September 6

My Focus Needs More Focus

Focus Your Vision

I have spent so much time perusing an online dating site. Its addicting. I am done. Tonight I will change the profile to say some different things. One of which will be that if any woman wants to talk, she will have to initiate. Men respond most of the time to women on these sites, and women almost never respond. I get a better hit rate than I see most men do. I get a response about every 20 messages sent, and at least a look every 5 or so. This is stupid. I spend a ton of time doing this, and it isn’t any fun. Its not otherwise productive. I will leave it up there for these women who search like crazy, and if they are bold enough to contact me, then I will say something back. Even if I am not interested in them, because I know how it feels to be ignored. I may block them after I send a message, but I will reply.

What am I going to do with all this time I was wasting? Um, read a book or two. Yes I read about three books a month as it is, but there are so many I want to read, it won’t hurt to get another one or two in there. I am checking out some things through meetup.com. It seems this is a better way to go. I will meet new people for real. Not just women, but men too. I get to make eye contact, and if there is a woman that gets my attention, she will at least know me from the group and have something to base her rejection or acceptance on. There aren’t many places to go meet people in the modern world. Things have become so much less social. The bar seems to be the place, but I don’t want to be there all the time. I also will probably be told I can’t go to bars for the next year, because of my DUI. I am bored of the bars. I like hearing the music, but there are other options for that. I will have time for some projects I have in mind. A couple of them are software projects that I have intended to do for a long time, and have never really gotten off the ground. I have some multi-media projects that I want to get done with my personal media. Nothing that will take too much time, but I do need to give it some time.

What will I miss? The sex and other intimate touch and companionship. I have become accustomed to having that in my life since my separation. I haven’t gone long without it. I didn’t have that in my marriage as this blog catalogs. I know I can live without, but desire it. I think patience will prove to be my friend here. I know that I can go find some woman for sex, but the amount of time that takes can be spent on so much more. The stress. Online dating makes you feel like a failure. There is a tendency to grab hold of women who wouldn’t normally have your attention, because they accept your message and reply. Most of these women, I would reject out of hand in the real world. I think that its time to return to the real world. Spend some time window shopping at stores that I like. It is likely I will run into women who enjoy the same things at those places. Go out and experience the places that I would enjoy going with a woman by myself. It is likely I will meet a woman at those places that would also like to enjoy them with a man.

What do I need? I need some single guy friends that like to do things together. I have a lot of married friends. Well I thought they were friends, but most have moved on since my separation. They aren’t available when I don’t have the kids. I can’t blame them. I am not a bad looking guy, and since my separation have got in much better shape. I wouldn’t want someone like me around their wife, and most men don’t do anything without their wife’s approval, so they are unlikely to spend much time with me away from their home. The problem is me and the other single dads I know, don’t have time. We go above and beyond to spend time with our kids. We have extra jobs or overtime to pay for our kids stuff, while our exes choose jobs that provide very little money, but great hours. It sucks to be more of a wage slave without her than with her, but its true. How do I get these men together. I don’t know the answer to that, but its something to work on with this free time I will have, now that I won’t be spending hours trying to woo that woman online into meeting me offline.

I wish I had more time to raise a dog. I miss my dogs. They died shortly before we separated. They were old, but they were mine. We had a dog that we shared with a neighbor, but it was really the neighbor’s dog. They gave the dog away as we separated. When I have my kids, I don’t get home soon enough to take care of the dog. It would normally be at home alone for about 13 hours. That isn’t fair. When I don’t have the kids, that would still be the case for a day or two. Sad, my broken family takes away my opportunity to have a simple companion like a dog.

I still struggle with the broken vows and separation. I get angry and sad. Its not that I want her, because she was not a nice person. I held onto my vows, always thinking that if I just persevere I will reach the promise of marriage that was sold to me, and shown to me by my parents. Her leaving takes away that opportunity. Knowing what I know, I regret not leaving her when she cheated on me, and we had the boys only as foster kids, and the girls weren’t in the picture. I say that, and know that I wouldn’t miss the girls, because I wouldn’t know them, but have a hard time regretting a decision that has brought their light into my life. I need to work through these feelings. I fear being alone forever, but that would be better than settling on a woman who will treat me badly again. I laugh at the women who put on their profiles that they are perfectly happy being alone. If that were true, they wouldn’t be on the site looking for men.

