I’m well-aware that criticism comes with the territory of writing for the internet. The fact that there are 130,000 comments on my blog should be a decent indicator of how much dissent I allow (pretty much everything except personal insults). I also know that it would be impossible for any reader to have a full understanding of my marriage; it’s all mediated through blog posts, videos, etc. But since I use my marriage as an example of the kind of marriage I wish for you to have, I believe it’s fair for you to want to know whether I’m some sort of bullshit artist or a guy who actually walks his own walk.
And while I haven’t done this for a long time, an individual comment on this recent blog post just rubbed me the wrong way. Since I couldn’t shake the feeling, I figured this would be a great opportunity to explain myself to anyone who may have the same perceptions as this reader about me and my “uninspiring” marriage.
And, by “explain myself,” I mean, I brought in my wife to directly address each of the partially-true, partially misguided claims below. She’s more diplomatic than I am but I do love that she comes out swinging.
“I fear I must say what many other women are afraid to say and it’s that you don’t come off as good husband material initially either. I think you can not see this about yourself and only see what a super great catch you are.
– You spoke about how you had about 300 dates in 10 years; sorry but according to the math that’s only about 2 dates a month; low numbers. I bring that up because
– You said you Never had a relationship last longer than 6 months. Over 300 dates in 10 years and not one single long-term girlfriend? Being over 35 years old did you suddenly learn to “compromise” because sudden maturity or a fear of growing old and alone? What woman wants to be chosen for that reason?
– You said that you broke up with your wife (then girlfriend) because you didn’t feel strong desire (chemistry) for her. A week before you asked her to marry you. What woman wants a man that married her because he chose logic and not love?
– You’ve admitted that you actually envied your friends when you were dating your wife because you wanted to feel strongly and passionately about her like they did with their girlfriends. Again what woman doesn’t want to be seen emotionally not just logically desirable in her boyfriend’s eyes?
– Lori Gottlieb insulted (in my opinion) your then girlfriend (now wife) to your face by calling her looks unimpressive and saying she’s seen you date more attractive women. You didn’t get upset, you didn’t get angry, according to you-you weren’t bothered by it. Why? Because your decision to marry your wife was based off logic. What woman doesn’t want her man to defend her before his friends?
– Your wife tells the story of giving you a Mulligan after hearing you say “another woman is the sexiest woman you’ve ever seen.” Yes we all know other women are prettier or thinner than us, but it doesn’t mean we want to hear our boyfriends tell us out loud.
Because you chose logic over chasing emotions you founded the “don’t chase chemistry” philosophy of “7 in looks 10 in compatibility” which we all benefit from and are thankful for. And you just commented recently that over time you fallen deeply in love with your wife which is beautiful.
However just like you want us to understand that your stories were meant to inspire us and NOT insult your wife, I hope you can understand that it’s not easy for us to be as logical in relationships as you.”
My wife responds:
“She’s somewhat misstating facts here.
- Evan went on 300 dates in ten years but had a series of girlfriends over that time that ranged between one month and eight months. And if Evan was in relationships for 3+ years out of the 10, that’s going on about one date per week, which is exactly what he recommends to other women. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.
- Next, she talks about Evan choosing me logically as if there was no emotion behind it. That’s ridiculous. Evan’s the most emotional guy ever – crying when he proposed, crying through our wedding vows, crying at his retreats. Similarly, if she’s read all Evan’s stuff (and it sounds like she has) she would know that his philosophy is that every second you’re with the wrong person, you’re not looking for the right person. Evan always wanted to get married and, unlike anyone I know, he never wasted his time or the time of any of his girlfriends.
- Finally, doesn’t she know that marriage has a LOT to do with timing? I wouldn’t have been open to dating Evan when I was 30. He wouldn’t have been open to me either. But when I was 37 and he was 34, we were ready for each other. That wasn’t about fear of growing old alone for either of us. It was about finding a relationship that finally felt good – and would continue to feel good as our lives progressed.
- I don’t know where she got the idea that Evan broke up with me before we got married. He expressed fears and reservations that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do, and good for him. At least he was honest about his confusion. A lot of women are honest about their boyfriend’s long-term potential. They’re concerned about his career. They’re concerned about his communication skills. They’re concerned about his drinking or his failure to take care of his body. Any woman would agree her girlfriend has every right to encourage her boyfriend to get his career on track or push him to eat healthier. So it’s okay for women to express concerns about their boyfriends but it’s not okay for men to express concerns about their girlfriends?That’s a big disconnect for me. No, I didn’t love it when Evan admitted he wasn’t sure what to do before proposing to me. But I FAR prefer it to being blindsided. My first husband had reservations about marriage and kids but didn’t tell me until one year AFTER we got married. He wrestled with all this stuff internally and then blew up our marriage – all because he couldn’t do what Evan does naturally – be honest.
- Next, in regards to the Lori Gottlieb thing: Whatever. What I knew at the time – and still know – is that Lori’s not married and hasn’t figured out the important stuff. So why should I worry that she thinks I’m average? From what I recall from ten years ago, Evan wrote an angry email to Lori before the book came out and Lori emailed to apologize but who cares? Yeah, Evan dated more impressive women before he met me. Who did he marry? That’s all you need to know.
- This woman places way too much on her perception that Evan was operating under some sort of Spock-like logic. He wasn’t. He uses logic to explain his emotions to his readers. Contrary to what you may believe, we weren’t that couple with the power imbalance where one person was way more into the other. We had butterflies without anxiety. We didn’t worry if we were apart for a few days. We both knew this was a good relationship. Our feelings were even – and while “logical” sounds decidedly unsexy, we both took into account how great the relationship felt, especially in comparison to our previous relationships. As far as the claim that Evan was envious of a friend who had more passion… he was – at the time. That relationship ended in a bitter divorce after three years. Ours has been going strong for twelve years. That’s the very reason Evan cautions against blind passion.
- I once had a boyfriend – Dan – who was like Evan’s sexiest girlfriend, Erin. I always felt unsettled with Dan, like he was maybe going to cheat on me, which, ultimately, he did. Just because someone is the most physically attractive person in your past doesn’t mean that person makes for the best mate. And if I can feel that way about Dan, why can’t he feel that way about Erin? Do you think we should lie or keep secrets because our relationship is too fragile to tell the truth about the past?
- As to why I’m okay with Evan writing about all of this publicly? I’m secure. Evan only says what other men would like to say if they were allowed to be honest with their wives (which they’re not). Evan is allowed to be honest with me because I once married a guy who withheld his feelings and I didn’t like it. I allow and encourage him to tell these stories on his blog and in his programs because it’s his JOB and it’s for the greater good of the world. Evan’s whole purpose is to help others experience what we’ve experienced and if people still can’t understand that or want to try to tear it down, I don’t know what else to say.
Every second you’re with the wrong person, you’re not looking for the right person.
Our feelings were even — and while “logical” sounds decidedly unsexy, we both took into account how great the relationship felt, especially in comparison to our previous relationships.
I appreciate my wife taking time to respond to this blog post and I hope you do, too. I accept that part of my job is to engage with readers and address criticism where appropriate. My wife didn’t sign up for this job though, which is why I think it’s very gracious of her to directly address your perceptions of us as a couple.
In case it’s not 100% clear. I didn’t settle on a wife who wasn’t my original ideal. My wife didn’t settle on a husband who chose her with pure logic. We both compromised on the right things and consider ourselves very lucky to still be going strong twelve years and two kids later. Your comments below, are greatly appreciated.