Divorcée Retirement

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If you are a regular reader of this blog you already know that our culture is obsessed with selling divorce to women.  Of course, those selling divorce would love to see all women divorce their husbands, but if they have to choose I would say their primary focus would be convincing middle aged women to divorce.  Women aged 35-55 seem to be the divorce marketer’s most sought after audience.  The images which accompany the sale of divorce to these women show a special relish to the thought of older women sticking it to their loyal husbands.  We saw this with the cover image for the AARP study on grey divorce, and you can see in the image linked above from the Daily Mail piece (H/T Lily) pitching divorce to women in their 50s.

These husbands need to be punished for their years of loyalty and boring planning for the future, and these still hot older babes are going to teach them a lesson!  While the loyal sticks-in-the-mud are bewildered and crushed with grief, their still hot wives are out living it up!  Some take a year to travel the world, sample international cuisine, become more spiritual, and find new love!  Others quit their jobs and go off on a motorcycle adventure, like the woman in this story (my take here):

‘I started to realise I actually could, and would, do the unthinkable: I would leave my safe existence, my great job, my marriage, family and friends, and take a year out to travel round the world on an adventure.’

Most ordinary divorcées aren’t quite as extravagant.  In my observation divorcées more often resemble Interested’s description:

…in my neighborhood these newly divorced women quickly start blowing through the money and get tired of the pump and dump and then start looking for the next great guy. Most of these gals are prime candidates for having nothing saved come retirement. It’s all vacations, clothes, and nice cars. It’s almost like they share a book. Once the divorce is final go out and buy expensive luxury ride. Then take wonderful vacations (several) the first year and subsequent years. Shop for new clothes constantly.

But where does this new found money come from?  Divorce theft is a great racket, don’t get me wrong.  However there is only so much money to divide up.  Divorce doesn’t create any new wealth;  it destroys wealth while increasing expenses.  The reality is quite often the only reason new divorcées are able to go on a spending spree is they are no longer under adult supervision.  Their time horizon is short, and retirement is something which doesn’t seem to cross their minds.

The blogger at since my divorce who is a gray divorce poster child has a suggestion to solve divorcée money problems:

What if some enlightened banker said, divorce happens and it’s OK to borrow money to get through the next X years. We believe that parenting is important, we’d rather you be actively involved in child’s life than work a second job. We’ll loan you the money you need at a reasonable rate of interest and allow you to pay it back over fifteen, twenty years.

Why didn’t I think of that?  All they need is more credit.  Then they can work less, spend more, and everything will be just fine!  What could possibly go wrong?

Not surprisingly as Interested speculated these women often run into problems when it comes time to retire.  In my observation they are very often caught in two conflicting mental paradigms.  One says they don’t have to follow the old rules and can chart their own path.  The other says they don’t have to be responsible for themselves because men (under the old rules) have the obligation to take care of them.  My wife and I know two different retired women who are outright offended at any suggestion that they live on a budget.  These women are in their 60s and 70s and have never had to be responsible with money.  We know another woman whose life reads like a page out of this blog, who I’ll call Mary.  Mary’s first husband was evidently an alpha, and she understandably divorced him after she came home early one day to find him engaged in a threesome with two other women.  I actually met husband number two at a party about 6 or 7 years ago.  He worked setting up stages for rock bands and had some great stories to tell.  Unfortunately husband number 2 died of a heart attack a few years ago.  Luckily he had life insurance to make sure Mary wouldn’t be in trouble if he wasn’t there to provide for her.

With her new found windfall, Mary quickly recovered from her grief and moved in alpha bad boy number three.  She was living the dream, and her new arm candy appeared to be at least 20 years younger than her (he looked in his 40s, she looked in her 60s).  Through our mutual friend we learned that Mary and her new man were going to open up their own restaurant and live the good life.  However in no time at all (maybe 2 years), they had blown through Mary’s funds between the (failing) business, expensive bar tabs and lavish vacations.  Mary couldn’t pay her mortgage and ended up losing her home.  The boy toy is out of the picture now, and Mary lives with our mutual friend.  She has been on Match.com and as of last week had a beta provider lined up who she expects to marry by the end of the year.  He’s no secret-multimillionaire hunky handyman, but I guess he’ll do.  They’ve only been on three dates, so I’m not sure how likely her plan is to pan out.

In addition to the situations I have seen, the media has been putting out pieces on the same issue.  Anonymous Reader and Captain Capitalism both sent me links to a piece titled  Single, female, retired, broke.

Female baby boomers shattered glass ceilings and enrolled in colleges that shut out their mothers…

Single female baby boomers are the least-prepared of this more than 75-million-strong generation to financially navigate their senior years.

Now that these women are paying the price for following the media’s incessant divorce cheer-leading, we learn that divorce is something which just happened to them (emphasis mine):

And many who devoted their prime to motherhood find themselves divorced and returning to a workforce that doesn’t have space or patience for them.

Nowhere in the piece do they mention that retirement savings are typically divided up as part of divorce.  These poor women are just dealt a bad hand, like Katrina Philips:

“I never thought about retirement. No one ever talked about it and what I needed to do,”
“I guess I was stupid about it.”

She wasn’t the only one who inexplicably found herself divorced and without retirement savings.  They also interviewed Bette Lee Drake:

“I never thought I’d have to work,”
“I thought I’d be at home as a wife and a mother. I had no ambition. I figured I’d be a princess for the rest of my life.”

Following her divorce Drake’s plan of choosing a low paying profession and putting off saving for retirement until her late 40s didn’t work out as well as she had hoped:

“Retirement? How was I supposed to pay for that, too?”

Or as Lorraine Berry would say, where is the me in saving for retirement?

It turns out that it is the patriarchy’s fault that these glass ceiling breaking feminists didn’t take responsibility for their own retirement.  Just because they were trailblazers who didn’t need a man to tell them how to lead their lives, doesn’t absolve men of the responsibility of telling them how to lead their lives:

“They were poorly educated about their retirement,” said Watkins. “There was this old mythology that women weren’t good with numbers and they shouldn’t fuss over them.”

Those patriarchy bastards are downright diabolical!  They did it again!  Now back to the saga of Katrina Philips:

Philips of Clayton said her retirement plan was her husband. She figured they would rely on his military pension. But he became an ex two years ago, and she said she got none of that…

Once upon a time, Philips, a former banker, did have a retirement account…

She cashed in her retirement to keep from losing her house.

A reader shared another news story about divorcées struggling in retirement.  This one is from the New York Times, and is titled A Homeowner With No Savings, but Some Options.  In this story we learn about twice divorced Susana Wilson.  She is 70 and never saved a dime for retirement.  Because of this she lives on $900 a month in Social Security plus additional income she makes sewing dresses.  Luckily she inherited a fully paid off home from her parents, so she at least has a place to live.

I know what you are thinking;  why doesn’t she just borrow money, like the blogger at since my divorce suggested?  I thought of that too, believe me.  But it turns out she already tried this and somehow it made things worse.  If Captain Capitalism weren’t getting ready to go on vacation, I’d ask him to explain it:

Ms. Wilson would probably manage on her current income, though not without sacrifice, were it not for the debt she had accumulated….

The balance of her income goes toward the monthly minimum payments on $9,000 in credit card debt, racked up for daily living expenses. “I think I might just have to declare bankruptcy,” she said. “I just can’t live with that.”

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This entry was posted in Aging Feminists, Choice Addiction, Daily Mail, Divorce, Grey Divorce, Post Marital Spinsterhood, selling divorce. Bookmark the permalink.

150 Responses to Divorcée Retirement

  1. PT Barnum says:

    Ah, the Retirement cultists. Live for when you are old and tired! Or maybe you’ll have a heart attack and die before then like Husband #2. In any case, the scammers selling you those Roth IRA’s have no intention of ever giving you the money back, and you are a total fool to trust them.

    Have fun.. or not… and die poor anyway.

    Not that I believe “retirement” is actually why people do this. It is more of an excuse to not spend money on their kids. Or just cause the TV told them to. Really, you are going to get back, MAYBE, 10 cents on the dollar you put in, buying power. That includes bank accounts.

    I’d say you’ve got maybe a year or a year and a half left before reality hammers through…. or maybe tomorrow. Who knows?

    I just wish I could see the look on my fathers face. I really and truly do. But unfortunately I am not going to be interacting with him ever again.

  2. Eumaios says:

    Stoning. It’s quicker than starving.

    Brought to you by a Brave New World, LLC.

  3. Gorbachev says:

    You diabolical bastard, suggesting women take responsibility for themselves.

    They should have choices,not responsibilities.

    Bad bad bad man.

  4. Ug26d says:

    It’s like my brother has always said, “The easier it is to make $100, the easier it is to spend it.”

    For the woman who files for divorce, that money is essentially “free” money because her husband worked or is working for that money and she can’t associate any labour or effort to acquiring those resources. Combine this with her sense of entitlement and you end up with a woman in a very dangerous financial situation. Also the knowledge that in most Western societies there is a government funded retirement plan could lead to a false sense of security. However most of these plans were developed at a time when divorce was uncommon and people would own their homes by the time they retire.

  5. Stephenie Rowling says:

    “Or as Lorraine Berry would say, where is the me in saving for retirement?”

    Heh so funny! Good one.

    [D: Thanks!]

  6. anonymous says:

    broke female baby boomers might be a good thing, because they can make themselves useful getting jobs in nursing homes, hospices, home aids, and hospitals. I expect a bull market in all these services as baby boomers age and grow weak.

  7. greyghost says:

    That is good for their butts. I see what divorce does to others the suicides the single mom kids with all of the social problems and the crime. So now we get to pay back time. HA HA HA good luck old woman try some of that eat pray love stuff.

  8. greenlander says:

    I’m not worried about the poor divorcées. They’ll just band together to form a voting block in favor of socialist crap and free government cheese.

    Or did that already happen?

  9. anonymous says:

    already happened.

    democracy is the elderly and women voting what’s for dinner. Guess who the sheep is?

  10. dannyfrom504 says:

    i retire from the military in 3 years. NO plans on marriage. TBH as much as like to find a relationship, it’s just not good news for me. i’ve post a few articles on my blog about avoiding marriage……..yet……at the same time, know that there are married blogger’s that have marriage work.

    i guess i just need to game up, and i keep coming to sites (such as your’s) that proved marriage can work if the man maintain’s the right frame if mind. however……i read atricles like this and i remain skeptikal:

    http://dontmarry.wordpress.com

    i apprreciate your time brother.

    [D: Thanks. I don’t see game as the core to marriage. Learning game will help you understand women in general better, make you more attractive to women, and probably be more effective in screening a prospective wife (so long as you don’t game her strongly before determining her baseline). My success has much more to do with my wife’s attitude towards and commitment to marriage than my game.]

  11. Lily says:

    I don’t think that 70 year old woman is that bad, she’s not blaming anyone else, she just made the wrong decisions. “I’ve always put all my money into my businesses. And I always thought the business I was in was going to be a great success.” and “She received no alimony from either divorce.” And she says her mom would say she should marry for financial assistance but that’s not the way she lives.

    The story seems to be more a tale of caution rather than woe betide me kind of story.

    @TFH
    That is a great idea about the Mexican. Very creative!

    I just thought she seems to have a house so perhaps she could rent rooms out. Also try and sell her part of the other land. Perhaps get a third party to look at her old design work to see if she can sell any rights or license to someone. Or think laterally about her skills, e.g. perhaps she could get some mentoring or advice work, either in her area or remotely.

    I’m quite surprised that the financial planner being given the profile on Yahoo.com’s finance pages thinks getting other income is a ‘short term’ solution and getting a reverse mortgage is a better one.

    I’m confused by this bit though. What does this mean? “she averages about $1,400 in monthly income, including Social Security (adjusted for one of her former husbands’ earnings)” She gets more or less? And why is Social Security linked to an ex spouse’s earnings?

  12. dragnet says:

    “What if some enlightened banker said, divorce happens and it’s OK to borrow money to get through the next X years. We believe that parenting is important, we’d rather you be actively involved in child’s life than work a second job. We’ll loan you the money you need at a reasonable rate of interest and allow you to pay it back over fifteen, twenty years.”

    I guess there is no problem that can’t be solved by enslaving yourself to the finance industry.

  13. anonymous says:

    @dannyfrom504, if you intend to retire, I suspect that military retirement is just barely enough for one household. If it gets cut in half via divorce, then you will have to unretire. You should be able to prenup a military retirement, but you cannot contract anything to do with children. Which means if you have children and divorce, you will have to unretire, which is a shame, because if you could retain custody and/ or avoid child support, then you could stay retired.

  14. Lily says:

    anonymous, would that be a typical thing for US military? That someone would retire at 40 with the expectation of not working again? I only ask as it would be quite unusual in the UK, even considered ‘wrong’ in most circles for them not to work unless they couldn’t get a job or was too ill to work. Especially someone who had skills like Danny (he’s medical personnel).

  15. Amirantes says:

    How wise our forebears may have really been… it seems so patently clear, the more one absorbs–really truly absorbs–the implications of female hypergamy and the wildness of feminine emotions and psychology, that Great Grandma and the advice her peers gave the next generation (at the time) were right all along?

    Yes, women were, by the common definition of the word, “oppressed”, their choices were restricted, but it could all have been for a very good reason! Feminism interrupted a grand unspoken social experiment that was being urged by the necessities of civilisation–to select females (those who listened to Grandma) whose success in life would be tied to how well they suppressed their natural urges, to think rationally.

  16. Dalrock says:

    @Lily

    I don’t think that 70 year old woman is that bad, she’s not blaming anyone else, she just made the wrong decisions. “I’ve always put all my money into my businesses. And I always thought the business I was in was going to be a great success.” and “She received no alimony from either divorce.” And she says her mom would say she should marry for financial assistance but that’s not the way she lives.

    The story seems to be more a tale of caution rather than woe betide me kind of story.

    She made a lifetime of wrong decisions. As one of the commenters to the story put it:

    This is merely a reflection of the Berkley culture that led to the flower children generation. Live now, forget tomorrow, bed down with ?, to hell with all the other conservatives (resposible persons who plan for today and tomorrow).

    And why even mention that she didn’t get paid a wage for divorcing? They just as well could have pointed out that she didn’t have to pay her ex husbands alimony. Likewise you give her credit for not marrying some unsuspecting chump and sponging off of him. Our expectations for women are unbelievably low when we hold them up as noble for such a thing. Again, change the sex and imagine if a man had said he was too honest to bilk some old lady out of her life’s savings. Would you really be impressed?

    As for the business, I’ve seen quite a number of people use their businesses as an excuse to manage their money badly. I gave an example in the original post. Owning a business isn’t an excuse to not save for the future. Plus the article makes it clear that she didn’t save even when she was earning a wage.

    I agree with you that the NY Times article wasn’t as bad about blaming “society” (read men) for her willfully dumb choices as the Charlotte Observer article was. Still, who can read such a story without getting a knot in the pit of their gut? It is a cautionary story, but it also is calculated to evoke sympathy from the average reader.

  17. Dalrock says:

    @Lily
    I just realized that I hadn’t given you a hat tip for the link to the article in the Daily Mail. I’ve edited the post and fixed it.

  18. Julie says:

    Yes, a lot of divorced women will struggle in retirement becaues of dumb decisions they made.

    But I think of my divorced mom and her divorced friends. They weren’t perfect but the reasons they are alone as they age are: repeated cheating by the husband during the marriage, or the husband decides he is actually gay, or the husband leaves and marries a younger woman….

    It’s not always primarily the woman’s fault.

  19. Lily says:

    “She made a lifetime of wrong decisions.”
    She may or may not as we don’t know know the full story, but she definitely didn’t plan for her retirement properly. But she doesn’t seem to be saying ‘nobody told me’ excuse I see bandied around by people who don’t take responsibility.

    Yes, this is a common thing with people who run businesses but entrepreneurs is a whole huge topic on its own (though she’s possibly probably more the creative type than the classic entrepreneur though).

    “And why even mention that she didn’t get paid a wage for divorcing? They just as well could have pointed out that she didn’t have to pay her ex husbands alimony. Likewise you give her credit for not marrying some unsuspecting chump and sponging off of him.”
    Actually, I don’t give her credit for that. I just mentioned it because some of the stuff that’s bandied around in terms of assumptions (though saying that, some people give the impression that they think that’s what women should do use men aka beta providers for financial resources, as it is ‘rational’ over love or god forbid tingles).

    The talk of alimony is actually quite a strange thing for me as it’s not common here in divorces for ‘regular’ people. I don’t know anyone who has got alimony (male or female). The closest thing I can think of is a 50 something year old woman I know who left then divorced her husband after he’d taken up with another woman (who later had his child) & they split assets as usual but she’s also getting part of his pension.

    I can email you background details if you like as the story made the papers (though not the divorce settlement as it was literally made on the steps of the court as despite her pleading, he had not wanted to deal with it before) but I don’t want to mention it here, though if you are interested, I’d appreciate if you edited this comment from me so it doesn’t get tied to me.

    I do get your point on the media though although given what dragnet said about the other article, and what I thought about the advice given to the 70 year old, I think the financial industry aspect of it is quite interesting.

  20. Dalrock says:

    @Julie

    Yes, a lot of divorced women will struggle in retirement becaues of dumb decisions they made.

    But I think of my divorced mom and her divorced friends. They weren’t perfect but the reasons they are alone as they age are: repeated cheating by the husband during the marriage, or the husband decides he is actually gay, or the husband leaves and marries a younger woman….

    It’s not always primarily the woman’s fault.

    There are multiple things going on here. Even if the women divorced for good reason (as in the example I gave) it doesn’t absolve them from the responsibility to make good choices. If they see divorce as a financial windfall, they are almost always spending money they don’t really have. This isn’t changed by who was at fault for the divorce.