So often I want to cry, but I have no one to cry with. I have been the shoulder for my wife, children, mother, and even father. My wife shamed me when I was in pain, and obviously is not available now. My mother and father are dealing with so much in their lives now, and they become really uncomfortable when their big strong son cries. My kids obviously don’t need my pain heaped onto their own. I will not burden them with it. My best friend is the one person who can cry with. He is a youth minister of sorts. He is also the busiest man in the world. We live 45 minutes apart, and don’t get to see each other often. He is the only person who I don’t feel guilty laying my burdens down and letting him see my pain. Men need this. Men need to find ways to provide this to each other, because women will attack the weakness it shows all to often. I am not encouraging men to run around crying all the time. I believe the control of our emotions is where some of our strength comes from, but there are times where all a man can do is cry to clear his mind and relieve the pressure of things he cannot change.

I suppose that the tears are why I miss Sarah. She allowed me to cry, and not feel weak. Its one of the things that I will require in a partner in the future. I need a safe place to show that side of me. Many women proclaim they want this in their man, but then judge him weak for showing it. She never did. I had so much bottled up that during the short time we were together, I cried twice. She didn’t comfort me and say poor baby. She encouraged me. She saw where the chinks were in my armor, and fortified with the exact right words of encouragement. I am thankful for that. She needed me to be strong, and saw her part in making sure that I could be. It was not in tearing me down, but in building me up that I could be her hero or knight. Shame was not going to make me a better partner. This is a requirement in any woman that I choose to be with in the future. I am coming to a point that I am just thankful for the lessons Sarah taught me. I am getting over my sadness of her deciding that things wouldn’t work in the long term. There is this piece of me that believes she didn’t give us a chance, but then I understand wanting to leave on a high note. Who knows what the future holds. We parted well, and things could bring our paths back together when the dust settles in my life. If not, I will forever remember her for what she gave me this summer.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

August 31

Good to Gone, Its Confusing

confused

I swear, I am about done with this. My mind needs to process all that it has absorbed before I can let it go. Its confusing when a relationship is going along, and you are getting to know someone. Things seem to be going well. You are getting more and more comfortable talking about things that come to mind. You aren’t afraid that making the other person mad will simply halt things, and its over. Then bam, I don’t want to see you anymore. What happened? What changed? Why now?

When Sarah told me she didn’t want to see me anymore, she made a comment along the lines that she thought I did things wrong, and that the way I make decisions would driver her nuts. One of the things she was referring to was my divorce process. She has been divorced for a few years, and regularly has lunch with the lawyer friend who handled her divorce. I am not doing things any of the traditional ways. I am trying to have things figured out first, and then put it on paper. We don’t have a separation agreement. We don’t have any court orders at this point. Its risky in the sense that my STBEW doesn’t give a shit about me. She could decide to take action and screw me any moment. I don’t imagine that she will choose this, because it isn’t what she wants. She wants the freedom that comes with having her own time, and that doesn’t happen if she screws me. My divorce isn’t moving as fast as Sarah would have liked. She didn’t want to talk about it, because it was my life issue to handle. She needed to talk about, because instead she stewed about it. I know she thought I was doing it wrong, and that I just needed to get it over with. Maybe she is right, but its my journey, and I want things to work out a certain way, and the only way I get close to that is by doing things my way.

The other thing, I think bothered her is the change in parenting schedules. I had offered at the beginning of the summer that I would like to go to a weekly schedule instead of partial weeks. I thought it would allow us to be more consistent when the kids are with us. Sarah was on a schedule like this. Her week started on Sunday evening. The schedule I thought was best for my kids would start on Friday evening. We would have the same weekends, but opposite weeks. This was something that would have been workable dating her. I think she felt judged when I didn’t do it like she did it. I thought it was best to have a couple days before school started to make sure that I had everything that I needed for the week, and could make arrangements to get anything the kids didn’t have before Monday. No judgement, mostly the difference in managing two kids versus managing four kids. Its just takes more preparation on my part to make sure things work. I think she was also bothered that I really didn’t consider her much in this decision. She and I were getting serious, but we weren’t in what anyone would call a long term relationship. I needed to do what was right for the kids and me and their mom, not Sarah. Sarah was a side note to this decision. Perhaps the reality that my kids were truly coming first was something should didn’t like. I know that many mothers view the fathers as something that doesn’t matter as much, and so would rather her and her kids be the priority, not mine. I don’t know. I know that having four kids will present many issues in dating anyone. I will need to be picky, and accept that there may not be someone who I will meet who can handle my lifestyle.

