As I posted earlier this month, I’m going through a divorce. One of the interesting corollaries to my divorce is that, in general, it’s brought me closer to male acquaintances, friends, and siblings, while further from their female counterparts. My male friends seemed to get how to behave naturally, while I’ve wanted, at times, to knock on woman-skulls to see if anybody was home. Here’s what men seem to know that women don’t about how to treat a man going through a divorce:

1) You have to choose us. Right after my wife and I separated, my male friend J. told me, over a beer, without any prompting, the two of us not looking each other in the eyes, that he was on my side not hers, and that none of the ways in which I was likely to fuck up in the impending months was going to change that. J. was acquainted with my wife and liked her, but had both a friendship and a professional relationship with me, and while he would be cordial with her when he saw her, he wasn’t going to do her any favors. I don’t care what you do, he said, fuck my female friends, get drunk and puke on my doorstep, have a raging fit and call me an asshole, I knew you before this happened and know you’re a bang-up guy. That’s not exactly how he said it, but I got the message: I had a temporary reprieve from judgment. “That’s cool,” I said, as if what he’d said was no big deal. Then he bought me another beer.

2) When we say we’re OK, we’re lying. In The Nervous Breakdown essay I wrote a few weeks ago, there is a line where I say “I’m doing great, the kids are happier, and my new girlfriend blows my fucking mind.” The first three words of this are a complete fabrication, and my male friends, knowing how men must be, immediately saw through it—the tenor of our conversations about sports, with the occasional drunken dip into my sorrows, did not change a beat. I’m not doing great, and they know it. My female friend R., however, who, like J., is a professional friend who became acquainted with my wife through me, asked my wife to a party that I was also invited too, calling my wife to see if it was OK. When I questioned her way of going about it, she said to me, “you seem to be just fine, like you’re moving on, but it seems like she needs a friend.” Filled with rage and wanting to cry, Fine? You think I’m fine? I’m a single dad with two kids and no job and no money and you think I’m fine. I said, “Oh, OK, I get it now. It’s cool.”

3) Women cry. Men break things. A mere 20 minutes after the phone call to my female friend R., I sent “the email.” I’m in a writing group dominated by women, and in a writing group dominated by women, there is occasionally gossip. Being the least gossipy of the gossipers, I had been irked recently when one of the members accused me, in a subtle and perhaps unaware way, of causing her problems for having gossiped. Enraged from my conversation with R., I sent an email to P., one of the members of my group, copying A. and R. In it, I accused her of being as gossipy as other gossipers. While I was at it, I decided to tell her all the things I would gossip about her were I a gossiper. This was not done very nicely, as you might imagine. The response to this email was very unified and Heathers: you’ve ruined relationships, don’t you dare come to my party, don’t you dare come back to the group. I knew I was wrong, but still, I felt surrounded by moms who don’t get why boys throw balls through windows.

4) We don’t hate women, but we need to temporarily vent on the gender. Obviously, this is harder for female friends than for male ones. Here’s the thing, though. It’s not about you. When we criticize “women,” it’s a way of being critical without being specific, without getting into the personal ugliness of specific relationships. When men look at each other and shake their heads and roll their eyes about women, it’s a mask for some truth, something about our partners that drives us nuts but that we don’t want to talk about, because we love them and don’t want them hurt. So we use a plural instead.

5) And thus the real and subtle truth: Men are more emotional than women. Tread lightly. Men know this about each other instinctively. We do business together, play basketball, take camping trips, have beers, pretend it’s all about getting laid. But below it we know about the lies: we know about the turmoil and oversensitivity that boils beneath the surface. We can see it in each other’s eyes, standing poker-faced while women speak of their dramas. When we get around to talking about it, it’s low and subtle and put in practical terms. Or it’s an explosion. But either way it’s thousands and thousands and thousands of years of built-in cultural toughness cracking the surface: cryogenically frozen life forms thawing. Respect it. We’re trying.

