Episode 21: Men’s Extra Marital Affairs: Marlene M. Browne,Esq. and Marie H. Browne, Ph.d
Extra-marital affairs are everywhere. We see them in the movies and we hear about friends whose relationships have ended because the husband became involved with someone else. How common are these affairs? What can a woman do to keep her husband from straying? Marie H. Browne, RN, Ph.D, and her attorney daughter, Marlene M. Browne, have written a book, “You Can't Have Him, He's Mine: How to Affair- Proof Your Relationship".
Marlene Browne is a women’s divorce attorney and her mother, Marie, is a therapist who counsels women going through divorce. Between them they’ve heard all the stories, worked all the scenarios and know almost all there is to know about the infidelity of husbands in these relationships. They discuss the things you don’t know or realize about men’s infidelity, such as: less men cheat than you think; more men are willing not to stray if they find contentment at home; men cheat for emotional connection, much as women do; men will equate sex with intimacy, so if a wife or long-term partner holds out on sex she’s preventing him from expressing intimacy in a typical male way. They then move on to things you don’t know or understand about affair-proofing your relationship. Listen to this podcast for the critical information you absolutely need to know.
Woman: This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com.
David Debin: Hello! Welcome to the “Third Age.” We have the Doctor and the Man from Hollywood. I'm David Debin, the Man from Hollywood [laughs] and our producer is the man from he got kicked out of Hollywood. [laughter] The Doctor is Peter Brill, MD. In this show, we turn the myths of aging upside down. We sort out the scientific and the trendy, the medical and the cultural, and we'll tell you everything you need to know about living in the Third Age. Remember, we guarantee, if you listen to us, you will never grow old.
Peter Brill: We’d like to welcome the Man from Hollywood back from [xx]. [fanfare]
David Debin: Thank you, Jaron [sp].
Peter Brill: Did you bring me a gift?
David Debin: Yes, I did.
Peter Brill: What was it?
David Debin: I gave it to you.
Peter Brill: Oh, you know, as I get older, I keep forgetting. Can you just remind me what it was?
David Debin: Yes. It was a wish that you could find what you're looking for. [Peter laughs] You know that U2 song, “I Still Can't Find What I'm Looking For?” Well, the way that you have to analyze everything that comes along, I just want you to be able to find what you're looking for without having to dig deeper and deeper and deeper.
Peter Brill: You know what? When you dig deep enough what you find at the center of everything? Nothing.
David Debin: Really? So that’s what you're looking for. [laughter] OK. That was a zen [xx]. Right, yes.
Peter Brill: Zen statement, all right. There you go, one hand clapping.
I'm the Doctor, Dr. Peter Brill. The “Third Age” usually starts somewhere around 45 or 50. It's the time when you start to feel a stronger desire for deeper meaning and fulfillment in your life. Your first age is childhood, your second age is building career and family, the Third Age is a major change or transition to a whole new set of problems, values, opportunities, and gratifications.
David Debin: What is a gratification? We say that all the time. What is a gratification?
Peter Brill: Well, have you ever helped an old woman cross the street?
David Debin: No.
Peter Brill: Have you ever helped anybody?
David Debin: No.
Peter Brill: Have you ever done anything right?
David Debin: I have. I helped somebody, I helped somebody. That’s a gratification.
Peter Brill: That’s the gratification.
David Debin: They are gratified that I helped them?
Peter Brill: No, you feel gratified.
David Debin: Oh, I feel gratified. OK.
Peter Brill: OK. Can we go on?
David Debin: Yes, please.
Peter Brill: Perfect. I've lost where I am. Join us [laughs] as fellow explorers in this journey to discover what brings passion, purpose, and joy into this unchartered time of life.
David Debin: You know, why I get jumped the gun because I'm so anxious about today’s show. I am so scared to death.
Peter Brill: David, they're not going to teach you how to do it.
David Debin: Well, no, they're not going to teach me how to do it but I just hope my wife, Bern, is not listening to the show.
Peter Brill: I hope so, too.
David Debin: No, maybe she should be. What we're going to be talking about is extramarital affairs and, apparently, according to our guests today, they're everywhere, everywhere you look. You, Jaron [sp], I'm looking at you. [laughter] We see them in the movies and we hear about friends whose relationships have ended because the husband became involved with someone else.
So how common are these affairs? What can a woman do to keep her husband from straying? Marie H. Browne, an RN, Ph.D. and her attorney-daughter, Marlene Browne, have written a book and it's called, “You Can Have Him, He's Mine: How to Affairproof…”
Marissa Sgobassi: You can't have him [laughter], it would defeat the purpose.
