Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Unmarried Peer Doesn't Have to Deal With Marital Therapy

When people try to convince men to act against their own best interest and get legally "married" (the USA no longer has marriage licenses, but rather "any two of-age people who aren't in this contract with someone else and aren't closely related" contracts), they cite a bunch perks or benefits or conditions that are either false or iffy promises, or things men can easily get now without being married.

But what about all of the crap you have to do, put up with, and pay for because of being married?

Case in point: Marital Therapy.

If you're dating someone, they might try to get you to go to therapy or counseling with them, but you can decline and say that since they're obviously not satisfied with the relationship, they can simply stop seeing you. If you're running game, and thus only making booty calls, it would be ridiculous for her to suggest couples counseling.

Technically, we're going to family therapy, not specifically marriage therapy.  But there are times  when we go without the kids and it is just the two of us.

This last time that we did that, I was (correctly, it turned out) not looking forward to it. My intuition is getting better. Based on my wife's behavior lately, I had nothing to worry about. She'd already asked that we go on a date after the session. That's a good sign, right? And she's seemed happy with me, in that she hasn't been hostile toward me. The most recent target of her dissatisfaction was her brother and his wife, so that kept the focus off me. As far as I knew, there was nothing bothering her about me lately other than the usual stuff.

I, on the other hand, could go on and about things that should be different, but my general policy, especially when it comes to my wife, is not to bother expressing anything less than positive or neutral - complaining of talking about being hurt or neglected or whatever, if it isn't going to ultimately bring about positive change, is to be avoided, because it will just make things worse for me.

I kept my mouth shut this time. It isn't like I had a real choice.

We spent the first half of the session talking about the kids. Then we got to me and how I need to change, blindsiding me. My wife's latest proposal is a about half a day weekly during which I do not access my phone or tablet. Why? Well, really, it is just to mess with me and control me. However, since that doesn't sound right, it is presented to be so that I'm a more attentive, involved husband and father.

The problem with this is that it confuses the cart and horse. I'm often using those devices because I'm not doing other things. If everyone else in the family is happily engaged in other activities, I'll occupy myself with the devices. I never neglect anyone in the family. My wife and kids know they can always come to me to engage with me or request something from me, as evidenced by the fact that they constantly do.

I don't watch TV on a television screen. I'm getting less and less time on the family desktop. I need to be accessible and constantly informed for my career. The way I keep up with my friends I hardly ever see in person any more is through social networking. I go places "virtually" now instead of going to places in-person. These devices are also how I write and make notes both personal and professional. They also keep me from falling asleep.

So would it be better if I was carrying around a dumb phone, newspapers, magazines, books, a notepad, a calendar, an address book, and all of the other things these devices replaced?

My guess is that this will turn out like so many other similar ideas my wife comes up with: she'll be busy on the desktop or playing games on her tablet, and sending me out to do errands. It is most likely NOT going to turn into some great quality time with the whole family together. One of the reasons I readily agreed for my wife to be a stay-at-home-mom was so that she could organize family things with and without me involved. This is one of the many areas where I'm being asked to change because she's especially limited (due to things I was deceived about before).

I don't neglect my wife or kids. The electronics use is almost always "filling in the gaps" with moments here and there, allowing me to be more personally and professionally productive. What's the harm in that? I know the retort - "Then why not go without for half a day every week?" Because there is no harm in using them. It is just one more thing where I'm being asked to change and she doesn't have to change at all.

My wife is trying to feel like a better mother not by actually being a better mother, but by telling me to do something she thinks will make me a better father.

So, I was sitting there, trying not to let on that I was not happy about this session, and dreading that I was now going to take my wife out on a date afterwards (knowing full well that no form of lovemaking was going to follow). I was well aware that I wouldn't be spending my time and money doing this if I wasn't married. And  then our time was up, but before the therapist could say so, and I could clearly see that our time was up, the therapist asked me if I had anything to talk about. Really? In the ten second left?!? Oh sure, here let me plunge my wife into a horrible mood with no hope of any benefit coming out of it... yeah, sure, right at the end of the session, right?

No thanks.

Don't worry. I'll still hand over my credit card.


  1. Why is it called 'marital' counselling? That implies two people working together to sort out their personal issues. From what I've heard, I think 'husband' counselling would be a more appropriate term, with the role of the wife merely to make sure that a) the guy turns up and b) he doesn't deviate from the script.

  2. DarthW6:41 PM

    LOL. Peter, you are so correct!


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