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JAMES BERNARD FROST is the author of the novel A Very Minor Prophet, published by indie wonder-press Hawthorne Books, reviewed here by The Oregonian, recently optioned by Rocking Stone Media, and available wherever books are sold. He is also the award-winning author of the novel World Leader Pretend, published by St. Martin's Press, and the travel guide, The Artichoke Trail. His fiction, essays, and articles have appeared in venues as diverse as Wired, SF Weekly, the San Francisco Examiner, The Official Magazine of World of Warcraft, Trachodon Magazine, and the Farallon Review. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his two children, the rain, and the trees.

43 responses to “How to Treat a Man Going Through a Divorce: What Men Know that 
Women Don’t”

  1. Judy Prince says:

    “And thus the real and subtle truth: Men are more emotional than women. Tread lightly.”

    Yup, James, I’ve seen that played out with men I know, and now I, too, believe it’s a truth.

    You advise women to “Tread lightly”. When any person’s suffering they need someone to tread lightly. But if you don’t have a clue that the person IS suffering, you’d need to be a mindreader to know when and when not to tread lightly.

    Hence, here’s my suggestion for all male persons: SPEAK! ATTEMPT COMMUNICATION! RESPECT THE WOMEN YOU KNOW BY CLUING THEM IN TO YOUR SITUATION! “WILD” ANIMALS KNOW VERY WELL, MALE AS WELL AS FEMALE, HOW TO COMMUNICATE THEIR FEELINGS! HUMAN MALES ARE NOT GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO NON-COMMUNICATION!

    Thanks for the straight talk, I learned from it and enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts about my reactions.

    • James Bernard Frost says:

      Hmmm, do women really want us to return to the animal kingdom? I’m thinking this won’t go well for your gender. 😉

      • Judy Prince says:

        James, the lies we’ve been told by animal “experts” about mate-selecting and living behaviours overlook significant data pointing to, for the most part, female animals having an extra-equal role alongside their partners.

        Similarly, the lies we’ve been told by “experts” on humans’ mate-selecting and living behaviours overlook significant information pointing to, for the most part, female humans having an extra-equal role alongside their partners.

  2. Becky says:

    I have two close friends who are going through a separation that, at this point, really looks like it will end in divorce. Nothing set in stone yet, but she has her own apartment.

    The “picking sides” thing.

    It is in part, a personal hangup, since I have been on the shit end of side-picking before. It’s also a conflict inherent in my tendencies toward loyalty. When two people you’re trying to be loyal to are at odds, wtf do you do?

    But I refuse to do it. And certainly to declare it. Unless one or the other has been involved in some seriously fucked-up stuff (I have one divorced friend whose husband beat her up and broke her arm. FUCK that guy, for sure. Her side they whole way), I can’t do that to people.

    I would never ask anyone to choose for me, either. The guy has been my friend for longer. Much longer. Since we were in high school. But here is the kicker: He is also my ex-boyfriend (looong time ago). And you know what? A lot of the shit his wife is angry about, the faults of his that are causing her to rethink their union, are justified. I know him very well. I know how he can be, both romantically and in general. I accept and love him (platonically, of course) for who he is, but that’s a lot easier to do when you’re not around him all the time.

    So I find myself torn between my loyalty to my long-time friend and his wife, who, as far as we know has done nothing wrong but become fed up with behaviors that have a tendency to irk just about anyone who knows him. Don’t get me wrong. He’s great. Energetic and fun and generous and kind and deep down, a great person. But also a little ADD and often thoughtless & stubborn, too.

    Beyond the failure of her marriage, her biggest fear was losing her only friends in the world. I can’t can’t bring myself to punish her, to talk shit about her. I don’t know what it looks like to him because I haven’t asked. We’ve talked about other aspects. He tends to mine me for information about her. I keep no secrets. I’m just doing my best to deal it straight. No games. No bullshit. I care about them both, and I don’t pretend anything else.

    • James Bernard Frost says:

      Yeah, I just think you have to be honest with yourself about where your loyalties were in the first place. If you became friends with the spouse through the husband, and were primarily friends with him, now is NOT the time to suddenly feel an extra dose of compassion for the wife and be sure to include her social gatherings–especially if disasters happened at social gatherings in the first place.

