Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

The Hen-pecked Man

The hen-pecked man.

In a Wall Sreet Journal column entitled "Do Not Put Me In Charge", Jonathan Shapiro talked of how today's American men are not leading their families. They have ceded control to their wives and their girlfriends.

This acquiescence of responsibility in the relationship occurs early in the initial courtship of the couple. Many American men are voluntarily giving up control of the romance in return for acceptance, companionship and sexual relations. They bury their needs, feelings and goals to accommodate their mate. They would rather be in a poor relationship than no relationship.

One strain of American men that are mentally capable of loving women but unfortunately use deceit to gain a sexual relationship are called "hen-pecked." The hen-pecked man  may be a "good" person, but he has bought into the predominant cultural view that the romantic ends justify the means.

Despite healthy motives, he eventually begins to feel resentful. After the Honeymoon peak of the romance fades, the hen-pecked man begins to tire of always accommodating his partner. She has no idea why his heart is no longer in the activitites and events he seemed to enjoy so much with her during their early courtship.

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The only way for the hen-pecked man to preserve the romance is to continue to accede to her wishes. Thus he feels trapped. He eventually looks to his beloved  as his oppressor and often begins to live a secret life, doing the things he really enjoys.

Tiger Woods text message to Lover #1, Rachel Uchitel, indicates that he had reached this point in his marriage to Elin Nordegren when his dual life was exposed. He texted, "I know it's brutal on you that you can't be with me all the time. I get it. It [expletive deleted] kills me too. I finally found someone I connect with." In Tiger's case he resented being married to Elin Nordegren and lived a secret life of sexual encounters until a fateful Thanksgiving night. 

There is a terrible long-term cost to society by these compliant wimps who observe the letter of the law but secretly yearn to be free of a woman of clashing temperaments and few if any shared interests. This 21st Century submersion of the male in marriage is a big factor in the unprecedented failure of heterosexual relations in America.  

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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