Archive for the ‘women’ Category
Thoughts on the Marriage III, or
The Marriage Strike: It’s Going to Get Worse Before It Gets Better
By John Ross
I have recently become aware of the works of Dr. Daniel Amneus, who wrote the book Garbage Generation in 1990. Dr. Amneus died in 2003. Garbage Generation is available online, as is one of his essays, The War Against Patriarchy, written in 1997. Amneus makes several major points and backs them up with plenty of documentation.
I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version:
First, the default condition in the mammalian world is matriarchy, where the female is the head of the family. In this condition, the male has the role of sperm donor, but little else. Matriarchy defines the animal kingdom. Matriarchy existed for humans and our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years during the Stone Age, and still exists in primitive cultures. (It’s why they’re primitive.)
Patriarchy, where the father heads the household, is only a few thousand years old, a comparative eyeblink. Yet in this few thousand years, civilization has sprung up, accomplishing things that people in matriarchal cultures would insist were magic.
The existence of civilization and the attendant building of wealth is the result of the enforcement of the Marriage Contract, which powerfully motivates men to achieve. A marriage contract makes a man provide for and protect his family. In return, he gets to have a family, and to be involved with the socialization of his children. A requirement of the marriage contract is that the wife cannot deny sex to her husband, and cannot have sex with other men. This sexual regulation of women is an absolute requirement, so that the man entering into the marriage contract can be assured of having children, and having them be his.
Dr. Amneus contends that allowing men to have families and participate in the socialization of their children has motivated them to achieve tremendous things for all of society, and nothing short of being allowed to head a family will motivate them as strongly to do this. He points out that all existing matriarchal societies (inner-city ghettoes, Indian reservations, existing Stone Age cultures around the world) are societies in which you wouldn’t want to live.
In 1963, Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, where she scolded women for depending on men and expecting so little of themselves, such as the trifling amount of housework wives did. She urged them to cast off the “Sleeping Beauty waiting for Prince Charming” role model, and urged them to “stand on their own two feet” and work and compete in traditionally male occupations.
Dr. Amneus points out that when Friedan wrote this, she didn’t understand that husbands were not supporting their wives in exchange for housework, they were supporting their wives in exchange for having a family. Having a family required that the wife give her body freely to her husband and only her husband, and that was the sacrifice women were making, not housework.
By the 1970s, women who bought into Friedan’s way of thinking had discovered it wasn’t so easy to be independent, what with all those motivated men to compete with. By then, “Sleeping Beauty” feminism had been replaced by “Slaughtered Saints” feminism. Under Sleeping Beauty feminism, women were capable of competing on an even footing. They didn’t need alimony, they were perfectly capable of making it on their own.
Under Slaughtered Saints feminism, women were now victims, always repressed, downtrodden, held back, etc., and in need of reparations and artificial props in the workplace. Slaughtered Saints feminists bristled at the term “alimony,” but they still wanted the money, and lots of it. Just call it “maintenance.”
Dr. Amneus points out that patriarchy is NOT the natural order. Neither is civilization, technology, heavy industry, central air, microwave ovens, etc. Patriarchy is an artificial construct that makes all these other desirable artificial constructs possible. And as an artificial construct, it is fragile. Leave a computer outside and see how long it lasts. Leave a building untended, and see what happens. If you want civilization, you need to have patriarchy, because that is what motivates men to direct their energy in productive ways, rather than violence. Patriarchy requires that men be able to enter into marriage contracts that are binding. The current no-fault divorce laws which allow a woman to eject her husband from the family yet retain his income are an ongoing disaster. Boys raised by single mothers have a much greater tendency towards violent criminal behavior. Girls raised by single mothers tend to become single mothers themselves, perpetuating the problem.
If we want a better, safer, healthier society, we need to provide incentives for having two-parent households, and provide disincentives for single mothers raising children. Dr. Amneus explains that since the bond between mother and child is so strong, it is the one thing that doesn’t need additional help from the courts. The link that is so important (and so fragile) is the one between father and child, particularly if that child is a boy. The current social programs, laws, and judges’ rulings encourage families to split up, or discourage men from ever marrying in the first place.
The chapter which most enrages current feminists is “Our Paychecks, Our Selves–Why Fathers Must Demand Custody.” Here are some excerpts:
What men must do to salvage [the situation] is to safeguard the male paycheck–to prevent anyone, ex-wife, house-male judge or house-male lawmaker, from telling him what he may or may not do with that paycheck, and that if he enters into a contract of marriage to share that paycheck with a wife in exchange for her sharing her reproductive life with him, this contract shall not be abrogated for the purpose of depriving him of his children and his paycheck.
Betty Friedan’s 1963 book The Feminine Mystique told American housewives that the “considerable rights” they obtained through marriage were an overpayment for the trifling services they performed: “Society asks so little of women….It was not that too much was asked of them but too little.” Ms. Friedan had no understanding of the pivotal fact that the “little” asked of women was primarily not housework but acceptance of sexual regulation. The male’s reproductive marginality forced him to offer the female the extremely one-sided bargain upon which Ms. Friedan poured her scorn. The benefits of this bargain are being lost to men because women will not keep the marriage contract and the courts will not enforce it. They are being largely lost to women by their insistence on sexual autonomy and their consequent withdrawal of sexual loyalty from the nuclear family, which then ceases to provide what Ms. Friedan deemed a free ride for women. With that withdrawal women can no longer offer men what men must have if they are to participate responsibly in reproduction.
From the feminists’ point of view, subsidization by an ex- husband is as good as subsidization by a husband; but from the man’s point of view the difference is total. …. Betty Friedan has suggested that the feminist movement is a new biological breakthrough, “the next step in human evolution.” The feminist/sexual revolution is not a breakthrough but a throwback. The breakthrough was the creation of patriarchy a few thousand years ago…
Feminists protest against the double standard required by the regulation of female sexuality. The double standard is an essential part of the patriarchal system. Male sexuality requires less regulation because it is less important. Male unchastity sets a bad example and demoralizes wives who find out about it, but otherwise damages society little. Female unchastity destroys the marriage contract, the family, the legitimacy of children, their patriarchal socialization, the security of property and the motivation of work–it destroys civilized society. Men accept a double work standard, requiring them to be more dependable, more committed to their jobs, willing to accept more arduous and dangerous labor and to exercise more self-discipline– the things which account for their earning more than women in the job market.
A man who wants a woman to marry him would get nowhere by telling her, “If you will marry me, I will guarantee that you will be the mother of your children.” He is offering her nothing, since it is impossible that she should not be the mother of her own children. A woman who wants a man to marry her would be talking sense if she said to him, “If you will marry me, I will guarantee that you will be the father of my children.” [She would be] talking sense, though her personal guarantee is insufficient, because women notoriously change their minds,…women [claim] the right to renege on their promise of sexual loyalty, and because the legal system supports this right.
In the words of Mary Ann Glendon, the duty of an exiled ex-husband “to provide for the needs of [his] minor children [in Mom's custody]…is so important that it cannot be excluded by contract.” In other words, the woman’s promise is worthless and the law will grant the man no rights under the contract of marriage. … The only salvation is to get the legal system to understand that it must support the man’s right to have a family and deny the woman’s right to wreck it at her pleasure. In other words, it must regulate female sexuality–or rather allow the father to regulate it by allowing him control over his own paycheck, a control not subject to revocation by a divorce court.
This hated double standard places a burden on women but rewards them lavishly for accepting it. It gives them the bargaining power which makes men willing to raise their standard of living by an estimated 73 percent. Female sexual autonomy forfeits this bargaining power; legal regulation of women (enforced by a guarantee of father-custody in divorce) maintains it. Feminist books are written about the unwillingness of men to “make a commitment” to support women and about the unmarriageability of educated and economically independent women, those with the highest divorce rate. These women would be beneficiaries of sexual regulation, which would make them non-threatening to men and therefore marriageable. Their superior education and talents– often combined with superior personal attractiveness–would become assets to themselves, to their families and to society if there existed an assurance that these assets did not act, as they now commonly do, as incentives to divorce.
Would it not be fairer to regulate both male and female sexuality with equal strictness? No; male sexuality isn’t important enough. If ninety percent of male sexuality were regulated, the unregulated ten percent would create as much sexual confusion and illegitimacy as the ninety percent–if females were unregulated. The regulation of ninety percent of female sexuality would, on the contrary, prevent ninety percent of sexual confusion and illegitimacy, and that is why society must insist on the double standard, which both stabilizes society and gives women greater bargaining power because it makes them more valuable to their families and to society. The woman’s chastity gives the man assurance of a family; the man’s motivation, created by his assurance of a secure role within this family, gives the woman a higher standard of living. This is the complementariness which makes patriarchal civilization possible. The arrangement is now being destroyed by the removal of the man’s assurance of a secure role within his family.
