Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Well-Managed Husband?

I was thinking of doing a podcast featuring men talking about marriage--pro or con--and started conducting a little research. I initially went to and which I found too mean-spirited; for example, here is a list that FireYourwife tells husbands is the type of advice wives are getting pre-divorce:

Wait till he falls asleep. Rifle through his pockets.

Does he fall asleep after sex? Have fun -- then rifle through his pockets!

Go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City and tell him you lost it all -- except you did not.

If your husband pays your credit card bills but won't share his cash, charge! Then return for cash refund or resell that expensive stuff to friends.

If you cook, serve him hamburger, not steak. Pocket the difference.

If a bill is for $220, round it up to a nearest hundred and enter $300.

"Pay" the same phone or utility bill three times each month.
Always carry something to remind you of your his credit card.

Secrets are not necessarily bad. Putting money away can be a wonderful thing for a relationship.

The first one who gets to the bank is the one to empty the joint accounts.

Learn to aggravate your husband whenever possible.

Criticize him daily... Accuse him of having affairs (falsely)... Lend his money to your relatives... Run up his credit cards... Nag, Nag, Nag...

Control your husband by being alternately loving and indifferent to keep him in a state of continual concern.

His money is going to be your money anyway when he drops dead.

I was upset reading this, thinking, surely women do not stoop to this--but as a psychologist and a grown-up, I guess I should know better.

Apparently, this controlling behavior can start during a marriage that is not categorized as "pre-divorce" (although maybe it should be)." I came across this site by a Mad Suburban Dad (thanks MSN) discussing his puzzlement at being a well-managed husband. The author of the blog seems perplexed and a bit taken aback when he finds out that his wife is chatting up other women about how they "manage" their husbands. He asks his wife what "well-managed" means and gets this interchange:

"A well-managed husband does not realize he is being managed, nor do his friends," she said. "Usually, the only other person who can tell he is well managed is a woman who also has a well-managed husband or boyfriend." Then I asked the question that I am afraid to ask and even more afraid to hear the answer to: "So, if you know your friend's husband is 'well managed,' does that mean I'm 'well-managed' too?" I asked with trepedation.

Mad Mom gets this silly grin and says: "Excuse me, I have got to go to the bathroom."

Say what? If I was MadDad and I heard this, I would have been livid. No trepedation, no humiliating strikes like MadDad talks about (check out post 4-4), no asking women on my site for comments, no, nope, nada. Just a simple statement from me to this prize of a wife, "I hear you talking like that or trying to manipulate me like that again and I am out of here."

And I would mean it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For goodness sake, Dr. Helen, go read Lysistrata and stop trying to present this as some new, insidious assault on men.

Of course there are (and always have been) women who treat their spouses like this. But when I read some of the men on your comments page, with their earnest conviction that all women are greedy, manipulative, vindictive liars, I feel as though I'm reading a self-fufilling prophecy. Of course they end up with bitchy wives--who else would have them?


10:06 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 10:06:

Women have been raped for centuries--of course there have always been men who treat women like this--Sheesh!

10:50 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is terribly difficult to find a feminine woman worth marrying, that actually brings something to the table, let alone a manipulative one. I already cook and clean, I'm in fantastic shape, and having a great time staying single.

What is a woman really going to give me, besides children (which I don't really want)?

It is very easy to pickup women and have sex, juggling a few girlfriends at a time these days. Thanks to "sexually liberated" feminists, it is easier than ever to get laid.

I see many of my friends married at 20 something and divorced by 30 something. Married or divorced, they all warn me not to do it. Sites like (the now defunct),, and the writings of Glen Sacks have allowed me to get involved in the mens rights movement.

I am 30, never married, and doubtful to find a non-manipulative ggrrrrl power woman in the states worth marrying. I just want a lady who embraces feminine qualities. Why is it so ard to find them in America?

11:14 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

specialopsdude - old song lyrics "Looking for love in all the wrong places." You're not going to find a new Rolls Royce at Honest John's Used Cars :) Start spending time with people who place emphasis on long-term values instead of quick one-nighters.
Manipulation - women can more easily operate on the subtle side of life. When they do so, guys get totally blindsided. It's called playing to your strengths.

11:29 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

At the company where I used to work, there was a woman who regularly bragged about how she had "trained" her husband. This woman, whose only children are two daughters, recounted a joke that one daughter told to the other. Apparently one works in the financial markets in NYC, where some men her age work 100-hour weeks but earn million dollar annual salaries and bonuses. Anyway the other daughter suggested marrying one of the high-earning men, then finding another man "on the side". It was a mark of the culture of my former employer that the woman thought this was a good joke to tell in a mixed-sex group.

But when men are "reluctant to commit", it's because we're "immature jerks", right?

11:33 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The list reminds of of that movie "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days" which I found hilarious because I know women who do the very things she was talking about.

And, the truth is that I know women who do many of the things on this list as well without the aim of getting a divorced. They're just immature, or clueless, or whatever. Most definitely foolish. Sometimes satire is a good way of getting a message out.

OT but I thought might both amuse and horrify you. People are nuts!

11:38 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone tell me again how women aren't marrying because men are immature and intimidated by their success ( rhetorical ).

The reason that so few men marry past their mid thirties is that, by that age, they've had a chance to see what a settled-in marriage is really like. And they're more likely to have friends with a few years of marriage behind them - most of whom will recommend that you 'make sure that you find the right girl' (i.e. they didn't).

I know very few guys who would marry their wives again. Most love their wives and families, but admit to feeling deceived and manipulated. A lot of women change dramatically once they're married and have kids. They let their appearance go, become nagging and reflexively critical, and demonstrate the sort of arbitrarily controlling behavior that 'managed' implies.

