Killing a marriage takes time and real work, especially if you want your spouse to be the one to end it. Frustratingly, your spouse will probably try to resist your efforts to end the marriage and even try to “do better”.
So what to do? Well, what you do not do is be honest with your spouse. You could easily end up looking like the bad guy, especially if you don’t really have a good reason for wanting out of the marriage. For example, being bored with married sex doesn’t exactly count as a good reason to most other people.
So … what you need to do instead is slowly drive your spouse crazy until they’re the ones who want out. If you play it just right, you can even hold yourself out as the good guy who wanted to save the marriage and leave your spouse feeling vaguely guilty about wanting the divorce.
My education on these kill-your-marriage techniques comes from the School of Hard Knocks. I’ve had 33 years of married life spread over three marriages. Two ended in divorce. The third one is a happy one. And for extra credit, let me throw in a broken-off engagement.
So below are my eight underhanded, blame-shifting, sure-fire steps to kill your marriage. Start with step 1 and then work your way down the list. Hopefully, your spouse will give up on the marriage by the time you reach step four or five. For good measure, push forward on several steps at the same time.
Step 1. Start before you’re married by not really caring.
The person who cares the least about a relationship has the most power. So be diffident about marrying the other person. This will give you control over the marriage dynamics. You can then act with impunity because in your heart you really don’t care. In contrast, your spouse will bend over backwards in an effort to please you.
Importantly, the above dynamic will let you more readily take the steps that follow should you want out. Make not caring work for you.
Step 2. Turn off the light.
Do you remember the time when you were first in love with someone? Remember how your face would light up when you saw them? How you responded to their slightest touch?
Well, don’t do that. Turn that light off. For example, give minimal attention to anything your spouse says. Don’t smile at them. Don’t be enthusiastic about any activities they suggest. Don’t laugh at their jokes. Only kiss with a quick meaningless peck on the lips. All-in-all, don’t do the 1,000 little things caring lovers do for each other.
If your spouse tries to cuddle up at night, perhaps with romance on their mind, just lay there and don’t respond. If that’s not enough to cool their jets, yawn and say how you’re so sleepy. Grab a bedside magazine to idly read to show your disinterest.
Take the no-cuddles pain further. Tell your spouse that if they can turn you on then go ahead and try. Then keep reading the magazine. Add in more yawns as they try their best. Trust me, they’ll give up before too long. The end result is you will have given the appearance of being agreeable to romance but the problem was your spouse just couldn’t get you over the line.
Remember that at this stage you’re not trying to openly criticize. You’re just showing no interest in your spouse and trying to make them doubt themselves.
“Tuning off the light”, while a good start, is probably not enough by itself to get your spouse to kill the marriage, especially if you have young children. So ratchet up the pain by adding on the next step.
Step 3. Believe you’re always right.
If you and your spouse disagree on an issue explain to them (repeatedly) why you’re right and they’re wrong. Take the underlying attitude that you’re superior to them. This means that whatever your spouse says essentially has no merit. In contrast, what you say is dead-on due to your superior insight.
At the same time, do listen to your spouse’s view. But only listen enough so that you can tell them why their thinking is wrong. This pretend listening also helps to give a façade of making it look like you’re playing fair even though you’re not.
Be sure to remember to keep your spouse in their place when you’re “listening” to them. Nonverbal communication works best since you can deny what you’re doing. So cross your arms to show that you’re blocking out what they’re saying. Give a slight role of your eyes when they try to make a major point. A bit more pointed, interrupt your spouse before they’re finished in order show that you think your thoughts are more important than theirs.
Step 4. Put the kids ahead of your spouse at all times.
For example, if you’re on vacation have the children sleep in the same bedroom as you and your spouse. Do this even if the kids have their own bedrooms.
