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Attention-Starved Spouses

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Striver posted 6/23/2019 01:05 AM

RIO, I appreciate your perspective here. I guess my take would be you have plenty of time to lose your idealism and turn cynical, don't rush it! My dreams are blown, I have no choice. So I can understand the direction you want to go.

I do think you have to be mindful that in your WW's life story, she is the lead character. Not you. She largely does what she does because of things that happened before she ever met you.

I feel bad about plenty of things I have SAID to people. Sex, I have never felt bad about. I am a reactive guy by nature, I guess I thrive on signal reading anyway. And I have had those situations where some woman set off signals and changed her mind. No problem, it happens, it is part of the game.

I do not feel bad about my efforts in my marriage. There is one substantial thing I would change had I to do it again. It would not matter, but I would change it. This is "beta" type "I could do better" stuff.

There is a mating dance and it does help to have some sort of experience and or plan. It helps with my GF now. I have picked up some "game", some parry and thrust.

I even believe there was a book called "The Game" some years back that was supposed to be an instruction manual, to women, to get men to commit by psychological manipulation techniques very similar to what RIO describes.

DevastatedDee posted 6/23/2019 03:12 AM

Sorry, totally missed this question. And I think it's relevant to explain it because, like it or not (and, BTW, lots of people disagree with me), "dread game" is basically best described as "the 180". Dread game is instilling a sense of fear (fear of loss) into your partner by doing things to show them that you are more important than they are. Classic dread game is simple, don't answer the phone when someone calls. Or answer and tell them, with no explanation "Sorry, I already have plans tonight" (even when you don't) to get them to up the ante in the relationship (Can I get you to cancel those plans if I do XYZ? Something I've actually heard a few times using this technique). It's a way to put the other person off kilter, show them "who's more important here" and make them "work for the relationship". There are lots of ways to do it, openly talking to other women in front of your date, being aloof, being late for things and leaving early because "you have something else you need to get done tonight". A lot of "mystery" and "misdirection" is the paramount to it. I'd be talking to a girl, and a friend would come over (guy) and I'd say stuff like "I've got to go, someone just go here" and abruptly end the conversation. Just let it hang out there. Was it another girl who just got there? No, it wasn't, but no reason to clarify, let her think it was and she need to "do better" to keep me.

Wow. I've seen that done a handful of times and it was always the BEST way to get me to go away and leave a man alone. "Not that into me? Cool. Moving on." They were doing it to get me more interested?? I didn't realize that's why they'd call a few days later after I had written them off. Shit. Let's just stop playing games, shall we?

OwningItNow posted 6/23/2019 06:02 AM

There is one substantial thing I would change had I to do it again. It would not matter, but I would change it. This is "beta" type "I could do better" stuff.

I have been reading a lot about People Pleasing, especially as it relates to the impact on marriage. In essence, a People Pleaser is designated on a per relationship basis, so you can be a Pleaser in all of your relationships or just one. There is a lot of stuff written about it, a ton, and it is considered a very stealth cancer in a relationship and should never be there. The Pleaser will think they are being generous and kind, but in actuality they are continually repressing their own needs and abdicating responsibility for their own happiness, and they often do not realize that what they are doing is damaging. They are so agreeable, so nonconfrontational, so passive! What could be wrong with that? The websites call the Pleaser everything from manipulative to cowardly to liar and saboteur. It is fascinating in that few Pleasers even realize they are doing it, and I believe this is what you are alluding to as your own error?

When I was in college I cut out a "Dear Abby" column entitled "The difference between nice guys and doormats" because I was frustrated already at that age with boys who thought they were so nice but were actually doormats. I hate the expression "happy wife, happy life" for exactly this reason. It isn't about beta or alpha; it's about nice guys should be loving themselves and their wives, but instead many behave as doormats who only love their wife and continually lose or disrespect or minimize their own needs to avoid conflict. This doesn't make you loveable! It makes you invisible. If you were doing that, Striver, you shorted yourself. No woman wants the responsibility of carrying another person's happiness. It can't even be done. It should be "Happy husband + happy wife = a happy life." Maybe that's what you mean you've realized, Striver? My H has had to learn this in therapy, and it is rebalancing our relationship in fantastic ways. He makes himself and me/the family happy, and I make myself and him/the family happy, and we are all much happier. He is taking responsibility for himself, but there are no betas or alphas in my home--just assertive and responsible people.