David Debin: Ladies, if you heard that… [more laughter]
Peter Brill: I think we're going to start this whole show all over again.
Woman: [xx] to me already. [laughter]
David Debin: “You can have him, he's mine!” That will start an affair, won't it? [more laughter]
Marlene Browne: It could [xx]. Notice I didn’t say 69, but that’s [xx].
Marie H. Browne: What does that mean?
Marlene Browne: I don’t know, Mom. [laughter]
Peter Brill: Hold on here, guys. [xx].
David Debin: We're having fun here, we're having fun, you, guys, are good. OK, I'm going to try that again. You, guys, wrote a book and it's called “You Can't Have Him, He's Mine: How to Affairproof Your Relationship.” Stay with us and listen to this or all will be lost. [makes some musical sounds]
Peter Brill: All right, David, we took up so much time that all you have time left for is to do a couple of things here.
David Debin: Really?
Peter Brill: We don’t even going to have a chance to talk about affairs.
David Debin: We had too much fun?
Peter Brill: We had too much fun. I warned you.
David Debin: The laughs will kill us.
Marissa Sgobassi: Instant gratification.
David Debin: That’s what somebody said when I was working.
Peter Brill: Instant gratification! That is the problem.
Marissa Sgobassi: Too much fun.
David Debin: When I started doing the dating game, the “Newlywed Game” early in the ‘60s when I was writing and producing, we got used to get so many laughs on the “Newlywed Game” that the timing of the show would get screwed up. So in one of the big staff meetings, someone stood up and said, “The laughs will kill us.” Everybody turn around and look at me, “Get him out of here!” [laughter] The laughs is going to kill you.
Peter Brill: Laughs is going to kill you, that’s for sure. You know what time it is.
David Debin: The news story?
Peter Brill: The news story! [sound of gong?]
David Debin: Well, I don’t know, there were so many great stories in the news today, but the one that, I guess, means the most to today’s people is a man who mailed a bloody cow’s head to his wife’s lover has been sentenced to probation and community service. [sound of cow mowing] Community service, is that I'm going to use milk? For orphans? I don’t know, what does that mean. [sound of a man laughing]
“Jason Fife understands that in a civilized society,” his lawyer said, “a person cannot send a severed cow’s head to anybody.” They did it, the Godfather, it’s a horn.
Peter Brill: It's a crime, it is.
David Debin: Is it really?
Peter Brill: I don’t know.
David Debin: A severed cow’s head, can you send this?
Peter Brill: [laughs] Right.
David Debin: Let's consult our attorney. You might know this, Lower Pottsgroove, northwest of Philadelphia, do you know that area?\
Peter Brill: Oh, sure.
David Debin: They arrested Fife and charge him with stalking, terroristic threats, disorderly conduct, and harassment after he allegedly sent threatening messages and pictures to the victim. The victim received the package containing a cow’s head. What is it like UPS, was it like two people had to carry it in? How heavy is a cow’s head with a puncture wound in its skull? So I guess, they said he got it from a butcher shop and they traced it and the lawyer said, “Well, my client did step over the line here but one can certainly understand his frustration given that the victim was carrying on an affair with my client’s wife.”
Peter Brill: In France, you can kill the lover; here, you can't even send them a cow’s head.
David Debin: You can't even send a cow’s head. Now, we're going to find out from our authors today. If a wife can send another woman a cow’s head because she's been playing around with the husband.
Peter Brill: I don’t know, David.
David Debin: You don’t think we should do that?
Peter Brill: Anyway, listen. We're going to have a fabulous show today. We're going to be talking about affairs and how to keep your hubby at home.
David Debin: We're going to talk with Marie Browne, who’s a registered nurse and a Ph.D. and Marlene Browne, who is an attorney. They are a mother-daughter team who have written the book , “You Can't Have Him, His Mine: How to Affair-proof You Relationship.” Now, Marie who is the mother has been a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor of Psychiatric Nursing for nearly 40 years. Wow! That’s experience. That’s experience, Hillary, 40 years. [laughter]
Her daughter, Marlene Browne, is a member of the American Bar Association and New Jersey State Bar Association. I should have said a New Jersey State Bar Association, a family law attorney, licensed in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Colorado. She's the author of several books including, “If the Man You Love was Abused,” which was also co-written with her mother, Marie.
Welcome to the show, ladies.
Marlene Browne: Thank you for having us.
David Debin: I tried my best to get all of that out but I don’t know how well I did that. I hope anyone understood it.
