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Missive #79

My efforts to find some way to transition WordPress Pages other than the tried a true button and link method have concluded. I did find a plugin that did what I wanted somewhat but it also killed my Responsive Menu. It also was just lipstick on a pig; it took just as long for the page to open as when using the link method.

What I have done now is changed the button from an arrow to a customized button with guiding words in the button e.g. Begin and Continue. I also looked into adding some animation during the time that the new is page loading just to give the user assurance that something is happening after they click on the button. I tried 4-5 different plugins with maybe 3 of them working; but the animation ran as long, or longer, than just waiting for the page to open without the animation. The others didn’t work at all.

What I now have that is working is a plugin that will ‘prefetch’ the page that the button click is to open. The pages still do take time to open but I think they do so about half as quick as they did in my home grown website. Opening maybe a third quicker than without the ‘prefetch’; — WordPress is slow.

Ask the Assassin: Thoughts on Marriage, or
Why the Hell Are You Asking Me, Anyway?
By John Ross

Copyright 2005 by John Ross.  Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately with the usual requests for relationship advice.  For some reason, many of them ask my advice on marriage. Most of these requests are from men, but not all.  As to why these people are looking to me for direction, I haven’t the faintest notion, but I’ll take a whack at it.

    Before I start, understand that I am divorced, and have been for four years, after a ten-year marriage and one child.  My ex-wife and I are on very good terms (in my opinion), with us often laughing together and otherwise enjoying each other’s company while watching our daughter at various sporting events and school performances, or afterwards at lunch.  The man she’s living with and engaged to is a great guy, and, unless he reads this and gets cold feet, they should be married this summer.  I’d be pleased to have him be stepfather to my daughter. 

    That said, my advice to any successful man who is wondering if he should get married would be to hold off.  Marriage is something we go into full of hope and expectation, and all too often end up in bitter, hostile battles in court.  If you recognize this fact in advance of marriage, you can take steps to lessen the chances of it happening, or lower the severity if it happens in spite of your best efforts.

    For the single best compilation of the reasons that marriage for men now has a terribly unfavorable risk/reward ratio, go to www.dontmarry.com.  The author of this blunt and sobering (but deadly accurate) piece says he’s in his early 30s and has never been married.  If that’s true (and I have no reason to think it isn’t), he has certainly done his homework and talked to a lot of people who have been married to catalog their experiences.  Read his piece.  If you’re still thinking marriage might be a good bet for you, what follows are my thoughts on increasing the likelihood of a successful union.

Improving Your Chances for a Successful Marriage

1.  Find someone with values similar to your own.  This is much easier said than done.  Your honey may tell you she agrees with such concepts as saving and budgeting, but has she actually saved any money at all?  Even worse, does she have a current debt load?  Guess what–it’s about to become your problem, and it’s only going to get bigger.  Concerning finances, the “values” rule applies doubly: If possible, marry sideways.  Marrying up too often means getting a control freak.  Marrying down means getting an economic sinkhole.  Related test: How impressed are you with your future in-laws?  They’re the same gene pool…

2. Discuss both of your expectations for the future.  Be candid here.  This is not the time to be embarrassed or self-conscious.  Explain your goals and your concerns.  The main purpose here is not to blindly believe her reassurances, but to make her realize that some things are going to be deal-killers for you.

3.  Be honest with yourself.  Understand that you are taking a tremendous risk, in the hope of achieving something wonderful.  Over half of all marriages end in divorce, but that’s only part of the equation.  Most of the couples who don’t get divorced stay married for reasons other than liking it. 

4. Have a “Plan B” drawn up in your mind.   Marriage is something that is extremely easy to get into and very difficult (expensive and emotionally devastating) for a man to get out of.  When I say “get out of,” I’m including the many cases where the husband is being forced to get out of the marriage–over 70% of divorce proceedings are initiated by the wife.  I have no proof, but I firmly believe that a man who, before he marries, is unwilling to even think about what will happen in a divorce greatly increases his chances of a really bad divorce happening to him.

