Was requested that I x-post this from MRP. I don't usually post to TRP, so slap me if I mess up on the posting rules. Keep in mind, I'm married with two young kids.
Summary: When you are focused on making your wife/LTR happy, you aren't focused on making you happy. Result: you become unhappy. Act like you're single to get that happiness back.
This is a post for newbies and intermediates alike. Pros should hopefully be past it, but I don't know. I'm mostly intermediate still.
Act as if you were single
It sounds harsh, acting like you're not married. I mean, this woman is the most important woman in your life, and it is your job as a husband to at least consider her when you are making decisions about your time, money, and attention. You didn't get married just to act like you were single again.
So try acting like you're single. I can see the response now. Deer in the headlights. The idea isn't as much appalling as it is baffling and foreign. Many of you are so far up your wife's asses that you can't fathom acting independently from her.
For the ladies: when you are privileged, equality feels like oppression.
Or, for the men:
When you are a doormat, a healthy balance feels like asshole alpha, ew yuck.
See, men, we are designed to lead. We are designed to take charge. And women are designed to follow. Sure, many of them aren't really good at that, but 1) should that change whether you lead or not? and 2) its partly your fault she is that way, so suck it up for now and lead better from here on out.
When you run every mental idea through the filter of "what would wifey want", you are actually the follower. As much as TFA preaches about keeping her on her toes, do you think he's actually spending the majority of his day thinking about what would get his wife wet? God, I hope not. I hope he, like myself and other hopeless romantics, are spending our time and energy building ourselves, our careers, our muscles, our children, our friendships, and our awesomeness, so that when we do want to turn on our women its exponentially easier.
There are two scenarios in which acting like you're single is especially useful.
1) You're new and desperate to throw off the chains of your blue pill conditioning. Like I said, you're going to feel like you're being a neglectful husband when you go out with friends without asking her... but if she were just your roommate and you were single, would you ask your roommate if you could go out with friends? You might feel like you're sending the wrong signal when you start handling your own laundry, meals, schedule, bed time, and routine (especially if she's slacking in these areas)... but if you were just roommates, wouldn't you do that anyway? Installing this mental check valve will help you learn how little you need your wife. Congratulations, you found your big boy pants again.
2) You're not sure if this marriage is going to work out, or if you even want it to anymore. I find myself in this camp currently. Acting like you're single when you're considering, planning, or executing an exit strategy will help your confidence as you start to depend less and less on her input. Because soon you won't have it anymore, even if you wanted it. Plus, it will send a message of independence, and maybe, just maybe, she'll take the hint, start stepping up to the plate, and add enough value to your life to convince you to stay.
Big personal example: we're in the process of refinancing our house, flipping it into rental income, and buying our dream home in the nice older area of town. I don't consult her on anything. Sure, I present her options and get her opinion, but its mostly trivial shit like "is this kitchen good enough, since you'll spend 10 hours a day in it?", and always only options that I've already ok'd. The husband's pre-approval, so to speak. Guess what? The mid-century style that I love, which she historically hated, is now an option because I showed her an awesome mid-century house, without asking gasp, and whaddayaknow, she fell in love with it. Its currently at the top of the list. Easy peasy, and I didn't have to break my head trying to convince her. I didn't care enough to.
Small personal example: I used to hang around the kitchen/dining/living area when I would read books or play with the kids, just in case she needed my help. Then I started asking myself, "Would I hang around a roommate, waiting to see if he would need help?" Fuck no. I would hang out with a roommate if we were doing awesome shit together. Besides that, I have my life and he has his. So I have my life now, and my wife has hers, and if she wants to join mine she better come to my side. Its more awesome anyway, we have laughs and six packs (the muscly kind).
Once you've gone "full rambo" (you asshole, you), you will have tasted both sides of the fence and will have a much better grasp on how attached you actually want to be. It might be time, then, to add a little consideration back in. If she's worth it.
Lesson learned: if you find your focus sinking towards your LTR or wife like a black hole, act like you're single anyway.