    Second, as I mentioned in the post 99% of the time the message to women is You go girl! Kick him to the curb! The data shows women are listening and initiating divorce at twice the rate of men (if not higher). The Devlin post showed how many women deliberately try to provoke their husband to be the one to file so they won’t look like the bad guy. But when the topic is the cost of divorce, suddenly the issue of who didn’t keep their vows is re-framed to make it look like men are the ones walking out on marriage. All of the divorced women your mother knows were either cheated on or their husband was gay? Seriously? I call BS. I shared the AARP survey data a while back, and only 17% of women claimed they divorced because of infidelity (hers or his). Less than 1% said it was because they or their husband was gay.

  21. Lily says:

    One thing I don’t understand is why people think they are exempt from cutting your cloth to your means. The boy’s mother and father had a grey divorce but they managed fine, they sold their house, split the proceeds and each moved to a smaller property. They both have enough money for what they want, in fact they both say they have more money than they’ve ever had to spend on themselves.

    [D: I agree. The lack of responsibility drives me nuts (from men or women). I also think it is cruel that these stories try to make excuses for these women, because other women are less likely to learn the essential lesson. First the media eggs them on to divorce and go on a spending spree, and then it helps them rationalize why it won’t be their fault if they end up broke in retirement.]

  22. Lily says:

    dalrock, I’m surprised that from the AARP data as it seems a lot smaller than infidelity rates??
    I didn’t know what the AARP was though..so googled..interesting their thoughts on infidelity
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-05-07-sex-older_N.htm

  23. PT Barnum says:

    Now that I think about it, the real reason for retirement is with an 1980s decent well paying job, after you’ve ditched your children when they turn 18, there really is no reason at all to keep WORKING for money you don’t even remotely need. Yet the WORK is sacred. More WORK. More WORK.

    So a reason must be found. And that reason is retirement. Now you need the WORK.

  24. Dalrock says:

    @Lily

    dalrock, I’m surprised that from the AARP data as it seems a lot smaller than infidelity rates??

    Someone else may have some other stats we can look at. The AARP is the US lobby group for senior citizens. However their study was primarily of people who divorced in their 40s, with declining numbers of people who divorced in their 50s and 60s. It may be on the low side since they would have been looking at an older generation. However this would seem to describe Julie’s mother and her peers, so I think the stats are appropriate there.

    I think part of the problem is the apex fallacy. There is a tendency to think the world looks like Mad Men, when it almost never does. Like you my wife and I know of cases where the husband cheated and/or took up with another woman. But this isn’t the driving force behind our divorce problem. Interestingly the women’s 17% answer on the AARP survey on infidelity (includes both husband and wife) pretty closely matches the husband’s infidelity rate of 19% on the should I divorce him quiz. It seems likely that women are only saying infidelity was the primary cause of the divorce on the AARP survey if their husband was the unfaithful one. However the same pattern isn’t there comparing the men’s AARP answer of 14% with the acknowledged 25% infidelity rate of women on the should I divorce him quiz. It makes me wonder if:

    A) Women are less likely to get caught cheating than men.
    B) Men are too embarrassed to admit that their wife cheated on them.
    C) Men are more likely to view their wife’s infidelity not as the cause of their marriage’s failure but the result of it. Our culture teaches men to blame themselves here since everyone knows women are just naturally faithful.

    I’m guessing it is a combination of all three.

    But like I said I’d be interested in seeing further data anyone else can share on this.

  25. J says:

    “What if some enlightened banker said, divorce happens and it’s OK to borrow money to get through the next X years. We believe that parenting is important, we’d rather you be actively involved in child’s life than work a second job. We’ll loan you the money you need at a reasonable rate of interest and allow you to pay it back over fifteen, twenty years.”

    I guess there is no problem that can’t be solved by enslaving yourself to the finance industry.

    LOL. My husband is a senior executive at a financial institution. We carry ZERO debt other than our mortgage. What does that tell you?

  26. J says:

    @Lily

    would that be a typical thing for US military? That someone would retire at 40 with the expectation of not working again?

    No, it’s not typical at all. Most younger military retirees continue to work in civilian jobs related to their field. Same for civil service retirees.

  27. dannyfrom504 says:

    Darlock-

    i’m not a big proponent of game as well; i just want to be able to navigate my relationships better and more effectively. i have no intention of “duping” a girl into sex, but i DO, want to keep a woman in general. from what i’ve seen…….game can help.

    and Lily…….i’m very hurt but the lack of attention on my site. booooooo.

  28. greyghost says:

    With the entitlement mindset of women and the complete lack of any checks on female behavior this is what we have at the other end. At no time in a womans life is ant responsibility everr really placed on women. This spoiled feminist baby boomer bunch is the most pampered in history.
    Dalrock this exchange says a lot about modern women.
    “My wife and I know two different retired women who are outright offended at any suggestion that they live on a budget. These women are in their 60s and 70s and have never had to be responsible with money”.

    Now is that actually true? Or is that added for dramatic effect?

    [D: I wish it wasn’t true. The details would shock you.]
    I could describe conversations I had with my wife that are simply shocking as you say. The best lesson a man can teach his wife is responsibility. I think that would be a better gift of love than a huge amount of life insurance money. Todays women will have non of that.
    It is really great how many men are writing these articles with such insight and thought.

  29. Anonymous Reader says:

    I wonder how big a conniption fit the feminists and tradcon White Knights would have if both parties to a marriage were required to demonstrate understanding of the compound interest equation?

  30. Julie says:

    I don’t know the details on all my mother’s friends. I do also have two aunts who have been divorced, both of them were cheated on. So I’m not saying you’re wrong. Perhaps those stats are totally accurate, however, it’s just not what I’ve seen happen. My mother and my aunts and their friends are in their 60s by the way.

  31. Uncle Elmer says:

    Great essay Dalrock, but you are totally misreading the stock photo of the guy reaching out to his frigid wife as if saying “Please don’t go Baby, I need you!”

    In fact he is smirking behind the mask and anticipating his upcoming trysts with women half his age.

  32. anonymous says:

    @Lily ,., would that be a typical thing for US military? That someone would retire at 40 with the expectation of not working again?

    probably unusual, only because US military personal develop strong work ethics. Still, US military retiree might pull $35-40k pension plus health care after his 20 years .That’s enough to support one household, even if wife doesn’t work. However, divide that in half and / or garnish child support, and it goes below poverty line. Many military personal do dangerous jobs, so their retirements should be secure. I’m guessing in Iraq, the person picked to drive the fuel trucks 600 miles across hostile roads is a man, not a woman. Men suffer most war time casualties and are considered relatively expendable.

  33. LBD says:

    My husband and I are 62 and 60 respectively, classic baby boom age. We’re steadily employed but in a very expensive area, so our apparently respectable salaries don’t put us in the upper middle class. We’re thrifty, save a good percentage of our dough, no debt except mortgage which we will pay off in another five or six years. One of the great mysteries of life for me is how so many others, both our age and our children’s age, can afford to travel so much. The older ones go on cruises, the younger ones to every obscure corner of the third world, for weeks and months at a time. Where can I buy some of those magic beans? We are Shakespeare aficionados who “splurge” every year on four or five days in Ashland for the Shakespeare festival. We wish we could do London every two years but so far only every seven years. Are we going to be better off than they in retirement or is there some magic formula they know about that we’re missing?

  34. Insight says:

    LBD said:

    “Are we going to be better off than they in retirement or is there some magic formula they know about that we’re missing?”

    LBD, a few things could explain this:

    1. Kids are expensive – if you don’t have kids, a whole lot of income becomes disposable.

    2. Living in a high cost area means that you are working to support the tax man a fairly good percentage of time. It’s remarkable how much income becomes available when you go to a lower cost area, even if your gross income is lower.

    3. Traveling to the 3rd world is cheap – compare Costa Rico to London sometime. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

    4. And some people spend it while they got it. You and your hubby sound like prudent savers.

  35. Julie says:

    LBD, unless they have significantly higher income than you do, I would guess you are going to be way better off in retirement than they are.

    Either that, or they just prioritize differently, but then you did say you were thrifty.

  36. RP-in-TX says:

    @Dalrock
    My success has much more to do with my wife’s attitude towards and commitment to marriage than my game.

    I think that’s a big part of it for any marriage. Friends have asked my wife and I how we’ve managed to stay so happy because we still give off the newlywed vibe after 16 years together. We both come from families where our parents stayed married and were happy. We both really believe in our marriage. It doesn’t hurt that I was raised by a somewhat religious West Texas rancher so a lot of alpha (even patriarchal) attitude and behavior just come naturally to me.

    But I think a big part of our success also comes from our ages when we married. She was 20 and I was 25 when we began dating and we married two years later. I think the fact that neither of us spent a decade or two in the modern dating market contributed a lot to our success. I’ve seen data that says younger marriages are more likely to fail but something tells me those numbers are missing some other factors.

    [D: My wife and I married at the same respective ages and it has been great for us as well. Really young marriages have high failure rates, but by about age 20 this issue drops way off. However those against young marriages like to use the divorce rates for 18 year olds to scare women into waiting until they are 30 to marry. I covered this here (data included).]

  37. Anonymous Reader says:

    LBD, most likely they are doing it on credit. I know people who run up a pile of debt on credit cards in travel or other fun things, then spend a few years paying it back down. Also, it used to be common to refinance houses (during the boom) and take out a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC), basically borrowing against the equity in the house, to buy cars / remodel / go on trips / etc. with. That could be how some of them did it for a while, basically using their home equity as a kind of ATM.

    Uncle Elmer, the guy in the picture is not quite as you say, IMO, but if she leaves, and he gets some Game, the odds are he’ll indeed have one or more women within his sphere of influence, while she’ll be talking with other divorcees and wondering where all the good men are.

    It’s the “wine vs. milk” issue.

  38. Brian says:

    Econ 101. There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who pay interest and those who collect it. That’s all you really need to know.

  39. PT Barnum says:

    Econ 101. There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who pay interest and those who collect it. That’s all you really need to know.

    There is a word for idiots collecting 3.2% on US ten-year bonds. And that word is IDIOT. You can be sure the bankers are only collecting it if all their losses are insured by the government. Now, are YOUR losses insured by the government?

    That’s what I thought. Of course, you could be under the delusion that the interest rates will never go up and your bonds will collapse in price overnight as inflation chews your face off….

    or maybe you are in some sort of mutual fund. You are aware of the Supreme Court Janus ruling, right FULL-ON-TARD? The key is never go FULL-TARD. It let’s people take you seriously.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Friskies and Tidy Cat multple-cat formula scooping litter are going up, too.

  41. Dex says:

    Interesting. I was just thinking the other day about how “husband” has two definitions:

    n. – woman’s spouse: the man to whom a woman is married
    v. – be thrifty with something: to use and manage something economically and sensibly, e.g. resources or money

    Whereas “Wife” has but one meaning: n. – man’s spouse: the woman to whom a man is married.
    Which is not to say that wives are never frugal or insensible about money, but that a husband – at least under the Old Rules – is expected to be a good steward of the family’s resources and more frequently is.

    YMMV, of course.

  42. anonymous says:

    @ Dex says: Interesting. I was just thinking the other day about how “husband” has two definitions

    husbands who are frugal with money don’t help the consumer economy. No fault divorce culture and automatic transfer of husbands assets to more spendthrift wives is a major boon to consumer economy. If I believed in conspiracy theories …

  43. Lavazza says:

    J: “LOL. My husband is a senior executive at a financial institution. We carry ZERO debt other than our mortgage. What does that tell you?”

    That you are stopping his real plan which is selling the house, buying gold coins and renting a house?

  44. Looking Glass says:

    One side issue to the point of women losing their husbands, the ones where it isn’t an abandonment/abuse issue, is that the women are a party also at fault in those relationships.

    Except in the case of serial affairs (which means a bad marriage choice), cheating only happens in relationships that have been brought to the point where needs are met outside the relationship. This takes actions by *both* parties. No one is blameless in this situation. Choices have consequences, and not minding your marriage and grinding it to dust is just one of those choices.

    As not saving for retirement isn’t one choice but thousands, grinding your relationship down, rather than building it up, is the result of thousands of choices and interactions. Cheating, sexless marriages and frivolous divorces are situations that come about by the same means. The difference is that cheating & frivolous divorces are crises that aren’t necessarily recoverable, while a sexless marriage generally can be. So, a hapless Beta male also has a role when his wife goes “Eat, Pray, Love” on him, but selling people, especially women, that this is a *good* thing is horrible. And since a lot of it is just wish fulfillment, it’s also a sign these women have been dishonest with their husbands for the entire marriage.

    A lot of the antagonism against the frivolous divorce around here and other places in the Manosphere is that most of them are the result of listening to what women say they want then dropping their Beta provider without him actually realizing he’s mostly doing it wrong by listening to what was said and not what was subconsciously meant. Saying you want A when what you really want is B strikes men as horribly & mercilessly dishonest. Then when people sell them on leaving a functional, though not perfect, relationship to gain their “freedom” from a choice they willingly made over & over is just insulting to the carnage that divorce causes.

    And let’s not skip over the fact that divorce is *carnage*. Even if perfectly justifiable divorces, it is still utter, utter carnage. No amount of spending binges changes that carnage.

  45. Anon says:

    “And many who devoted their prime to motherhood find themselves divorced”

    Just love the use of the passive voice there… as if THEY didn’t decide to get the divorce 75% of the time.

    “@Lily ,., would that be a typical thing for US military? That someone would retire at 40 with the expectation of not working again?”

    No, usually when they retire from the military they start a second career.

  46. Pingback: The Two Meanings Of “Husband” » Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology

  47. Buck says:

    RE: Looking Glass
    “cheating only happens in relationships that have been brought to the point where needs are met outside the relationship. This takes actions by *both* parties. No one is blameless in this situation. Choices have consequences, and not minding your marriage and grinding it to dust is just one of those choices.”

    I completely reject this argument. I’m so tired of this nonsense! This is just an excuse to blunt the reality that the cheating partner is a lowlife scumbag. I’m 50( married 20 years), I’ve see plenty of life and cheaters are simply all about themselves. No one forces anyone to walk down the aisle, once that decision is made, it is an exclusivity agreement. If you want to be a cad/player/punch board…hey go for it, just STAY SINGLE, don’t mock the institution of marriage!!! If you are in a marriage and needs are not being met, DISCUSS THE PROBLEM!!!!
    I know a gal who cheats on her husband. She told me he is to predictable in the bed room…she would like more variety.
    1) Why is she telling me, a co-worked this sort of thing? I’ve NEVER discussed my relations with my wife to anyone; how totally lacking in class. In fact the guys I know never speak of such things with each other, yet I’ve heard women say things among themselves about bedmates that would make a hooker blush.
    2) I asked her if she talked to him about these issues…no…(I guess he’s supposed to be a mind reader). I responded by saying “shame on you for not talking about it”. Once I presented it ( man-logic-solution) as a “you are at fault” issue she dropped the subject…didn’t want to hear that. But the gal co-workers all support her sexual adventures, usually with the comment, “hey you only live once and you have to be happy”.

  48. J says:

    J: “LOL. My husband is a senior executive at a financial institution. We carry ZERO debt other than our mortgage. What does that tell you?”

    That you are stopping his real plan which is selling the house, buying gold coins and renting a house?

    LOL, no. He loves this freakin’ house. He says the only way he is ever leaving it is feet first in a box. OTOH, I’m sick of cleaning it.

    On a more serious note, he views gold and siver coins as better investments than gold and silver bars, but he feels that precious metals are a good way for non-professional investors to lose their shirts. I have a cousin who is a numismatist that had a lot of money tried in gold and silver in the late seventies/early eighties during a precious metal boom. When it the bubble burst he lost 75% of his investment.

    It really good to diversify just like the professional say and concentrate on slow but steady growth.

  49. Dalrock says:

    @PT Barnum

    or maybe you are in some sort of mutual fund. You are aware of the Supreme Court Janus ruling, right FULL-ON-TARD? The key is never go FULL-TARD. It let’s people take you seriously.

    Pretty much every investment choice looks bad right now. US debt is in greater doubt than any time in my lifetime. Inflation seems like it is all but guaranteed yet interest rates are extremely low. Stocks seem overvalued. Gold and other commodities are expensive. Real Estate is still falling. Etc. Even a well diversified portfolio seems to have a good chance of doing poorly. But the other choice is not to save at all, and guarantee failure. Take whatever action makes the most sense to you, but I’m not going to bet everything against western civilization. That would be the very definition of going full tard.

    As for mutual funds, managed funds really are a bad deal. They increase risk by concentrating your assets (they have to if they are going to “beat the market) and they charge higher fees while delivering lower pre fee returns on average than index funds. The option isn’t managed funds or retire destitute. Vanguard and Fidelity both have a nice selection of low cost index funds.

  50. Dalrock says:

    @Buck

    I completely reject this argument. I’m so tired of this nonsense! This is just an excuse to blunt the reality that the cheating partner is a lowlife scumbag. I’m 50( married 20 years), I’ve see plenty of life and cheaters are simply all about themselves. No one forces anyone to walk down the aisle, once that decision is made, it is an exclusivity agreement.

    This is my take as well. I think there is something to Looking Glass’ point, namely that neither spouse should fail to work at meeting the other’s needs. But men have taken this too far, and often accept responsibility for their wives’ moral failings.