Make sure that you know what you're getting into - I didn't, and paid for it. Thank god we didn't have kids.

11:41 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To Anonymous 10:06 and Helen:

According to Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer's book "A Natural History of Rape: Biological Basis of Sexual Coercion", rape also occurs in at least 50 non-human species.

11:46 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Lesson: only marry a woman whose mother is tolerable."

Good advice all the way around, because the wife is probably going to turn into her mother anyway, and that can be a good thing if you have chosen wisely.

"specialopsdude - old song lyrics "Looking for love in all the wrong places." America? Unfair, I know. It matters what part of society you look in. If you look in the corporate world for someone to marry, what do you expect to find but people who look out ofr number one? If you look in the helping professions or the military, you find people who have a different ethic.

Back to the main topic, the notion of managing husbands - this comes out of a tendency some wives develop of mothering their husbands, nad it hmay also have to do with the mother's little helper archetype, where sisters can always cite a higher authority to work the situation their way. And that is not always sucha bad thing, if it's balanaced. But if it turns out bad, I don't know if it's something can be changed, so the best advice is to choose wisely in the forst place. Tjhat kind of behavior should show up early in the relationship

11:51 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With No Fault Divorce, marriage has been reduced to a contract and these women are engaged in contract administration. If a company has an important contract, someone has to manage it, right? So these women manage their "husbands." So what? It works both ways in a contract situation.

This would be less of an issue if every one saw marriage as a covenant. The differences between a convenant and contract make all the difference.


11:55 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know the divorce rate is 50% or over. I suspect that many marriages are held together by the children.

Does anyone have any stats on the divorce rate amoung couples who have no children?

11:56 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It also works in reverse. From the outside, it looks like my mother runs my father. She complained for years that he was helpless around the house, could not cook, do dishes, etc. She did it all. He worked two and three jobs, so when he was home, he read the paper, or graded school work (he was a teacher) and did yardwork.

When she was in the hospital, he cooked (better than she did) and cleaned - different method, but just fine and so on. He simply let her run things because she wanted to - and it left him free to use what free time he had to do the things he needed to or wanted to.

While it was not conscious, my wife (when she is able to stay home) does the bulk of the housework, but I do the dishes at night. I do not think we divide the work 50/50, but generally it works out.

Does she run me? Probably, but only to the point that I am willing.

12:01 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you learn as you get older, regarding relationships, is that character matters. If a potential spouse demonstrates unethical, vindictive a/o controlling behavior prior to marriage, it's almost certain to intensify as they get older.

IMO the reason that so many men find themselves in these situations is that they find these same traits attractive in young attractive women, for whatever reason. But then after several years, when their wife no longer looks like she did at 25, they find the same traits intolerable. Who's fault is that?

12:05 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

For goodness sake, post something which does not march to the gender feminist's goosestep and get ready for the slamming post. Sheesh.

Helen, what I read you doing is opening up the discussion about gender inequality and cultural gender stress into a discussion rather than a lecture. Thanks, it is interesting. Gender inequality is a two way street with offenders on both sides of the road. Acknowledgement of that fact opens up the discussion while denying it continues the lecture that many men just tune out.


12:25 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's especially weird about this sort of behavior ( e.g. Mad Dad's wife saying that she "let" him go to the ball game ) is that there's no good reason to prohibit it - it's not like Mad Dad has a gambling habit or something. But the wives of my buddies do this all the time. It's like they want control for the sake of control, regardless of their husbands desires.

We may have to accept that womens' complaints that men are controlling and abusive towards women are to some degree projections of their desire to control and punish men. When you get one side blaming the other for everything, but never accepting that they do the same thing, there's usually something more fundamental going on.

12:59 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I see from both sides is that they are treating each other like children, not like adults able to make rational decisions. Have a look at all of those incidents cited above and that is the common factor bringing them all together.

It works both ways and depending upon who you are talking to - either the man is a stupid jerk or the woman is a moronic idiot.

This seems to happen over time in a marriage where there are no shared goals and dreams to work toward.

Big red flags should go up as soon as one spouse talks about the other (or to the other) as if they were 10 years old. Once you see that - whether or not the marriage is visibly on the rocks... it is certainly in trouble.

1:25 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To anonymous 12:05

It is probably more accurate to say that men are more willing to put up with negative personality traits in a 25 year old woman, simply because she is 25 years old. (As David Buss put it: "There is probably no society in the world where a 38-year old woman is considered more attractive than an 18-year old woman.") When the woman hits 45 or 65, she no longer can use her youth to compensate for her negative traits. Unfortunately, as the man retreats from the relationship, the woman often tries to punish him for retreating, which only makes him even more likely to retreat. The result very often is that the woman files for divorce, citing that she "doesn't feel loved" as her reason. At least that is the most common reason cited by women filing for divorce.

1:33 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What is the point of this post? we can find a website for just about anything on the web. Is it your position the existence of a website indicates something about its content or society? If so, what?

2:35 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an interesting uncurrent here that may be too obvious for comment: women who "manage" their men do not respect them BECAUSE they allow themselves to be "managed." Would any of these women permit their man to manage them in similar ways?

My wife jokes about trying to "train" me. I usually just smile and say that everyone should have a pointless hobby. Then I tell her the blunt and utter truth: she would not respect---or even much like---me if I allowed her to manage my behavior.

She thought it over and agree that what I said was probably true.

I suspect that, on some level, women are programmed to respect men who don't "knuckle under" to silly attempts to change their behaviors.

At the same time, folks, I do not mean reasonable accomodations---like sharing duties, etc. That isn't "management." That is marital fairness.

Just my two cents.

