Frank Pittman

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Frank Pittman, M.D.
Born 1935
United States
Died November 24, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Residence Atlanta, Georgia
Nationality American
Fields psychiatry, psychology, family therapy, psychotherapy, relationship education
Known for Private Lies: Infidelity and Betrayal of Intimacy
Man Enough: Fathers, Sons and the Search for Masculinity

Frank Smith Pittman, III, M.D. (1935 – November 24, 2012) was an American psychiatrist and author. He wrote a regular column, "Ask Dr. Frank", which used to appear in Psychology Today.[1]

During his lifetime, he was a "widely quoted author"[1] of Man Enough: Fathers, Sons and the Search for Masculinity[2] and Private Lies: Infidelity and Betrayal of Intimacy.[3] He was also author of books Grow Up!: How Taking Responsibility Can Make You a Happy Adult,[4] and Turning Points: Treating Families in Transition and Crisis.[5]

Dr. Pittman practiced out of Atlanta, Georgia,[1][6] where he was active as a psychiatrist and family therapist from 1962 until his death in 2012.[7] Both of Dr. Pittman's daughters are psychologists.[8]

Infidelity was a central focus of Dr. Pittman's work. In a 1993 article for Psychology Today, he wrote:

"Day after day in my office I see men and women who have been messing around. They lead secret lives, as they hide themselves from their marriages. They go through wrenching divorces, inflicting pain on their children and their children's children. Or they make desperate, tearful, sweaty efforts at holding on to the shreds of a life they've betrayed. They tell me they have gone through all of this for a quick thrill or a furtive moment of romance. Sometimes they tell me they don't remember making the decision that tore apart their life: 'It just happened.' Sometimes they don't even know they are being unfaithful. (I tell them: 'If you don't know whether what you are doing is an infidelity or not, ask your spouse.') From the outside looking in, it is insane. How could anyone risk everything in life on the turn of a screw?"[9]

— Frank Pittman

In a 2000 interview, Dr. Pittman spoke about his view of "growing up."

"But growing up does mean that while your feelings are very interesting, they're not the only thing that's going on in the universe today. And however lovely your feelings are, and however fascinating your complicated state of mind, there are things that need to be done. And if you're going to take on a partner, there are responsibilities there. If you're going to have children, there are responsibilities there. And you can't really run out on those responsibilities and maintain much of a sense of honor and integrity. You can't run out on those responsibilities and really grow up in a way that makes you proud of your life's choices in the second half of your life."[10]

— Frank Pittman

In 2003, Dr. Pittman was recognized with the Smart Marriages Impact Award at the annual conference of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education.[11]

"To our leader, our compass, our chief, in gratitude for helping us understand what men and marriage are for - just how much each needs the other - and, just how much we need them both."[11]

Dr. Pittman died at his Atlanta home on November 24, 2012 of cancer.[12] He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betsy Pittman, two daughters, Dr. Tina Wagers of Boulder, CO., and Dr. Virginia Pistilli of Portola, CA.; a son, Frank S. Pittman IV of Atlanta, GA; a sister, Joanna Fox of Cashiers, NC, and seven grandchildren.[12]

Notable quotes[edit]

  • ""Marriage isn't supposed to make you happy; it is supposed to make you married".[13]
  • "Marriage, like a submarine, is only safe if you get all the way inside."[13]
  • "Bad marriages don't cause infidelity; infidelity causes bad marriages."
  • " the end, there is nothing a man can do that a woman can’t, except be a father."
  • "For most people, a life lived alone, with passing strangers or passing lovers, is incoherent and ultimately unbearable. Someone must be there to know what we have done for those we love."






See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ask Dr. Frank, Psychology Today, March/April 1994, p.1-3.
  2. ^ Man Enough: Fathers, Sons and the Search for Masculinity, Frank Pittman, M.D., Perigee Trade; Reprint edition October 1, 1994, ISBN 0-399-51883-5 , ISBN 978-0-399-51883-6
  3. ^ Private Lies: Infidelity and Betrayal of Intimacy, Frank Pittman, M.D., W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition November 1990, ISBN 0-393-30707-7 , ISBN 978-0-393-30707-8
  4. ^ Grow Up!: How Taking Responsibility Can Make You a Happy Adult, Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press , ISBN 1-58238-040-6 , ISBN 978-1-58238-040-7 , July 30, 1999
  5. ^ Turning Points: Treating Families in Transition and Crisis, Frank Pittman, M.D., A Norton Professional Book, (Hardcover), W. W. Norton & Company; 1st ed edition, May 1987, ISBN 0-393-70040-2 , ISBN 978-0-393-70040-4
  6. ^ Publishers Weekly, review, Private Lives, 1988, Reed Business Information, Inc.
  7. ^ Library Journal, review, Grow Up!, Demetria A. Harvin, Bronx, NY, Reed Business Information, Inc.
    "Pittman (Man Enough, Putnam, 1993) is straightforward and witty in his guide to what it really takes to become a responsible adult. Effectively using his 37 years as a psychiatrist and family therapist, his 14 years as a movie critic, his six years as an advice columnist, and his personal experience to illustrate his points..."
  8. ^ a b c An Interview with Frank Pittman, MD, by Victor Yalom, PhD, Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference, 2000 (
  9. ^ Pittman, Frank. "Beyond Betrayal: Life After Infidelity," Psychology Today, May 1, 1993.[1]
  10. ^ Yalom, Victor. "Frank Pittman on Growing Up and Taking Responsibility," [2]
  11. ^ a b "Impact Award Recipients 2001 - 2010," Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education.[3]
  12. ^ a b "Psychiatrist known for quick wit, therapy insights," Geshwiler, J.E.. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 25, 2012.[4]
  13. ^ a b Frank Pittman, "Grow up! : how taking responsibility can make you a happy adult". New York: St Martin's Griffin, 1999, p. 195

External links[edit]