Letter From a Sterling Institute Ex-Friend

Thanks to Hank for writing in about how his friendship with a longtime family friend changed as a result of the Sterling Men’s Institute (Hank’s comment originally appeared here):

I’m a veteran of men’s gatherings ala Robert Bly’s “Ironman” and was invited by a longtime family friend to participate in The Sterling Men’s Weekend (for $900.00). My friend cautioned me NOT to look at anything on the web about Sterling…which only lead me to do just that: research the “Weekend”. Frankly, I was totally turned off that Arnie Rabinowitz (or whatever) changed his name to “Justin Sterling” and that he got plastic surgery to improve his appearance. LOL! Arnie has been through one or two nasty divorces, too, and relies heavily on volunteers to do the Institute work while he takes in the dough and reportedly lives a million-dollar lifestyle. Yeah. This is just the kind of group I want to get involved with…NOT!

So I told my friend what I’d found out about Sterling and he quickly ceased to encourage me to do the Weekend. In fact, he doesn’t say much of anything about it to me anymore although he’s been involved with Sterling and subsequent Sterling-esque splinter groups for several years now. I’ve met a few of his Sterling buddies (or as HE refers to them: “his men”) at bonfires he has in his backyard and I can’t seem to shake the impression they give off as being “losers” of a sort. My friend’s marriage has been shaky for many years (he’s a gay man in a heterosexual marriage but his wife knew that when she wed him…) and the Sterling men I’ve met at his bonfires seem to either be divorced or on the verge of it.

Another particularly annoying characteristic that my friend has taken on since getting involved with Sterling is answering his cellphone IMMEDIATELY at all times. This means during dinners (where he and Mrs. are our guests), in the middle of concerts (and talking loudly to the dismay of those around him) and while supposedly spending time with me/us. His cell phone trumps everything else. It’s weird.

Last summer he had planned to go camping/hiking with “his men” to a large mountain in the northeast. It just so happened that a once-in-thirty-years reunion with his old friends (me included) was also happening that same weekend. When the forecast predicted high winds and driving rain on the mountain, he opted to change his plans and attend the reunion. From what he told me “his men” berated him repeatedly for failing to live up to his commitment even though extremely poor weather was forecast and actually happened. I’m sure they had a lousy time up on that mountain and they managed to prove the old adage “Misery loves company.” LOL!

Lemme see, what else. I know he has a 5AM conference call with his men every Sunday. Five-friggin-A-M on a Sunday. I’ve certainly noticed that he helps out with domestic house chores WAY more than he ever did and, I get the feeling, that he’s learned to do that so that he can go away on his Sterling jaunts and not have to answer to his wife. He’s been unemployed for quite some time and there doesn’t seem to be any job on the horizon YET he seems to invest plenty of time in Sterling stuff. Yep! He’s always there for His Men!

He’s invited and cajoled a number of other men in our circle of friends to do the Weekend. Most have declined but one did take the bait and I’ve noticed that he’s not around much either because HE now has commitments doing things with HIS men.

Whatever!!!! Whatever floats your boat, I guess. IMO, steer clear of scam artists like “Justin Sterling”. Unless, of course, you want to help ol’ Arnie Rabinowitz keep up the masquerade AND support his comfortable lifestyle.

19 Responses to Letter From a Sterling Institute Ex-Friend

  1. sa kioa says:

    I am a girlfriend of one of the men in a Mens group and it is hell for me. The constant monitoring my man, calls throughout the day & questioning his personal life with me, even in our bedroom. Everything being so personal and secretive. Knowing that I was there for him when he was homeless and none of the men to be found to help at that time in his life. He has completely changed our schedules and our lives to be with these men. I am to the point where I am leaving him and never looking back. It is a Cult! They are brain washing and mentally fucking these men up with their macho bullshit. Its rediculous! If you were helping a man better himself it would be with Family & Friends. Not making them change themselves to suit a Mens group. Being a man is making decisions on your own and not asking others how to be a better man to yourself & to others? Its life. A grown man needs to figure out on his own how to be to himself and others. Not be ordered like your in the friggen military and friggen driving yourself crazy to please these men you just met and say they are there for you! I mean, come on! Where is the love??? Screw money cos thats what this is all about!!! Really, its a total control issue! All bullshit! Fuck a Mens group that runs your life!!!

    • TIffany Hayden says:

      I was with a man from Maryland from 2005-2010 who ran the Sterling group from his house every Tues from 7-11pm. He treated me so abusively the more he got involved. They treat women like objects and tell their Sterling men that women are only good for one thing-sex. I believe my ex was bi sexual, because during our relationship he wanted to start doing 3somes with men. I refused to. But he also was obsessively on the phone with them. One evening, I caught them all NAKED IN THE POOL OF HIS BACKYARD PLAYING CATCH WITH A FOOTBALL. There were about 30 of them. You know, it got so bad with him ( he was controlling, verbally abusive and constantly cheating) that I overdosed in his basement. This man did NOT bother to check on me for 3 days…when I woke up , he told me to basically get the fu** out of his house. He is a Chiropracter so no one knew how twisted he was behind closed doors. That Sterling Group destroyed him. He had no respect for women. I am just so glad I had my faith in God, and friends to get me out because he beat my self esteem so low….BEWARE LADIES AND STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE MEN IN STERLING MEN’S Group. They are really a cult….I really was in love with him, but the beliefs they instilled in him destroyed him.