Peter Brill: Well, you missed the fact that not only do their names all start with “M” and end with the same last name, but they have the same letter for the middle initials. Now, why are you confused?
Marissa Sgobassi: No, H and M.
David Debin: No, you're confused.
Marlene Browne: No, one for “H”, one for “M.”
Peter Brill: One “M,” that makes me feel so much better.
David Debin: Oh, I'm so glad you made a mistake!
Marlene Browne: Can I comment on that cow thing that you were talking about?
David Debin: Yes, please do.
Peter Brill: Oh, please, yes. Who is this talking, Marie?
Marlene Browne: No, this is Marlene, the daughter. This is the lawyer, so I'm up on that one.
Peter Brill: On the law, OK, good.
Marlene Browne: Yes, sending a cow head is a misdemeanor, you don’t want to do that. But if you take the mate guarding strategy that we have in the book, you might want to send what comes out the other end to your [xx].
Peter Brill: That’s legal?
Marlene Browne: Well, it's more difficult to trace as opposed to [xx] through the butcher shop where…you take what comes out of the bull as it were and it's harder to trace.
David Debin: Now, this is good. That’s the best advice we've ever had on this show, isn't it?
Marlene Browne: No, of course, I'm saying it metaphorically. But the mate guarding strategies that we point out can be quite concrete.
Marie H. Browne: And not related to a bull. [laughter]
Peter Brill: All right, let's start from the beginning. Do a lot of men cheat?
Marie and Marlene Browne: Yes.
Marlene Browne: I'm a divorce lawyer, my mother’s a marriage and family therapist and I have to say I'm married to a 767/757 pilot. So when you're talking about careers of men who are great risk for infidelity, pilot is probably only after surgeons.
David Debin: So what did you do the last time you caught him cheating?
Marlene Browne: Oh, no, no, no. [xx] story. No, are you kidding? I employed the tactics set forth in the book, there's no cheating but I do travel a lot with him. It's interesting, he carries a copy of the book with him and many of the flight attendants will peruse [sp] it during the flight. And it's interesting because many of them have stolen a husband already. It's true, sad but true, and then they get frighten that someone’s going to do what they did to them. So it's a very interesting thing to see how different people respond to this. At first, this book is supposed to be titled “The Secret of the Husband Snatchers” but the editors changed that.
David Debin: Why? Why did they change it?
Marie H. Browne: They want it a prescriptive for women, for some reason they thought.
Marlene Browne: That would be scary. But may I say how the book came about?
Peter Brill: Please, please.
Marlene Browne: My husband and I had just returned from Europe and we're having dinner with my Mom and Dad at their house. We were watching--this is back in 2005--we were watching a 60-minute [xx] special with Suzy Wetlaufer-Welch and Jack Welch. They were on a book tour for their new book. Suzy talked about how it was OK if Jack didn’t want to marry her, she was happy just to have the relationship they had.
I was just mortified because Jack was very much married to Jane at the time, and I thought, “What is it about a woman who go after another woman’s husband?” Yes, I'd seen it tons of tons as a divorce attorney but I thought, “Oh, no, no. I have to explore this.” Since I'm having [xx] with my mom, I said, “Mom, do you think we could probe this?” She said, “Absolutely.” So we got a proposal out the next week and sold the book and here we are. That’s how the book came about.
Peter Brill: What percentage of men cheat?
Marlene Browne: It depends on what you read and we have those sketched in the book. They say it's between 20-60%. Why is that margin so wide? Because it depends upon how people [xx] the question and under what circumstances, so you can't trust every response to this surveys. So you go ahead and take your own figure between 20-60.
Marie H. Browne: And it depends on how good they are at concealing it as well.
Marlene Browne: That’s true, so you really can't tell but as a divorce lawyer, I would say that the number one cause of marital break up was infidelity. Mom, I don’t know how you view that [xx].
David Debin: Can I rephrase that question for a second?
Marlene Browne: Sure.
David Debin: The what percentage of men cheat?
Marlene Browne: Well, they say between 60 and 20.
David Debin: OK. Let me give the question to you in a different way. Given that he will never be caught and there's no risk of STDs, how many men will cheat?
Marlene Browne: So these men’s on Mars? [laughter]
David Debin: What percentage of men do you think will cheat.
Marie H. Browne: It's a mythical number.
Marlene M. Browne: I can't give you [xx] they're against or not, but from what I have seen as a divorce attorney and what we've seen with our book signings and all of that, there are certain men who really want to keep their vows. So, Mom, what would you say, a third?
