What not to do, part II
Moxie told me all this almost five years ago, and as I see it in print for the first time, there will always be a part of me that calls horseshit. Over the years, however, that part of me has shrunk dramatically, because 1) articles like this point out how commonly it happens, and 2) after a while, forging ahead with the new reality is a more important use of your energy than torturing yourself over the Why-Oh-Why.
We had The Talk right after Thanksgiving 06, and over the next several months I felt I was the one fighting for the marriage, while she was merely trying to dissolve it as expediently as possible. If you refuse to fight for something, it’s easy to be a revisionist historian and argue that it was never anything in the first place. And to seem so uninterested in reconciliation when we had our boys to think about was beyond my comprehension.
When Moxie first told me that our entire relationship was basically a lie, I lashed out, calling her all sorts of things: cowardly, deceptive, lazy, parasitic. I also resorted to emotional cheap shots, like throwing that Kali story back in her face. (Besides, CREATION is only as good as what you’re creating. Since when is creating a divided household a good thing?)
The reason for this reaction is pretty obvious: I was scared to death. I’d had almost no experience with divorce, and what little I knew seemed very mother-centric. And the idea of losing my sons left me with an unrelenting dread that gripped my throat until her signature on our divorce agreement assured me otherwise.
And that’s the key point: When I say I was fighting to stay married, I was really fighting not to be divorced. Because I had a lot more interest in being my kids’ father than remaining my wife’s husband.
When I read that article, and Moxie’s reaction to it, I felt waves of comfort and recognition. And I hope the author follows up with an article that includes the social pressures that push men into marriage. Because even though I’ll always remember my wedding day as a happy one, I also admit that part of me got married because I thought It Was Time. That marriage would make me A Grownup. And anyone who makes a life decision based on a Seinfeld sketch (or two) deserves what he gets.
Ultimately, our marriage happened because each of us thought the other loved us enough to make it work, and she was the one who was brave and aware enough to realize it was doomed.
So, in a way, she called horseshit first.
The other day when our nine-year-old came to my place after school, I happened to see that Moxie had left this in his math book:
As it turns out, you can pull a Kali on a marriage and create something that is, though not ideal, eminently livable: the situation when you’re glad she’s no longer your wife, but you’re also glad she’ll always be their mom.