June 7, 2010

Love Means Not Letting The Other Person Be Himself

kirk_van_houten.jpg
The anvil is the better choice: D6 to XO4

You get married in your twenties, but 20 years and three great kids later, not to mention the idyllic farm in Big Sky country, you seem to have made it.  The rest is coasting.

From the NYT:

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever did. I'm moving out. The kids will understand."
Wouldn't be the first middle aged man who suddenly realized he belonged not with his family but in a pre-furnished uptown apartment living on take-out.  They say that the older kids get over it, but that sounds like something a psychiatrist would say, i.e. completely made up.

 Her parry:

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, "I don't buy it." Because I didn't.
She figured that this was a mid-life crisis; not another woman, or a failing on her part, but the discovery that his "personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did."  So, she treated it like "a child's temper tantrum": she ignored it.  For four months.

Not ignored him: she included him in all family activities, talked to him, set a place for him.   But she refused to engage in discussions about separation.

So he turned mean. "I don't like what you've become."

Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That's when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn't.

Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: "I don't buy it."

He was... surprised.  He tried different ways to get through to her, but she kept "not buying it."

"Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you've always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you're talking about... What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?"


II.

My first reaction was: this woman is insane.  e.g.:

(To her husband) It's not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents' happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who'll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?

I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure I don't like it. 

And this clear example of needing to go on/off pills:

You see, I'd recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I'd committed to "The End of Suffering." I'd finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control.
What put me off was her unwillingness to see him on his terms. Identity may be arbitrary and malleable, but the one with the body has a bigger claim to it, right?    She wanted him a certain way, he didn't want to be that way, and she didn't care.  She wanted to be the one who chose his identity. 

Also, she was a writer which made me suspect the whole thing.  Why does this stuff always happen to writers and not longshoremen?

III.
 
But as I mulled it over for two months, I had to defer, this woman had it right.  She didn't overthink it.   The obvious thing to do would be to take it personally ("he's not in love with me because I'm old and fat"); the easy thing to do would be to use it to air out old angers with him ("you always took your mother's side!"); and the tempting thing to do would be to do therapy on him ("don't you think you feel this way because you're old and fat?")

But instead she let it evolve naturally.  She got out of the way and let him do exactly what it was he wanted to do, which was, specifically, choose his own identity.  What she hoped, of course, was that he'd choose the one he already had for the past twenty years.  But it was a gamble, because he could have chosen to become a middle aged man who prowls airport bars looking for stewardesses.  (I'll preempt your joke: when I did it I was a very young.)

The analogy is to adolescence, where the more you badger them about their ____, the more they're going to believe they really want ____; because they aren't identifying with ____, they are identifying with not-you.  That's what teens do, that's what anyone who feels their identity is being decided by others.

He, representative of too many men, wanted not to be something new, he just didn't want to be anything decided by someone else, even if he actually likes that thing.  I came to understand this when I reread his quote, with the additional last sentence:

...you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever did. I'm moving out. The kids will understand. They'll want me to be happy.

Why would this nut think that they would want him to be happy?  On some level they might, but why would they choose his happiness over theirs, or their mom's?  "They'll want me to be happy" are the words of someone who has no idea what he wants, and so picks the meaningless word "happy."

IV.

I had to concede that she does know him better than he knows himself, after twenty years; not because she has seen into his soul but because she hasn't: she's seen what he's done, repeatedly, for twenty years.  That's who he is, regardless of who he says he is. 

Not great example, but: he says "I love japanese culture, I love japanese food" but she knows to find him at the burger joint and not the sushi place.  Who he is is "a guy who just says he likes sushi, but does like burgers."

Also, hopefully, she has a sense of what are his values-- again, not what he says they are, but what he does. So she might find it legitimately out of character that he wants to move out since, for example, he could tolerate her infidelity just to stay near his kids.

So if we grant her a particularly unique perspective on her husband, then she may be in a position to know what's a phase and what's not.

And hence what she did- potentially humiliating and even futile-- was the right gambit.

V. 

Here's the depressing part: if she had let him go, via arguing or clinging or whatever-- then he probably would not ever regret his decision to leave.  Living at the Residence Inn, he would sincerely think he had made the right choice, that he had to move on.

