Divorced Girl smiling recently received the comment below from my post, “Inside the Mind of a recently separated 40 something woman.” The comment was from a recently separated man who wanted to give me his perspective.
I really do make an attempt not to be gender biased, but since I am a woman, it isn’t always easy. That said, I have much compassion for all people going through a divorce, whether they are a man or woman. So, I’d like to respond to the recently separated man.
Here are his comments, with my responses in italics:
Here is a perspective from the opposite side: Inside the mind of a recently separated 40 something man.
1) I was the sole provider for my family and while my soon-to-be ex (stbx) has plenty of education and plenty of employable skills she was practically unemployable for most of our marriage. As a result I had the higher salary and thus must pay ridiculous alimony to my over-educated, over-skilled but utterly unemployable stbx — to the tune of 35% of my salary FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS!!!! Am I bitter about this? Yeah, wouldn’t you be?
Yes, if I were you, I would be bitter and pissed. BUT, I want to know. Do you have children? If so, did your wife and you choose for her to stay home with them? If so, do you realize how difficult it is for a 40 something woman who has been out of the work force for a long time to get back in? She could have a Harvard MBA, but if she hasn’t worked in a decade, good luck getting a job. Especially in this job market. I know from personal experience. I was an award winning pharmaceutical rep for 5 years, who blew away every quota possible. I tried to get my job back a few years ago and wasn’t even granted a second interview. Whether you have kids or not, here’s the thing. The two of you made the decision several years ago that she quit her job and stay home, right? So, give her a little bit of time to figure out what she is fit to do now. Trust me, it isn’t easy. That said, I’m sure there is a huge sting if she is the one who wanted the divorce. That’s where I have a big issue with the court system in this country. So, please understand that I do get how you can be bitter about this. BUT, at some point you have to let it go, suck it up and forget about it. Because, the bitterness and anger will only affect YOUR future and YOUR life. If you let it go, and realize you can’t control the fact that you have to pay her 35%, you will be a happier person.
2) I was dumped by my stbx wife because she wasn’t haaaaapppy and told me to my face that I repulsed her, and that sex with me was a ‘chore’ for her for at least a year. Of course she never bothered to communicate any of this to me beyond vague and confusing ‘signals’. Needless to say my self esteem, self worth and self confidence was (and to a certain extent still is) about zero.
Ouch. That’s awful. It sounds mean and hurtful. But, did she try to talk to you about it? Did she ever suggest counseling? Maybe you weren’t paying attention to the signals well enough? The thing is, instead of focusing on her cruel comments to you, let yourself let it go. I think it is normal for any recently separated person to have low self esteem, self worth and self confidence. The good news is, it’s temporary. As you begin to embrace the future, make good, healthy choices, be the man you want to be and grab the life you want, your self esteem will start to return to where it was. This advice is for both men and women. The key is to focus on finding ways to get it back, instead of focusing on the fact that “your ex did this to you.” That mentality can only hurt you.
3) I felt like a failure, a loser and less of a man for my failed marriage and questioned everything I ever thought was true about my life and my marriage. I began to wonder how long my stbx felt this way about me and wondered if any of it was real at all. Or had she despised me for years before her confession and just faked it. To this day I don’t know. I probably will never know and these doubts will haunt me for many years to come.
It sounds like the wounds of abandonment are still very raw. I’m really really sorry and would give you a big hug if I knew you. A couple thoughts: Ask her. Sit her down and ask her. Or, if that’s not an option, find a therapist to help you. I personally think therapy should be required for every person going through a divorce, even if for a short time.
4) Despite what women say about the difficulties of dating during separation, after divorce or after 40 it is NOTHING compared to how difficult it is for a separated, 40 something man. Women will avoid separated or recently divorced men like the plague. It’s like I’m walking around a scarlet letter on my forehead warning women to ‘AVOID AT ALL COSTS!’.
As a divorced woman, I can say with authority that this is very much not true. Women don’t avoid recently separated men. Women avoid recently separated men who seem bitter and/or angry and who we can see clearly haven’t been able to move past the fact that their wife left them. They are completely still in the marriage. As I said before, therapy is very useful at this time. You can tell your therapist a million times that your ex is a bitch and that you hate her for what she did to you. You can’t tell that to a woman you are dating. You just can’t.
And unlike the writer the chances of a cute woman coming up and hitting on me at a party are about as good as me winning the lottery. It ain’t going to happen.
With that attitude, you are correct. It will never happen. Please change your thinking.
I feel like I’m invisible to women now, and that I’m destined to be a celibate monk for the next year or so until the scarlet letter on my forehead begins to wear off.
You are the only person who can make your scarlet letter wear off. YOU have the power to do that! How? Only you know. You’re going to hate me for saying this, but stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’re NOT a victim. Yes, this crappy thing happened to you. But, are you healthy? Do you have beautiful kids? Do you have a roof over your head? If you do, you have everything!! The world is your oyster!!
I’m waiting for my ‘spiritual awakening’ that changes everything for me and makes me feel better about myself and my life. Because right now it just SUCKS!
Yes, it does suck right now. But things will change. You have the power to change it. I am wishing you the strength to begin putting your past behind you and embracing a new life that could bring wonderful things, including a wonderful woman who will love you like you (and everyone else) deserves to be loved. Someone who won’t think sex is a chore, someone who wants to hold your hand, someone who cares about how your day went. Best wishes!