Monday, April 18, 2011

Alpha Mail: when parents divorce

A young reader emails his concerns:
I'm pretty sure my parents are headed for a divorce. My mom is a pants-wearing, bread-winning, top-of-her-class VP of marketing. She's also an ISFJ, which is a big point in her favor. My dad is an ENFP and a serious gamma. Telling him about Game is out of the question; its very existence would offend him. He makes about half her income.

I'm a pretty recent convert to the Game crowd, although I haven't studied much application. Reason being, I'm not very interested in starting a family or women in general. Seems like too much work and not much payoff. Anyway, I started out as an omega/loner/outcast/whatever. I'm smart, but I didn't pay any attention to social dynamics until earlier this year. Social climbing doesn't interest me in the least, but social ignorance has already cost me more money than I'm comfortable telling. Thus, I'm changing my ways. Big results too: dominant body language does wonders.

Why all the background? My estimation of people isn't very good yet, so I don't want to give a false impression of confidence. Here are the indicators of divorce:

1. The youngest child is a year from leaving the house.
2. My mom is asserting independence in other areas, like talking to job headhunters.
3. Her church attendance has dropped to zero.
4. They don't talk without fighting.
5. My siblings and I are not doing well on our own.
6. They both prefer the "feeling" rational cognitive function to the "thinking" rational function (ISFJ and ENFP).

Here are the indicators against divorce:

1. They're both Christians.
2. They're 50 and both have little to zero value in the sexual market.

Here are my questions:

1. Ought I interfere?
2. Can I interfere?
3. How would I go about interfering?
In brief answer to the questions, I would say 1) You owe it to them to try, 2) You have the right to try, but be aware that the likelihood of success is low if things are as you perceive them to be. 3) Talking to your father at this point will serve no purpose, you first have to figure out your mother's current state of mind. I would have a frank conversation with her about her feelings and her intentions. Don't argue with her, just hear her out and attempt to gauge if your perceptions are correct, and if so, try to estimate how rapidly her rationalization hamster is spinning.

If she drops the "I love your father but I'm not in love with him" line, then as per Athol Kay, she has probably already met someone else who is a possible replacement for her current husband. In that case, it's all but over already given the various factors you mention. If, on the other hand, she expresses frustration and appears to be compensating for that by focusing on her career, there is still a chance things can be salvaged. At that point, you can consider having a frank conversation with your father about your belief that your mother is going to leave him soon if he doesn't start belatedly transforming himself into a man she can be attracted to again.

I find it hard to imagine that the two positive factors you mention will amount to much. Since your mother has already abandoned church, this is an indication that she will rationalize away any religious objections to her actions. And as hard as it may be to believe, 50-somethings of low sexual market value may actually place more importance on entering the market than much higher value 20-somethings because it is their last chance to do so. Since you are not a particularly social creature yourself, I would be surprised if you were to learn your suspicions were completely mistaken; things must have gotten fairly bad for you to have become aware of them at all.

Above all, keep in mind that their problems are not yours and that you can genuinely benefit from learning from their mistakes. You may not find women very interesting, but you should be interested in one day starting a family if you are of the opinion that the human race with worthy of continued survival. A parental divorce will leave its mark on children, even adult children, but it doesn't need to be a serious one. So, do your duty by your parents by seeing if you can help get past their difficulties, but don't worry about it if you cannot.


Dan in Philly said...

Divorce stinks big time, and when this culture has passed it will be recognized that the prevalence of it was a likely key contributor to the ills which has lead to our downfall (single parenthood, drug use, listless lives, fornication, child abuse (including sexual abise), lonliness and poor health (especially in old age), abortion etc, etc, etc). Each and every social ill goes up when the parents of children are not married to each other, not matter what the age.

No amount of "being true to yourself" is worth the horrible consequenses of divorce. It's just about the worst thing one person can to do another/themselves/their children. I hope when this young man speaks to his mom he doesn't end with "well, it's your decision and I support you." Instead he should give the honest "I think this will be the biggest mistake you'll ever make."

indyguy77@work said...

The strange part is that women dumping their men don't usually seem to improve their lot via divorce. Between splitting the same salary between two households and most men not wanting to take on some other dudes' baggage, it does not seem to work out well for women in most cases.

Add in the damage to the kids and I don't see how most women can possibly figure it's worth it.

Dan in Philly said...

indyguy, bingo. Women, especially if they have kinds, very rarely seem to trade up, in my experience. Being who they are, they seldom admit they were better of with husband 1.0 and even if they find another, 2.0 and beyond aren't generally an upgrade.