      I think women say they are just being fair, but in reality are doing what you did your comment–finding things wrong with their male friends and relating to the woman’s side.

      • Becky says:

        Well, the topic there was my justification for not liking the idea of abandoning her, despite her being the one I’ve known for a shorter period of time. Indeed I sympathize with her complaints.

        But I have plenty of sympathy for his, too. It’s not like she doesn’t have any problems. She’s type A, controlling, and insecure to the point where she gauges her happiness by others’ and takes a great deal of security from propriety and material things, has difficulty dealing with even minor unpleasantness or disagreements, forget about an actual fight.

        She and I have had meltdown blowouts because of these tendencies. Her husband and I have a lot in common, personality-wise. She, in fact, is the one who put me on the shit end of side-picking in the first place. 6 months she didn’t speak to me or allow me access to my friend. So I have just as much reason to be bitter towards her as him, if not more.

        My gender plays no role in it. My closest, most long-standing friends are male and the fact that he is an ex is not unique among them.

        I think it’s a very male thing to say, “oh, she’s doing it because she’s a woman.” Incorrect. Hopeful, but incorrect and somewhat obtuse. In this case, I’m doing it because I don’t find either one more culpable than the other. To pretend to either of them that it was all the other’s fault and join them in their denial of their role in it would do them both a disservice and be contrary to everything about me that tends to make people want to be friends with me in the first place. If people ask me what I think, I tell them. Including, but not limited to, “You have to fess up to your part in this, or this shit is just going to keep happening to you.”

        You know, the hugs and support and “I love you, Buddy” is there, too, but I refuse to lie to anyone.

        • Becky says:

          And, actually, the social gathering thing has come up. Since they’re separated, not divorced, I don’t know to what degree they’re still speaking, when and if they’re on amicable terms, etc. These things can change from minute to minute. So when it came time for a gathering, I assumed nothing. I invited them both with the reasoning that the decision was up to them.

          She ended up making the choice not to come because of the situation, and that’s fine.

        • esteban says:

          Yep. Assume nothing. Let them work it out. Like adults.

  3. Tom Frost says:

    Jim it’s good to hear some truths from you. But I question that men are more emotional. It seems like women are taking their emotions and running from them, while us men are willing to take the imperfections in our marriages and work on them. We bellieve in making things better, while women make things worse to have the excuse to leave.

    • James Bernard Frost says:

      Yeah, saying men are “more emotional” isn’t really accurate, and it certainly varies from person to person. Interesting what you say–we do try our damnest to fix things don’t we?

      • Simon Smithson says:

        One of the great disparities that I’ve heard of between men and women is that men are more likely to express by doing, whereas women are more likely to express by talking. Which is OK, there’s room for both, but, each gender is likely to misunderstand the other. So women are famed for regarding men as emotional, because rather than talk about how much the love them, men buy gifts. Whereas men think women are too emotional, because all they want to do is talk.

        (generalisations aside, of course).

    • Dana says:

      “while us men are willing to take the imperfections in our marriages and work on them.”

      C’mon guys, who are you fooling?

      If you’re angry at all of womankind because your significant other has caused you some pain, please come on out and say so. Cuz that’s just a ridiculous statement.

  4. Becky says:

    At any rate, I didn’t mean to turn this into an argument about friend group politics. I just happen to find myself on the flip-side perspective and feel, on the one hand, a need to defend myself, but on the other, a desire to point out that when couples split up, it’s a hard time for all kinds of people. I suspect a lot of people around you, male and female, are uncomfortable, unsure, and just trying to do what they think is right, potentially without you as the central and only variable in their decisions.

    And, with all due consideration given to #4, the gendered nature of your complaints borders on offensive. Women are gossipy back-stabbers, men are loyal, women are dense and lack social aptitude, men know the logical, correct thing to do, women cry, men break things. I mean, I hope it’s a joke. I’m looking at it as a joke. Irony. Tongue-in-cheek. Is it?

