Tag Archives: The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

Affair-Proof Your Marriage

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.

How to Stop Bad-Mouthing Your Body

In magazines and throughout our society, there is such a heavy focus on how women look.  Because of this, many women have major body image issues. 

In my book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, I relay a call from a woman who told me she was short and tubby.  You know how some people have six-pack abs?  Well, she had a “12-pack” of fat rolls.  The thought of being sexual with her husband made her freak out because she was so self-conscious.  However, I told her that her husband would rather have her naked up against him than have her body be perfect.  She said I was an idiot, but promised to try out my advice anyway. 

So, she went to a lingerie store and bought something bright red and outrageous with spaces everywhere.  It was even a little too small because they really didn’t have anything in her size.  When she got home, she started changing upstairs while her husband was in the living room.  She then stood at the top of the stairs and called for her husband in the garish, red, too-tight lingerie outfit which prominently displayed her rolls of fat.  He took one look at her, smiled widely, and ran up the stairs.  They had a great night (and by the way, she no longer thinks I’m a complete idiot).

In my opinion, women are to blame for this obsession with their bodies.  I read a Glamour magazine survey (which obviously only sampled women who are obsessed with glamor) revealing that 97 percent of women are cruel to their bodies on a daily basis.  After surveying 300 women of all sizes, the researchers found that, “On average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily – nearly one for every waking hour. And a disturbing number of women confess to having 35, 50 or even 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day.”

That is sick stuff.  I feel sorry for these women who are more concerned about superficial things than their brain or character.  They are not worried about choosing the right men, doing charity work, getting educated, or being aware of what is going on in their community and world.  They are not worried about figuring out how to actually raise their own kids instead of just dumping them in day care.  No.  They are worried about how they look. 

That is so pathetic.  There is something to be said for school uniforms where how you look is irrelevant.  There is less distraction that way.

I’ll admit I’m not too crazy about looking in the mirror and seeing lines and wrinkles.  No woman likes that.  However, I don’t care about new styles of clothes, hair or makeup, and I don’t care about creams that make your face appear younger.  What I do care about is being strong and fit.  I don’t want to be spending the last years of my life unable to get around.  Everything I do is a preemptive strike on the future.  Every day, I get up at 5:30 a.m. and kill myself working out for an hour.  I play tennis two to three times a week, and I also kayak, sail and hike.  I work my body.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have very good luck with genetics, or they’ve been in some kind of accident (e.g. they’ve got osteoporosis and they’re just waiting for a broken hip).  However, when you do have control, put in the effort.  Don’t have 17 different plastic surgeries.

Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D., a Cincinnati psychologist who specializes in body image and helped Glamour design the survey, said:

“Neuroscience has shown that whatever you focus on shapes your brain. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts about your body, that neural pathway becomes stronger – and those thoughts become habitual…Imagine a concert pianist. Her brain would have stronger neural pathways that support musicality and dexterity than someone who hadn’t spent her life practicing.”

Interestingly enough, if a man thinks the same things women are thinking about their own bodies, he’s considered offensive or abusive.  If a man says that a woman’s got a big nose, disgusting skin, bags under her eyes or small breasts, it’s a “no-no.”  And yet with women, negative talk is part of how they bond with each other.

Women also tend to talk and feel bad about something rather than trying to fix it.  Whether it is stress, loneliness, boredom, or a bad day, women go into depression mode rather than being proactive.  I’ve mentioned many times on my program that it’s more typical for guys to be proactive about a problem than women.  Men want to go fix something.  Women want to talk about it over and over and then feel upset about it. 

It’s not easy, but there are some simple things you can do to change your body and feel better:

  • Rewire your brain to see the positive aspects about your body. 
  • Ask yourself if this really is about your body.
  • Exercise!  I cannot stress enough how being physical can change your mood and outlook.
  • Just say “stop” when you have a negative thought.  That will shut it down.
  • Remind yourself that obsessing about what you eat or look like doesn’t make you look better.
  • Appreciate your body for what it does – not what it looks like.
  • Play up your strengths.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Focus on what you have and be proud of it. 

For further reading, here are some interesting body image statistics.

Spying on a Cheater

There is a show that’s been on TV a very long time called Cheaters.  I don’t know how they’ve been able to do the same scenario for a dozen years, but they’ve pulled it off. 

I’ve seen the show about one and a half times.  Basically, someone who suspects their girlfriend or boyfriend of cheating hires this television program to do surveillance.  The crew follows the boyfriend or girlfriend, tracks their car, photographs them at various places (restaurants, stores, etc.), and tape records their conversations.  If he goes to a hotel, motel, or apartment, the cameras capture him going in, kissing his bimbo at the front door, and then grinding groins with her.  If a guy tells his wife, “Oh honey, I have to be at work late,” the show will then cut to time-stamped footage of him going somewhere else. 