Sarah had mentioned multiple times that I taught her about open communication. She felt comfortable talking about anything with me, and that she wasn’t afraid of my reaction. I think this is great, and the only way that I can have a relationship. I was judged constantly by what I said in my marriage, and harshly so. I may have made some of my views to Sarah about child support and essentially libertarian principles that made her uncomfortable. If that is the case, then so be it. She wouldn’t have worked. She didn’t see the legal boogie man for men in divorce. She didn’t know many who got screwed. I think she was living in a fantasy land created by men who chose to suck it up and move on. They weren’t going to be outspoken or activists, because that would hurt their chances with other women. There is also a tendency to accept the status quo as okay, and not recognize it as being bad, or to see advances and not accept that there is a lot of room to go. The program for men hasn’t changed much. They get more time with their kids, and recently are being robbed less than they were before, but child support is still something that is essentially a fine for marrying a woman and having kids with her and failing to keep her happy and entertained for the rest of her life.

The other thing that I think came into play is a fear of deep personal relationships. Things had moved past the fun stage. We still had fun, but we were just starting to introduce each other to our world of friends. I took her to my high school reunion. She and I had dinner with good friends of hers. They were safe, because there was a good chance that they knew me, or at least kind of knew me. The husband was in my sister’s high school class. We were starting to really get to know each other. We were starting to rely on each other for emotional comfort. Female hypergamy has broken this aspect of relationships for so many women. Sarah never had that bond with her husband. She allowed her father to suplant that position in her life, and so I may have been the first man to find that soft spot in her heart. It makes me sad to think about what could have been, but if she isn’t going to grow up to a point where she can handle the raw emotions that she is feeling, then there wasn’t any real hope. She demonstrated that she could handle my raw emotions and was incredibly supportive and caring through some of those. I think that its hard for some women to accept that you can’t endear yourself to a man in that way and not start having those feelings yourself. One of the last things she said to me over the weekend before she dumped me was that she didn’t think she liked my ex at all. She had started to relate to my feelings, and as this blog tells the story, my ex is not a nice person.

I want a woman in my life to share experiences with. I want to have fun with her, and enjoy her feminity. I think its likely that I have lost my chance at that. It happened when I married my wife. It happened when I adopted three kids. I made choices that isolate me from the world that most women want a part of. My job is bigger than theirs. As a dad of four kids, I don’t have time for their bullshit. I would have liked to spend the next year exploring the world with Sarah by my side, and maybe longer. I really don’t think with my schedule anything less than a year is going to give me a window into what life could be like with a woman. I doubt that I will find a woman that wants to be that patient. I won’t lose all hope. I know there are awesome women out there. My mom is one of them. She stands by my dad as he is dying of cancer, and she doesn’t flinch. When I ask how she is doing, I get a report on my dad. She is unselfish and loving. She gives me hope, but not much because she is rare and my time is limited to find the rare one.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

August 26

Dinner With My Parents

john singer sargent: a dinner table at night

Tonight I had dinner with my parents. I knew there would be certain subjects that would come up. One of course is my dad’s health. He is dying, and although he looks pretty good, we all know that his time is limited. Its a strange conversation to have to have with him, but I suppose it is easier than being surprised by his death.

The other is church. My mom is upset that I stopped going to church. She keeps talking about it as a base for me and the kids. The problem is, that isn’t what the church has been for me. It felt like it, until I had troubles. Then I felt like an iceberg that everyone avoids running into. Afraid I might sink their ship. My pastor during my split with my wife was a big help. The rest of the church slowly moved away from me. I remember when my wife cheated on me and admitted it, being made to feel like it was in part my fault, and that her dissatisfaction was something I could fix. It wasn’t mine to fix. The church made me feel not like a failure in my marriage. The church made me feel trapped in my marriage with no escape. I see the church everyday justify how women break up families, while they torment the man with his shortcomings. I don’t have a the patience for the church, nor to find one that is different. All these things, I told her. She thinks I am a bit nuts on the subject, and maybe I am.