Before I continue, let me interject that Dr. Amneus’ idea of the proper “sexual regulation” of women may differ somewhat from my own. In this era of easy birth control, a single woman does not have to stay a virgin to avoid having illegitimate children. I, for one, am not nearly as concerned with a woman’s past sexual history before she met me as I am about the one she has with me. Most men these days would agree with this, I think. Dr. Amneus might, as well, were he still alive.
Dr. Amneus makes a strong case for the decline of the two-parent family as being at the root of a long list of America’s current ills. He reserves his strongest contempt for male judges that perpetuate single-mother households:
The failure of the judges and policymakers responsible for most of these female-headed families to understand their responsibility for them and for the disruption, crime, demoralization and illegitimacy they produce derives from the disastrous but natural mistake of supposing that because the female-headed family form is biologically based, whereas the father-headed family form is merely a social creation, society ought to support the biologically based form by choosing Mom for custodian of the children in case of divorce. They cannot grasp the idea that the reproductive pattern found among lower animals is unsuitable for humans.
From The War Against Patriarchy (1997):
The judge replaced [the] father-headed family with one headed by the mother because he supposed it was natural to do so. Also the easy thing, the thing that all judges do and have done for a century. Patriarchy, like the internal combustion engine, is artificial. But it works. The judge knows that patriarchal families, families headed by fathers, produce better behaved, higher achieving children, but he can’t see his way through to the conclusion that he ought to keep the father as family head rather than contribute to the expansion of matriarchy.
A Georgia judge named Robert Noland invariably places children of divorce in the custody of mothers and justifies what he does with this: “I ain’t never seen a calf following a bull. They always follow the cow. So I always give custody to the mamas.” The reason Judge Noland never saw a calf following a bull is that cattle don’t live in two parent households. If we want to live like cattle, Judge Noland has the right idea–it’s natural. But mother-headed households generate three-quarters of society’s crime and a disproportionate amount of illegitimacy, educational failure and demoralization and drug abuse and the rest of our social pathology.
Anyway, the result of all this (and the thing that has a lot of sociologists clucking) is that every year, fewer men are willing to marry. Now that more men realize that wives can take their children away from them at their whim, and the ex-husband will still be on the hook financially, more men are saying “No thanks” every year. The marriage rate has dropped in half in the last three decades. This article by Matt Weeks about the “Marriage Strike” gives more detail.
Many men I know whose wives have bolted and cashed out are looking forward to the reaction when women realize what’s happened. Here’s what one friend I was discussing this with had to say:
“Many of us (I confess, I’m one) relish the idea of women seeing the other shoe drop. Many of us want to see a panicked look on your average feminist’s face when she realizes she’s priced herself out of the marriage market. We want to see the tables turned; we get a nice jolt of schadenfreude when we think of it.”
While it may be appealing for divorced men to imagine an America where no single woman can find a decent man willing to risk marrying her, it’s not going to happen any time soon. Here’s why:
People of different ages have different ideas of cultural norms, and thus different expectations, based on what they experienced during the critical years when lifelong opinions were formed. For example, people who first flew on airplanes as children are almost never afraid of flying in adulthood.
With the advent of cheap VCRs in the late 1980s-early 1990s, anyone with even the slightest curiosity about XXX movies could easily rent or borrow one and watch it at home.
Let’s use 1988 as the approximate year VCRs became common.
That means if a girl was born around 1973 or later, there was a VCR in her house when she started going through adolescence and becoming curious about sexual matters, and therefore she probably viewed one or more hardcore adult films at that time. As a result, she got an impression of what men and women expected in the bedroom.
My observation is that women born after the mid-1970s are considerably more likely to do anything you want in bed, whenever you want it. This, I think, is not due just to their being young. Women in their 20s fifteen years ago weren’t as game as twentysomethings are now. I think it’s because those women weren’t exposed to the kind of spirited, athletic sex exhibited in XXX movies when they were teenagers, as the women under 32 today were. That’s why Paris Hilton’s amateur sex video had ZERO negative effect on her TV career and overall marketability, why Jenna Jameson is on the cover of mainstream magazines, and other porn stars are regularly featured in music videos.
Some of you will likely exclaim that this is a deplorable state of affairs. I’ll just say that I prefer to try to take what pleasures I can in life, and when a big wave is approaching, I’ll stop building sand castles and take up surfing, instead of trying to turn back the tide.
There is a point to all this. The Marriage Strike won’t reach critical mass any time soon because almost every person I know has a living memory of having a mother and father that were married to each other, at least for a while. I can count on the fingers of one hand the people whose mothers were never married to their fathers, or whose parents divorced before the child was old enough to remember. And all these examples are children born in the last few years–they won’t be of marrying age for two decades.
Despite the terrible risk/reward ratio for a man to marry, for almost all people outside the ghetto, getting married is the expected norm–expected not by just other people, but by the MEN THEMSELVES.
Bestselling novelist Michael Chrichton has been married and divorced FIVE TIMES! That has to have cost him a fortune. Nicole Kidman shook Tom Cruise down for a pile, even though she makes millions on her own, because she could. And now he’s going to do it all over again. Why? I think it’s because marriage is still the default expectation in men’s minds, despite the obvious assumption of massive risk with little chance of reward.
The men who have sworn off marriage are growing, yes, but they are still very small in number. For all of the talk of “the chickens are coming home to roost,” and all the eagerly anticipated wholesale rejection of marriage to American women, I think it’s going to be at least one more generation (a generation being 25-ish years) before we see significant numbers.
Of all the American men you know, how many have never been married and have vowed never to do so? Of all the American men you know, how many have a foreign wife? To both questions, I’d guess less than 1%.
Just like our country’s reluctance to do anything to prevent the eventual Social Security crisis, I don’t think we’ll see a big difference in general male behavior towards marriage for quite a while.
And that’s why the rules are unlikely to change–the coming problem (and obviously, not everyone will agree there even IS a coming problem) is too far off to bother with.
I worry that my daughter will have a hard time finding a decent husband in 12-15 years. And I worry that if she should be fortunate enough to do so, she’ll bolt and cash out, because she can.
John Ross 8/24/2005
Copyright 2005 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given
Thoughts on Marriage II, or
Would You Go on a Cruise Ship that Didn’t Have Lifeboats
on a Cruise Line Where 60% of the Cruise Ships Sink?
By John Ross
My last column gave suggestions for steps financially successful men could take to increase the chances for a happy, lasting marriage. This piece is focused on disaster management–steps these same men can take in advance that will reduce the awfulness of a divorce if one occurs despite their best efforts.
Note 1: The usual disclaimer about my generalizations not applying to 100% of the female population. If you are (or are married to) one of those women who don’t do any of the things I’m about to describe, great. Keep up the good work. Just don’t bother emailing me with complaints.
Note 2: Most of the following does not apply if your wife is the breadwinner and your job is to sit around the house during the day and drink a case of beer while watching TV. I say this in all seriousness, as there is a section of South St. Louis (Cherokee Street and thereabouts) where this is a common set of gender roles.
Note 3: I am not a lawyer, and state laws vary anyway, so you should be reading this mainly for entertainment, and if any of these issues actually apply to you, print a copy of this piece and have your own lawyer review the ideas before you implement any of them.
Note 4: There is a fair amount of “Divorce Advice for Men” already out there, in the form of books, websites, and e-books. Many of these explain how your ex will lie in court, lie to her lawyer, hide money, clean out joint accounts, do other unethical things, etc. Unfortunately, some of these advice sources then go on to advise the man to employ exactly these same tactics, often in advance as a pre-emptive strike. If you are getting divorced and have no kids (and no sense of decency), go for it if you want. But if children are involved, this is one of the worst things you can do in the long run. Read on and you’ll see why. And if you take the right preventive measures, most if not all of these unethical things will not be possible for her to accomplish.
As I’ve said before in other columns about women, you should never think of American-born women as screwed-up men. They are built from a different blueprint. Reread my 11/5/03 column, particularly the sections on emotional sensitivity and integrity to feelings. Realize that in a divorce, your wife will likely not be able to help herself. Her emotions are going to be raging, and she is probably going to say and do horrible things. Accept this. She can’t help the fact that during an emotion-charged divorce she can’t think or act in a way that you would call honorable or rational, any more than most women can avoid shrieking at the sight of an unexpected mouse.
