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Who Changed More over the course of their Marriage – Chris Watts or Shan’ann? [DISCUSS]

When one person changes inside a marriage, it causes a strain. When one person changes jobs, or a career, it causes a strain. When both people change, the strain can reach breaking point. In the Watts family the breaking point came with trauma and tragedy. We have an idea about the finishline to this spiral of strain, but what of the spiral?

How did the relationship unravel? How did the individuals within that relationship unravel?

In Chris Watts’ video about relationships, just beyond the halfway mark he suggests that “it’s generally the more attractive one that leaves…”, then double’s back and says enigmatically: “I agree [with that] somewhat, and I disagree with [it].”

What do you think he means by that?

Backtracking to a few seconds prior to this statement, let’s follow the transcript:

WATTS [Reading from a prepared script]: Reasons relationships start to fall apart: sometimes you no longer find your partner attractive – physically, or in their personality. When you’re in a relationship you have to show desire, lust towards your partner….But if you want your relationship to keep going I would suggest, maybe going to a place where you first met…go bungee jumping…go somewhere that will bring the excitement back. 

It’s noteworthy that Watts highlights “showing desire/lust” as something one “has” to do in order to have a relationship, and as the first reason to prevent it from “starting” to fall apart.

you have to show desire

Fullscreen capture 20181022 190907But the terms in which Watts expresses this are clearly off. If a relationship is deteriorating, telling yourself “you have to show desire” is probably the last thing the relationship needs. Often when a couple is put off by one another, trying to push the lust button only makes matters worse.

Probably, in a conventional relationship, especially with young adults, that lust, libido, desire and physical attractive is all there. It’s hot-wired. That’s not the problem. The problem is more likely a lack of attentiveness, sensitivity and interest, perhaps due to business or distraction or exhaustion. That’s the area one has to deal with. Intimacy. Communication. Listening. I care about you. Do you care about me in the same way or not?

WATTS: You no longer experience closeness. Or when your differences become more important than your similarities. [Looks up] You just pick-apart your partner. And you don’t see anything that you have in common any more – you just see that something he or she does and it just gets on your nerves and you just can’t let that go.

This is another interesting aspect he highlights. The growing isolation in a relationship happens because of fundamental differences that are more important than similarities.

[Glances down at his laptop] And you feel you might do better with someone else that-that you’ve met. [Looks at laptop but he’s not reading] You think that you can no longer do – that your partner is someone that you can’t be with. [Reading from the presentation] When you feel you are putting more in the relationship than you are getting out…

It’s important to remember, some of what Watts is saying here is generic relationship stuff. It’s the low-hanging off-the-top-of-my mind first Google search result vanilla stuff. That’s not what we’re looking out for. What we’re looking out for is what’s going on between the scripted stuff. When we give a prepared presentation, we stick to the prescriptions in it, but in our reinforcements, we stray from them, revealing our true feelings.

So when Watts uses as an example “picking-apart” one’s partner, that’s not in the presentation. That’s coming from his own personal and private field of reference. When he mentions not having anything in common and something [here he’s pointedly careful to make it “he” or “she”], then he uses the loaded term “you can’t let that go”.

One of the biggest unknowns in this case is Chris Watts’ sexuality. Is he bisexual or not? In what appears to be a pretty stock-standard presentation, Chris Watts is stock-standard, or is he trying to be?

The issue of Watts’ sexuality isn’t to be sensational, or to manufacture tabloid fodder out of thin air. According to the Daily Beast in a piece specifically querying the notion of Chris Watts’ “double life” [a second face] the article mentions:

A source close to the investigation [said] that Chris had affairs with both men and women. It’s unclear if Shanann knew about the alleged liaisons, [but Shan’ann’s mother said] Shanann and Chris were planning to separate. Two of Shanann’s friends [Nickole Atkinson and Amanda Thayer] said she [Shan’ann] suspected Chris was cheating on her. 