The part I didn’t say is this. It is also because of the church I was made to feel dirty because I was upset about the lack of sex in my marriage. That I needed to be a better husband, and she would come around. That I felt trapped in a shell that was supposed to be something rich, but it wasn’t. I don’t plan on living a sexually pure life. I know that it goes against my christian doctrines, but the beauty of sex in marriage simply did not exist for me. I have had much better experiences than any I had in marriage, since. I would be run out of most churches after sleeping with a few of the single princesses that left their previous husbands. I would be a pariah by their standards, and maybe they would be right.

My mom started to tell me about how I would meet someone, and have the love I deserved, I shut her down. One, I don’t deserve anything. Two, it is so unlikely that I will find a woman who can handle the reality of me and my four kids, and an ex that I see almost everyday. If that woman exists, the likelihood that with my limited time will meet her is very small. I am destined to a few months of fun here and there for the next 10 years. Then after a few months the woman will get frustrated and walk away. If I am lucky, when the kids are grown, I will have the financial resources to attract some young ladies to keep my life exciting for a while at a time.

I struggle with being angry. I don’t know how I can’t be angry. I wasn’t supposed to have to make the choice about dating or being single ever again. I wasn’t supposed to have a broken marriage. Now that my marriage is over, I still have to face the person who has forced this on me almost every day. I have to smile and be nice because of the kids. In any other relationship, if things go south, you just walk away. Its done. Time takes care of the rest, and if you happen to see each other again, you can smile and be kind. It doesn’t hurt.

I finally have to face that I allowed all of this. I was in love and failed to see the truth in my face. I was reminded by my parents that before I got married she said the words “I love him, but am not in love with him” My best man and my father knew that these were not the words she should be saying. They tried to convince me to end the engagement. I wouldn’t accept the truth. So much so, that I hadn’t remembered the incident at all. If ever your best friend tells you to not marry someone, then listen very carefully. Men don’t be stupid. I married a woman who made it clear that she was just looking for a wedding. She proved her words to be true every chance she got, and I wondered what I did wrong. The answer is simple. I married her anyway.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

February 22

Flipped It, and Some new Epiphanies

Flipped His Lid

A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends birthday party. This is a man I have worked with for most of the last 12 years. There was a break in the middle, but we still hung out from time to time. We enjoy working together, hanging out, and arguing aggressively. I was talking with his wife, and she told me that my wife had called about the party a couple of days earlier. These are friends that we both spent time with. She was complaining that she couldn’t go to the party, because I would be there. She was told it was fine, that there would be enough people there that it wouldn’t matter, and that was true. Then my wife complained further that I was bringing a guest. His wife again, said so what if he is, but I hadn’t told her that. She also asked what did she expect would happen when she left me. The conversation went on, and she told my friends wife that every time she sees me, I have hickies. Now I admit that this happened once early in the split, and I had a mark she accused me of having a hicky one other time, but it wasn’t. She said she didn’t care, but just wanted to know who it was, but again she didn’t care. Of course I didn’t bring anyone, why would I to a party of a friend who always had beautiful women around.

About a week later, I had dinner with these friends. They told me some things I didn’t know from when me and my wife were together. There was a time my wife was going out with some women who were actively destroying their marriages. I knew from a slip up in anger that my mom had confronted her about this. I did not know that my friend’s wife had as well. Well at the time I was carrying her water, and wanted to believe that she was there to keep her friends out of trouble, and besides she often would come home drunk, and we would fuck. Something that rarely happened during that time in our marriage, or anytime for that matter. She also told me that she remembered a conversation one morning they had. She had just finished sending her husband off to work, and had fixed him a special breakfast for no reason and packed his lunch. My wife complained that I never took my lunch, and she suggested that my wife pack my lunch. Her response was, “He can pack his own damn lunch.” My friend’s wife told her that she was destroying our marriage. Her lack of desire to serve me in any way, and continually complain about my actions while doing nothing to encourage me to behave differently was destructive. Now my actions do not encompass things that were destructive to the marriage, they were things like eating out at lunch most days. My friends wife also challenged her that instead of continually harassing me about getting a promotion, that perhaps my wife should go back to work as a skilled nurse, especially since she insisted on having a cleaning lady, the kids were all in school, and she didn’t really cook most of the time. That evening my eyes were opened to two things. First, I had good friends, better than I knew. They stuck up for me and the marriage I so wanted even without my knowing. Second, that my wife was never on a track of happiness in marriage. She didn’t understand that the test of marriage was to love the other person without needing reciprocation, and when their partner does the same, we grow as people and as a couple.