But he wouldn't be any happier.  Different life, sure, but not better. This is what Laura intuited.  He may as well have moved from Cleveland to Indianapolis and swapped Lacoste for Polo.  "Wow, this is so much better."  Meanwhile, he's left behind a perfectly good life.

Everyone will tell me their situation is different and it may be, so I'll say it like this: if outside, impartial people who know you both perceive it to be a mid-life crisis and not a fundamental problem in the relationship, then bank on it.  The problem isn't the relationship, the problem is you.

 

VI.

One thing I almost forgot: Laura's husband is a dying breed.

The trend now-- generation <40-- is for the woman to have the mid-life crisis.  Before you jump on men, it's a combination of factors.

On the male side, the drive for novelty and nueva vida loca is turned inwards, so that rather than chase new experiences they close off from the outside world and dream them.  They don't end relationships, they stay caulked to the inside of one, unmoving, ungrowing, apathetic; while their minds and DVRs are an imaginarium.  The few things they do choose to jump recklesslsy into are obvious go-nowheres: one night stands (for the married man); making a movie; daytrading.  They're easy to attempt, and easy to blame on externalities when they inevitably fail. 

They don't break up with the girl, they ignore her until she breaks up with them.

On the female side: well, reverse 50 years of history and it's what men went through.  Promised the world as described by Coca Cola and whatever TV show was popular at the time.  All opportunities are open to anyone who wants to work, a new car, a big house, a career.  But no one told the men that those things were for their families, not for them, that none of this would make them happy, and, indeed, would make them realize how little their lives are really worth-- unless they understood that their lives had value only if it was of value to someone else.  So for a while they chased sex, affairs, or took up an out of the house hobby (e.g.golf).  Something to give them the temporary illusion that they were free, and that the world had possibilties, not pot roast and pot bellies.

That's where women are, encouraged like the men had been by media images that say, "of course you can! (if you have the right bag)."  You can't.  It didn't make men happy, and it sure won't make you happy. If you think it looks stupid when a 40 year old man buys a convertible or has to go find himself or chases a 20 year old intern, think how stupid it looks when the woman does it.

Women since 1980 have been sold a big fat lie, the same one the men were sold since 1945.  It didn't turn out well for them.  It did make men drink more, so you can look forward to that. 

-----


http://twitter.com/thelastpsych
 






Comments

Indeed. Find a gorgeous, en... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 11:14 AM | Posted by Ben: | Reply

Indeed. Find a gorgeous, engaging woman who won't hesitate to call you on your $h!t (and has the patience to wait until you see it too). Marry her, and give her the benefit of the doubt (and the occasional bouquet).

Going on 10 years with no end in the realm of conceivable possibility.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 27 (33 votes cast)
Meanwhile, he's left beh... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 11:26 AM | Posted by CT: | Reply

Meanwhile, he's left behind a perfectly good life.
Perfectly good according to whom? This line is just as meaningless as his use of the word "happy" at the end of They'll want me to be happy.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (33 votes cast)
Thanks for that.I ... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 11:57 AM | Posted by Dan Leslie: | Reply

Thanks for that.

I had read her article when it first arrived, and it left me with a nagging feeling of wrongness. I hadn't the time to really think about it, but reflected briefly on her rather condescending approach to dealing with her husband's emotions.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (6 votes cast)
He may as well hav... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 1:04 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

He may as well have moved from Cleveland to Indianapolis and swapped Lacoste for Polo. "Wow, this is so much better."
I think you have it exactly right. The male, mid-life crisis narrative. It's not that there isn't a crisis of sorts, it's just that the story he tells himself is woefully inadequate. He could use the editorial input described in your concluding paragraph.
Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 15 (15 votes cast)
"condescending" -- get used... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 1:24 PM | Posted by randy: | Reply

"condescending" -- get used to it

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (8 votes cast)
Seems to me that if he real... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 2:16 PM | Posted by jen: | Reply

Seems to me that if he really wanted out, her "I don't buy it" would be meaningless. He'd have gone ahead, signed a lease, packed his clothes, and moved out. And she (and the kids) would have had to deal with it.