Good luck to you!

Rideitout posted 6/23/2019 07:13 AM

I've seen that done a handful of times and it was always the BEST way to get me to go away and leave a man alone.

From personal experience, I can tell you, it's by no means 100% effective. In fact, it's not even "that effective" looking back, most of the time you'll fail. But it's more effective than other techniques. Best way to put it, you're like the guy who says (and really does) "I hate it when girls are all made up and have on skimpy dresses and high heels". There are guys like that out there. Who are immune to sexualized presentation of women. But most aren't; at least not from what I see around me. "Sex sells" because, for most people, no matter what they say, they enjoy looking at women dressed (or undressed) in a sexually inviting way. I'd say that a lot of "game" is the same way; yes, you're gonna get "blown out". Pretty often in fact. But it works often enough and, most importantly, better than other methods that it's worth adoption. For every guy who's really unaffected by skimpy clothes and makeup, there are 5 who are sexually excited and attracted to it. Best strategy given those odds (assuming, of course, that you're just looking for a lay), wear a miniskirt and dramatic makeup.

I do not feel bad about my efforts in my marriage. There is one substantial thing I would change had I to do it again. It would not matter, but I would change it. This is "beta" type "I could do better" stuff.

When I talk about my M in the context of the thread, I focus on what I did "wrong". I did a lot right too. I don't want to portray myself as "without fault" but also don't want to say I was "Al Bundy". I was a good H. I think if I detailed out to most women what I did/brought to the relationship, they'd say "Sounds like a decent guy". And that's kind of how I think of it, I was a decent guy. But not my best. I can do better. And this isn't a one way street. My W can do a LOT better than she did pre-A. And I'm willing to meet her there, not 1/2 way, she has more "work" to do, but I'm willing to walk towards her. She does 2 things better, I do 1 (no, this isn't at all how it is or feels, just for illustration).

I even believe there was a book called "The Game" some years back that was supposed to be an instruction manual, to women, to get men to commit by psychological manipulation techniques very similar to what RIO describes.

Yup, "girl game". I've seen/read some of that stuff too. It's interesting, but it's less controversial. It's the stuff you'd read in Cosmo, with a bit of a darker twist. Some "180 style" stuff in there too.


cocoplus5nuts posted 6/23/2019 08:44 AM

that's true, then there's no harm in using basically any kind of manipulation/technique (outside of force, of course) to get a woman into bed.

This is where you go off the rails. There is always something wrong with manipulation and lying, regardless of the reason. Women want honesty. That's why you get shocked when you think you're just screwing and, suddenly, the woman expects a relationship. You've deceived her about your intentions.

While you can maybe equate wearing makeup as deceitful, dramatic makeup is pretty obvious, no? You can see that it's not real. That's not a deception. Neither is wearing a miniskirt. If anything, that's less deceptive because you can see more of her. Your perception of what the miniskirt means might be the problem. If you assume the woman is wearing a miniskirt to attract someone for sex and find out she's not, the problem is with your assumption, not with what she's wearing. I think we've been through this.

OIN, my fch was a major people pleaser. I even talked to my dad about it before we got married. I told my dad that I wasn't sure I could live the rest of my life with a yes man. Obviously, I didn't realize how destructive that behavior could be. He is working on that now. For a while there, his pendulum swung way over to the other side. That was hard to deal with. He's moved back toward center a bit more, but falls into the people pleasing sometimes. I have to point out what he's doing. It's a work in progress.