However, if you follow her lead, your actions will hurt you forever with your children. Unless she’s in prison, your ex is going to get primary custody, period. She will also eventually return to a more calm state of equilibrium, and will be relatively reasonable. But if you have engaged in the same kind of reprehensible behavior during the divorce, she will never forget it, and her corrosive attitude towards you will be constantly evident to your kids. This is not good. Remember what I’ve said before about men remembering good things and reliving them mentally, while women focus on the negative events in their lives, and relive them over and over again? That’s what will happen here. So take the high road on this one, and plan to take a serious financial hit. That’s the price you pay for your kids growing up without constantly being told what a bad person you are. With some precautionary measures, you won’t be hit nearly as hard in a divorce, even if she engages in unethical behavior.
1. After your health, your most valuable asset is time, and the cheapest way to pay for anything is with money. Never forget this. When in doubt, bail. This goes counter to everything we’re bombarded with about marriage, such as the women’s magazine columns with titles like Can This Marriage Be Saved? and constant reminders of how “a good marriage takes a lot of work.” No, it doesn’t. Bad marriages take lots of work. Good marriages are easy. When was the last time you heard a guy with his cute girlfriend sitting on his lap tell you “having a girlfriend takes a lot of work”? The divorce rate is high, but most divorces only happen after years of unhappy marriage. That means they involve children, and are expensive. Those are bad things. First marriages without kids are like practice frames in bowling. They don’t count, and then you can get on with the real thing. This is going to be hard for some of you, because you said those marriage vows, and you meant them. In that case, you should have written your own vows that reflected reality. Or just realize that when your bride vows “‘To love and to cherish ’til death do us part,” she’ll only honor the words until she decides not to. Don’t be too surprised if that moment comes a lot sooner than you expected. Read on…
Ross’ Rule of Successful Men’s Financial Restoration After a Divorce: Barring inheritances, winning the lottery, personal injury settlements, and other unpredictable one-time events, the number of years it will take for you to get from where you are on the day after your divorce is final to the same point you were financially on the day before you proposed will be approximately the same as the number of years you were married. For example, if you proposed at age 31, married at age 32 and divorced after 9 years at age 41, you will be 50 by the time you’re back to where you were at age 31.
If you are a man who aspires to a healthy, lasting marriage, actor Ernest Borgnine should be your role model. He has now been married to his wife Tova Borgnine, a cosmetics entrepreneur, for over three decades. I suspect they are happy with each other. Why do I suspect he’s happy and hasn’t been enduring a bad marriage as so many others are? Because Borgnine’s earlier marriage to Ethel Merman lasted less than five weeks! What if he had stayed married (unhappily) to Ethel for a decade or so? I suspect his life would be worse than it is now. If you are unhappy with the things your wife does, it’s not going to improve. End it now and have more time left to find the right woman and have a good relationship with her.
Most men would balk at the idea of filing for divorce a few weeks or even a year after the wedding. They’ve spent all that money on the ring, the wedding, and the honeymoon, and now Ross is advising them to give up after a month or two? He must be crazy! Guess what, Bunkie–you are never getting any of that money back, ever. It’s gone. Were you forgetting that? Whatever memories of the wedding, reception, honeymoon, etc. are what they are, good or bad, and you’ll have them whether you divorce in six months or stay unsatisfied for ten years before giving up on her. And as to why you might want to seriously consider divorcing soon after the wedding, let me let you in on a little secret: A large number of modern American-born women have little to no interest in sex after marriage. There’s the old joke: Q: What food causes women to lose 98% of their sex drive? A: Wedding cake.
This “joke” is no joke. Few men realize how pervasive this phenomenon is. The not-yet-married men don’t have any personal experience with it, and the married and/or divorced men think they just got unlucky with their choice of wife, keep their mouths shut, and expect to do better next time. I get email after email from men asking me to write a column explaining to women just how important sex is for most men. The fact is, I think the women already know that, but don’t much care. In any event, I know exactly one man who tells me that his wife has sex with him as often and with just as much enthusiasm as she did before they were married. And his wife is Jewish! I’d like to think he’s not lying to me. (And to be honest, I don’t know how often his wife was “in the mood” before their marriage, but he says the frequency hasn’t diminished in 19 years and he’s happy.) There are also a handful of men that tell me their wives’ sex drives have declined, but fairly gradually, and it’s still frequent enough that they’re satisfied or at least not too unhappy.
On the other side of the coin are the dozens and dozens of confessions and emails I’ve received. I got the following email about five minutes after posting this Ross in Range column, which is a record. It’s a little worse than most, but by no means atypical, so I added it immediately. Think about a bride saying her wedding vows, and then guess how long it takes her to break them. Read at your own peril…
Mr. Ross, you are right about how if your wife does things you dislike, it will never get better, and dead on about the sex-after-marriage stuff. You’ll love my little story, and feel free to print it without my name.
Our wedding day was a typical big deal that cost me $9k for the ring, $4K for the reception, $2K for the dress, and $14K for the honeymoon and other stuff like the limos. Remember, this was in 1995 dollars. I was 32 at the time and decently established. Anyway, after our wedding reception, my wife was changing out of her wedding dress and into other clothes for our trip to the airport to start our honeymoon. I was grinning at how sexy she looked (she was 5’8″ and 120 lbs, BTW) in her skimpy panties and no bra. I gave her a look that said ‘let’s have a quickie.’ She said, “No way. We’re married now.” I was stunned. We had been married less than four hours! Four hours! In that span of time she changed from the adorable woman I loved (with a great sex drive) into this person I didn’t recognize, who planned to have me buy a big house, remodel it constantly, and entertain her friends in it, all with my money.
I put up with it for two years, then when I finally realized it was never going to get any better, started to make my own plans for divorcing her. She must have sensed it because she started wanting to have sex again, even though by this time she was over 200 lbs. Stupid me, I’d gone so long without I was actually grateful, and didn’t stop to think logically. I guess you know the reason: She wanted to get pregnant, and that’s exactly what happened. I’m ashamed to tell you the overpowering sense of relief I felt when she miscarried two months later. I’m not proud of that, but there it is. I never risked sex with her again, and after what I felt was a decent interval (but probably wasn’t), filed for divorce. Had to borrow to make it happen, of course, but it was the best $90,000 I ever spent. If I’d had your advice earlier on, it would have been less, but as you would probably say, so what? As you so accurately point out, I can always make more money, but I can’t get back the time.
Been with a great woman going on seven years now. Like your friend in Colorado, she’s stayed the same dress size, makes a good income, is nice to me, and likes sex as much now as she did when we first got together. Whenever she mentions wanting to get married, I tell her she’d better find a man who wants to also. I showed her your last column and she went “Hmpf!” and appeared to pout. I’m sure you know what happened about 5 minutes later, without me saying a word: World-class BJ.
Love your column. Keep telling it like it is.
I’m not a sociologist, and I have no idea why this happens so often, only that it does happen and it is the rule rather than the exception. Be aware of it, and realize that when a woman loses her sex drive after getting married, there has never been a documented case of her getting it back with the same sex partner. It just doesn’t happen.
2. Courts favor women in divorces. Get over this and stop whining about it. You know this going in to your marriage, so it should be a non-issue. It’s not like a man’s disastrous results in divorce court are unexpected. Suck it up and realize that overall, you are the one in control of your life, and things can start getting good again as soon as the legal proceedings are over. Employ a mediator and avoid the court altogether, if your wife will go for it, but if you like the idea, she probably won’t. My ex asked if I would allow her first ex-husband (a lawyer) to mediate our divorce. I thought about it, then said yes, as he is a good and decent man. She then decided she didn’t want to go that route…
3. Taking protective steps is nothing to be ashamed of. Buying insurance policies is universally seen as a good thing, and no one thinks you’re planning to burn your house down just because you have fire insurance. Keep this attitude as you implement some of the ideas in this piece.
4. Have a secure place inaccessible to your wife where you can keep all important documents, hard-drive backups, etc. This may sound like paranoia but it is a not-uncommon practice for a wife to decide to move out on you when you are out of town and take EVERYTHING with her.
This happened to me. I returned home from a 3-day visit with my best friend from college, and for every room except my study, it was like moving into a new apartment. Not a single fork, plate, roll of toilet paper, curtain, drape, salt shaker, napkin, bar of soap, nothing. She even hired an electrician out of the Yellow Pages to take down some ceiling light fixtures she liked. (Our regular electrician refused. I think he had visions of me skinning him alive.) When I’d tell people what had happened to me, their eyes would get big and they’d invariably tell me of two or three other friends they knew whose wives had done exactly the same thing.