  51. PuzzledTraveller says:

    @ Dalrock

    My personal take:

    A) Women are less likely to get caught cheating than men.
    B) Men are too embarrassed to admit that their wife cheated on them.
    C) Men are more likely to view their wife’s infidelity not as the cause of their marriage’s failure but the result of it. Our culture teaches men to blame themselves here since everyone knows women are just naturally faithful.

    a. Yep. Every guy I met that went through the ordeal was taken by surprise to a large degree. Even if they felt something was ‘off’ they never imagined that their wife would do that. I think this is because of a couple of factors: you have a truth bias towards your spouse. You need to believe them and think them honest because to think otherwise, would be almost unthinkable because it would cause a disconnect in your own ego/psyche that you are with someone that was duplicitous, plus it would upend your localized world view.

    So in spite of feeling something is off, and seeing warning signs that to an outsider are obvious, the duped spouse’s mind represses these things as a survival mechanism to keep things normal and okay, until such time as there is a confession or blatant discovery. Cheaters know this truth bias exists and use it to their advantage. Women in particular know that their men have a pretty huge level of trust invested in them, much more than I think women ever trust their men. I think this is more so if a guy grew up in a good home. ‘Mom’s don’t do these things.’

    Also, for men, they tend to pedestalize their wife, ‘I married a good girl.’ ‘The mother of my kids would never do this.’ This thinking continues even after discovery as they will initially blame the cheating on the other man and want to kick his butt. Eventually they wake up to the fact that he didn’t take anything she didn’t willingly offer. I think that thinking stems from social conditioning that somehow women are pure and civilizers. I think the reality is the opposite. If I had a dollar for every time a guy told me “I can’t believe she would do this…” Believe it man.

    b. Usually so because it’s always the man’s fault. Man cheats, he’s a bastard. Poor dear, that horrible man. Woman cheats, he’s a bastard, Poor dear what did that horrible man do to force you to cheat? Did he not meet your needs? Well, you have to be haaapppy, and if you aren’t getting your needs met, it’s his fault and you only did what you had to do, for the children of course. It’s no good for the kids if momma isn’t happy, blah, blah, blah. Guys know that virtually no one is going to give them a sympathetic ear, other guys might make fun of them and in any event, they’re just expected to eat the pain and man up. When a man cheats on his wife, it’s really bad and certainly embarrassing for her but there is a built in social support mechanism that will aid in wiping those tears away. Also there is an approved societal script of the steadfast wife taming her wild man and bringing him back to the marriage. There is no such support or script for a man. I think this also cuts into the core of biological underpinnings of how deep an affront it is to a man when his woman cheats. When the woman cheats, it is almost always terminal. Even if the cheating stops, it’s just such a huge affront to the man’s core being, and also brings up feelings of having been financially swindled out of your resources, paternity doubts, etc that women don’t have to have. The statistics on marriage outcomes / divorce likelihood if the woman cheats bear this out from what I have read. Plus can you really ever regain an ‘Alpha’ or even greater Beta frame in the relationship with someone always lurking in the background noise who out Alpha-ed you and took your wife? Can you ever be in a position with this woman where she respects you and you respect yourself for staying with her? Where you are the Captain, playful, cocky-funny, amused mastery? I don’t know, maybe some can.

    c. Sorta. This is complicated. It’s already drilled into their heads that they are responsible for her actions, so it takes a long time to unwind that spider web and clear it out. But yeah, for a long time you’re thinking “Oh if I only I would have done this…or if only I would have done that…” Yeah, that’s all well and good and anyone can be a better spouse, but that still doesn’t absolve the woman of her personal responsibility for her actions. The cheater will reinforce this thinking heavily because it is in their interest to both blame you so that they don’t have to be responsible and it keeps you off balance and reeling, running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to ‘fix it’, which allows them to more easily control you and manipulate the situation to their advantage. As if it is all up to you to fix this, again, a total rejection of responsibility from the cheater. ‘You made me break it, so you have to fix it.’ After a while you come to a more clear understanding that, if she was temperamentally or morally inclined to cheat, she’s gonna cheat. Doesn’t matter if she was married to you or Brad Pitt. Hell, Gwyneth Paltrow cheated on Brad Pitt. What’s that say for Joe Average?

    In regards to marriage conditions that may have existed prior to the cheating. Unless it was drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, etc. then they aren’t really super high on the priority list of things that need to be addressed right now. But the cheater would like those things addressed, and would like you to know it’s all your fault and they are not responsible for their actions because you forced them to do it. If they can get you believing that, it allows them to manipulate you into being their super chump while they continue to cavort with the cheating partner. The cheated on spouse goes along because they are in survival mode and will do almost anything to try to preserve or restore the previous reality, until they realize that’s not possible. Eventually, most duped spouses get exhausted trying to play that game, and they also return to a sense of self respect and cry foul and institute penalties. That’s when the game is up, the cheater usually gets dumped by the affair partner, and if they abused the spouse too much, they get dishonorably discharged from the marriage.

  52. Lavazza says:

    J: I read “doomer porn” like this. Therefor my guess.

    http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/

  53. Julie says:

    I agree that often, when someone cheats, the other person is not meeting their needs somehow. It’s still a despicable thing to do.

    But I think there are men for whom ONE WOMAN can never meet their needs because they feel they need multiple women. Thinking of various famous politicians, etc. I agree that such men shouldn’t get married. I think fewer of these men are getting married in my Generation (X).

  54. J says:

    Lavassa,

    LOL, I can your reasoning now. You know, all the depressions in US history before 1929 are called ‘panics” as in “Panic of 1907” or “Panic of 1837.” There’s a reason for that.😉

    It might make you feel better to know that, at every professional conference that my husband has attended in the last year or so, the zeitgeist is that the world economy has a foot on the road to economic recovery despite there being major bumps along the way.

    We personally have taken some major hits over the last few years, but my husband is optimistic about the future.

  55. Lavazza says:

    Sorry for the OT, Dalrock. I have a very pessimistic outlook on the future for most people. There are too many game changers: Peak oil, peak credit, peak any type of ressource.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Poor dears… their rotten ex-husbands obviously put a gun to their heads and made them have sex with his best friend or the pool boy, then blow all that divorce money on “bling” and not save for retirement. Men, such jerks!

  57. dragnet says:

    OT:

    Casey Anthony uses pussy pass to beat murder rap:

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-casey-anthony-verdict-20110704,0,1425780.story

    I guess no age is too late to abort the little rugrats. No doubt she will now begin a tireless search for the ‘real killer’ just like OJ after his trial.

  58. J says:

    I have to admit that I am astounded by the verdict; I personally can not imagine any circumstranes that would explain putting duct tape over a child’s mouth. OTOH, the decision was unanimous (according to my local radio station). You have to wonder what the jury heard that convinced them this wasn’t a murder. Or perhaps there was so much contradictory evidence and doubt raised by the defense that they just threw up their hands and didn’t convict.

  59. dragnet says:

    @ J

    Lord Christ, you are running your poor rationalization hamster to death. I’ve never read a comment so intent on avoiding the obvious conclusion: PUSSY PASS.

    The simple truth is that if you replace ‘Casey’ Anthony with ‘Kevin’ Anthony the defendant would have been drawn and quartered on the spot.

  60. J says:

    So then, what pass did OJ get?

    This isn’t first jury verdict that has ever surprised me. I thought that the evidence against OJ was overwhelming, as you seem to think as well. Obviously he didn’t get a pussy pass, but he’s free as a bird, raising kids whose mother he murdered. No pussy pass for the cops in the Rodney King case, where many thought the videotape evidence against them was overwhelming. They were acquitted, apparently despite their genitalia. (It later came out that the jury saw a longer tape then the brief clip that was constantly shown on the news, and that King may have been assaultative himself.) And what about Amanda Knox? The Ivorian guy confessed to killing the victim, but Knox and her boyfriend, who probably would not have been convicted under US rules of evidence are still sitting. Where’s Amanda’s pussy pass?

    To say that jury may have seen things that the general public is unaware of is not rationalization.

  61. Looking Glass says:

    @ Buck & Dalrock:

    I’m going to push back and say I am correct on my Grind Theory. I was going to send this as an email to Dalrock in the near future to get a discussion going about it, but I can lay out most of it here. Warning, this is a little long.

    I call it “Grind Theory” because of a lot of insights I have in the method by which relationships operate, the way the physical world operates and a morbid curiosity of a few days on the Talk About Marriage sub-forum of cheating spouses (I wouldn’t recommend the latter one). There’s also a really solid Biblical basis to it as well, but more on that as I get into it.

    I started working this out a few weeks ago in Athol’s comment section. I don’t really remember what started it, but realize I’m an analyst by trade (and a good one at that, I feel). When I see things having a similar “path”, I start trying to figure out what’s going on. I, like most of the rest, ended up finding Athol after a LTR blew up, though I more stumbled upon Athol than was actively looking for advice. So, reading a lot of Athol’s work, a very important aspect is that “attraction” is the reaction to forms of communication between the couple. He spends most of his time talking about the things that build or kill attraction. The point of “Game” is to define and qualify the way attraction works. Using that knowledge, you can build up attraction in a somewhat systematic fashion.

    If anything can be qualified and some rudimentary system can be applied to it, then there is a formal way by which it operates. This means there are functions, aspects and details that fall into workable framework. This doesn’t require mathematical precision to construct a basic model to the entire thing, though that amount of precision just makes extrapolation much easier.

    But, there are a few points I need to make before growing further in.

    1) Communication & Talking are *not* the same. To “communicate” does not require talking; talking can become communication, but it is not necessarily communication. Similarly, to “talk” to someone does not mean you’ve communicated anything useful. We want to intertwine them, but they are not intertwined. This is the reason “body language” is very important in Game.

    To give the most violent explanation of this point, if someone pulls a knife on you, if they say *nothing*, they have directly communicated a HUGE amount of information. Saying something isn’t necessary to communicate hostile intent.

    2) No “end” is every disconnected from the “path” by which it was reached. In math & physics, this is call “path dependency” and it holds for *all* “real” systems. Our entire macro physics is based off this underlying principle. We usually talk about this as the “journey” in normal parlance, but the principle still holds.

    One side note to #2 is that the phrase “the ends justify the means” is functionally correct but is completely meaningless. No “end” is disconnected from the “means” by which it was achieved. And the only way to make the statement have any meaning is to confine an “end” to a snapshot of reality that ignores everything involved in it, which people really like to do all the time, as it’s more comfortable than to inspect the manner by which the “end” was reached.

    Now, let’s take an honest look at the way relationships work, and please don’t ignore important qualifiers.

    “Grind Theory” isn’t about just romantic relationships. It also applies to any relationship. So here’s what I mean by “Grind Theory”.

    Relationships are the sum total of all of the interactions between two people. The more interactions there are, the more those relationships are either built up or torn down. Relationships are, in effect, the “grinding” of two independent, self-aware beings over any period of time. If the interactions are “good”, you “sharpen” the relationship. If the interactions are “bad”, you “grind” down the relationship. Choices are made by the current state of the interactions against the needs of each party, at that time.

    For the more Biblically inclined, this is pretty much Proverbs 27 deconstructed. Specifically, Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+27&version=NIV

    So, let me explain further:

    Since your relationships are the sum total of all interactions with each person, the quality, strength and value you place on those relationships is wholly dependent on those qualifications. This is the reason that “familiarity breeds contempt” is a well understood principle. The more familiar you are with someone, the less you can mask or distort your communications. And, since communication is as much Body Language and non-Verbal communication as it is Talking, in physical proximity, relationships are built more quickly without any necessarily conscious direct action on either party’s part.

    Using my “Grind Theory” to marriage relationships, I can explain a whole lot of what we’re seeing & discussing without even getting into the moral value to certain actions. (But I will get into those)

    Inside a marriage, it generally starts with the relationship in a functional state. There is attraction, communication and Love, but we know a goodly portion of them will end in divorce, so why is it you can get from The Wedding to The Divorce without any discussion of the actions & reactions between the two? The “marriage relationship” is the sum of all of the choices & actions that *both* parties make from The Wedding until this point in time.

    So, each interaction between the marriage partners goes into the relationship. The more “good” interactions, the better the relationship becomes; the more “bad” interactions, the worse the relationship becomes. These require communication, but that doesn’t mean talking. If what one partner does irritates the other side without any push back or boundary enforcement, those actions are never addressed or corrected in a verbal, conscious manner. They simply build up in the subconscious value on the relationship that a person has. They thus respond, mostly non-verbally, with regard to what the value currently stands at. Thus, just as the frigidness you can see in a couple about to divorce (or that had a fight), you are also able to see a couple head-over-heels in Love. The Body Language & tone is all that’s technically different, but we all can see it, even on the outside looking in.

    I’m trying to keep this a little short, as there is a whole lot of sub-issues, such as: you bring everything of yourself into a relationship (this is the concept of compatibility), some actions can be far more destructive than others for a specific relationship and who you are in a relationship with is extremely important. But the system applies across the board, which is why I’ve been developing it.

    Applying it to “danger” states inside a Marriage is pretty easy. *IF* you didn’t make a horrible marriage partner decision (i.e. someone that isn’t going to stay faithful no matter what you do), then a relationship has gone from “The Wedding” to “Danger Zone” by the actions & interactions of *both* partners. You cannot disconnect the fact you’re in a “Marriage Danger Zone” from all of those actions you both took to get to that point. People end up there all of the time without any willful intent to harm the other party, but that doesn’t change the fact that your relationship is now at the point of being shattered, destroying both parties.

    The “Danger Zone” is the point by which any of these can happen: Sexless Marriage, Cheating (Emotional or Physical) and Frivolous Divorce. The differences between the results are simply down to the specific state of the relationship, the specific needs not being met and the personality/character of the parties involved. The difference is the total damage done to the relationship by the “capstone” actions. 2 are likely relationship ending; 1 is a crisis BUT not unfixable.

    Now, notice, I haven’t cast aspirations on the moral aspects or the sex of either party. This is because it isn’t necessary to describe the “State of the Marriage”. But I will address the moral aspects and 1 intra-Marriage communication aspect.

    The important thing that happens inside Marriages (and friendships as well) is that actual “communication” breaks down. You are still communicating with Body Language, but you are no longer able to communicate with Words, which is much more precise. If you can’t talk about something that is bothering you about the relationship, you are, in effect, lying each time you talk to the other partner. You are intentionally hiding something that should be addressed & expressing it with your non-verbal communication, yet you are not saying it directly. A human is very capable of noticing the disconnection between Body Language and Verbal Language. It “says” many, many things, none of which are good. You are lying to the other person, though you might not even realize it.

    Once “real” communication breaks down, it is very hard to build up a relationship. All interactions take on a “grinding down” aspect. Then, over time, they send the Marriage into the Danger Zone. Once in the Danger Zone, it’s simply a matter of the people involved for which of the 3 outcomes happen. The greater the character of the members, the more likely that they’ll work hard to fix the situation when they mentally realize that something is very, very wrong.

    On the moral aspects of things, I do find Cheating and Frivolous Divorce to be equally destructive and morally reprehensible. They are different in physical response, not in the character of the final choice that has been made. They are the “end” of a long pattern of choices. That someone has finally made the last in a long line of destructive choices doesn’t assuage the pain that’s inflicted.

    If you want to use the Christian aspect to it: you’ve been sinning along the entire process and have just gotten to the culmination of all of those sins. You made many along the way. The Affair/Frivolous Divorce is just the final nail in the coffin for the relationship and the final sin in the whole chain of them.

    The problem a lot of us run into is that we want to assign 100%/0% blame. Life doesn’t work that way. You are responsible for the choices you make, at all times. Most of those don’t have serious consequences, but some of them very much do have serious consequences. Inside a relationship, you’ve charted a path together that has led to the Danger Zone. A strong Marriage is capable of noticing early on that “something is wrong” and then working on it. The more communication is broken down, the harder it is to correct the problem. Once real communication is broken, it needs a massive intervention (normally another party) to restore it.

    Here’s another side aspect to the communication aspect. A true “argument” is actually a form of communication. This is why major, major arguments in a Marriage are rarely ever about the topics of discussion. An argument is the first chance to actually communicate in some time, so every bit of emotions that are built up around the communication breakdown suddenly come out. This also applies in any relationship you might have. Though, generally, outside of family, the arguments aren’t terribly vicious, comparatively.

    So, that’s the basics of “Grind Theory”. Just as we can build up relationships, so can they be torn down. This implies many hundreds or thousands of choices & interactions, rather than a few major ones. It doesn’t apply to relationships that never had any chance of survival (i.e. marrying philanderer, abuser or addict), as that relationship will be destroyed due to a massive mismatch between the parties. But as Dalrock quite rightly points out, that isn’t the major driving force between Divorces.
    This is still in the fairly early stages, so if you have some more input, I’d be glad to hear it, so I can keep working down the functional aspects of it. It’s slowly approaching a functional theory on human interaction, but that’s a whole lot more work still to do.

  62. Looking Glass says:

    Jury verdicts are as much about the lawyers as anything else. An “air tight” case can be lost because the Defense lawyer is simply better.

    I didn’t follow the case that much, but from what I’d heard, the physical evidence wasn’t great and a Murder One charge was probably a stretch. They should have probably focused more on manslaughter than premeditation. And it seems they didn’t add in an involuntary manslaughter charge, which seems odd.

    If you want to talk about women getting a pass, the really big case was a wife that murdered her husband in his sleep with a shotgun. She got 9 months. Oh, and he was a pastor of a church. She should have been facing the death penalty, but she pretty much walked for Murder One. That case was abhorrent. This one was more just a brutally hard case to construct.

    [D: That case was horrific. It was her word against the guy she murdered, and he didn’t show up in court to clear his name. I referenced it in this post.]

  63. J says:

    Jury verdicts are as much about the lawyers as anything else. An “air tight” case can be lost because the Defense lawyer is simply better.

    Mr. Baez truly impresses me. His strategy apparently was to throw enough BS alternative scenarios into the mix until the jury had more than it could deal with…and it worked! It was a verdict of, “We’ll never the truth, so screw it.”

