We Can’t Always Get What We Want, But if We Try Sometimes…

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Everyone needs a few things. If you deny help to your partner in their pursuits, or become an obstacle, then your relationship will inevitably suck or end. (Image/Angela Duncan)

You and outside forces are engaged in a never-ending dance—working in harmony, or against each other—to motivate your spouse or partner to stay with you or leave you.

While I never thought of my marriage as any sort of Gotcha!-trap for my wife, it’s pretty clear upon reflection that my behavior frequently conveyed the belief she would never leave and that I had no power nor responsibility to influence her decisions or motivate her to choose me and our marriage over other options.

Maybe it’s because I grew up Catholic and didn’t see much divorce.

Maybe it’s because I was ignorant and oblivious.

Or maybe it’s because I was a stupid asshole.

It has become clear to me in the years following the 2013 divorce that ended my nine-year marriage that my wife needed things in life (whether or not I agreed with her conclusions) and that my job—my solemn duty as her husband—was to help her acquire or achieve those things, even if those things were as simple as more attention, more respect and more empathy.

Our opinions regarding others’ needs have little impact on their behaviors and choices. If THEY believe they need something, they will pursue those needs with or without us.

We can accept that and thrive, even if it means exerting more energy and giving more of ourselves to others.

Or we can reject it, and learn the hard way in our failed relationships (even when we mask the truth and convince others—and sometimes ourselves—things are okay even when they’re not).

What Do Our Partners Need? What Do We Need?

People need things.

We can debate semantics surrounding the word “need,” like whether electricity or indoor plumbing or Wi-Fi or sex or vehicles qualify. But if you’ll grant me some latitude on using that word, it will help very much.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow famously published his hierarchy of human needs in 1943.

It’s normally presented in pyramid form like this:


In reverse pyramid-stacking order, people need:

1. Physiological (Basic Needs)

We need air, water, food, clothes and shelter.

Typically, if any of those are missing, we don’t care very much about family drama, the economy, or The Walking Dead season finale.

2. Safety

We need to feel safe.

If lions and bears are chasing us, or someone is pointing a gun at us, or we are diagnosed with a life-changing or threatening disease, or the financial markets crash and we lose all of our money, or terrorists detonate bombs in random public places, we lose our ability to feel safe.

Stress and anxiety consume us, and we are stuck on the second rung of the Life Needs ladder until the feelings of safety return.

3. Love/Belonging

We need to feel loved and/or as if we belong to a tribe.

Humans have such a profound need to feel loved and part of something that they will often sacrifice personal safety to cling to physically/sexually/mentally abusive parents, caregivers and romantic partners in their pursuit of feeling loved and connected to others they identify as being “like them.”

4. Esteem

We need to feel respected and accepted.

We crave professional success, mastery of a hobby, accumulation of wealth, victory in competition, as well as fame and recognition in a constant pursuit of feeling respected by others.

Maslow called this craving for the approval of others the Lower form of Esteem.

Because we can NEVER feel respected and accepted until we respect and accept ourselves. Self-respect is the Higher form of Esteem, Maslow said.

5. Self-Actualization/Transcendence

We need to achieve whatever our individual or collective potential is, and accomplish whatever we are capable of accomplishing in order to live and die without shame and regret.

As you move up the five-step pyramid from Basic Needs for staying alive to more mind- and heart-based needs, you will notice the group sizes getting smaller and smaller.

That’s because we must not just understand, but master, a level of human need before we are able to move on to the next. Maybe people for many reasons live their entire lives without feeling loved, without respecting themselves, and never really feeling safe or comfortable in their own skin.

Also, let the record show you can regress and fall down a peg or two.

Because I’ve lived many years succeeding in the #4 Esteem space, and now I mostly stumble around back in #2 (an apt bathroom metaphor) trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me and whether I’m even capable of pulling myself out of the sewage-like post-divorce shit bog to achieve a satisfying life for myself and those I love.

‘Is My Marriage/Relationship Suffering Because ACTUAL Needs Aren’t Being Met?’


You need things. And she or he needs things too. And when one or both of you need things, you (often involuntarily) will pursue them.

And the simple truth is this: When we are obstacles to our spouses’/partners’ pursuit of needs, or when we neglect to fulfill any of their needs required of their partners, then we are complicit in our partners’ decisions to pursue those needs elsewhere.