Men don’t talk about it but it happens often enough to plan for–at least as often as having a fire at your house. Prepare yourself mentally for the possibility that one day you’ll walk in the door to find your home has been stripped. The hardest will be when you find your kids’ rooms empty of all things. The message is they will never come back. This is not true. Focus on the fact that after the divorce is over, your kids are going to see you and stay with you regularly. Now that she’s bolted, it can only get better from here.
While the lack of furnishings is a visual shock, it is a reality that furniture, rugs, dinnerware, kid’s beds, etc. are as close as the nearest store. Business records, tax information, deeds, and legal instruments are much more difficult to reconstruct. If your wife (as mine did) takes every scrap of paper and every computer disk that she can lay hands on to give to her lawyer, you will be very glad you followed my example and had all the important things in a bank vault, and had no joint accounts for her to loot. Within three days of coming home I had the house refurnished enough to comfortably live in, had restocked the kitchen with serviceable items from Sam’s and Linens ‘n’ Things, and moved my cannons (Krupp, Hotchkiss, and Gatling) and elephant tusks from the garage and basement into the living quarters for improved decor.
5. Place very little faith in prenups for preventing messy divorces. This may vary from state to state, so I might be wrong in your particular jurisdiction and you should not take this as legal advice. However, here in Missouri, prenups are challenged regularly. Example: A client of mine got married in his late 20s. He had about $5 million in inherited wealth (parents both dead), and had one of the biggest and oldest law firms in St. Louis draw up an 80-page prenup before he got married around 1988.
I have no idea what words you use to construct an 80-page prenup, but my client told me the gist of his was largely a restatement of Missouri State law, saying that any and all assets owned before marriage (and listing these assets, I presume), were not to be considered marital property, nor was anything bought from proceeds of the sale of any of these things to be considered marital property. Only assets purchased with passive income from these inherited assets, and assets purchased with earned income were to be considered joint property in the event of a divorce. In the event of a divorce, his ex was to get maintenance for some period of time based on some listed formula. I don’t know why you need 80 pages to say that, but I’m not a lawyer.
Anyway, after she had a baby, his wife didn’t want sex any more and he did, and so after six months or so he started getting it from his secretary and some other hotties. Eventually, the wife found out, got upset, and they separated. I told him to IMMEDIATELY implement the action I’m going to explain a few paragraphs from now. He waved me off and told me he was well-represented by a fine lawyer at the silk stocking firm that did the prenup, his wife had a similar fine lawyer, everything was amicable, yada yada yada. I told him that wasn’t enough, and to spend $1,200 on what I advised. He waved me off and told me I worried too much about the wrong things. I was the one who ought to be worried, he said, since I had married with no prenup at all.
Her lawyer looked at the terms of the prenup, and then at the husband’s tax returns. The husband was involved as a principal in a start-up company that was not yet making money. His salary and unearned income totaled around $300,000 a year, but his wife liked to buy clothes, go to the Golden Door Spa, entertain her friends at country clubs, etc. All the husband’s income went for these and other living expenses, so they had no joint savings or property since getting married. He had invested in the company, using some of his inherited assets, not income, and that investment was clearly not marital property.
The wife’s lawyer told her that under the terms of both the prenup and Missouri law, the only marital property in their situation that might be there for them to divide was about $90,000 in home appreciation that had occurred since they’d bought the house (with his inherited money) a few years before. A judge would probably rule that the appreciation was separate property since she’d put up no money, paid for none of the upkeep or expenses, and her name was not on the deed, but they might have a chance at getting her a piece of it. Legal fees would of course come off the top and reduce the amount accordingly. Her lawyer advised her to negotiate with her husband, settle the divorce, and not try to contest the prenup as it was drafted by a good firm and didn’t have anything in it that raised any red flags.
She immediately fired that lawyer and went looking for another. Not at a silk-stocking firm, but at a one-lawyer firm that only does expensive, high profile divorces of people with lots of money at stake. I knew the man she hired, and his reputation. So did her husband’s lawyer, and he advised his own client to hire a different lawyer, as this was going to be war. The husband did. I knew the man the husband hired as well, and for the same reason.
What happened? The proceedings were drawn out, seeming to take forever. The husband had his secretary move in with him. The wife was very angry, and her lawyer never advised her to settle. They finally went to trial, where the wife had a parade of her friends lie on the stand about the husband’s behavior (more on this pointless tactic later). She got her sister to testify he had attempted to have sex with her, which was a real stretch. When they put the secretary on the stand, she took the Fifth on every question. This circus of a trial lasted a week, then the (female) judge gave her ruling:
“The prenup stands as written.”
The wife got nothing except the state-mandated level of child support (about $1400/month at his income level) and three years of maintenance at something like $2000/month as laid out in the prenup. Good for the husband, right?
You see, his lawyer’s bill was over $250,000. Fortunately, he had convinced his lawyer to do something that divorce lawyers hate to do: Put in a statement that since the wife’s lawyer had failed to make their case at all, and wasted so much of everyone’s time, that the husband should not have to pay the wife’s legal bills. This is very unusual. The judge ordered the husband to pay $10,000 of the wife’s legal bills, but not the rest. The husband was elated, as the other lawyer’s bill exceeded $300,000. (The wife refused to pay this and threatened to bad-mouth the lawyer to all her wealthy friends if he tried to collect from her. He ate the charges.)
Wife gets child support and $75,000 over 3 years, husband pays child support of $17,000 a year and $75,000 over 3 years to wife and $260,000 immediately to lawyers, and barely escapes paying another $300,000 to the wife’s lawyer.
Hardly an example of a reasonable and well-written prenup saving you any money.
In my opinion, this case illustrates the virtues of following the next four pieces of advice.
6. There are lawyers that your wife must NEVER be allowed to hire. In every major city, there are a few lawyers who are tremendously expensive and tremendously effective at getting large settlements and/or awful terms in divorce cases. These are the guys that will, if they have to, convince your wife to claim you molested your own daughter. When these kinds of lawyers meet in court, the legal fees, as above, are astronomical, even if the resulting settlement isn’t. You must never allow yourself to ever face one of these people in court, especially without his counterpart on your side, and there is a very simple way to do that:
Hire all of them first.
I mentioned I knew both of the men involved in the just-described case. That is because I had hired both of them years before, as well as three other men of the same standing in St. Louis. At the point that my own marriage’s future looked uncertain, I made separate appointments with these five men. I did not lie. I explained to each that I wanted to stay married, but that my wife was unhappy and since it was possible we would get divorced if things didn’t get better, I wanted to find out what my options were and what kind of things I could expect to have happen during a divorce proceeding. I said to each I had heard he was very good, from conversations at the club. All these were true statements.
In addition to getting some very eye-opening answers, I had divulged information about myself and my finances, and now all of these men were prohibited from working for my wife. This cost me $200 each except for one lawyer who charged $400. That was the lawyer later hired by the husband in the above story. During my consultation, the lawyer who later got stiffed by the wife found out I knew about guns and asked if I could get him a bolt for his semi AK, which he had lost. I delivered one the next day for my cost of $68.25. It’s been over a decade and he’s never paid me. He’s also the one whose women clients most often accuse their husbands of molesting their own children.
I should point out that doing what I’ve described above is called a “fashion show” and it is something high-powered divorce lawyers absolutely hate. The St. Louis “divorce cartel,” as we call them, is down to four (I think) lawyers as one of the five went up the river for fraud. They are on to this technique, and each of them now requires a $2,500 retainer before they will talk to you for a half hour. This means a $10,000 tab, which is still dirt cheap when compared to what you are avoiding.
If you do what I advise, your wife will then have to hire either a decent and ethical lawyer, or one that her girlfriends have talked her into because he/she has a reputation as “tough” or “a real fighter.” The latter is what you want. “Tough” in this case really means that he/she is very abrasive but sloppy and/or lazy, and rather than making powerful legal arguments for making more things joint property, will focus on running up your wife’s legal bills, which you will have to pay. Believe me, padded legal bills from a lawyer like this are a great trade for true competence. This kind of lawyer HATES going to trial, and will advise your wife to settle right before trial. It will be at the last minute to get more hours billed. More on this later.
