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Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to rescue you from boredom or shutdown-induced delirium. 

As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

With that in mind, let’s roll.

“A great friend of mine who has been married for 14 years and has 2 young children recently confided in me that his wife has been having an affair.  This situation is about as bad as it gets.  While she professes to be a Christian, she has gone off the deep end to what amounts to a full on mid-life crisis.  She has told him she doesn’t love him, hasn’t loved him in a long time and wants to be single. She has no real reasons to leave him. He is an honorable man. He is a wonderful father, faithful and incredibly successful in business.  He provides for her an existence most women would dream of. 

She offers ZERO apologies for the affair. She blames him for everything. She calls him boring, their life without passion or purpose and gets furious with him when he tries to win her over and attempt to fix any issue she might perceive. She refuses couples therapy or wise counsel. My wife and I have known them since the beginning and we are blown away at her callousness and cruelty towards him.

Here’s where my question comes into play. I have refrained from giving any advice in terms of actions as i feel it needs to be his decision. I have more focused on being a source of encouragement.  He has told no one else but me and my wife. Not even his family knows. And despite the fact that she has destroyed him in every possible way and shows no desire to even attempt to salvage the marriage and family, he is still in love with her and is willing to put up with this affair (she freely admits when she leaves the house she is going to see “him”) in the hopes she will realize what a mistake she is making and come back to him.  He is the ultimate “beta” male.  

Would you, oh wise one, call him out on this and tell him to sack up?  It pains me to see how hurt he is,  but it almost pains me more to see his lack of a spine. Should I tell him to DBAP?”

What should happen is he should file for divorce, but I suspect he already knows this and is holding out hope she’s going to come to her senses and realize she really wants to be with him and has actually loved him all along. I think everyone reading this knows that’s highly unlikely, but it’s clearly what he’s hoping based on his behavior.

It’s a tough compliment to give, but at least if your spouse is keeping an affair secret it’s (small) evidence he or she cares about you enough to keep their indiscretions private. That’s not even the case in this situation at all, which means this is even more of an indictment of her behavior and his reaction to it.  

Which is why if his wife had any respect for him at all, she’d at least file for divorce herself since he won’t. But it seems like she has so little respect for him she’s basically calling him out as a bitch because she realizes he’s not willing to stand up for himself and she can do whatever she’d like. 

As a result she’s literally walking out of the house telling him she’s going to bang someone else. 

And he’s not doing anything about it!

This is MUCH worse than being a cuck because at least then you are consenting to the behavior, this is just being a bitch.  

Again, the key here is he’s not consenting to this behavior at all. Some couples have open marriages. If both members of the marriage consent, that’s their choice. But that’s not the case here. She is blatantly disrespecting him. Arguably she’s even flaunting her behavior in a way she knows is upsetting him, which means far from getting back together again, she may actively despise or hate him. 

He has to file for divorce; I just don’t see any other solution here. 

And honestly not only should he file for divorce, he should probably stand up to the guy who is banging his wife, if only to try and get his self-respect back. 

But here’s the problem: deep down he probably knows what he should do in this situation. Which is why you’re asking a more complicated question, how do you convince a friend to stand up for himself? And the toughest thing about this is you can’t convince anyone else to make the right decision. You can encourage him, and you can support him, but you can’t make him do what deep down he already knows he should do.

“So the day that George Floyd got killed, a buddy of mine (who says he is republican, but also dates a super far left wing liberal) comes into the group chat and is outraged by what has transpired.  Now this group chat is filled with about 10-12 of our tight knit high school group from 3 years ago.  So like anyone else I agree with my buddy and also agree that what happened to George Floyd was completely unacceptable. Now this is where we start to disagree. He starts going on and on about how this has opened his eyes to the “systemic racism” that is in America.  Now I am a self proclaimed republican, and I can say that I honestly agree with about 90% of the things you say, and base my opinions off of facts and statistics rather than feelings. So being myself, I disagree with him and site a few sources that would disagree with his point. He then suddenly becomes a massive snowflake and starts to tell me how wrong I am and that basically we can no longer be friends because I offended him so bad. So he takes a few screenshots of the chats (this was on snapchat so we were notified of the screenshots), and starts to send them to his girlfriend. She then decides to post some of what was said on her Instagram story and starts to message me telling me how wrong I am and that my opinion basically makes me a racist. She finally leaves me alone, and here I am thinking that this whole situation is over with, only to find out that my buddy has posted a full essay about how systemic racism exists (his girlfriend obviously wrote the post btw) on Instagram along with the screenshots from the group (only the ones that portray me in a bad way).  So for the next 2-3 days I get multiple comments on my answer to his post along with multiple messages telling me how bad of a person I am and how racist I am, when all I did was site multiple FACTS, and argument points that I have heard from Ben Shapiro, Brandon Tatum, Larry Elder… etc.   

