It was never about you…

This post is for a friend…or perhaps for anyone with broken promises, hearts, lives, dreams…

I’ve been pondering why men up and leave their families to remarry and repeat the cycle over and possibly over again. I wonder what drives them to move from one relationship to another. Is something missing in their lives…something that defines them? What are they searching for?

I’ve searched the web for some insight on why men divorce; why they have commitment issues, and why men leave their families.  Interestingly, to me, what I’ve found is similar to a list of excuses:

Why Are Men Scared of Commitment? Their 10 Reasons

  1. No more freedom – loss of independence; almost overnight, we find ourselves trapped, doing what she wants to do, regardless of our own wants or desires.
  2. Loss of space – we need “guy space” for stuff like cars, tools and watching kick-ass action flicks. But women want to take over, to “female up” what used to be exclusive male territory with frilly drapes and paintings of flowers.
  3. One sex partner for life – We naturally crave sexual variety. When we commit — either in marriage or cohabitation — we willingly volunteer to cut ourselves off from any other sexual pursuits. Sexual boredom can set in, followed by a total lack of desire. For a lot of us — even guys who weren’t getting a lot of action anyway — this can be the scariest consequence of all.
  4. We’ve been burned before – When we’ve been divorced and run through the wringer of the court system, many of us are reluctant (read: “terrified”) to risk a second commitment
  5. The emotional baggage – Many women look at marriage through Cinderella eyes — for them, putting a ring on their fingers means that we will magically solve all their problems, from childhood issues with their fathers to huge shopping debts incurred on credit cards. Women often submerge their true personalities and agendas until the knot is tied — but when the truth comes out and we find ourselves legally bound to a woman who’s not right for us, it’s too late.
  6. Lack of compromise – Commitment implies the ability to compromise — ideally a marriage should be a 50/50 partnership in which each half contributes and shares equally. But to a woman, “compromise” often means “do it my way or you’re cut off from sex.”
  7. Loss of free time – Serious relationships suck up an enormous amount of time and energy — they can entirely take over our lives.
  8. Not ready for it – These days, there are fewer societal pressures to marry and we can weigh our options instead of just jumping directly from school into marriage.
  9. Can’t trust a woman – We learned pretty fast that some women can’t be trusted — it seems like they’re looking to upgrade, to latch onto a man with more money, more status and more stuff to sex-ploit.
  10. She applies pressure – For a lot of women, commitment is the finish line for their adult lives. They want to get married and they want to do so now. So they exert increasing pressure on us to settle down — pressure that can cause us to pack up and leave.

When I read the list above, I was like “really?” But, after searching several other sites, I realized it was a repetitive theme. Notably, excuses # 3 and #5 being the main plot in a soap opera or romance novel, but rated high on the fear of commitment list. WaaWaaWaa…

Once committed to a relationship, it seems that when the bloom is off the rose, men are motivated…because sex is part of their core existence, to shop for a replacement that fans the flames of desire and excitement, the thrill of a new adoring relationship, and especially a new sexual partner.

Bull-hockey! Excuses, excuses! I personally think it’s immature behavior, failure to grow up, and to accept responsibility for one’s actions. It’s all about me, me, me. What I want at the expense of anyone else, including my wife and children.

What these men do is leave a trail of broken promises, and the families who must deal with the pain of their loss. Like children of divorce who wonder what they did to make Daddy so unhappy that he left them. What they don’t realize is that it isn’t about them, it’s all about him. He’s already moved on to a new adventure and he isn’t looking back! Reflection = guilt.

On another note, I have a neighbor friend whose husband attempted suicide with a gun a year ago this month. I won’t go into all of the details, but he managed to survive, was hospitalized for about 6 months and after his 5th reconstructive surgery he was finally sent home with a tracheotomy and gastric feeding tube. We are a fairly tight knit group of neighbors and this had an enormous impact on just about everyone in the neighborhood. My friend’s husband is awaiting future surgeries and the only time anyone sees him is when he walks the dog. He doesn’t socialize with anyone and pretty much avoids everyone. His wife, who stuck by him, asked me once why no one ever came over to her house anymore and I told her I thought it was difficult (painful) for people to accept what her husband did. She repeated to me once, what her husband had told her when she tried to explain the lack of visitors. He said, “It wasn’t about them, it was about me.” He just doesn’t remember several of us standing over him as he lay face down in a pool of his own blood, in shock and thinking he was dead as we waited for the rescue ambulance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s time to let go of the pain you’ve carried for so long.

The Cultural Animal/Psychology Today