So Chris Watts’ sexuality is extremely relevant to the investigation and will be a key element at the trial. His sexuality is central to why this crime happens because it cuts to the core of the actual dynamic going on between Watts and wife and Watts and the family dynamic in general. We have a red carpet rolled into his mind going into this vital area thanks to this video.

Watts is presenting [presumably] to a heterosexual audience about relationship deterioration and repair. Anyone who is heterosexual wouldn’t even consider the nuances of the sexual spectrum because we tend to accept that we’re heterosexual, most people are heterosexual.

Amanda Thayer said in an interview that Shan’ann told her when they met she had to do all the work and that he had no game. Six years into their marriage, Shan’ann confided that although she suspected infidelity, she was confident that he still “had no game”. Why was she so confident?

That’s also somewhat at odds with her own version on a Facebook Live video where she describes him sticking by her, putting up with her at her worst, and sticking around when she was pushing him away each day and continuously giving him a reason to leave, and an out. It feels like there are a lot of mixed messages here, truth and deception mixed up from both of them. Both of them seem to be presenting an idea of themselves and each other, rather than living it or knowing it for real.

The most significant verbal slip in the speech, when he goes off script is quick and easy to miss, but here it is:

…you feel you might do better with someone else that-that you’ve met. [Looks at laptop but he’s not reading] You think that you can no longer do – that your partner is someone that you can’t be with.

It’s in the way he frames the response to doing better with someone else.

You think that you can no longer do…

It could be he’s referring to the idea of living a double life, and finding “you can no longer do it” or “you can no longer do it to yourself”. This is exactly the sort of inner monologue a bisexual or gay person might have when they decide they can’t or won’t continue living out their ruse. “I just can’t can’t do it any more. I can’t live like this.” To be fair, it could also be Watts simply misreading from the line above [“do better”].  When we actually join those words to what he was originally saying we get:

You think that you can no longer do better…

When re watching this moment, where he interrupts himself after the word “do”, he’s actually looking down at that moment. He’s not reading.  At the moment he makes the slip his head jerks slightly and he returns to his script. The looking down while going off script suggests introversion, closedness and tension regarding this aspect.

So, returning the original question:

Who changed more during the course of their six year marriage? Who changed more physically? Who changed more sexually? Who had the greatest personality change? Which partner became more attractive vis-a-vis the other?

At trial, this will be a vital question, because the one who changed the most grew the most, and the one who became the most attractive would have most wanted out when things went south.



  1. Cheryl

    I’m thinking about this in terms of who wanted to change the most, which I believe is Chris. Physically, both Shan’ann and Chris changed, with both losing weight. However, Chris’s weight loss is more dramatic, transforming himself from a chunky, pleasant-looking guy into a hot-bodied handsome man. By all indications, Chris was vested in maintaining his weight loss to enable his sexual exploits with men and women and to pursue another life outside of the his marriage’s many constraints, including the limits it imposed on experimenting with his sexuality. On the other hand Shan’ann was reverting to her matronly body due to another pregnancy, which was not enthusiastically received by Chris. Overall, I think Shan’ann’s changes were minor—weight fluctuations, as well as personality amplifications due to her increased confidence. In contrast, Chris’s changes were remarkable, almost chameleon-like, as if he had selected another skin to better reflect his emerging authentic self.

