Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish

Q: I am so confused! My husband is a marine in the military and we are currently based in southern California.  As a part of his job he has to occasionally go to Twenty-nine Palms military base, often for up to six weeks.  We have been married for two years and are both 23.  We also have a one year old daughter.  I would say we have a good relationship, although it’s hard to be away and out of contact when he is in the field.  Lately, I have been feeling him pull away from me, even after periods of being away, he doesn’t seem that interested in spending time with me.  After his last deployment in Twenty-nine Palms, I found on his computer that he made a profile and had been chatting with girls from Plenty of Fish.  I confronted him on it, and he was furious that I had gone on his computer.  He then blew me off and told me that it was no big deal, all the guys did it when they were there to combat boredom, and that he never intended to meet up with any of the girls.  Although he continues to tell me to “chill out” and “its not a big deal”.  I am trying to get over it, and not continue to bug him about it, but I can’t stop thinking about it.  I’m obsessed with trying to figure out if he actually met up with one of the girls he was chatting with, and he doesn’t seem to care that I am hurt.  Am I crazy? How can I get him to be honest with me?

He: Bad sign number One: you guys are married with a child at age 23.

Why? Because today’s 23 year old male is essentially a child himself. This is not like the early days of the human male who was focused on his family’s survival and protection.  Fending off Sabre Toothed Tigers tends to make a man mature and responsible at a pretty early age. Today’s 23-year-old male tends to be focused solely on himself, and his fortitude is developed not by survival, but by playing Super Mario Brothers and watching Sports Center.  This is a recipe for a disappointment to anyone trying to foster a meaningful, mature relationship with him.

Bad sign number Two: He has a profile on Plenty of Fish.

Why? Because he has a really short attention-span and is already bored with the marriage. (This is a symptom of Bad sign number One).

Bad sign number Three:  He is not remorseful or apologetic for placing the Plenty of Fish profile.

Why? He is immature and self-interested (This is also a symptom of Bad sign number One).

He claims boredom drove him to this deed, and in a way he is right. Modern military personnel and campaigns often have a lot of down time. There is very little storming the beaches of Normandy or mounting a Tet Offensive up there in Twenty-nine Palms. Guys with idle time often get themselves into trouble. So as an alternative to creating internet hook-up site profiles to kill the boredom, you could suggest something more wholesome, like Sudoku or masturbation.   Beyond that, your only alternative is to make an ultimatum regarding his participation in hook-up sites. Try to trust and try not to nag. If he lets you down, you might need to get out of the marriage. He’ll probably be ready for that level of responsibility in 5-10 years.

She: I couldn’t agree with Andy more regarding the grim outlook for two people marrying and having babies at the age of 23 (I am desperately trying to hold off on barreling into my soapbox rant on how I believe the military’s policies inadvertently, and irresponsibly promote these marriages- usually between people barely out of puberty and typically with around a three month courtship).  Never the less, here we are.  Unfortunately, your husband is actually behaving exactly like a 23 year old should.  What he is forgetting is that he is in a committed, monogamist, relationship. Or is he?

It is not uncommon for relationships to go through rough times.  As a couple’s therapist, I work with people all the time who are trying to work through trust issues, typically as a consequence of a betrayal.  This is tough, but not impossible- therapy can not only help people work through these issues, but can give them the tools to be a happier and more connected couple.  There is really only one requirement; each person has to be committed to the relationship and the process.  What I read pretty clearly from the description of your husband’s behavior is that there is a big question as to the level of his commitment.  There is no way you are going to be able to trust him again unless he works to earn that trust (by giving you access to all of his media, engaging in heartfelt remorse, helping you to understand the reasons for his actions, and reassuring you when you are feeling doubtful or distrusting). I have very seriously doubt that he has any desire to engage in this kind of healing process.  Sadly, this leaves you with few choices.  If I were you, I would make a choice about how you want to be treated in your relationship, and accept no less.  If this is the right relationship for you, your husband is going to do everything he can to make sure that he does not lose you.  If he is not able to treat you in the manner that you expect, cut your losses and go find someone that will treat you well, and wants to fully commit to you.

Just a side note- if this relationship self-destructs and you find yourself on the market again, do yourself a favor and date around for a few years.  Don’t just hook up with the first guy that crosses your path, and please date for longer than three months before getting married again!

Dr. Jen Semmes and Andy Wilson have been (mostly) happily married for nine years (currently happily).  They are the owners of Coastal Counseling therapy center in Carlsbad, California.  Jen holds a license in clinical social work and a doctorate in psychology, and is a therapist at Coastal Counseling. Andy just tries to hold it together.

If you, or anyone you know, has a question for ‘He said, She said’ please send a private message to Coastal Counseling on Facebook or email the question to info@coastalcounselinggroup.com.

 

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