By refusing to discuss it, she skipped the arguments and left it up to him to act or not. (It doesn't sound like she thought of it that way, but it seems like that's what happened.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 30 (32 votes cast)
Enlightening post. Top qual... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 2:17 PM | Posted by Hello: | Reply

Enlightening post. Top quality stuff.

Getting married in their 20's was one of the first problems. Not to say that it's impossible to have a successful marriage if you start young, but I think it requires both parties to be completely "grown up" when they tie the knot. Otherwise marriage may stunt the growth of maturity and 20 years later you have a 40 year old child raising children.

That's not to say that some people aren't completely "grown up" when they are in their 20's, but it's rare.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (31 votes cast)
love means getting your ego... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

love means getting your ego out of the way.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 23 (27 votes cast)
Not to say that it... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Hello's comment, by ATraveller: | Reply

Not to say that it's impossible to have a successful marriage if you start young, but I think it requires both parties to be completely "grown up" when they tie the knot. Otherwise marriage may stunt the growth of maturity and 20 years later you have a 40 year old child raising childrenraising children.

Why do you figure that? How would marriage stunt your maturity, or the singlelife guarantee it?

I'm sorry, but I simply cannot see how a long lasting relationship would stunt the maturation process, provided there was such a process ongoing. And vice versa.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 27 (29 votes cast)
seems like 40-year-old eggs... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 3:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Hello's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

seems like 40-year-old eggs would tend to have more potential defects biologically in a child resulting from them, than would those from 20-year-old eggs.

While some 20 year old parents still behave as teenagers, it seems that the child of a 20 year old would have a healthier start in life (physically) than a child from a 40 year old parent for a variety of reasons. not talking about a healthier start mentally.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (13 votes cast)
apologies for OT, but have ... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 5:18 PM | Posted by vv111y: | Reply

apologies for OT, but have you ever posted about the research into net & IT tech effects on people? 'fractured thinking', loss of attention, focus, empathy, upped stress, etc etc

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html

this seems at least partly true to my experience, but like other research you pointed out, it could be overblown BS

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -4 (8 votes cast)
Sometimes I struggle with u... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Posted by Nadia: | Reply

Sometimes I struggle with understanding your posts...such as, with this one.

"He, representative of too many men, wanted not to be something new, he just didn't want to be anything decided by someone else, even if he actually likes that thing."

So basically, we have these people who never formed or created their own identities, so they exist as perpetual teenagers? They marry young and cling to one another for identities, until they decide to rebel and "find" themselves? Or is it the culture that's the problem, always saying "you are special, you are the most important?"

I don't know how it happens, but I would like to avoid it if it's not too late...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 14 (16 votes cast)
"We want our cake, and be a... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 7:54 PM | Posted by JimmyJive: | Reply

"We want our cake, and be able to eat it, too." I never understood that statement. Obviously, if we have a cake, we want to eat it. Anyway, happiness is relative. And, like you said, Doc, relative to what this person already had, he would not have been "happier".

The only way for someone in this situation to find a path of greater happiness, relatively speaking, would for him to make a complete 180 degree turn in his life. For instance, if he wanted to immerse himself in the Japanese culture, he would learn the language, adapt the lifestyle and customs, move to Japan, etc. If you're going to make a change, make it all the way, so to speak.

But, of course, it's never that easy. How can one simply erase the behavior patterns and memories that have guided our lives thus far? It's almost like he would have to figuratively erase his soul, dump every fragment of his prior life, and start fresh. It's a lot easier to do when someone is single; not when one is already married, and has kids. That's probably why golf is such a big sport for married men - it provides the escapism that allows one to continue living their current lives.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (5 votes cast)
"We want our cake, and b... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 9:20 PM | Posted by EH: | Reply

"We want our cake, and be able to eat it, too." I never understood that statement. Obviously, if we have a cake, we want to eat it.