So how did I flip it on her. Well she was declaring by leaving that she believed that she outranked me in the relationship. That she was more desirable than I was, and she was. She was because she was on the market and she was married, and I was not on the market and was married. Once she moved out, she fell in the sex rank category, because she was now a single mom of four kids in her forties and not slim. I moved up, because I was on the market, in good shape, and a single dad of four kids. Strange how these things work, but I can find a woman pretty quick. With or without them knowing any of the details. My self esteem went up quickly, and with that women came to. She thought I would be alone all the time, and she would have the men she wanted. The truth is I have the women I want, when I want them, and short of some sex, the men aren’t there for her. I am excited about my future as I mourn the demise of the dream of being married once and forever to someone to grow old with. The truth is I never had that. She would never have been a woman that would have endured. I know because I have seen it, that its not a fairy tale, but it is a a fairly odd tale for a man and woman to live out their years growing closer and closer as their youth fades. At least in this day and age.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

February 13

Breath of Fresh Air

Breathe Deeply

As I said before. I met a woman that is a breath of fresh air. Of course my expectations are different. I am not looking for a wife. I am looking for the finer things women have to offer without the mess. I don’t know that its possible, but I am willing to try. She is 14 years older than me. This of course presents many long term issues, but for now it nice. She has a different perspective than the women of my generation. She lived out the hard times. She doesn’t throw a lot of bullshit my way. There just doesn’t seem to be the games that I have had to deal with in the past, so either she is running a much more complex game, and I am toast or I have met someone that at least for the time being is going to be engaging to get to know and enjoy some time with her.

She gives me hope that things are totally ruined between men and women. The culture is a mess, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t navigate it without dropping out. At least I hope so. I think marriage is broken beyond repair. I don’t believe that it can be fixed. Now its time for us men to create a new deal. What does that look like? I think first is we have to preserve a distance. We can’t move in or have them move in. To eliminate our own spaces is death like modern marriage. Pretty soon the laws treats it the same anyway. We need to have strong boundaries in our financial, personal, and love life. We can’t let the modern woman invade to deeply, or at least not too quickly. The commitment levels are just not what is needed to make it worth the potential costs. It used to be a man knew that he was getting someone who would stick by him through the worst of things in marriage, but now it is until she has become bored and bled you of your emotional self worth. This is not what men thought they were getting, but they must understand most women get married believing they have an escape hatch.

I guess this is why a widow is attractive to me. Not a cougar, though she might be one, but a woman who stood by her husband until he died. Still looked at him as her strong man, even when he was weak and dying. This is what has drawn me to this woman. Now I must be cautious, because I am not that man to her. I will see where life takes me, but I don’t plan on this being a solo ride. I don’t want to give up the greater things women have to offer me. It is just time to think of these relationships differently than before.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

January 31

What Is A Man To Do

London - Red Blue

The quandary is this, I love women. Every time I try to quit them, I make it a couple of weeks, and then I am thinking about them again. I like to touch, smell, and taste them. I like to talk to them. Women and men communicate differently. We all know this. The way a woman communicates with a man can be the best and the worst thing in the world. The flip side of this quandary is that as a man, there is not an equal playing ground anymore. There used to be a balance in relationships, but now women have most of the power. They can choose to do good or evil with it. This is why I don’t see another marriage in my future. Marriage is a very attractive thing to me. It is one of the few things I truly desired in life. Its not just what my wife is doing that has turned me against the idea of marriage, but what I see in the culture around us.