    • James Bernard Frost says:

      I’m interested in the gendered nature of my complaints as well. One can see a gender trend, and duck and hide from it, or one can point it out at the risk of looking like an asshole. I have a tendency towards the later: honest consideration trumping decency and self-preservation. It’s kind of a matter of taste, I think. Jesus, you should see the flack I get for things…

      • Becky says:

        I think people find what they expect to find.

        If you think women are that way, those are the women you’re going to find, or at the very least, what you will see in women, no matter how they actually are.

        And in reality, women can’t win. I have a spectacular history of breaking stuff. But instead of winning me macho cred, it gets me called “psycho.”

        So is there ANY way a woman could be a “breaker?” Or the second she does so (or defies any of these stereotypes), is she simply no longer a proper woman, and excluded from consideration in the great bell curve of gender stereotypes? A bit of a catch 22 if you ask me. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Either I’m “just a girl” or a “broken girl,” no?

        In any event, am not a crier. In fact, I don’t really know a lot of women who are criers. Maybe I attract fellow non-criers. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of my girlfriends cry. Even the one who’s separated from her husband, and we’ve met twice and talked about it quite in depth. Not a tear to be found.

        So what of her? Is she some kind of malfunctioning woman, or does she get macho cred?

  5. Monica says:

    Jim,
    You need to grow up and realize all humans have feelings. It’s not a gender issue. You can’t attack a group of women and then expect them to cater to your hurt feelings. (“The buddha returns from the desert and fires bullets.” Ah, you were so proud of your aggression!) That’s called a mommy complex.

    • Monica says:

      Okay, maybe my tone is too harsh. I revoke the harsh tone. But I still say emotions, sensitivity–not a gender issue.

  6. Joan says:

    I’m not sure I’d agree than men are more emotional than women; I think they’re differently emotional, and that the difference lies in extraverted vs. introverted processing. Women are (usually) extraverted emotional processors; most men are not, and so it looks like they are less emotional … a parallel mistake is often made in assuming that intoverted people aren’t friendly or sociable. It’s there; it’s just not being waved around like a flag.

    But the difficulty with any type of introverted processing is that it gives very few cues, and it’s difficult to learn how to give those cues when they do not come naturally. I actually don’t think it’s a gender issue so much as a personality issue — although I think it is generally true that more women than men are extraverted emotional processors. I am not an extraverted processor, and it was incredibly difficult for me to learn how to give appropriate cues — because you’re quite right; most women will assume that you mean it if you say you’re fine. And why? Because, as extraverted processors themselves, they figure you’re telling the truth, or at least some version of it, since that’s what they would do themselves.

    I would also say it’s too bad that women do not recognize what I might call parallels of emotional displacement. Most women are nowhere near as self-aware as they think they are, and will often “act out” in ways that are similar to your description of the smoking-bomb email you sent. The difference is that they do it more covertly … it’s weeks of little stings and barbs and inconsistencies that drive people crazy, rather than getting it the hell over with all at once. Personally, I much prefer the ball through the window — or the one-night drunken binge, or the one outrageously unfair conversation. I’d rather stitch up one wound than be bitten by a hundred mosquitoes for a week. But that’s just me, maybe.

  7. I’m not sure about the idea that men are–simply–more emotional than women, because it strikes me as one more gender stereotype we don’t need, or something, but I think that the crux of any truth inherent in the idea–and I think there is some truth in it, even if it’s not true–goes back to your third point; “Women cry. Men break stuff.”

    Regardless of emotional heft or strength, I think men are taught that to be emotional is not a masculine characteristic (Boys Don’t Cry), and so, when men do feel emotion, it can be overwhelming, troubling, and even in some weird way emasculating. To feel become emotional–to feel hurt, bitterness, spiritual pain, sadness, heartbreak–comes not only with the emotion itself but an attempt to reject and deny the emotion, as well as with a need for some other catharsis. Breaking stuff can be therapeutic because it allows for a destructive outlet, which is good because sometimes denying the original emotion comes with some anger at even feeling the emotion in the first place. It’s anger on several levels, too: anger at the person inflicting the pain, anger at feeling the pain, anger at social mores that prescribe that to be masculine should mean to be above pain.

