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40+ year old males and the long "ROAD WALK WHYS" of Divorce
So I see you made it here today.
I am assuming most who show up here to read this post are males. If you are female, please feel free to read this post.
This post is for marriages that really didn't go out that bad, you still got divorced but you didn't go out swinging and you really weren't trying to hurt each other anymore then you had to as the two of you went out the door.
Let's see if we can travel down this road together that you thought you would never be on,
They say you don't know another person until you walk a mile in their shoes. Let me put my shoes on because yes, I am divorced also, so we basically have the same shoes. The divorce trend seems to be for males 40+ years and above and one size fits all, the "divorce series" shoe. This style of shoe seems to very popular amongst many males (and some females) these days.
Hello, my name is Brian, walk with me on this road and let us talk and share......
Let's start with me so you can compare your situation and we have a good starting point. I was married for 23 years to a beautiful woman who gave us three children, basically gave me everything I ever wanted, and then even more of herself to me. She never really came at me for an argument, she never rocked the boat at all, she cooked, she cleaned, we went on vacations, we did many things together. Our family was typical, she was supportive, an excellent mother, kids got in trouble here and there, nothing ever really big. No drugs, we were social drinkers, and we had some very good times during the holiday seasons with our family's. My wife went back to work in her profession when the economy went south when many of us men lost our jobs in the Midwest. Overall, I have to say she was (and still is) one of the most amazing women I have ever known.
Now don't get me wrong, we had a few bad moments, and doesn't every marriage have bad moments...........No physical abuse, no yelling and calling each other stupid names, but we did have a few scrapes here and there during the years. I am guilty of almost cheating in our 3rd year of marriage, even though I did not fully go through with it, it's still cheating because it just went too far. I was lost for a moment back then in my life and when I should have been reaching for my wife I reached to someone else to help me find answers I was looking for at that time I refer to my mistake as more of a one night fling in a momentarily lapse of reasoning and extreme male stupidity, but I am guilty none the less. My wife and I worked through it and she did forgive me, or at least she forgave me back in the early days of our marriage. She gave us two more beautiful children and our life and marriage moved forward.
Let’s fast forward to 18 years later in my marriage. And doesn't the time fly, good or bad in between, time fly's past you no matter what you do to slow it down. I had noticed my wife was not talking as much as she use to in the first 16 years of our marriage, and realized the slowing down of talking together as I looked back over the years. Her days were probably the same to her everyday as time went on and each day seemed to bring more silence in our family of 5. Our children were getting older but all of them still required attention. She would get up, get dressed, go to work and come home and do the same thing again the next day. The only thing that changed was the growing silence. I have all the details as to why the silence got to the point it did, and I am sure you have your details, but those details are not really important. We need to look at the moment when you first noticed that something was wrong, and that's the problem my friend, I woke up too late! The problem had already been there for years and I never saw it when I looked in the mirror. I saw a few gray hairs here and there, perhaps a new wrinkle now and again, but I didn't see the things I needed to see and only saw what was on the surface.
Let’s keep walking down this road, there's still much for us to talk about........
We men may have done many stupid things over the years in our marriage, but our nemesis was our silence that started way before our wives went silent. Now don't jump just yet, think about this and keep an open mind. There are marriages out there where men have cheated a few times and including there wives and their marriage still survived. There are many marriages that have had some major tearing apart and fighting that just leaves my head hurting, but yet those marriages still survived. Go figure! I have talked with 100's of couples and the one thing that they had in common was that they could hear and understand each other, even the wives admitted they hated what their husbands did when they cheated, but they didn't end up hating their marriages and life with their husband. There was the direction I was looking for, the former spouse did not despise or have any anger towards the marriage itself, she may have hated what the husband did, but still had faith in the marriage. This is what sparked my interest as to why some wives had stayed in their marriages and why some checked out completely.
This unknowing silence we males supplied to our marriages over the years was one of our enemy's and we didn't even know it. We did not do it intentionally! We didn't plan it! We didn't even know it existed! You might say to yourself, I always talked and respected my wife, you probably did , and trust me I get it, I am a male. Our communications and all of our talking over the years with our wives were not what our former spouse wanted to hear, or at least the things we were saying, to them they did not understand. We did not give them the inner security or reassurance that they were not being taken for granted. Sure, we said thank you when our wives did something like cooking or had our clothes washed and ready to go, we may have bought them roses on valentines day, we took them out for dinner every year on our anniversary, and we may have been lucky and did something right once in awhile and it was an overwhelming surprise to our former spouse, but we didn't do it enough or we started doing it too late.
Any of this sounding hauntingly familiar to you? I know the timing and details might not align or be the same, but it's pretty much the same big picture. The idea at this point is for us to compare and share with each other as we are walking down this divorce road together.
Need some water? I am thirsty too, lets keep walking there is water up ahead on the road......