2:39 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a counterpoint to this thread, check out this advice as a how-to for men to do the same kinds of thing as these unpleasant women.

2:49 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger mdmnm said...

Read the first page or so of the blog and it seems a reverse image of many of the threads on this blog. The aforementioned strike: this guy is a lawyer, apparently, he wouldn't think to bring his car keys, house keys, or phone when he's going to camp out on the front lawn in a strike? The lure of romance novels: harmless escapism (I agree) but then a comment thread by various women about how unromantic, thoughtless, and disappointing guys are when they've lived with them for a while with no recognition that all of the above goes both ways- passing gas is not limited to the male gender.
Then, the well-managed bit. On one hand, I would guess that all couples learn how to manage each other to an extent by avoiding or being careful with hot-button issues, by careful reciprocity in allocating resources to divergent interests, and lots of other ways. On the other hand, it comes across as pretty demeaning, the equivalent of a belch and snort that the little lady really is happier when she is barefoot and pregnant.
I'll admit, I'm pretty sensative about being managed, to the extent that I have some difficulty distinguishing between tears as a management technique and tears as an honest expression of strong emotion. Hence, 38 and single, which is to an extent my own loss.

3:04 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Helen for having the nerve to post this entry. Comments can go back and forth, and we can blame all we want, and end up in the same place we started. After all, in the 15 years I was enmeshed in the pattern that emerges from this "how to" list, I kept the cycle going as energetically as she did. Forever demonstrating my "reasonableness" by overlooking the money issues; forever investing my energy in "proving" my love one more time; forever falling prey to the folly of thinking I could work this out with reason and rationality (I didn't get it!). I simply enabled the behavior and perspective. Had I established my boundary more clearly and made my limits clear, it never would have extended to 15 years. What I learned from this experience is that, when developing a relationship, do not ignore the seemingly small, seemingly irrelevant details. All the signs and red flags were there in our courtship period. I chose to ignore them or minimize their potential impact. E.g., we are at a sports bar and she is commenting in a critical fashion about the way the person on the television is dressed??? What would ever make me think I will forever be exempt from such critical commentary? Don't want to be with someone who is compelled to regularly comment on and critique issues that you think are petty and irrelevant?? Dates over; get out. These subtle, outside of awareness behaviors are the windows to the person's personality and style. In these moments they aren't focused on presenting themselves in any particular way. They are just being themselves. If this is a trait you know from your life experience really irritates you, DO NOT think that suddenly now, because "I love her", you will be able magically to tolerate it. You will not, and you do not have the power to make her be different. The long term struggle and unpleasantness quickly outweighs any short term pleasures you might experience.

3:48 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i am getting married hopefully in a years time, to a wonderful woman, she is unlike most, she doesnt want to change me, she loves me for me, and i love her for being her. we both know we have similar interests and some not so similar, we are both childfree, we personally dont think we should have kids, due to personal reasons, but there are many childfree people who with a like minded childfree seem to have a much stronger marriage, some have been married 25 years, 9 years etc.. why because of the pressures of having a kid, for some its a good experience, but we know that its not for us. in a lot of cases when a woman has a kid they fall in love deeper than their partner, and the men get to feel left out, and so they stray. i read in a report somewhere that most marriages where they say they want a kid to keep them together, it ends after a few years. KIDS arent the answer to a bad marriage, they can be a contributing factor to make it worse. husbands and wives should learn to be seperate yet together.

to have one party to change the other, from the person they fell in love with, into. whatever, devalues that relationship, i fell in love with her how she is, and if i cant accept who she is then why would i be with her.

if they want to change you, from the person you were, then why are they with you in the first place.

3:49 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Badger said...

Jack said

I know very few guys who would marry their wives again. Most love their wives and families, but admit to feeling deceived and manipulated.

Well played sir. A truer statement on this issue I have not heard.

4:33 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger silvermine said...

I think the same women who "manage" their husbands like this are the same ones who think it's okay to send sexist anti-man jokes, but object to sexist jokes about women. Or the same people who like all the ads on TV right now where the man looks like a bafoon. They're just sexist jerks.

Also, I believe a lot of marriages aren't working out right now because most people are childish and selfish. Marriage takes work, and it seems most people aren't willing to put the work in. They'd rather just give up and get a new one. There are a lot of things worth working for.

Since it isn't obvious from my handle, I'm female. And married. And would never think of "managing" my husband. How degrading.

5:10 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Remember, those ads on TV are directed at women, and they get women to buy things. So who is the bufoon?

6:07 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for your input--it is nice to know that there are many women such as yourself out there who view their spouse as a human being rather than an object.

6:47 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The terminology used indicates the mental context. You don't manage equals, you manage subordinates. You train people or animals in order to get them to learn to perform the way you want them to ... in other words, to conform to your judgement.

If a woman makes statements about managing or training her SO, she is revealing that she considers him to be a subordinate being whose judgement may not be trusted. That's fine ... there are men who consider women subordinate and untrustworthy, too. However, any woman who says anything like this has lost the right, ever, to say anything about the desire for "equality".

But it's not just a few women, it's our society in general. Want to see how pervasive the idea is that men are bumbling, stupid creatures who must be controlled and directed to be useful? Watch television commercials. Count the number of commercials in which the woman is the dopey foil against which the intelligent man plays. Now use your remaining 10 fingers to count the number of commercials in which the opposite is true.

7:45 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

Everything about that 'managed husband' site disgusted me. Except I'm sure those women were beautiful tropy wives. In that case, the couples deserve each other.

8:55 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Jeff with one 'f' said...