First, should I do anything else about the situation or should I just let it be? (the last message/comment that I received was Friday) Second, have I been cancelled?”

The first thing I’d be upset about is the precedent we are setting that private conversations are valid for public dissemination if someone decides to post them. I just think this is wrong. In many states you couldn’t, for instance, tape a phone conversation and then publicly release that phone conversation because there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and you aren’t consenting to your conversation being recorded. I believe we should establish a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to private messages like these as well which aren’t posted on a public forum. 

The entire purpose of having a private text conversation — as opposed to a public one on a public social media platform — is to allow people to speak frankly. 
This is even more true when you’re writing inside Snapchat, which provides you with evidence any time someone screenshots what’s taking place there. Granted this is a group chat, but there’s still a big difference between consenting to reading what everyone’s writing on that group chat and what’s being disseminated to the larger public.

So I think you have every right to be upset with your friend for posting a private conversation. His behavior is, frankly, indefensible, no matter what the topic of conversation is. 

It becomes even more indefensible when he posts your private chat and then proceeds to attack you, IN PUBLIC FOR ALL TO SEE, to make himself look better. That is, he’s not only using your private words — out of context, I might add — he is then responding to your words in a public forum without your response to those comments. It’s an obsequious level of virtual signaling, to be honest. 

My question isn’t whether you’ve been “canceled,” whatever that means, it’s why would you want to continue to be friends with someone who would do this to you? Once someone has taken a private conversation and gone public with it, what reason do you have to trust them any more? 

Look, I understand we’re in a particularly emotional time, but I think facts matter even more in times like these. 

And what I don’t hear anyone asking is this, why should I care about your feelings? I’m not trying to be an asshole by asking that question, I care about the feelings of people I’m close to — my wife, my family — but even in my household I don’t accept feelings as an argument that somehow validates the underlying argument itself. 

Let me explain: if my kids come to me feeling bad about something, it’s not my job as a parent to validate every feeling they have. For instance, if my kids come to me and say, “Dad, I’m bored,” I always respond by saying, “That’s not my problem. I’m not here to entertain you all day, you need to be able to find ways to entertain yourself.”
Being bored is a feeling, but it’s also a choice. 

It’s amazing how often my kids aren’t bored if I tell them I’ve got some chores they can do. 

Similarly, if they come to me angry and say, “Dad, mom grounded me from the XBox and it’s not fair!” I don’t immediately accept the premise of their feelings because just because they feel a certain way doesn’t make it valid.

And the same thing is true, as my wife will tell you, when we get in arguments with each other. 

I’m open to accepting how someone feels, but there needs to be evidence to support that feeling. So you have to win me over to any argument by supporting it with factual data. 

And what I’ve found is most people can’t do that. 

I remember several years ago we were having a group meeting at my old radio station and someone was upset and poured out all their feelings. And after that moment there was a long pause, and then I just said, “Why should I care about your feelings?”

And you could see everyone’s jaw just drop. 

Because right now everyone kneels at the high altar of feelings as if they are all that matters, but feelings are emotions and emotions are often not rooted in any factual reality. So why should I spend my valuable time trying to deal with how you feel? Your feelings are your responsibility, not mine. 

What’s more, why should your feelings take precedence over mine? I have tons of feelings too, but I don’t spend the day walking around telling people I’m sad or angry or happy and expect you to adjust your behavior to change the way I feel. I live my life. 