Thissucks5678 posted 6/23/2019 09:31 AM

My WH was a people pleaser too. It made him resentful - when I was oblivious that anything was wrong because he never spoke up. I read No More Mr. Nice Guy and found it really interesting. He really wasn’t a nice guy - just a guy trying to manipulate me into doing what he wanted and when I didn’t read his mind, turned that into another reason to be internally mad at me.

I am so happy now whenever he expresses any kind of frustration or upset or anything with me. I just want him to stop avoiding conflict and use his words. He has come a long way and I’m really happy about it.

I would’ve fallen for “dread game” in my younger years. I read about in on Reddit before dday and was blown away by all of it. Now, I’m too old and I don’t have time for that nonsense. I’ve already starting warning my teenage daughter about “negging” that I read about. I forgot about this one though - need to warn her about that too, I guess.

SisterMilkshake posted 6/23/2019 11:01 AM

"Not that into me? Cool. Moving on."
Right, same here. It was around even when I was young. And, I would be, okay fine, you can fuck off, now, too. Also, "negging" was around even 45-50 years ago. Wasn't called that then. We just called them "assholes".

edited: to fix "begging" to "negging" because fucking autocorrect

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 11:02 AM, June 23rd (Sunday)]

ibonnie posted 6/23/2019 12:11 PM

But it works often enough and, most importantly, better than other methods that it's worth adoption. For every guy who's really unaffected by skimpy clothes and makeup, there are 5 who are sexually excited and attracted to it. Best strategy given those odds (assuming, of course, that you're just looking for a lay), wear a miniskirt and dramatic makeup.

Methods? Strategy? Odds!? Maybe it's because I'm a millenial, or because I grew up in NYC, or because my group of friends and friends of friends is more sex-positive/promiscuous than the average person, but this all sounds SO STRANGE to me.

As one of my friend's mom's said once, "what's a blowjob amongst friends?"

Casual, consensual sex has never been difficult for me (or my friends) to come by. Non-monogamous FWB relationships were normal. It was no big deal to be hanging out with a guy friend playing video games that afternoon, having sex together that evening, and then the next day hanging out with him and his girlfriend/my best friend, who was completely aware of our FWB situation and approved, because she was also seeing other people as well.

I met my husband because his girlfriend was a friend of a friend. After they broke up, he continued hanging out with my group of friends and we began dating. Ironically, he was the one that wanted monogamy (which I was fine with) and he was the one that ended up cheating. He's also had sex with two of my best friends, both of whom were at our wedding and are basically like family. They've gone on vacation with us and our kids!

And I rarely wear makeup and heels, but have no problem wearing mini skirts and boots, or going out in pajama pants and a tshirt, and that's never prevented me from finding a willing sex partner when I wanted to.

Why does there have to be games? Strategies? Odds?! Is it that difficult to be honest about your intentions, and find someone to have sex with? Is it that strange to actually be a friend to a person of the opposite sex, and to have sex with them without using them solely for sex? Because even when one of us was in a committed, monongamous relationship, the guy friends I've had sex with were still down to hang out or to help me with something (and vice versa), because that's what friends do.

While you can maybe equate wearing makeup as deceitful, dramatic makeup is pretty obvious, no? You can see that it's not real. That's not a deception. Neither is wearing a miniskirt. If anything, that's less deceptive because you can see more of her. Your perception of what the miniskirt means might be the problem. If you assume the woman is wearing a miniskirt to attract someone for sex and find out she's not, the problem is with your assumption, not with what she's wearing. I think we've been through this.

^^This.^^ Whether I'm wearing pajama pants with my hair up in a messy bun, or a mini skirt with makeup on, I'm still the same person and I'm not playing a game or strategizing how to get someone in bed with me (I'm married, so I'm not thinking of how to get anyone in bed). I don't understand why it's so crazy to be upfront and honest by saying, "I'm attracted to you and want to have NSA sex, and you're welcome to do the same."

OwningItNow posted 6/23/2019 13:00 PM

Me too, Thissucks. Being a People Pleaser often plays a role in infidelity, and this is definitely one of them. My WS believed he was doing everything right by being as small and nonconfrontational as possible. He thought he was the nicest person out there and couldn't understand why I didn't read his mind and do what he needed. But also, by not speaking up, we never had the real discussions and compromises that would have made two happy partners. It still upsets me because of the missed opportunities and unnecessary hurts.