    D: That case was horrific. It was her word against the guy she murdered, and he didn’t show up in court to clear his name…

    All these cases are horrendous. Murder is horrendous. The OJ comments reminded me of Ron Goldman. who everyone–including me almost–usually forgets. Brutally murdered for the crime of being a gentleman and returning a pair of glasses left at his workplace.

  64. Eric says:

    Looking Glass:
    None of these theories, including ‘Game’ work in actual practice anywhere in the Anglosphere. Women are educated here under a feminocentric culture that teaches them both to hate men and to consider themselves all-powerful in relationships. Men are considered inferiors, and expendable commodities; whereas women consider themselves earthly goddesses who are entitled to all the benefits of sex and reproduction.

    Divorce is, to most women in our culture, nothing but a pension-scheme; another entitlement they’ve supposedly earned for tolerating monogamy. The whole idea of monogamy and commitment is adverse to the phony ideal of the ‘liberated’ and ‘independent’ female that our culture inculcates in women’s minds. Marriage—and for that matter relationships with men in general—can only under such circumstances be a short-term, self-serving, expedient for the average woman.

    It’s no argument to bring up Biblical passages, since the so-called ‘tradcon women’ have been educated under the same feminocentric cultural premises as every other American female has. They merely give a ‘traditional’ veneer to what is, essentially, radical feminism.

  65. Eric says:

    Dragnet:
    And he wouldn’t even have to have committed murder, either. ‘Inappropriate sexual conduct’ (whatever that means) is enough to bring down upon any male the full wrath of the US media and legal complexes. Even the head of the IMF wasn’t exempt. The guy was dragged off a plane in chains, thrown into a dungeon, tried and executed in the media on nothing more than somebody’s hearsay. The French media did probably the best job of exposing that whole case as a sham; but of course, our media bows to the feminist agenda and their’s doesn’t.

  66. Buck says:

    Looking Glass:

    Once a party to a legally binding contract and or God promise…(in the case of a marriage BOTH apply), makes a conscious decision to have sex with another, not their spouse, than we can and should and MUST assess blame on a 100%/0% basis….the cheater is WRONG!!!! They promise ” to have and to hold, forsaking ALL others”. If you stand before God and all your friends and declare that promise, then stick with it! If you can’t make and keep promises then by all means DO NOT GET MARRIED!!!!!!

    .
    The cheated on spouse is a victim and I absolutely reject the notion that they are somehow partially to blame…HELL NO!!!

    Excuses can be found to justify all sorts of dirtbag behavior. There is no need to make this complicated, you either are a person of your word or you are not!

  67. Stephenie Rowling says:

    I actually agree with Buck, nothing short of the spouse cheated on making the bed and placing the other person naked in it and offering to their partner makes the cheated on person guilty. I mean I think once you take your vows is important to remember the for good or bad if a person feels so…unhappy with an aspect of a relationship that it feels tempted to cheat, his/her duty is to communicate it to their spouse. If my hubby ever felt so attracted to another woman that he though he was going to cheat I rather have him seeking my support and help into improving whatever is wrong than getting cheated on. Forsaking other is a vow is not forsaking others as long as your spouse is giving you what you want, YMMV.
    P.S.
    I don’t necessarily reject the notion that the other party was participant but really I think giving a fair warning of how bad things are will make the spouse focus in the marriage in the great majority of the cases, YMMV as usual.

  68. Anonymous Reader says:

    Looking Glass, that’s a pretty interesting idea you have there. However, you seem to be assuming that communication is always easy, or even possible. There can be any number of events outside of a marriage that make verbal communication inside pretty much impossible. The husband loses his job, the wife feels at the gut level he can no longer provide and therefore he’s not “man” anymore, the husband feels he’s not “man” either, clams up and spends his time alternating between distractions from the situation and desperately trying to get another job. Where’s the entre’ for a verbal discussion that won’t degenerate into blaming?

    Or the wife gives birth and a few months later her father dies. Normal post partum depression becomes something much deeper as she mourns. She rejects her husband sexually for months on end, even while accusing him of thinking about other women. She expends all her energy at work, and all her emotion on the children. Where’s the opening for any verbal discussion that again won’t degenerate into a fight?

    Suppose a man has been raised with the belief that harmony and peace in the home is essential, and that his wife’s happiness is his responsibility? Any time any disagreement breaks out, he’ll all but instinctively want it to end as soon as possible. Because harmony and peace is essential. But his wife won’t be happy. So he’s bound to try extra hard to do whatever she says she wants — and since what women say they want, and what they actually want, can be diametrically opposed, he’s in a lose-lose situation. Now, how does he start talking, without winding up in a fight, which he will basically concede in order to get some peace, thereby further skewing the relationship?

    Are you seriously saying that it is always easy to talk about wants and needs with someone who thinks they already know what you want, and need, and does not — not — want to be told that they are wrong?

    Interesting idea. Not sure about the implementation. Will think about it more. Thanks again for posting.

  69. Anonymous Reader says:

    Stephanie Rowling
    If my hubby ever felt so attracted to another woman that he though he was going to cheat I rather have him seeking my support and help into improving whatever is wrong than getting cheated on.

    A lot of women probably said the same thing, before they had children. Afterwards, not necessarily.

  70. Anonymous Reader says:

    Dalrock, it might be a good idea to set up a separate, open thread for the Florida case. That way people can discuss that separately from this thread. Just a suggestion.

    [D: I’m happy to provide the forum but I’m not sure there is a demand for this. Does anyone else want this?]

  71. uncleFred says:

    Casey Anthony’s and OJ’s cases share a common quality; Poor performance by the state in prosecuting the state’s case. While I think that it is ALMOST a lock that OJ murdered, or was involved in the murders of, the victims and that Casey Anthony was involved in her daughter’s death, in both cases, the state screwed it up. Once the state stops being an impartial seeker of the truth presenting unvarnished evidence of guilt, and allowing a jury to render a verdict. their case must be set aside. The consequence of allowing the state to fudge the process, invalidates innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and makes our entire judicial system nothing more than star chambers and kangaroo courts.

    While I am not particularly happy with the outcome of either trial, neither prosecution team met the dual duties of impartial seekers of truth and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. While we can argue why the respective juries returned a not guilty verdict, in both cases they made the REQUIRED decision.

    We have a lot of commentary in the manosphere about the polarization of family courts and how justice is not served. This is another side of that coin. In a court where innocence is presumed, the state must prove their case, and when they fail we sometimes see individuals who committed a crime go free. We decry the very real fact that a man is presumed guilty in family court. We can’t have this both ways. Either innocence (or in the case of family law equality before the law) is presumed, or we all end up in shackles at the whim of the state.

    Fire the prosecutor. Get someone who will file charges that he/she can prove. That is where the fault resides.

  72. Looking Glass says:

    @ Buck, sorry to burst your bubble, but the actions of the cheated on spouse have a very heavy role to the actions that happened. You’re trying to cast hard & fast stones, but both spouses are a party to the actions of the Marriage. My “Grind Theory” casts no moral aspirations or intentions; it’s simply a method by which to understand human reactions. I’ll get to the moral side of things in a sec, but it seems obvious you’ve been cheated on (or know someone that has been) and that’s what you’re arguing from. But I’m not trying to assign a numerical culpability to the situation nor am I offering moral justifications. I very specifically said I wasn’t. People *do not* exist in a vacuum, you cannot ignore the paths that people took to the results they end up at.

    To Eric’s point, again, I’m not casting aspirations on the character, difficulty or quality of relationships. I actually do tend to agree that Western culture has made stable, functional relationships far harder, but that’s not really what I’m trying to figure out with “Grind Theory”. The point is to understand the mechanics of the situation so adjustments can be made more effectively. Having a generally functional theory is like having the ability to use a Hammer rather than a Sledgehammer when driving a nail, it brings better level of precision but doesn’t mean you know everything. A roughly 80% correct theory is better than no theory at all, which is what I’m aiming for with “Grind Theory”.

    Here’s another example: Newton’s Third Law of Motion is “The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear.”. That’s interesting and useful for physics. It doesn’t mean a damn thing to your now broken hand and insane amounts of pain you are currently in on the way to the hospital. One is the mechanics of a situation; the other is the physical reality of your current state.

    Switching back to Buck’s point, I need to get off “Grind Theory” for a bit and talk about morality, which isn’t a part of “Grind Theory”. The moral character of the spouses will dictate how they respond once the Marriage reaches a “Danger State”, it doesn’t change the fact they can reach that state.

    Your problem is you’re attempting to use a legal responsibility principle mixed with a Christian precepts and confusing both. An affair is a sin against a Marriage and, to the people involved, a major one. God doesn’t do “major” and “minor” sins, humans just like to believe he does. That’s what you’re running into without realizing it.

    Let me describe it two ways. You have Marriage A. In Marriage A, the wife has been denying love & affection to her husband for years, degrading his leadership in the family and gossiping about the relationship to anyone that will listen. The husband’s marriage has been massively sinned again, relentlessly, for years. An opportunity presents itself and a husband slowly starts sinning against the Marriage as well, eventually culminating in a physical Affair.

    You have Marriage B. In Marriage B, the husband has willfully abdicated his leadership role, he has made his work his idol and most important part of his life, has abandoned his children & wife in the emotional sense and has denied his wife the love she is supposed to be given inside the Marriage. An opportunity presents itself and the wife slowly starts sinning against the Marriage as well, eventually culminating in a physical Affair.

    In both Marriage A & B, one party committed the sin that has the consequence of making Divorce not a sin. But both sides having been committing consistent, long term and conscious sins against the Marriage. The Affair is not excused, but neither is either party blameless in the situation. Paul is pretty clear on the concept of sin begetting sin in “1 Corinthians 5”. Both sides have been sinning against each other and God. That one side is just “trumping” the other is of no consequence to either God or the flock of his children, though an affair has far more emotional, physical and legal consequences.

    So, talking wholly in the Christian moral side of Affairs, both sides have much to repent for. That a divorce is now not a sin does not obviate the sins of both parties previous to the Affair and Divorce, nor eliminate the very serious consequences that are about to befall both of them.

  73. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anonymous Reader:
    I’m not trying to make an analogue to “Game”, in and of metric by which you “Do A, then B, then D if B has X response.” That’s beyond the scope of what I’m attempting to develop.

    There are a whole lot of reasons that direct, honest, verbal communication can break down. I don’t believe I even gave reasons why that happens, as they aren’t terribly important to what I’m trying to work out. As I also said, most communication is non-Verbal. That’s important. The couple is still communicating in all of your examples, it’s just it’s non-Verbal and very negative. Once the relationship hits the stage of Verbal Communication breakdown, all interactions become either neutral or negative, none are now positive. The difference from there is simply about the people inside the relationship and not the mechanics of it. In a “healthy” relationship, the two parties will quickly realize something is wrong and work to solve the issue. In an “unhealthy” relationship, neither party will do what is necessary to address the issue that’s currently eating at the relationship, which “grinds” it down even more, and you eventually end up in a “Danger state”.

    That’s all I’m trying to figure out. There are mechanics that always seem to crop up in dead relationships. “Grind Theory” is simply a method by which I’m attempting to wrap it all together and look at the basic mechanics of the matter.

    How this relates back to the original post is pretty straight forward from here. Selling Divorce as “easy” or “good” robes both parties of fixing & correcting what is destroying the major relationship in their life. Especially after a Divorce, none of the issues that lead to the divorce have been dealt with, leading to a very specific state: a broken home, possibly broken children, a broken man and a broken woman, and all have to now deal in life with major loss & massive cost increases (and associated economic hardships). Divorce isn’t good for anyone, even in the cases it’s necessary. That there is a massive cost for ending a Marriage and then hiding it is a big problem.

  74. Dex says:

    @ Looking Glass

    Anyone who’s ever sharpened an implement can tell you that whether you’re wearing down or sharpening is a matter of the angle of approach to the stone/iron. But in this analogy, it’s up to you the angle you take.

    “The problem a lot of us run into is that we want to assign 100%/0% blame. Life doesn’t work that way. You are responsible for the choices you make, at all times. Most of those don’t have serious consequences, but some of them very much do have serious consequences.”

    This is good stuff.

    While building out your theory (model), you might want to include what we know about interpersonal and intra-marital violence. Most domestic disturbances, or at least half of them, and a good number of assault cases (not domestic) are fights – altercations that got physical and got out of hand until the police were involved. Sometimes someone winds up seriously hurt or dead. Sometimes someone winds up in jail. There’s a case to be made that however official Blame is assigned, both were responsible for their part in it. This isn’t purely “blame the victim”; it’s saying if you could have avoided it, you’re not 100% a victim, are you? I used to work in the criminal justice system and I’ve known lots of criminals who claimed that they were actually the victim and that they didn’t know why they were the ones punished. They refused to take responsibility for their role in a violent altercation. They hated when I pointed out that they could have walked away. They hated being held responsible for their own actions, that it didn’t matter if they weren’t the only guilty ones – they were still guilty. (These were mostly men, but a few were women. The wife-beaters and the abusive women were the hardest to get through to.)

    Back to relationships – In addition to Body Language, there’s more to subtext. Everything you do with or to the other party in a relationship can be seen as either reaffirming an older behavioral (behavioural, for our friends in the UK) pattern or beginning a novel one. For a neutral example, let’s imagine that I say “thank you” to my wife for cooking dinner tonight. If that’s something that’s common in our relationship, then it reaffirms that saying “thank you” is something that we do. (And it is, btw.) If I don’t usually do so, this is something new and the reaction it sets off (if any) determines whether it will continue or be extincted. Basic behaviorism in a marital context, right?

    But we’re more than rats in a maze, lookin for a little cheese and avoiding getting shocked. We have the ability to reflect on what we’re doing and what reactions we’re getting. We can choose to act and react differently. In the example, my wife could react with a beaming smile and a “you’re welcome” or with a sneer and a “what’s THAT supposed to mean?”. And, of course, her reaction probably has a great deal to do with how I said it – Body Language, Tone of Voice, etc. Either of those reactions, positive or negative, can determine if I keep expressing gratitude, or whatever is being conveyed in subtext. Every interaction is another chance to turn it all around – whether that’s good or bad. We’re responsible for those thousand little interactions that dictate the direction.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Buck said: “Excuses can be found to justify all sorts of dirtbag behavior. There is no need to make this complicated, you either are a person of your word or you are not!”

    I hear (and agree) with you, but this is 2011. Integrity is for suckers, he/she who dies old and alone loses. Dump or get dumped. Cuck or get cucked. ABC (always be cheatin’) or you’re roadkill.

  76. Buck says:

    Looking Glass,
    You are not bursting my bubble; I’m right and you and your fuzzy apologetics for immoral behavior are wrong. God says those who practice sin are given over to a reprobate mind..incapable of proper thinking.
    Marriage is serious business and is a contract that should only be entered into soberly. If you cannot keep your word, do not enter into the contract!
    I think in modern America, most people would do themselves a huge favor by not marrying.
    In a culture where “everybody” is a winner and the primary goal of school is to reinforce individual self esteem, most Americans are not capable of understanding or adhering to the subordination of self for the join good that is marital sacrifice. Conjoining two individuals is no easy thing and “self” MUST take a back seat to “we”…Americans currently have absolutely no training in self sacrifice…and yes, deferring to another requires training, discipline and social pressure.
    The reason a marriage is a public event is not for the great party, NO, it is a public declaration of intent with two sides; The couple’s pledge to each other and the communities pledge to hold them to their word!
    I have lost friends because I will not lie to facilitate affairs. If we, as a community, do not shame dirtbags and honor promise keepers, then marriage as an institution in America is over.

  77. Anonymous Reader says:

    Looking Glass, I’m not asking for a Game approach. I’m asking you how people are supposed to communicate verbally when one, or both, can not or will not do so. If the details bother you, then don’t sweat them.

    Once again: for whatever reason, be it work, be it grief, be it physical ailment, be it overcommittment…it comes to pass that the husband won’t talk to the wife except in the most superficial “pass the salt, please … thank you” manner, or vice versa, or both. I have seen this first hand; people who are living their lives under the same roof, but who might as well be on different continents for all the real interaction they have with each other.

    Under such a situation, how do you expect them to begin to verbally communicate again without rancor, without angry recrimination, without a big blowup of some sort?

  78. Dex says:

    AR – I can’t answer for Looking Glass from his model, but I recently read this article (link below). It jives with my experience and observations.
    1.) Look for reasons to be grateful to and for your spouse.
    2.) Express it. Use words if necessary.
    http://www.bakadesuyo.com/does-gratitude-predict-relationship-satisfact

  79. PT Barnum says:

    Take whatever action makes the most sense to you, but I’m not going to bet everything against western civilization. That would be the very definition of going full tard.

    Western civilization stretches across, conservatively, five continents. I hardly need to bet against Western Civilization to bet against America.

  80. Anonymous Reader says:

    Dex, what happens when Spouse A does those things and Spouse B basically doesn’t respond at all? No negative response, no positive response, nothing beyond a polite ‘thank you” or maybe “uh, ok” and things continue exactly the same?

    I’ll add one more point on: it’s quite possible for two people to be more or less polite to each other, and yet for all sorts of issues to be totally off the table. So one or the other or both feels extreme frustration, and no way to verbalize about it.

  81. Dex says:

    You still have a verbal interaction without a blowup. Maybe it helps. Anything positive that interrupts that kind of status quo has a chance at improving things overall. Maybe you get to the point that you can talk about the sensitive issues. Or maybe, like grief, they pass in time.