Marie H. Browne: I would even say probably a little more than a third. There are some people who are really committed to the person they're with and don’t want anything to go wrong. They don’t have the need to go out and search and so on.
Marlene Browne: And they don’t want to be divorced and they don’t want to not see their children and they don’t want to have all of the legal fallout of having post-divorce litigation and all that comes out of that.
Marie H. Browne: Right. It's a very positive thing.
Marlene Browne: So people are motivated to stay together. I mean, you live in California, so you know what can happen.
David Debin: You're a great team for this because I imagine that the biggest fallout from this kind of thing is emotional and financial. Marie, what do you see on the emotional side?
Marie H. Browne: The fallout from the affair?
David Debin: Yes, the fallout from a man cheating on his wife.
Marie H. Browne: The first thing you see is the devastation, and it depends on how she finds out. It's less traumatic if he tells her, if he says, “Look, I've been having an affair and I want to work it out. I want to get out.” No matter what he says, if he tells her, it's far less traumatic. If she finds out from a friend or some other way, it's much more traumatic and much more damaging.
Marlene Browne: If I could add to that, Mom, in fact, in the book, we found studies that bolster that. So if the man tells the woman, they're much more likely to be able to get over that and have a stronger bond. If she finds out by herself or from a friend, they're much more likely to get divorced, and that’s been studied.
Peter Brill: That’s interesting, so how do you prevent it? Why do they stray and how do you prevent it?
David Debin: You're cutting to the chase here.
Peter Brill: Of course, we only have another 20 minutes or so. We got a lot to do.
Marlene Browne: Well, there you go. Can we talk about what makes a close, healthy, and satisfying marriage and maybe we can go back from there?
Peter Brill: Absolutely, I've been looking for that my whole life.
David Debin: You have it, he has a great wife.
Marlene Browne: I'm married but…
Peter Brill: So am I.
Marlene Browne: Is that Marissa?
Marissa Sgobassi: No.
Marlene Browne: I thought that was Marie.
Marie H. Browne: You're mom.
Marlene Browne: OK, thanks, Mom. [laughter]
Peter Brill: Has anybody introduced you to?
David Debin: This is getting to be [xx], these things here.
Marlene M Browne: OK, so to have a healthy marriage--in our book, unlike one that was written by the late Dr. Glass that said, “You know what, even healthy happy marriages are subject to infidelity.” The research that we have seen does not support that. If you have an engaged marriage with people that are working together with communication, they really don’t cheat. Yes, of course, if the man or the woman has a personality disorder, then [xx] because you're not dealing with typical people, of someone to [xx] your path or there are a lot of problems, cheating is really probably not the most serious one.
But for normal people, if they have a satisfying marriage--and it's back to that gratification that you two were talking about before--meeting each other’s needs, communicating, having closeness--emotional and physical, and respect. If you have that in a marriage with engagement, constantly tending to each other, you tend not to have a problem. Mom, can you bolster that?
Peter Brill: Hold on one second. Which study are we quoting here?
Marlene Browne: I'm giving you an amalgam of all of the studies.
Peter Brill: Give me one.
David Debin: You're talking to a scientific doctor here.
Marlene Browne: OK, I would have to look it up in the book because I don’t memorize the studies but there are tons of resources listed in the back of the book. I’ll try to grab one.
Peter Brill: It's not true with women.
Marlene Browne: I'm sorry?
Peter Brill: We're going to take a break here in a second, but there are many, many different motives by which people have affairs, women do.
Marlene Browne: Absolutely. But I thought we were talking about the men.
Peter Brill: But now how satisfied they are, it's only one factor. But anyway, we're going to take a break. We'll be right back, we'll really attack this question to more depth. Hold on, we'll continue.
David Debin: We're back with the “Third Age.” David Debin, the Man from Hollywood here with Dr. Peter Brill, Marissa Sgobassi, and our charming, wonderful, and well-informed guests, Marie Browne and Marlene Browne, who have written this really valuable book, “You Can't Have Him, His Mine: How To Affair-proof Your Relationship.” We were just getting into Peter who was just getting into the…
Peter Brill: Well, we're getting too technical but let's agree that people being content in a relationship certainly decreases the probability that there’ll be affairs. Would you agree with that?
Marie Browne: Agree.
Marlene Browne: Absolutely.
Peter Brill: OK, so go ahead. How do people do…
Marlene Browne: But what I say is engagement in a relationship can all but eliminate the affairs unless you're talking about one of the people having a personality disorder, that can be trouble in all sorts of levels, not just having a sexual affair.