7. Take the high road, and never adopt an abrasive, “screw the bitch” attitude when going through a divorce. First of all, you picked her, she just turned into something very different from what you picked. Secondly, she can turn back (mostly) into the nice person you liked so much, but only if you are not married to her. Keep this in mind as you endure the divorce proceedings. You want to regain the easy rapport you once had, because your children are going to be listening to her at least until they turn 18. Focus on the goal: You want your life back, not retribution. You want to be happy again, have regular sex with a person that’s nice to you, and have a minimum of financial land mines in your life. You can have these things again, but you don’t want the price of that to be a bad relationship with your kids. You want your ex-wife to have as little reason to hate you as reasonably possible, and that won’t happen if you’re at each other’s throats during the legal proceedings. Remember: It’s hard to have a real fight if one party refuses to participate.
Realize that if you are basically a decent man, your heart will want to break when you read or hear her lawyer’s words of all the awful things you’ve allegedly done. It’s all smoke. If it comes to trial (and it never will, if you do what I advise) you will have dozens of character witnesses and she will be forced to admit to some lame version of “Well, when I said he was abusive, I meant that sometimes he ignored me and just wanted to read a book all night” or something equally trivial. Most importantly, never let lies get to you, because they don’t matter. Lawyers are not under oath when they’re talking to judges, and the judges know it. When the judge in our case made a ruling in my favor in the preliminary (PDL) hearing, he told my wife’s lawyer her demands were ridiculous and my offer of maintenance and child support during the months of the proceeding itself was more than fair. My lawyer came out of chambers with a huge grin on her face, telling me we’d gotten everything we asked for. Then she laughed and said “I think [name of the other lawyer] was terrified she wasn’t going to get paid, so she stammered ‘Well, you know he’s abusive.’ It was hilarious.”
When I heard these words, I thought I might never see my daughter again, and I felt something let go in my head. Suddenly my speech was slurred and I felt off-balance. I thought I might be having a panic attack. I didn’t know what a panic attack felt like as I had never had one.
It turned out my blood pressure had spiked to 230/145 and I’d had a stroke right there outside the judge’s chambers. A few hours later, my entire right side was paralyzed and I was lying in a hospital bed, idly wondering if I’d ever walk again. Don’t let a divorce lawyer’s lie that no one believes, least of all the judge, throw a monkey wrench into your life. Don’t do what I did. It’s all smoke.
And don’t get pulled into the same lying trap. Bad-mouthing your wife is not productive, nor is detailing every little (or even big) shortcoming. Keep it simple and non-hurtful. “She wasn’t happy, and the things I thought might change that, well, none of them seemed to work. We just aren’t right for each other.” Don’t lie and say she’s a bad mother if all she was was a dismal wife.
8. Sexual misconduct and other marital misbehavior is usually a tiny part of the divorce equation, but documentation of finances is HUGE. Many people are under the erroneous impression that if your spouse has an affair, then you automatically have a big advantage in divorce court. A good divorce lawyer will explain all the factors a judge takes into account before reaching a decision of how to split the marital assets. Here in Missouri, sexual conduct counts for literally about 2% of the equation.
It’s not worth spending any time on, because the important thing is not whether you or she gets 52% of the pot instead of 50%. The important thing is to not let any of your separate property get thrown into the pot in the first place. It doesn’t matter if your wife cheated on you weekly*, focusing on that won’t save you more than pocket change. The husband in the above example had lots of extramarital sex when he was married (just not with the shills his wife put up.) He’s fun and handsome, and a great guy to be with, and the women he had affairs with wouldn’t testify against him, so his wife had to get her friends and sister to lie. But it didn’t matter, because the entire time his wife was focused on making him look like a cad, he was busy putting together what did matter: Ironclad documentation that no separate property was ever commingled, and testimony that it was never commingled for the specific reason that he wanted to keep it separate.
If your wife has not proven to you that she might be a good long-term partner by being a good wife** for at least three years, then you are an absolute fool to commingle any assets you owned before marriage. No joint ownership, car insurance, checking accounts, credit cards, anything. Pay for everything and give her a big monthly spending allowance if you must, as these things will only up the alimony. You DON’T want to lose half or more of everything you had before you ever met her. Talk to a lawyer about the best way to do this.
If your bride or bride-to-be accuses you of being unromantic with no joint accounts or ownership of things you owned before you met her, point out that she has the use of everything while you’re married, and will inherit everything when you die. Joint ownership while you are alive only makes a difference if she decides to bolt and cash out on you early, and you’re not too keen on that. Judge her reaction and you may save the cost of everything: wedding, honeymoon, marriage, and divorce.
BTW If you live in a community property state like California, you can either place all your hopes in a prenup, or just shoot yourself now.
9. Prepare as if you are definitely going to trial and you almost certainly won’t have to. Something like 5% of divorces go to trial. The other 95% are negotiated and settled before the judge makes a ruling (sometimes minutes before), by mutual agreement. The way this works (if my experience is any indication) is your wife’s lawyer will suggest a ridiculous figure, like a huge lump sum far in excess of all marital assets, child support that’s triple what the State mandates for your income level, and alimony forever, at a level exceeding your entire monthly income. The plan here, I assume, is to terrify you into counter-offering with some high, but doable set of figures, and then you’ve committed to a figure that you can never back away from.
I didn’t do that, and you shouldn’t either.
Instead, send back the simple message that the proposal is so ridiculous that there is no point in discussing it, and you want to go to trial, where given the heavily documented facts of the case, the judge’s ruling will be a tiny fraction of the proposed amount. If you have never commingled any of your separate property, then your accumulated marital assets are probably next to nothing because your wife spent every dollar that came in on herself (which, along with being unhappy and never wanting to have sex, is why you’re getting divorced, right?) This will drive the other lawyer batshit because you have seen through his (or in my case, her) scheme. Going to trial is the last thing she wants, as there won’t be any marital assets to pay her bill. My wife’s lawyer ended up sending four ever-smaller proposals. All were still ridiculous. I never counter-offered, and just said I was eager for trial.
The sixth proposal from her was different. Instead of alimony forever, it was for five years, and the child support level was exactly at the State-mandated level, which was what I was planning to pay. The lump sum was still ridiculous, as there were few marital assets, but we were a lot closer to what I thought would be a reasonable overall deal.
My dilemma was this, and yours will likely be the same: Most judges, in this area at least, are reluctant to limit alimony payments to a fixed number of years. If you don’t want to risk the possibility of having to pay alimony 20 or 30 years from now, you’re going to have to come up with a lump sum attractive enough to make your ex agree to an alimony period that is reasonable, or roll the dice in court. I counter-offered, we went back and forth a few times, and settled on alimony for 3 years and a lump sum big enough to buy her a nice house for cash.
Final points: Don’t let your lawyer put in the standard clause about ending alimony if she cohabits for 6 months with some new guy–you want her to get on with her life and be happy again. And even though you may have 30 or 45 days to come up with the money, do whatever it takes (within reason) to get her the money quickly, say a week or ten days. These kinds of things cost you nothing and go a long way towards getting the two of you back on friendly terms that will be so important to your kids.
*Just so we’re clear, I believe that my wife had no extramarital sex at all from the time of our engagement until after she initiated divorce proceedings.
**Define “good wife” any way you want.
John Ross 4/22/2005
4/27 Update: Yow! The emails are pouring in already, and it’s even more pervasive than I thought. A few examples:
Boy, have you hit the nail on the head! My wife’s sex drive lasted through a wonderful two-week honeymoon. She turned me down every night for a week starting the day we got home, and I quit asking. She finally told me she didn’t think of herself in the same way now that she was married. Put up with this shit for eleven years, then one day I get served with divorce papers. Your Rule for Financial Restoration is pretty accurate. I’m almost back to where I was at age 29, and I just turned 50.
Ask your married male friends your own age if their sex lives are even a fraction of what they were when they were single. You’ve got lots of company.
In my case the sex was good for about a month, then she just lost interest. It was the damnedest thing–she was very good in bed, always climaxed at least once, was very skilled at giving me pleasure, great oral skills etc., but didn’t seem to care that we slept in the same bed every night but only made love once every 2-3 weeks. I never understood this. Was resigned to this as the way it would always be but then one day after eight years she decided to cash out, as you put it. She’s married to another guy now and I hear he got the same treatment: Good sex ended a few weeks after the wedding.
I tell you, Ernest Borgnine… For what it’s worth my Colorado friend said this was the exact situation he had with his ex-wife: Always good in bed and her body always responded, but she seldom had any interest.