    One thing to keep in mind, though, is that verbal altercations – blowups, fights – don’t have to escalate to the point that they damage a marriage. If you can fight fair, you might both win. Recriminations, accusations, name-calling, insults don’t have to be thrown around in an argument. Perhaps a good fight is exactly what some couples need now and then – assuming the cops don’t have to get involved. I’ve known very happily married people who shout a lot. It’s okay to get mad, just don’t get mean. If doing so interrupts the status quo, you might get through to them. Might be a positive. Then again, they may just stonewall you. That’s a very bad sign.

    When someone is behaving positively towards you, your natural reaction is to respond positively. In such a situation as you describe, it sounds as if Spouse B is shutting out Spouse A on purpose. Spouse B is sending A a non-verbal message: “Leave me alone.” B is containing what would be a natural reaction, increased satisfaction and reciprocal treatment. Sounds like B is actually preparing to exit.

    But I could be wrong. I’ve known conflict avoidant couples who live separate lives under one roof. I’ve never thought that was the result of just one person being unwilling to communicate.

  82. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anonymous Reader:
    It takes “two to tango”. Depending on the situation, if you need to forcibly restart communication, it’s going to be messy. My “Grind Theory” isn’t about solving that issue (though figuring out solutions would be “plug ins” later, so to speak), but I can give some thoughts about it, aside from the basic Theory.

    Humans tend to have multiple relationships at once. Someone without multiples is generally considered to have issues. These are called “friends”. If the Marriage relationship has broken down to a point where verbal communication is broken down, then it’s incumbent on the party that’s attempting to reestablish it to find someone else that can communicate with the disconnected party. This can be a friend, a family member, a mentor or someone they trust. While it’s generally not prudent idea to bring someone into the Marriage relationship like that, if the only options are Rage or a 3rd party, please choose the 3rd party. (But don’t ignore the fact it’s going to be contentious, no matter what)

    Athol would tell you that you need to fix either an Alpha or Beta issue, though likely a Beta issue in the points you’re talking about. It’s not just what’s happened to the person that’s disconnected, but also the way the other spouse is responding to the situation. “A little Love can go a long way” is the advice you’re looking for. If a situation like this persists (say more than a few weeks), it’s also a sign that there were serious issues inside the relationship to begin with and the event(s) just amplified the issue. When something like this happens, it needs to be addressed seriously and forthrightly. Patience is also needed. (The “uber” example is the death of a young child. The chance that a couple will divorce goes through the roof.)

    @ Dex:
    I’ve sharpened knives, not swords, so I wasn’t really sure, but the analogy & terms are replaceable. I’ve only really confined the ideas down in my own head and this is my first attempt to really type them out. But that’s good information. To Sharpen & to Dull are the same strokes just different angles. Makes the analogy better than I thought.

    On the abusive/violent relationship front, from what I’ve read and the stuff I’ve seen/heard from around DA’s offices (we have required arrests of someone if a domestic disturbance is reported around these parts, which is a good & solid way to destroy a family that could have just needed some help), we really don’t get that it’s not the people that are necessarily violent, it’s the relationship itself. The reason men tend to be tagged as abusers more than women is that men have between 1.5 & 2 standard deviations more strengthen than women. So, in all likelihood, a woman hitting a man (without a weapon) will not inflict noticeable injury; the same is simply not true if a man strikes a woman (without a weapon).

    What gets relationships to that point is normally everything that happens long before the relationship ever starts. It covers home life, personality and experiences. There is a massive amount of “selection bias” for mates that resemble characteristics of the people the raised us. If those are good characteristics, then you will automatically select for someone that is good. If they are bad (addictive, abusive, philanderer, take your pick), then they are destructive on everyone involved with the relationship.

    This is a pretty long topic unto itself, but I can sum it up pretty easily: “You only know, what you know.” This is an important insight into human actions. It is very hard to invent or deal with something brand new. Or, another way to put it, “better the Devil you know, than the Devil you don’t know.”

  83. Stephenie Rowling says:

    “A lot of women probably said the same thing, before they had children. Afterwards, not necessarily.”
    Interesting response. do you think that children ruin a woman/marriage?

    “Conjoining two individuals is no easy thing and “self” MUST take a back seat to “we”…Americans currently have absolutely no training in self sacrifice…and yes, deferring to another requires training, discipline and social pressure.”

    Americans hate self sacrifice. If you read any board of a movie/book/play that has a character sacrificing herself (and this is something more strong in women IMO) she is called all sorts of names, weak, stupid, unlikeable. Is like nice and sacrifice are unthinkable sins like being a virgin…when the heck did that happened?

  84. Anonymous Reader says:

    Dex
    You still have a verbal interaction without a blowup. Maybe it helps. Anything positive that interrupts that kind of status quo has a chance at improving things overall. Maybe you get to the point that you can talk about the sensitive issues. Or maybe, like grief, they pass in time.

    Ok, so I should insert “meaningful” perhaps. Look, I’ve seen couples where there is verbal interaction as I said before of the “please pass the salt … thank you” variety. That’s verbal interaction. But it doesn’t address any problems. Go back and look at the examples I offer, and tell me where you see a point of entry to a real conversation. They aren’t totally concocted, they are things I’ve seen friends/family/etc. go through. From what I can tell, some people just shut down their emotions when stress gets to be too high, and they still are functional in the world. But they just can’t, or won’t (I can’t tell) meaningfully interact.

    You say that grief passes in time, and it does, but during that time a lot of water goes under the bridge. The example I offered of the double whammy on the wife (birth & death of parent), that can shut down a woman completely for a long time. The withdrawal from marriage in that time doesn’t do any good for anyone, and it surely would leave the husband in a bad place. But how’s he supposed to engage his wife, when she basically wants to (a) work (b) be with children and otherwise (c) be left alone? Ditto for the first case; he’s miserable, she’s miserable, and each one doesn’t want to talk to the other about it, for emotional reasons.

    I’m not trying to naysay this idea, I’m asking how it is supposed to work in situations where one or both of husband and wife seem to have shut down emotionally, leaving the other in a bad place? Because I do see this sort of thing, and I don’t see any obvious way to get through or around it, in the lives of people that I know.

  85. Anonymous Reader says:

    It takes “two to tango”. Depending on the situation, if you need to forcibly restart communication, it’s going to be messy. My “Grind Theory” isn’t about solving that issue (though figuring out solutions would be “plug ins” later, so to speak), but I can give some thoughts about it, aside from the basic Theory.

    Thanks for the clarification. I agree that a major restart of communication is apt to be messy. The problem I have is, in the modern world, “messy” can become an accusation of DV, leading to the divorce mill. I will discuss this a bit more in a second.

    Humans tend to have multiple relationships at once. Someone without multiples is generally considered to have issues. These are called “friends”. If the Marriage relationship has broken down to a point where verbal communication is broken down, then it’s incumbent on the party that’s attempting to reestablish it to find someone else that can communicate with the disconnected party. This can be a friend, a family member, a mentor or someone they trust. While it’s generally not prudent idea to bring someone into the Marriage relationship like that, if the only options are Rage or a 3rd party, please choose the 3rd party. (But don’t ignore the fact it’s going to be contentious, no matter what)

    Explain how that would work in the examples I offered. What third party is going to tell a woman who is both post partum and grieving over her father that, hey, it’s time to just buck up and slip that sexy self between the sheets with hubby? Or what third party is going to be able to get husband and wife in the first case to even talk about what losing his job really means? I’ve been a third party a couple of times in other people’s situations and it is not at all a pleasant place to be. So color me unconvinced on this line.

    Athol would tell you that you need to fix either an Alpha or Beta issue, though likely a Beta issue in the points you’re talking about.

    One of the issues I have with the whole Alpha Beta Delta Gamma categorization is that it’s too simplistic at times. And there are problems that just don’t respond to the list of things at Athol’s site.

    It’s not just what’s happened to the person that’s disconnected, but also the way the other spouse is responding to the situation. “A little Love can go a long way” is the advice you’re looking for. If a situation like this persists (say more than a few weeks), it’s also a sign that there were serious issues inside the relationship to begin with and the event(s) just amplified the issue.

    Ok, well, let’s go back to my examples. In the unemployed scenario, that could last as long as the man is out of work. In the current recession, that could be months, or even years. That’s a long time to be “stuck”. In the birth and death scenario, that could easily last for a year (the traditional mourning period), “a little love” during that time may produce nothing. There could very easily have been not much in the way of problems, either, but that pair of events is a pretty big whammy, don’t you agree? Where is the entry point to talk, if any talk just makes the other party upset to the point of anger (for men) or tears (for women), and there’s already been too much of that already?

    When something like this happens, it needs to be addressed seriously and forthrightly.

    Ok, tell us how that happens. Because I see situations where one or both parties are “stuck”, and frustrated, and any attempt to discuss anything forthrightly leads to anger and/or tears, which effectively ends any further discussion. Bear in mind that under current law, a man shouting at his wife a couple of times is an “abuser” under the loose definitions of DV. She can call the police and have him arrested. So any male anger has to be carefully controlled, tightly controlled. That’s one factor. The other is that intentional infliction of emotional distress can also be claimed as DV, and so making the female cry “too much” is also off of the table, where the definition of “too much” is not known in advance, nor can it be known.

    Patience is also needed. (The “uber” example is the death of a young child. The chance that a couple will divorce goes through the roof.)

    There’s another example, although I had not thought of it. I am not sure if most people nowadays could cope with that situation. For sure, one or the other or both parents might just shut down emotionally, and become a kind of robot. A lot would depend upon other members of the family, if any. There would surely be a lot of recrimination, depending on how it happened. Some people might not ever get over it.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to be argumentative. Perhaps it is just that for years I’ve read and heard of “communication” as the be-all and end-all of all interpersonal problems. “Co-mu-ni-ka-shun is the so-lu-shun to all social prob-lems”, over and over. But what do you do if one party is shut down and, while able to functionally talk about day to day things, simply will not, or can not, talk about some personal issue? Some people can be quite verbal, yet say nothing, you know. Others can be just inert on a topic they don’t wish to talk about, the proverbial “bump on a log”. Short of a serious threat of some kind, I don’t see how there is any obvious entry point to get someone in that situation to open up, and threatened with divorce, some people would just shut down more.

    Again, I’m not trying to argue pointlessly. Your idea is very interesting. I hope you can develop it further.

  86. Anonymous Reader says:

    “A lot of women probably said the same thing, before they had children. Afterwards, not necessarily.”

    Stephanie Rowling.
    Interesting response. do you think that children ruin a woman/marriage?

    Interesting reply, and full of semantic loading. But you are reading too much into a pair of sentences. Women’s priorities tend to change after childbirth. Good thing, too, given the helplessness of an infant. However, it should be obvious that a woman totally centered on her baby is not going to be focused nearly as much on her husband as she once was. Where that leads depends on the man and woman in question, and their relationship prior to marriage, the support network around them, and a lot of other things.

    All that said, I stand by my statement. Your reply is a non sequitur.

  87. Anonymous Reader says:

    Dex
    Perhaps a good fight is exactly what some couples need now and then – assuming the cops don’t have to get involved. I’ve known very happily married people who shout a lot.

    The problem with this is, shouting in a domestic setting can get the cops involved. With mandatory arrest laws in place in many states, if the cops are called by a neighbor or someone walking by the dwelling on a “domestic dispute” issue, the man is going to jail. Period. Full stop. End of story. Doesn’t matter what was happening. Doesn’t matter if the wife wants it or not. Doesn’t even matter if they are made up when the cops get there, if an officer wants to push the issue (that’s about all the discretion allowed now in some states). Nothing good follows from that. So I do not accept the notion that a “good fight” is what anyone needs, not under the current legal system.

  88. Looking Glass says:

    @ Buck:
    I’ll forgive you for being skeptical. I too have run into many writers that, if you ignore the first paragraph, do a wonderful job of proving what they claim to disprove. So, I get that. What isn’t appreciated is to claim I’m abetting immoral behavior when: a) I specifically say I’m not and b) I’m attempting to find a means by which to prevent more of it.

    My problem with what you wrote, and the point you can’t seem to comprehend, is that *nothing* in life happens in a vacuum. If a spouse is tearing their partner down, they make temptations far, far more powerful because they’ve been denied what has been agreed upon, in public as you point out. That goes both ways inside a relationship. When one party is denying the ability to be “one body”, there are consequences for both members, most of which are severe, painful and cover a number of sins.

    Or maybe, as Paul put it (1 Corinthians 7:5): “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” So, Paul isn’t really very subtle about the way a large chunk of a Marriage functions. Go figure.

    And this is the point I’m trying to get across about the “danger state” of relationships. If you *grind* the Marriage down to a point where temptations become much more intense, both of the spouses have sinned against the other, they’ve created a situation that begets more sin, which will simply result in even more sin. Humans kind of work like that. We’re broken, sinful and selfish. Without constant building up, we fall to temptations and set ourselves apart from God.

    There is a method (or “a script” if you want another term) by which these things happen. A person does not wake up randomly one day and decide to kill their neighbor. Neither does a person suddenly wake up and decide to have an affair or a divorce. There is many experiences, interactions and conscious choices that lead to that point. A spouse is involved in 2 of those 3. They have a part to play in the results inside of a Marriage. You are responsible for your choices; that many of your choices *directly* and *irreversibly* impact your spouse is a major topic for discussion & understanding.

    My “Grind Theory” is a method to simply understanding the way Marriages break down (and allow for a functional understanding of all relationships). If I can figure out and explain the mechanics of that, it holds very well that something can be done to prevent the Affairs and the Divorces, both of which are morally reprehensible and uniquely damaging. (I’d make a long argument that Divorce is more damaging, but that’s another discussion)

    Every action & choice you make has a consequence. But you’re free to argue otherwise. Then you can give a theological explanation for why we really don’t have Free Will.

    @ Dalrock: not trying to get into really long theological discussions in your threads, really! But I needed to respond on this point. I don’t take too kindly to it being implied I’m abetting immorality. Somehow trying to understand and develop ways to combat the disasters that give a coup de grace to marriages is to help abet them.

  89. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anonymous Reader: yeah, DV laws are screwing up a whole lot of things these days. The “let’s make things better!” activists, of all stripes, are normally far too stupid to even think through 1st order problems with the laws they push, let alone the 2nd and 3rd order direct consequences.

    To your main anecdotes, my “Grind Theory” while it encapsulates those, it currently only says where things are going if they don’t change. It’s got more work before I can just apply it and come up with an answer. So, I’ll just offer an answer from person experience.

    I went through this “brutal honesty” phase during High School. And by “brutal”, I do mean brutal with a 140+ IQ and a solid background in analytics already. The net result from that honesty was I turned myself into the dominant personality in the school, saved 1 friend from suicide and mostly made me feel like I didn’t have many friends. But, everyone came to me with their problems because I was the only person they’d really interacted with that was actually honest with them.

    There was a cost to that level of honest, but I don’t regret it. I learned a lot (I’m generally a lot more subtle; there’s a difference between a scalpel & a sledgehammer, but that took practice), and one of the really important things I learned is that giving people honest won’t make them happy. But that honesty can easily save their life (only 1 suicide avoidance, but a few other avoidances of massive mistakes as well), but it will, for the time, come at the cost of the friendship for the immediate future. If you’re not willing to pay that price, then your only option is to sit and watch the fires burn.

    I can understand your point about “communication” and I did redefine them, so I should maybe figure out other words to use. “Meaningful, Specific Information transfer via Verbal Discussion in a non-emotional manner”? You’re very right that everyone preaches “communication”, without ever discussing what that means. The situations you’ve described, my construction for Verbal Communication has ceased and all that exists is “Talking”. The Non-Verbal Communication *always* exists and can only be removed if you’re talking over a phone, I guess.

    There’s a lot of context always involved when you end up in the “state” of the “true” communication breakdown (that work better? lol). So, how you get out of it is going to break down to the specific situations.

    A lot of times, if an outside party is getting involved (and be warned, being the White Knight can make everything worse; this is one of those things that has to be thought through), it needs to be the same gender. A guy can break out another guy better than a woman can. Works the same way for women. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be done cross gender, it’s just that it’s harder.

    For the guy that’s lost his job, the main issue is likely he’s lost a huge amount of his confidence. As men, we have a tendency of making the mental association of “making money = being a good father/husband”. When that’s removed, suddenly much of a man’s confidence goes away with it. If he’s your friend, offer to buy him lunch and try to build his confidence back up (or just breaking the direct association). Odds are it’s badly troubling him, and with some careful prodding, he’ll just gush all over you (if you’re away from others). It’s eating him up inside, more than likely. Once you give him a safe avenue to release, expect a torrent. That’d be a first step. Past that requires knowing the person.

    For the woman that’s burying herself in her work, it’s not really so much about the sex (though that’s gotta be endlessly frustrating for the husband). It’s about the constant and direct physical rejection. She is communicating very directly (though without words) that she has no Love for her husband. That’s likely not her intent, but you don’t have great control over how someone interprets non-Verbal Communication. Those are like emotions, they are *not* precise and exist in broad strokes. Verbal Communication allows for quantification & precise via the medium of Language, but that requires that both parties are willing to engage.

    The way to “break the silence” isn’t to tell her she needs a good roll in the hay. She needs a positive female figure in her life to open up about what she’s doing to her husband and child. She’s dealing with immense pain, but the way she’s dealing with it *will* cause far, far more pain than she’s feeling now. She has the option to either engage in the Marriage or risk the results of what that lack of engagement will end up causing.

    Death in the Family + Baby is definitely a very complex set of issues. This is one of those places where *family* used to be very valuable, but with how badly we, as a society, have degraded families, it’s very difficult to have stable relationships with your family now. That needlessly complicates matters.

    For that woman, very specifically, she needs support but she’s learned through her experiences to bottle that up and just “work” hard at something. That actually bodes very badly for the long term prospects for the Marriage. If she thinks it’s bad now, it’s only going to get worse in the future.