No, guys. That doesn’t mean it’s cool to cheat on your wife or girlfriend because she won’t agree to threesomes, or to jerk off to internet porn at the expense of sex with your wife because you claim she doesn’t satisfy superficial sexual “needs.”

No, ladies. That doesn’t mean it’s cool to have an affair with Greg at work, or Brad at the gym because the attention they provide satisfies your feel-good emotional needs.

But I think it DOES mean that we should all be super-intentional about discovering our partner’s needs (not what WE think they are, but what THEY think they are) and commit to helping them achieve their personal five levels to become their best-possible selves.

Either that, or communicate quickly and clearly that we’re unwilling to so they can pursue a great life without us deliberately holding them down.

Your Marriage is Dying Because You Don’t or Won’t Trust Each Other

I always honed in on infidelity when discussing the word “trust” in relationships.

That always seemed like a big deal. To be loyal and trustworthy. I also believed there was merit in being a “trustworthy” financial partner and co-parent.

I figured: I don’t cheat, I don’t physically abuse, I don’t gamble away all of our money, I’m not an addict, and I’m not a threat to abandon her or our children. I’m trustworthy!

But that’s not the equation for Trust.

The equation is:

Safety + Belonging + Mattering = TRUST

That’s according to Christine Comaford who writes about neuroscience and business leadership.

There’s a problem, of course: Our faulty brains.

While amazing and miraculous, they’re also totally unreliable. If we all bought our brains at The Brain Store, most of us would have returned them already for ones we hoped would work better. Not that I’d be able to find the receipt.

Comaford helps business executives understand that their employees NEED things. Fundamental, primitive things. And that no matter how unimpressed the employer may be with those “needs,” a failure to help employees achieve them (at home for personal reasons, or at work for professional ones) will always keep employees and business teams underperforming, or inadvertently motivating people to seek work-oriented need fulfillment elsewhere.

The parallels to our marriages and personal relationships are obvious.

“So as a leader, and as a human, you must identify whether it is safety and or belonging and or mattering that is most important to the people in your life… and then do everything you can to satisfy that subterranean subconscious need,” Comaford wrote in this Forbes piece on human motivation.

“Safety + belonging + mattering = TRUST.

“This means leaders must behave in ways that make employees feel that they are safe, that they belong, and that they matter. Doing so will help shift them out of their fear-driven Critter State (where all decisions are based on what they perceive will help them survive) and into their Smart State (where they can innovate, collaborate, feel emotionally engaged, and move the company forward).”

The People You Love Need Things

And they will pursue them—again, regardless of whether you agree with their “need” list.

People are programmed to crave and pursue their needs.

The concept of meeting the needs of our spouses/romantic partners/families isn’t new to me.

But until I applied the concept of basic fundamental human need and motivation to my own failed marriage, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so clearly how one must aid his or her loved ones in their individual pursuits up the five-level Life Need Pyramid or, at the very least, avoid being an obstacle.

My wife needed things and stated them. I either didn’t believe her or chose not to act because I disagreed with her priorities.

But our marriage WAS a priority to me, even if my behavior failed to demonstrate that.

And I think if I’d understood that NOT being an active participant in my wife’s climb up the Life Need Pyramid would stamp my divorce certificate, I might have made different and better choices.

And I think if I’d made different and better choices, I’d be enjoying the upper levels of the Pyramid, instead of the damp and musty basement.

And I think everyone who makes different and better choices gets to reach that top-floor penthouse where genuine peace and contentment live.

Where life is LIFE. Joyful. Uplifting. Satisfying.

Where energy is abundant, and we collectively give more to pulling people up, up, up to the top floors with us.

Where we’re living for something greater than ourselves.

I think maybe that’s where fear, shame and self-loathing go to die.

I think maybe that’s what it means to really live.

And I think the view’s probably pretty nice up there.

And if we try sometimes, we just might find, we get what we need.

51 thoughts on “We Can’t Always Get What We Want, But if We Try Sometimes…”

  1. You know, I JUST posted something on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs yesterday. A different take on it, but still; you and I seem to be on the same wavelength right now.

    I think Maslow’s hierarchy makes a lot of sense, and with safety/security at the bottom, it explains why trust – and more specifically a breach of trust – is SOO impactful to a relationship.

    Love and belonging is above that, so when trust breaks down love and belonging logically are damaged too.