For more of the "deceived and manipulated" topic, please see this and subsequent posts at Morphing into Mama:

In a nutshell, a (very nice) wife and mother writes about the concept of false advertising to entice men into marriage, after which the wife feels free to cut her hair, gain lots of weight, or change personality altogether.

The author received no end of grief, which spilled over to several other blogs. A useful cross-section of women' opinions on the marriage contract.

9:44 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:45,

Why are we limited to managing subordinates? I'd say we can manage anybody regardless of their standing versus our own. I learned to manage my boss very early.

10:34 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of the 4 definitions of the transitive verb form of "manage" on, only one pertains to the interaction between people (unless you want to define a person as a thing to be used). "To exert control over" or "to make submissive to one's authority...".

Of the 2 adjectival definitions of "subordinate" at, the tamest is "subject to the authority or control of another".

If the definition of "manage" when describing the relationship between two people is "to make submissive to one's authority", and the definition of "subordinate" is one who is subject to someone else's authority...

11:15 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

I seem to have wandered into an alternative universe here. I am married 30 years this summer, still think it was the best thing that happened to me, and would do it again in a heartbeat. Part of the reason for that, I suspect, is that neither of us went into marriage with the idea that happiness was the point. Happiness only comes as a byproduct, never in a vacuum.

I don't know the other side of the story for a lot of the commenters, and I'm not living in these guys' skins, but I sure hear a lot o' bad attitude goin' on. I guess it's everyone else's fault, huh?

12:51 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i think thats the point of long lasting marriages, its knowing that there will be bad times and good times, and that you are 2 different people, but the pressure is on young women of todays generation to say i will have a perfect marriage, i will be happy.

focusing on themselves and what they need. rather than what they both need. these are the longest lasting.

5:24 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

I have proved to be an intense source of frustration to my wife in that, despite her best attempts, I am not (nor am ever likely to be) a well mangaed husband. For some reason by the time I married (first time at age 47) I was pretty good at recognizing manipulation. So when she tries to manipulate me I just notice what she's doing, decide what the best course of action is based on my estimate of what is best for the family, the marriage and the people involved, and do it (well, most of the time). After almost 7 years she is just coming to accept that she can't train me and that it is in her best interest to cooperate with me as opposed to manipulate me as it yields better results.

Not that she's given up, mind you. She has a friend who has a well trained husband (the man is disgusting, totally whipped - and has been my friend for over 20 years.) who just recently has joined forces with my wife to aid in my subjugation. As soon as I saw what was happening I told the woman to go jump in the lake, and went for a walk with my friend.

This tendency of my wife's to try to control by manipulation has been very disappointing and painful for me. In my opinion it has seriously hurt our marriage. I don't see her as mature as I thought she was before we married. I think that because I did hold my ground things are better than they were. I love her very much, but knowing the hell she has put me through I would not do it again. Perhpas I am deluding myself, but I still have hope that things will continue to improve.

11:08 AM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a little curious as to what is being considered "managing" behavior. When two people are in a relationship, a certain amount of negotiation occurrs in day to day interactions. I want to go out with the girls, my husband wants to go out with the guys etc. Doing these things involves discussion - do you mind if I do this? Do I mind if you do that? It isn't manipulation, it is establishing boundaries. I would never tell my husband that I was going to do something, I would ask if he minded me doing something and he in return does not tell me that he is going to do something he asks if I mind if he goes out without me. I though it was polite and respectful of the person that you were sharing your life with to include them in what you are doing and to ask not tell the other about your solo activities. Are some of you so caught up in being selfish that you can't see that being polite and respectful of your partner is healthy?

11:32 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 11:32:

Yes, that is why the wife of the "managed" husband was running and hiding in the bathroom. She knew that discussing the "management" of her husband with a girlfriend was wrong, sneaky and manipulative. If it was so innocent and polite, chances are, she would have discussed it openly with her husband. You are talking about something totally different--negotiation and respect, the opposite of what is going on here.

12:02 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I joke that we must be mentally unbalanced in some way, because of all the folks we know our age we are one of only a handful of couples who seem to be happily married -- just celebrated ten years. A mix of respect, simple consideration, and a desire to face the world as a team no matter what seems to work for us. And as for "managing" a husband, I'll admit to trying it earlier in our marriage, but talking to him and treating him like a grownup has proven to work so much better. Besides, I'd rather have an equal for a partner than another child. Of course if he didn't treat me with the same respect and consideration, the whole thing would most likely fall apart, but that's the advantage of choosing someone who has similar values to yours.

12:15 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto. I married a man that I respect and love more and more each day. He doesn't have to be "managed," which is incredibly condescending.

1:19 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

I think women are manipulative by nature and men are dominating by nature. These traits cause conflict in a marriage. What's amazing is how many marriages are able to get past this conflict. Mad Dad and Mad Mom have their own method: She rules the roost and he comments on their life - quite humorously - for the world to share.

We all have different ways of dealing with the quirky personalities we bring to marriage. As long as it doesn't get violent or abusive, I say "Vive le diference."

1:29 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody may have already alluded to this, but...

"Managing" or manipulating anyone is not primarily disrespectful of that person but reflects in addition a lack of self-respect. I don't need to manage or manipulate anyone. Why? Because I control myself and that's ALL I need to do. I never NEED anyone to do something for me. I may like them to--in which case I may ask (hopefully politely). A consistent, unreasonable, and rude refusal to meet my requests will be judged accordingly, i.e. I will leave. But mostly, I prefer to not ask for a single thing. In relationships, I think it's just best to go about your business, let the chips fall where they may, and then judge on that.

I've seen this problem repeatedly. I have a male friend who consistently goes for over-controlling women. He complains, gets out of the relationship and then finds another just like the prior one. Why? Well, obviously, he likes that shit. He probably prefers to have someone to blame for everything, all decisions, etc.

