I’ve been asking the question of what my role in the demise of our marriage is. It’s tough to point a finger at myself and say that I may have contributed to the fall of it. I do believe that I had the basics covered.
While not the primary breadwinner, I did maintain a decent paying, respectable job throughout it. My salary wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. I could definitely take care of myself and her if needed. But we never had any real financial issues with our combined salaries. Her late and inconsistent work hours made it difficult to find additional part time work outside of rideshare. I did housework instead and did a lot as far as teaching our son things. I’ll say that he is near the top of his class due to the work I did in teaching him. I kept myself in shape. I always offered a listening ear if she had issues. I did communicate my needs. I wasn’t verbally abusive. I was faithful. I did give her freedom to do pretty much what she wanted. I encouraged her to pursue her goals.
But it wasn’t enough. Perhaps those things are just the bare minimum of what a husband is supposed to do.
Conversely, I could have made more money and been more serious about my career. I could have had a deeper vision of where I wanted us to be in the future. I mostly regret not taking more of an active role in our spiritual development. More specifically, taking the lead in fostering our walk with God.
Maybe I was looking at the dysfunction in many black households and my past relationships and made the mistake thinking that we were pretty good. Instead of looking at the type of woman she is, I projected onto her the type of woman I wanted her to be. When I found her lacking in some important area (to me) or another, I ignored it. I loved her and accepted her for it, not thinking that those things were possible signs for things to come.
Maybe I loved her too much. I placed her above me in the sense of always wanting to make her happy. It made me happy to make her happy. I’m a simple man, it doesn’t really take much for me. Perhaps I assumed that, based on the fact that she never complained, that she was like me in that sense. But I did do small things to let her know that I thought about her. Maybe they went unnoticed as she got used to it over the years.
While she still can’t/won’t say why she’s so discontent with our marriage. Or why she’s so “on the fence” about trying to repair it. I can’t help but to think that maybe she’s just not that into me anymore. Sure, entertaining other men, emotional affairs, no sex, etc play a huge role imho. Those are just symptoms of a deeper issue.
Although I think that with work, we could stand a chance, I cannot bring myself to take the lead in fixing things after being betrayed and hurt so deeply. Especially given her insistence on still being secretive with her cell phone.
The flaws that I once ignored in her are blatantly apparent now. These aren’t superficial flaws in my opinion. The strong desire for secrecy, selfishness, the lack of communication, and circumstantial loyalty are all traits that can destroy friendships, let alone a marriage. The lack of understanding of what respect is, healthy marriage boundaries, or the implications behind disloyalty make it apparent that she just isn’t good wifey material.
It would seem that we are on totally opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to emotion, self reflection, and spirituality. It bothers me how she mindlessly scrolls though social media all day, won’t read a book or watch a self development video to save her damn life, and faithfully watches reality tv. It irks me at how she seems to be so stereotypically the modern western black woman. How she grabs on to trends and political speaking points. How she defends her speaking points with other speaking points. It would seem that she’s completely brainwashed by society as a whole.
To be honest, if I met her today (and she was honest about who she is), I don’t think i’d take her seriously as someone to marry. I’d screw her for sure, but she’s like that pretty I.G. model taking selfies in a dirty room.
While many men might try to wife her, I’d look at the long term difficulties and not give my heart to her. Going through this taught me that looks, initial chemistry, and a few flattering words aren’t enough. The intangibles are way more important when considering who to allow into your heart so deeply.
If I take full responsibility, I would have to say that I was too enthralled by her beauty to notice that we never really had deep conversations about life. Everything was mostly surface level. In fact, if I ever got too deep, I should have taken note how she seemed bored and didn’t have much to contribute. The words “I’m listening” along with extended silence is now in the Red Flag collection… at least when it comes to certain conversations.
I should have taken note that she never read articles or watched videos I sent her. Or how the only things she showed interest in were things that could be leveraged as social capital (‘gram’ worthy events.)