    1. Whoa. Awesome.

      I have this entirely separate train of thought about this too, but these posts get out of control, word-count-wise, and I have to abandon my original plan.

      People can scream and yell about self-control all they want, but there are things we are so profoundly compelled to do by our subconscious needs that I think we MUST make it part of our personal mission to help our partners (and everyone we care about) meet those needs otherwise, things are going to break.

  2. We must aid our loved ones in their pursuits up the ladder – even if we don’t understand those needs or agree with them. You write such profound truths, Matt.

    There is a new movie ‘Manchester by the Sea’ that shows one man’s consequences of not meeting the needs of his wife and family – even though he was a pretty good guy. Powerful movie!

  3. Love your posts, perhaps because they say what I want him to hear. So what is the wife to do when he says he doesn’t have it in him for basic relationship care (a date or two?)?

    1. I don’t believe most husbands are sadistic bastards hell-bent on making their wives suffer and hate their lives.

      I just think people (and in the context of modern-marriage talk, this tends to be men, I think) struggle mightily with context.

      If the difference between your life being good or bad is him agreeing to a date night periodically, and he fundamentally GETS that, I think he and virtually every husband would do so.

      But for reasons I can never explain or understand, he doesn’t agree with you, or doesn’t believe you, or fails to recognize how serious you are about your need for his participation in your relationship and the things you need to reclaim personal security and comfort within it.

      What’s a wife to do?

      Communicate honestly.

      Set boundaries for what will and will not be tolerated under your self-respect guidelines.

      And you will inadvertantly put to the test just how serious he is about “not having it in him.”

      I don’t think he really means: “I don’t value you or the marriage enough to do that.”

      I think he means: “You’re being silly. I don’t feel like it. Let’s just watch a movie at home instead.”

      And he’s either one of two kinds of men.

      The kind who, deep in his core, doesn’t give a shit about you or your feelings — and I have no idea why a person would intentionally choose to live with someone like that…


      The kind who ABSOLUTELY will exchange his personal desires for the sake of the marriage when it finally dawns on him how gravely serious this request of yours truly is.

      Sadly… tragically… many, many, many men do not make the “Holy shit, she was totally serious” connection until you’re already gone.

      Even if the shell of yourself is still living there and pretending.

      I hope his and your story end more cheerfully than that. Very much.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  4. Sounds good to me, Matt, but here’s one problem. Men tend to have a sense of entitlement, as if they don’t actually have to “do” anything to satisfy their wife’s need. Unfortunately, a lot of women seem to think that men exist to make us happy, to fulfill all our needs. So you put together the entitlement of so many men, with women’s inability to realize we are responsible for getting our own needs met and you wind up with divorce. There’s this middle ground somewhere, but you don’t see it a lot in the modern world. Today women believe men must make us happy and men tend to feel entitled.

    1. You don’t see red pills, rad trads and other feral relationship theory’s solving that.
      Men, have to care, long term, every day, even when it hurts to satisfy and engage with the wife as a person who they are fond of and like
      wives, have to communicate, go hard, and defend their rights to happiness, and engage with their husband as a person they are fond of and like

  5. I hope this isn’t too personal to ask but since you’re so open about your life, I wonder if you think (or want) there is any chance of working things out with your wife? You’re clearly aware of your mistakes, feel deep regret that you didn’t see them until it was too late and appear determined not to make the same mistakes again…. and surely she knows that you write this blog and has seen all that we see in your journey. Surely all this counts for something?

    I only ask because I see parallels between you and my ex, and I know that he is feeling the same regrets in realising that he let something really important slip away. And it hurts me to think that he’s going to learn from those mistakes and be a great husband to someone else now… why can’t he learn all this great stuff and get his sh*t together and then come back to me? Should I want him to come back to me after everything he put me through? Is there such a thing as “too late”?

    I guess I’m at a point where I know I deserve better but if he genuinely had the realisations that you’ve had, I would welcome him back with open arms! Could you see that happening with your wife? And why? Or why not?

    1. I’m not Matt, but I’ll throw out two thoughts…

      Couples recover from horrible breaches of trust and go on to much more fully alive, loving, caring marriages…if you both want it, are willing to take the risk, only each (either, I guess) of you could stop it.

      As far as deserving better, if he wishes to be, and you are willing to accept, why can’t he be the better you deserve?

