If you want to be happily married, the odds are stacked against you. The divorce rate is around 50%. On top, you can safely assume that not all the remaining marriages are happy ones. Just read up on issues like dead bedrooms, marital infidelity, or, for a perhaps unexpected twist, the fate of guys who figured out that it is “cheaper to keep her”. The math probably does not work out in all jurisdictions, but in plenty, the combined burden of alimony and child support can mean that you are financially a lot better off sticking it out with your ball-and-chain of a wife who hates your guts.
This brings me to the motivation behind this post. Some time ago, one of my readers, a guy who goes by the handle “Shaking my head”, commented, paraphrasing:
When I see a happy couple on pictures on Facebook or in real life, I wonder how often they only put on a show. It’s surely not always sunshine and roses.
It is indeed not always rainbows and unicorns if you are married or in a relationship. However, the problem is a lot more severe than you may be aware of. While it is true that women love to put up a facade of a perfect life, not just on Facebook but in their real life, they may feel a lot less inclined to work towards a perfect or just a better relationship with their significant other. After all, that’s behind the scenes, so what positive benefit could that have for how her friends perceive her, right? Let me tell you how this worked out in practice for me in my now failed marriage.
One fine day I came home, only to be greeted by my then-wife with the demand that I should pay for a fancy trip abroad, “maybe India.” As this came out of the blue, I asked her if she has researched that country. I have not been to India myself, but I have studied together with a few Indians, I occasionally work with Indians, and I have even had the occasional lunch or dinner with Indian acquaintances. Thus, I have a bit of second-hand knowledge about the fact that India does not quite offer the same creature comforts you may have accustomed to in the West. There is also the obvious fact that very few Westerners emigrate to India, while migration in the other direction is much more pronounced. This should also tell you a thing or two.
My bitch of a wife did not like that I was not particularly enthusiastic about her suggestion. Suddenly I was some kind of tyrant and, on top, “stingy”. Of course, if I “really loved her”, I would pay for that right away. At that point, I had finally gotten a job that paid okay for European standards, but it was not as if I had money to burn. She kept being upset, though. What I eventually learned was that she got into a foul mood because one of the girls she was envious of, a colleague of hers, had posted details of a trip abroad on Facebook, and she now wanted to compete with her.
That day, we had made plans for the evening and met up with a couple we were friends with. Throughout our stay at that restaurant, my then-wife played up the role of the charming and loving wife. You would not have suspected anything if you did not know her intimately. Yet, it was like a switch. Once her friends were around, she was all giggly and happy, and afterwards, she went right back to lashing out at me because I did not want to give in to her ludicrous demands. At that point I had been plotting my exit already and, in fact, had already been taking the first practical steps, so I was completely unaffected by her childish behavior.
The event I just described was arguably the starkest example of a supposedly happy wife I have experienced first hand, because I was directly affected by it. I could tell you variations of the same story. There is another angle I would like you to consider, though. In my rather eventful life I have had the chance to make a great number of observations. One was due to a good friend of mine ended up marrying a woman with a similar temperament as my ex-wife. From him, I have heard similar stories that eventually made him point out that his wife and my then-wife got along so well with each other was because they were so similar. Sometimes, that guy called me up and asked me if I wanted to come over for dinner. He’s a great guy and I still keep in touch with him, even though we now live in different countries. With the power of hindsight, and a failed marriage under my belt, I now realize that it was very likely that he sometimes asked me to visit him so that his wife would be forced to behave. I realized this only in hindsight because shortly before they separated, she gave him some shit in my presence and in her delusion, thought I would be on her side. Before that, I was not aware of how irrational and petulant her behavior could be.
You may have male friends whose girlfriend left them at the drop of a hat, or who got divorced to everyone’s surprise. For instance, one of my brothers got divorced and it came without any indication. His wife always played up the role of the dutiful if not doting partner. The way this played out was quite surreal to me back then. On Sunday, they had been over for a big family gathering, and two days later, my mom called me to let me know that my brother’s wife had “given him an ultimatum”. She was unhappy about his income, which was solidly middle-class, and wanted someone better off. (He made quite a bit more than her, but that did not help her with containing her hypergamous instincts.) A few weeks later they were separated, and his wife, while they were still married, had moved on to someone else. I suspect that she only left my brother after she had managed to successfully move on, but that’s a different story.
Of course, I am only presenting anecdotes. However, they illustrate a pattern you may have encountered before. It may be that whenever you see a seemingly happy couple that you just take it at face value. In reality, she could be banging someone behind the dude’s back already or the guy is just happy that he got a bit of a respite after a temper tantrum from this girlfriend who has the emotional maturity of a toddler, and dreads the moment he has to be alone with her again. So, whenever you see a happy couple, don’t be easily fooled. Some guys do a poor job hiding their dissatisfaction, so you can tell from looking at their face that they are unhappy with their situation. These guys look dead inside. However, some guys happily play along because they want to keep up the facade just as well.
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