5. Don’t marry a woman who’s been married before, unless she’s a widow.  The only other exception is if the union was brief and childless, and the divorce no more acrimonious than breaking up with a boyfriend.  This may sound harsh, but there are some real land mines that come with a divorcee. In most cases, if you get to know the ex-husband (on your own, not through her), you’ll find he’s either a decent man or a jerk.

    See the problem here?  If he’s a decent man, why did they get divorced? Because she was never satisfied, always unhappy, nothing good enough for her, etc?  Not good.  But if he’s a jerk, why on earth did she marry him? Men stay the same.  She pretty much had to know what he was like–is her judgment that bad? Another red flag.

6. Just live together.  It’s much easier and cheaper to get divorced if you never got married in the first place.  It is also my observation that drastically reducing the size of a woman’s “golden parachute” greatly increases the chances she will be a suitable long-term mate. 

    The single most-successful “marriage” I know of involves two very good friends who live in Colorado where I vacation.  After they had been living together for about six months, the man confided to me that they would likely not be together the next time I visited.  His girlfriend wanted to get married, he told me, and he wasn’t going to do that.  He’d had one divorce and that was more than enough for him.  When she gave him the ultimatum, he would wish her well on his way out the door.

    That was in 1975.  They are still together.  Here’s the punch line: The woman looks just as good today at 58 as she did 30 years ago!  She wears the same size 6 dresses, looks great in a bathing suit, and makes no secret of liking lots of sex with her mate.  And to top it off, she runs her own business that she started about 20 years ago that now provides her with a low-six-figure income.  Her younger sister, who used to be very cute, got the piece of paper and now looks like she could be my friend’s mother.  She’s about double the weight she was 30 years ago and in commensurate poor health.  When she and her husband come to visit the Colorado couple, her husband’s disappointment is palpable…

Next Week:  Stuff you can do in advance to reduce your own exposure to emotional and financial ruin if things don’t go as hoped.

5/7/05 Update:  Got this email from a woman today:

Mr. Ross: You offer some interesting and mostly dead-on relationship advice, but I must point out one serious flaw. You state “Men stay the same” and go on to advise men not to marry divorced women. Let me tell you, NOTHING changes a man faster than money. After two years of being happily married (spankings and all), my ex-husband was promoted and his income more than doubled with commissions. Talk about night and day. Suddenly, he was a “big-wig” out drinking with the clients almost every night because it was “good for his business”. NEVER before we were married did he show any sign of being an abusive person or an alcoholic. EVER.  But, as the drinking and pressure escalated, the beatings began.  I got the SHIT beat out of me because he “lost a deal”.
The  man would wake me from a DEAD sleep to start a fight when he was drunk, so don’t think I provoked it either.  Please don’t lead men to believe that all divorced women are unmarriable because we either had poor judgment (I don’t) or we come with loads of emotional baggage just because we’re divorced through our own necessary self-preservation. If only I had a crystal ball…men CAN and DO change.  What a shallow remark to make from an otherwise insightful man.  I’m sure there are lots of women out there like me who are hot and marriable and just wish for another chance without the stigma of “divorced” over her pretty head.  I personally don’t even want my first marriage to “count”. 

I’ve since met other women whose husbands or exes have had similar reactions to sudden financial growth. You’re wrong.  Men don’t ALWAYS stay the same.

PS. I am the one who stayed HOT while HE got a beer belly!

    You would be an exception to my guideline about divorced women, and that’s all they are, guidelines.  I have a few friends who married divorced women and have happy, stable unions.  If I met you and liked you and found out your history, I wouldn’t write you off, although I would be on the lookout for you projecting your ex.’s inexcusable behavior on to me, and that would pretty much be cause for me to say “Next.”

    I’ve not personally witnessed the phenomenon you describe of sudden financial growth creating a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation with men, but I have no doubt you are 100% accurate in your description of what happened in your case.  All the men I know with lots of money got there fairly steadily, without any overnight doublings of their income (with the obvious exception of inheritances, injury settlements, sale of business, etc.)  In these cases of financial growth there isn’t the kind of jump in stress level you describe that your husband had from his job.

    Thanks for saying that my relationship advice is “mostly dead-on” and confirming once more that lots of pretty women like to be spanked.

John Ross  4/19/2005

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