      I’m not advocating, just trying to keep an eye on what _could_ happen. 🙂

      1. Thank you for your kind words. I know that I would want it, that I would be willing to take the risk but my ex seems to have given up. He’s heartbroken and full of regret but I think he feels it’s too late to be able to come back from it all.. he doesn’t want anyone else but he also can’t come back to me.

        I suspect I probably do just need to accept that it’s over and move on. It’s just such a shame to throw away years of love and building a life together, especially if a lot of the issues/crappy behaviours/mistakes have been resolved!

        I guess I just don’t know at what point it becomes “too late” … I guess it differs for everyone and that’s half the problem because, like you say, you both have to want it and be willing to put the effort in to recover and the chances of two people aligning their feelings and determination to make it work – at the same time – are probably small.

  6. I was actually going to ask if you and zombiedrew planned your blog posts together this week!?
    I think this post is so good. I also think that marital problems(or relationship problems) begin when two people are either striving to keep things going enough to just stay at the bottom of that pyramid, or when they’re in two completely different sections. When it comes down to it, you can try and lift people up by doing everything you can to get them to the top, but some people aren’t actively trying to get there. Where does that leave you?
    Great post, you and Drew should plan these together more often?

        1. Is there a defeated face emoticon trapped indoors because of negative windchill? Seriously, I don’t know how the temp is in your parts but it’s ridiculous in Columbus. All I can do is complain.

          1. I spoke these words yesterday, and meant them:

            “If it was always like this outside, and there was nothing I could do about it, I’m not sure being alive and consicious would actually be worth it.”

            Another Ohioan. *waves*

            However cold and shitty it is there, shave a few degrees, add a few clouds, and closer proximity to a winless, hopeless football franchise.


          2. Hahaha! Oh no, I have no idea what team you’re talking about! C’mon you got a basketball championship and an almost World Series championship, don’t get greedy;) In Columbus it seems people either go one way or the other(north or south) for their teams and I still stand by my childhood Bernie Kosar tee shirt(partly because my family lives there!).
            Good luck with that weather. Remember someone, well
            many folks, two hours south is feeling exactly the same. Yuck.

          3. Just realized who you are, Natasha. I’m dumb. There’s a massive disconnect for me between usernames and Facebook profiles.

            Of course you’re from Ohio. And yes. Blows ass, currently.

            The amount of gratitude I SHOULD feel by owning a home with a functioning furnace, and working in a building with very comfortable temperatures, and driving in a reliable vehicle that also helps me not die, is hard for me to remember when I’m immersed in the soul-sucking single-digit temperatures and bonus Hey-Matt!-Eat-Shit! wind.

            Someone told me it was going to be 40 degrees tomorrow and I was happy, but then they said it was also supposed to sleet really bad, and all I could think was: “That makes sense.”

          4. Tomorrow is supposed to get warmer here but don’t hang on to that hope for too long because it says single digits again next week. The wind is the worst part.
            I’m already rather grinchy this time of year so this is icing on the cake.

          5. How dare you…. 😉
            I rememeber when I was a kid how much I loved winter. I am really trying to see it(and Christmas) through the eyes of my kids but I’m having great difficulty. I have decided I will most definitely be an older person that goes to Florida for the winter!

          6. I spoke ill of the so-called “snow birds” who came down in the winter to make life suck for us year-round residents of the Florida Gulf Coast, but totally see the wisdom of such a lifestyle.

            I, too, may end up doing that. Maybe not one specific piece of real estate in one location, but certainly a southern migration during this less-desirable time of year.

          7. Hahaha! Yes! In my spare time I search prices on vintagetrailers.com dreaming of the day I can high tail it to warmer climates.

          8. Living in Texas all of my life, I have “season envy.” We basically have wet and dry…and 3 days of winter.
            Granted snow, sleet and below zero wind chills is not my cup of tea – I’d still like to live somewhere I know it is actually a different time of year just by going outside.
            I have a thing for the Carolina’s. North or South.
            They have mountains, they have beaches, they have seasons- AND the tourist spots are limited. Ive only ever actually driven through North Carolina- I didnt get to see much, but for whatever reason I imagine it to be my fairy god state.