You may have lost your job, you may have not. You may have been rich or you may have been poor, but believe it or not while those factors do play an important role in any marriage, they were not as important as we were raised as young men to believe. The security that most of our former spouses wanted was NOT necessarily financial security, and yes they wanted that too, but they wanted the feeling of assurance that no matter what and when something would happen, we the husband would be there for HER. We would in fact put their needs up to the equal level of ours and we missed the boat on that one too. Each former spouse has different expectation levels but they have all told me that they all had needs that were never discussed throughout their whole marriage because they were always focused on providing to us our needs. Whoooooops! I know, you cut the grass, you painted the bedroom the color she wanted 6 times over the years, you cleaned the pool, you changed the oil on her car, you actually got the garbage out the night before, you washed a load of clothes for once ( you messed them up, but hey you tried), you washed the dishes a few times, heck you might even cooked dinner a couple of times that came out right surprisingly enough.........................but, it wasn't what she was looking for or you did it just a little too late. Some wives wanted to hear certain things, some wives wanted only to see with their own eyes certain things, some wives wanted to hear and see many things, but no matter which way you look at it, we did not give any of those things that they wanted, or at least not enough of what they wanted. Not saying it's all our fault completely, but it's something to think about and learn from.
In our early years, when mom told us to take the garbage out we did it, when dad said cut the grass we did it, so what does that tell you, we males have always been programmed to do what we are told and unfortunately most of us still have to be told exactly what to do and when to do it. When we did what mom and dad wanted for the most part it kept them happy, so doing what your told should work with everyone else right? Some of us were told by our coaches what to do, our teachers in school always told us "Now listen and do what you are told Johnny and be a good boy and you will be rewarded", your name might not be Johnny, but all of us heard this at one time or another in our years growing up as boys. Well guess what, our former spouse got tired of telling us what and when to do it, they got tired of being our mother, father, coach and teacher. We didn't know, we thought we were doing the right thing buy doing what we were told and everything was okay and we were doing pretty good. NOT!
Sit back and think about it from your former spouses viewpoint, I think you will see it. Our former spouses got to wear every hat except the hat they initially vowed too wear, the hat of a loving wife. I can't speak for all ex wives, but most of them pretty much say they never felt they got to play the full role they wanted. They got parts and pieces of that role, but I think they never got to feel complete in the way that was right for them in the marriage.
Are you still with me? Good, glad you are still standing, lets keep walking.....
What's that you say? You said we always said "I love you" to each other, everyday. Hmmm, I am pretty sure most of us married couples did say those things also even into our last days. Some married couples might have stopped saying it sooner, but inside both people there was probably some amount of love left but it wasn't enough or it changed into a different type of love. The problem is that most people, both male and female, take for granted that when someone tells you that they love you, it means that everything is just peachy and it's all good. Maybe in the past for marriages a long time ago that theory probably held up pretty strong, but for marriages today those three little magical words don't hold up like they use to.
Let’s take a turn in the road here. Let me ask you, How many times did you tell her how glad and grateful you were she gave you and her a child? I know and remember our first child birth, sure I handed out cigars also when my son was born. But ya know, I can't remember ever telling my wife how beautiful she was as a mother or let her know during any of the years when our son was growing up how lucky I was she gave life to our son. To some women being told such things don't matter, but most women I have talked to said for them to hear things like that from their husbands over the years was important. I know I was one of those husbands that thought my wife knew how I felt about her. Another one those moments I guess we men just took for granted. We didn't intend to do harm, but our silence of not saying something hurt us real bad in the long run.
I see a light down the road, we are almost there, let’s keep going........we can make it.....
You say you feel so bad and feel just like a fool. That's great, so did I, and heck to be honest with you, parts of me still feel like a fool. This just means we have learned, we are accepting our part in our marriage failure. We are beginning to gain great wisdom and take it with us through the lessons learned into hopefully a new relationship with someone. Go ahead, admit it and say it out loud on this road, no one else is around.........
"I messed up and I made mistakes"
.............and now, doesn't it feel better to know you are human after all. You may have been 90% of the problem in your marriage, maybe you were only a 5% contributor, no matter what percentage you were, you did contribute to the marriage failure, all of us have. It takes two people to form a marriage, and it takes two people to get out of it.
Now I know I did most of the talking on our road here and you are a good listener. I think someone is waiting for you on one of those roads over there to hear your thoughts. I think it's your turn to move forward and share your thoughts with them even if your former marriages have nothing in common. I mean we are all on the same roads here we all got divorced.
We finally made it to the end of our road; it’s been nice talking to you. I'm going on up the North road and see what else I can learn. You should pick a new road and I am sure you will find what you need and what you seek. Go with an open mind and a free heart and let time heal you with each step.
Take care until we meet again my friend..............................and I am sure we will.
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