People who complain about this, I just don't get it. I think it should go without saying that, while there are plenty of controlling women and plenty of asshole men, not all are such. If you stay with one or you keep ending up with them, it says alot more about you than about the sex as a whole.

1:35 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For people claiming that this is all much ado about nothing, I can tell you that I was raised in the "bad old days" and that you didn't hear men talk about women in the mean spirited way that women talk about men today, and NO, men weren't running around raping and beating-up women at the drop of a hat. I think that people are confusing political propaganda with reality.

I do worry about the affects of these attitudes on my kids' potential for a happy marriage. Both my son and daughter are of marrying age. While she's always been very level headed, a lot of her friends have a wicked case of pretty princess syndrome. They're all in their mid to late twenties, but it's like they're stuck at fifteen when it comes to their expectations of what marriage should be like. To hear them talk, a man should be totally devoted to them and not expect a damn thing. It's like an attitude of "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine". Frankly they come off like a bunch of gold diggers.

What really worries me is that my son will likely take over our family business and could lose everything is he gets together with one of these babes. After thirty years of hard work we've finally gotten to a point where we're comfortable and have something to pass on. My daughter's actually warned my son to look out for some of her friends because, in her words, they'll say or do anything to marry a wealthy guy. My husband was joking that we should send him to Mexico for a few years and hope he meets a nice latino girl.

2:17 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Mary, I understand your concerns because I have boys of marrying age, too, but I don't think this is a new phenomenon. The only advice I can recall my mother giving to the young ladies in our family - and it was given repeatedly and strenously - was to marry a rich man. Mother wasn't a gold digger but she did believe that finding a mate who could provide financial security (and maybe even a little comfort) was important. Call me old-fashioned or even compare me to Lawrence Summers, but I actually believe that women instinctively value a mate's ability to provide for them and their children. I also believe that this society is doing everything it can to encourage the modification of that genetic preference.

2:32 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Not only not a bad idea, mary, but one I've heard well-argued before.

2:33 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...


I normally don't repost to correct my unfortunately common spelling mistakes but this particular error irked me. Forgive me for my OCD moment.

2:36 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's why prenuptuals were invented. They tend to weed out some folks.

2:37 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Peregrine John,

The linked article was interesting. The author obviously hasn't met a good Southern woman much less a fine woman from West Texas where I live. Is it possible that this is another blue state/red state issue, or perhaps an urban-suburban/rural dichotomy?

2:42 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

drj, it wouldn't surprise me too much either way - or both, come to think of it. Fred's a curmudgeon of the first degree, so he's a hard one to gauge at times, but this article looks heartfelt. He's lived south of Southern for quite a while, so his views on American ways and politics have odd gaps. Could be simply a more reliable pleasant phenomenon there than wherever (almost certainly blue-state, judging by other articles) he came from.

3:05 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

dr j, i live in another country, and i see this all the time, girls are now taught to expect men will provide, if they have a kid, and the marriage fails, then man should provide, even if that woman is abusive.

i know of one case where a woman deliberatly got pregnant so she could get him to pay and have a life of leisure. (luckily i ran the other way and she didnt look at me).. its a western phenomena, happens in the UK.

3:41 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Helen and Friends,

It's Mad Mom here. I hate to disapoint you all but the Mad Suburban Dad Blog is a satire a la Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), the author and satirist who was famous for Gulliver's Travels (1726) and A Modest Proposal (1729).

In A Modest Proposal, Swift suggested that the Irish eat their own children to stave off famine in Ireland. He was trying to jolt the English ruling classes into doing something to stop the suffering in Ireland by writing something so ridiculous that he could bring attention to the problem. Instead, people took him seriously.

So it is with Mad Dad. The blog is his opportunity to riff on topics that interest him, in a humorous way, using satire to make a point.

For instance he read a news article about a husband who was on strike and told me about it. We both wondered why the striking dad didn't just talk to his wife about what was bothering him.

Mad Dad, in his usual way decided to write a funny piece about the striking dad with a fantasy segment about what would happen if we all behaved in our marriages this way. If everyone "went on strike" instead of communicated with their spouses, it would be a sad world.

I'm glad you all read Mad Dad's blog, the kids and I are really proud of him. We think he's funny and smart and we hope you do too. He has quite a following, including his mom and his mother in law. We all read his blog when we need something to make us laugh.

If you're ever in our corner of cyberspace, pop in and see what's happening in the Mad Dad household. E will probably say something cute, R will be swimming butterfly this summer on swim team, I'll be doing something to aggravate the whole house and Mad Dad will write about it all and make my mom and dad laugh since they know us so well.

Have a Happy Easter,

Mad Mom

4:42 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mad Mom,

Some folks are so determined to find a problem where none exists, they will fall for anything.

Are you a victim? If not, why not? Surely all of us can find some cozy niche where we can curl up in the barbed wire of our own indignation. Come on. It's fun.

4:52 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi MadMom,

If MadDad is satire, it is one that captures an essential truth. Thanks for stopping by.

6:06 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that that's Mad Mom. Mad Dad's been around for a while, it's a good read, and few of his posts would make any sense as satire. I suspect that it's one of the posters pissed-off about the content of this thread and trying to embarrass people.

But perhaps I'm wrong, maybe Mad Dad will post a howdy @

8:19 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Anonymous @ 8:19, you may be correct but I think that may have been the real Mad Mom in these comments. I'm no literary critic but the tone of her writing is similar to Mad Dad's posts.

Here is an earlier Mad Dad post that I think demonstrates his feelings for Mad Mom. The more I read his posts, the more I like Mad Dad and his family. Similarly, the more I read Dr. Helen's blog, the more I appreciate the way she shares her thoughts with her online friends.