  2. Pauline

    I stopped the video mid way – it’s so rich. We’ve come a long way here, haven’t we, in our understanding. And for those that are still here, we’ve moved beyond the initial analysis into more deep cuts into this case. I see way more from this relationship video than I did initially. My view of it at the beginning was very superficial. So here’s what I see now. Of course he’s nervous, he doesn’t like delivering the report, and most of us don’t, so we’ll just get that out of the way. There’s a way he delivers it, part of it is intellectual, he’s reading, not experiencing, but his many side comments are emotional and unscripted. Several times he’s brought up the concept “someone else.” I counted at least 3 times until the halfway point. He seems emotional when he looks up and says when the relationship starts to go south (my words) and giving examples there may be “more awkward silences, when you’re off by yourself, you don’t talk at all.” This seems to bother him. He’s speaking from experience. He understands what the fixes are, that is, there is an intellectual understanding that better communication is needed, but he doesn’t experience that on an emotional level because likely he hasn’t tried it, or if he has, it was no reciprocated. And it’s very very tough! to have the conversation “this isn’t working” leads to emotional outbursts, anger, and if you aren’t willing to go through that eye in the needle you won’t come out better for it.

    This is interesting here when he gives an example of “Gradual” breakdown of the relationship – “Gradual would be if you meet someone at work or a new friendship has occurred.” He’s drawing a distinction – new person at work; or a new friendship. The new friendship could be another man. Another man where it might not have been all sexual, but he experienced a closeness all the same. Early in the video he brings up the new person by saying “even at the job you might meet a new person that could strengthen something else.” Some other dormant desire perhaps, the “something else” possibly being experimentation with someone of the same sex.

    To answer your question, he changed the most, at least outwardly, and he was changing internally as well. Who he was was rapidly changing.

  3. Megan

    I’m always amused when women post photos of their “before” and it’s photos of them right after birth.
    There’s another family photo of Shannan and Chris’ ” before & after” and she’s holding a newborn.
    Of course she’s going to be big at that point. I guarantee you the photo of her before up above is her holding one of the girls after they were born.

  4. Pauline

    I think she’s a beautiful voluptuous bootylicious looking woman. They were both plain looking before, but unfortunately (because I don’t want to give Thrive any credit) they are walking advertisements for the Thrivin’ lifestyle they are promoting. More so than the Thayer’s wouldn’t you say?

  5. Spock

    Chris is the obvious choice.
    How do you evolve from a pudgy, pasty, quiet mechanic, making awkward relationship videos into a ripped and tanned COLD BLOODED MURDERER who stuffs his baby girls into vats of crude oil and shovels dirt on his wife’s dead body?
    That is an epic change in 6 or so years.
    I’m gonna have to say any changing Shanann did would be mild in comparison.

    • Spock

      Please ignore the above post. It was more of a rant than a post. It did make me feel better though. 🙂

  6. Milbet Lazo

    The most important thing here is to find out the background of both, Chris and Shannan. It does not matter who was looking better between them. It does not have anything to do with such a crime, specially the children´s crime.

    Something wrong was in their head. Marriage is between two, not one. Looking some of the videos of Shannan surprised me a lot. When did she really pay attention to her family? Human Being is very complex and our brain can be broken in seconds due to uncontrolled emotions.

    Any single situation that affects our life and our health is totally related to our emotions and the way we think. Also, it does not have to do with proffesional education. Chris Whatts is an Engineer and Shannan did not go to University.

    I am convinced that Chris and Shannan were totally different affecting this fact their marriage.

    Couples should learn from this experience in order to avoid this horrible situation that both families are going thru right now.

  7. Spock

    I’m not very good at this type of analysis but I’ll take a run at this one. (Now that I’m done ranting).

    “If you kick a lion when it is down, God help you when it gets up.”
    ― Matshona Dhliwayo