Trying to be nice by squashing your objections, giving in, minimizing yourself, and sucking it up is one of the most insidious marital issues out there. Does it contribute to spoused feeling "attention-starved"? I absolutely believe it does. Which is why I took the time to mention it on this thread. You do not earn attention by sucking it up. You earn attention by discussing it and asserting yourself.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 1:01 PM, June 23rd (Sunday)]

OwningItNow posted 6/23/2019 13:11 PM

The three ways People Pleasing may lead to infidelity:

1. The People Pleaser sucks it up and gives in constantly, never asserting their own needs. When their spouse does not read their mind and know what they need, they grow resentful and passive aggressive. They do not understand why their spouse doesn't know what they need, and they soon feel entitled to cheat. This is a situation where the apparently perfect spouse cheats.

2. The People Pleaser needs everyone to like him/her and is so far not resentful, but they are constantly placed in compromising positions and have no ability or practice asserting themselves. These people are often married to controlling or domineering spouses who did not encourage their spouse to speak up in the M, thus the People Pleasing of the soon-to-be WS worked for the BS . . . until it didn't. This is the situation where the quiet, compliant might cheat.

3. The People Pleasing spouse is so suffocating and pleasing and nonexistent as an autonomous person that the other spouse begins to feel burdened and frustrated. The People Pleasing spouse has no sense of self and the WS acts out against the imbalance, angry at having to create happiness for two instead of one, by claiming some independence from the BS by cheating. This is often the very competent, high achieving, 'got it all' spouse cheats.

I read all of these on various websites. I did not think of these three scenarios myself, but they make perfect sense based on what I have seen.

So is the attention starved (people pleasing?) spouse #1 or #3? Depends who you ask. They will both feel that way. #1 will feel they deserve to cheat, even if they don't. And #3 will be shocked their spouse cheated because they were so good to them.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 1:17 PM, June 23rd (Sunday)]

Rideitout posted 6/23/2019 15:41 PM

Why does there have to be games? Strategies? Odds?! Is it that difficult to be honest about your intentions, and find someone to have sex with? Is it that strange to actually be a friend to a person of the opposite sex, and to have sex with them without using them solely for sex? Because even when one of us was in a committed, monongamous relationship, the guy friends I've had sex with were still down to hang out or to help me with something (and vice versa), because that's what friends do.

Well, I admit, part of this is selection bias. I have lots of hobbies, of which almost no women partake. My work place is almost all men. And, truth be told, I'm probably quite picky. But, all of that adds up to one thing, sure, it would be nice to be friends with a woman and have sex with her, but that literally has never happened to me, because, my interests are so misaligned from what the women I've met in the past enjoyed. So the two worlds got separated, there was me looking to hook up/sex who would engage in the activities that had the best odd of leading to that. Bars, clubs, even college classes I took specifically because there were girls there. But it never happened organically, because, organically, I just don't see/talk to/interact with women at all. I can literally go months without seeing a single woman I'd have any interest in dating. I see people talk about this "accidental" or "incidental" meeting of someone, and IDK, they just lead a different (and probably more the norm) lifestyle than I do.

I've been "friends" with members of the opposite sex that I've wanted to (and sometimes have) slept with. But that friendship is entirely motivated by the desire to sleep with them, not by any shared/common interests, goals, etc that would typically make someone (a guy) my friend. I probably need to take up yoga, perhaps then I'd have this experience. Except that I'd take up yoga for the same reason that I'd go out to a bar to meet women, just in a different venue.