          9. I highly recommend South Carolina. I fell in love with an area about 45 minutes south of the Myrtle Beach area which had some state parks along with Brookgreen Gardens and Atalaya Castle. That castle was just amazing as well as the story behind it. It was owned by couple named Anna and Archer Huntington. It was purchased by him so she could spend winters in warmer climates because she suffered from TB. They donated the land next to it which became Brookgreen Gardens and it’s amazing. There is artwork everywhere, some of which was done by Anna Huntington herself.

          10. South Carolina is where I am leaning towards, even if its just for my next vacation. I love the gardens, too. The climate is perfect for growing some of my favorites.
            I will have to add the castle to “places to see” list.
            It sounds like a wonderful story.

            That’s really good example of putting your partners needs first. ..

          11. It’s nice that you claimed Florida so quickly- and in some parts, who wouldn’t. Others may have regarded you as a snowbird! 🙂

  7. I’m a big fan of Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. They’re especially helpful when parenting toddlers. Or teenagers for that matter. When you try to understand what unsatisfied need is driving the tantrum or conflict at hand, it’s much easier to stay calm and problem solve instead of reacting emotionally and allowing the interaction to escalate to conflict.
    One of the things I think it’s important to think about is that the line between the “safety” tier and the “love and belonging” can be blurry. Because safety isn’t just about physical safety, it applies to emotional safety and, possibly more important, a perception of safety. When a person doesn’t feel safe they have elevated stress hormones. This happens with “fight or flight” but the same hormones can and often are being released into the body system at a lower level over a longer time (hours, days, etc). When cortisol and other stress hormones are present the ability to learn and retain information is severely decreased as is the potential to invest emotionally. So, when a kid goes to school and they’re anxious about getting yelled at by the teacher or other kids making fun of them it affects their ability to learn. They’re physically safe, but they don’t feel safe. An unmet need for love and belonging is causing a lack of safety. It’s almost a self perpetuating cycle that keeps a person from progressing up the pyramid. In a relationship it can be the same way. That’s something you’ve obviously talked about before, feelings of safety and what not.

    1. “Because safety isn’t just about physical safety, it applies to emotional safety and, possibly more important, a perception of safety.”

      I think this is super important – especially the part about a “perception” of safety.

      And it goes back to one of Matt’s main points through his blog. Just because I don’t understand or appreciate what you are feeling doesn’t make it any less real to you.

      Now I think the tricky part here is, we are each responsible for our own feelings/emotions. So if I’m not feeling safe with you, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because of anything you are doing. I may have my own damage, and my own triggers. And it’s a mistake for me to say “hey, this is just the way I am and you need to accept that”. I need to always be working on me, and challenging some of my own beliefs if there are reasons to.

      On the flipside, my partner needs to be aware of my insecurities and triggers (which is why open communication is SOOOO important) and they need to be patient as we work through this together.

      I think things break down when either of the following occur:

      1) my partner thinks that my issues/insecurities are silly and/or don’t matter, and doesn’t try to respect them.
      2) I think that “this is just who I am” and expect my partner to have to accommodate me.

      Work needs to be done on both sides to have a mutually respectful environment.

      1. “1) my partner thinks that my issues/insecurities are silly and/or don’t matter, and doesn’t try to respect them.
        2) I think that “this is just who I am” and expect my partner to have to accommodate me.”

        I think that #1) openly acknowledging there are wounds and #2talking about them with two differentiated people can help to eliminate the lopsided burden of your scenario.
        There are a lack of boundaries in either case, and people need to be able to love and respect themselves in order to give love and respect to the other.
        I’m finally getting a grasp on this sort of thing.. 🙂 …

      2. I totally agree with you. Being aware of our emotions is tricky, being accountable for them and then communicating about them requires a certain level of diligence.
        And perception isn’t always reality but it usually shaped our reactions and behaviors even more than reality does. That’s why it does help to try and understand the motivation behind an action (or inaction) before responding to it.

      3. Speechless…really. This is the secret sauce, or at least one of them. This is the keys to heaven.

        “I think things break down when either of the following occur:

        1) my partner thinks that my issues/insecurities are silly and/or don’t matter, and doesn’t try to respect them.
        2) I think that “this is just who I am” and expect my partner to have to accommodate me.”

