Her Highness Lin at 1701 asked for help to understand this situation:
“A married man finds himself in a career crisis. He seeks to find something new where he can be successful and find full expression. The change will put financial strain on the family because in the process of ‘search’, ‘adjustment’, ‘building up’, he may not be able to provide for his family as well as he used or in the way he used to. Wife, in order to be supportive of man’s dreams agrees to help support or fully support the family whilst he goes chasing his dream.
“As his dream starts to take shape and success is eminent, the man finds another woman and dumps wife.
“This scenario is quite common. Can you please break this down for me in terms of man woman dynamic and if there is an alternative scenario possible for us women, the relationship experts.”
Lin cites another of the ways that women ruin their lives by not understanding men. In her example, wife doesn’t recognize red flags; she probably thinks she doesn’t deserve them so she can’t recognize them. She effectively blinds herself to how their marriage affects husband. We’ll get back to what she doesn’t deserve, and describe husband’s likely behavior first. The quotes are from above.
- “Husband finds himself in a career crisis. He seeks to find something new where he can be successful and find full expression.” Those are pre-escape words. They sound credible to wife because she has already seen that he’s unexplainably not happy. She has honorable intentions and wants to help restore his unease and dissatisfaction with whatever bothers him. Consequently, she willingly if not eagerly buys into his newfound ‘dreams’, and his escape hatch opens even if he still has honorable intentions.
- When wife “agrees to help support or fully support the family,” she confirms that the family can do without him. Husband reads it that family isn’t as dependent on him as he’s capable. If they have to, the family can do without him. His sense of worth dissipates, and his sense of responsibility eases and will likely fade away if new challenges and opportunities arise.
- The easing of his burden of personal responsibility frees his thinking to take on other or new responsibility. He is capable and can handle it, or so he tells himself. Less responsibility at home challenges him to fulfill newfound capability. Wife and family aren’t new, but his visions and expectations are.
- “As his dream starts to take shape and success is eminent, the man finds another woman and dumps wife.” It’s the natural consequence of husband’s thinking and conditions described above.
Perhaps very minor, but his thoughts of escape start some time before. It’s not an overnight change of heart. It took much planning to convince wife and keep him in control of changes he expects to make in his life.
Let’s give husband credit and say his intentions were always honorable. His loyalty to wife and family remained steady until he found himself faced with these consequences: the challenge of a new job or career; freer expression and greater fulfillment of self; improved self-confidence, self-image, and self-respect; better image of his masculine potential; capability to handle greater responsibility; an overall improvement over the ennui that plagues his marriage; and doubt about earlier commitments to wife.
I don’t assign any propriety or respectability to husband’s new identity, views, or behaviors. I can see cowardice more easily than admiration. However, he judges himself, seeks self-admiration, and obviously if he dumps his wife finds greater self-admiration with a new woman.
Now, if I have described husband clearly and correctly, we can explore the root cause of his change of life. It started within their marriage long before he sensed a career crisis and need for greater success and full expression. Being the relationship expert and only person she can change, wife missed or ignored too many signals of husband’s disenchantment with their marriage.
A myriad of ways exist to cause a husband’s disenchantment. The likeliest cause is this: Belittling comments and well-intentioned put downs (aka constructive criticism) accumulate as irritants that continually bore deeper into a man’s psyche. Such comments can’t possibly flow out of the mouth of someone that respects him, so he interprets it as weakened respect until the accumulation compounds into disrespect. That ends his respect for her, which also terminates his love of her, and he finds himself in need of greater success and fuller expression of his capability. As a result, he faces a career or other crisis.
Wife, family, and friends don’t think she deserves abandonment. Only her husband’s bastardly conduct causes her misery, and that’s where wives go wrong. They believe so deliberately and tirelessly in the shortcomings of men that they criticize husbands and expect immediate reactions without long-range consequences. Wives also try hard and work diligently to provide a fulfilling life for their family. Each knows that she deserves better support from husband, and when it’s missing, she becomes even more deserving.
She deserves more out of her man, and it infiltrates her natural tendency to improve him. Tactics and techniques to chastise or change immediate behavior become ways to improve his persona for the long term. Wives treat their expectation as both right to correct him and duty to use the most effective means, and they fall back on their mothering instincts. As if raising a child or someone who hasn’t earned mother’s respect, wife criticizes, demeans, and uses insulting words or actions as her way of improving her man. He starts to develop an escape plan.
The female nature endows women to improve their man, and many women mistake it as a right. The male nature endows men to resist womanly influence directly applied, and men defend themselves as if a right. For both sexes, however, having the right to do something doesn’t make it right to do it and simultaneously give offense. In the end, when wife deserves better support from husband and demands it as a right, she runs into masculine resistance that takes the form of a more powerful right.
Lin asks for alternative scenarios for relationship experts. First, I suggest you assume that all the married men you know are happily married. Ask them what would really turn them against marriage if their wife did it. Keep it as impersonal as possible. Bundle up all the responses you get, convert them to imperatives to shape your thinking and living, and avoid doing such things in your life. Second, find other ways to escape this trap: Even if she does it for her man, as a woman proves that she can support herself and kids, her man’s essentiality dissipates and soon disappears. A man’s dedication to supporting someone slips away as dependence on him wanes.
Keep in mind: Wives are the relationship experts and maintenance is their obligation.