Another incredible story from Relationship Reddit:

Before we go into this, however, it’s important to address the elephant in the room:

Is this story even real?

You have to be cautious with anonymous internet posts, as you have no idea if people are actually telling you the truth… or whether they are making it up to troll and get a reaction out of strangers.

I admit I was suspicious of this story, until I saw this in the comments section. Then it began to make sense:

Obviously, we only have her side of the story. And there is more on this I will comment on in a bit.

But the guy is a control freak.

It wasn’t about the mustard, it was about her not doing exactly what he wanted.

But why does he care so much about her doing exactly what he wants?

He doesn’t feel respected or appreciated in the relationship. But because he is ashamed about his needs and doesn’t know how to communicate, he tries to use manipulation and force to get them.

Mustard was meaningless. If he felt like she cared about his needs he wouldn’t try to get her to eat it. Indeed, he would go out of his way to get her exactly what she wanted.

But they don’t have a connected relationship. They have separate bank accounts. They don’t have kids. They don’t seem to even have sex very often, or at least she appears to regularly say no to it.

The relationship is a classic example of an anxious-avoidant dynamic that has reached its breaking point.

There is a reason she doesn’t have any friends and he has a ton: she doesn’t try to create connections with people in general. She is avoidant. Conversely, the validation of a large circle is important for him. He is anxious. This is also why he is so adamant about forcing blowjobs and ultimately what sort of condiment she uses: he has defaulted to controlling her to feel connected to her.

Of course the advice this woman is given is terrible. Reddit relationship advice is probably some of the worst in the world. Notice it is all neurotic and entitled women complaining about how she needs to leave him immediately. There is ZERO examination of what led the relationship to this point, and whether the woman had anything to do with it. This audience of cat ladies wants her to throw away years of marriage and join them in the abyss.

Not that I am in any way justifying the guy’s behavior. He is a “nice guy” at his core, and is afraid to own his needs and communicate them clearly. He wants more connection and intimacy, yet he is afraid to ask for it directly — so he goes about it in a distorted, unattractive way. And when his needs aren’t met, rather than have boundaries and move on towards someone who is willing to care, he’s tried to manipulate her into showing she cares.

Even now, as it appears like they are going to get divorced this same dynamic is playing out. He is telling her he is going to leave “because she won’t do X,” yet he is still reaching out to her (anxious attachment “protest behavior”), while she is simply not saying anything at all (avoidant attachment).

These are the likely outcomes for the couple if they don’t seek help:

  1. They get divorced. The guy is a wreck at first but ultimately meets another girl and gets serious with her. While he probably does not learn his full lesson, he has experienced enough pain in this marriage to date a girl with less avoidance. Nevertheless similar patterns repeat and he ends ups sexually and emotionally frustrated.

    She doesn’t express much but is quietly devastated — now she is truly alone. Does some casual dating but because she is not aware of how her own fear of intimacy led to the collapse of her own relationship, as she has no honest support network, she spends the rest of her life single.

  2. They stay together. Fear of loss kicks in for both of them and they reunite. He never makes her eat mustard again. But resentment remains high in the relationship, and he is has to suppress his needs further. Best case scenario some marginal improvements are made and they settle for a “cold peace,” otherwise outcome a) in the coming months/years becomes an inevitability.

But what happens if they do seek help?

  1. They get divorced. They guy is a wreck at first but then comes to take responsibility for how his actions caused things to end the way they did. He starts to focus on meeting his needs, and learns how to communicate them better. Most importantly he develops boundaries — if he tells a woman what is important to him, and she refuses to satisfy it or is emotionally distant — he leaves the relationship. He ends up in a fantastic relationship with a woman who makes his needs a priority.

    She comes to understand how her emotional distance created a dysfunctional relationship, and starts opening herself up more to others. She meets another guy who is less needy, and who gives her the space to start to test what intimacy feels like.

  2. They stay together. The mustard incident becomes a shot across the bow that things need to change. The guy starts to come clean about his fears and emotional needs; she starts to express her feelings more. They get clear on each others love languages and begin to offer them more. He puts less pressure on her, she becomes more affectionate. Their relationship becomes intimate and respectful.

The only problem?

Most guys will not seek help. And so if this guy is like most guys, his future is the bad options — not the good ones.

Because most guys would rather be in bad relationships the rest of their lives rather than face the fact that they have problems — and that they need help to solve them.

Men simply hate asking for help — especially when it comes to women. It’s “humiliating.” They would rather struggle on their own, and get middling outcomes if it means sparing their pride. They would rather waste their time than use their money on something that would save it. They care more about ego than happiness.

But that is how it is.

Coaching men is a niche business for a reason.

Only a handful are truly ready to humble themselves and change.

If you are one of them, apply here:

– Pat