    I do know that working out and breaking stuff have been cathartic for me. I remember years ago my father wanted the playhouse he’d built when my siblings and I were kids demolished. It was a small number, built from a Home Depot kit, and he handed me a sledgehammer and asked me to go to it. What followed was a good hour of swinging that hammer and bringing that house down. It felt fantastic. Same anytime I’ve had to demolish anything. Sometimes it’s fun to go to yardsales or antiquing or something just to pick up a few old chairs or a cheap chest of drawers or something and just break the shit out of it with a nice heavy hammer.

  8. Irene Zion says:

    Thank you, James.
    This was a very helpful look into how men think.
    Well-organized too.
    I learned a few things.

  9. why do people have to choose sides? we would not ask our children to do this. why ask this of our friends and family? i mean it’s not like they are responsible for our break up.

  10. Joe Daly says:

    Could it be that because men are generally expected to withhold certain emotive expressions, that it adds a deeper complexity to our overall emotional well being? Maybe the guilt component bleeds all over the other emotions- happy, sad, and other.

    Sorry to hear about your trials, but it sounds like you’re amassing a good support framework.

    This made me consider some of my own reactions in the past (never been married before, so no direct point of comparison), and I guess that just because we may innately know we’re going to be OK, doesn’t make us feel OK at any given moment.

    Hang in there, brother.

  11. angela says:

    i received clueless behavior from both men and women after my divorce (not amicable but the result of my ex’s infidelity). my friend’s husband continued to mention my ex casually in conversation post-divorce. “joe likes sports, right?” the other was my brother’s female friend who when we saw some commercial of a woman wearing her wedding dress not at her wedding, “do you still wear your wedding dress for fun?”

    HUNH???

    i don’t know if it’s the person once removed that results in cluelessness. my friends, both male and female, have known the right thing to say (mostly).

  12. TeraMark says:

    Thanks for your perspective.

  13. snow says:

    If you weren’t feeling rage (or at least feeling “wrought up”), I’d be concerned about your (lack of) humanity. I hope you can throw all the bombs you need to and then walk through the smoke and not take all the debris with you, so to speak…and that some good stuff might be left standing while the shitty stuff is reduced to rubble.

    I also really hope that most of the gender stereotyping and bitter generalizations posted in this thread are balanced by other experiences, friends, surprises, hope.

    I know a lot of research has been done into the idea that boys are more emotionally sensitive and that they need their mothers more and longer than girls do (contrary to how most cultures treat them), but I’m not sure how this carries into adult life. Testosterone is a double-edge sword, isn’t it? Gives you a lot of advantages but also runs the show when maybe the rest of you might go another direction. I’m glad you have some loyal friends and I’m glad those loyal friends will keep reflecting back your better self until you believe in THAT part too and can use your powers for good…maybe even with a little gallantry left over for some of those senseless, gossipy, weepy women you seem to hang out with! 😛

  14. esteban says:

    You write:

    “I knew I was wrong, but still, I felt surrounded by moms who don’t get why boys throw balls through windows.”

    In old fashioned transactional anaylsis, you’re putting yourself in the role of the child. You see the women as adults–and not just adults, but “moms.” Adults who hold power over naughty little boys.
    If you see yourself as the child in this situation, it makes sense that you’d expect the “moms” to protect your feelings in a time of tantrum. The pieces fit together. Your goal was to act out among maternal women.
    Do you ever behave in the same way around men? Either father figures, or those you might relate to as peers? Sounds like you’re only sipping beer and talking sports with your male friends.
    You might work on trying to see yourself as an adult, and equal to women and other people. Once you get there, I suspect you’ll find a more healthy way to interact with other adult humans. You can quit relying on broad generalizations and false gender issues, and begin to cultivate genuine relationships with reduced fear.
    This is a standard sort of regressive behavior in situations of social anxiety. Good luck with it. It’s a hard road.

  15. TammyAllen says:

    Okay, I’m in the middle of a divorce. He is no more emotional than me. He is no more at fault than me. He was violent and verbally abusive, I didn’t leave. It’s an own up own up situation.

    I’ve lost friends that were my friends before they were his. He partied with them. I did not. I’m 5 years older. he’s 42 I’m 47. He’s sleeping with a 34 year old girl I had considered a friend.