I have encountered in the last 6 months two women who are seeking husbands. One was actively doing it, and become way too clingy, and emotionally manipulative in the process. The final blow was her trying to use another man to make me jealous. I am in no position right now for any kind of real commitment, so this didn’t work. Another has accepted that the occasional encounter for dinner, a party, or just some sex is all I really have to offer right now. I know that she wants more, and she is using the sex to keep me around. I don’t mind, and she knows where I stand on things. She isn’t openly seeking a husband, but definitely wants something more. The other problem I have with these women is they aren’t really looking for someone to be a good husband. They want a Dad at their house when they have their kids. I am already a Dad to four kids. In the right circumstances, I might have it in me to be a father to more kids, but that isn’t on the plate right now.

The next problem I have is the women that are left that aren’t looking for these things are older women. I tend to be attracted to older women. Who am I kidding, I am attracted to attractive women. Age isn’t really a factor. Older women tend to be more predatory from what I have seen. They are better at playing the game, but they are also playing for different reasons. Some just want someone to hang out with, and enjoy some passionate times with them. Others are looking for status. This weekend, I did something I have never done. I went to a bar, and left with one of these women. I became really attracted to her as she told me bits of her story. I love stories. I was physically attracted to her as well. We kissed and talked for a couple of hours. It didn’t go any further. She was of course being elusive about her age. She said enough for me to figure out that she was more than ten years older than me. I was intoxicated by her. Who knows if she will accept my calls, or if anything comes of it. My only regret will be if she doesn’t call me, I won’t get to know her. Putting the cart before the horse can have that effect. She said enough that I want to hear the rest of her story. She had been married for 17 years to a man who died of skin cancer. She made it clear that she had never thought of a life without him, that she planned to be married forever. That man was a quite a bit older than her. I would guess that she is attracted to younger men now, because they won’t die on her. I don’t know if an older woman is in my future. I do know that some of the trappings of that is what hurt my marriage. I don’t want another mother in my life, but a woman like this is closer to my mother’s age than mine.

We live in interesting times. For the next 10 plus years, my focus will be raising my kids into adults. I don’t expect that I will keep many women around as they are pushed aside for my children a few too many times. I expect I will have lots of opportunity to explore the different types of women there are out there. I do need to find a couple I can trust to talk to, because that is something I valued from my wife when she listened. The problem was, I found she hardly ever listened.

So readers, as you can tell my whirlpool of emotions regarding women is going to change all the time. I don’t trust them. I want them. I need them. I can go my own way. Ultimately I think I will find one that will come to terms with all that I am feeling as my emotions level out on the subject. I have realized that society is not on my side, and women as a group are a disaster waiting to happen to most men, but that does not mean that the individual women is out to get me in every case. I will just have to wait until I meet one that we can come to the right terms with. If that never happens, then it will be with no regrets.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

January 12

Things Change…

Crysalis

Things change, perspectives change, desires change, and feelings change. This is no large epiphany, even for one like me. I couldn’t imagine a year ago that I would be sitting in my own place typing a blog about the demise of my marriage, and the ongoing saga of taking care of my kids, and managing my wife. A year ago I was scrambling to save my marriage. I was appeasing her whims, and she was drinking it up like a little princess, but she wasn’t being convinced that anything was worth staying for. A year ago I hugged my wife and was crying over the fact my father was near death from lung cancer, and was left feeling worse for the lack of the simplest empathy I received from her. It was cold. It was the moment I realized that there wasn’t really any hope. Shortly after this she looked at me in a store, and said “So, do I get a new ring if I decide to stay.” Further confirmation that she no longer cared to honor her vows, but might take a bribe to stay a little longer. I continued to try, but I also had to begin thinking of what life might be like a part. A year ago I valued my marriage for the commitment, the promise to her before God, and the family it provided for my children. A year ago I believed that she would grow up and be a big girl and honor our vows, even if it required a new agreement of what our relationship would look like. A year ago I would have believed that my children were better off if we were together, and that I was a better father married to their mother.

Now I am piece by piece separating our lives. I am working on having as many details figured out and working before we go through the process of divorce. I am putting back together my reputation at work that has suffered while I was floundering to save my marriage at home. I entertain only the whims of my wife that give me even more time with my children. Now, I hug my friends and cry to them as we have to deal with my father’s brain cancer, and hope that it too can be treated. I play soccer every week now, something I never was given time to do before. I spend my time wondering why she stayed to watch the game when she dropped off the kids. I am starting to have a vision of life with her on the periphery, while I do my part to raise my kids, and love them to the best of my ability. I try to buffer the damage of her constant rage with with the kids. I am rebuilding relationships that were lost in the isolation of my marriage. I no longer believe that our children are better off with us together, because I was not a better father married to her their mother.

