Is this how you feel?

Are You Whipped? Uh Oh, Here’s Your Way Out

Disclosure: Man Makes Fire is reader-supported. When you buy gear using retail links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work. Learn more.
Is this how you feel?

If there was any hesitation in your mind when you read the title question, you’re whipped.* You might as well break out the handcuffs and hand the key to the chick who’s running your life.

But there’s hope. Because you’re whipped, you probably can’t go cold turkey and stand up with your balls in your hand. You need a doable strategy, preferably something a little passive-aggressive that can fly under the radar and eventually help you rescue yourself. A good way to find the light is to go on some sort of adventure with other men. Here’s what you do:

1. Start talking about the trip at least six months in advance

Have your buddies send you a few text messages about it when you’re sure she’ll be around to hear and see them come into your phone — and notice your response. So your buddy texts, “About the motorcycle racing class . . . you in?” Your reply can be non-committal, like, “Man, I’d love to . . . let me think about the logistics. I’ll get back to you.”

It can work with a phone call, too, or a casual mention during a backyard barbecue. Your buddy probably knows you’re whipped, so don’t worry about eliciting his help. (Heck, it’s a man’s duty to help other men extricate themselves from such situations so drop the weak pride.)

2. Show your interest

A couple days later, bring home a motorcycle magazine, but don’t get flashy with it. Just be seen reading it or leave it where it can be noticed.

3. Use the future because it’s off her radar

If you’re whipped, you’re going to have to discuss it, but try not to ask for permission. Think, “Hey, so Brad’s got this motorcycle racing class set up for September for a couple days . . . can you think of anything we have going on in September that would make that impossible?”

When there’s no real problem, you’ve got to man up: “Cool. I think I’m going to do it,” you say, with a tone that indicates you’re a little surprised at yourself. “I’m pretty stoked actually.”

If she crushes you right here, you’re in deeper whipped trouble than most men. The bad news? You’re going to have put your foot down and piss her off. The good news? At least she’ll have several months to get used to the idea that you’re going . . . or try to undermine it by getting her favorite niece to reschedule her wedding during motorcycle racing school. Either way, you’re heading in the right direction that will end up with you either going . . . or setting the stage for a righteous discussion where you call her out for ending the trip because you know it was on purpose and that it was bullshit. Don’t let her sweet talking honey lips distract you.

Most likely, though, you’ll get at least a soft yes several months in advance, even if she assumes that you won’t be going.

4. Amp it up

During the next two months, bring up how amped you are about the trip, and do this at times that aren’t appropriate to discussing it . . . like when she’s leaving for work or yoga. It also works when there’s an outside reminder of the trip, like when you see a motorcycle race on TV (or whatever it is you’re doing).

5. Praise her for supporting you

Say how surprised you are about how cool she’s being about your trip. She might see through you, but you’re building momentum, and you’re slowly but surely painting a picture of you doing the trip in her mind — and in your own.

6. Let her overhear you talking about it on the phone

This is a clear indication of how excited you are about the trip, and if you can talk about planning elements, all the better.

7. Man up

If a real problem arises, well, hey, that happens, but if she invents piddling excuses for you not to go, call her bullshit, be a man, and go anyway.

The Results

If you follow all of these steps and you can’t find a way to make something manly happen, you fail. Never use her as the scapegoat again, even in your own mind. You’re still whipped — worse than ever — and it’s your own damn fault.

Look, every relationship should be one where both of you do fun things together . . . and both sides get out and do things on their own with their their own friends — that’s healthy and it needs to go both ways. If you’re not supporting your wife or girlfriend in this, you fail yet again. Balance.

So what’s it going to be? Is that the way you want to live your life? And are you the man that your wife or girlfriend really wants? Look, we believe that the best partners appreciate those who get out and do more with their lives. Just saying.


* Whipped is not exactly the same as being in a rut. Maybe the daily pressures of being a family man have led to a routine, and if that routine leaves you tired and irritable, it’s a rut. Read Rhythm vs. Rut for more.

Disclosure: Reviews and Gear Links:

In addition to Man Makes Fire buying gear for reviews and guides, gear manufacturers occasionally ship review units to Man Makes Fire. If we like it, we spend some quality time with the gear and review it, noting if it was provided to Man Makes Fire. After the review, we return it, give it away, or work on longer-term review follow-ups when applicable to reader interest.

We do not accept any gear in exchange for coverage. If we do not truly appreciate the gear, we don't write about it at all -- bad gear will fade into obscurity on its own if everyone ignores it. In addition, we focus on gear from reputable companies, reputable brands, and reputable retailers that we trust.

The gear links on Man Makes Fire are focused on what we are willing to recommend to our own family and friends. Many of our specific gear links connect to industry-standard affiliate advertising programs. When you buy something using the retail links in our guides and reviews, we may earn a small affiliate commission that helps pay for our work.

Basically, we deliver the advice and insight you need, you get the gear you want, and then everyone wins. Pretty straightforward.

Complete Site Details & Disclosures Here

  1. Something to add to your system that might help. I used essentially your process with a couple added ideas in mind. 1st: During your setup, encourge your wife to do things as well. You never know the issue might really be money or fear and not dominance. So make sure she knows you expect her to do equivalent activities without you too. Second, don’t be a dumb ass about your first choice. If you pick Las Vegas with the guys as your first break out there is no way that will happen. Whatever you pick it should not be threatening to her or the relationship. That stuff can come later. Finally, your goal is to strengthen the relationship not defeat it. Relationships on equal ground are stronger than those where all the power resides on one side.

    1. Hey Erik, you make some excellent points — your wife or girlfriend does need to feel empowered to do things on her own or with her girlfriends. A lot of times a guy gets whipped because he’s trying to make an insecure woman feel secure, but the way to get there is not to stop doing things yourself. Oh, I know some guys who have gone the quid pro quo route, where if the guy gets to go fishing, the partner gets to host a weekend scrapbooking party (uuuhggg).