    The night we decided to get a divorce he hit me and choked me. I have a police report.

    We were married for 12 years. The only reason it lasted that long is that he was always at work (?)

    We have a 9 year old daughter.

    Sure you hurt James. I hurt too. I learned nothing from your post.

    Sorry. It’s an own up own up situation.

    Good luck

  16. TammyAllen says:

    I also believe in women’s code. You do not sleep with a married man. If he wants you he’ll leave. You’ll wait. My ex-friend is an ex friend. I’m fighting for sole custody and she will burn in hell before she play pretend mommy to my child.

    • DC says:

      TammyAllen, James is talking about real men, not the male of the species who never leave puberty, and are probably just a generation or two walking upright. I’m glad you were able to get out of your situation with that asshole, because REAL men don’t hit their wives. But, his points struck a nerve with me. I’m in the early stages of a divorce, and I have close friends that I could talk to, but I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m a pretty upbeat kinda guy, but getting to this point has ripped the heart out of my chest. So even tho “I’m not fine”, if someone asks me at a party how i’m doing, they will get the “I’m fine” standard answer. Stoicism at all times, like I was trained!

  17. Mary McMyne says:

    James, I really enjoyed your insight into men’s emotions; the analogy to cryogenically frozen life forms rings really true. It’s the biggest psychological thing I’m attracted to about men. I love this aspect of my husband’s personality. And my father was like that as well. There’s something honorable, something sad and dignified about this.

    But I’m not sure that’s how it has to be. I don’t buy into culturally scripted ways for women to act. Surely men, in this day and age, have been freed from these age-old scripts too.

    And there’s no reason to use the occasion of divorce to start thinking in binaries. For example, I don’t think men are any more emotional than women. I understand how it might feel that way from your perspective, right now, feeling the way you do. Probably though, men and women are similarly emotional; they just express it in different ways, due to both differing cultural scripts, and differing body chemistries. Plus it’s been my experiences the differences between individual men or individual women are often greater than the differences between men and women. Perhaps post-divorce is not the greatest time for gender theorizing!

    (My husband is actually my second husband, so I know some of what you’re going through. I got divorced from my first husband in 2003. Of all the things I’ve been through, it wasn’t so bad. Took me a year to stabilize. My personal advice at this point would be to take up karate, or get a punching bag, so you can channel that rage when you feel like breaking something!)

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Damn it. I have so much to say, but I want to also couch it in terms so my opinion is unassailable (totally how I roll).

      When it comes to gender constraints, Mary, a good point I heard made once is that it seems as if there’s farther to fall, when you’re a man. Breaking from the script is more likely to result in derision and scorn, and a loss of masculinity.

      • Mary McMyne says:

        Interesting point, Simon. But although I mentioned above that I’m attracted to those stereotypically masculine qualities of my husband’s, I don’t think I’d love him as much as I do, if there wasn’t so much about him that breaks the script. I think it’s possible men have more freedom than they might think.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I think we do, too – I’ve found that the most rewarding male:female relationships of my life have come when I’ve broken through some of my pre-conceived notions, especially when it comes to communicating on deeper levels. It’s important stuff.

          However.

          The stereotypical male construction that it’s taboo to talk about feelings (with each other), and that a loss of masculinity will result if you break the code remains a powerful one.

          A book I’ll recommend when I find the time to leave a proper comment on this made the excellent point that to be considered a woman, all a girl has to do is grow older. If she’s got the anatomy, then that’s all she needs.

          Whereas to be a man, we have to have the right equipment AND conform to a gender stereotype. Hence the whole ‘real man’ business. Stoicism in the face of pain, an inability to ask for directions, an expectation that we want to have sex at any time, all the time… this is the stuff manliness is constructed of.