In "have your cake and eat it, too," the word "have" should be read in terms of possessions, as "save." You can't eat your cake and then still have it afterwards, basically.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 10 (10 votes cast)
“My ego flourishes when com... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 9:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

“My ego flourishes when combined with his/her ego.”
- The early 20’s relationship recipe for divorce

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (10 votes cast)
“My ego flourishes when com... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 9:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

“My ego flourishes when combined with his/her ego.”
- The early 20’s relationship recipe for divorce

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (7 votes cast)
Anyone have an idea of what... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2010 11:49 PM | Posted by Matt: | Reply

Anyone have an idea of what the caption under Millhouse's dad means? I'm stumped.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
Ouch, this part of your pos... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 12:51 AM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

Ouch, this part of your post really hit home for me:

"On the male side, the drive for novelty and nueva vida loca is turned inwards, so that rather than chase new experiences they close off from the outside world and dream them. They don't end relationships, they stay caulked to the inside of one, unmoving, ungrowing, apathetic; while their minds and DVRs are an imaginarium. The few things they do choose to jump recklessly into are obvious go-nowheres: one night stands (for the married man); making a movie; daytrading. They're easy to attempt, and easy to blame on externalities when they inevitably fail.

They don't break up with the girl, they ignore her until she breaks up with them."

It's almost as if you're describing my personal life...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 14 (14 votes cast)
"Anyone have an idea of wha... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 1:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Matt's comment, by Ben: | Reply

"Anyone have an idea of what the caption under Millhouse's dad means? I'm stumped."

-http://tinyurl.com/3668gxt - You should be able to take it from here.

"Getting married in their 20's was one of the first problems."

-It's only in the last 150 years or so that people have had the luxury of waiting until later (or indeed until their 20s) until procreation. I'd suggest the contrary; namely, that if someone hasn't matured by his/her 20s, it may well be too late. Much of Alone's stuff is pretty presentist and only applies to the last few decades, but he got it right to ignore the ages in question here, because they're not unusual or wrong. The idea that 'adulthood' doesn't start until the hair is grey is a luxury that seems to have started very recently. It might also be an explanation for the strong demand for paternalist politics.

"How can one simply erase the behavior patterns and memories that have guided our lives thus far? It's almost like he would have to figuratively erase his soul, dump every fragment of his prior life, and start fresh."

- Well, if you really want a fresh start, I would recommend going Buddhist, dying, and being reincarnated as an earthworm or something. If your routine involves brushing your teeth before drinking your coffee, and you want to change that, drink your coffee first. The way to change your behaviour is to change your behaviour.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 11 (17 votes cast)
Anyone have an idea of w... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 1:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Matt's comment, by Joshua: | Reply

Anyone have an idea of what the caption under Millhouse's dad means? I'm stumped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_into_Anvil

Be seeing you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Ha, walked into that one. I... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 2:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Ben's comment, by Matt: | Reply

Ha, walked into that one. In my defense, I did try "D6 to X04" first, to no avail. Thanks for googling that for me.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
It sounds like the people y... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 2:41 AM | Posted by Ator: | Reply

It sounds like the people you're describing have serious, serious emotional problems which they should probably find a chemical mechanism to cure, be that drugs, porn, or preferably, the company of others. The last one has never steered me wrong.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -5 (7 votes cast)
Isn't the problem that for ... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 9:46 AM | Posted by Dolores: | Reply

Isn't the problem that for some strange reason we think marriage/long term relationships should make us happy?

Marriage is the golden standard of relationships for a reason, it provides stability, better for the kids, financial reasons, you won't be alone, whatever. But whoever came up with the idea that marrying someone automatically also should result in happiness? Marriage was created for other reasons. Not to ensure the happiness of both partners involved. Which doesn't mean you can't be happy being married, just that one does not guarantee the other.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 24 (26 votes cast)
Dolores, that's crazy talk.... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 10:08 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Dolores, that's crazy talk. The school system is for raising the kids. Television is for values. And if you cannot make enough money by employment, the government will provide money for you. They should also provide housing, but that is not yet recognized as a universal right.

So, everything is under control. Go on and enjoy your marriage. If it does not make you happy, then you are begin "oppressed" by an out-dated institution, and you need to get yourself liberated. Counseling, including how to enjoy safer sex and how to get a publically funded a bortion, for your post-marriage explorations, will be provided by your local community health center. They are also giving away con doms.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -10 (20 votes cast)
Hmm. I'm going to assume yo... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Dolores: | Reply

Hmm. I'm going to assume you're being sarcastic here.

