One had been married three times. He tried his best to make his third marriage work. (He was married at 18 the first time, married on the rebound the second time, and fell head over heels in love with his third wife, who eventually "Done Him Wrong.") When we met, he was in his mid-forties. The third sentence out of his mouth after we had set up our first date was, "I don't ever intend to marry again." He was as good as his word. And even though I felt some hope when our relationship lasted, he pulled away when everyone but the minister expected us to get married. I couldn't fault him, though. He never promised permanence, and he said right from the start that he'd had enough. "Three strikes and you're out." Nine years after his third divorce, he's still single as far as I know.
Three months into dating man number two, he began sending me links to blogs that other men had written. The posts went something like this (and I paraphrase): I've got a good job, a great house, wonderful kids, as much sex as I like or need, no debt, no worries, I can do what I want when I want it, and there are no conflicts in my life. Why upset a good life?"
Why indeed. I received about three or four of these links, read them, laughed at the absurdity of some of the comments, and then ... it hit me. Man number two was sending me a message: A strong one. That Christmas I arrived at his house with a truly wonderful gift, but he had none for me. Instead, I received a comic little riff about women who bought useless presents for each other that cluttered the house. Oh, he was funny, but there was a stridency to his tone as he performed his little comic routine. He then commented on the nice manly relationship between Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady, and quoted these lines from "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?"
Women are irrational, that's all there is to that!
There heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!
They're nothing but exasperating, irritating,
vacillating, calculating, agitating,
Maddening and infuriating hags!
He went on to quote,
Why can't a woman be more like a man?I recall plastering a smile on my face, trying to hide my incredible hurt. Then I looked at the gift I'd given him, and said lightly, "Well, if you find gifts women give useless, guess I'll take mine back."
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historic'ly fair;
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Well, why can't a woman be like that?
Why does ev'ryone do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do ev'rything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up- well, like their father instead?
Why can't a woman take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please;
Whenever you are with them, you're always at ease.
Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?
Of course not!
Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?
Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?
Well, why can't a woman be like you?
"Oh, no," he said. "I like yours." (It was a gourmet wine opener.)
I left his house feeling deflated and a sense of disquiet. I cried again that Christmas. It was the third time in five years that my heart had been broken in December, and I was beginning to dread that time of year. In fact, I refuse to have another holiday ruined by a man.
Weeks later in one of our last phone conversations he told me how easy I was to get along with. Of course! He had made it plain that there was no future, so I held myself back. He's never realized how many tears I've cried over him, and I'll be damned if I'll ever tell him. Besides, I've been wrestling with the notion that I'm attracted to the wrong kind of man. How else can I explain my dismal record?
So, this is the lesson I gleaned from my former beaus:
All in all, both are quite content living alone. One is neat and tidy; the other's house is a mess. Both love to eat and can cook quite well. They drop everything to be with their children (as they should.) Both care a great deal for their parents. One visits his mother, who lives in a nursing home, two or three times per month in a city three hours away. The other renovated his house so that his father, who is legally blind, could move in with him. He now spends his spare time driving his father everywhere.
These two men are decent and honorable. Both will drop everything to help me if I should ever make the call. They just don't need a woman to make their lives complete. It isn't that I'm so undesirable to be with, or a pushover, (thank God I have no self doubt about myself or my conduct,) it's that every woman these two men have dated since their divorce have been dropped or left dangling. In my case, I lasted four years with one, and three months with the other.
I no longer date. It's too much of a bother. I've also decided I just cannot go through another heartache soon again. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid. Besides, I have a dog, a lovely home, a career, and as much sex as I want. Sheez! Now I'm sounding just like them. Isn't this world simply crazy?
Here's an interesting article about Some Common Reasons Men Leave Relationships.