11:15 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in the UK there was a whole series on the publically funded BBC called 'Bring your husband to heel' in which a woman who was a dog trainer taught wives how to secretly use dog-training techniques on their husbands (the husbands were taking part in the TV show without truthful knowledge about its real nature).

Its so shocking how Western men have been reduced to such passive gimps. But then I suppose that most of them just give in for an 'easy life' as very few men have the desire to constantly argue with women, or the strength of will to put up with the emotional blackmail and hysterical insults that usually start in response to any man who tries to stick up for himself.

7:37 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Helen Said: I was upset reading this, thinking, surely women do not stoop to this--but as a psychologist and a grown-up, I guess I should know better.

Chris Key Says: I think there are a lot of men and women who are immoral enough to perform such a devious action.

7:50 AM, April 15, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To Chris Keys:

The difference is that men are condemned when they do it, while women are celebrated.

9:29 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Whine-O-Meter is really getting a workout here.

11:43 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once had a boyfriend who used to "peel my grapes." The more he let me boss him around, the more I did it. I hated myself, and I was angry at him for letting me do it. I had to break up with him. It was a bad situation.

My husband now, however, would never ever let me "manage" him. Thank God for that. Neither one of is "in charge" of the marriage. We are both just partners in it. We have solid, open communication. We respect and want to hear what the other thinks.

So here's the thing. Relationships are an interaction. We tell each other via verbal and nonverbal communication how we want to be treated by another person. My former boyfriend was fine with being "managed" by his girlfriend. I complied. Was it his fault or my fault? Frankly, I don't think just one of us was to blame. Both of us were equally responsible.

12:06 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Specialopsdude, I share your perspective.

Generally speaking, marriage provides no critical benefits for men that are not also available to those men without marriage.

At the same time, marriage as it is currently defined in America provides plenty of financial, emotional, and other risks for men.

Marriage DOES provide substantially greater benefits for women, generally speaking.

The greatest exception regarding marriage's benefit's for men would include those men who actually want to reproduce AND be a father to those children he sired.

As you pointed out, unmarried does not necessarily mean a life without women!

It simply means that women have fewer possibilities to even TRY to manipulate and control me with the power of the law enforcing their interests.

Let me be very clear on one point: there are American women who are worth their weight in gold - truly wonderful creatures to have sex with, enjoy their company, and even marry!

The problem is discerning such women from the "under-the-radar", "bait-and-switch" type of women that lure men into marriage, then revert to her own selfish agenda, as supported and even glorified by other women, the mainstream media, and other facets of society.

Far too many American women are hypocritical, as several posters pointed out.

Apparently "manipulation and control" when practiced by them is an accepted (by women) sport, while when practiced by men is the foul work of oppression by the evil patriarchy.

If I WERE to decide to marry, I would likely marry a woman born and raised outside of the U.S. or most "developed" nations.

Living and working as an expatriate for over a decade, I have had many chances to observe cultural differences between women "programmed" by feminist dogma in America's schools, businesses, and government and women born and raised in culture that do not devalue men.

Mind you, I'm not at all against women having equal rights with men... ....although many women seem to only want "equality" when it benefits THEM.

And equal rights must be tied to equal levels of responsibility for men and women..... a point that even fewer women generally support.

Regarding marriage to foreign nationals:

The growing media and cultural angst towards such men and their foreign-born wives is not due from actual competition.

After all, these comprise a fraction of a percent of marriages in the U.S.

There are two primary sources of resentment among American women:

1) Such men get to "flip the bird" at local American women and their less male-friendly interests and perspectives.

If those men openly proclaim anti-feminist opinions that the women didn't want, then he can parade around with a lovely woman rather than "know his place" and remain alone.

This, coming at a time when many career women and western societies are lamenting the number of aging career women winding up childless is resented by such women, and feminist groups alike.

2) They show what men really want.

The cultural myth in the states is that men want "strong women", who are also materialistic, outspoken, and controlling.

American women are taught to believe that men LIKE bitchy, materialistic, passive-aggressive women.

When men fly halfway around the world to avoid such women, that stings.

Many career women are now doing a soul search to try to figure out what men want, not to mention how they can possibly attract a husband and mate.

This is directly in contrast to the early 80's when the popular attitude among educated women was that men should want everything that women dictate they should want and nothing more.

12:12 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Meaning it" is all well and good, but it will neither ameliorate nor delay his ruin at divorce. All men know this, that's why they put up with s**t like that.

1:05 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting that people feel managed by others. Does anyone think they have a responsibility to manage their own lives? If a person is being managed by someone else, it's because of the vacuum they have left by their refusal to take the responsibility of managing their own lives.

1:44 PM, April 15, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Are there really this many men who feel they must look for wives in third world countries because they can't find one decent woman in America or the UK?

Thirty year ago, women used to say this about men and it was wrong then, too.

1:48 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's that men "can't find one decent woman in America or the UK". I think that many men find that the risk is too high to take the chance given that:
1. distinguishing between the true gems and the women particularly skilled at pretending to be a gem is difficult, particularly when there are articles, books, television shows, and websites, teaching them how to do just that, and justifying it on moral grounds (since men are evil by nature)
2. 50-60% of marriages in the US/UK will end in divorce
3. 70% of those divorces will be initiated by women
4. all court proceedings in the case of divorce are heavily biased in the favor of women, to such an extent that the husband might a) have 30-50% of his possessions, whether acquired before or since the marriage, given to his wife, whether she actually had or has a job and posessions herself, b) rarely or even never see his children again, c) despite this, have to support his children on an "income share" basis (look this up, it's particularly nasty), even if those children happen not to be his (as 30% are not, according to the Association of American Blood Banks), d) in the case that alimony is granted, be commanded to be a slave for a good portion of the remainder of his life.