I said 'for a reason', not 'for good reasons', if that might have suggested I actually am a married woman.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
"Go on and enjoy your marri... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Alex-5: | Reply

"Go on and enjoy your marriage." - You said it yourself :) You must 'Go' to enjoy the marriage. Marriage itself is a virtual state, it changes nothing in the real world. You must 'use' this state, you must do things that involve that state to become happy.

Same as buying a house - state that you have a house doesn't bring you happiness. It's when you invite your friends to a party or birng your loved one to that house you become happy.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
She's a very clever women i... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2010 4:54 AM | Posted by Damien: | Reply

She's a very clever women in the article. Ballsy & knows well the failings of men, particularly her own man.

She called him on his mutterings & the guy baulked.
He prolly doesn't deserve her, but anyway.

The fact that she's a writer is irrelevant, except that we read about it through her.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
Regarding section VI, thank... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by JMiller: | Reply

Regarding section VI, thank you for articulating exactly why I cannot abide Sex and the City. Now I don't have to figure out how to write such a thing for myself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
In all honesty, psychiatry ... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2010 2:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

In all honesty, psychiatry should re-exmaine the potential of LSD to give people scope and insight into themselves and their lives. Adult brains are trapped in manner, unable to appreciate more than the immediate. A near-death experience or trauma can do this for the unlucky, but that's random.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Thank you Last, along with ... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2010 9:38 PM | Posted by SentWest: | Reply

Thank you Last, along with Jim, it feels as if you're describing my personal life here.

I needed this today. It's going to help me change my approach for the better.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
I'm sorry, but I s... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2010 3:20 AM | Posted, in reply to ATraveller's comment, by Tane: | Reply

I'm sorry, but I simply cannot see how a long lasting relationship would stunt the maturation process, provided there was such a process ongoing. And vice versa.
I agree. In fact I'd go so far as to say that I've grown up a hell of a lot since I got married, in ways that I never would if I'd been single.
Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
It seems to me she characte... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2010 6:28 PM | Posted by Mark V Wilson: | Reply

It seems to me she characterized his desire to leave as a desire to re-choose about his life and then kept the good things active and available. He chose to stay with his family, but he could have chosen differently.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
It's cheaper to keep her!</... (Below threshold)

June 11, 2010 10:06 AM | Posted by GT: | Reply

It's cheaper to keep her!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (6 votes cast)
I agree with what you said,... (Below threshold)

June 11, 2010 7:34 PM | Posted by Confused: | Reply

I agree with what you said, but you don't seem to offer another option. Men--you will die within yourselves, you cowards. Woman--you will fall for marketing ploys, you fools. Are there people who don't ruin their marriages or fall for old tricks? Are there people who actually stay married because they want to be, and not because of the children, or the better life, or the easier lifestyle?

Alone, how do I live a life that you would admit is healthy and the correct way to avoid a loveless marriage and a life filled up with useless things? I would like a family some day and I don't want a husband that closes himself off--I don't want to fuck up my kids. I don't want to lead a life in which I wake up at 40 and convince myself that the only way to be happy is to buy a convertible and fuck the pool boy.

You really are making it seem like I have no other options, that this is just the world and it is on a predestined path to sadness and self-disgust.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (11 votes cast)
Either Alone's drinking pro... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2010 3:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Confused's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Either Alone's drinking problem is a just a running joke or he hasn't figured it out either. But I think the lesson is that it's possible to be happy, it's just impossible to choose what makes you happy. Your identity isn't who you are, it's who you wish you were, and the more elaborate of an identity you construct for yourself the more out of touch you'll be with what you actually want, beneath the pretense. E.g., the husband was reasonably happy with his family, but he didn't like the idea of being happy with them, so he pretended he wasn't. He even had himself fooled for a while, because that's the power of identity. He'd rather be confused and misunderstood and on the brink of something life-changing than just some regular middle-aged schmuck putting his 2.5 kids through college like how ever many other tens or hundreds of millions of people on this earth. He found himself with a normal life and the idea of being normal scared him.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (7 votes cast)
I made my decision. I chose... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Posted by GT: | Reply

I made my decision. I chose to leave a dead and loveless marriage. Thankfully there were no kids. She didn't want to work on the marriage and only wanted me to shut up and work and stay out of her way. She was shocked when it happened (because she thought I didn't have the balls to do it) and tried to play the victim role and wanted lifetime alimony until, during discovery, we learned of her affair and curious money transfers. Then suddenly, she felt settling was a good idea.