    The above quote sums up what I’m able to discern from the snippets of their relationship. They both changed and as in most marriages they changed each other.
    I believe when they met Chris was “boxing above his weight class” and they both knew it. A gorgeous, voluptuous, intelligent brunette living on her own in an amazing house meets a kinda frumpy, pudgy, sort of cute in a teddy bear way, run of the mill mechanic who has no game. But by her own words she finds him to be loyal and caring.
    (Below I won’t cloak my words in phrases like, I think or I believe, etc. Just accept this as pure speculation on my part).
    She knows she could do better – he knows it’s not likely he’ll ever get this lucky again.
    And we’re off…
    They start their lives together on an unequal playing field. She the more superior and he the more inferior. As the years go by the caring and loyal feelings she has for him are diluted by the burden of shaping and molding the introvert into something she more desires. At the same time he never feels adequate. He never feels like he’s enough for her. She continues to “improve” him for herself and for his own good and that action continues to degrade his self esteem.
    He continues to follow and attempts to transform because he doesn’t want to lose his “prize”. As time goes by he’s frustrated and unhappy because the bar for success is always moving slightly higher. He’s giving up. She’s tired of dragging the introvert along with her.
    Then God help them they start Thrivin. She becomes more extroverted and drags the whole family out on her stage. She’s flyin’ around the country and making all these new “friends” and she’s gonna be a gazillionaire. She’s driving the fancy car and she’s a star.
    He tries to play along in his new Thrivin’ role but once again he just doesn’t fit. She humiliates him on her stage in front of all her Thrivin’ fans.
    He gets “game”, gets “ripped”, and begins to seek success and fulfillment elsewhere.
    She feels it. The tables turn but hard as she tries (he’s my rock, best Dad ever, etc.) it’s too late.

    About now is when the lion gets up.

    • carolyn nigro (@NigroCarolyn)

      Hes a psychopath , not a lion

    • Bed Brown

      These were exactly my observations watching the videos of Shan’nan and family. Chris was bossed around arrogantly but he smiled all the time, never reacted. Some introverts have strong feelings, bottle up anger and he snapped but why oh why did he kill his little girls. That I can find no reason for , they honestly adored their daddy.

      • Rebecca Olesen

        Come on, are you actually blaming his wife for his murderous violence? Are you saying it’s ‘understandable’ why he murdered his wife, but just not his daughters? You’re horrible for that.

    • FLGirl

      I think you’ve summed this up well. He felt inadequate and was intimidated by an outgoing/smart/successful wife, and the high he got from the attention gained from his mistress sent him over the edge. Clearly, he had deep issues or an affair would not have lead to such extremes, especially as to his children. But I think you’re absolutely right about Chris feeling inferior.

  8. Cheryl

    Introverts are highly underrated–one of Shan’ann’s primary mistakes. I think Chris had more on the ball than Shan’ann all along. He certainly had a better job and an oil engineer love interest waiting in the wings who had a lot more earning potential than his thriving, spendthrift spouse. In the end, I think he believed he could only relieve his financial burdens and achieve his full potential by destroying his family. Pretty damned cold, but they were all disposable to him.

    • Pauline

      People tend to be attracted to the same “type” over and over. Try as we fight it (“we want someone different the next time”) we pick the same one, maybe with a few differences. When I look at the pictures of Chris’s alleged mistress she too looks voluptuous, smiling in her colorful dress and surrounded by men. Likely she’s an extrovert too. We don’t know what Chris was to her. Maybe just a temporary thing, a work thing, a fling. If he thought he was going to move on to greener pastures, he may have been sorely mistaken.

    • FLGirl

      Chris didn’t really have a “better” job than Shan’ann after she started working with Thrive. She did very well, even earning an $800/month car allowance. They were earning about the same annually, and she had the potential to earn far more. I do agree, though, that Shan’ann seemed to overspend and they lived paycheck to paycheck.

      • Nick

        The car was a lease. Unfortunately there are no financial records to prove how little she was really earning in relation to him. However it’s well known that most involved in MLM don’t make any money. If your argument is that her income was great then you’ve just stripped away a significant part of the motive. So it doesn’t matter that they were losing their house etc. Then you’re left with the affair. Millions have affairs without committing murder. The affair is an important reason this crime was committed but by no means the only reason.

      • FLGirl

        Nick, I was simply clarifying that Chris and Shan’ann were earning about the same annually, and his job wasn’t “better.” I agree that they were financially strapped. It seemed they both enjoyed living above their means. That could have been a motive, along with other reasons and certainly the mistress was a factor. None of the motives, of course, are justification.

