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Published June 03, 2011, 12:00 AM

Val Farmer: ‘Golden boys’ can often make terrible husbands

Recognize this “good ole boy?” Jake is charming, quick with a joke, the last of the big time spenders, and an all around good guy. He has the gift of gab. He will give you the shirt off his back. He makes stupid bets. He drinks too much.

By: By Val Farmer, INFORUM

Recognize this “good ole boy?” Jake is charming, quick with a joke, the last of the big time spenders, and an all around good guy. He has the gift of gab. He will give you the shirt off his back. He makes stupid bets. He drinks too much.

The guy needs attention and approval from others too much. He loves being the center of attention. Everyone loves him. Everyone wants a piece of him.

This good ole boy has a hard time saying no. He wants to please everyone. Well, almost everyone. He has mastered the art of saying no to his wife, Emma. If someone buys him a round at the bar, he’ll close up the place trying to repay the favor. To him, losing face with his friends is worse than the hell he’ll face when he staggers in the front door.

Being married to a good ole boy can be a lonely life. His wife feels she comes in dead last in his life. If anyone wants a favor, he’ll drop everything. With his wife, he makes empty promises and puts her off.

Jake is gone a lot. He doesn’t seem to need Emma. She isn’t a part of the public he is trying to impress. He doesn’t take responsibility in the home. She wonders if he has any boundaries and worries he could get caught up in an affair.

But he does need her. This good ole boy is also a “momma’s boy.” What a combination. He expects a lot and gives very little. He wants to be taken care of. Love is something you do in the bedroom, not in daily acts of kindness and consideration.

How do men like Jake learn their brassy self-confidence and their automatic sense of entitlement in the home? From their mommas. And their daddies. And from the roaring crowd.

- The momma’s boy. A woman whose marriage is lacking in warmth and intimacy may displace her attention and satisfaction to her relationship with her children. These relationships take on special meaning in her life. Sometimes it is the oldest son who gets the royal treatment. The rest of the children get by with normal attention.

The oldest son is the apple of her eye. He can do no wrong. He is spoiled. He learns to throw his weight around with the rest of the children and get away with it.

In other cases, it is the youngest son that gets pampered, taken care of and loved unconditionally. He gets what he wants without much effort or responsibility. Momma is quick to take his side, cover up problems and bail him out of trouble. She clutches him tightly.

- The superstar. Isn’t he great? Society does its part in training males to be prima-donnas in their own homes. A star athlete in high school lives in a rarified atmosphere of adulation in his school and in the community. He and his friends are the center of their own adoring universe. Everything is shoved at him.

He learns to take and expect a lot without paying a price. He takes for granted all the nice things being done for him. He has little concept of giving back. This sounds like normal teen-age behavior except that his parents aid and abet his over-inflated ego instead of resisting and correcting this adored child.

What if junior gets into trouble and makes mistakes? Mom and Dad rush to the rescue. Consequences. What consequences?

Life with Mr. Wonderful. This overly mothered and protected man expects his wife to mother him. He feels it is the woman’s role to cook, do laundry, clean and organize the house, take care of the children and meet his needs. This is what a woman does.

If he observed his father taking advantage of his mother’s willingness to serve, what a powerful blueprint for how marriage should be.

Since he sees work in the home as women’s work and beneath him, he unconsciously puts his wife in a less than equal category. He doesn’t see work in the home as an act of love and service that needs to be appreciated and reciprocated. He takes his wife for granted.

If he is the “top banana” in his occupation or business, Mr. Wonderful has even more evidence that the world still revolves around him and his special needs.

No more momma. Manly self-confidence, an “edge” and bold audacity may be attractive in courtship, but wears thin in marriage. These men’s wives grow tired of playing second fiddle to the virtuoso first violin. They see through the public image of Mr. Nice Guy and figure out they are living with a first-class jerk. There is no hiding his selfishness, his lack of love in the home and his hungry quest for approval from others at the family’s expense.

This isn’t what these women had in mind for their marriage. Good ole boy, momma’s boy, superstar and Mr. Wonderful get dumped – much to their surprise. They don’t like it. They don’t understand it. It is abandonment. How could their “mother” do something like this? It is a rude awakening. It is a dose of reality that comes way late in the game.


Val Farmer is a clinical psychologist specializing in family business consultation and mediation with farm families. He lives in Wildwood, Mo., and can be contacted through his website, www.valfarmer.com.

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