Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Does This Stuff Get Started?

Last night I was introduced to a guy who had gone through a divorce in May. Like virtually every guy I've met recently, he was saddled with this thing and wasn't dealing with it well.
I don't know when the shift occurred and it was suddenly fashionable for women to call all the shots but somewhere in the last few years it has. We live in a world of stereotypes. We are defined by them and in some ways, governed by them. Years ago, the man left, because he was cheating, and the woman left because the man was cheating or abusive. People didn't get divorced simply because "you aren't meeting my needs..." or "you work too much..." or "we've grown apart...". Now all those things are vital to a marriage but for God's sake, you don't DIVORCE over it! It's like Manny Ramirez' ridiculous whining about how Boston "is tired of me and I'm tired of them". Really Manny? Tired enough to count your 168 Million dollar salary and those two World series rings as a loss?
Meeting needs and working less and placing family first and growing together not apart are all crucial to a healthy relationship, but so crucial that you divorce if you don't get them? Last night I met a guy who was divorced in may. We got talking about our kids and as soon as I mentioned how much I miss Morgan, he welled up. The same stabbing pain I feel when I miss her he was feeling then. He had issues for sure, but at least from his version of the story, I saw nothing that counseling and work couldn't fix. Why does everyone leave? Why is marriage so disposable? And why does the mom get to call the shots? Why can she determine where the kids will live and how often they will see their dad? Because of stereotypes is my guess.
We are paying for the sins of every cheating, wife abusing, drunk, heartless bastard who went before us. Lifetime has built an entire cable TV following on the backs of bad ex husbands, But the facts are that most of us aren't anything like that. Most men love their kids and miss them terribly. Most men would crawl through hell on gasoline knees pads to reconcile and have our family back. Most men live with a lifetime of regret because most men are painted with the same broad brush as the crappy losers who went before us. And somehow many women find it perfectly acceptable to point to those bad examples as reason for never considering reconciliation. The stereotype gives them an excuse to "move on" to the next guy and the next situation who may very well be just another victim of the stereotypes one day...if not the reason for the stereotypes himself.
Divorce needs to be harder to acquire. Plain and simple. It's harder to beak a real estate contract than a marriage. That's just stupid. And I'm tired of it and tired of seeing another hurting man missing his kids.

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