David Debin: I don’t know about that because engagement is a slippery term.
Peter Brill: Yes. [laughs] like the ring.
Marlene Browne: No, no. I'm talking about fully engaged, intimate communication, meeting each other’s [xx].
Marie Browne: They're teasing, Marlene.
Marlene Browne: OK, sorry. [laughter] Thanks, Mom. [xx] with my Mom.
David Debin: Tell us, what is it like writing together? Who gets the final say? Who has the best ideas? Who does most of the work?
Marlene Browne: I do most of the work, it's the daughter, and our editor gets the final say.
Marie Browne: Well, let me have my say.
Peter Brill: Here we go.
Marie Browne: Marlene had written a number of books before we started this adventure.
Marlene Browne: Can I cut in here with that?
Marie Browne: No.
Marlene Browne: OK.
Marie Browne: I knew I had to defer to some degree. However, we both know where we have our own expertise. Mine is clinical and the only trouble I had with that with writing with my daughter was, occasionally, she would send back [xx] and say, “Would you mind keeping the same tense? Would you mind watching the caps? [xx]. [laughter]
Marlene Browne: Thanks, Mom, you produced me to your copy editor. Thank you very much.
David Debin: If you don’t watch out, you're going to be regulars on this show. [xx] [laughs]
Peter Brill: Anyway, so how do people have a contented relationship?
Marlene Browne: Mom, may I answer that?
Marie Browne: Sure, go ahead.
Marlene Browne: You mentioned gratification, and I'm not sure if we used that word in the book, but that’s really what it comes down to the satisfaction. Gratification, being able to become self-actualize--if you'll allow me to use that word--growing together but individually allowing your partner his freedom, your freedom but yet sharing things, keeping things interesting. But mostly, it comes to a matter of communication--won't you say that, Mom--having an emotional and physical closeness.
Marie Browne: Right. The difficult balance is keeping your own autonomy while being a unit and if you can do that, chances are you have a very, very good chance of having a nice, nice life together.
Peter Brill: But how do you do that? So you, people, hit various developmental stages relationships, various different things happened in their lives, you look at the curves of marital satisfaction, with the stages of children, all kinds of factors and historical factors and their family of origin, things they bring with them. How do we, on a kind of conscious will basis, will [xx].
Marlene Browne: What we did is we looked at all of that research. Of course, Mom has seen that in her office and in her clinical practice, and it's my job to go through all of her journals and say, “OK, here's what we can lay down for people who don’t necessarily have access to a therapist.” So you want to give people the knowledge of, “Look, when you’ve got a 7 year old or 12 year old, that’s when things gets tough. Actually the toughest is right after the baby is born and we know that and here are the things that worked for other people.”
Peter Brill: Let's do this. What are the things that worked for other people?
Marlene Browne: Mom? Jump in here.
Marie Browne: Thank you, Marlene. [xx] But what you have to do is you have to find out who was the strongest person in what arena. If the husband is wonderful with taking care of the children and the wife is not, that’s not traditional but you work with that. You find out the strength that each person has and then you co-mingle those.
Marlene Browne: My husband and I don’t have children, as I said, he's a pilot, I'm his third wife and maybe that’s another book. At age 46 and he's 54, we do a lot of traveling together, we enjoy the same things and that’s what we like.
Marie Browne: That makes me his third mother-in-law, by the way. [laughter]
Marlene Browne: I know, Mom, but right now, it's [xx].
Peter Brill: Three is a lucky number, Mom.
Marlene Browne: Yes, three is the lucky number, that’s enough for the pre-nup I had to sign with [xx].
David Debin: Who had more money, you or him?
Marlene Browne: Oh, no, come on. [laughter] Why do you want to know that, David? But what we've find worked for us is my husband works with flight attendants all the time, many of whom are under the age of 30, I'm 46, I'm not chicken liver but I'm not 22 anymore. It's helpful for me to tell my husband, “Now, here's some mate guarding along with some science. That, honey, even if you feel a little excited by this little thing who’s still in her twenties, we know from all of the scientific research that will pass. That excitement, that rush, that last typically two years, at most four, and then you'd be back to where you are with me.” So it's just interesting to say, “Honey, we know where the scientific evidence is, the endorphins and where the serotonin goes and all of that, so it's been kind of interesting. I say, “Honey, just bring the fantasy home and you can pump the tyres or ride the bike.”
Peter Brill: That’s wonderful. But that’s work for you, but what about the women out there who are not so interested in sex, who have a husband they're not that hot for?
Marie Browne: They're going to have a problem.
