I’m unhappy in my marriage. It’s a combination of clichés: we’re living separate lives, there’s no love, and we only hear ourselves talk. My wife looks at me like I’m a loser, but I’m a marriage therapist. I run ideas by her, and she shoots them down with perfect aim at my ego.
“You’re not a real doctor. Those ideas are dreamed up by feminists. You’re not even a man.”
I can problem-solve insults—no problem. I’m a marriage therapist.
I was the guy in middle school who wanted to get married. I thought dating would be easy, but it wasn’t. All of my dates told me I was a good listener, and that the guys they liked, never liked them, and how difficult it was to find a good man.
I thought about saying…
I’m a good man—I’m sitting right here in front of you.
But they never noticed.
I almost gave-up, when a woman, 6 years my senior, messaged me on Facebook and told me she wanted a date. Her eyes looked tired. Her skin was covered in tattoos—dragons, doves, Chinese symbols, and men’s names. She was 36 and I was 30.
I was and still am a progressive man, and believe women are more beautiful with ink.
Fast-forward—almost to the present. I married her. It was a gothic wedding. Her friends wore black lipstick and purple dresses. They looked at me like I was the male black-widow spider—skinny, and not worth much more than my sperm.
“Why don’t you just go to a donor clinic?” I overheard one of them ask my fiancé.
“He has a good job—and he is a good man.”
I am still proud that my wife stood-up for me, but our marriage deteriorated anyway, faster than a flower fades.
Pretty soon she was telling me what to do.
I like a woman in charge, but she hurt my heart when she threatened our marriage with an ultimatum: “Get a promotion, or I’m divorcing you!”
“How can I get a promotion? I’m a marriage therapist.”
I tried to get more work, and there was plenty—everybody was getting divorced, but a man can only listen to so much before he doesn’t want to live anymore. They don’t put that in the marriage therapist handbook. The wives of other men were ordering me around and trying to negotiate my rate. I felt like I was being bled-dry by a horde of black-widow spiders.
To be continued…