So, why don’t you talk about men? a friend asked me. Dating, finding someone, that sort of thing.
I’m not a good person to ask about that. I haven’t figured it out.
Several years after the DH and I divorced, I remarried. He was a serious drunk (but, hey, he was straight!) and we didn’t last long. During the good times, he taught me to shag (the coastal swing dance, not the English version), we went camping and fishing, he made me laugh (and I still toss out some of his funny sayings, from time to time). But in the end he wanted someone to take care of him – to rescue him, if you will – so he wouldn’t have to take care of himself.
I sense a pattern, here: men who wanted to marry me so they wouldn’t have to face responsibility for the unpleasant and difficult realities of their lives. hmmmm…
and I’m a serious Rescuer and Fixer, hard-wired since childhood to put up with all sorts of foolishness in order to be “loved.”
I finally decided that I’ve grown comfortable in my independence, and we’ll let it go at that.
But men are a quandry. In the early years after the divorce from DH, I used to beg God to bring a good, Christian heterosexual man into my life so my kids could see what healthy married love looks like. It didn’t happen as I had outlined it to God. He has His own ways of doing things, it appears.
You see, I couldn’t be a good wife to anyone because I hadn’t figured out how to be a good me. All those years in the contortion act, reading Relationship Books and trying this, that, and the other to try to win DH’s love, affection and respect… All a complete waste of time, not because they were lousy programs (I’m sure some of them were) but because he – as he admitted to one of our marriage counselors – just didn’t want to be bothered.
Plus, I didn’t have a strong enough sense of who Elisabeth was, under and behind and through it all. I’d been so busy trying to please, and to win his affection (which he couldn’t give me, anyway), that I had no idea what was real and honest and true about me. It’s taken a lot of years to sort out that issue, and I had to make a geographical change of scenery for a few months and discover some things about myself in a new and unfamiliar cultural milieu in order to begin – to begin! – to discover my own integrity.
But nevertheless, for what it’s worth (probably not very much, which caveat you ought to have figured out by now – I am not an expert about men or about romantic relationships!), I do have a few observations …
(to be continued…)