Marlene Browne: They're going to have a problem. We have a saying in the book--and I don’t remember, it's a famous person, it just escapes me--but we’d used this a lot during our book signings. “A hungry man and a sated man do not look upon a loaf of bread the same way.”
Peter Brill: That’s a great quote.
David Debin: The other thing I heard was that men exist in one of two states, loaded or unloaded. Never send an loaded man into a target-rich environment which will be a plane, of course. So I hope that you're not sending him out fully loaded.
Marlene Browne: It’s very interesting you said that. My husband and I were just on a trip to Rome and the first officer was telling me how awful women are to women. I said, “Well, what do you mean?” He said, “Well, that’s something I would like to discuss is that how often I'm hit upon even though I'm married, I'm wearing a ring.” I said, “Oh, my gosh, we should really talk because we have a book about that.” But he also said something to that effect about being loaded and I didn’t quite get it but he used that term as well, that must be a man thing.
David Debin: It's in a book somewhere, but anyway.
Marlene Browne: We like the hungry, not hungry thing. It's a little more.
Peter Brill: A little more genteel. But I want to get down to this. You know, you have a situation in which it all works well if they're drawn on each other’s strengths and if their strengths are complimentary and the woman is interested in sex or does she just have sex with him when she's not interested?
Marlene Browne: Sometimes I do. I think, what we point out in the book is--again, this all has a lot of research behind it and tons of references as you can see at the end of the book. But, in the marriage, if you cross the circle--and some people have open marriages, by the way, and we addressed that too but I don’t think that’s what we're talking about right now. Most people, their idea of a marriage is you close the circle with sexuality, it's you or him. As we point out, it's either him or you.
So OK, he can find satisfaction by masturbating but if you want him to stay true, sometimes you just have to get in the mood and that’s not unusual for women to have to do. We point out to research, women are not as easily aroused as man often, particularly after the age of 40. But they find that once they get in to it, they are aroused, so sometimes you just have to do it and that’s backed up by research.
Marie Browne: And you have to have women understand that that isn't a negative. There are times when women don’t feel like doing it and because you work at a little bit and it becomes effective, that doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. That doesn’t mean like you gave something that you didn’t want to give.
Marlene Browne: Also, it doesn’t mean when you're sick, you don’t get a chance to have yourself get better. I'm not saying do anything you don’t want to do, but I am saying, “Ladies, look, you are your husband’s only sexual partner.”
Marie Browne: Hopefully.
Marlene Browne: Well, [xx] so are you going to say for five nights in a row, you have a headache? What does that make him feel? Also, most of the research points to the fact that men feel intimacy and love through sex.
Peter Brill: Mom is going to have to wait. I'm sorry, Mom.
David Debin: I can't wait. I want to hear what Mom have to say.
Marie Browne: Me, too.
Peter Brill: Our listeners do, too. Mom wants to hear, but we're going to be right back after a commercial break.
David Debin: All right, we're back with the “Third Age.” This is David Debin, the Man from Hollywood, with Peter Brill, the Doctor, and we're here with Marie Browne, a marriage and family therapist and her daughter, Marlene Browne, an attorney. They’ve written a book called, “You Can't Have Him, He's Mine: How to Affair-proof Your Relationship.” Before we go on, just tell us, where is the book now? Can we get it online or at a bookstore?
Marlene Browne: It's all over. It's published by Adams Media and it's all over, it's ubiquitous.
David Debin: It's ubiquitous, all right.
Peter Brill: But there's a couple of ways to find it.
David Debin: Well, Amazon, I guess you can go or you can go into Borders or any of those. Right?
Marlene Browne: Right. It's funny we have encountered two distinct responses from this book. One tends to be the women over 35 who say, “You know, I read this and I knew my girlfriend was getting too close to my husband and I read that chapter about friends and relations. Wow! That really opened my eyes.” Then the younger women tend to say, “How dare you tell how to keep my husband. I can do anything I want, and tough, he's lucky to have me.”
Marie Browne: That’s that marital arrogance.
Marlene Browne: Right, that marital arrogance that cannot [xx] so many women are represented who got divorced because they were maritally arrogant.
Peter Brill: What a great term. What a great term.
Marlene Browne: Excuse me?
Peter Brill: So tell us about the friends, what do you do with your friends? Do you get rid of all your friends?
Marlene Browne: No, no. Don’t get rid of your friends, but you realize--and we've point out, again, this is all scientifically backed. I know as a divorce attorney, I would say a fifth of the people who had affairs did it with their spouse’s friends or neighbors.