Yes, it's very difficult to be "honest with your intentions" when your intentions are "hit it/quit it" (which, BTW, as bad as it sounds, is exactly the typical affair story). I never went out looking for a GF, or looking to make a "new friend", I went out looking to find a new sexual partner. Sure, I could soften that message to be something a little more palatable, but, honestly, it dilutes the actual reason behind it. I've heard it said "If a guy's talking to you, he wants to f**k you". Now, this is certainly an exaggeration, but, I think it's closer to the truth that perhaps we'd all like to think/admit, at least for lots of people. Look at the stories about people who "think" they are crossing a line and look at the responses they get. It's pretty simple, not many guys are going to invest the energy to TXT you non-stop, go out of their way to see you, or spend time together without the desire, at some level, of wanting to sleep with you.

I think I'm an outlier, but I also don't think I'm alone. I know that other people feel this way because I've heard them say pretty much this to directly. Now, of course, it's only in very limited company that this is discussed, and only with my oldest and best friends, but... It's not as uncommon as it might seem at first reading, at least not in my world.

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/23/2019 16:17 PM

Thissucks, you just perfectly described my fch. He resented me because I didn't read his mind and know that he wanted the opposite of what he said. He told himself that I didn't love or support him, but he never told me. And, he was so desperate to have everyone like him that he couldn't say no to the OW.

RIO and ibonnie, I think a lot of your very different experiences has at least some to do with the age difference. I think, RIO, that you are probably in my generation before millenials. Neither I nor my friends had FWBs. Guys lied a lot to get sex.

It's been different for my oldest son's circle. They are millennials. They are more open and accepting of all kinds of lifestyles. Females aren't shamed about being sexual as much they used to be.

That being said, RIO, it really sounds like you need to get out and socialize more.

Thissucks5678 posted 6/23/2019 16:32 PM

Coco - isn’t it so frustrating? If he would’ve said one time what was in his head - I would’ve been more than happy to accommodate him. I asked him a million times what I could better and he would always tell me that as long as his shirts for work were clean and he had clean boxers he was good to go. That was was literally all he asked of me - I obviously did a lot more than that - but I made damn sure he always had that.

Once dday hit and he was trying to list out my “flaws” - one of them was that I didn’t greet him at the door when he came home from work. Wtf? I was making dinner and/or putting it on the table and dealing with three kids. How was I supposed to know that was something you wanted? Speak up! Ugh, that one will always bother me. The COW didn’t greet him at the fing door and she didn’t even have kids.

Sorry for the threadjack Captain - pretend nice guys kind of suck. I would much rather someone just be real and say what they mean and what they want. Use your damn words.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/23/2019 17:18 PM

Use your damn words.

THIS! USE 👏🏼 YOUR 👏🏼DAMN👏🏼WORDS👏🏼!

In my experience it’s not just about expressing your need for something or your dislike for another thing. It’s about explaining why. Because “I fucking hate when you’re on the phone all of the time” doesn’t really explain anything, and makes your partner get defensive.

I can give you dozens of valid reasons why I’m on my phone - I’m expecting an email from my boss, I’m coordinating a doctors appointment for the kids, I’m gathering RSVPs for daughter’s graduation party, I’m looking up coupons so we can save some $$ on decorations for said graduation party, I’m texting with your mom because despite the detailed invitation she has questions about how to get to the graduation party - all justifiable reasons why I might be on my phone, and by no means am I on my phone with the intention of pissing you off!

So say to me, “I would like to spend time with you, and you seem really occupied by your phone. I miss you and we’ve been so busy lately I don’t feel like we’ve been connecting. Can we set aside some time to spend together just you and I?”

Despite how some people may think, the grand majority of people in your life are not going about their day thinking of everything they can do to upset you. They probably think that whatever they are doing is fine, because they wouldn’t be doing it if they thought it was a terrible idea. It seems so obvious that I felt dumb even having to articulate that to XH.

Watching people communicate the way they do on this site gives me hope that there are actually people out there who can be assertive and communicative. But damn if it doesn’t seem like opposites attract most of the time in that regard. Life would be so much easier if everyone just said what they meant. Expecting people to read minds is just insane.

I’m reminded of a quote from Friends. Ross is pissed that Rachel didn’t say goodbye to him when she was moving, and someone suggested “Maybe with all of your history she just assumed it was implicit” and Ross’s response is “Well it needs to be plicit!!”

