Eating my chili con carne, trying to dismiss the sting a little bit, “I’m 49 thank you, I’ll be 50 next year.”
I continued, “I didn’t plan to be single and without children at this age. It just happened…timing, career and maturity, I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to profess to be blameless in this situation.
I’ve been in bad relationships and stayed too long…
and been in some good relationships and didn’t stay long enough.
Like I said, timing, career and maturity, but yeah but after it’s all said and done…I’m not unhappy.”
She kept coming at me, “So are you scared of marriage?”
“Well…I didn’t succumb to the pressure of getting married or have kids just to check off a box in my life’s accomplishments. I’ve witnessed, in the last two decades, the integrity of marriage disintegrate. There’s almost an assault on marriage, like marriage has become obsolete with women and their new independence. Divorce parties, monthly child support payments, cheating, work husbands and work wives…man please.”
Noticing attitudes in the air, “I’m not saying it’s all women’s fault, it’s just that women have changed. Women have the option to cash in and take half the assets on the way out.”
The “marriage is work” dude said, “That’s scary bro.”
This was chess and she was pursuing my king, stopping all the side conversations she said, “You didn’t answer the question, are you afraid of marriage?” eating her salad, not looking at me but definitely understanding her tone and relishing in the quiet of the table.
I was a little annoyed, “No…I’m not afraid of marriage…I’m afraid of divorce.”
“Damn…that’s real.” someone(male) said.
I continued…”I know 4 men that are going through divorces…right now! Two of which are very close friends of mine and they are in pain. I’m not talking about who’s fault it is cause I don’t live with them…I’m talking about dividing up a family. One friend who went from a three thousand square foot house to renting out a room in a townhouse.” He told me, “No one wins in a divorce but the children definitely lose.” He also told me they spent, collectively, ninety thousand dollars on the divorce in legal fees. He told his wife, “We spent 90k on a conversation that we could have had ourselves… we could have invested in the kids…his ex-wife said to him, “I was mad.”
So with society’s casual disrespect to marriage, I’m not in a rush to get into a contract that I hope doesn’t get derailed by emotions.
A married man told me…
“Women marry with hopes the the man will change..and they don’t.
Men marry with hopes that the women won’t change…and they do.”
Looking directly at her I said,
“So let me ask you a question…”
waiting for some of the side conversations to stop,
“…did you plan to be divorced with 2 kids at your age?”
The women in the group were revealing, in their body language, the pain and reality of the question. The tilted heads and stealthy side glances at each other but not at her. There was also a slightly uncomfortable silence at her end of the table, so much that people, all of us, realized we better get back to work.
I continued, “You had the option of moving on because he makes payments for his kids, but he is handicapped financially with the threat of jail time if delinquent. Now you both have to explore options of a blended family, not to get in your business but I don’t want to do that to my family…ever.”
“I don’t want that for me, my family or my kids. I don’t want abbreviated visits, trading weekends and intermittent time with my children. Yeah maybe it’s old fashioned or traditional but that’s how I was raised. I don’t bend to every societal whim, sexual swinger trend or gender confusion. I believe until death do you part. I don’t want marriage if me or my potential wife immediately see these exit strategies as options.”
Another woman in the group said, “You seem like you are looking for perfection.”
I wanted to address that but I saw my boss glance at the clock when I was leaving the office to go to lunch. Someone, right on time, said, “We want to keep our jobs right?…let pick this up tomorrow.”
As people were leaving, a couple people asked, “What time you coming tomorrow?”
“12:45pm,” looking back at the woman that asked the perfection question, “Is that a good time for you?”
“Ok then…be ready.”
“When in a relationship, a real man doesn’t make his woman jealous of others, he makes others jealous of his woman.”
“If I get married, I want to be very married.”