Peter Brill: Or sisters.
Marlene Browne: Or sisters, yes, exactly.
Marie Browne: Or babysitters, nannies.
Marlene Browne: Mom, that’s even a different issue. What we looked at is, “Gee, how do you pick your friends? You tend to pick your friends because they're similar to you. You do the same things, you share the same ideals, sometimes doing even the same level of attractiveness as you. So what you’ve done is you’ve brought into your sphere alternate arrangements to you, essentially. Now, some people are just terrific and they would never do anything terrible, but oh, my gosh, there are a lot of people who are opportunists and take advantage. That’s the other thing that we've come across, women screw women.
Peter Brill: So what do you do?
Marlene Browne: What do you do is you put up the boundaries and you stake your claim and you guard your territory.
Peter Brill: How? I mean, you're there, you can go see him anytime he wants. So how do you stake your claim?
Marie Browne: One of the things you do is you become very insightful. If you're friend is dropping over for a cup of tea when you're not home, that’s an issue you deal with with both your husband and your friend. If she's doing things that you consider…
Marlene Browne: Or calling him at work, Mom, we've ran into that.
Marie Browne: Yes, or in some way, poaching, then she may become your ex-friend.
Peter Brill: How do you know if she's calling him at work?
Marlene Browne: Generally, the husband will report that because it starts awkward [xx]. You don’t think anything [xx] that it's like the Trojan horse, only you put it in the context of an affair. Your guard is down because this person is your friend. Well, there are countless stories. Look at the Heather Locklear-Denise Richards story. I mean, there was a different spin to that but friends have an inside track to your horse, and it could also be your heart, as a matter of fact.
So you just want to be aware that that’s a poaching position from time immemorial and a lot of women have written to me over the Internet to say, “Oh, my gosh, if I had only realize that the things to look for, my husband never would have ran away with my friend.”
David Debin: That makes me so uncomfortable, Marlene.
Marlene Browne: Oh, it's true.
David Debin: I mean, you look at the other way, I mean, I'm a man and we have a bunch of very good friends, very attractive guys.
Peter Brill: We sure have a whole group.
David Debin: Yes, a whole group of very attractive, sexy people, all of them.
Marlene Browne: That’s because you're in California!
David Debin: Yes, but I mean…
Peter Brill: Sure, it's California.
David Debin: Every time I see someone hug my wife, “Hello”, am I suppose to think that…
Peter Brill: Slap the guy across the face.
Marie Browne: [xx] their hands when they're hugging?
David Debin: Yes.
Marie Browne: How long is the hug? What's the look as they're hugging. There are a lot of issues that you begin to just, “OK, it's a hug, that’s fine.” Does he hug other women or is it just your wife? You become very insightful into behaviors.
Peter Brill: So what do you do?
Marlene Browne: We see this a bit more with women than men, frankly.
Peter Brill: So what do you do?
Marlene Browne: Well, you guard your position?
Peter Brill: How?
Marlene Browne: How?! When a woman is coming into your domain and trying to get your husband’s eye, being appropriate, dress inappropriately, come [xx] next to him, there are all sorts of things.
Peter Brill: What do you do?
Marie Browne: You address it.
Peter Brill: How do you do that?
Marie Browne: If this is a friend, you say to your friend, “Look, what's going on? Every time I turn around, you're at my husband’s side. Every time you want a drink, he's the one you ask to get it. What's your story?” Very openly, you address it. If they're really someone who doesn’t know and they just like your husband because you're so kind and friendly, then you’ve made a statement. “Check somebody else’s husband out.”
Marlene Browne: If she doesn’t lay off, then I would consider, “Well, what's important to you and how far do you want to let this continue?” Because the cases are legion with friends taking husbands and I can just go on, that’s a whole other book.
David Debin: What does this do to a group of friends if this happens? For instance, you have a group of friends that are pretty tight, hanging out a lot together, and this happens. What happens to that group?
Marie Browne: What happens is they take sides.
Marlene Browne: I would consider to take sides.
Marie Browne: You have the people who will say, “Well, she was the [xx] wife anyway and she deserved it.” You'll have other people who identify and say, “Wow, that’s terrible.” So you find they will takes side.
Marlene Browne: And often, Mom, it's the women. The women will look at this woman as a home wrecker and ostracize her, whereas the men will say, “Well, you know, we didn’t know what their life was like.”
David Debin: But then that’s going to make the husbands and wives all antagonistic towards each other.