  8. This puts things in an interesting context – I have satisfying and wonderful work, self confidence, great relationships with children and friends but without safety in my marital partnership none of it feels real. My partner, on the other hand, has all his material needs met by me but has so much empty space above it his actions and distance are what erode my trust and safety.
    I have been establishing boundaries much to his unhappiness. I have tried as kindly as I can to support his dreams and actualization but they are his to manifest. I’m not angry, as he accuses me, I’m just sad and tired.

  9. ..I’d kind of like to read/hear where you were going with “plan a”, before you changed to “plan b.”
    I dont mind reading unpolished, rambling sort of stuff. You may feel differently in regards to sharing something like that, but I would still be interested in hearing what else you were wanting to say.

    1. Ha! I’ll try to circle back and address it in the next post.

      Nothing you haven’t read before.

      But Drew said it. Words like “Safety” and “Trust” don’t always mean the same things to everyone.

      So, hypothetically, a husband reading this post wouldn’t necessarily understand the point I was attempting to make if he never realized that his Decent Guy Husband Behavior He Doesn’t Think is THAT Bad can make his wife feel unsafe in ways he never realized.

      One can feel unsafe without being in imminent physical danger.

      So, if your spouse feels unsafe, they are stuck on Level 2. And then one’s marriage and Life overall can never thrive because it’s down in the subterranean levels of human happiness.

      That was Point #1.

      Point #2 was to come back around to discuss HOW one communicates this stuff to their partner.

      So I got to reading about the ancient Greek philosophers and what they observed to be the most effective forms of communication and persuasion.

      Things educated people already know about like Aristotle’s teachings on persuasion:

      Ethos: the appeal to credibility
      Pathos: the appeal to emotion
      Logos: the appeal to logic or reason

      Thought it might be fun to explore all of that to root around for an answer to the never-ending question I get from people reading the Open Letter posts: “How do I get my husband to understand this like you?”

      1. Oh, and also

        “One can feel unsafe without being in imminent physical danger.

        So, if your spouse feels unsafe, they are stuck on Level 2. And then one’s marriage and Life overall can never thrive because it’s down in the subterranean levels of human happiness.”

        And the thing is it is usually really easy, small stuff that allows both partners to feel safe.
        Really- I think if we used the word safety, or threatened, then we can get to the root of the problem.
        And there could possibly be a more empathetic response.

  10. I wonder if Aristotle would mind a fourth..an appeal to adventure. (I don’t know the greek for that, sorry.. 🙂 ..
    I don’t think men are easily swayed by what we typically consider emotional appeal, but often by reason and credibility. I think the problem there is they don’t SEE the logic or reasoning for the needs of their partner (as you’ve explained), and while an outside source like yourself may be more credible than an angry wife- maybe that is still not enough.
    Adventure is the emotional appeal for men, it seems like.
    They want to conquer things, explore new things. (Why do you think there even is a NASA?? : ) I think maybe that is tied in with giving their life meaning. (The same way family and relationship give meaning to life for most women.)
    I don’t know, maybe inviting them to explore some of the awesome neuroscience behind relationships may hit them in the logic/reason and emotional areas.
    Maybe that’s just me. (Likely.. 🙂 ..But how our relationships effect our minds (and our lives) is incredible. Wouldn’t anyone want to have a great life? Wouldn’t anyone take care of their relationships in order to do that?
    Its not just pie in the sky, Oprah inspiration, either.
    Being connected to others in essential to understanding yourself and having joy and contentment- because we have a deeper understanding of the meaning of life. I read recently that “Wisdom is the product of relationship”- from Dan Seigle.
    The more I think about it, the more its true. We understand ourselves and our place in the world, we understand the whole of humanity better because we know, interact with and love other human beings.
    Unfortunately, we seem too often be satisfied with filling our own needs. Oi!
    I may being a cynic, but it seems like as a society we have created individuals who could really give a crap less if the world were burning, as long as they were safe.
    Maybe we don’t see the things we do to each other, or withhold from each other, as things that are as bad as “the world burning” , but they can cause just as much damage. As long as we don’t feel the pain of the other we can deny that it exists at all. – Yeah, I don’t know the answer of how to get that through to someone .
    But, I do think a greater distribution of current knowledge can go along way.

  11. great post. I guess we keep moving up and down the ladder on the pyramid depending on who we are interacting with. When i was reading the post on different levels I was thinking about different people. At no. 3 I feel I’m missing that belongingness from people I love. Some times I don’t feel like I belong there but I still can’t get out of the tribe because I don’t have elsewhere to go or may be I’m too attached to them right now even though they don’t care if I leave. At other points it’s almost a wakeup call for me with my relationship with my wife because I seem to be doing what you mentioned you didn’t realize.

