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When You Married a Jerk

In contemporary Western culture, there are no arranged marriages so I always wonder why women end up with jerks. Few women deliberately choose a horrible, no-good man as a mate yet I can’t tell you how many times women ask me, “How did I end up with this jerk?”

“Why the [bleep] did I marry him?”
I often wonder in my head: “Were you drunk?” “Were you forced into it?” “Did he have a lot of money/fame/power?” Usually, it’s none of the above. You simply got intoxicated by how his strengths called to your weaknesses. Passion and chemistry blind-sided your better judgment. You feared being alone was worse than being with a less-than-perfect man. You choose to ignore the red flags in the name of hope. He wanted you. He needed you. You thought you could fix him.

But then his negatives began to overshadow his positives
You claim that he changed but it is more like his true nature emerged. He put his best face forward but as the relationship became permanent, he didn’t have to be on his best behavior. It takes too much effort to keep up over time, and he already snagged you.

So what do you do with this jerk?
Jerks are often wounded, selfish or ignorant people who don’t recognize how they affect those around them. Every wise, time-proved wife will tell you that you cannot change your husband at least directly. You can love him and hope that this works its magic over time. Love has worked miracles in many a husband. But you have to decide for the sake of your and your children’s well-being if staying with this jerk is a healthy, doable, sustainable plan of action. There are many levels of jerk-dom from annoying, selfish jerk all the way to abusive, dangerous jerk. Ask yourself: Was he so deceitful in how he presented himself before marriage that it is as though you made vows to a completely different person? Is this marriage toxic and destructive? Do you love him? Do you leave him?

If your jerk is not especially harmful, just frustrating or embarrassing or disappointing, your continued love can make a difference and even spark within him the motivation to become a better person. Focus on his good points. If you criticize him, the negative energy will bring out more negativity within him. He will likely react by being defensive and angry. More of a jerk. Like attracts like.

Instead, praise his positives and he will bring forth more of that side of him. For example, if you don’t like the way he mistreats servers, you can remark with genuine appreciation when you notice when he treats a server with some patience, “That was really great of you to be patient with that server. I noticed that she is frazzled and after you spoke with her, she smiled. That small act on your part really made a difference in her day. I love that.”

People generally repeat what brings them praise and good feelings. Overlook his faults as much as you can because we all have our own faults and need our mates to do the same for us. We just might be surprised that we might behave in jerky ways without realizing it, too.

“Stop Being an A-hole! You’re Ruining Your Relationship!”
This title is on the reverse of the following two-in-one flipbook.

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