Marlene Browne: Oh, yes, when something like this happen, that [xx] was broken, you bet there's fallout because what happens then if there's divorce and custody problems? Yes, of course, it's a major disruption for everybody.
Peter Brill: All right, David, no more parties then.
David Debin: That’s it.
Marlene Browne: No more parties. David, get different friends.
David Debin: Get different friends.
Peter Brill: I'm staying home.
David Debin: I'm staying home. Now, what number is in her first age, second age, on the cusp there,
Peter Brill: We just have one minute [xx].
David Debin: I think you have a boyfriend. Don’t you, Marissa.
Marissa Sgobassi: Yes, I do.
Peter Brill: How do you guard him?
David Debin: What do you do to guard him?
Marissa Sgobassi: I kind of trust him. I don’t know, he doesn’t seem like the type to cheat at all.
David Debin: Let's hear the experts.
Marlene Browne: Watch out for poachers, Marissa.
Marissa Sgobassi: Yes, I know. Oh, experts? [laughs]
David Debin: When you say “Oh-oh”, what does that mean?
Marie Browne: When he's not the type, you don’t know whether or not he's the type unless it happens.
Marissa Sgobassi: That’s true.
Marie Browne: You can't tell that at a very young relationship, you just can't. So by saying that very secure position, not going to happen to me, that I would worry about.
Marissa Sgobassi: What should I do or just go away?
Marie Browne: What you should do is, first of all, does a relationship where you love each other so much you don’t want to hurt each other, where--I'm sure you're not having sex now because you're not married. Right? But if you were, you would make sure that’s a wonderful arena to play in. Why would he want to go out for hamburger if he has taken it home?
Peter Brill: There we go. So Dr. Browne and Atty. Browne, we thank you so much for joining us today. It's been a lot of fun and very informative. The book is--David what is it again?
David Debin: It's “You Can't Have Him, He's Mine: How to Affair-proof a Relationship.”
Peter Brill: Thanks for being on our show. We'll be right back.
David Debin: Don’t go away, ladies, I want to tell you something.
David Debin: Hi, we're back with the “Third Age.” This is David Debin, the Man from Hollywood. I'm here with Peter Brill, Dr. Peter Brill, Marissa Sgobassi. We just had a great time speaking with the women, mother and daughter, who wrote, “You Can't Have Him, He's Mine: How to Affair-proof Your Relationship.”
Peter Brill: So Marissa, what did you learn?
Marissa Sgobassi: I learned that you can't trust men. No, I was just kidding. [laughs]
David Debin: No, that’s not right.
Marissa Sgobassi: No, it's an equal opportunity.
Peter Brill: Or you can only trust 30% of them.
Marissa Sgobassi: Otherwise, no.
David Debin: We learned that if someone has an affair with your boyfriend, you send him a cow’s head.
Peter Brill: No, no, no. poop.
Marissa Sgobassi: No, poop. There you go.
Peter Brill: There you go.
Marissa Sgobassi: And plus a lot more.
Peter Brill: I just have a couple of thoughts I'd like to pass on. We've been having a lot of fun and we've been talking about affairs and marriages and so forth. I just had a thought in terms of this stage of life. I've talked to so many people who gradually become isolated over the course of their relationships and over the course of their lives. A lot of times, they become isolated while they're still around other people, which is really interesting. I mean, that sounds impossible. Right? How can you become isolated and be around people? But they do. So I just thought I'd pass along a thought.
All that’s true is not visible or tangible. There are a lot of things that are very important in life that are neither visible or tangible. You can't touch them, you can't feel them, you can't smell them. There's a light beyond light, it can nourish you if you both let it. One name for that light is love. We all have the human need for love but people become so separate. Why do families deteriorate and friendships end badly? Either you care for others or you care for no one. Either life is all about you or me, it's all about you or it's about more than you, it's as simple as that. Either you're alone or you're connected by love with other people to the extent that you operate from a perspective where life is just about you, then you're going to become isolated.
Love is a fundamental need. Why do people become isolated, hurt, and blaming. Why aren't we surrounded by love? Mostly, it's because people are unwilling to look at themselves and see their part in relationships. It's so much easier to feel like a victim and to blame others than to be honest with yourself and to develop yourself. Think about that. Maybe you'd rather have more love than less sense of isolated virtue.
David Debin: And as far as that goes, I hope everybody takes that to heart. It's up for you Narcissist out there who don’t need anybody else. It's all about you. It's all about you.
Peter Brill: I certainly like to thank Jaron [xx] for his help today and thank our guests and like to thank Marissa for putting on the show. We'll be back next time for another journey in the “Third Age.”
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