Changing Perspectives

I am a believer in marriage as God created it. I believe even with the fallen state of man, because God created it for fallen man. My perspective has changed, because we no longer have marriage. With the constructs that we call marriage today, what we have is some strange dating ritual people enter into often after some long period of traditional dating, but that is not required. Divorce is something that has always been a part of marriage, but it has always had shame and consequences for the parties involved attached to it. The current state of things clearly has taken away any real consequence for women. The power women have in marriage and divorce destroys the credibility of modern marriage. Men are relegated to some sort of servant status in both situations should the woman choose to pull the triggers that make it happen. Not all women do, but they all can.

I believe that two parents working together as a married couple to raise children is the absolute best situation the kids. What I am struggling to believe is that it is good for my sons to see me treated as something a step above the family dog. I also struggle that it was better for my relationship with my kids to be constantly trying to mediate the tension of an angry woman and hurt children, and to meet out the punishment so that their mother could cool off, because she would continue to escalate the situation. The children would probably have a better relationship with her if we stayed together, but they would lose the influence I have on them now, because I had no time to do anything other than be in the middle. The additional stresses on my children make me sad, and if both of us were willing to work on the marriage to make it healthy, then being married and in the same home would have been better. Amazingly, my parents, my best friend, my sister, and our friends have all pointed out that I and the kids are probably better off over time in this. What is surprising is all these people I think of are strong Christians who are quick to condemn divorce, and generally actively work to preserve marriages. I had no idea how my marriage looked to others. That is new perspective.

Changing Desires

I used to desire marriage. I wanted what my parents had. I was willing to work for it. I thought I chose someone who also valued those things. I overlooked a lot of things that I now know should have been red flags. Now my desires don’t include a wife. Not just the one that I have had, but any wife. I love women. I love how they feel. I love how they talk. I love how they make me feel when they care. All of that doesn’t matter anymore. I can have that in small doses, so long as it doesn’t interfere with me and my kids. My kids don’t need a stepmother to mess with their lives and to compete for my attention. Perhaps my desire will change in this, but for now all I desire is to do some of the things I gave up, so I could have a marriage. I desire to write a book. It doesn’t have to be published or even read by anyone else. I just want to write one for the pure enjoyment of writing. I want to spend more time doing photography. I have enjoyed the art of photography since high school, but I gave that up because it took time away from my energy sapping marriage. I will write the system configuration documentation and change software that I have drawn up on paper now at least 30 times. I know that’s not sexy, but its something that I have a vision for and want to see working.

Feelings Change

This is the one that I have learned the most about over the last year. I learned that if I put in the effort I could love a woman that does little but spew bile in my direction. I also learned that no matter what I do, I can’t change the feelings of another. Love is something that you have to decide to do, and it takes work. When only one partner does this, the marriage is constantly at risk. It can survive, but there isn’t much of value there. I have also learned that when there is desire for a relationship of both parties, one choosing to love can lead to amazing results. I have seen this with my kids. They respond to me so much differently than they used to. They show me so much more affection than they used to. They spend so much less time in fear of how I or their mother might react, because I am no longer being fed by her fire. I still have my moments, and I struggle to pull the kids out of the boxes that their mother put them, and constantly shoves them back into when they are with her. I am beginning to see them respond better to each other. She has fostered an environment that encourages them to back bite and fight. When they are with me, I have to actively discourage that, but it gets better faster every time they are with me.

So things change. Sometimes it hurts, but its also opportunity to make things better. I have learned that people don’t do what they say they will all the time, and that sometimes dreams won’t come true no matter how hard you try and wish. I am also learning to not begrudge those who have been able to live the dream I had. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, marriage was a gamble. It always has been, but in the modern world it is a bigger gamble than ever. I can’t say that I regret my marriage. We had some good times, and I have my kids. I might dream of how it could have been different with one of the other women that I dated and sought my attention, but I always come back to the fact I wouldn’t have my four kids. I can never regret that no matter how angry and hurt I am by her.

Ten-Foured,

JeD