You recommended marrying laterally, never going for a partner with considerably less or more money than you have. I think that sometimes a man is better off with a spouse with less money. My wife and I made more or less the same income throughout our marriage and we had many fights about finances. I think if I remarry I would prefer to make most of the money, pay most of the bills, and therefore call most of the shots. More to the point, I want to be independently wealthy of any future wife. If she starts making demands and ultimatums (“Stop doing fill-in-the-blank or I’m leaving you!”), I want to be able to say “go” without having to worry about the loss of her income.
It rarely works that way. If you had two gotten divorced (this man’s wife died), her equal income would have reduced your share of what you had to pay, and increased your share of what you two split. If she’d made a lot less than you, she would likely have had the same spending habits, or maybe worse, so you’d have been worse off.
Mr. Ross, I wouldn’t marry a woman significantly poorer than me without a bulletproof prenup. I’d advocate the kind of prenup where a woman gets a divorce settlement at the beginning of the marriage. I’d set aside about $25,000 (or whatever, depending on the guy’s income) to give to a woman on the wedding day. I’d tell her, “Here. This is yours. My recommendation would be to invest it in something safe and accessible in case you need it, but ultimately you can do what you want with it. Invest it, save it, blow it on clothes, I don’t care. But be sure that the first thing you do is put it in an account in your name only, because if you decide to divorce me, it’s the only money you’re walking out of the marriage with that you didn’t bring in.” From what you know of divorce law and finance, would such a prenup be feasible?
Dream on. Pre-funding his divorce for a fixed, known amount of money is every successful man’s Holy Grail. Such a prenup would always be challenged and found to be unfair. I’ve often felt that there should be a way to sit down with a judge before marriage and have him or her rule on what is going to happen in a divorce. I don’t think any judge would do this. Any lawyers out there able to tell me if this is even possible? I assume that the wife would just appeal the judge’s ruling anyway, when she decided to cash out.
Next best would be to pay all the family’s expenses and say “You keep 100% of all your earnings, and in addition I’ll give you $30,000 (or whatever) a year. From those monies, I want you to build savings in your own name. If you ever decide to leave, that’s your asset base.” This doesn’t work because when the wife decides to bail, she won’t have saved a dime and will probably have maxed out her credit cards, all the divorce money has to come from you, and you have less marital assets in total because you’ve been throwing away $30,000 a year on clothes, new-age bullshit seminars, spa treatments, and other things with no residual value, instead of using it to build your joint assets.
My advice is to use this “Wife stipend” policy as an ongoing test. If, at the end of a year, she has savings, stay married. If at the end of two years her savings are about double the year before, stay married, and so on. The first time you find out she has no savings and has maxed out her credit, file for divorce, even if it’s only two months after the wedding. Remember Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Mermen. If she has spending problems, she will NEVER get better while she’s married to you.
Liked the www.dontmarry.com site. You might enjoy a similar site, www.nomarriage.com. It’s less coherent and less lucid but a lot funnier–it must hold some kind of record for using the phrase “ass raped in divorce court” the most times on the same URL. It also recommends foreign women for marriage, especially women from Asia, Eastern Europe and anywhere south of the U.S. border. Your old buddy Fred Reed at Fred On Everything recommends the same thing. You’ve traveled the world some, do you have an opinion on this?
Nomarriage.com makes many valid points, and as you say, it’s amusing, but my complaint with them is that they use pejorative terms for women far too often, like “My wife turned into this total bitch as soon as we got back from our honeymoon.” I’d prefer to hear only about the specifics of her actions, not name-calling.
You are correct, I have been to Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America, and am in agreement that women from those places appear much better suited for satisfying, long-term marriage than are Western women. However, there are two problems not addressed by the “foreign women” advocates: First, few of these women are truly fluent in English. My late uncle and his son (my cousin) were and are very good at becoming fluent in foreign languages in a short time, but I am not. I am a decent mimic and am told by native French-speakers that my accent and vocabulary are excellent. These folks play down the fact that I’m always having to get them to speak more slowly, and am struggling with verb tenses, genders, and other realities of the language. As a writer, communication is very important to me, and being with an otherwise wonderful woman that I can’t really talk to would be less than satisfying over the long haul.
Second, I worry that a woman from any of these places would, upon moving to the U.S., eventually become like the Western members of her gender. This may not happen often, but I know two men whose Asian wives eventually became every bit as bad as any home-grown choice they might have made. I do not know if these women were born here, came to the U.S. as small children, or were recent immigrants, so the jury’s still out.
Copyright 2005 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given
Thoughts on Marriage, or
Why the Hell Are You Asking Me, Anyway?
By John Ross
I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately with the usual requests for relationship advice. For some reason, many of them ask my advice on marriage. Most of these requests are from men, but not all. As to why these people are looking to me for direction, I haven’t the faintest notion, but I’ll take a whack at it.
Before I start, understand that I am divorced, and have been for four years, after a ten-year marriage and one child. My ex-wife and I are on very good terms (in my opinion), with us often laughing together and otherwise enjoying each other’s company while watching our daughter at various sporting events and school performances, or afterwards at lunch. The man she’s living with and engaged to is a great guy, and, unless he reads this and gets cold feet, they should be married this summer. I’d be pleased to have him be stepfather to my daughter.
That said, my advice to any successful man who is wondering if he should get married would be to hold off. Marriage is something we go into full of hope and expectation, and all too often end up in bitter, hostile battles in court. If you recognize this fact in advance of marriage, you can take steps to lessen the chances of it happening, or lower the severity if it happens in spite of your best efforts.
For the single best compilation of the reasons that marriage for men now has a terribly unfavorable risk/reward ratio, go to www.dontmarry.com. The author of this blunt and sobering (but deadly accurate) piece says he’s in his early 30s and has never been married. If that’s true (and I have no reason to think it isn’t), he has certainly done his homework and talked to a lot of people who have been married to catalog their experiences. Read his piece. If you’re still thinking marriage might be a good bet for you, what follows are my thoughts on increasing the likelihood of a successful union.
Improving Your Chances for a Successful Marriage
1. Find someone with values similar to your own. This is much easier said than done. Your honey may tell you she agrees with such concepts as saving and budgeting, but has she actually saved any money at all? Even worse, does she have a current debt load? Guess what–it’s about to become your problem, and it’s only going to get bigger. Concerning finances, the “values” rule applies doubly: If possible, marry sideways. Marrying up too often means getting a control freak. Marrying down means getting an economic sinkhole. Related test: How impressed are you with your future in-laws? They’re the same gene pool…
2. Discuss both of your expectations for the future. Be candid here. This is not the time to be embarrassed or self-conscious. Explain your goals and your concerns. The main purpose here is not to blindly believe her reassurances, but to make her realize that some things are going to be deal-killers for you.
3. Be honest with yourself. Understand that you are taking a tremendous risk, in the hope of achieving something wonderful. Over half of all marriages end in divorce, but that’s only part of the equation. Most of the couples who don’t get divorced stay married for reasons other than liking it.
4. Have a “Plan B” drawn up in your mind. Marriage is something that is extremely easy to get into and very difficult (expensive and emotionally devastating) for a man to get out of. When I say “get out of,” I’m including the many cases where the husband is being forced to get out of the marriage–over 70% of divorce proceedings are initiated by the wife. I have no proof, but I firmly believe that a man who, before he marries, is unwilling to even think about what will happen in a divorce greatly increases his chances of a really bad divorce happening to him.
5. Don’t marry a woman who’s been married before, unless she’s a widow. The only other exception is if the union was brief and childless, and the divorce no more acrimonious than breaking up with a boyfriend. This may sound harsh, but there are some real land mines that come with a divorcee. In most cases, if you get to know the ex-husband (on your own, not through her), you’ll find he’s either a decent man or a jerk.
See the problem here? If he’s a decent man, why did they get divorced? Because she was never satisfied, always unhappy, nothing good enough for her, etc? Not good. But if he’s a jerk, why on earth did she marry him? Men stay the same. She pretty much had to know what he was like–is her judgment that bad? Another red flag.
6. Just live together. It’s much easier and cheaper to get divorced if you never got married in the first place. It is also my observation that drastically reducing the size of a woman’s “golden parachute” greatly increases the chances she will be a suitable long-term mate.
The single most-successful “marriage” I know of involves two very good friends who live in Colorado where I vacation. After they had been living together for about six months, the man confided to me that they would likely not be together the next time I visited. His girlfriend wanted to get married, he told me, and he wasn’t going to do that. He’d had one divorce and that was more than enough for him. When she gave him the ultimatum, he would wish her well on his way out the door.
