Tag Archives: Marriage

A Dad’s Letter to His Son About the Only Good Reason to Get Married | Kelly M. Flanagan

A good one.  I originally planned to share this one a few weeks ago.

A Dad’s Letter to His Son About the Only Good Reason to Get Married | Kelly M. Flanagan.

A divorce update and some bitching

If you are married, live in the North (and I’m referring to the same North that people think of when they think of the Civil War) and are thinking about moving down South, my advice to you is:  DON’T.

Jabba and I were married in 2000 here in Michigan.  We moved down South in 2004.   We separated in 2012; and since we were South Carolina residents for 8 years, we had to file for our divorce in South Carolina.

There is no such thing as a “no fault divorce” in South Carolina – at least not in the same sense that there is in Michigan.  I’ve heard of some people in Michigan having divorces go from start to finish in as little as 6 months.  Unless it’s something severe – substance abuse, physical abuse, criminal activity – it takes a minimum of one year to get a divorce in the Palmetto State.

And I get it.  I really do.  The state really wants people to try and save their marriages and I respect that – as long as there is even an chance of saving said marriage.  As my lawyer, Greenie, pointed out to me “If there is a Bible belt in this country, South Carolina is the buckle of that belt”.

I bring all of this up now because it has been nearly 18 months since Jabba and I separated and I have absolutely no proof that we’re any closer our divorce being finalized that we were the day I moved out.  According to Greenie, the judge has our papers and we’re all just waiting for him to sign off on them, which should just be a formality.  The only reason I even believe that is because I actually saw the judge when I appeared in court and he essentially rubber-stamped everything there.

It’s not as if Jabba and I are fighting over some multi-million dollar estate, or we’re locked in some bitter custody dispute over The Kid.  In the grand scheme of things, we’ve agreed on almost everything – although some of my previous blog entries may seem to suggest otherwise.

I just want this thing to be done by the end of the year.  That would be a great Christmas present and a great way to end 2013.

Americas longest-married couple celebrates 81st anniversary – Fox 2 News Headlines

Americas longest-married couple celebrates 81st anniversary – Fox 2 News Headlines.

81 years!  I would feel luck just to live to be 81…

Beautiful advice from a divorced man after 16 years of marriage | love story from the male perspective

Beautiful advice from a divorced man after 16 years of marriage | love story from the male perspective.

As a guy, I try to find as many good, or even not so good, blogs on divorce from the male perspective.  This one sums up a lot of my feelings perfectly.

just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…

I had a still-married dream last night. The STBX and i were married and putting together a garage sale. It was a fund-raiser for radioactive children – or some stupid shit like that.

Anyway, things were going well but just like the 17th minute of any episode of Gilligan’s Island, you know something is going to go wrong and the castaways will stay stuck on the island. So, she yells at me in the dream and I say “that’s it. this ain’t working.” and I walk down the driveway and out of the dream.

This caught my attention. Always good info to have on hand if you or a buddy are gong through a divorce. Hang in there brothers…

State of Psychology

Divorced men are at a higher risk of a suicide. If you are experiencing a divorce, or watching a close mate go through one, be aware of the warning signs and seek help. A recent study found that divorced and separated men were nearly 2.4 times more likely to kill or harm themselves than married men.

Men do not always talk about their broken hearts, loneliness, vanished dreams or loss of connection with their children, so their reaction to divorce might surprise those closest to them.

When a marriage ends, for many men it is not only the end of the relationship with their wives, but the man’s relationship with his children changes dramatically as well. More often than not, fathers don’t get to see their children as frequently, and so the quality of the relationship changes. Such profound changes are often accompanied by loneliness, helplessness and hopelessness. Many men…

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the four horsemen of divorce

I don’t normally like to post about this Dr. Phil-ish kind of crap, but I stumbled on this article recently.  Apparently, Dr. Gottman has been kicking this theory around for the last several years and it really caught my eye.  There are several different stories on this available – I just picked one.  Click on the link below to learn more about “The Four Horsemen of Divorce.”

The Four Horsemen of Divorce

Dr. Gottman wasn't talking about the Four Horsemen

Dr. Gottman wasn’t talking about these Four Horsemen…

Having experienced a divorce, I often find myself reflecting on my relationship with the STBX; not just our marriage but the courting, the present state of affairs – all of it.  This isn’t a case of me lamenting my loss and wondering how I can get her back.  On the contrary, this is an attempt to glean some bit of wisdom from this whole experience; to find something to go upon as i enter the next phase of my life.

Whenever I come across one of these relationship or divorce articles, my natural inclination is to use my experience with the STBX as a litmus test.  Not really to see if the theroies are valid as much as to prove to myself how fucked up our relationship was.  Naturally, when i saw this title, I couldn’t resist.

Crticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling – these are the four horsemen of divorce.  Looking back on my relationship with the STBX, I can tell you that all four of these were present at one time or another.  In the end, they were all there.  I will gladly own up to the “defensiveness” and “stone walling”.  As the name implies, defensiveness was my personal defense mechanism: she would cut me down; I would throw something else back at her (all figuratively speaking).  Likewise, she would do the same thing to me.    In hindsight, stonewalling should have been, for me at least,  the sign that things were over.  In fact, I had even brought it up in arguments with my STBX as things were coming to a head.

...and he sure as Hell wasn't talking about the Horsemen either!

…and he sure as Hell wasn’t talking about these Horsemen either!

I can still remember the day and some of the details of the conversation in which I stonewalled.  I was complaining about something – probably work related – something that really bothered me.  Her response was “well, there’s no point in bitching about it,” which basically took the proverbial wind out of my sails. They say that most men don’t talk enough about their feelings.  This blog is proof that that simply isn’t the case with me.  For the first time in my life, I understood why most guys never discuss their feelings.  What was the point?  She had just proven that she doesn’t care about my feelings.  Why bother share ANY of them anymore? So I stopped sharing my feelings.  Going forward when she went on one of her rants, I would typically sit there and take it.  No arguing back.  No outbursts.  Nothing. That was the point of no return for us; and that was the last of the four horsemen to strike. The writing was on the wall.  I just rode things out until the bitter end.

Had Gottman ever observed the STBX and I in action, I think he certainly would have predicted the demise of our marriage.  Through the wonder of hindsight, things are so much clearer now.  i’m sure having Gottman’s findings in-hand could probably help save a lot of marriages.  i don’t know if it could have helped to save mine.  I think that people are ultimately going to be who and what they are.  Likewise, they are going to fight however comes natural to them, good or bad.  As much as I like to think of myself as taking the “high road, I also think there’s a natural inclination to fight fire with fire; to stoop down to the other person’s level – especially when one is being kicked around unfairly.  Having digested all of this information,  I’ve come to terms with the fact that it was meant-to-be that the STBX and I were not-mean-to-be.

Wedding rings are chick magnets

When I first had the idea for this blog, I wanted it to be written by a guy, for guys, about guy issues – as they pertain to my divorce, of course.  Even the blogs that I’ve followed since my recent separation have been written by other divorced dads.  It’s nothing against women; I’ve just been trying to speak to and hear from. 

With that in mind,  below is a link I stumbled across tonight which addresses several theories I’ve been carrying for the last several years.  This article is by a woman, but speaks to a theory I postulated before I was even married.  My thoughts on it follow after the link below. 

Wedding rings are chick magnets.

Many years ago – long before either of us had any serious relationships under our belts, a friend and I thought we had answered the question of  “how to get any women you want” (that alone should tell you how young we were).  Urban Cowgirl’s  post got me thinking about this theory once again.  Our theory on how to get any women you wanted was both incredibly simple and incredibly complex.  It’s just three little words, but for the guy who wanted to pursue this course of action it required an extraordinary sacrifice; one that many men are simply not willing to make:

Get fuckin’ married.

Many guys are even afraid of uttering the “L word” because they feel that “i love you” equals marriage equals death, so they instinctively reject this theory altogether.  However, as Urban Cowgirl points out, women are drawn to married men – or at least men who wear wedding rings for any one of a number of reasons.  She goes on to say that women feel married men are more confident and is confused as to why women are drawn to ringed guys.

This is where my old theory comes into play.  When you’re married and wearing your ring like a badge, it does exude an air of confidence. I would even take Cowgirl’s argument a step further and say that many women feel that Wedding Ring Guy is “safe”.    “He’s not trying to pick me up.  He’s married.  And he’s not trying to hide it.”  The same is true for the ring-wielding guy: “we’re just talking” he thinks to himself.  And for the socially awkward, like myself, that is a great equalizer to take into battle. This theory is one I’ve firmly held for years.  Fast forward several years to a time at which I was married, while some of my professional colleagues were practicing their attempts at “Jedi mind tricks” I was championing the power of “the One Ring”. Did you see what I did there?  I bet my fellow nerds did!

Please don’t misunderstand where I’m going with this.  I’m not encouraging married men to cheat.  But as a married  man, I still enjoyed socializing with members of the opposite sex.  Conversation and innocent flirtation go a long way to stroke the ego of the married man.  It makes him feel young and even somewhat desirable again.  I specifically remember one incident when the STBX and I were at a music store (remember those?) and a cashier flirted with me as we were cashing out, despite the fact that my then-wife was with me and rings were firmly in place.

And for the record, no I have not worn my wedding ring once since our separation; nor do i intend to wear it in a pathetic attempt to meet women.

