like a street bum and smelling just as bad—it’s obvious that strength, confidence, physical attractiveness, or intelligence play no part in most women’s choices.

    The same is true just by looking through a typical women’s magazine. The models are pictured with their ‘dreamy males’; usually men who look like either waiters in a gay nightclub or henchmen of a seedy pornography racket.

  116. Kai says:

    You are confusing me with someone else. I never questioned his sexuality, and even directly stated that I’m going to ignore that suggestion as I don’t think it is likely or relevant, when someone else suggested it.
    Again, his bad habit is not like leaving his underwear on the floor. His bad habit is something that will ruin her life as well as his. Were there a way she could completely financially separate while remaining with him, that would be a good idea, but divorce is the only way to protect herself from his ‘bad habit’. It is true that I lack sympathy for the man as described in the posts here. If he paid off her tuition while she sat at home, then the minute he wanted to buy things for himself, she bailed, that would be an issue. That does not sound like it is the situation. If he were willing to work on fixing his ‘bad habit’, then she should support him in doing so. But when his bad habit will destroy her life, he refuses to recognise it as wrong or problematic, and has no interest in fixing it, and betrays the marital trust to continue his ‘ bad habit’, yes, i lack sympathy.
    But I was hoping you could find some animosity towards males, rather than just towards spendthrifts who happen to be males. I can hardly prove anything, since this story happens to include a rare male that is the one driving them into debt, but it’s the spender for whom I lack any sympathy – not the man. I believe that in everything I have said, I have expressed distaste for the individual rather than men in general. It is more often women for whom I lose respect due to flagrant spending without remorse. this guy happens to be a rare one in poor company.

    [D: Well put.]

  117. Kai says:

    As for ‘alpha’, fair. I think a lot might be lost in trying to clearly split people into a couple categories. I am not sure whether advertising men are supposed to be ‘alpha’, but admittedly, I don’t have much of a grasp on what they are aiming for.

  118. Eric says:

    Kai:

    Thanks for the clarification. It does demonstrate how hazy issues like this have become because of the ease which divorces are obtained. It really would be better if we went back to the system we had before so-called ‘no-fault divorce’; when there were legally identifable, objective criterion that had to be proven in court before a divorce was granted. Under such a system, there wasn’t much doubt about circumstances as now.

    Good point about ‘alphas’ BTW.

  119. Bike Bubba says:

    Paige asked a really good question; what would peoples’ reaction be if the roles were reversed–if the wife were busting the budget shopping, and the husband wanted out.

    My take on that one would definitely be tailored to the relative sexes of the participants. When a man is all into fashion and shopping, well, the gaydar is pegged. When it’s a woman, my take is that she’s begging for her husband’s attention–most likely the man has other interest (work, time with the guys, whatever) than her.

    Also, if the roles were reversed, I’d be surprised to a point; usually it’s men who bust the budget, according to Dave Ramsey (sorry), as they get more expensive toys than the ladies do. Compare the cost of a Corvette to that of even really expensive shoes, for example.

    My two cents, bargain at half the price, you’re very welcome, Paige. :^)

  120. Kai says:

    It is also difficult here because none of us actually know the couple in question, and are relying on third-hand information.
    I think people should still have the legal right to be jerks. So while I think it is okay (legally, not morally) to divorce just because you want to, I think that if you do make that decision, then it is decided as your fault, and you are not permitted to get anything out of it – assets go to the other person, no alimony, loss of custody, etc. You don’t get to break the contract and keep the benefits.
    I personally think that ‘spending us into a hole we’ll never make it out of’ is grounds for divorce though..

    Do men that often up and buy corvettes? I would have thought it the tortoise and the hare. Men might be more likely to buy occasional large purchases, but I would have expected the steady flow of female shopping to outdo in numbers.
    Mind you, I don’t notice a major gender difference in people I know. It seems that everyone today is so comfortable with debt and invested in consumer spending that there isn’t any big gender difference. So I don’t really know.

  121. Pingback: The contagious nature of divorce. | Dalrock

  122. Dota says:

    Dalrock

    I know I’m coming in very late to this discussion, but may I ask you a question: Do you know the ethnic identities of your friends? Saying they are Pakistanis or Indians is like describing a white person as “European.” Are they Punjabis, Sindhis, Muhajirs, Pashtuns, or Gujaratis? If they (or one of them) happen to be Gujarati, could you tell me what community/caste they come from (Memon or Khoja)? Given that Amira’s family practices caste discrimination, I’m going to guess they aren’t Pashtuns (colloquially referred to as “Pathans” in Pakistan and India).

    South Asians (including Muslims)tend to be endogamous due to 4000 years of Hindu influence. A South Asian Muslim may be religiously Islamic, but culturally Hindu. Many Indian/Pakistani Muslims retain their caste occupations to this day (eg Bohras, Memons, Khojas are mostly businessmen in keeping with their ancient caste traditions and hence tend to be the richest South Asian Muslims).

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