That was in 1975. They are still together. Here’s the punch line: The woman looks just as good today at 58 as she did 30 years ago! She wears the same size 6 dresses, looks great in a bathing suit, and makes no secret of liking lots of sex with her mate. And to top it off, she runs her own business that she started about 20 years ago that now provides her with a low-six-figure income. Her younger sister, who used to be very cute, got the piece of paper and now looks like she could be my friend’s mother. She’s about double the weight she was 30 years ago and in commensurate poor health. When she and her husband come to visit the Colorado couple, her husband’s disappointment is palpable…
Next Week: Stuff you can do in advance to reduce your own exposure to emotional and financial ruin if things don’t go as hoped.
5/7/05 Update: Got this email from a woman today:
Mr. Ross: You offer some interesting and mostly dead-on relationship advice, but I must point out one serious flaw. You state “Men stay the same” and go on to advise men not to marry divorced women. Let me tell you, NOTHING changes a man faster than money. After two years of being happily married (spankings and all), my ex-husband was promoted and his income more than doubled with commissions. Talk about night and day. Suddenly, he was a “big-wig” out drinking with the clients almost every night because it was “good for his business”. NEVER before we were married did he show any sign of being an abusive person or an alcoholic. EVER. But, as the drinking and pressure escalated, the beatings began. I got the SHIT beat out of me because he “lost a deal”.
The man would wake me from a DEAD sleep to start a fight when he was drunk, so don’t think I provoked it either. Please don’t lead men to believe that all divorced women are unmarriable because we either had poor judgment (I don’t) or we come with loads of emotional baggage just because we’re divorced through our own necessary self-preservation. If only I had a crystal ball…men CAN and DO change. What a shallow remark to make from an otherwise insightful man. I’m sure there are lots of women out there like me who are hot and marriable and just wish for another chance without the stigma of “divorced” over her pretty head. I personally don’t even want my first marriage to “count”.
I’ve since met other women whose husbands or exes have had similar reactions to sudden financial growth. You’re wrong. Men don’t ALWAYS stay the same.
PS. I am the one who stayed HOT while HE got a beer belly!
You would be an exception to my guideline about divorced women, and that’s all they are, guidelines. I have a few friends who married divorced women and have happy, stable unions. If I met you and liked you and found out your history, I wouldn’t write you off, although I would be on the lookout for you projecting your ex.’s inexcusable behavior on to me, and that would pretty much be cause for me to say “Next.”
I’ve not personally witnessed the phenomenon you describe of sudden financial growth creating a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation with men, but I have no doubt you are 100% accurate in your description of what happened in your case. All the men I know with lots of money got there fairly steadily, without any overnight doublings of their income (with the obvious exception of inheritances, injury settlements, sale of business, etc.) In these cases of financial growth there isn’t the kind of jump in stress level you describe that your husband had from his job.
Thanks for saying that my relationship advice is “mostly dead-on” and confirming once more that lots of pretty women like to be spanked.
John Ross 4/19/2005
Copyright 2005 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given
The Caliphate is Coming
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Jan 31, 2006, 7:44am
By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 31, 2006
To Mousa Abu Marzuk, Deputy Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau in Damascus, HAMAS’ triumph is an important springboard towards the establishment of the Caliphate – a global Islamic state, where life would be dictated by the Shari’a.
In a statement Abu Marzuk made on January 26, following HAMAS’ sweeping victory of the Palestinian legislative elections, he said that HAMAS, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), is reaping the fruits of its efforts over the last six decades. It was established in Palestine in 1936 – not in 1987, as most mistakenly think. Since then, the movement, according to Abu Marzuk, has carried out its political, social agenda, including Dawa (Prosetylization) and Jihad.
The international community’s calls to prevent HAMAS’ participation in the election, led HAMAS to run under the name of the “Change and Reform List.” Yet, this blatant fraud was accepted by all. No one raised his voice to point out the obvious fact that HAMAS simply changed its name for the election. Now, that HAMAS won 74 seats of the 132 seat Palestinian parliament, the world is “shocked.” Yet, it is the West’s willful blindness that facilitated HAMAS participation and victory.
Unless the international community takes action to nullify the results of the Palestinian election, HAMAS will spread the MB’s malignant agenda, which is identical to their own, far beyond the Middle East.
Post by toadman on Feb 10, 2006, 10:58pm
What are you getting yourself, if anything? :)
Tar Heel Terror
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Mar 7, 2006, 12:14pm
Tar Heel Terror
By Joe Kaufman
On Friday, Iranian-born Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a 22 year-old UNC graduate, tore through a lunchtime crowd at one of the university’s popular gathering spots with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, hitting nine people of which six were hospitalized with injuries.
Taheri-azar was arrested and charged with nine counts, each of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. According to Derech Poarch, the chief of the university police department, the attacker told investigators that he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” Upon entering his apartment, a paperback copy of the Quran was found in Taheri-azar’s room, along with a book calling for the United States to “confront state sponsors of terrorism.” He was shown, on news video footage, handcuffed and being led into a car sporting a giant grin.
At the court hearing on Monday, that same smile was ingrained on his face. Like Zacarias Moussaoui, whose trial coincided with Taheri-azar’s hearing, Taheri-azar stated that he wanted to represent himself. And like Moussaoui, who proudly proclaimed, “I’m Al-Qaeda,” Taheri-azar used the courtroom forum to voice his Islamist ideology. Clad in orange jumpsuit and leg shackles, he stated, “I am thankful you are going to hear this trial to learn more about the will of Allah, the creator.” And in response to a reporter’s question, he confirmed that, “Yes,” it was his intention to murder those he hit with the SUV he had just rented. In the 911 call he had made after the attack, he told the operator that he did this “to punish the government of the United States.”
Teenage girls just want to marry and stay home
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Mar 1, 2006, 5:29pm
Teenage girls just want to marry and stay home
Sunday October 19, 2003
Their grandmothers fought for the vote, their mothers battled to have it all, but the upcoming generation of girls have decided to turn the clock back and just want stay at home with their babies.
According to a survey of 5,000-plus teenage girls, their main ambition is to complete university then return to the homestead – whether their partners like it or not.
More than nine out of 10 of the girls believe it should be up to their husbands to provide for them, with 97 per cent disagreeing with the statement ‘It doesn’t matter who is the main earner, as long as we are happy.’
More than 90 per cent of those polled for CosmoGirl magazine’s November issue believe it is the man’s role to provide the household’s money, with 85 per cent maintaining they would rather rely on their partner for financial support than be a successful, independent woman.
WhatAGirlCosts.com lets you track every penny
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Aug 15, 2005, 9:22am
WhatAGirlCosts.com lets you track every penny you spend on your girlfriend, and what you get in return. Everything that refers to “John Doe” or “Jane” is me and my girlfriend. I know, I know…it’s the best anonymous names I could come up with. Anything else is submitted info.
NFL Player’s Wife Knifes Him Night Before Game
Post by ThaPhenom on Jan 15, 2006, 3:40am
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts cornerback Nick Harper’s wife was jailed Saturday night on charges of cutting him with a knife, a sheriff said.
Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Carter said Daniell Harper, 31, was being held without bond on charges of battery with a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness.
Nick Harper was treated for a knee injury at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. His injuries were not life-threatening, Carter said.
Harper, a starter, was listed as questionable for Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh.
Earlier Saturday, Colts spokesman Craig Kelley said Harper had required stitches in his knee following an “accident.” He said he had no other details.
Kelley told The Associated Press later that he had gotten his information from Colts officials.
“There was not an accident,” Carter said. He said Harper and his wife had been involved in a fight.
Harper, 31, was arrested in June on a domestic battery charge after police said he hit his wife.
He first signed with the Colts as a free agent in 2001.
What an ungrateful bitch. Though I’m sure he “drove” her to this with years of “abuse”. At least that’s what the spinsters will say. :)
Notice how they included that line at the end saying he was arrested in June for domestic battery…but see they didn’t say he was convicted of anything.
New male contraceptive clears hurdle
Post by nigol on Mar 31, 2006, 1:55pm
Tyler Dunlap, a 27-year-old newlywed in San Francisco, is just one of the many American men eagerly awaiting the results of a large clinical trial in India.
The trial is studying a new male contraceptive, RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance): a reversible, nonhormonal contraceptive that provides 10 or more years of protection after a 10-15 minute procedure. Researchers received approval this week to begin enrolling additional study volunteers, after a delay of nearly four years.
“RISUG would be exciting because it would mean that, finally, I could take control of my own future, instead of leaving it to someone else,” says Dunlap. “Being in a committed long-term relationship means that I don’t want to rely on condoms for birth control. I’m not ready for a vasectomy, though. This new procedure could be the answer that gives men the decisive control we lack with current contraceptives.”
