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I Had An Epiphany - Long Read - Discuss


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First, I'm new here. Thanks for letting that happen.

 

Secondly, I'm a 53-year old male, separated/divorced over 4 years. Father of twin teens that are the air that I breathe. Marriage ended unexpectedly, still not sure I understand why she refused to even attempt to save it. But we remain as friends and coparent very well. I'm monogamous and have dated a few women but nothing beyond a few months.

 

All my life I thought I knew what "love" was. And it's what I have always looked for. But between observations, discussions with others - friends, coworkers, etc. during my marriage, and especiallly since my marriage ended - today I had an epiphany. And I'd like your thoughts on it.

 

I thought love was a feeling, an emotion, that started with attraction / chemistry and grew from there. I thought it was about two people admiring and caring for each other. One always wanting the best for the other and trying to provide it. Cheerleading and supporting each other, and providing (hopefully in the right way) constructive criticism. And I thought everything else in those two lives blossomed from that.

 

But what I've seen and heard, and even what's been suggested (albeit indirectly)to me by several people is that RELATIONSHIPS between men and women are more transactional than emotional. Meaning:

 

Women primarily want security and material desires met. No I don't mean carte blanche shopping every day. I mean "pay / help pay the bills, move me to where I've always dreamed of living, give me a comfortable life or better. In exchange for that I can tolerate sharing a bed and having sex with you".

 

Men primarily want from women their meals cooked, house cleaned, sex, and if it happens, the woman to raise the kids. In exchange for that I can tolerate your bat- craziness (and other sexist things said about women). And perhaps those few extra pounds you will gain.

 

This doesn't meet the "give and take" vision of relationships that I've had since I discovered girls. No, this sounds a lot like raw barter - for tat, quid pro quo, you scratch my back . . . . trade. Transactions. BUSINESS.

 

The light finally got bright enough for me to take notice today, when a coworker said he'd offered is wife $100K just to leave and never return. Seems the bartering isn't working anymore so he offered a . . . . buy out. Another type of transaction. BUSINESS.

 

I looked, and am again looking for my soulmate. My partner in LIFE, not in business. Someone who will do things for me because she loves me, not because it gives her the right to expect something in return. And I would do the same for her. I thought from THAT foundation, all the other stuff - dream houses, vacations, moving to that favorite place . . . one or both staring a company . . . .the building of a LIFE and realization of dreams - had a chance of happening.

 

But increasingly people seem to believe that it's about finding someone you can tolerate enough to get from them the things you want or need for yourself.

 

If that's really the way it is . . . color me single for the remainder of my days. I will not settle - and certainly not for THAT.

 

Discuss.

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Who the heck are you talking to?

 

All of my girlfriends are educated, have good jobs and are self sufficient. I would say half are married and equally support the household. My male friends are seeking partners that are employed and women who they feel are their equal. They share household and child rearing responsibilities . One of my gf's has a four-month-old, and is now two months pregnant, and guess what, she works full time from home.

 

I have my own money and am not seeking a man to take care of me.

 

Please do not change your perspective of what love is, because I totally agree with you! BTW, my parents were married for 64 years, and had the love that you spoke of. It was a fantastic relationship filled with love, trust, and respect.

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You have odd friends and you sound so cynical. There are probably many relationships that work the way your epiphany suggests but I dont know anyone living that way. My husband and I have a very good 50/50 relationship, neither is better than the other. He helps around the house and I've been known to pull a few wrenches when needed to work on an antique car we have. Nothing is based on gender.

 

We looked at 28 houses before we found our current home. I wanted a place with a big shop for him and his cars, he wanted a really nice house for me as I didnt like the previous house at all. No selfishness on either part.

 

Some people genuinely get along well with their partner/spouse, not all are in it to get what they want and to hell with the other person.

 

I hope you find someone who suits you.

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Thanks for your response. Cynical perhaps, but not by choice. And my observations / other data aren't just from my friends. I've heard people talking while in line at Chipolte, and it just seems to be a more common theme than I would have expected. For instance, I've heard couples discussing payment for things, arguing over "whose money" is going to pay for it. Married couples arguing over who pays the rent and who pays the cable bill. Where's the joint bank account? If you're married, it's OUR money, not YOUR money or MY money.

 

And things like taking out the trash - your job vs. my job. Ditto laundry. Ditto yard work.

 

It's like they're roomates in college, not partners in life. I just don't get it.

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Thanks for your post. Again, not just limited to my friends. But I have had a friend or two suggest that I just find someone, move in, do what she says, and be happy that I can expect a cooked meal, clean clothes, and sex whenever I need it. Friends who met and one case are still married to their wives and operate in that mode. I'd be surprised f they even kissed during intimacy. Scratch that - during sex.