  12. Upthread, IB stated (with her usual insight) that a common problem nowadays in marriage she is that the men feel entitled, while the wives expect their husbands to make them happy. I agree with this.

    Before I got married, I specifically told my wife: “Don’t expect me to make you happy. That’s not my job as your husband. Only you can make you happy. And if you’re generally a happy person as a single, you will be a generally happy person as a married. You don’t suddenly get a new personality because you’re married. My job as your husband is to support and provide for you (speaking of material things here) and when it comes to the emotional side of things…to be there to enjoy the good times with you, and to be a shoulder for you to lean on during the bad times.”

    Wel, my wife really took that to heart. And to this day, all these years later, she says that’s the best thing I could have ever told her. And she is constantly giving out that same advice to other wives, esp newlyweds – don’t expect your husband to make you happy!

    Regarding the other issue…men’s entitlement. It’s actually from the much-maligned “manoshere”, aka red pill community that you will get good advice here. They are always advising you to continue “gaming” your wife. Never stop making her feel like a woman. This is something I do, and I know it means the world to my wife. And you have to have that balance – the sweet sensitive side, and the manly alpha side.

    For example, before I left home for my last biz trip I left my wife a card where she’d find it – in there I told her how much she means to me, and included a gift card to her favorite fast food joint. Sweet, right? But the evening I got home, I was kissing her in the kitchen…and took the initiative to just literally bend her over the kitchen counter, right then and there, and pound her like there’s no tomorrow. And she knows to immediately go into “lay there and take it” mode, with no questions asked. Afterwards, of course, she had a smile on her face like the cat who swallowed the canary.

    So this kind of “game” is extremely effective. From her viewpoint, it demonstrates to her that her hubby is a sweet guy who’s in love with her…but he’s also a manly, alpha man who takes what he wants, when he wants it – and who can’t keep his hands off her! This triggers something very deep in her…it hits all those buttons that trigger her feminine nature and her womanly need to submit to a strong, dominant, alpha male. In other words, it makes her feel like a woman. A much-desired woman.

    Works like catnip. My experience, anyway. And when you have a happy wife, it makes everything else in your life a lot happier to deal with.

    1. LOL! You make me laugh Jeff, because you have that authentic masculinity….and the complete lack of tact and guile that often goes along with it.

      Somebody smart once said, “men are modest about feelings, whereas women are modest about sexuality.” So women are more likely to say “lock the door, turn off the lights.” That is our sexual modesty at play. Conversely ask a guy in public how he “feels” about something and you can easily mortify him.

      When we can come together and find some middle ground, it’s a beautiful thing. Women really need some sexual honesty and men really need to see things related to feelings and emotions.

    2. IB,

      Glad you got a kick out that, lol.

      As far as “men are modest about feelings”, I agree that’s how it USED to be. I think not as much anymore, with the huge number of feminized men (“metrosexuals”) running around. Perhaps we could use a bit of a return to the old strong, silent type.

      But I tell you, there is such a wonderful contrast between the masculine and feminine. Any yet our Leftist culture is always trying to wipe out these differences. By feminizing the men to an extent, but especially by masculinizing the women. If you have daughters, you have to make a conscious and deliberate effort to keep them feminine. Because if you just do nothing, this whole culture will take over and masculinize them. It’s really a sick society in that regard.

      I know that personally, one of the things I love most about my wife (and that turns me on so much) is how very feminine she is. I love that contrast, given that I’m a “manly”, traditionally masculine kind of guy. I’ll often tell her, esp in the heat of passion, how she is “all woman”…and how excited that gets me, and how much I love it. And I really mean it – she is 100% woman, and embodies everything feminine and womanly…and she truly enjoys and loves being a woman. And I love it! And of course, she feels the same towards me being an unapologetically masculine man…she affectionately calls me her “caveman”.

      So I really think that yin and yang of masculine and feminine is a gift from God, and is quite beautiful. Celebrating this is one of the keys to a successful marriage, IMHO.

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  14. I loved this piece, especially the clarification regarding the trust equation. Funny that I just borrowed that same line from the Rolling Stones in my last piece, too.

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Matt Fray

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