Near the end of each episode, the person who is being cheated on gets to see the tape, realizes they’re right, and then feels very badly betrayed.  The program ends with the girl or guy confronting their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.  It’s a free-for-all with the television cameras rolling.  The cheater and their bimbo or side stud start yelling, “What?!  What is this?,” followed by a bunch of “beeps” (because of all the bad words they’re saying).  I always think it’s funny when the cheater says, “How could you do this to me?,” in reference to being put under surveillance and exposed on TV.   Somehow they get moral outrage at that, not about the fact that they’re screwing around on somebody.
 
Now, a lot of shows try to market merchandise to make money on the side: T-shirts, mugs, spaghetti sauce…whatever.  But for a show like Cheaters, it’s a little different.  Since they can’t exactly make shirts saying, “I’m a cheater,” or, “I caught my spouse cheating,” they have instead decided to open up a spy goods web store:

“The Cheater’s Spy Shop sells all sorts of surveillance gear for suspicious minds, including recovery sticks that can pull up anything currently on the iPhone and even recover deleted information; mobile software that will send a person all texts and pictures being sent, web history, call logs, and GPS location every 30 minutes; and even motion-activated hidden cameras that record any movement and activity in high resolution [HD, 3D, whatever you want]…

The laws governing the use of surveillance devices by average citizens differ all over the place.  A lot of people think they’re legally allowed to spy on their spouses, but depending on how it’s done, that may or may not be true.  It may be totally legal to make, sell, and buy this stuff, but depending on the jurisdiction you’re in, it may or may not be legal to use because people have privacy rights.  Some people also get concerned that stalkers could misuse the technology.  It’s pretty scary to think about – a stalker could potentially put a tracking device at the bottom of your purse and know where you are at all times.  If you’re thinking of participating in an operation to expose a cheater either with a private investigator or just by yourself, you have to make sure that whatever equipment or techniques you’re using are legal in your state. 

“The two groups who seem to be buying the products the most are women worried their man is cheating, and parents who want to make sure their kids aren’t sexting or getting inappropriate photos themselves.”  The biggest month for buying is Valentine’s Day.  They’re not really sure why, but my guess is that women who either get nothing or get something worth less than what they see charged to their husband’s credit card start wondering where the money went.

Cheating spouses typically get caught in a couple of ways:

1. Accidental discovery:  Most cheaters are not CIA agents.  They don’t know how to totally cover their tracks, and they forget things like a parking sticker hanging from the rearview mirror.  Deception and infidelity are usually uncovered by somebody making a mistake.  “A husband or wife decides to come home from work early, a third party inadvertently reveals the truth, an unpaid parking ticket reveals a spouse’s true whereabouts, or an e-mail exchange is accidentally sent to the wrong person.”  Many times on the air, I’ve heard callers say, “He meant to send it to her, but somehow he clicked me.”

2. Monitoring/Surveillance:  A lot of cheaters are exposed after being monitored by either their spouse or a private investigator.  From what I’ve read, if a private investigator uses a technique that’s illegal, even if unbeknownst to you, you are still liable because they’re essentially an extension of you.  Be careful!

So what should you do if you think your spouse or significant other is cheating?

If you’re not just a hypersensitive or neurotic person, then your instinct that your spouse is cheating is probably right.  If you get suspicious, ask yourself the following question: “Why is he/she cheating?”  Did you make a mistake in picking someone who is simply a bad person?  If your wife had a million affairs while you were dating or your husband cheated while you were pregnant with your first kid (and then you went ahead and made three more) then “Duh!” – you made a mistake.  However, people don’t always cheat because they’re bad people.  Other things come into play, usually relating to the quality of the relationship.  As it turns out, men more than women require opposite-sex feedback for their egos.  Women can turn to their girlfriends to hear about what a bum their husband is and how wonderful they are.  But guys don’t turn to their guy friends – they turn to other women. 

If you’re a woman and are worried about your husband having an affair, you should read my book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands to see if you’re to blame.  Your husband once picked you, wanted you, and ultimately loved you.  Perhaps if you stopped acting the way you currently are, you wouldn’t be throwing away a perfectly good man.  A lot of times women call my show saying, “I think my husband’s having an affair,” and I tell them that they can either blow up the marriage or they can look at themselves honestly and admit, “I stopped being my husband’s girlfriend.  I’m going to take the proper steps to turn it back on.”   As his wife, you always have an edge over a new honey.  A new honey may be very exciting, but a new honey has no context or history like you have with him.  Losing you not only means losing the house, the kids, the dog, the parakeet and the cat, but he’ll be losing extended family and friends as well.  There’s so much for him to lose.  Missing the girlfriend doesn’t come close to that.  So ultimately you have the power.

There are a million and a half articles on the topic of cheating, but it all boils down to one basic concept: if you treat your spouse and dearly beloved in such a way that he or she wants to come home to you every night, then you’re doing great and you’re probably not going to have a cheating spouse.

Now that being said, some people are simply jerks no matter how much love and effort you’re putting in to the relationship.  The following article contains some practical tips on how to catch a cheater: “Tips for Discovering the Truth.”  Discerning whether or not there is bad behavior going on (affairs, whores, drugs, etc.) usually helps you with securing custody of the children later.   And remember: Don’t just ask, “Honey, are you having an affair?”  That never works.  Don’t even bother.