 

Another thing that just makes me cringe? THese couples, for their SO's birthday, Christmas, anniversary, whatever - they just tell them to go out and buy whatever they want within a given budget. Way to get to know the person you're married to.

 

It's good to hear that you don't operate in the mode that I seem to be noticing everywhere. And God bless your parents for giving you one heck of an example to learn from!

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I’m sorry you’re feeling discouraged.

 

Not every one is only in it to get something out of you. You’ll find someone who shares your same views. Don’t give up on love! The world is crazy right now and it may be skewing your thoughts as well making you over think things.

 

After this pandemic is over dip your toes in slowly in the dating wading pull. Make sure to check each woman out carefully and don’t rush things. Our hearts can get the better of our logic so it’s best to move slow. That way you can see if they are genuine or not. Those in it just for themselves are easy to read if you move slow as well.

 

I can guarantee you’ll find more genuine and hard working ladies then not.

 

The last thing you want to do is throw in the towel on love. Just throw in the towel on those who don’t deserve your attention.

 

Surround yourself by those only whom cherish you and bring out the good in you.

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Love is something that comes from within and individuals possess it to different varying degrees. When you find someone who possesses the same degree of love as you do, you’ve found yourself a potential match. But I think you’re right that humans don’t couple because of love. They couple because of the biological drive to propagate the species. Love, sex and security are the things that get them through the door to achieve that function. Once you’re in, it’s for better or worse. Hopefully better, if you’re lucky.

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I've been married for a long time. My husband helps me with everything ever since our sons were newborns to errands, cooking, housecleaning, laundry, child rearing, house maintenance, home repairs, yard work, car maintenance, car repairs, always fills up the cars with gas, you name it and we're a team all the way. He always picks up the slack.

 

We both provide for our comfortable standard of living and financial security in the suburbs.

 

Love is a selfless attitude and responsibilities.

 

My husband is my soulmate and more than my best friend. He's honorable with the highest integrity and a very moral man. I've never seen a man give so much of himself to his wife and children. He's what you call A REAL MAN.

 

You and I and most of us here don't share your same perspective. As for me, I agree to disagree with you.

 

And yes, we'll color you single for the remainder of your days. Good luck finding what you're looking for.

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Who filed for divorce and why? Have you unraveled all the marital assets? How are you working out custody? Perhaps some therapy could give you a more realistic picture of relationships rather than this black and white picture. When you attitude toward women/relationships improves you will find more happiness.

 

Focus on physical and emotional health. Make sure you are fit and in good health. Quit any bad habits like drinking or smoking. Remake yourself into a better version without the unrealistic vision of ideal love.

I'm a 53-year old male, separated/divorced over 4 years. Father of twin teens we remain as friends and coparent very well.
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Thanks for your response. Cynical perhaps, but not by choice. And my observations / other data aren't just from my friends. I've heard people talking while in line at Chipolte, and it just seems to be a more common theme than I would have expected. For instance, I've heard couples discussing payment for things, arguing over "whose money" is going to pay for it. Married couples arguing over who pays the rent and who pays the cable bill. Where's the joint bank account? If you're married, it's OUR money, not YOUR money or MY money.

 

And things like taking out the trash - your job vs. my job. Ditto laundry. Ditto yard work.

 

It's like they're roomates in college, not partners in life. I just don't get it.

I have never heard these convos, while in public or with friends.

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My husband gives serious thought to presents for occasions, and the money he spends is his decision. There are no "rules" about such things here. We have had joint accounts for almost as long as we have been together, it's never been an issue. I think this is where trust and genuine caring about the other person come into play. We discuss important things that affect either or both of us. We dont fly off the handle if one does something the other doesnt like, we are able to sit down and talk.

 

I dont know why 20-somethings dont work that way, immaturity may well be a big part of it, along with instant gratification.

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I'm not sure what to make of your observations on "love" (I'm glad you put the first appearance of that word in quotes) but I have never seen any parent say this:

Father of twin teens that are the air that I breathe.

who was actually able to strike a successful balance between parenting and dating. I know we think that makes us good parents to make our kids our entire life and our whole reason for existing, but the message it sends to any dating partner out there is that 1) they are competing with the kids and 2) they will lose. Examine your situation and see if this is (at least partially) why you haven't dated beyond a few months. If so, and you are completely convinced the kids deserve top billing in all cases, and any dating partner is merely there for your convenience when you don't have more important things to tend to, then consider the possibility that you are not ready to date.