  9. piktor

    Watts’ evolution was a regression into a 2-year-old. Now that he can manipulate at will -as any self regarding 2-yr.-old totalitarian would- he will rule the roost! He has an orange suit, plus cuffs and shackles to prove he’s for real.

    Shanann was fighting the good fight with lots of proof she was winning:

    Shanann was allegedly barren. Proved that whopper wrong with two extraordinary girls and a baby on the way.
    If that were not life-changing enough, she transformed herself from a mousy clueless girl into a leader at her chosen profession. She had the accolades to prove it.

    Shanann’s change was for the better and was well on her way to achieving the best of herself.

    • nickvdl

      The black and white position that Chris Watts is all bad, an evil monster, and Shan’ann is all good, an innocent angel, is so typical in true crime it’s a cliche, but it’s precisely why most people don’t – can’t – come close to understanding one iota of these cases. Much as we like to revel in their polar opposites, these are people like you and me. People like you and me, believe it or not, are also capable of murder and being murdered given the right circumstances and switch.

      Rocket Science isn’t about demonizing either party or turning them into one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. It’s about looking at them and letting who they really are speak for themselves and tell their stories, whatever those stories may be. For that to happen, we have to get out of the way with our snap judgements and over simplistic biases.

      • Rebecca Olesen

        I don’t say she’s perfect or an angel, but there is no justification for what he did. His wife was pregnant, this was premeditated, he put the girls in the backseat with their mother’s dead body on the floor in front of her. He killed on daughter while the other watched, and then asked him if he was going to ‘do that’ to me too, and said ‘daddy, please no!’ – but he did it anyway. THERE IS NO GRAY AREA HERE. Under the right circumstances, YES, almost anyone is capable of murder. But there are no circumstances that would allow me to take the lives of my children. The only circumstance that would cause me to kill my pregnant wife and unborn son would be to save my own or my kids. He strangled her and smothered them, that takes a long time. This was premeditated (yes I’m repeating myself) and the motives were financial and relieve himself of the ‘burden’ of dealing with an ex an taking care of kids when he just wanted to live in his fantasy sex world, unhindered by responsibility.

        • nickvdl

          We’re not trying to understand how you would commit murder. We’re trying to understand why he did. And understanding why doesn’t mean we’re saying he did the right thing, or justifying what he did, or God help me, that he was right to do what he did. When we’re trying to understand why we’re trying to answer the question why. That’s what True Crime is all about, or what it should be all about.

        • nickvdl

          Please refrain from using all caps in your comments.

  10. BAMS13

    When they first met I suspect they saw things they admired in each other, traits they might have felt were inadequate within themselves. In my opinion both were average and ordinary looking and slightly pudgy. Physically, they were both on an even keeling.

    Shan’ann was the less educated, extroverted one and Chris was reserved, University educated and supposedly intelligent. Personally, I think they were mismatched.
    An old friend of CW from school described him as quiet, non-reactive, kind, intelligent and very popular with the girls although he didn’t recall any relationships. SW was described as being “popular” in her later years at high school.

    I think SW was confident with men in general, she’d had several relationships and had been married while CW seemed to lack confidence and social skills. SW was probably his first serious relationship and he was likely still figuring himself out while being with her. SW on the other hand knew her role & place within a relationship but needed to find where she fit in the world when it came to a meaningful and rewarding job/career.

    During this time CW started taking better care of his outward appearance, toned up & trimmed down while SW’s weight fluctuated with pregnancies and her looks suffered most likely due to illness. Her change came with finding a platform to connect with people in a way that made her money. To me, it wasn’t so much about “helping” people change their lives, that was just the hook, line & sinker of Le’Vel. If her passion was truly to be help others she would have assisted charities. No, her goal was purely making money to sustain and fund her lavish over-committed lifestyle. The attention she received was a bonus.

