My story is not a new one... but there may be a nugget of info here that helps another guy out there avoid my situation. Where to begin..
I was the "Alpha" in my pack. I didn't know it at the time, but it's true. I led, others followed. My friends took up my hobbies. I played guitar, so did they. I wanted to go listen to live music, so we did. I was an avid weightlifter, so they joined the gym to learn from me. The spouse was along for the ride, and very happy. Sex was great. We liked strip clubs. We liked porn. She was my buddy and my lover. She was my girl. Loved her to death. She was an educated woman. Doctorate. Well paid. I had a Bachelors degree. I made more $. Corporate job with high salary. Life was good.
Then... you may know what happens next. "Let's have a kid!" Been married 6 years already, life was good... why not?! I love kids. Always dreamed of having my own little rugrat.
On top of the kid, I wanted to start my own business. I had the money, the know-how, and the drive. She didn't feel secure. She was scared. I was the leader and showed her the way. She followed. Still not quite sure, but she defended me to anyone who questioned...
To make a long story short, I did the business for 5 years. Two of those years were good. The others were failures. There was no support from her during the down times. She deserved better. She wasn't about to curb her spending or budget in any way. She didn't know how and wasn't about to learn. During this time, we had two more kids (I know...). The debts piled. I would put together plans to pay off the debt... then we did pay it off... and then right back again. She spent. She couldn't stop herself. Nothing extravagant... but definitely not living within our means. She was a child lashing out. She was scared. I never put her in her place. Only half-hearted attempts.
Her job improved. She was promoted. Leader position. She made 50% more than me. Then the market crash happened. Clients stopped paying. One of my clients then hired me on full-time (thank God). I still was short of my old corporate pay. She still made more.
She had zero respect for me. I could say 2+2=4, and she would then check with friends and family first to confirm... and then months later tell me "Guess what, honey! You were right! 2+2 = 4!" This made me resent her.
I helped pick up the slack at home. Kids took up our spare time. I was Mr. Mom. Best dad you can imagine. Very loving guy. I didn't look good, physically. Whatever muscle I had was gone. I went back to the gym sporadically. Strength gone. I used to be able to bench with 120 lb dumbbells. Now 65 lbs was a struggle. My joints hurt. I lost my hair.
I was still the same goofy, funny sweet guy I always was.. but I lost my edge. I had been shit-tested down to a quivering nub of femininity.
She started working out more. Way more. Obsessively. That's where she met him.
He was exactly what she needed. He didn't take shit from her. He had multiple women at once. He was physically strong. He may have been dumb as a post, not very good-looking, and a bit of a redneck... but she didn't care. He pushed her buttons in the right combination, and she completely detached from me and the kids. It was just short of our 15 year anniversary.
I found out about them. She pursued him. He resisted at first. She was not going to be stopped. They had sex. A lot. No need for details... but my past IT experience allowed me to find out every single little thing. Texts. Emails. (He played the "game" to perfection, by the way. He should teach a class.) I was destroyed. Emotionally a complete wreck.
Since then, I've put myself back together. It took months, but I finally figured out what happened. I read books. I did therapy. I found you guys.
As a guy who is probably older than most here, I will share a few nuggets of wisdom from my perspective, as a dad who was married, divorced, banged skanks, hated women... and now understands them.
Every woman has the capability of doing what my ex did. All of them. It's up to you to prevent it. If they have a lot of baggage and emotional stress, they are more apt to do it. Red flags.. get to know them. Don't ignore them because she makes you feel like a million bucks. My ex had a horrible family life. Mom was an addict, brother an addict and convict, sister an addict, aaaaand... she was sexually assaulted as a kid. Oddly, I looked past all of this because she was so different than them and bettered herself in spite of all that. Very admirable, sure. But not spouse material in any way. She never dealt with these issues or sought out help. It was only a matter of time before she cracked.
Women are not evil. They are human beings. They are flawed. Stop pointing at bad things they do and say "Seee?!! They all do this!!" (a lot of posts here). Yeah.. and? So what. You put them on a super beautiful human pedestal and they proved you wrong. That's your fault. Sorry that society told you otherwise. Society says a lot of wrong shit. Suck it up, learn, and try again. I picked a shitty model with a broken CPU. There are better models out there. Unfortunately, they're very hard to find.
Don't give up on love. Sure, 90% of the women out there fall into the category of my ex, but there ARE good ones out there. Your experience and knowledge will help you sort out the bad from the good. Don't waste time with the bad. You're better than that. But, don't be afraid to show your appreciation and love for those that deserve it. Friends, family, girlfriends... if they deserve, you give it. Lots. IF THEY DESERVE IT. Love is not unconditional. If they don't give love in return or otherwise do you harm, that's their problem. They're gone from your life. They have no control over your well-being.
I've gotten to know many men in my position, or soon to be. The A #1 thing I notice from men putting up with sub-standard behavior... is the overwhelming sentiment of "Well, if I tell her THAT... she will be really pissed, or maybe LEAVE!" If you have that mindset, she has won, and it is over. You just don't know it yet. Women don't want to "win" all the time. You want the woman's respect, not to be her lap dog. This really goes for any relationship. Stand up for yourself, god damnit.
Women have emotions like a roller coaster. Whatever they are feeling at the time, that is reality. Plain and simple. Don't like it? I suggest you get a pet, instead. Sorry, brother. I know they are annoying a lot of the time and you can't fathom a life not based on our concept of reality.. but they're chicks. They have boobies and makes us feel awesome, but they're fucking nuts.
Been reading this sub (only thing on Reddit I read) for a while now. Back to the gym in a big way. On TRT now (this has made a world of difference). Looking for a different job. Hobbies started up again. I have the kids just over half the time. Being strong for them. They need the positive, moral role model in their life. Their mom is still nucking futs. Not in a good way.
Met lots of women. Most awful. Now have a long-term girlfriend who you would say is "very red pill". A wonderful person. Yes, she's younger. Yes, she's foreign. (Am I a RP cliche, or what?!). She's also very well-educated and has a very prestigious career. Not sure of her salary, nor do I care. I wouldn't care if tomorrow she tells me she wants to go work at Starbucks. She knows that because I bluntly told her. I love her for her... not for her career path (this is a shock to every single woman I have spoken to... that men aren't attracted to their success). What if tomorrow I found out she was cheating or somehow disloyal? I would certainly be hurt but I would just say "Next!".. and I mean it. She also knows this... because I bluntly told her. The expectations and boundaries have been plainly laid out. She's awesome, but I don't need her.
TL/DR: Nice guys finish last... but you knew this already. Just another red pill example. Rock on, fellas.