I am sick of USA shit women
Post by niceguy78 on Mar 20, 2006, 8:42pm
Now there is no way in hell I would date a USA shit woman, much less consider a relationship. I am not that stupid (I am not sure how any man lucky enough to discover this site would ever date a USA shit woman).
I would estimate only 5% of the USA female population is physically attractive enough to me, to even have a one night stand. And of those 5%, as soon as I watch them for 5 minutes, or hear them talk for 5 minutes, or just see how they dress, 99% of that 5% are also tossed out the window.
Disgusting damn creatures, some where below human and above dog, though probably closer to dog. Looking manly, acting manly, shitty, irresponsible, angry at the world, worthless twits.
Any who, I only deal with USA shit women, when I am forced to do so (work, store, etc.).
And even at that I am sick of them. I am burning out, it is time to get out of this country, ASAP, but will probably be a few years.
I have been working at an “upscale” bar, checking ID’s or helping bounce. The women there are all the same. They are annoying as hell. All either want the guy who acts like the biggest dumbshit, or they want some rich guy to pay for their drinks. When it is time to close, we have to ask people to leave, politely, unless they stay around then we chase them off. The men are usually very friendly, an “oh, okay, thanks for the warning”. About 50% of the women are the same, the other 05% curl their lip and act like they are pissed that I am warning them to finish their drinks. You do your job, and are helpful, and that is the treatment you receive. Though I expect it, and just ignore them, or even on purposely bump into them while walking by.
At work, the women seem to be out of the office nearly 40% of the time. They have to go to the dentist, the eye doctor, the cunt doctor, the kids have to be picked up, etc., etc. Today the weather was iffy, but not bad. The women in the office all used it as an excuse to leave early. When they are actually in the office, often they sit around and gossip about some office politics bullshit. It is like working with children.
At the gym, they often get in the damn road. Putting their towel and water on some bench press, and then strutting across the gym to use something else. Or they will get on a stair stepper, go about the speed of a slow walk, and chat on their cell phone, hoping everyone is “impressed”.
What a damn disaster. How are men still wanting to date these pieces of trash?
Check out this debate with a typical woman
Post by romulus on Feb 2, 2006, 12:45am
This is an excerpt from a discussion I was having with a typical woman on another web-board. Notice how she fails to use logic and reason in her counter arguments to mine and tries to redirect the argument. Thought you guys might get a kick out of it. I am “Mythos219″
by – kkid4 35 minutes ago (Wed Feb 1 2006 21:04:58 )
There is an unspoken rule in our society that a man is what he does and a woman is what she looks like. I do not agree with this absurd and meaningless perception but it is quite prevalent. That’s why you see 30 year old fashion models with 60-year-old millionaires, for example. Each exploits the other as a symbol of what our society so shallowly worships. (How else would a buffoon like Donald Trump have a love life?)
If there are more clothing lines, et al for women – it stems from the mindset that is ingrained in women from birth to look good. For us, our appearance is everything and what we’re supposed to look like is shoved down our throats ad naseum. I daresay for the majority of these industries that promote this, it is MEN who reap the riches from it. It is to the point – which hearkens back to the essence of the tv show we’ve referred to – that a woman isn’t happy with her body unless it’s fake.
So blame the fat-cat men behind the image industries in our society for your lamentation of gender-specific merchandising.
Actually, mythos, you sound more like you have a “axe to grind” here than actually making an intellectual and logical argument.
Supreme Court to Rule on Railroaded Men
Post by dickthedog on Yesterday at 8:07pm
by Phyllis Schlafly
Apr. 5, 2006
The most controversial case for the new Roberts-Alito Supreme Court this term does not concern abortion, gay rights, the death penalty, or even the detention of enemy combatants. No, the hottest legal issue is based on an argument between Hershel Hammon and his wife about their daughter going to a boyfriend’s house.
For this, the Bush Administration filed a special friend-of-the-court brief, and even insisted on participating in oral argument before the Supreme Court despite the complete lack of any federal issue at stake.
The decisions in this case, Hammon v. Indiana, and in a very similar case heard the same day, Davis v. Washington, will reveal whether the justices believe that Americans are entitled to all the rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights, or believe that the Supreme Court can push the delete button on one of those rights.
Bride’s parents pay for the wedding
Post by VirginiaBob on Jan 14, 2006, 6:15pm
Anyone notice that this burden has also shifted to the groom?
Domestic violence victims seeking visas
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Feb 26, 2006, 10:31am
Domestic violence victims seeking visas
By ANABELLE GARAY
DALLAS – The number of immigrant women who disclosed they were domestic violence victims doubled in four years under a federal law letting them report the abuse without losing their chance to gain legal status.
Women whose immigration status hinged on their marriage to a U.S. citizen or legal resident can apply for immigrant visas on their own through provisions in the Violence Against Women Act. The law also applies to children who were abused by a parent.
Figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show in fiscal year 1995, the first in which spouses and children could file under the law’s provisions, there were no successful cases. By fiscal year 2000, immigration authorities received 3,393 petitions under the domestic violence law and approved 2,968 of them. The latest figures available show 6,877 people filed petitions in 2004, with 5,076 of them receiving approval.
Reason #1001 Not to marry
Post by ThaPhenom on Dec 20, 2005, 2:25pm
Your Wife Might Poison You And Use The Insurance Money For Breast Implants
Marine wife accused of poisoning husband
Woman charged with first-degree murder for financial gain
SAN DIEGO – Cynthia Sommer didn’t fit the role of a grieving Marine widow.
Shortly after her husband died suddenly, she hosted boisterous parties at her home on the base. Authorities say she showed Marine wives her newly enhanced breasts — paid for with her husband’s life insurance policy. And within two months, she had taken up with another man.
Military investigators say Sommer wanted a life that was out of her reach as a mother of four working at a Subway restaurant and married to a strict Marine — and she allegedly poisoned her husband with arsenic to get it.
Yanni Kicked out of his Oceanfront Home by GF
Post by cytopath on Mar 7, 2006, 9:56am
It seems Yanni has been evicted from his own oceanfront mansion when he dared asked his girlfriend to leave…
Police say the singer-pianist asked his girlfriend, Silvia Barthes, to leave his beachfront home in Manalapan.
She told police she attempted to pack her clothing, but the 51-year-old musician assaulted her.
Yanni told police the girlfriend kicked him, and he believed he injured his finger during the incident.
Teen nation has parents on the edge
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Feb 20, 2006, 11:51am
- C.W. Nevius
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Carole Dean got a shock when she drove up to her house in upscale Moraga on New Year’s Eve. She estimates there were about 120 teenagers swarming the place, “drinking, making out and smoking pot.”
“I had to push them to get in the house,” she says. “I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I yelled at them to ‘Get out,’ and they just disappeared, ran away or drove off.”
They left her to walk through her home in amazement. Someone had punched holes in the wall. Two doors were destroyed. The back deck was torn up. The floor was littered with bottles, some she couldn’t help but notice from the expensive Opus One winery in Napa Valley, where a bottle can set you back more than $100.
Japan has a baby shortage – is the US next?
Post by nemo on Dec 25, 2005, 9:11am
The world celebrates the birth of a child today. This is becoming a rare event in Japan:
“Political and business circles had a mixed reaction to the report. ‘This is trouble,’ said Liberal Democratic Party General Council Chairman Fumio Kyuma said, ‘[The population will decrease] because politics has been treating only the elderly and voters favorably. We must favor children by providing them with more medical payments.’ “
” ‘Reforms under [Prime Minister Junichiro] Koizumi have created disparity in people’s income,’ said Democratic Party of Japan leader Seiji Maehara. ‘With the fall in income of the child-rearing generations, it became impossible to stop the declining birthrate.’ “
“As to reasons for earlier-than-expected declining population, the ministry explained that the number of deaths among the elderly rose due to a flu epidemic during the first half of this year. However, it is just a temporary factor for the decline, with the main reason being that the number of births has dropped more substantially than earlier predicted.”
“According to the ministry’s survey, the average age for getting married has been continuously rising for both men and women. In 1975, the average age for men to get married for the first time was 27, while women married at the age of 24.7. By 2004, it had increased to 29.6 for men and 27.8 for women. The government cites reasons such as “Women must bear a disproportionately greater burden to raise children” and, “There are many young people working part-time who are not financially independent,” as the indirect cause of the rise in average age of first marriage. Behind these reasons are Japan’s social customs and a lack of incentive among young people to work.”