    Doing this type of stuff in person isn’t easy. I’ve got a lot of practice and I still run into issues if I have to bring something up that’s touchy. But, if a severe situation is continuing and you *can* help, you end up having to make a very hard choice. It’s not easy to do, but it’s available to the others around a specific person.

    While I’m not sure that offers too much, I’ll think about it a bit more, and see if I can come up with something more.

  90. J says:

    @ Looking Glass

    I skipped over your post on Grind Theory yesterday because I didn’t care to become immersed in what looked like it was developing into yet another of these interminable internet arguments. I took a peek today and was quite impressed–especially with the bit abour body langauge. Your ideas remind me of the work of John Gottman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gottman). Wiki decribes Gottman as a Ph.D. psychologist known for his work on marital stability and relationship analysis through scientific direct observations published in peer-reviewed literature. He is most famous for his ability to predict with an 90% accuracy rate which couples will be divorced over the next few years, largely based on body langauge and ratio of positive-negative interactions. (I think a good relationship had 4 or 5 positive interactions for every negative.)

    Gottman developed a seven point program for repairing marriages that is said to be highly effective. He seems to have a good handle on how male and female styles of conflict resolution differ. I recall reading that one strategy was to ask the couple to put aside differences for a bit and go do a “fun” activity for awhile. This made it easier for men (whose physiological responses to conflict made them either want to fight or flee) to deal with conflict head on later. I found this is to very helpful in my own marriage when my husband and I went throught a period of “rubbing (grinding?) each other the wrong way.” I wanted to have these long air-clearing, face-to-face discussions that just angered my husband. He would then avoid me because he wanted to avoid conflict. This in turn made me feel ignored and not valued by him. I applied some Gottman and instead invited my husband to take a walk with me. It was side-by-side (non-confrontwaional) as opposed to face-to-face. It was fun and relaxing, which reminded us both of what we liked about each other in the first place. And then, when my husband was more relaxed, it was easier to talk.

    It seems to me that a lot of the argument you are getting here from other posters revolves around their inability to get to the air-clearing stage in communicating with women because the objectors fear either female anger or their own. They don’t know how to argue productively with a woman. I think if you could teach HOW to do that, you’d be doing a real service.

  91. Dalrock says:

    @Looking Glass
    I’m swamped right now, but will look through your theory further when I have a chance. I’ll either comment on it here or do a separate post on it once I do.

  92. Anonymous Reader says:

    Actually, now that you mention it, family members could be the logical 3rd party in all of the examples, however as we are all aware that is often not possible today due to geographical distribution, smaller family size, and other modern “features”. For example, say that a married couple with a newborn are in Colorado, while one set of parents is in California and the other in Conn. If one or both of the husband and wife are only children, then the support network gets pretty thin.

    Of course, it can be worse. Thanks to men’s-fault divorce, the odds are that a married couple with a newborn have three sets of “grandparents” to consider: father & stepmother, mother & stepfather on one side, father and mother on the other side. Or the same on both sides. And it could be that some aren’t speaking to others, thereby making family life even more complicated. So “family” is not necessarily to be counted on in such situations. Sad, but true. (And that’s leaving out the fact that all too often, a family member would bring his/her own baggage into the situation, only making things more complicated)

    I was probably too terse last night about “communication”. I have a bit of a knee jerk over that term, because in my experience all too often when people go on about it, what they really mean is not a two-way dialog, but a one way “I/we talk, you shut up and listen” process. Any time some politico goes on about wanting a “national dialog” or “national conversation”, it turns out to be a monolog. From what I can tell, in far too many counseling settings, especially “marriage counseling”, the word “communication” means “marriage counselor and wife tell husband what he’s doing wrong, in detail, and he speaks only when required”. I do not know this personally and frankly don’t want to find out, but far too many times I’ve encountered someone who has gone to “counseling” and basically not been allowed to speak his mind on anything. It’s rather like the old sitcom gag from years ago where the wife and her mother sit on either side of hubby and work him over verbally, from what I have been told.

    So probably I have a prejudice against 3rd parties butting in to marriage problems, because of what I have seen in other people’s lives. From my small sample, the results are mixed at best.

  93. Anonymous Reader says:

    J, that’s an interesting comment. Could you explain what you mean by “argue productively”?

  94. Anonymous Reader says:

    Looking Glass
    For the guy that’s lost his job, the main issue is likely he’s lost a huge amount of his confidence. As men, we have a tendency of making the mental association of “making money = being a good father/husband”. When that’s removed, suddenly much of a man’s confidence goes away with it. If he’s your friend, offer to buy him lunch and try to build his confidence back up (or just breaking the direct association). Odds are it’s badly troubling him, and with some careful prodding, he’ll just gush all over you (if you’re away from others). It’s eating him up inside, more than likely. Once you give him a safe avenue to release, expect a torrent. That’d be a first step. Past that requires knowing the person.

    I chose that example because with the current economic situation we are all likely to know someone, now or in the near future, in such a situation. Middle aged men are all but certain to have a lot of emotional issues with unemployment, especially if it goes on for more than a month or two. Putting it it terms Athol might use, it’s not going to be easy for a man to display much, or maybe any, Alpha when he’s bringing zero money into the household. How does the “captain / first officer” idea work when it’s the first officer paying all the bills? How does the wife respect the husband if both of them have the expectation that in order to deserve respect, he needs to be the main support for the household? We can expect more such situations, not fewer, for some time to come. They’ll be around us, whether we know it or not.

  95. J says:

    @AR

    Why, thank you!

    A productive argument clears the air and settles things; it’s worth the pain of having had the argument. Unpleasant truths may be revealed, but everyone is better off for having acknowledged them. Everyone feels better and understands each other better afterward. Behavior changes afterward. You are often a better person for having had the argument.

    It’s hard to explain, but I’ll give a personal example with the hope that it’ll help others. A few years ago, I asked my husband to fix something around the house, and he stonewalled me for weeks. He has a habit of doing this. After asking nicely for the hundredth time, I blew up at him. He retaliated with equal anger. I started to cry hysterically (which was extremely unusual as I rarely cry). He accused me of using tears to manipulate him, and I told him he was confusing me with his mother. Then I walked away. He followed, still yelling at me. I told him to get away, that I was losing control and overreacting, and that what was pissing me off was not the unfixed whatever the hell it was, but the 20+ years of stonewalling that make me feel as though he doesn’t really give a damn about me. He was shocked that I felt that way. I told him that he was recasting me in his mother’s role, which he admitted was true and unfair. (She was the queen of manipulators; he married me because I’m generally honest.) He told me that my demands were making him anxious and that my tendency to escalate things was something my dad (alpha thug) did and how much he hated my dad. He shared that he felt like a fool when he didn’t know how to fix things (absent alcoholic father) and that calling service people made him feel like a failure. It was all pretty ugly and dredged up a lot of unpleasant things from the past, but we love each other enough to stop hurtful behavior once we know how our behavior affects each other. We were strong enough to face unpleasant things in our past and to admit where we were wrong. We also changed our behavior. I now ask if he feels up to trying a repair before I nag about it. He now realizes that his stonewalling hurts me. If he falls back into it, I tell him he’s stonewalling and he stops. I tell him when I feel like I’m going to escalate, and we take a break. We changed our behavior. Our marriage improved in ways that I really would not have believed possible as a result of this argument. And BONUS, my kids saw a horrible, nasty argument RESOLVED. That’s something neither my husband or I ever saw as kids. Everybody won!

    That’s a productive argument.

  96. J says:

    @AR

    I’m running out of the house now. If you respond and I don’t respond back, know that I’ll get back to your response later.

  97. Lise says:

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9236/index1.html
    According to the DoD, 80% of military retirees under age 65 are employed.

  98. Eric says:

    Looking Glass:

    It’s not that Western Culture has made relationships more difficult; it’s Anglo-American culture that specifically has. The feminocentrism and narcissism in the Anglosphere is really more of a counter-culture when contrasted with Western Culture as a whole.

    This is why none of these types of theories can work in actual practice here. Your theory, like ‘Game’, is predicated on the assumption that gender relations are functioning on something like a normal psychosocial level and that both genders want to do something tangible and constructive to resolve the current crisis. This is decidedly NOT the case in the Anglosphere. Women in our culture see men as inferiors and enemies; and see themselves as entitled victims. Our women are part of a sub-culture that sees abortion as a God-given right and motherhood as an undesirable burden. They see men as expendable and slutting around with bums as liberating. They believe that sex and reproduction are their exclusive rights and that men are nothing in the process but sperm-donors with whom they are obliged to fake an occasional orgasm as the price of a relationship which they consider ‘confining’. Their egomania is so pronounced that they noticably lack any sense of love, affection, or empathy.

    Obviously no amount of plans, programs, or techniques can bridge this kind of a gender-gap. Men, who are the last stable force in our society, need—not to try and ‘understand’ the other gender—but withdraw from them and choose relationships with women from cultures better suited for them.

  99. Buck says:

    Looking Glass:
    Everyone who is a drug addict, gambler, cheater, drunk, thief, liar, (insert vice here) at some point makes a conscious decision to engage in that vice. The old Catholic cataclysm had the sinners confession…”I’ve sinned though my own fault, in my thoughts and by my words, in what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do” . I don’t care to twist and contort and agonize about why people decide to engage in vice…it is a free will choice!
    If you want to study communication issues, body language, whatever, God bless you, but all the communication in the world will not change the thought process that brings a person to their individual decision to engage in bad conduct. God tells us, “resist the Devil and he will flee”.
    I am so tired of the “blame-the-victim” crowd. The liquor store clerk who has a dirtbag holding a gun in his face did not fail in his body language…HE IS A VICTIM! A spouse who makes elaborate plans to hook-up with their side action doesn’t seem to have a problem communicating.

  100. Anonymous age 69 says:

    My best friend in Mexico was “county coroner” for 22 years, and he watched the trial on Fox News. He agreed there is no possible way, considering Casey’s behavior after the child was missing, that anyone but her did it. Repeat, not possible. In Mexico, she would have done hard time, a lot of it.

    Yes, pussy pass.

    OJ’s case was not the same. If you remember, the loser Marcia Clark, presented her case, claiming he must have killed her, because the evidence showed he had beat her up. The jury admitted they didn’t even consider that as a possibility.

    Yes, I think OJ did it, because I well now why. About two weeks before she was found murdered, he was served with papers to take away his parental rights, but maintain his financial obligation. It was obvious the deceased and her sisters and mother had cooked up a plan to provoke him into violence, by committing sex acts in front of a window, knowing he would come and see it, then beat her up, because he didn’t like that with his daughters in the house. If Clark had presented that scenario, he’d have fried. She was too busy being a feminist to do a good job of it.

    If you want to see an eerie case, very similar, look up the Wiki on Scott Peterson. Very much the same. Bodies were not good enough to discover cause of death. A single hair. No direct evidence. Scott was out banging around as soon as she disappeared, and was a disgusting slime bag. However, Scott didn’t have a vagina, and he is on death row.

  101. Paul Timo says:

    What Buck said = truth

  102. Brendan says:

    Although I do think Casey Anthony killed her daughter (or was closely involved in the killing), I think the case is a bit different from Scott Peterson. I agree that in terms of direct evidence there wasn’t much in Peterson’s case. There was a heck of a lot of bad circumstancial evidence, however, in terms of the stuff they found when they caught him, his disguise, and so on, and the state could also provide a pretty iron-clad motive.

    I do think that the bar is higher to convict a woman of a murder — that’s almost without question. However, from what I have seen from jurors who have spoken to the press in the Anthony case so far, they were quite upset that they could not convict, they do not think she is “innocent”, but the state didn’t make its case. To me, that is plausible for capital murder, but I can’t for the life of me understand why she didn’t cop the charge on aggravated child abuse. Makes no sense to me at all, really. I think the jury was just pissed with the charges that they were presented with, but think that she did it anyway.

  103. Dex says:

    @ AR – Sorry for the delayed response. Working for a living really cuts down on my recreational blog reading/commenting.

    “Ok, so I should insert “meaningful” perhaps. Look, I’ve seen couples where there is verbal interaction as I said before of the “please pass the salt … thank you” variety. That’s verbal interaction. But it doesn’t address any problems. Go back and look at the examples I offer, and tell me where you see a point of entry to a real conversation. They aren’t totally concocted, they are things I’ve seen friends/family/etc. go through. From what I can tell, some people just shut down their emotions when stress gets to be too high, and they still are functional in the world. But they just can’t, or won’t (I can’t tell) meaningfully interact. ”

    Find someone in your life who does something that you’re grateful for. Tell them so. No prompting, no sarcasm. Just flat out “I wanted to say thanks for always x.” Watch their reaction, verbal and non. You tell me if it was meaningless. Try it with a spouse who’s going through a hard time with (your example here). Just as Game proponents contend, with some proof, that attraction isn’t a choice, so too reciprocity isn’t a choice.

    “Go back and look at the examples I offer, and tell me where you see a point of entry to a real conversation.”

    OK, how about “I know you’ve had a really hard time grieving. This has been a really sh*tty year for us. But I wanted to tell you that I’m grateful for how you pull it together and take care of the kids. I wish we had the energy for Us, but I’m thankful that my kids have such a strong mom.” Body language and vocal tone mirror content. No rancor. No BS. No sucking up. No hitting her up for sex. Straight up gratitude. Change examples and genders as needed. It’s not easy to dig deep and do that. It’s not easy to blow off, either.

    The thing is, these “Pass the salt” relationships are the results of two people allowing it to be that way. A relationship is a behavioral-emotional matrix. One member CAN’T change his behavior and it not affect the other. One of the two breaks the “Pass the salt” cycle, things can get better. My wife and I both have workaholic tendencies. In the past, things have gotten distant and that was a result of decisions we both made. We started making better ones and things got better. I’ve seen couples where it went the other way. Nothing ever changed until their marriage was acted upon by an outside force.

    Re: a good fight and DV. Yeah, it’s a risk. That said, plenty of couples “have it out” without anyone going to jail. And some report that the make-up sex is awesome. My wife and I don’t yell when we argue, but we do from time to time argue. It’s not the end of the marriage, and it has a time or two gotten an important message into her thick skull. Or mine.

    Re: Communication solves everything. It does, but verbal communication doesn’t always, especially when people define it per your example with the counselor. I’m with you there. But I contend that Behavior is the Truth. Change what you normally do, the other person will react. Maybe not overtly at first, but they will.

    And I see J has referenced John Gottman, so I won’t, but his “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail” is some good reading. I’ve lent my copy out a lot.

    As for the unemployment example, I was out of work all last year until I gave up on the job market and started my own business. My marriage didn’t suffer at all. But I wasn’t idle during that time. I did plenty with the kids, around the house, job searching, business planning etc. It was evident that I would be earning again as soon as possible. And, frankly, with my workaholic tendencies, I think she was glad to have me around more.

    Other men’s mileage may, of course, vary.

  104. Random Angeleno says:

    Buck,
    I take it you believe that a woman who denies her husband’s desire for physical relations cannot ever be blamed if her husband then cheats.

    By the same token, neither can the man who denies his wife the love she desires if his wife then cheats.

    While I agree with you that cheating is the absolute worst sin as you put it, you appear to be saying that the woman who denies physical affection to her husband or the man who denies love to his wife are totally blameless in their behavior. What say you to that?

    The “victims” in these cases are vastly different from your liquor store clerk example in that the victims of cheating built that behavior over a period of time while the liquor store clerk got it within 5 minutes of the robber’s entry. If you can’t see that distinction, I don’t know what to say to you.

    The point I am making here is that maintaining fidelity in a marriage is a TEAM effort. We are all fallen and most definitely imperfect people, every one of us. To avoid temptation begins in the home with your commitment AND with the help of the spouse’s commitment. The man who gets his physical needs met by his wife is a lot less likely to cheat on her. Same with the woman who gets the love she needs from her husband. If that critical positive participation from the spouse is missing, that opens the door to temptation. Even if that temptation is never acted on by those who “resist the Devil” as you put it, the lack of affection and love will still poison the marriage and that poison will spread out into the family.

  105. Dex says:

    Re: 3rd party in marriage. That’s a gamble. I think looking at your prospective wife’s family is very important in the selection process. Good in-laws are a wealth of support.

  106. Looking Glass says:

    @ J:
    Thank you for the reference to John Gottman. I’ve heard of his work, but I’d never seen his name before. I’ll look into it. I obviously am not the first one to approach relationships with the type of thinking that really came to mind with “Grind Theory”, so it’s nice to know I didn’t just make a world-shattering insight.🙂 Though, I probably have a slightly different approach than others.

    Your story about your argument with your Husband tracks along with, effectively, where the seeds of “Grind Theory” started with me. The 1 fight I ever had with my mother had 0 to do with what we were fighting about. It always stuck with me as being both appropriate and terribly odd at the same time. And, again, thanks for the reference to Dr. Gottman.

    @ Anonymous Reader:
    On the “communication” thing, I think most people would actually tend to be in the same camp as you about the word. I exist in fields of work where definitions are set at the beginning of your work, so what you call them isn’t important, just that it’s consistent. A different word would probably be very useful.

    On family & 3rd parties, I oddly enough ran across that issue when responding to Buck, without realizing it. Proverbs 27:10, “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you – better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away. ” Go figure.

    And, @ Dex, yeah, it’s definitely risky to bring a 3rd party in, especially if it’s a “White Knight” variety. Screening for family is a *huge* thing in mate selection. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but you better know really well what you’re getting into.

    @ Random Angeleno:
    Thanks. I probably wrote 8000 words yesterday between here, a few other places and some other work I was doing. Brevity isn’t my strong suit when I’ve got a lot to do.🙂 So, thank you for wrapping up the entire thing so nicely.

