Jerry Davich: Is your ‘walkaway wife’ planning her exit strategy?
Jerry Davich email@example.com November 18, 2012 11:42PM
Updated: December 20, 2012 6:07AM
Walkway wife syndrome.
Are you familiar with this phrase?
I learned about it from a Portage man named Joe whose wife of 11 years just up and left him “for no good reason,” he says.
“What would possess someone to do that?” Joe asked me. “I mean, we argued on occasion. But who doesn’t?
“I never cheated, never beat her. I didn’t even like to argue with her so, often times, I didn’t. How bad could it really have been without those bad elements? Trust me, it wasn’t.”
Since Joe’s separation from his ex-wife more than two years ago (their divorce was finalized months ago), the Portage father of two has talked with other men in similar situations.
“Women all over the place are walking out on their families, leaving a trail of broken homes and broken men,” he said angrily. “And to make the men even more broken, the women normally take his children with them. And their home. And they make the men pay them money.”
Joe explains the everyday, ho-hum circumstances this way.
“Most men in this world are pretty much the same. We go to work. We come home. We play with the kids a little. Watch a little TV. Eat. Then go to bed and do it all over again the next day,” he told me matter-of-factly. “That may not be awesome, but it sure beats being a drunk in the bar. Or a cheater. Or a beater.”
“Women need to realize they need to stay put. And someone needs to tell them to. That someone can be you,” he told me. “Help some families, Jerry. America desperately needs it.”
Hmmmm... interesting, Joe. But I disagree.
After two marriages and two needed, productive divorces, I am convinced that most men don’t have a clue how to please their woman. Not in bed. Not in their head. Not in their home. Not in society. And especially not in front of other men.
Because of this cold hard fact, many of these men fail miserably in relationships and then wonder what happened to their marriage.
Take Joe from Portage, for instance, who asked me not to use his name because he still has hopes of — what? — getting back with his ex-wife. This kind of thinking astounds me.
“I have become a reborn Christian. And I go to a marriage class by myself just in case she ever does allow me to come back. That way I’ll know how to make her happy. I’ll be a great husband!” he promised. “I could have learned all of this without losing my whole world. I am still head over heels in love with her. I literally pray a good three times a day that she’ll come back to me. I didn’t have to suffer like this.”
Put up or shut up
Again, I disagree. Sure, it’s been a painful lesson but how else are guys supposed to understand their marital mistakes? Admittedly, I don’t know the inner workings of Joe’s former marriage, and I’m not saying he was a “bad” husband.
But most women I know want more than just mediocrity. More than just OK. More than simply feeling adequate as a wife, a mother, a woman.
Women want to feel special. Beautiful. Coveted. Protected. Wanted. Needed. And, most importantly, loved. (Men, on the other hand, mostly want to feel respected. And a lot of sex.)
Too often, men find this out about women too late and, before they know it, they’ve already lost the “love of their life.”
“I feel that women feel they deserve more. And they incorrectly think they’ll find more in a different man,” the Portage man told me.
This time, we agree. Yes, women seek something better and often think they’ll find it with another guy, and then another, and another. And for what reason? Love? Lust? Boredom? Failed expectations? Repeated rationalizations?
For example, did you hear about the British woman who filed for divorce because her husband failed to meet her expectations after she read the book, “Fifty Shades of Grey”?
The 41-year-old wife claims her husband “refused to spice up their love life” by reliving scenes from the erotic best-seller. His “boring attitude” to sex is evidence of his “unreasonable behavior,” according to a British newspaper story. Incredible, huh?
However, I firmly believe the grass is always greener on the watered side, not the greener side.
And that “emotional watering” comes back to making women feel special, wonderful, beautiful (inside or out), and loved. Not peck-on-the-cheek loved, but gifts-for-no-reason loved. I’m speaking from personal experience, not professional pontificating.
I see too many men who are fanatical about, say, sports, cars, or their job yet who consistently complain about having an unhappy love life. Really? Big surprise, huh? Unlike sports, relationships aren’t a spectator game where one side wins and other side loses.
Maybe if those men memorized what makes their woman happy or feel loved — instead of memorizing sports trivia or owner’s manuals — their wife or girlfriend wouldn’t walk away.
“If you’re a man reading this and your wife has been complaining or nagging, thank her,” writes author Michele Weiner-Davis regarding “The Walkaway Wife Syndrome.”
“It means she still cares about you and your marriage. She’s working hard to make your love stronger.”
“Spend time with her. Talk to her. Compliment her. Pay attention. Take her seriously. Don’t crowd her. Don’t push. Be patient. Show her that she’s the most important thing in the world to you.”
Fess up, guys, do you make your woman feel like she’s the most important thing in the world to you? If not, she may be planning her exit strategy as you read this.
If that’s OK with you, fine, let her go and move on. I’m a true believer in this philosophy.
But if you don’t want her to walk away, as Joe from Portage still feels about his ex-wife, then TELL HER SO. And act on it. Do something. Anything. Today.
Find more of Jerry’s writings on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and jerrydavich.wordpress.com.