 

I thought love was a feeling, an emotion, that started with attraction / chemistry and grew from there. I thought it was about two people admiring and caring for each other. One always wanting the best for the other and trying to provide it. Cheerleading and supporting each other, and providing (hopefully in the right way) constructive criticism. And I thought everything else in those two lives blossomed from that.

Love is less of a feeling, and more of a decision and a commitment. Shallow and superficial things like attraction and chemistry are less important than shared goals and values and the most important thing: character. A good fit is not about finding a hottie to have sex with and hoping that things "blossom" (whatever that means) from there. Basing a relationship on attraction and chemistry (aka lust) will often get you someone that you didn't notice was bat____ crazy, and finding yourself "tolerating" a few extra pounds on her when she in your eyes becomes a little less hot, and being blindsided when the relationship ends because you were focusing on the wrong things the whole time.

 

Oh yea, providing "constructive criticism"? No. You are not her supervisor, and she is not yours. Focus on yourself and becoming a better person.

 

It may be time to do an autopsy on your marriage and figure out what went wrong there. Contrary to popular belief, women do not just wake up one day and file for divorce. Figure out what happened before you insist on repeating the same mistakes.

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First, my thanks to all for the discussion.

 

My divorce has nothing to do with my original post. Long story short, she decided she didn't want to be married again, and she could not say anything other than "we grew apart and have different thought processes". That's her perspective, I was not able to get her to elaborate, and for two people who started with nothing and built a very nice life together, I cannot understand why she adamantly refused counseling. That's *her* perspective.

 

So over the years since it ended, I've connected a few dots and I am fairly confident I know what happened. And that's a very long story. The gist is we built our dream house, then had twins, and then she stopped working. We went from DINK to SI2K. Then my career (IT Sales) took a bad turn, staring with the shutdown of my division just 10 months after I started with the company. and two months after my kids were born. My reaction to all that, even when she went back to work part time, was to work as many hours as I needed to in order to keep my job. I allowed myself to become a workaholic, thinking that I was just being a good provider. Coupled with all that, my ex wife (who again is still a very dear friend. we'll never reconcile but I do love her, just in a different way now) was never able to be intimate with her feelings - she was not able to be vulnerable. She'd let things silently build into a volcanic eruption.

 

So I know what mistakes were made, especially my own.

 

For those of you who think this post was a complaint, it was not. I'm literally concerned that things have never worked the way I always thought. That's a hell of a revelation to have at my age. It's scary, because it seems that an awful lot people are willing to SETTLE and be content in lieu of finding one's soulmate. It's embarrassing. And yes, I'm a little bit cynical but that is based on what I've observed.

 

Two more examples.

 

I even have a high school classmate who wants us to be a couple. But she talks about "you could do this, and I could do that, and we'd be great together". It's the FOCUS being WHO is going to do have WHAT responsibilities before people even start dating that alarms me.

 

And well prior to my divorce, I worked with a guy who was married. Every time he spoke to his wife on the phone it sounded like he was managing an employee, not talking to his wife. They have twins, which he never seemed happy about. One day I asked him to tell me about his family, which he never ever spoke about. He said he married her because "she seemed like a nice lady" and had kids because "she wanted to and wouldn't stop asking". It was very clear when she'd call to discuss something about the kids, he had no idea what to do, how to support - he had no idea how to be a father. Never once did he say, to me or to his wife, that he loved her.

 

I'm not afraid of responsibility. I did and will do my part. I am a team player in that way. I don't want someone who cooks my dinner because she needs to keep me alive. That's a job. I don't want it to be a job. I want it to be a LIFE TOGETHER. I want her to cook my dinner, etc. (and VICE VERSA) because she loves me.

 

Give me that and I'm inspired to A) give her the same and B) move mountains for her.

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I'm not sure what to make of your observations on "love" (I'm glad you put the first appearance of that word in quotes) but I have never seen any parent say this:

 

who was actually able to strike a successful balance between parenting and dating. I know we think that makes us good parents to make our kids our entire life and our whole reason for existing, but the message it sends to any dating partner out there is that 1) they are competing with the kids and 2) they will lose. Examine your situation and see if this is (at least partially) why you haven't dated beyond a few months. If so, and you are completely convinced the kids deserve top billing in all cases, and any dating partner is merely there for your convenience when you don't have more important things to tend to, then consider the possibility that you are not ready to date.