        • Mary McMyne says:

          This I would believe, about male relationships, even though I think it’s sort of a shame, and I think it’s probably more or less true depending on the interests of the guys you hang with — but I also think some male crowds are probably more accepting of breaches in the code. But I agree that men as a rule generally aren’t emotionally intimate with one another like women are. But I’d be interested to hear the name of that book…

        • Mary McMyne says:

          Sorry, this post is almost unintelligible. I just woke up, and I was doing too many things at once. Let me try this again:

          This I would believe, about male relationships, even though I think it’s sort of a shame, and I think it’s probably more or less true depending on the group of guys —I’ve seen some male crowds that are much more accepting of breaches in the code (in high school, I hung out with a large group of guys that broke those rules with one another all the time — mostly artists/actors/musicians — and they were still like that into college and beyond). But I agree that men as a rule generally aren’t as emotionally intimate with one another as women are. I’d be interested to hear the name of that book…

  18. larry bayard says:

    I bet I’m older than you. That can be a plus. I divorced twice, and there have been a few in-betweens I would have married. I loved them all, and lamented the loss, but finally I have learned something about human nature. I thought I was sharing myself, but mostly I was looking to be completed. Some aspect of myself that I couldn’t get in touch with, that “she” brought out, or validated. For me, this was a pattern for disaster. I get so enamored of this new feeling or awareness, and it can be euphoric, that I don’t pay attention to the little red flags. I actually think I’m blind to them at the time. Asthisnew area of me becomes commonplace with time, through the relationship, I start to finally see the little red flags. Bingo, snippy snappy sarcastic zingers, and disgruntlement. Relationship Cancer. Hair in the sink bullshit. So I went to work at really understanding who I am. Two things-my need to be recognized from outside myself decreased, and I stopped being so quick off the starting blocks. More happy time. I like to share, so I joined a club. I like to feel good, so I got a validating hobby. Now, I share time with women, but not an apartment. I Love You has three distinct parts. I had to get the I together, learn more about the nature of Love, then I was ready for a You. I think most of us do it backwards.

  19. Montoya says:

    I think I’m with estaban on this. It sounds like you believe that your lack of ability to discuss your pain and hurt with your friends is an adequate excuse for your lack of maturity in handling social conflict. And to hide that behind the excuse of “this is the way men are” doesn’t hold water with me.

    I’ve had substantive conversations, man-to-man, with male friends about the pain that their divorce, break-up, death-in-the-family, whatever, has caused them. Conversations where they own their pain, and accept my empathy, without having to hide it behind talk of baseball and sports. And I’ve had plenty of conversations with obviously hurting female friends where “everything is just fine!” was the message they projected to anyone who would (and wouldn’t) ask.

    The issue isn’t one of gender, it’s about whether you’re in a place to share your pain with someone, and ask for support (or just a sympathetic ear). Maybe you’re not there yet, which is fine, but turning to your gender to explain why you blowing up on someone in E-mail is the expected result for your inability to communicate is just silly.

    You don’t need to share your pain with your friends if you don’t want to, but don’t turn to your gender to explain why everyone else has to tiptoe around you and cut you slack. If you decide not to communicate clearly, that’s your issue.

    Stop making excuses!

    So, with that scolding out of the way, I hope that you do find some closure from getting this off your chest. It sounds like you’re angry, and hurting, and I’m sorry for that. Getting divorced means you’re losing someone, just like someone who’s had a family member pass away. It sucks, and I hope you emerge out of the other side of the experience without too much pain and suffering.

  20. Michelle says:

    Thank you for the honesty in your posts. It is helpful to know how to help a friend going through divorce, from the guys perspective. It also made me chuckle a bit about the gossiper, I would have handled it the same way! thanks for the laugh!

  21. Alice says:

    My brother is currently going through a divorce…Although he is a grown man it is hard seeing him go through the pain of it and seeing him tell our parents that he’s ok. This post has helped explain some of his behavior (needing to push for “it’s ok” even when it’s painfully obvious he’s not).
    On a side note, he is deciding whether or not to get an online divorce. His budget doesn’t allow him to go to court or make it a huge deal. I saw Thistoo ( http://www.thistoo.co for anyone whos interested) but i’m not sure if it’s trustowrthy since theres no testimonials. Any help would be apprciate. Thank you!

  22. Anita says:

    Thanks to [email protected] .com for bringing my ex lover back

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