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Open your ears
Take a break from talking about yourself. Ask your spouse how they feel, what happened to them at work that day, what their opinion is on politics, or cars, or food — anything that shows you care about what they have to say. I had one husband who filed for divorce, and on the stand he told the judge, “I love my wife; I just wish she would listen to me.”
Sounds like good advice, but I think we all know that women really don’t have any interest in what their men do unless there’s a chance it impacts the woman directly.
Quit streaming adult sites
Porn is not a togetherness thing. Don’t pressure your wife to watch “Game of Bones” if she’s not into it. Try romance. Bring home flowers. After the kids come along, don’t neglect each other.
Porn is definitely a symptom of something being wrong in the bedroom. Men who have a satisfying sex life don’t watch porn.
Match your money attitudes
Don’t get into the habit of giving or expecting expensive gifts for every occasion. One young guy I represented started with a $10,000 check to his wife on their first anniversary and went upward from there. One year, he gave her 200 shares of IBM! She came to feel entitled, and it caused resentment.
Stupid Beta tried to buy affection. It can only be rented fellas, and the price goes up each time.
If you do, however, don’t leave tracks. I had a case where a wife used [infidelity website] Ashley Madison to find extramarital flings. When hackers leaked the site’s user data in 2015, she was humiliated and ended up accepting a poor settlement in the divorce because she feared her ex would go public.
Cheating is just wrong. If you’re unhappy then leave. Anything else is just selfish.
Allow for changing bodies
Wedding vows should really include “for fatter, for thinner.” This is a delicate area, but I’ve seen real conflict occur when spouses drift into different fitness levels. I had a prospective client tell me he would ogle women in bikinis at the beach and contrast them with his wife, who had gained a lot of weight. He said he felt like a hungry man in a restaurant looking at steak on other men’s plates.
Nope. No way. If you get fat prepared to be dumped. A guy who marries a fat woman can’t later complain that she’s fat, but if marries a thin woman and she gets fat then she has broken the contract a la bait and switch. OTOH, if the guy gets fat, the wife is justified in not wanting his sweaty carcass crushing her into the mattress each night.
Go easy on the plastic surgery
It’s your right to go under the knife, but it’s your spouse’s right not to like your new face. I had one client whose wife would say she was getting a mole removed, then she’d be gone for three days and come back barely looking like herself. I had another client, Alec Wildenstein, whose wife Jocelyn was known as the “Bride of Wildenstein.” Need I say more?
Seems like a real NYC/LA problem, but OK. No radical changes that basically change your appearance into something unrecognizable.
Don’t travel under tension
Differences are magnified when you’re alone together. A vacation is like being in solitary confinement for two. I had a client who went on a cruise with his wife, and she followed him around the boat just to argue. When a bad storm blew in, he sat outside in rain and rough seas just to get away from her. He was in my office the day after docking.
I cancelled a trip to Hawaii when my wife failed to keep her end of a bargain. I wasn’t going to enjoy myself, so why pay the money? She thought I was gonna cave, but I held frame and she has actually seemed to learn a little something from it.
Don’t shop together
You see bored men in department stores all the time, even in Victoria’s Secret. They don’t want to be there. Besides, do you really want approval on every skirt or shirt? Keep the mystery going. Shopping can set off crazy arguments, anyway: I had a case where the husband didn’t like the clothes his wife had picked out and followed her into the dressing room to tell her. Their argument got heated, he pushed her, and she ended up running out in her underwear. Once she got dressed, she called me.
Yeah, fuck that. She’s going to buy what she likes (or thinks her friends will like) anyway.
Act your age
People are living longer, and those little blue pills can make men behave in hurtful ways. I represented Jolanda Addolori, who’d been married to actor Anthony Quinn for 30 years. Quinn put Jolanda on the ice floe after deciding, at 82, that he wanted to be with his young secretary and their two babies. It was a very expensive choice — Quinn settled for a huge sum and was dead within four years.
Quinn had already had two kids with his secretary and Jolanda was still married to him? That guy was a bad-ass. More power to him. Lost some money in the divorce? Well he couldn’t take it with him so “So what”?
Get a prenup (or a postnup)
A producer client of mine had given his wife an emerald necklace and matching earrings that had once belonged to the queen of Belgium. Cost a bundle. When his wife filed for divorce, he wanted to claim that he was only letting the wife “borrow” them. With no prenup to back him up, I told him that the judge would only believe him if he walked into court wearing the jewelry himself. The guy chickened out, and the wife got the baubles.
Any guy who’s had a pre-nup thrown out in court can tell you they’re a total waste of money. Judges can toss out a pre-nup for any reason they want; you’re just giving money to lawyers for nothing.