It needs to be plicit, damn it!

Rideitout posted 6/23/2019 19:32 PM

That being said, RIO, it really sounds like you need to get out and socialize more.

LOL, you know, I think that to myself sometimes. But then I realize that I'm an introvert, and socializing is hard work. And then I further realize that I "socialize" with people all darn day long, work and friends. But they are all men. There just aren't any women at all in my social circles, not because I don't have social circles (I do, lots of them), but because none of those circles are things that women enjoy doing.

So, "socialize more" really means "get hobbies that women enjoy doing" and that, to me, sounds like (as a married man) a recipe for disaster. As a single guy, I'm sure I would do it more, but it would basically be the same as a younger man, doing things I don't really enjoy with the hopes of meeting someone for romance/dating/sex. For me, it's an active effort to do that because I have to venture into things that I really don't enjoy that much. About the closest I get to women I find attractive would be the gym, a hobby I do enjoy that often has women participating, but it's a long way from the squat rack to the cardio machines.

It's not that I don't know how to meet women, I certainly do. It's just that I have to alter my life with the thought of meeting women in mind to do so. And it's always been that way for me, probably because my hobbies and interest have always been so "male dominated".

kaygem posted 6/24/2019 00:49 AM

But when that dopamine kicks in, logic and reason can go out the window.

Truer words were never spoken. Not sure why this stuck out to me so much but today was a bad F-day antiversary and I've been in a lot of emotional pain this week.

I know exactly where you were and I can imagine the scenario exactly as you tell it. I too have seen similar situations at that place, except in men. Sad.

DevastatedDee posted 6/24/2019 09:55 AM

RIO, what are these hobbies that only men enjoy and hobbies that only women enjoy? How is it that you live in such a gender-divided world? I truly don't understand it. I would have a hard time finding something that wasn't EXTREMELY girly that I would only meet women at. I mean, didn't you ever have women in your circle who enjoyed drinking a beer and watching sports? It sounds to me like you just haven't known women as fellow human beings as much as you've seen them as objects and targets for sex. That would explain why you so often seem to see men and women as such completely different species.

Rideitout posted 6/24/2019 10:07 AM

How is it that you live in such a gender-divided world?

Well, starting with work, I'm in a profession that's 90-95% men. I'm on a call right now with 23 people on it, all men. And that profession is also one of my biggest hobbies, entirely dominated by men.

And, I'm a bit of strange person. I don't do beer or sports, at all. I do have a bunch of hobbies, but most of them aren't social, and, the ones that are are entirely male dominated (bodybuilding, for example). So I just don't "run into" women in my day to day world. And those that I do aren't women I'd choose as romantic partners. If I want to meet women for that, I have to adopt new hobbies (beer/sports/etc) specifically with the goal of meeting women.

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/24/2019 12:22 PM

I'm with DD. What kind of life do you live that you rarely interact with women? We are about 50% of the population, after all. I see men and women every where I go. The only place I can think that I would go and maybe not see a man is a nail salon. Even then, if there aren't male customers, there are male employees. Also, I regularly see men there waiting on someone.

Well, I know for a fact that bodybuilding crosses genders. That's how I met my fch. We were both doing it. I wasn't really big, either. We were both natural.

I asked my H last night about being honest with women about NSA sex. He said it's not hard to find them. There's no need to lie or manipulate to get women to agree to it.

And, no, I did not mean socialize more so you can meet women to pick up. I meant widen your circle to include women. You seem to have a very narrow view of the world.

WornDown posted 6/24/2019 15:16 PM

This is not misinformation. Women do want sex just as much as men. They just don't necessarily want it under the same circumstances.

If that's true, then there's no harm in using basically any kind of manipulation/technique (outside of force, of course) to get a woman into bed.

WTF?

I guess...If you have no conscience and/or are a complete and utter asshole.

[This message edited by WornDown at 3:17 PM, June 24th (Monday)]

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