Not to get too personal, but my 1st wife left me and (after a relationship with an alcoholic didn't work out) ended up with some eurotrash loser who works for her dad and married her for the green card. By any objective measure, she ended up much worse off, but of course, she cannot admit that even to herself. The hamster is strong, with this one...

demirogue said...

Agree with indyguy. Met a divorcee this past weekend and she was lamenting the fact that a real live breathing man is hard to come by. She's in her 40's, good looking for her age and a youngsters cougar wet dream. But by that age and with the responsibility of kids as well, I say someone like her isn't looking for sexcapades but stability. Too bad she's going to go through a lot of misery and more than likely never find it.

ox said...

I would say the young fellow, along with his siblings, has already interfered with the parents relationship extensively by virtue of family dysfunction. By his own admission he and his siblings are not doing well. It's not necessarily entirely his fault. It's just part of the dynamic of the contemporary social malaise.
He has nothing to loose by a rational interference. In fact, the interjection of his concern may be the strong dose of love needed at this point. Even if there are not immediate results there is always the possibility someone will come to their senses down the road. When sowing this kind of seed one never knows when, in the future, it may be returned to him in the form of bread.

Vox's counsel is sensitive and well placed. I'd carefully follow it if I were the young man.

Antidepressants complicate the situation immensely. Is there a prescription drug element in the mire? That becomes another layer of adversity to negotiate.

With regard to the young man's interest in woman, his aversion to the nuances of propagating the species, along with its attendant responsibilities and dangers: His rationale is not unreasonable given the tohu v'bohu that surrounds us all. It sounds like he is not taking into consideration the power of the chemistry and psychological impulses deeply embedded in his DNA. You don't simply turn off the propagation impulse. It's not just about sex for sex sake. If he does not calculate these components into his decision making parameters he will fall headlong into a potentially disastrous heart rending relationship.

I agree with indyguy also but add that it is very easy to have your therapist divert you from the real issues, convince you that you have been deprived of your youthful right and assist you with this little pill. Better life through chemistry fellows. There are plenty of additives to dull the senses, compensate for shortfalls and keep things interesting.

There is an acquaintance of mine, who after four marriages, made it a practice of casually inquiring as to the level of Prozac his date had been prescribed. Another tact was to head to the bathroom to check the medicine cabinet to analyze the level of bipolar potential. It helped him decide how to handle the next step.

Divorce is a wicked problem but merely a symptom of the present darkness. We tend to make everything personal and subjective. There are greater forces at work which are invisible at that. Woe is to us. But there truly is all powerful help and hope in Yeshua Mashiach.

Vox said...

The factor that many women considering divorce fail to take into account is that the mere act of divorcing lowers their value. So, she's thinking she's a 7 and wants to divorce her husband, who she considers to be of 5 value. She figures it will be no problem trading up.

Then she divorces, reduces her perceived value to a 5, and learns to her surprise that he's now considered to be a 6. So, he's dating younger 6s, while she's forced to choose from the 4s and 5s that think she's obtainable.

Dan in Philly said...

Vox, speaking from personal experience, often the hubby who was a 6 when abandoned matures (as men generally do) heading up to a 7, 8 or 9.

Meanwhile, back at her place, things are going less well. Somehow, it's all his fault, but by this time, he really doesn't care about her opinion anymore...

Sean said...

this is so sad on so many levels. this is a lose/lose scenario. the couple will only suceed in cementing in their children's mind a distrust for the sanctity of marriage. the parents will end up being a burden on their chidren in their old age. i am old enough to see that people who enter their golden years with their life partner fair waaay better than divorced people. in fact, most of the people i have dealt with who are older and in poverty were divorced. even the widow and widowers i have dealt with do better financially than divorced people. in women especially, the link btw divorce and poverty in old age is astonishing.

indyguy77@work said...

Dan, your latest comment makes me laugh.

My brother was recently telling me about a co-worker that had his wife dump him. So instead of moping, he hit the gym, lost 100 lbs and is now married to a younger hottie.

Of course, the wife is now super-bitter and blames him for the failure of his marriage and her miserable life post-divorce.

Now I'm sure the fact that he was ABLE to lose 100 lbs speaks to his lifestyle while married, but still. She was the one that pulled the trigger on the divorce.

Too bad she didn't realize the gun was really aimed at her own head.

Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life said...

If your parents divorce its going to reduce your value as a potential mate. Children of divorced parents have a higher chance of divorce, so you become a greater risk to a woman as a potential husband. So it's in your best interest to interfere.

Vox - you have my permission to email him a copy of the PDF of The MMSL Primer.

I'll take the gamble the happy couple will pay me back later.

black said...

Athol, you're awesome!

What a guy...

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