You might say that not all divorces end like this. I'd say, that's true. Some are better. But some are worse. I've seen it recommended that women seeking divorce from their husbands claim that they have been abused, or, worse yet, that the husband sexually abused their children. There is no defense against this claim ... the accusation is taken as proof, and you will end up in jail and, shortly, dead, as child molesters don't fare too well. So, while my scenario is not the best circumstance, it is also not the worst. So let's take it as a middle ground.

Do you really consider it unreasonable that there are men who might be a wee bit skittish when faced with the 40-45% possibility of having 30% of the results of their life's work, their children, and a significant percentage of their life's effort in the future taken away for no reason other than the sins of having been born male and marrying an American woman?

3:19 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From drj’s post:

"Are there really this many men who feel they must look for wives in third world countries because they can't find one decent woman in America or the UK?"

The list of circumstances where men ACTUALLY MUST take any action at all do certainly NOT include marriage to a foreign-born woman.

First of all, finding ONE decent woman in America is far within the realm of the possible for most men of moderate intelligence and ambition.

The issue involves how women behave over a time span, and few manage see far into the future with certainty.

Everyone gambles to a degree during their lives.

Some people roll dice.
Others play cards.
Some wager on sports events.

The list goes on.... even to people who play the game of "Russian Roulette".

Marriage between Americans means playing with 3 loaded, chambered live rounds,..........

..........particularly given the degree of misandrist behavior and attitudes, among the ignorant, arrogant, bitchy or overbearing attitudes and behavior prevalent among groups of individuals and institutions that American men regularly encounter.

Misandrist behavior and attitudes have been introduced and institutionalized with contract to Americans’ lives through educational institutions, workplaces, mainstream media, as well as through government laws, civil procedures, systems, and institutions.

Some men have traveled a bit more than others, and found that there are some WONDERFUL alternatives to those American women who choose to exhibit or accept gender-feminist anti-men, anti-boy attitudes.

Truly gorgeous, well-educated, yet wonderfully feminine women exist outside of America's borders.

Not all of them, by a long shot..... Marriage to them still means an element of gambling, to be sure.

American men who get an education, move ahead in their careers, reaching a higher degree of personal accomplishments, financial affluence, and independence have opportunities to travel, even work and live abroad.

Those mobile young American men can find some truly spectacular women in other nations.

Certainly I have. Many of those women were born and raised in societies where gender-feminists' work had not managed to slither into their nations elementary schools.

The Scandinavian nations boast of some of the world's most egalitarian societies, built upon the descendents of the Vikings, peaceful now but still rich in culture, history, education, and tradition.

As egalitarian as they are concerning men's and women's rights in those nations, they still have not "arrested" any 5-year-old kindergarten boys hugging their classmates for "sexual harassment", as an insight and example of American institutional attitudes toward males.

Christina Hoff Sommer wrote a book on it, if you need further explanation.

Under all circumstances, by default American men ought to know the behavioral characteristics, tendencies, and accepted norms of their female counterparts in America.

Intelligent men choose their wives with care, forethought, a prenuptial agreement, and appreciation for her and for the alternative consequences of his as well as her future actions in their society.

Truly intelligent men realize that by traveling abroad to meet women born in other nations, they are gambling with marriage at much better odds.

In the case of many such men, they have traveled abroad and met some astonishingly beautiful, caring, and intelligent women who TRULY love their men, manage to retain those best qualities of womanhood as men know them.

One of my Brit pals married a Brazilian girl while surfing in that nation - this petite woman with a jaw-dropping figure, sweet personality, well-educated (she's fluent in three languages that I am aware of, with law degree), and a very positive attitude toward men. She is studying for an advanced degree necessary to serve as criminal or civil judge in Brazil.

She's generally alternately amused or horrified at those "large-and-in-charge", overbearing, and/or manipulative women that she meets in America. She doesn’t need Oprah to tell her how to feel.

Anecdotal, I know……

Tell you what, drj.......

..... get yourself a passport and do some widespread world travel, as much and as often as you can afford to.

See for yourself how many beautiful, educated, wonderful women you can manage to find beyond this nation's borders, in South and Central American, plus certain Asian and European nations.

I am writing about American men providing themselves with more alternatives for their "choice" of wives. Not every American man will do so, nor would I suggest otherwise, for a variety of reasons.

Don't most American women feel very strongly about their right to "choose" for themselves, regarding a variety of topics, including their husbands?

If you don't believe me, try talking a number of American women engaged to be married out of their upcoming marriages....;-)

Why should American men feel any differently about THEIR OWN rights to "choose", particularly when that choice provides life-altering implications involving sex, leisure time, career, family, finances, and more?

Isn't "choice" a great concept for BOTH sexes?

Vive le difference!....;-)

And now to your next sentence:

"Thirty year ago, women used to say this about men and it was wrong then, too."

Perhaps the phrase that you were looking for involved men, fish, and a bicycle?.........

Thirty years ago, women were most certainly not as desperate in their search of marriageable men as so many of America's career women seem to be during the present.

Thirty years ago, women were celebrating their empowerment, and their “choice”, as they do today.

A key difference is that far more men are talking about THEIR choices….;-)

3:20 PM, April 15, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

yes there are a few wonderful women in america, but its like panning for gold, luckily i found mine, she is more of a mans rights activist than me, she has seen how some women are. and she is disgusted by them. but she feels as if she doesnt belong there because of the users around her and her father. she feels more at home 5000 miles from there.

there is a perception that the majority of american women and its spreading to the rest of the world. that women only want walking wallets. it may be wrong, but the feminists who created this perception, are doing nothing to counter act it.