    If I can give 1 more analogy for what I’m talking about, in case others are having issues wrapping your head around things.

    In Medicine, there are “acute” and “chronic” issues. An “acute” issue is something like the Flu. Very serious, can kill you, but likely very little you could have done to prevent that (like being in the wrong place and being robbed). A “chronic” issue is one that builds up over years. Take being Obese. Staying Obese over a 40+ year period is a set of choices you made through that 40 years. While Obesity actually doesn’t, by its acknowledgement, lower your life expectancy (or at least by an amount that’s barely noticeable in the statistics), it does, however, drastically lowers your quality of life as you get older. (Like denying your spouse their part of the Marriage) An Obese patient can very easily be very healthy until their 95 before they die (generally just good genetics); or they can have had multiple heart attacks, Type 2 Diabetes and be missing a foot or two when they die at their expected age of 75. Being Obese vastly increases the odds of all of the negative consequences, though it doesn’t ensure they happen (they actually don’t for a good number of people). So, for a Marriage, it might not end in cheating, but if one spouse tries their best to ensure the possibility, their role in the final result has a part, though it doesn’t mean they are, legally, “at fault” for the Affair.

    @ Eric:
    I don’t think I really disagree with a lot of your points about American culture, but I think you’re arguing about something I’m not even talking about. Let me give an analogy, since that seems to be working for me today.

    There is a bridge. What you’re concerned with is the speed & weight of the cars that are crossing the bridge. I’m, currently, trying to figure out what materials were used to make it. It’s not that your points are wrong or unimportant, it’s just we’re talking about almost completely different things. Further, if you can figure out the mechanics of “human relationships”, then the understanding would necessitate that it describes those outside of American culture as well. So, for me, I’d be concerned about helping them as well.

    @ Dalrock:
    You don’t have to read it and we’re all pretty busy. I ended up sinking an off day into typing about what is really just a lot of insights finally coalescing into something vaguely coherent. It’s no problem.🙂

  107. Brendan says:

    There are most certainly gradations of “mistakes” — and that’s where I disagree with some of what has been said here.

    While I certainly agree that in most cases affairs happen as a result of dynamics in the marriage that “encourage” one, the other, or both spouses to stray sexually and/or emotionally from the marriage, and that in this sense both parties contributed to the situation that created this temptation, nevertheless this kind of shortcoming is of a different degree, morally, than adultery is. Yes, it’s a “sin against the marriage”, but not in the same way as adultery is. Your spouse may be “sinning against the marriage”, and making you feel very unhappy and unfulfilled, which leads to temptation, but you still have free will, and moral agency. You are never “forced” to have an affair by your spouse — it’s a choice *you* make, and one of the worst moral choices you *can* make, under any circumstance. There can be no moral equivalency between the adulterous spouse and the “table-setter” spouse. Sure, both have damaged the marriage, but the act of adultery is specifically called out by both scripture and tradition as a very specific, particular, very serious sin.

    As a former Catholic and current Eastern Orthodox, in no way do I agree that all sins are of equal weight. While Catholics use the specific terms “mortal” and “venial”, and Orthodox simply refer to lesser and greater in severity, nevertheless some sins are certainly more serious than others. While it certainly is a sin against the marriage for a spouse to deliberately withhold affection, sex, companionship and what have you, these are sins of a different order of magnitude from the sin of adultery. Both contribute to the break-up of marriage, but one is such a serious sin as to be, in and of itself, divorce justifying in the eyes of many Christians (not Catholics or Orthodox). Eastern Orthodox tend to view all divorces as arising from the sins of both spouses to one degree or another, but it is almost never the case that the blame is equally split, and certainly never the case when one party engages in adultery.

    I agree with the idea of trying to head off adultery in a marriage before it becomes a real temptation — that’s certainly good advice and well-heeded by those who are currently married or who are thinking of getting married in the future. Once adultery *has* happened, however, I don’t think the moral equivalency approach is appropriate at all. I do think that even in cases where adultery has happened, if there are children, the couple does have an obligation to see if it can get past the adultery and fix the marriage — and that’s an exercise that does take two people, yet in my own experience it can be the adulterous party who is disinterested in this because they blame the cheatee spouse for their own decision to commit adultery, and are backed up by the general therapy culture in doing so, often. In my own marriage we tried for almost two years, but there was no longer any “there” there, and the adulterous person was not interested, really, in fixing things anyway. I tend to think that trying to get past adultery in marriages is very difficult in most cases (YMMV, of course), but, in any case, after the fact blaming the cheatee spouse often can give the adulterous spouse an easy psychological way out of their own culpability for the more serious sin of adultery, and that is almost never helpful for fixing a marriage.

  108. Buck says:

    Random Angeleno;

    I posted clearly in this stream the serious nature of marriage and the subordination of “self” to “we” in this arrangement. I also clearly said that for many not getting married is most certainly the best option. If a spouse fails in their fundamental duties and obligations within marriage ( your example…withholding sex) the aggrieved party needs to decide if the marriage should continue. If the one feels they are being “forced” to have sex, then how satisfying could that portion of the marriage be? (If there are medical issues, the partners will have to figure out a solution to eros. I know of a person who has issues “south of the border” and her husband now understands the attraction Bill had to Monica…wink). Since sex is fundamental to marriage I believe the aggrieved spouse should divorce ( and by the way I HATE DIVORCE!). Here again…this sort of thing should have been determined/discussed long before a marriage ever happened. I am a big fan of marriage contracts/pre-nups etc. I loath bait-n-switch players looking to score.

  109. J says:

    @Anon 69

    I agree that Casey Anthony did mostly likely murder her daughter. Even the jurors believe that she somehow, through murder or egregious neglect, caused that child’s death. HuffPo (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/06/casey-anthony-jurors-sick-to-stomachs_n_891798.html#s303265&title=Casey_Anthony_Verdict) quotes juror Jennifer Ford as saying,”I did not say she was innocent. I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.” They go on to say, “Russell Huekler, one of five alternate jurors who were present for all of the testimony, also spoke with ABC News and said even though he did not get a chance to vote, he agreed with the verdict.” Huekler said, “The prosecution failed to prove their case and there was reasonable doubt. Again, they didn’t show us how Caylee died. They didn’t show us a motive. I’m sorry people feel that way. … These were 17 total jurors. They really listened to this case and kept an open mind,” Huekler said. I can’t second guess these people.

    Yes, I think OJ did it, because I well now why. About two weeks before she was found murdered, he was served with papers to take away his parental rights, but maintain his financial obligation.

    Why would you assume that a man who had the money, power, and legal resources that OJ had would react violently to a legal setback rather than fighting back legally. If indeed he had been served with papers terminating his rights, which is news to me, he had many other options. If you are correct in assuming he “snapped” and killed, then perhaps his rights should have been terminated. However, if they were terminated, how did he get custody of those kids when the Brown family contested his custody after the acquittal? Had there been a previous court order, would the Brown have need to go to court?

    It was obvious the deceased and her sisters and mother had cooked up a plan to provoke him into violence, by committing sex acts in front of a window, knowing he would come and see it, then beat her up, because he didn’t like that with his daughters in the house.

    That seems a bit convoluted to me. Given OJ’s prior record of abuse of both Nicole and his first wife, wouldn’t that be a hugh risk to take on their part? .

    If Clark had presented that scenario, he’d have fried. She was too busy being a feminist to do a good job of it.

    Occam’s Razor tell us to select the hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions. Marcia Clark and Chris Durden were simply outgunned by the best legal defense that money could buy.

    If you want to see an eerie case, very similar, look up the Wiki on Scott Peterson… However, Scott didn’t have a vagina, and he is on death row.

    Scott Peterson committed a double murder since his wife was 8 months pregnant. That no doubt had an emotional effect on the jury. I also think that the presence of a constantly tearful CIndy Anthony had an emotional effect. I think many of the jurors

  110. J says:

    @Anon 69

    Whoops, I hit submit accidentally.

    That last comment should read, “Scott Peterson committed a double murder since his wife was 8 months pregnant. That no doubt had an emotional effect on the jury. I also think that the presence of a constantly tearful Cindy Anthony had an emotional effect. I think many of the jurors did not want her to lose both a daughter and granddaughter.”

    Two other interesting cases for comparison are those of Aileen Wournos and Robert Blake. In the Wournos case, the Florida court system showed zero mercy to a woman who had committed multiple murders despite proof of a history of sexual and physical abuse. She was guilty as hell, but I would have thought that the abuse would have saved her from execution. No pussy pass for her. Blake interestingly did get away with murder because IMHO the jury did feel he had saved his daughter from an unfit mother.

  111. J says:

    @Dex

    And I see J has referenced John Gottman, so I won’t, but his “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail” is some good reading. I’ve lent my copy out a lot.

    It’s been about 15 years since I read Gottman’s first book, so I got on the net last night and spent a few hours at Gottman’s site (www.gottman.com has loads of stuff that was new to me.) and on Youtube watching videos of Gotmman’s speeches. Really powerful stuff. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to work on a bad marriage or improve a good one. My new fantasy is go on one of his couples’ retreat weekends.

    Find someone in your life who does something that you’re grateful for. Tell them so. No prompting, no sarcasm. Just flat out “I wanted to say thanks for always x.” Watch their reaction, verbal and non. You tell me if it was meaningless. Try it with a spouse who’s going through a hard time with (your example here). Just as Game proponents contend, with some proof, that attraction isn’t a choice, so too reciprocity isn’t a choice.

    Great minds think alike! I was thinking last night about offering a friendly challenge here for people to do just that. I’ve done it with my husband, and the results are amazing. It not only gets you some reciprocity, but actually expressing your gratitude aloud makes you realize just how lucky you really are.

  112. Dalrock says:

    @J

    Great minds think alike! I was thinking last night about offering a friendly challenge here for people to do just that. I’ve done it with my husband, and the results are amazing. It not only gets you some reciprocity, but actually expressing your gratitude aloud makes you realize just how lucky you really are.

    Makes sense. I’m assuming the opposite (constantly complaining that someone isn’t good enough) has the opposite effect.

    See Also: What feminism and the media teaches women to do.

  113. Prof. Woland says:

    The inevitable reduction of our Nation’s disposable resources will force white women and racial minorities to begin competing more fiercely for whatever spoils are left. Up until now, both groups have had rich enough pickings to cooperate in their war against white men. But in this game of economical musical chairs, one of them will be left standing and more likely than not, it will be white women. The simple reason being, that white men will always be more productive than either group and hence command more influence and direct control over resources. PoCs will always be able at a disadvantage relative to whites which means they will be able to out beggar (not bugger) their female rivals for the government jobs, social security, welfare, etc.

    Whatever changes are occurring demographically in the U.S., they will occur much quicker on the left than on the right. Pretty soon if not already, PoCs will be running the institutions on the left with a few whites left as window dressing for diversity’s sake. There will be no money left for SWPL such as medical care for end stage of life, the environment, public are or aesthetics, and so forth. A case in point is Obama’s recent conversion on Social Security and Medicare. A disproportionate percentage of those revenues are aimed at an aging white population. While he may pay lip service to a key part of his political base those are not the people he went into politics to help.

    At some point when the music stops women will be forced to choose between the family as the primary economic societal unit or the government. The only question is whether or not there will be a family to go home to.

  114. J says:

    Makes sense. I’m assuming the opposite (constantly complaining that someone isn’t good enough) has the opposite effect.

    I think it does indeed.

    See Also: What feminism and the media teaches women to do.

    Uniformly?

    [D: Exceptions?]

  115. J says:

    @Looking Glass

    Similarities to Gottman not withstanding, I think you are really onto something that I’d love to see you expand and share. What you are saying really resonates with me and obviously with others here.

  116. J says:

    @D You first!😉

    Seriously, there is plenty of self-help stuff in the media that suggests expressing gratitude is an important part of relationships–just google. I’m sure just about all of major talks shows that cater to a female audience have had John Gottman and similar psychologists on as guests. There ae all sorts of media clips of Gottman himself on his website and on Youtube. That’s how all these folks hawk their books. I also doubt that everyone who calls herself a feminist is running to divorce. Our own DH, for example, is the most strongly feminist identified woman who comments here, and she seems to have a better marriage than many of the other commenters. I’ll bet she even says, “Thank you.” Conversely, there are plenty of women who would not call themselves feminists who are divorced. While some media and some feminists may advocate easy divorce, lack of gratitude, etc., the factors that influence the divorce rate are varied. IMO, to pick out those two factos and say they are solely responsible is to over-simplify the problem. Additionally, I’m sure there are men reading these comments who would call the expression of gratitude by men “hopelessly beta.” I wouldn’t lump them in with all MRAs. Viewing groups as monolithic often means missing the nuances.

    [D: J, sometimes your level of denial is breathtaking. I’m sure as you suggest that Gottman’s book has had periodic reference and even discussion. But by your logic if the local crack dealer once sold someone an aspirin he is actually a legitimate pharmacy.]

  117. Eric says:

    Looking Glass:
    Thanks for your reply. The problem, though, is what you’re saying about discovering the dynamics of human relationships might indeed apply to those outside US culture—probably more so. What I think that you’re overlooking is that you’re trying to apply a rational theory to a dysfunctional culture.

    Your bridge analogy, concerning American culture, should really be less like learning how to build a bridge than explaining why a bridge has collapsed. That’s the problem with a lot of theories like Game, too. The new bridge can’t be built with the same materials that wrecked it in the first place.

    For example, Dalrock has been writing extensively about the ‘selling of divorce’ to women. Nobody seems to realize that these high-priced marketing gurus get paid their big bucks for finding marketable audiences for their products. It doesn’t take much to realize that over half of US marriages end in divorce; and that the women wanted those divorces in 9 of 10 cases. Dalrock published a recent study showing that a majority of married women either considered or actively cheated on their spouses. What would a sharp marketing manager conclude? That American women WANT divorce, and that divorce is profitable and can easily be sold to such a receptive audience. You’ll notice there’s no such marketing aimed at men, however.

    When women refuse to commit and marry for the purpose of divorcing later on, what is the point in approaching this situation as logical problem that can be solved? The women are not acting logically, and won’t do so, either. It’s better to help men get out of the US relationship scene.

  118. J says:

    D, why don’t we just agree to disagree on this one? You asked for examples, I gave you some. I asked you to prove uniformity, and you didn’t answer the question. I doubt we will convince eah other of much so the dicussion is really fruitless. (No hard feelings…)

  119. Dex says:

    @ AR – Some other things I was thinking about that can help set up Sharpening moments even in a distant relationship:
    1. ) Emotional response is remarkably context specific. Try getting the other out of the house/apartment and to a location that doesn’t have an emotional tie. Change of venue can bring a change of attitude, even if briefly. Might open a window for conversation. Doesn’t have to mean jetting off to Paris.
    2. ) Try to find a way to share a laugh. Start making jokes. Rent a funny movie. Reminisce about one of your inside jokes. (If you’ve been together for any length of time, you’re bound to have some.) Humor has a disarming power too.
    3.) Non-sexual touch. Touch says more than we give it credit for. Touching someone’s forearm or bicep has been shown to increase positive regard and compliance in a few studies. Game types emphasize the importance of “kino”. Might help to get the positive feelings rolling again.

    Just thinking here and don’t have all the answers, but your question was a really good one.

  120. Dalrock says:

    @J

    D, why don’t we just agree to disagree on this one? You asked for examples, I gave you some. I asked you to prove uniformity, and you didn’t answer the question. I doubt we will convince eah other of much so the dicussion is really fruitless. (No hard feelings…)

    You have been here for the last year as I have piled up a mountain of evidence that our culture teaches/encourages women to not appreciate men. Your response? prove it. Now you want to appeal to my good faith. I honestly don’t know why you come here.

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  122. Anonymous Reader says:

    J, thanks for that discussion, my apologies for not replying sooner.

    Too often in my experience when people refer to an argument as “productive” it basically means that they got all their gripes, complaints, criticisms, etc. out. Whether the other person did the same is not relevant. Whether anyone changes any behavior as a result is also not relevant. It’s the venting that apparently matters.

    In my own family, people tended to have discussions. My father very rarely raised his voice to children, and never to my mother. There were a few times they went off to another room, when my mother was menopausal & became much more emotionally variable than usual, but that was it.

    So thanks for the example of how you and your husband worked out some issues. Bear in mind that many people do not have that much self awareness, or introspection. In my own life, more than once I’ve wound up confronting a Significant Other with some thing said or done that was hurtful, only to get a response along the lines of “Me? Hurt you? How?” or some such. Some people never seem to quite mature enough to realize that their actions affect others. Children are that way all the time, of course, but I am referring to adults. An adult who cannot seem to understand that he or she affects others is someone I simply avoid.

    (It is important to distinguish between deliberate acts intended to provoke, acts that are provoking but not deliberate, and fitness tests. Fitness tests can be deliberate as we all know, but each one of us has lines that we do not intend to ever be crossed – that’s what I mean by “provoking”. )

    PS: J, that was an interesting remark about flight-or-fight. Where did you get that from, and what conclusions about your husband do you have? I ask because I want to know.

  123. Paul Timo says:

    I wanted to address this previously but didn’t have the time: LookingGlass wrote that “Except in the case of serial affairs (which means a bad marriage choice), cheating only happens in relationships that have been brought to the point where needs are met outside the relationship.”

    The problem with that statement is the word “only”. Read up on cheating and infidelity any you will learn that people cheat for a bunch of reasons apart from the ones noted and plenty of people in stable, happy marriages have been blindsided by their partner’s infidelity.

    This is even more common today given how easy it is for people to contact old friends and lovers. Before anyone knows or expects anything, an affair is off and running even when the marriage really is doing quite well.