Early on in our marriage my wife was talking about all the drama outside our house in a tangential family situation and I was like, “I really don’t care.” And I think she was shocked because it kind of goes against the husband grain to just be direct like that. But I’m not someone who gets wrapped up in things I can’t control. That’s different than most people. Most people spend an inordinate amount of their time worrying about things they can’t control. I don’t. You can expend a tremendous amount of emotional energy on things you can’t control and I find that an inefficient use of my time.

Now I care about a lot of people and I want them to be happy, but ultimately that’s their decision, not mine. 

I believe the best thing you can teach someone, or tell them, is that the only person you can control is yourself. You are responsible for how you feel and you how attack the day, nothing else. (Granted you’re responsible for your kids if they’re minors, but I think what you have to teach them is that they aren’t fragile and they need to be able to control their feelings too.)

I think we’ve made a huge error in our country, and around the world, in validating this idea, “If you feel it, it’s real.”

No, often times, that isn’t the case at all. 

People feel things all the time that are 100% not real.      

Back to the larger issue, this is a complete abuse of your relationship. Yes, you can say you shouldn’t ever send any messages you aren’t comfortable being published everywhere, but the entire purpose of a conversation like this should be to be honest. Sharing this communication defeats the entire purpose of the conversation and I wouldn’t participate in it any longer.

I’d also probably abandon the friendship as well.

“My girlfriend of about 6 months went on a beach trip with her friends this past weekend. For a little background, I am 24 and she is 21. We have different political views; she is pretty far left and I lean right, but we don’t talk about politics with each other and her views don’t bother me. When she got back Sunday night, she told me that she told her friends on the trip that I was like a “treat from God” because I have treated her so well in our relationship (she has had some troubled relationships in the past, and I guess I’m also just that good).

Yesterday, she confronted me about my political views and accused me of contributing to the racism, sexism, and homophobia in the US because I was unwilling to concede that President Trump represents those qualities.  She cited the coronavirus pandemic response, BLM protests/riots, and recent Title 7 legislation (which she is misinformed on in my opinion) as evidence that Trump is akin to Hitler (she legitimately said that). She used name-calling and appeals to emotion to try to prove her points, whereas I based my opinions on facts and data. My question is have these types of people gone insane, or am I misinformed on this topic? And if I’m not, should I even be trying to make this relationship work? You are probably the most fair, objective, and sane person in the media and I trust that you have a well-informed and unbiased opinion on the president.”

Look, I understand everything is political now, but anyone who argues Donald Trump is akin to Hitler is completely delusional. That’s not an adult conversation — or argument — and anyone arguing that has limited historical knowledge and complete Trump Derangement Syndrome. Trump’s greatest political asset may well be that he manages to convince people who don’t like him to behave even more ridiculously than he does.

The wildest thing to me about the coronavirus is the same people who spent years arguing Trump was Hitler immediately wanted him to take more executive power to respond to the coronavirus. If anything, Trump gave too much leeway to some of the idiot governors in this country. In other words, when faced with the biggest crisis of his presidency, Trump chose not to take as much political power as he could have, which is the exact opposite of what a leader like Hitler would have done.   

I don’t agree with everything Trump does, but that’s been the case with every president so far, and I suspect it will be the case with every president for the rest of my life. 

I want Trump to be successful because that means the country will be successful. If he loses to Joe Biden then I’ll want Joe Biden to be successful because that will mean the country is doing well also. There’s a huge section of population that is willing to root for bad things to happen in this country because they so desperately want to be “right.” I think that’s ludicrous. 

I’d tell your girlfriend that you think her opinion is completely wrong and ask her for specific things Trump has done to support her assertions. When you request that information, there’s generally very little that is forthcoming. Because most of it is rooted in emotion, not factual reality.

As always send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.  

And thanks for reading and supporting Outkick. 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is an author, radio show host, lawyer, TV analyst, and the founder and lead writer of Outkick (formerly known as Outkick the Coverage).
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One Comment

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  1. Hey Clay,
    I just signed up yesterday for the annual membership. I think you and Jason will be a great together and you’ll have the smartest and most insightful platform for all the sports America loves!
    I apologize in advance re the Anon Mailbag because I only started visiting Outkick about a week ago and I don’t know the history or the tradition of the Mailbag, but I don’t see why you want to be in the “Dear Abby” business. I don’t see any value added to Outkick by indulging it. Thanks, Clay!
    Best wishes
    Rich

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