The Key to a Lasting Marriage

I caught the Armchair Psychology bug after talking with my son regarding his dad. I’m not on bad terms with my ex husband. Our divorce was very civil, and we had joint custody of our sole child. While we had disagreements over the years, sometimes nasty ones, we were a family. Although I haven’t spoken to him in almost a year, it isn’t out of animosity. He lives in another state, and we really haven’t had any pressing reason to speak to each other.
I’m not pining for my ex husband. I’m the one who ended the marriage. No matter how vile things were, he never would have. He doesn’t care enough about himself not to live in an intolerable situation. From a retrospective position, it’s likely that he has Asperger’s syndrome. Because I have conditions such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, I tend to be very emotionally volatile. We were an oil and water combination. Plus, there is a certain shameful admission on my part. I really never loved the guy. I married him because it seemed the logical thing to do.
I was not forced into marriage. I was not pregnant when we got married, in fact I thought that I couldn’t have kids. I reasoned that I tended to get too hung up on guys that I fell in love with, so it would be better to marry one that seemed sensible. He presented a calm exterior. It seemed likely that he would be monogamous. He was intelligent, so I reasoned that he would probably be able to get a decent job. If it sounds like I was choosing a business partner rather than a spouse, that was, to a degree, the logic I was using when I made the decision to marry him.
In researching the topic of how marriages deteriorate, I found plenty of videos and articles stating rote ideas such as “men aren’t made to be monogamous, they want to bang as many women as they can get their hands on.” Or, “the problem these days is that women are not subservient to their husbands.” Yuck. Both of these are terrible opinions involving unnecessary sexual stereotypes and outmoded gender roles.
SOME men want to bang as many women as they can get their hands on. If one is this kind of man, he should be honest with himself and any potential partners and not get married. Not all women are wired for monogamy either. Unless both partners would truly be okay with an open marriage, the folks who are still sowing their wild oats should not be putting a ring on it. Period.
Regarding the “women should be subservient” chestnut, 1300 called. It wants its ideals back.
Nobody should be subservient to anybody. Everybody should be respectful of those with whom they have any kind of relationship. In a working marriage, communication is the key. Both partners need to be flexible. No one person should be calling all the shots.
Marriage takes work, and perhaps too many of us still have the whole starry-eyed “happily ever after” idea trapped in our psyches, as if it happens magically. People need to make their own magic, both in choosing a partner and making it work with that partner.
I guess I’m glad I didn’t know this 30 years ago, because I did get my son out of that ill-advised relationship, and he is everything to me.
Personally, I gave up on the whole “finding my prince” thing a number of years ago. My psychological problems are too severe for being in a romantic relationship to be a positive thing for me. I tend to be drawn to chaotic men who are charming on the surface but when their true nature comes out, it is revealed to be abusive and controlling. Chasing a storybook romance is not worth ending up in the E.R. with bloody wrists.
My marriage to my ex husband did not end with bloody wrists. It ended fairly decisively. He had become emotionally abusive, and it wasn’t worth it to stay in the relationship any more. I was a mess psychologically, with a trifecta of undiagnosed conditions. There was no way it could possibly have worked. We both agreed that our son was better off if we divorced.
May I say that I hope all of you find your ideal partner. Make sure you bring your head into it rather than letting your lust do the talking, but don’t let the head be the sole decider. Marriage without desire and without that intangible quality of romantic love is a life-draining thing. Marry someone whom you truly like. This is the advice that I give my son. It isn’t as if I’m an expert on love by any means, but the marriages that I’ve seen which have lasted all have this quality. Both partners truly like each other.
Peace,
The Cheese

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