 HERE’S WHERE I TRY TO GET REALLY DEEP: I think there’s a lot of hidden subtext to both Cowgirl’s article and my theory.  As human beings we naturally crave social interaction.  in this day and age, we are sadly, so desperate for it that we will pursue it on the path of least resistance. For some, that means hitting on a married person, being married and still trying to pick up others, or even pretending to be married in the hopes of meeting someone. (Please tell me no one actually does that. Not too long ago, we as a people watched television to take a break from reality.  Today, there’s an entire genre of television programming, the oxymoronically-dubbed “reality TV“, that people watch because they want to experience reality.   Social media, once just a great tool, is gradually replacing actual human interaction. It seems that the more connected we become as a society, the more disconnected we become as individuals.  I know, the fact that i’m saying this on a blog drips with irony.  

Cowgirl ends her post urging women to at take a chance on a guy who’s at least bold enough to start a conversation, with which I could not agree more. Back in my Samurai days, I found that my best pick-up line was “My name is Rob.  How’s it going?”  or some variation thereof;  though I normally prefaced it with some kind of witty one-liner…

An open letter to the soon-to-be-ex

There’s so much I want to say to you, but doing so seems so pointless now. On second thought, I wanna get is off my chest and I don’t care if you see/hear it or not.

I want to apologize for my part in the dissolution of this marriage.  When I decided to marry you, I didn’t go in thinking it would end in anything other than one or both of our deaths.  I don’t think most people enter into marriage intending for it to ever end; but as we know, good intentions aren’t always enough. Don’t think I’m assuming sole responsibility for anything here.  As I told you before “it takes 2 people to ruin a perfectly good marriage”.

Somewhere along the way, these last few years to be more specific, I turned into someone I despised.  I lied to you and I lied to my parents.  Finances got tight and I was desperate.  I took a lot of chances and pushed things to the absolute limits in several areas of my life.  I made it hard for me to live with myself, and I’m sure it was no easier on you.  At the end of the day I knew I was doing it for our family. I think that’s the only way I was able to live with myself.  Even now, I know in my heart that I did absolutely everything in my power to maintain our family.  If it wasn’t enough – and apparently it wasn’t – I could live with myself knowing I gave it my all.

I’ve told you before that communication broke down between us years ago, long before the events of the last year or two.  In hindsight, I think that was the beginning of the end for us.  I specifically remember one day (and I know you’ve heard this before) that I was complaining about work, and you accused me of “bitching”.  I can tell you that that was the moment I stopped confiding in you – about my hopes, my dreams, my fears and my thoughts on anything of any real significance in our lives.   Looking back now, that conversation was a red flag.

Being separated for the last few months has allowed me the time to reflect not just on the last few years, but also the entirety of our relationship.  Since the day I met you, you’ve had this “me against the world” mentality.  You believe it is a source of strength for you; and to some extent, maybe it is.  You were always so scared of showing the outside world any sign of weakness or pain that you built up these walls around yourself.  To strangers, family, friends and foes alike, your words, actions and body language all said to the world: “I am who I am, and I will mow down anyone who stands in my way”.  And for the most part, it has worked out for you.  I’ve had friends of ours, acquaintances and strangers say that they were intimidated by you.  I’m sure on many levels, that’s just stroking your ego.  You thrive on people being afraid of you.  You think that that is your greatest source of strength.  On the contrary, it is your greatest weakness.  You probably describe yourself as being “assertive”.  Others would describe you as being a bitch.  Rather than showing any signs of vulnerability, you push people away. You keep everyone, including your loved ones at arm’s length.  I call it being a coward.

Maybe you and I were a bad combination from the start.  I was always the more passive of the two of us.  “diplomatic” and ” the good cop” are two expressions that I remember being used to describe me.  Maybe in this relationship, I played the role of the good girl who as determined find the sweet, sensitive guy buried far below the surface of your Bad Boy persona.

(Updated 10.1. 12)  It is occurring to me you simply didn’t want to be married to me anymore.  In fact, you haven’t for a while. I wanted to think that our separation was a result of my actions of the last several months  regarding money, etc.  Not because I wanted to blame myself; but because I wanted to “connect the dots”.   But the reason for our divorce no longer matter to me anymore.

I would’ve done anything to work things out between you and I – for our son if not for us.  But in hindsight, I’ve realized that we passed the “point of no return” too long ago.  You, me, time and our feelings for one another simply passed each other by too long ago.

I hate the fact that we failed The Kid.  If  I ever thought for one second that we would one day divorce, I never would have started a family with you.  That is not to say that I have any regrets.  Far fro it.  The Kid is the best thing that ever has or ever will happen to me.  As much as it hurts me to say that I am not in his life everyday, I am absolutely honored to be his father.  No job I ever take will be more important or more prestigious than being his father.

I hate the fact that I was a part of a failed marriage.  I hate the fact that we are now among the majority of American married couples.  And I hate the fact that I stood before my family, my friends, and yes, my God and said that I would be with you for the rest for my life; when that was obviously not to be.

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