It would be nice to ask the man what was he thinking before taking the author of the article on her word.

Identity? Husband probably got married because he figured "it was time" and wife got married because she wanted to be Queen for the day and have someone pay for her brood of kids; forget love. These scripts are taught to everyone as children.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (18 votes cast)
"(To her husband) It's not ... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2010 1:28 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"(To her husband) It's not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents' happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who'll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?"

I agree with this. This is a smart woman.

When my parents got divorced my dad constantly badgered me to see "his side" of things and understand how "unhappy" he was with the marriage (despite being married for over 20 years).

I don't care about anyone's secret feelings and justifications, all I saw was a dad who was never home and who obviously didn't care enough about his family to keep from cheating on his wife, so I told him to get lost.

I see so many adults still wrapped up in their parents' and relatives' drama that they can't relax and enjoy life. And they of course, always go on to have the worst relationships with other people.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (9 votes cast)
Like my brother always said... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2010 5:39 PM | Posted by Andrew: | Reply

Like my brother always said, "Should have kept up with your training."

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
People rarely get married f... (Below threshold)

June 22, 2010 11:37 PM | Posted by Timmeh: | Reply

People rarely get married for love- they get married out of partner or societal pressure, and once married even more pressure is applied to have kids, grow up, get a stable job, etc. The problem is it's nearly impossible to continue to develop independently when your partner has expectations for their married life-- with you.

IE- you can't go make that movie because your wife wants that time, money and energy put into a family- personal endeavors are considered selfish. Some people use marriage as an excuse to never try fulfilling their dreams- ' well i can't go travel now because i have kids'.

All smoke and mirrors to hide that someone made a mistake and is too scared to move forward.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
"So basically, we have thes... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2010 9:35 AM | Posted, in reply to Nadia's comment, by TheLastCynic: | Reply

"So basically, we have these people who never formed or created their own identities, so they exist as perpetual teenagers? They marry young and cling to one another for identities, until they decide to rebel and "find" themselves?"

It's equally likely that these people did form their own identity, then found themselves with someone who initially liked them for who they were, but decided to "improve" them. This gradual stealth-moulding of someone's identity into someone else's vision of how they should be can happen under the radar, until one day they notice they're no longer who they used to be. The sudden realisation that they've been stripped of the identity that they formed for themselves can cause a huge backlash. Is this a mid-life crisis, or just an attempt at release from passive dominance and to regain control over their own being? The attempt to "find" themselves may not be to form an identity they never had, but maybe to rediscover the person they once were.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
the phrase means to eat the... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2010 4:05 PM | Posted, in reply to JimmyJive's comment, by anon: | Reply

the phrase means to eat the cake and have it at the same time. to rephrase, you finish your cake and then want it back thus having the irrational, twisted and greedy need to have perpetual cake in your possession. hope that clarifies.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Every one knows that modern... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2011 8:51 AM | Posted by AnaFISHER35: | Reply

Every one knows that modern life is high priced, however different people require cash for various stuff and not every one gets big sums cash. Thus to get good mortgage loans or credit loan should be good solution.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (3 votes cast)
Fascinating article, full o... (Below threshold)

February 7, 2012 9:38 PM | Posted by James: | Reply

Fascinating article, full of insight. My only quibble - the title - "Love Means Not Letting The Other Person Be Himself". The wife had a better understanding of her husband's self than he did. She found a way to force her husband to be true to himself, instead of running away to chase a dream. Jen (above) hit the nail on the head.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
This is a really good post.... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2012 5:02 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is a really good post.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)