4:02 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

drj: from your post....

"In all candor, however, I can't imagine looking to another country and culture to pick a mate even though I've known couples who have."

I understand your belief.

Other people have similarly structured beliefs.

Other individuals cannot imagine looking to another country and culture to design and manufacture their automobiles for them, or for employment and residential reasons, f.ex.

Choosing a wife from another nation and culture means choosing her background, upbringing, persona, body, education, mind and other characteristics of her (in no particular order...).

Going back to the automobile for a moment, what makes you believe that American automobiles are always superior to those designed by other nationalities and cultures?

Back to your post:

"If things don't work out, your wife will likely take your kids back to her home country. Then what?"

First, there's a greater likelihood of "things working out with a wife" if she were not subjected to gender-feminist dogma throughout her young life through media, educational systems, etc, and instilled with a sense of entitlement simply because she was born with a vagina instead of a penis.

That's one of the reasons why I would look to other nations and other cultures if I were to choose to marry.

Secondly, and more importantly, just which sex do you believe gets sole custody in the majority of the cases "in the event that things don't work out"?

And what often happens to those fathers in family court if they were so incautious to have married to the “wrong” American women “when things don’t work out”?

What makes you believe that a divorced spouse moving with one's children to the other side of the nation is vastly superior to a divorced spouse moving with one's children to the other side of the world?

Thirdly, what makes you believe that all men (or all women) care to be parents?


5:19 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Peregrine John and others, Steven Denbeste noted the same thing with Mexican women, and the disappearance of American women; they became female persons. After reading it, I felt that he expressed it better than I could have myself. link:

To the anonymous people discussing the odds, I had figured them the same way. I could get married, and have 1 out of 2 odds of failing, and pay for that failure for years, or the rest of my life. Or I could could go to Los Vegas, play the casino, have much better odds, and have my loses stop when I exit the casino door. I woke up to this reality when I watched a serial wife get: 1) A house, 2) A car, 3) the furnature and 4) a stipend (pregnant, then child) from 4 successive husbands.

And yet, men have commitment phobia...

8:00 PM, April 15, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To Kid Parker:

Maybe that's why so many relationships seem to start at work. At least you can observe the person for an extended period in an environment which is relatively stress-free for relationship forming. However, since the work environment is usually stressful in other ways, there are lots of instructive situations.

I read someplace that over much of human evolutionary history (i.e., more than 10,000 years ago) people probably encounted fewer than 200 people in their entire lives. Somebody living in a big city probably encounters that many strangers in a day.

9:03 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Helen said,

"f I was MadDad and I heard this, I would have been livid. No trepedation, no humiliating strikes like MadDad talks about (check out post 4-4), no asking women on my site for comments, no, nope, nada. Just a simple statement from me to this prize of a wife, "I hear you talking like that or trying to manipulate me like that again and I am out of here."

Alas, given family law today, the price for getting "out of here" is half your assets and all your kids - if you're lucky. It's a slight disincentive to marry.

30yo male

2:16 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 2:16,

Yes, but the alternative of living with a manipulator who made my life miserable would be worse.

9:02 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen said...

anonymous 2:16,

Yes, but the alternative of living with a manipulator who made my life miserable would be worse.

And that is why we are seeing a marriage strike by men. Better to not get into something in the first place which will be devastating to get out of - even if the devastation is worth it.

11:16 AM, April 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picking on Mad Suburban Dad only shows how carelessly you read his blog. You only read what suited your own agenda, didn't you? "Pre-divorce"? Laughable. Seems to me he and Mad Mom have a great relationship, full of love, mutual respect, and maybe most importantly - something you obviously lack - a sense of HUMOR.

My God. I've been married 21 years. I cannot imagine how we'd have survived so long without humor.

Or maybe you just need to read others' blogs more carefully before turning them into your own personal soapbox.

3:32 PM, June 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen, may I strongly suggest that you get over yourself and learn to laugh like the rest of us?

9:36 PM, June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first blog reponse.

I am male, 36, more experienced with women than I would like to admit. I have dated women from 14 countries, of various races, cultures, social class, wealth, ages, and education. In dating so many people, a man begins to notice certain recurring behavioral patterns, and while I refuse to think of myself as a misogynist, I do think that women are manipulative, but not because the have malicious objectives (gold diggers notwithstanding). If a woman is manipulating a man so as to get him to become "hopelessly hooked on her", I do not think we men should regard her with any more contempt than we would regard a praying mantis for consuming her mate during sex. The behaviroal pattersn I have learned would fill a 500-page book to write in full, so I cannot discuss here, but in a nutshell, if you want to understand why women behave the way they do, you need only to consider one thing - they are bioligically predisposed to optimize the process of creating life - making best babies possible, creating harmony during the lives of those babies, etc. Almost every behavior of a normal woman engaged in ordinary courtship can be traced back to this fundamental principle. If you don't believe me, give me a behavior that you might consider weird and I will show you how it derives from this predisposition. (For the women reading this, to give you an example - I know why a woman would be inclined to arch her pelvis in such a way as to prevent deep penetration by a man that she thinks has potential, but would be highly inclined to engage in other types of sexual activity that would make it appear that she is 100% up for rambunctious fun.)

-Le Chaud Lapin-

12:23 AM, September 10, 2006  
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5:20 PM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger 2amsomewhere said...

I was reminded of this blog post this evening when I saw Yahoo's website plugging an article at Newsweek that talks about women "training" their husbands for optimal behavior.


10:31 PM, February 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:47 PM, June 07, 2009  

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