Ben* has been happily married for 19 years. He recently told me prime reason he married his wife is because, "She was only girl I dated who could control me."
I had no idea what he was talking about. I don't know many people, men or women, who enjoy being controlled.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I dated a lot of girls, some of them pretty seriously. I was actually close to being engaged to one of them, but I didn't go through with it because she couldn't control me.
But my wife Christine* could. If I wanted to go out with my friends, she'd say, 'Have fun,' and that was it.
It was such a change from other girls I dated, who used to give me a hard time, wanted to know where I was going and why they couldn't come with me. I went out for a while with one girl who actually said, 'Okay, but now you owe me' when I wanted to go to a wrestling match with a buddy. It was a major turn-off.
But Christine couldn't care less. Whenever I told her I wanted to go out without her, she'd just smile at me and say, 'Have fun.'"
"How exactly was that controlling you?" I asked. "You got what you wanted."
"Yeah," he said, "But as soon as I went out, I missed her. I knew she wasn't sitting around waiting for me to call. I didn't know what she was doing. And since she didn't give me grief about going out, I didn't feel like I'd made prison break. I ended up wishing I was with her, instead of with my friends."
Lest you think this is sexist, put yourself in Ben's place: Who would you be more attracted to? A guy who calls you three times a day, makes demands on your time, and harasses you when you want to go out with your friends? Or a guy who calls once a day (or a couple of times a week), asks you what you'd like to do over weekend, and tells you to have fun when you want to go out with your friends?