It doesn’t make her an evil person. Many men I know too are like this too. Perhaps she is better suited for the sports jock or dudes who are “all about the bag.” Maybe an emotionally unavailable man would be a better match to her apathetic attitude about the deeper aspects of life. Maybe a man who is a master manipulator with a strong personality is her cup of tea.
Given her lack of self reflection and tendency towards co dependency, I’m afraid that if the wrong man gets into the picture, she’ll allow him to manipulate her into doing whatever the hell he wants (like her ex affair partner), regardless of the consequences. Wouldn’t be a problem if my son wouldn’t be affected. But maybe I’m underestimating her. Maybe I just overthink things too much.
Either way, we probably just aren’t right for each other. I think she liked the novelty of me at first. I’m not like many of the guys she was used to. Maybe it’s what captivated her the most about me at first. I am pretty thoughtful, I do bring a different perspective, I wasn’t the stereotypical black dude from the streets of New York (again, her ex affair partner). At the same time, given her “in the box” tastes in music, social media influencers, and current trends, maybe she really wants what she’s used to. She wants that dude that’s in a box. And that’s ok, nothing more wrong with them than with me. It’s just not me.
Likewise, while I personally don’t hold it against a female for her likes and actions as far as being a human goes, there are certain ones I personally wouldn’t want a long monogamous relationship with. It’s not that I think my way is better, I just don’t think we would be able to sustain ourselves long term once the new energy of the relationship wears out.
So in the end, maybe I didn’t do anything wrong. We just didn’t have enough chemistry mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. Our values and frequencies are just too different.
I wasn’t perfect, but she wasn’t looking for perfection. I’ll say that I was pretty close though (on paper). At least when I compare to the complaints I hear other women have about the men in their lives.
It goes to show that no matter how well you treat someone, no matter what the intentions are in the beginning, nor how dedicated you are to them, how much you sacrifice and love them, that sometimes things just don’t work out.
I have to learn to get over the feelings of betrayal. I have to stop expecting her to be self reflective as it’s just not her. I have to stop projecting the idea that a strong nuclear family is worth fighting for and should be her priority as well. I can’t expect her to just know things the way that I do. I can’t expect her to feel bad or disappointed with the way she treated me. She is just not who I wanted her to be no matter how badly I wished she was. I have to accept that. She’s just not into me anymore. She checked out and isnt interested in making things ok.
The hardest part of acceptance is her apathetic attitude about how bad she hurt and humiliated me in all of this. That I may have to carry these scars and pain because I did love so deeply while she gets to walk away relatively easily without any bruises or bumps. That she gets to walk away without any regrets, remorse, or ownership in the destruction of our home. It seems so unfair to have to grieve the loss of our home by myself due to nothing I did, while she walks away with no rregrets.
But I have to forgive her….as I truly think that she really doesn’t have the capacity (with me anyway) to understand how fucked up this all is. I cant expect her to be someone she isn’t. I shouldnt judge her based on my expectations or personal ideas of “oughtness”.
She isn’t evil or anything (though a bit shallow imho) and she’s probably telling the truth when she says that it wasn’t her intention to hurt me. I feel like I’m stretching her when I have the intention vs impact discussion.
I realize it seems that it seems that I’m implying that she’s stupid or something. I dont think she’s stupid. I just think that emotional empathy is one of her specific weaknesses. Just as one of mine is a tendency to overthink things….or maybe, she just isn’t into me enough to spend the emotional energy to care.
I’m thinking that the hurt comes from my own insecurities about not being good enough. I took her rejection of my love for her and our marriage as a sign that I wasn’t enough.
I didn’t take into consideration that she isn’t assertive, self reflective, nor communicative about her needs. I felt that being abandoned and betrayed was indication of me not being man enough. It brought out fears of being unworthy. Of not being man enough to keep her despite having so much good in our lives.
Added to the pain of hurting our son, I really just felt shitty. While the latter part still bites, at least I know that I need to work on feeling better about myself overall as a person. I thought that I was a fairly emotionally healthy person, but this has shown me that I do have a few demons hiding beneath the surface.