      And when you say “finally,” you actually have two separate points, I think: 1) Your goal is to strengthen the relationship . . . I think you’re right on. I’ve never seen a whipped-based relationship go anywhere good for anyone. Generally a sad way to live for both partners. 2) Relationships on equal ground are stronger than those where all the power reside on one side . . . I think this is mostly true.

      Why mostly? When the shit really hits the fan, who’s job is it, ultimately, to clean it up or figure it out? When things get really really messy, who needs to provide answers, lead the way, and get back on track? Take a close hard look. The answer shows the tipping point of equality (and for some people, it could easily go either way, and not the same way for everything). Still not sure? If there’s a zombie apocalypse, whose job will it be to see if the dark alley is clear for travel?

      The way I half-seriously think about it is this: While you might be fine with a 50-50 relationship, I’m not. I’m all about 51-49, and I have 51 percent. After all, what leader ignores 49% of the vote? That’s not something you take lightly. 49% is a lot of power and you don’t piss it off without good reason!

      Of course, the better idea is to ensure — by being wicked smart, having fun with your chick, and actually caring about her — that your real need to use a majority vote power is rarely, if ever, tapped.

    2. Chris, you stated that it is a friends job to help get each other unwhipped. That is where inviting guys to go with you helps. We all know who is whipped, take that extra step and ask that guy along.

  2. I would add to not be afraid to find the right time to include her on your plans. This doesn’t mean she goes along or gets to plan it, it is your deal so you need to take charge.

    As Erik as said, her control might not be from the need to dominate, but from fear, money and/or something else. By including her in the plan you can resolve or diminish her worries and get her to be supportive on your plan. This gives her an opening to voice her concerns in a more constructive manor.

    To use the motorcycle example, show her you plan. Show her the safety equipment you are required to have. Show her the race has a special beginners course that has qualified instructors. This will go to resolve some fears.

    Bring her into the budget of the trip. Show her how much you think it will cost. If you just say the price, she (like yourself in her shoes) might just jump to say it is way to expensive. But by including her into the budget she gets to be able to but value behind the cost. If you just say your are going to blow $1500 to race around the track sounds wasteful. But if you show you are spending $1500 to go for 3 days to a track, rent the needed safety equipment, the rental of a motorcycle, enroll in a beginners course in which you receive instructions on how to ride on the track for the 3 days, hotel cost, food, and other items then that $1500 moves from wasteful to meaningful.

    You need to be ready to answer her questions. Be ready to say “I didn’t think of that” and have a plan to look the answer up. Also remember that this is your plan, but be open to her suggestions. If she thinks you are listening to her, she will in turn listen to you, and that is what you want.

    Also don’t be surprised if she turns around. Your excitement might just rub off on her. You never know, she might just say that you shouldn’t rent that bike, but look for your own.

    1. Hey Lee, that’s a damn fine idea: Keeping her in the loop with your plans, and better yet, asking her opinion if there’s an opening for one.

      And — I haven’t seen this in a long while — I think you guys are tapping into a deeper point, and that is that a lot of resistance to doing things, to seeing someone else do things, boils down to a bit of fear or worry that can manifest itself as resistance/anger/frustration/something else.

      Oh, man, and here’s another weird thing: Chicks who have kids so often feel “guilty” for taking time for themselves to go do things that that personal issue can manifest itself into a woman who lashes out directly or passive-aggressively.

      You shouldn’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty for feeding your soul, right, but you should also be doing cool stuff with your family, too. It’s a lot of work to guide a lady past that “guilt barrier,” but it’s worth it. Man-to-man, if you run into this, keep at it, keep encouraging, and set up “opportunities” for her to fill them doing things on her own or with friends. Ultimately, you’ll end up with more man time and have more fun together, too.

      1. Oh, Lee, I forgot to add this, after you wrote:

        “Also don’t be surprised if she turns around. Your excitement might just rub off on her. You never know, she might just say that you shouldn’t rent that bike, but look for your own.”

        Holy Macaroni! If the lady in your life told you go to buy a bike, wow, hang on tight to her! I thought those kinds of things were just urban legends!

        1. Lol. My lady not only told me I could get my new bike, but also saved up and purchased it for my birthday. You be I am not letting her go :)

          The bike was probably the extreme example. But others might come along. She might want you to purchase the safety gear instead of renting it because she doesn’t trust the rented equipment. If say you plan to stay at a camp ground to save cost she might want to have you in a hotel so you are better rested.

  3. Chris,
    Can you say a relationship isn’t balanced just because it is your job to be the protector (thinking zombies here) and mess fixer (thinking kids go-to dad here)? Sure I expect the man making fire to make the decisions when it comes to certain roles, protecting, financial goals, so on. But what about the clone duties that we hate to manage thinking dishes, laundry, bath time? Better for her to handle those, gives her sense of pride to nest the home up. For me 50/50 is the way to go then I’m shouldering what I’m suppose to and she is handling what she is suppose to. I can throw down when I have to but what could possibly come up that I need to throw down about when the relationship is on track? Not much. 51/49 is probably close enough. However, if you end up in a coma, remember she knows she was the 49% side of the deal.

    1. I can say this: Usually, _someone_ wears the pants in the household most of the time. But more importantly, the coma question . . . in the event that I’m incapacitated (or out of contact because I’m on the can working through the effects of bad tacos) there’s an automatic 2% power shift to cover those situations.

      Of course, while I’m a pretty trusting guy, I leave a red sealed notebook on top of the refridgerator for just such emergencies. It’s packed with rules, guidelines, and tips for the proper use of 51% power. Fortunately, the seal has not yet been broken.