  2. bfreeofcults says:

    I have several friends who are sterlinites. It’s complete bullshit. It should be called rent a friend seriously. When i get together with these jerks they are always trying to coerce me to sign up. They put on a real front about how wonderful it is. My friend who was unemployed and in sterling needed a job. I got him lined up with a job paying more than he’s ever made in his life. He couldn’t take it because it conflicted with his “commitments”. He’s always trying to sponge off of people. Many of the men in Sterling secretly think its bullshit but, all their friends are Sterling Men so they won’t ever leave. If they do those MF won’t be calling to harass them anymore or do CPR’s or shave each other balls or whatever they do. It’s sad that peer pressure is so powerful even in the lives of grown men.

    • steve says:

      i dont mind hearing complaints from women whose men have had dramatic changes since their weekend, but this is total bullshit ……………………

  3. Avraham says:

    Let me ask you the following:
    What would you prefer?
    Group of men that will take your BS and will not put a mirror to your face and will not have your back when you need the most, also will say they are your friends but when needed go look for them in the corner.
    Or you want group of men that will stand up for you when you need help, will not have your BS and will not let up waist your and thiere time .
    Men that will not say they are your friends but are more than that.
    You will learn much and teach or you stay where you are.

  4. Craven Moorhead says:

    WTF does that mean!! Good Lord, the grammer above almost made me cry.

  5. Matt says:

    Grammer?

  6. Joyce says:

    As a woman who has been approached to go to a women’s weekend at Sterling, I thank you for saving me the time and money and possibly more. I’m glad I did my research and that there are people who speak frankly and truthfully. Thank you!

  7. Runfromsterling says:

    Sterling preys on the vulnerability of weak men who want to feel important by enrolling them to do free marketing in his behalf. The Sterling’s men’s group was the “other woman” in our marriage. my husband devoted all his emotional energy and free time to the men. I have been divorced now for five years. No question this secretive mens group drove a wedge in our marriage. My ex still can’t earn a living or make true friends outside of the group. It is sad.

  8. Darcey says:

    The comments here are baffling. My husband went through the weekend more than 20 years ago, stays connected with his men, and I have only seen good things come from his connection with Sterling. He supports others that go through the weekend, connects with his team each week, and supports and has been supported by those men in an amazing way. I don’t get this cult thing. Is it true that all groups that have suggestions that work and are good for you – are cults. Eh. I just think people are judgemental, and unable to take suggestions even if they’re good for them. I applaud Sterling!

  9. I dated a man-child in the mid 90’s who was involved in these groups. What a freaking nightmare. I was never able to fully understand any of it because it was all so secretive. All I knew is that he was a misogynistic asshat that sponged off of me and everyone else that would allow it. And he was always trying to recruit other men into this ‘amazing’ way of life. The relationship lasted one calendar year before I finally couldn’t take anymore.

    P.S. Interesting that others have commented on the ‘spongeing’ aspect of some of these men. That was kind of his thing. The guy never paid for anything.

  10. Erik says:

    I went to the weekend 15 years ago and was on a men’s team for 4 years. it was a lot of fun. Yes I gave 500 hundred for the weekend but after that never gave justin another dime for the next fours years. in fact I think i only spoke to Justin once or twice after that weekend. The mens team is really the best part. I was on a great team that would meet once a week. As for the 5AM on sunday morning each team decides when to meet so everyone on their team can make their lives work. I met men that were unemployed and guys that owned their own company’s learned a lot from both. there is a lot of power/freedom from learning to honor your word and having a bunch of guys that hold you accountable to what you say your going to do. Been married for 24 years now. I see that couple of people were in bad relationships and got out of them and good for you.

  11. Field says:

    Please note. The only positive response in this conversation was by someone who was actually involved and experienced the Sterling Weekend and it’s many benefits. All the negative comments came from people who have never experienced the weekend.

  12. Areyal says:

    Dated a guy who was deeply involved w/this group; had been for years and was rather high up in the South Bay hierarchy. . He was secretive, deceitful, greedy and stingy. As time went by he began showing disturbing misogynistic traits, including rants about his mother who was dying of cancer. He spent most of his time in meetings and volunteering in weekend activities that lined the pockets of the fat ugly troll, Justin Sterling. He teaches these guys to use women and to only communicate with “the men”. Truly sick group. Don’t get involved, You’ll lose your sanity, your precious free time, your money, your manhood and your relationships with normal people..

  13. Artie Kasarjian/ Sterling or whatever his name is, is a total crock. A few friends who became involved with this group have completely disavowed long standing friendships, if one refused to participate with them. In fact, my husband went to one of their meetings was told he was no man because he declined to go any further, and refused to do the weekend. Also, most are divorced now. So much for their commitment to family.

  14. Heather Bradley says:

    My husband has been approached and is planning on attending September 12, 2014 in Oakland. I have heard more bad than good and I’m concerned. They required $600.00 from him and this does not include his meals for each day. We have a good relationship but he has seemed very restless. Mid-life crisis? Who knows…I do believe when people are vulnerable..not just men or just women but “people” are feeling lost or looking for something…this weekend might cause further harm. What a big chance to take. If I were going to judge my decision on everyone’s comments, I would have no choice but to not go. It sounds like a legitimate nightmare.

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