My ex-wife reads this blog and probably often thinks: “Fuck that fucker,” even though she’s pretty nice to me most of the time.
Probably because I wasn’t like this when we were married, and sometimes when I write things, ladies will ooh and ahh because they believe I would make decent boyfriend material because I come off more enlightened than all the Neanderthals they date or marry because I am now more enlightened than most of them.
And she probably thinks the entire scene is a massive pile of bullshit.
Hard to blame her.
As with most situations in life, there’s a lesson to be learned here.
Ignoring the fact I just sexed up Japanese and Spanish, and ignoring the fact that I REPEATEDLY have pleaded and begged and advocated for people to choose to love and be strong in marriage and fight the good fight even when it’s hard and inconvenient… I wonder…
I wonder whether leaving is the only way to know for sure.
To know whether he loves you.
To know whether he respects you.
To know whether he’ll fight for you.
I don’t know. I just wonder. Because that is how it worked for me.
I met my wife when I was 18—a drunk college freshman at a keg party. She looked, and was, spectacular in every imaginable way. At one point, in the middle of our conversation, I had to excuse myself to vomit in the bathroom. And she still married me.
There’s a joke there somewhere. But I’m busy trying to make an important point amid all the bad words and language-banging. A fantastic writer named Mark Manson made this important point first:
Most people only commit to action if they feel a certain level of motivation. And they only feel motivation when they feel an emotional inspiration.
I’ve won sympathy from hundreds—maybe thousands—of women here because I was crying and scared and missing my son and uncertain I could ever find someone to be with me again.
And that was real. I wasn’t faking. I actually cried. I was actually scared. Still am.
“And they only feel motivation when they feel an emotional inspiration.”
You weren’t there all those nights. Countless nights. Dinner was through and the kitchen was cleaned. And there she was on the couch, presumably open to suggestion. Presumably waiting for me to take the lead and show initiative. To do something together.
Anything, really. Talk. Laugh. Hold. Hug. Kiss. Cum.
But, hey! She was busy watching HGTV! I’ll go do this other thing I like to do!
So, I’d play online poker or watch football or go do this other thing that didn’t involve my wife—the person I loved the most but clearly wasn’t motivated to show in any meaningful way.
Sometimes we’d talk and she’d cry when things got hard. I’d try to comfort her but it wasn’t authentic because I felt secure in the relationship as demonstrated by just how much I took the entire thing for granted.
So, she was never comforted.
The hurt and frustration continued to build.
Me watching 24 on Netflix. Me playing poker. Me immersing myself in pursuit after pursuit, but never pursuing her.
Men don’t always realize it because we’re so focused on infidelity as the primary breach of trust in a relationship and a marriage’s worst crime. And it, along with physical abuse, is VERY bad. But men don’t always realize that emotional abuse can sometimes hurt worse.
Men leave their wives alone in the marriage. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I left my wife alone in our marriage.
And then one day, it all breaks.
Au revoir, marito.
Fuck that fucker.
But I Am Different Now
There is a fundamental part of me that will never change. We are who we are. But we do have an incredible capacity to grow and change and evolve as we learn and experience new things.
And I’ve learned new things. The hard way. And I’m a better person for it.
And maybe most people have to learn things the hard way for changes to stick.
I am a father. And I was a husband. And these things mattered to me very, very much. They defined me, which is why I felt so lost when one of those things went away.
I felt lost and sad and broken and angry. You know what that is? Emotional inspiration! And it works.
From Mark Manson: “And we’ve all slacked off for lack of motivation before. Especially in times where we shouldn’t. We feel lethargic and apathetic towards a certain goal that we’ve set for ourselves because we lack the motivation and we lack the motivation because we don’t feel any overarching emotional desire to accomplish something.”
Emotional Inspiration → Motivation → Desirable Action
My beautiful, crying wife feeling sad and alone wasn’t enough to get me to take desirable action.
Fuck that fucker.
So, without even trying, my wife did the perfect thing to help me finally overcome lethargy and apathy. She checked out, and eventually left.
And now? I’m me. Nice to meet you.
If you’re a hurting spouse or girlfriend, you’re just like millions of other women who fell in love with millions of guys like me. I want so badly for him—especially if he’s a father—to love you the way he’s supposed to. To keep your kids’ parents together. To show your sons how to be a man. To show your daughters what love is supposed to look like. To stand as an example to friends and family and neighbors for what it means to do love and marriage the right way.
Because that’s what we’re called to do. To serve something greater than ourselves. To lead through service. To love through action.
But, we are, inevitably, human.
And sometimes the inertia is so strong, and you’re out of tools in your arsenal to try to get him to move, and you’re out of energy to look for another way.
It’s against EVERYTHING I want to stand for. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the only thing that will work: Maybe it’s time. Maybe that’s the only way to inspire real change.
It took her leaving for me to ask the right questions. For me to recognize some truths I’d been running from.
And maybe it will for him, too.
There’s only one way to find out, and it doesn’t have to be forever.
But today is today and he’s not the man he promised to be. He’s not the man he’s supposed to be.
I wasn’t either. So, I can’t begrudge her resentment.
Fuck that fucker.
But look at me now.