    Then it reached the point where SW was losing her looks, had an all consuming job that CW and the children were made to take part in. This was to showcase to potential customers that Thrive will give you a humongous house, a luxury car and turn you into a machine of a mother like her, that is able to get up at 5am every day she deal with her crazy, needy children.

    CW on the other hand had a secure income and a less complicated job that wasn’t all consuming like Shan’anns. He’s now tanned, ripped, buffed and attractive ladies that never looked twice at him before are all of a sudden giving him the attention he is no longer getting from SW who is busy live streaming herself.

    CW looks changed the most resulting in attention from attractive younger females and inducing in him a desire and confidence he’s never had before. He likes it and seeks more and more of that. SW changed more internally and found a passion for connecting with people while making more money than she ever has before. The issue is, how long could she sustain this before the bubble burst, money dwindled and she’s left with a resume as a MLM sales lady? Plus she had Nico on the way and would be needing CW more than ever…

    • MC

      She could have cheated on him if she chose to do so. He should have been more invested in his own wife and family than acting out adolescent fantasies. Shame on you.

      • BAMS13

        Shame on ME??? Why? Leave me alone moron.

    • Bed Brown

      Agree, something was going to blow up soon.

  11. MC

    Losing her looks? On what planet? Shanann was a beautiful woman creating a family, he was beyond lucky to have her. It sickens me to the core that he refused to recognize what he fucking had.

    • BAMS13

      I just mean with regards to regular ageing – we ALL lose our looks. Get a grip!!!! Bye.

    • FLGirl

      You make some good points. Of course Sha’nann could have found someone else. I think Sha’nann was so focused on image and what she had in her mind as the “perfect” family that she was willing to ignore a lot. I’m not saying what happened was her fault. There is NO justification for the route Chris took. However, it is easy to get caught up in a lifestyle instead of having a life.

  12. Shannon

    Unfortunately physical attraction, for me anyways is a big deal. Then I deal with the brains.
    Shanann’ had a house, funded by someone, an affair with a boss, 1st hubby Divorced her. Chris we don’t know much about his dating scene.
    They meet….who’s to say she pushed him away, her words, are they true? All her Video’s tell another story, a lie.
    He saw something in her, he liked. She sounds like she grew to like him. Remember she really had no friends.
    Physically over time they both change, with Thrive, more energy, feeling better. Maybe small competition between them.
    I have experienced this myself.
    Men have Egos, and want it stroked, in more ways then one. They want to feel Superior, protect, loved and yes even nuturied. Chris did not have this at all.
    Shannan seems to become more confident, cocky, pushing boundaries and limits of Chris.
    Over time, being alone, meeting new girl he felt Wanted. Physically attracted to her.
    Maybe just being himself.
    Where at home he was Controlled, watched, directed, as to what he could and couldn’t do.
    He felt freedom. No wife, no kids.
    Whether he stayed with the “other” who knows. He could have fooled around on her….but she sounds like she wants more from him. Trapped again.
    We all change in any Relationship, we grow we learn we want.
    Maybe he thought the Grass is Greener….on the other side.
    You can fault someone for wanting different.
    You just shouldn’t do it this way.

  13. Donna

    Chris definetly is the one who changed and yes she made as much or more then Chris as he said so hisself!I am sure they would of soon caught up on there bills as they both made awesome money!He had to of planned it with the calls he made the day and night before and i am sure home wrecker knew it too,she was a jealous biotch..No matter how one treats you there is a door wether its the man or women at fault as murder is not the answer and to the kids?? he was and had to always be nuts ! His mom is a nut too and been jealous since shannon came into the pic of her precious little he knew shannon found out he was cheating so he felt he had to kill her ,as i think he wanted his cake and eat it too and she was done that night she came home as she even talked about being single in her text and staying there a month at her parents i am sure this is when she thought about it the most,,wish she would of just left the loser but sadly she didn’t.

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