How do you start your life again after losing your longtime spouse? Watch:
There are two kinds of people who have affairs. The first are just bad people. Their self-indulgence and untrustworthiness stems from low character, not a troubled marriage. If it feels good to them, they’ll do it.
It’s a dumb waste of money to spend time in counseling with a serial cheater. If your spouse has been unfaithful more than once and refuses to be held accountable for their actions, your appointment should not be with a marriage therapist – it should be with a divorce lawyer (and a really good one at that).
The second type of cheater isn’t “bad,” they simply may be going outside the marriage to have their needs met. Now, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not saying that there’s any excuse for someone to have an affair. Affairs are bad and there is no justification for breaching your vows. All I’m doing is giving an explanation for why some people have them.
I can’t tell you how many times callers on my show have told the lie, “My spouse’s affair came out of nowhere and took me completely by surprise.” I say “lie” because after a bit of questioning, they admit about 99.8 percent of the time that there were problems:
“He complained that we weren’t having sex.”
“She complained that I never listened or helped around the house…”
The bottom line: their spouse wasn’t being fed.
Typically, the person who has been cheated on jumps to blame instead of looking at their participation in their spouse’s fooling around. They make it all about how they’ve been hurt, and ignore the fact that they’ve betrayed their vows by not supporting or paying attention to their spouse.
If you can understand how you’ve contributed to a hungry spouse going out to a different restaurant, you can start making the menu better at your home, and the whole thing could be reversed. Blaming isn’t useful – explaining the issue(s) is.
Knowing whether it was an emotional or physical affair is also important. The distinction allows you to see what was missing in the marriage. What was so appealing about that person or situation?
One of the letters in my book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, is from a high-paid, ex call girl. In the letter, she explains how most of the married men who came to her were not particularly focused on having sex. Instead, they wanted to have dates with wine, roses, hugging, talking, and taking baths together. Why? Because their wives didn’t act like their girlfriends.
So, with that in mind, let me give you some suggestions on how to be your husband’s girlfriend/wife’s boyfriend and affair-proof your marriage:
1. Choose wisely. If you’re dating someone who’s spent time going from sexual partner to sexual partner or shacked up before you met them, then their lifestyle is not one of monogamy. That’s one of the many reasons why I advise against people having a lot of sexual partners – it becomes easy to turn to because you’re so familiar with it.
2. Don’t ignore your spouse’s complaints. Whether it’s about housework, money, affection, in-laws, or texting, when your spouse tries to express the reasons for his or her unhappiness, you need to listen. You don’t have to necessarily agree with every point they’re bringing up, but you do need to acknowledge their discomfort and do something to improve the situation.
3. Don’t let sex fall off the radar. Sex is a big part of marriage, and people who are having regular, good sex with each other tend not to get as pissy about the small stuff. It’s amazing what a big eraser great sex is to small annoyances.
4. Wake up every morning, look at your spouse, and think about three things you could do to make them happy they’re alive and married to you. Show appreciation as opposed to having a complaint.
5. Put down the damn cell phone! Stop texting and talk to your spouse. It’s pretty crummy to feel second-fiddle to a smartphone.
6. Talk to your spouse as though you love them. You love this person – so act like it! Always ask yourself, “Would a person who loved this person behave/talk this way?”
7. Have fun family and marital rituals. Put the kids to bed and watch a movie, take walks, or play a game together. Just have some fun with each other.
If you do these things, the chances that one of you will have an affair will be somewhere between zero and none.
Parents may have secrets other people know about, but that have not been told to their children. When is it appropriate to tell your child something before someone else ‘lets the cat out of the bag’? Watch:
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Why is it that when you suggest something to your spouse you get shot down, but when someone else comes up with the exact same idea, your spouse thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread? I’ve got an idea why… Watch:
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My recipe for a perfect marriage has two ingredients. The first is choosing wisely. When people don’t choose wisely, start grinding out kids, and then call my show, there’s not a lot I can do to help them. The second ingredient is treating kindly. Treating kindly means behaving in a loving way whether you feel like it or not. The fact is, when you act in a loving way, you actually feel more loving.
So, what can you do to keep your spouse happy and feeling loved? You may think saying, “I love you,” every now and then means you’re racking up points, but unless you back it up with actions, your words are empty and hollow. There’s a big difference between words and actions.
