Why Are Men So Predictable?
What is happening to the male population of our world? Maybe I've just reached the age (nearly 40) where people of my gender start falling apart. Yet another story of a friend of a friend, whose husband decided (after more than a decade of marriage and a couple of kids) that he wants out.
Believe me, I understand the feeling. In all of our marriages, no matter how strong they are, there are moments when you don't want to be there. Hopefully those moments are few and far between and are short lived in their duration, but let's face it, they happen. You can't truly enjoy the good times unless you also suffer together through the bad times and living a lifetime together means facing downhill as well as uphill. Colleen and I are no exception in this realm. Certainly there are days when she wants to just kill me. I understand that.
What I can't fathom is why after 10 years or more of marriage, with kids in your lives, why then does a man find it acceptable to tell the woman he is leaving, "I don't think I ever loved you." The rest of it, I can explain away. You get to a point in your life where you realize that all the hopes and ambitions you once had have more or less been relegated to holding onto your job, praying you can sock away enough to get your kids through school and being able to retire before you die. Everything else you ever wanted or hoped for is increasingly becoming a dream that you have trouble envisioning anymore.
You realize your best days (physically at least) certainly are behind you. Suddenly someone looks at you and you fall over with delight. The idea that someone from the opposite sex can still find you attractive is powerful.
What do you do now? And I'm really speaking about both genders. I hear stories every day about men and women who are leaving their spouses for another person. It always starts out that it wasn't another person. "This just isn't what I want anymore," "We've grown apart," these are common phrases that get thrown around when someone has decided this marriage isn't working anymore.
Generally you hear that they tried counseling, but the problem is, counseling only works if you are really willing to give it a chance. Mostly the spouse leaving agrees to therapy and quits after one or two visits, or says they are going to keep going to therapy on their own, but that they don't want to work on the marriage anymore.
I wonder how much thought these people give to what they are doing to their kids? As much as we all would like a little more time away from our kids some days, and believe me, there are days Colleen and I have actually joked about how nice it would be to get two days away like some of our divorced friends get, but as nice as that might sound - do you really want to become a part-time parent?
I don't think you make that the absolute glue that holds your marriage together as loosely as possible, but you do need to take it into account.
If you want out, are you sure you can never be happy here again? Are you sure that you don't love that person anymore? From interviews we have done on this show I know that the success rate of second marriages is way worse that than the success rate of initial marriages. That someone new and exciting that you are giving up your whole life for, statistically speaking, that person is not your soul mate.
We need to try harder as a society. Is this what is really going to be best for everyone? For you, your spouse, and your kids? That is not an easy answer to reach, and I do believe you owe it to the person you have committed your life to, and the children you have brought into this world, to really try to get past the bad times. And I don't mean just tough it out. Find a way to talk about your unhappiness. Get the counseling that can help. Really actually make an effort to find happiness with your spouse.
And if after all of that it turns out you're really leaving for another person, have the guts, and the decency to face up to it. Your spouse is going to figure it out after all, right?
Please share your stories on how you and your spouse have gotten through - or didn't get through - the bad times.