 

 

Love is less of a feeling, and more of a decision and a commitment. Shallow and superficial things like attraction and chemistry are less important than shared goals and values and the most important thing: character. A good fit is not about finding a hottie to have sex with and hoping that things "blossom" (whatever that means) from there. Basing a relationship on attraction and chemistry (aka lust) will often get you someone that you didn't notice was bat____ crazy, and finding yourself "tolerating" a few extra pounds on her when she in your eyes becomes a little less hot, and being blindsided when the relationship ends because you were focusing on the wrong things the whole time.

 

Oh yea, providing "constructive criticism"? No. You are not her supervisor, and she is not yours. Focus on yourself and becoming a better person.

 

It may be time to do an autopsy on your marriage and figure out what went wrong there. Contrary to popular belief, women do not just wake up one day and file for divorce. Figure out what happened before you insist on repeating the same mistakes.

 

Omg yes! Dealing with similar situation

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I've been married for a long time. My husband helps me with everything ever since our sons were newborns to errands, cooking, housecleaning, laundry, child rearing, house maintenance, home repairs, yard work, car maintenance, car repairs, always fills up the cars with gas, you name it and we're a team all the way. He always picks up the slack.

 

We both provide for our comfortable standard of living and financial security in the suburbs.

 

Love is a selfless attitude and responsibilities.

 

My husband is my soulmate and more than my best friend. He's honorable with the highest integrity and a very moral man. I've never seen a man give so much of himself to his wife and children. He's what you call A REAL MAN.

 

You and I and most of us here don't share your same perspective. As for me, I agree to disagree with you.

 

And yes, we'll color you single for the remainder of your days. Good luck finding what you're looking for.

 

I agree that love is a selfless attitude and responsibilities. That's exactly how I feel in fact. What I see - or what I see missing - is the selfless attitude.

 

Doing something for someone more so because you feel you are obligated and have to "payback" is not selfless. It's business.

 

You seem to have found what I'm looking for. That gives me hope and makes me feel a little less concerned. Your husband is the guy that I am, in the situation that I want to be in. You're half of that equation, so thank you for that, and thank you for sharing.

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I agree that love is a selfless attitude and responsibilities. That's exactly how I feel in fact. What I see - or what I see missing - is the selfless attitude.

 

Doing something for someone more so because you feel you are obligated and have to "payback" is not selfless. It's business.

 

You seem to have found what I'm looking for. That gives me hope and makes me feel a little less concerned. Your husband is the guy that I am, in the situation that I want to be in. You're half of that equation, so thank you for that, and thank you for sharing.

 

You're welcome for sharing.

 

Don't psychoanalyze mind games to death otherwise you'll scare most women away. No one wants to deal with a complex and complicated personality and characteristic traits such as yours.

 

There is no obligation to "payback" when doing something for someone. It's not a business arrangement. If this is your mindset regarding relationships and marriage, then you're better off remaining single and coloring yourself. You're not the guy my husband is because he does not think like you do. Both of you couldn't be further than the opposite.

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Give me that and I'm inspired to A) give her the same and B) move mountains for her.

 

As long as you insist on treating relationships and life in general as the transaction you say you're trying to avoid, you will not be successful in finding what you say you are looking for. What you said above is "if she does this, then I'll do that." That is the wrong attitude. Why not focus on being the person that someone wants to spend time with, and not be preoccupied with what you want to get from her first? It's not about what you do, it's about who you are.

 

And quit using meaningless phrases like "move mountains for her." Relationships/marriage are not all fluff and romance and fantasy, and Life contains jobs and work that sometimes you'd rather not do. If you're looking for a woman who does the dishes and cleans toilets and cooks meals and other chores with stars in her eyes and swooning constantly because she loves you so much, and not simply because they're a chore that needs to be done (which is what it really is), you're in for a long search.

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Interesting post and responses.

 

I think that what you're describing can and does explain how some marriages work. But its a vast generalization.

 

Your epiphany may have just been realizing, hey what I've seen so far, is not what I'm looking for. I think its a mistake to assume that's all there is in the world.

 

Love and a marriage or any relationship is exactly what the two people make it. And your focus should be on finding a woman that shares those same values.

 

And I agree with waffle. I find it odd when single parents describe their children as their world or in your case the air that you breathe. I think its a given or at least fairly obvious that any parent adores their children. To state it somehow implies to potential mates "don't expect to much from me".

 

That may or may not be true, but the other cliches such as you'll move mountains for your lady, is also kind of the same... its like earn me and then and only then, I'll share what I have. It sounds like a very cynical approach. Which I would venture to say attracts other cynics....

 

If you're not ready to be naturally open to getting to know someone and give it your all, kids included, then maybe you're not ready. And you should enjoy your time with your kids and put off finding love until your open it.

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