Here are some suggestions (remember, these are only suggestions – use your imagination):
- Write a poem. I don’t care whether you know how to rhyme or not, write your spouse a love poem. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, just something short and sweet. It shows that you put in some thought and effort, and that he or she was on your mind. After you write the poem, leave it by their pillow or coffee.
- Surprise them. While your spouse is still at work or out with the kids, put out some candles and cook their favorite meal.
- Do the little things. Do the laundry or the dishes without making a big deal about it or having it seem like it was some heroic effort. Just do it!
- Remember the special times. Guys, listen up: remember her birthday and your anniversaries (your wedding, the first time you kissed, when you first met, etc.). She’ll love that you remembered.
- When you first get together after a long day, take time to just chat. Sit down in your living room or on the porch, have a glass of wine, and say, “Let’s talk about the cool things that happened today.” The first thing a lot of people do when they get home is just bitch about all the crap that happened that day. Who wants to hear that?! You’ve been away from each other for a long time and you’ve both had to deal with difficult things. Don’t sit there dueling about whose day was more difficult. Just clink glasses, rub your toes together, and talk about some good things that happened. Wouldn’t that make for a much more pleasant atmosphere?
- Leave them little notes. Texts are OK, but not a tenth as good as hand-written notes. A hand-written note requires getting out a pen and paper, writing the note, and putting it somewhere. For example, place one in the refrigerator so that when your wife goes for the baby’s bottle, she sees, “You are the best mommy and I love you.”
- Arrange a date night. Find a babysitter: your mom, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandparent, etc. For all you men reading this, here’s an idea: When you come home from work, pick up your wife and carry her to the car. Whatever way she’s dressed will tell you what kind of restaurant to go to.
- Take a bath together. Hop in the tub and sit there talking, giggling, and giving each other back and foot rubs.
It doesn’t require a lot of time or brilliant creativity to show your spouse that you love them, but it does take effort. And if you behave in a loving way, it will magnify your own feelings of love because loving actions make us feel loving.
Is it better to stay in a loveless marriage or get out? That depends on if there are minor children still at home… Watch:
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I believe the answer to having a happy, long-lasting marriage is relatively simple:
First, no two people between the ages of 20 and 40 should date without having met each other’s families. The man especially should meet the girl’s family and convince her father (hopefully there is one in the house) that he is a worthy competitor for his daughter’s hand. Young women these days are far too immodest and free with their minds, bodies, and souls to have good sense about what they’re doing. We don’t call it being slutty anymore – we call it “hooking up.” We ought to go back to the days where a young man had to convince a girl’s family that he was worthy to court their daughter.
Second, all couples should spend six months in premarital counseling before they tie the knot. Roughly 20 percent of people who go through premarital counseling realize they’re not a match, and the other 80 percent enjoy better marriages.
What it really comes down to is choosing wisely. If you’re not being treated well two years into the courtship, you should hit the eject button.
There are many factors to choosing wisely. Men, for example, need to discern whether or not a woman is going to take care of their babies (i.e. suckling them at her breast and not farming out motherhood to a nanny or day care center). However, one quality that is constantly overlooked by both men and women is their date’s credit score.
Credit (especially for men but also for women) is an important attribute. There are now sites such as creditscoredating.com and datemycreditscore.com which help people make sure they’re connecting with somebody who isn’t in debt or irresponsible with money. This is especially important for young people who may bring tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to a relationship.
The New York Times recently interviewed more than 50 daters under 40 from around the country and found that many of them regarded a good credit score as a prerequisite for a good date. No kidding. What is the point of being with someone who is totally irresponsible with money and can’t support a family?
As the Times reported, “It’s a shorthand way to get a sense of someone’s financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person’s sexual past.” Some people may think this vetting process goes too far, but I disagree. According to an article in Time magazine:
“Landlords and lenders may look at your credit score to help determine if you are worth taking a chance on. Even employers may do a credit check on you. Why not a prospective mate? How you handle money says a lot about your ability to be organized and responsible. Why would anyone with options risk falling for someone likely to bring heavy debt and poor spending and saving habits to a [marriage]?”
I’m thunderstruck at how many women call my program with some variation of, “We’ve been dating for two years, but he never has any money because he spends it all on (fill in the blank).” I mean please. Too few women show any sense these days. That’s why I think marriages should be arranged again. I know it sounds terribly insulting, but it’s true. The divorce rate would plummet.
If you have poor credit, read this Time article for tips on how to improve it.