  124. Dex says:

    Anonymous Reader – Not to speak for J, but the Fight-or-Flight thing is probably from Gottman. Basically, in his research he hooked couples up to biofeedback machines, like polygraphs, and measured their physical responses to an argument. Men tend to spike and need to shut down or get away from the argument before they get physical. Women tend to build up slower.

  125. Anonymous Reader says:

    Dex
    Anonymous Reader – Not to speak for J, but the Fight-or-Flight thing is probably from Gottman. Basically, in his research he hooked couples up to biofeedback machines, like polygraphs, and measured their physical responses to an argument. Men tend to spike and need to shut down or get away from the argument before they get physical. Women tend to build up slower.

    I went and looked at Gottman via the web. He seems to have some good ideas, but he is not actually doing science. I’m not sure biofeedback machines would tell what you claim, but there are a few simple measurements that would be tolerable proxies for fight-or-flight. Blood testing would be best but is too cumbersome.

    There is more to it than you mention. I’d like to see what J has to say before further explication. It could be a rather long comment.

  126. MaMu1977 says:

    For the person asking about OJ Simpson: prior to Nicole Simpson’s death, her ex-husband was paying $40,000 a month in alimony. Ms. Brown was killed 14 years after her ex-husband had collected a multi-million dollar check and 3 years after collecting a million dollar acting check. She was receiving a close to half a million dollars a year after his sports career and acting career had dried up. If she hadn’t been killed, OK would have been broke before Clinton’s reelection. While her death was still tragic (and still triggered by her ex’s hand/strike through) its arguable that she would be alive if her ex was more solvent.

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  128. Badger says:

    ““I never thought I’d have to work,” said Drake, 62, of Raleigh. “I thought I’d be at home as a wife and a mother. I had no ambition. I figured I’d be a princess for the rest of my life.””

    I don’t have any real respect for these kind of people, and I find it hard to care about their problems. Anybody whose life plan is loafing is setting up for some schadenfreude.

    I understand being at home with the kids when they are little, but I don’t get the hard-on some of the “trad-cons” have for their wives being homebound. They all but admit that their masculinity is threatened by the arrangement. As if there was ever a period of history where it was normal for women to not produce anything. I look through history and I don’t find anything “traditional” about women not working – every successful society has all its able-bodied adults contributing through either macro-organized labor or cottage industries.

    Interestingly enough, trad-cons buy into the feminist trope that until the 60’s women were barred from working.

  129. Stephenie Rowling says:

    “Interestingly enough, trad-cons buy into the feminist trope that until the 60′s women were barred from working.”
    This is actually very interested for me too. I come from a “patriarchal” country and yet all women in my family had a way to earn income for the household, when were little my mother used to sell baked goods in the front of the house, she saved the money and went to school to become a teacher and started working as soon as we were more or less independent sharing with my dad watching us. And this is something very common in my family from my greatgrandmother and so on, so this whole patriarchy didn’t let women have money or work most had been in ancient summer or something like it.
    I often say that feminism is elitism because only really rich people could afford having the wife not doing anything and even so many of them had to exercise “domestic economy” so they won’t go in bankruptcy while still keeping their lifestyle so yeah…

  130. Badger says:

    Stephenie Rowling is right – blue-collar women have always found ways to supplement the family purse or at least to maintain the favor bank with the community in case they’d need to tap into it. And they’ve always had low-skill service work available – laundering, cleaning, cooking, taking care of other people’s children. Gentler but no less dirty or boring female alternatives to mining or logging (with the exception of women who worked in mills or on assembly lines). It’s not a career, but only the union makes male blue-collar work a career.

    The postwar boom allowed more middle class people to have that bling lifestyle, but at the time it required someone (the wife) to do all the labor to keep up the house. It was natural that (a) women would want to have a forward role in the expanding economy and (b) women would demand it when technology made the effort required to keep the house far lower than it was in say 1940.

    What’s weird now is that the counter-feminist movement has adulated stay-at-homing against the “liberal careerism” bogeyman, and that’s created a pocket of women who think that God ordained they should never punch a clock once they had kids. They’ve dressed it up as a false “traditionalism”

    My concern is not to slam the individual work arrangements of couples – many couples do it many ways, and you can find good outcomes in every path. (Susan Walsh and Laura Grace Robins are two women who made the stay-at-home gig an active and rewarding choice for them and their families.) My concern is with women who expect marriage to be an early retirement and back it up with some entitlement shaming like “a man is supposed to support his wife.” And women who wait for their husband to hand over his paycheck and she goes and blows it on material frivolities. And with women who think they should get to stay home and indulge in earthly pleasures for the rest of their lives because they deserve a reward for pushing kids out of their golden uterus. And then a few years later they bitch about “I’ve lost myself! Where is the me in all of this?” and EPL their provider husbands.

    With the economy sucking we may see a generation of more single-income families since the 60’s. But Grerp is right, the standard of living is on the wane and everyone, man and wife, is going to have to be adaptable.

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  133. AC says:

    Well, I DID get divorced because my husband was gay, cheated on me and came home with HIV. Your column is misanthropic and misinformed. Get over yourself.

  134. J says:

    J, thanks for that discussion, my apologies for not replying sooner.

    You are quite welcome. This time, the apologies are mine. I was out of town for four days and then came back to craziness. I finally had some time to answer you.

    Too often in my experience when people refer to an argument as “productive” it basically means that they got all their gripes, complaints, criticisms, etc. out. … It’s the venting that apparently matters.

    There was a period of time, 20-30 years ago, that “catharsis” was held to be valuable. Then there was a lot of research that showed that all that was being accomplished was that people were “escalating” each other. That was followed by development of “fair fighting” techniques like “I statements.”

    In my own family, people tended to have discussions. My father very rarely raised his voice to children, and never to my mother. There were a few times they went off to another room,

    You were fortunate. Both my husband and I come from rather volatile environments which was stressful. Gootman found no correlate however between divorce and number of conflicts or volatility of couples. Conflict resolution (or not) was what was predictive. Some couples just enjoy a good fight; think Lucy and Desi. (My oarents were a less amusing version of them, down to my father screaming in a romance language and hitting himself in the forehead like Desi did.

    So thanks for the example of how you and your husband worked out some issues. Bear in mind that many people do not have that much self awareness, or introspection.😉

    In my own life, more than once I’ve wound up confronting a Significant Other with some thing said or done that was hurtful, only to get a response along the lines of “Me? Hurt you? How?” or some such.

    It’s hard. Both parties have to be comitted to working out problems. In some respects, my husband and I were sort of each others’ only chance at a relationship. We both understand where the other is coming from.

    An adult who cannot seem to understand that he or she affects others is someone I simply avoid.

    That’s probably for the best. It pays to be selective.

    PS: J, that was an interesting remark about flight-or-fight. Where did you get that from, and what conclusions about your husband do you have? I ask because I want to know.

    Dex is partially correct about Gottman. But, before I read Gottman, I worked in adolescent psych. I learned to watch kids responses to conflict because I wanted to avoid their escalating on me! There’s a pattern of responses that you see right before people lose it and get nuts. People who shutdown are probably doing the healthier thing.

    I had also read some stuff on the differences between male and female metabolism–men are prone to spurts of energy; women are more sustained–that seemed to reinforce Gottman’s point.

    John Gray’s books also seemed to correlate with a lot of what Gottman had to say. As did some advice given to me by male friends. It all sort of percolated in my mind before I could see how it actually applied to my marriage.

  135. J says:

    I went and looked at Gottman via the web. He seems to have some good ideas, but he is not actually doing science. I’m not sure biofeedback machines would tell what you claim, but there are a few simple measurements that would be tolerable proxies for fight-or-flight. Blood testing would be best but is too cumbersome.

    I believe that he also measures stress hormone levels in urine, blood pressure, galvanic skin response, heart rate, respiration rate and some other physiological measures. Not sure about blood tests.

    Above you asked, “what conclusions about your husband do you have?” I’m not sure what you were asking exactly.

    Interestingly enough, I recently observed a similar response in a man who is a family friend of ours. He and his wife are legally separated, but are being “forced” to deal with each other more frequently than they’d like because their daughter just got engaged. The wife, who has actually been diagnosed as bi-polar and is on meds, was picking at him in a really nasty way in public and he getting really angry (I base this on his body language). He couldn’t lash out, and he couldn’t walk out. Instead, he just got that beaten look and then shut down completely. (Which was too bad because had he looked up and around he would have seen how appalled everyone was at his wife.) You could watch the progression from her contempt to his stonewalling. It was classic Gottman.

  136. Eumaios says:

    “Well, I DID get divorced because my husband was gay, cheated on me and came home with HIV.”

    What was your plan in marrying a fag, anyway?

  137. J says:

    You have been here for the last year as I have piled up a mountain of evidence that our culture teaches/encourages women to not appreciate men. Your response? prove it. Now you want to appeal to my good faith. I honestly don’t know why you come here.

    D, I am truly sorry that I’m rubbing you the wrong way here.

    Some of it comes I think just from you and I having different thinking styles. You are a linear, cause and effect kind of guy. I’m sure that makes you excellent at your job and very decisive IRL. I tend to be a more global, cause, cause, cause effect kind of gal. I’m a perceiver, not a judger (INTP), and I really do see the world differently then many in the manosphere (not just you) think.

    My problem with much of what is said in the manosphere, while logical and consistent on the net, doesn’t play out for me IRL. It’s not just your blog. I’ll use HUS as an example. The view of the college hook-up scene that Susan presents really worries me as a mother. I’ve brought my sons up to be moral guys (though not to be patsies), and I worry that they will not fit in well at college. I decided to show the blog to some parents of college kids and to some recent college graduates I know. To a person, the response is “Yeah, out there but it’s not the problem the blog makes it out to be. If your kid as some interests, those interests can be an entree to a healthier peer group. They won’t spent all their time in bars or at frat parties.” My assistant at work, who married a 30 year old guy last year when she was 26, assures me that my sons will be the darlings of the music geek and religious sets at college. What goes on at the bars will still go on, but it won’t be their issue. She also pointed out to me that college was a pretty wild place when I was there, but most of my peers have matured, generally after a mis-step or two, into solid, perhaps stolid, citizens. I also find it noteworthy that few college age people comment at HUS.

    Likewise, the manosphere view of gray divorce resulting from bored housewives influenced by feminism leaving loyal husbands doesn’t play out for me IRL. There are four couples in my social circle right now in the process of divorce. In one case, the husband cheats. In another, the husband is an alcoholic. In a third, the wife is bi-polar, has an OCD and tells people that her husband stole money from her and lost it when his business failed. In the last case, the break-up is really one of the sort that Gottman describes. Both parties went their separate ways emotionally years ago. Is feminism a factor? Maybe in the fact that three out of four of the wives have high-paying jobs that give them some options. IInterestingly, three of the wives in these cases were the ones to file. The only man who has filed is the cheater; his wife never worked and doesn’t know what she will do without him. She wants him back.

    The idea that middle-aged women want to EPL may well be born out by various books, blogs and i-magazines that you quote from. I just don’t see it happening IRL among the real middle-aged women that I know. And the women I know aren’t outliers; they are typical, middle class, college-educated, suburban women. Why the big disconnect between my real life and the manosphere’s view?
    At any rate, I’m not intentionally trying to troll you. I’m just trying to make sense of all this. Sorry for upsetting you.

  138. Pingback: Boring loyal dudes | Dalrock

  139. Dalrock says:

    @J

    D, I am truly sorry that I’m rubbing you the wrong way here.

    Thank you.

    Some of it comes I think just from you and I having different thinking styles. You are a linear, cause and effect kind of guy. I’m sure that makes you excellent at your job and very decisive IRL. I tend to be a more global, cause, cause, cause effect kind of gal. I’m a perceiver, not a judger (INTP), and I really do see the world differently then many in the manosphere (not just you) think.

    I appreciate the compliment. Interestingly I’m also an INTP, although I tested as an INTJ (just barely) when at work as a project manager.

    The idea that middle-aged women want to EPL may well be born out by various books, blogs and i-magazines that you quote from. I just don’t see it happening IRL among the real middle-aged women that I know. And the women I know aren’t outliers; they are typical, middle class, college-educated, suburban women. Why the big disconnect between my real life and the manosphere’s view?

    Don’t be too quick to dismiss the powerful nature of the sorting which goes on in our lives. I’m guessing you and I both tend to sort out crazy flaky people. This is a good thing obviously, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I’ve looked for (and shared) data on the questions you raise here, and tried to provide some balance in the manosphere. This is part of my frustration. I’ve shown with data that there isn’t (yet) a marriage strike. I’ve also shared data on remarriage rates, and the percentage of women who find themselves divorced later in life. I’ve specifically challenged the idea that there is a great surge of divorce late in life; I simply can’t find any data to back this up, and the data I can find appears to refute it. This was in fact one of my very first posts, and I still haven’t found any data which changes my view on this.

    More important though is that we weren’t discussing what percentage of women divorce frivolously, etc. We were talking about the message to women in the media and the culture. This is the mountain of evidence I mentioned. Only a truly hard core feminist would put forth your argument that our culture and media on the whole teaches women to appreciate men. It is pure and utter nonsense.

  140. Pingback: How common is late life divorce? | Dalrock

  141. J says:

    I appreciate the compliment. Interestingly I’m also an INTP, although I tested as an INTJ (just barely) when at work as a project manager.

    Hmm…I’d have guessed you were a solid INTJ.

    I’m guessing you and I both tend to sort out crazy flaky people.

    I don’t suffer fools gladly.😉

    This is a good thing obviously, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    Oh, I agree they exist. I just don’tfind them as impactful as many do.

    I’ve looked for (and shared) data on the questions you raise here, and tried to provide some balance in the manosphere.

    I think you are at your best with hard data and I do agree that you do provide balance. I regard as one of the mosrt reasionable of the manosphere bloggers.

    This is part of my frustration.

    I know that I frustrate you; that’s partially why I stayed away. I’m really NOT trying to troll.

    …. posts, and I still haven’t found any data which changes my view on this.

    I agree that you are at your best with data and that the marriage strike stuff was particularly impressive. I think I like to amplify data with anecdotes more than you do and don’t always agree with your interpretations.

    More important though is that we weren’t discussing what percentage of women divorce frivolously, etc

    I thought we were discussing both, but OK.

    We were talking about the message to women in the media and the culture. This is the mountain of evidence I mentioned.

    I think there is a tendency in the manosphere to cherry-pick through the worst of popular culture and to exagerrate its effect on people. I know you disagree. When I discuss some of these issues in real life with there is just this huge disconnect between, for example, the attitudes of divorced men I know and the guys at the Spearhead. When I say, “Hey, this reminds me of something I read on the net,” people are genuinely confused. I really do think that some much of what is quoted in the manosphere really does form some sort of cultural white noise that most of the people I know simply dismiss. While the gals at The Atlantic complain about “kitchen bitches,” the women I know wish that their husbands would lend a hand in the kitchen. My honest reaction to the whole kitchen bitch thing was that the gals at the Atlantic had become desperate for material to write about.

  142. J says:

    Post above continued here:

    Only a truly hard core feminist

    SIgh..on the Internet, I’m a hard-core feminist. IRL, I’m a former den mother with sort of a 1970s nerd-girl hipster past.

    would put forth your argument that our culture and media on the whole teaches women to appreciate men.

    I don’t think that was quite my argument. I just don’t see that there is this big media conspiracy that has a huge effect on how people act IRL. I don’t even see that the Daily Mail article you cited on the other thread, egregious as it was, fuilly supperts the idea of women suddenly leaving due to boredom. I would think that based on number of comments in the original article that concern coiuple no longer communicating the majority of these marriages had been dead in the water for a long time.

    Anyway, I’m glad we’ve cleared the air a bit here. Thanks for responding.

  143. Stephenie Rowling says:

    “I appreciate the compliment. Interestingly I’m also an INTP, although I tested as an INTJ (just barely) when at work as a project manager.”

    You know I have the same issue I’m a INFJ or a INTJ, depending on the day it seems like. Do you know why this happens? Is there a more deep test around or something?

  144. Dalrock says:

    @J

    I just don’t see that there is this big media conspiracy that has a huge effect on how people act IRL.

    Honestly J I think it doesn’t bother you because it is anti man and not anti woman. If the vast majority of the media regularly aimed at men constantly touted the benefit of say beating your wife, I don’t think you would say “well plenty of men don’t beat their wives, so it obviously doesn’t have a huge effect”. I suspect it would bother you. Just a bit…

  145. Oak says:

    @Stephanie Rowling: http://www.myersbriggs.org/

    Hey, another INFJ… That’s me to a T. Judgmental bastards, we are.

  146. Stephenie Rowling says:

    “Hey, another INFJ… That’s me to a T. Judgmental bastards, we are.”

    I have to say that some times only (I guess that is why I jump from T to F) and that I’m harder on me that I have ever be on anyone else.
    Thanks for the link. I will take it here as soon as I have that kind of money.🙂

  147. J says:

    I suspect it would bother you. Just a bit…

    A bit, probably. After all, I do comment in the manosphere when I see things I don’t like.🙂
    I do think there is plenty in the media that makes women look pretty stupid too though–Snooki, Bridezillas, etc. But honestly, much of time, I feel like I’m just sitting back watching the show. I’m sort of the female equaivalent of Roissy in a way; my default pose is one of amused mastery. And people–even women–don’t fail to disappoint. It’s an INTX thing…You understand.

  148. hemp says:

    And yet women still pass the buck when it comes to their own retirement security according to a new survey from ING Direct USA and Dailyworth.com………………………… For many women becoming the proverbial bag lady under the bridge is one of their…

  149. Pingback: The missing fear | Dalrock

  150. Pingback: There is no baby boomer (or silent) generation divorce spike at retirement. | Dalrock

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