Ben says his wife of six months, Kelly, completely changed for the worse after they got married, and he feels duped. Kelly says she has lost her self-worth because Ben demeans her every day, and she suspects he’s been cheating on her. Can Dr. Phil get to the truth? And, can this marriage be saved?
Ben says Kelly pulled a “bait and switch” after he says she “trapped” him and forced him into marriage six months ago. Ben says after the paperwork was signed, Kelly completely changed for the worse — she gained weight, stopped being affectionate and stopped cleaning and cooking his favorite meals. Ben says he’s “disgusted” by his wife’s appearance and says if not for their 4-year-old son, he would have left by now.
“When I look at Kelly, I feel disgusted and grossed out,” Ben says. “I don’t even go anywhere with Kelly because I don’t want anybody to see me with her. I’m embarrassed to be around Kelly because she’s gained so much weight. Kelly’s gained about 80 pounds. It grosses me out when I watch Kelly eat. She just kind of shovels the food in, and it’s all business. It’s feeding time. Her thighs are so big, she doesn’t have a walk. It’s not even a walk; it’s a waddle. She has rolls on her. It almost looks like she has boobs in the front and boobs in the back. I hate coming home after a long day to seeing a beached whale on the couch. When I think about Kelly, I think, ‘Man, what have I done here? What have I done to deserve this? Why do I have this? I mean, really? Really?’”
Kelly admits she has gained weight since getting married but says she has lost her self-worth because Ben demeans her every day. She says Ben lost 100 pounds and then turned into a “narcissist” and a “jerk”— and she suspects he is cheating on her.
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“Ben makes me feel worthless.”
Kelly tells Dr. Phil that she gained weight when she had their son, but other than that, she says, “I don’t feel I’ve changed.”
“How could you not
, when he demeans you in this way?” Dr. Phil asks her.
“You just get numb to it,” Kelly says.
In a previous interview, Ben says he thinks he’s a total catch — good looking, sensitive, caring and romantic. “What I have to offer other women is the whole package,” he says. He admits he flirts with other women. “I have a really high self-worth because of who I am. I have this plate that’s full of so many delicious things to give to somebody, and I’m stuck with this cardboard chicken laying on another plate beside of me. I have all of this to offer, but the reality of it is, my wife, she has nothing — unless you count laying on the couch,” he says.
Ben tells Dr. Phil that he works hard and feels he deserves better than coming home to an unaffectionate wife.
“Do you think you’re a mental and emotional cripple?” Dr. Phil asks him.
“Yes, I do sometimes,” he admits.
Dr. Phil asks Ben, “What the hell are you thinking?”
A Secret Double Life?
Ben opens up about what he’s been hiding from Kelly, and she reacts.
“I don’t understand how you can do that and come home and look at me, look at your son and look at yourself in the mirror.”
Dr. Phil reviews some of Ben’s online dating profiles, which state he’s unmarried with no children and “looking for women, couples (man and woman), groups or couples (two women).”
Ben says he quickly created those profiles so he could see other women, and didn’t pay attention to what he was clicking.
Ben reveals the truth about a woman who showed up at their house. And, Dr. Phil reviews Ben’s list of goals for Kelly.
Dr. Phil says that many of Ben’s wishes for Kelly could be legitimate goals for her, like taking better care of herself, but says he goes about it the wrong way. “Do you want out of this?” he asks Ben.
“Sometimes, I do, yes,” he says.
“If your son wasn’t involved, would you be gone?”
“Yes, I would,” he says.
Dr. Phil turns to Kelly. “What do you want?”
“When I thought he had possibly slept with the girl who came to our door, I wanted to power through and work things out for our family,” she says. “Now that I know there’s a range of eight to 15, how do you bounce back from that? I don’t think you can. At this point, I don’t see things going forward.”
“I just want you to love me, Kelly,” Ben says. “You haven’t loved me in a long, long time. What happened?”
“The cheating!” she says.
“Before that. It stopped before that.”
“No, it was the constant beatdowns and letting me know that I’m doing everything wrong constantly. Nothing is ever good enough,” Kelly says.
Dr. Phil asks Ben, “Do you have any level of insight into your ownership here?”
“No,” he says.
“So, you think everything you’ve done is in reaction to her shortcomings and therefor justified?” Dr. Phil asks. “She’s driven you to these other women. She’s driven you to be hyper-critical. She’s driven you to this level of frustration, where anybody would react the way you’re reacting.”
“That’s what I said, yeah,” Ben says.
The Toll on Their Son
In a previous interview, Ben and Kelly admit they fight in front of their 4-year-old son, who will get in between them when they’re yelling. “Just the other day, my son yelled, ‘Dad, you’re a cheater!’ My heart just dropped,” Ben says.
Kelly grows tearful. “He probably heard me say it. That’s too much responsibility for him at 4 years old.”
“I wish we could be better parents for the sake of our son,” Ben says.
“Children have said they’d rather be from a broken home than live in one.” And, Dr. Phil asks Ben to put himself in Kelly’s shoes. Will it make an impact?
Dr. Phil tells Kelly, “You have a decision to make here. I understand that your self-worth is damaged … There’s clearly an unhealthy situation here, and you’re a role model for this son as well. The first thing that has to happen here is you’ve got to get Kelly back.”
Dr. Phil tells her she has to be there for her child, which means taking care of his mother. He offers her resources to help her get to a healthier place mentally, emotionally and physically — and then she can make a decision about her marriage “And whenever you make a decision about what to do with your life and family, make it from a position of strength, not weakness,” he says.
Dr. Phil turns to Ben. “I think you screwed the pooch here,” he says. “Your coping has been very immature. You have had legitimate concerns about your marriage, but you’ve had illegitimate ways of dealing with them. And you’re insight is really low.” Dr. Phil offers Ben professional resources as well. “You need it, I’m telling you.”
“I know,” he says. He accepts.
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