When your spouse objects, falsely frame the issue as being whether or not your spouse loves the kids. This lets you avoid the elephant in the room that you’re really just looking for a way to not have sex with your spouse. Talking about the “elephant” could lead to a tough conversation with your spouse that could actually get to the root of the problems in the marriage and — God forbid — save it.
Step 5. Show disrespect.
Now we’re getting into the really serious stuff. … Disrespect your spouse by showing what little regard you have for them.
For example, if you’re a woman use this joke: You’re at a bar with your husband: Order a drink straight up. Pause. Then give a sly smile to the young handsome bartender and say “the same way I like my men”. Be sure to give a good chuckle so you can get away with this as just being a joke. This joke will help show that you don’t care about your husband’s feelings nor the marriage for that matter. For bonus points, when your husband objects to the joke criticize him for not having a sense of humor.
And if you’re a guy, openly ogle other women when you’re with your wife. If your wife calls you on it just say that’s what men do. That gives a two-for-one disrespect “win”. You’re showing both your interest in other women and also dismissing what your wife has to say.
Step 6. Criticize your spouse’s sexual performance.
This one is so good that it will pretty much kill off any sexual chemistry between you and your spouse.
Be sure to criticize negatively. Don’t criticize in a positive way. For example, if you say “I like it more when you do XYZ instead of ABC” your spouse might not even realize they’re being criticized. Instead, just tell them how lousy their ABC is.
A bit more subtle, tell your spouse they aren’t romantic. Offer no specifics they can work on. Just say that it’s an attitude. Importantly, say that it’s all their problem. Cut off any attempts by your spouse to question your views on what romance is all about. Refer back to step three (on believing you’re always right) as needed.
Step 7. Don’t apologize. Attack!
Apologize? No way! That would mean you’re admitting to being wrong on something. And don’t defend yourself either. Playing defense is a weak position. Instead, go on the attack. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense.
For example, suppose your spouse finds that you’re carrying around condoms in your briefcase when condoms aren’t used in your family planning. Do you respond by apologizing and having a heart-to-heart talk? NO! Go on the attack instead. Immediately make the issue be that your spouse invaded your privacy. Demand an apology!
Failing to attack will put you on a slippery slope that leads to you exposing your affair(s) that you’ve put so much effort into hiding. So you must attack.
For good measure, throw in some seemingly plausible non-affair reason you have the condoms. For example, you could say that the condoms were just a gag gift at work. The only downside here is that if your spouse is still in their “save the marriage” mind frame they will believe almost anything you say. Oh well. At least you’ll still be able to have plausible deniability about your affair(s) and retain the “good guy” image, however false.
Step 8. Kill off trust.
This final step is the nuclear bomb for ending your marriage. … For good reason trust is commonly seen as the # 1 need for a sound marriage. So you really have to find a way to kill trust off. Go for the total kill. Leave no foundation for possibly rebuilding the marriage.
If you’ve already had an affair you’ve already done the “big one” for killing trust (if you get caught at any rate). But don’t stop there. Make it worse. Do so with false confessions (i.e. lies). Just confess to known facts. As more facts come out expand your confession as needed. At each stage of lies be sure to look your spouse in the eyes and earnestly swear that you have now told them absolutely everything. By the time your series of big time lies are done your spouse will never ever be able to trust anything you say.
Despite your affair(s) being known – and despite your big time lies resulting from the details on your affair(s) unraveling – you can still save face. Save face by claiming you want to keep the marriage. Sure, it’s a false claim but honesty isn’t the point here. Taking this false stance lets you say it was your spouse who wanted the divorce despite your willingness to work on it.
You can kill off trust in more subtle ways also. It just takes more time. For example, use selected parts of something your spouse has shared with you in confidence to cast them in a poor light to others. Eventually your spouse will realize they can’t really trust you with their inner thoughts nor trust that you are on the “us” team in your marriage.
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So there you have it. If you follow these eight steps I can all but guarantee that you’ll kill your marriage and largely look blame free. Manipulation, deviousness, and outright lies can work for you too.