Mad Men's Betty and Don Draper: Can This Marriage Be Saved?
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lhj

Mad Men's Betty and Don Draper: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Is Betty Draper ever going to throw that guy out of the house? We can only assume she hasn't been reading enough Can This Marriage Be Saved? So, here, marital therapist Robin Newman, a longtime contributor and Mad Men fan extraordinaire, offers some advice:

TALK TO EACH OTHER!!!
You two rarely do - and never about your marriage. You fell in love with an image - and it's those superficial qualities, however tenuous, that are holding you together now.

But who knows? Maybe there's a chance for a real connection. Don may be a philanderer - charismatic, enigmatic and cynical. (He's the one who said: "What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons.") Yet a kinder, gentler Don occasionally surfaces. Maybe there is a good man inside there, struggling to get out.

Betty, you're trapped in a world that feels like a prison. You've downshifted from bored to bitter, enduring your husband's infidelities because you've felt helpless to do anything about them. But you're smart, and you have more power than you realize. You're allowed to get angry! Once you do, you'll find the strength to finally challenge Don.

And yes, you do have to make the first move - not because it's a woman's job, but because Don is so out of touch with his feelings, he doesn't even realize he has them. Instead of simply asking him if he wants a drink when he walks in the door, you need to say: "Why don't you bring that glass into the living room. I have something to tell you." Be assertive without being aggressive and press your point. Just remember, if you're too emotional or combative, super-defended Don will tune you out or walk away.

Stop Lying
The illegitimate son of an abusive, alcoholic father, Don is a man running full throttle from his past. But frankly, Betty, your mother was a piece of work too - all that criticism about your weight, making you walk home from school to drop the pounds - she was just as emotionally abusive! Orphans in a storm, you're repeating some of the same dysfunctional patterns in your own marriage and family. You can't find happiness in the present if you haven't come to terms with your past.

End the Serial Infidelity
You can't have three people in a marriage (or four - hello Henry Francis!). Despite the fact that Don hops into bed with every brunette who crosses his path, he's actually terrified of intimacy. Subconsciously, he feels that committing to one woman will leave him vulnerable. In truth, his behavior signals how desperate he is for the real connection that a satisfying marriage can bring.

Schedule Time for Sex
No, it won't be as sizzling as it was in Italy-at least not at first. But your little Roman holiday proved that you still have the hots for each other. And once you bring the sexytime back, you'll find it easier to turn on and tune in to each other in all areas of your life.

Buy an Apartment in the City
Admit it: You both hate the suburbs. You only live there because you think that's what a young upwardly mobile couple should do. But think about it: Without the hour-plus commute, Don will have more time to spend with you and the kids - who need their father to be present in their lives as much as he needs them. You'll have a better chance of resuming your modeling career if you want or join the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you create your own life, you won't be so depressed. Think of it: you'll have so much energy you'll actually be able to ditch that awful orange couch you just bought!

And if it still doesn't work? Well, by then, Betty, you'll be stronger and more confident. As another LHJ motto goes, "Never underestimate the power of a woman!" Dump him.

shim