Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Everybody Settles (The Continuing Dialogue)

I wanted to piggyback on the post I wrote yesterday (by the way, I would like to thank everyone who added intelligent insight to the dialogue). One of the things my female friend said that resonated with me was that she was dating a lot of guys who were recently divorced. I don't know how a lot of women feel who are recently divorced but, as a guy who has been married for close to twenty years, I do know that if I was to suddenly be divorced tomorrow, the last thing I would want is to be involved with someone trying to rush me right back to the altar. Ladies, put a quarter in the meter and park right here on this corner... I can imagine I may have lost 50 percent of my readership with that statement but, allow me to explain myself.

A lot of women think that guys don't have feelings and that as long as some sex is involved, we are okay but, that's not completely true. Very few magazines and a small percentage of books ever study the male psyche up close. There are numerous studies on women and their emotional state but, nearly none on males. Comedian Steve Harvey often jokes that men aren't that complex... but again, not exactly so. We are complex... maybe not as complex and layered as a woman but, complex just the same.

After a marriage breaks up, particularly if it had been a close marital team or the two had gone through a lot together, there are still lots of unresolved feelings that remain. This goes both ways... it's with the woman and it's with the man. A court and a piece of paper may end a marriage legally but, emotionally it may take up to two years before one or both partners decide to move on. Just because the two people start dating other people doesn't necessarily mean that they are over each other either. There are still the messy little things like children, child custody/visitation, and child support. There are still the little jealousies and pettiness that go on after any relationship ends, not just a marriage. Watch how two people who were recently divorced act when they just happen to run into the other out in public somewhere and that other person is with somebody else. Watch the body language. It's all there... in the eyes, in the snide remarks, and in the general hurt that surfaces. You can't hide it... that thing in the eyes... it's right there.

So, a guy feels betrayed. He's wondering who his now ex-wife is dating, he may be angry, he may feel overwhelmed, and if he is dating at all, he is never 100% focused on his new relationship. This is what happened with my friend... she would go all out for these guys and in nine cases out of ten, they just couldn't give her all of what she was giving them. She's never been married and they have just gotten out of marriage. All these men want right now is some comfort and a release (I know what you're thinking but, I wasn't talking about just that kind of release). Perhaps, in all fairness to whoever should cross their path, these guys shouldn't be dating seriously anyway because it's way too soon.

I'm speaking as an observer and as a male. Some recently divorced couples even continue to sleep with each other. I suspect that this is for no other reason than the fact that it is familiar and safe. The problem is that eventually, one or both of them finds someone new and this is when the problems start.

The other issue I took with my friend is that even now, at this point in her life, she is still talking about not "settling." She wants someone who can bring as much if not more to "the table" as she has... so, in her case, that would be a man with a Master's Degree, a bigger house, a nicer car and no small kids. She didn't say that and I don't think she meant that when we had our conversation but, I'm just surmising that some people who do say that actually mean they want a man who can match them.

My good friend and fellow blogger Lisa Vazquez (Blackwomenblowingthe trumpet) brought up a very good point... having a nice home (that you bought yourself), being a "lion in the business world" (as one of my ex-girlfriends actually told me I needed to be once, while she was incidentally standing next to me flipping burgers... go figure), having a nice car, and multiple degrees are all wonderful achievements... but, none of those things is going to make a man (or a woman, for that matter) fall in love and keep a relationship in place for a number of years. All of those things are superficial and if you're lucky, you may find somebody with one or two or maybe three qualities but, never all of them. In the long and short of it, men and women ultimately fall for and stay with the person who treats them the best... the person with the best personality and character... a personality that is compatible to their personality and their emotional needs.

Nobody likes to use those words but, if you ask successful couples why they are still together and still happy, it's because they are friends and lovers. I've never once heard anybody say, "Oh, it's because he/she has a fly car!"... "DID YOU SEE HIS HOUSE, GUUURRRLLL?"... or "Lawd, he got such a big degree!" I have never heard that and remember... I'm talking about the happy couples that make it work. It's character and personality. Now sure, looks, sexual compatibility, and economic stability are all factors in the mix but, it's rarely all of those things at once. All of us do without something in the one we eventually wind up with... all of us settle. If we could build the perfect someone, a lot of the bartenders and self-help gurus would be out of business. Forget what ya heard... everybody settles.


Anonymous said...

lol.....wow. You know something..you are right about that. It takes alot to keep a good marriage (relationship). You have to be the friend and the lover...and sometimes the freak too. Gotta love em!!

Anonymous said...

Hey I was firsttttt..

wow, neva been first on your blog, I guess it pays to stay awake late huh??


Toni said...

Dang,I thought I would be first...
Great post and an interesting look
from a man's perspective.

Angie B. said...

You hit the nail on the head with what you said about two people still being emotionally tied after the legal seperation and divorce.
Excellent Post.

James Perkins said...

Thanks for giving a man's point of view of this whole thing...I was wondering if you were going to write about that..I'm glad you did.
Both of these posts have been excellent brother Keith.

Simon Bastion said...

Having lived through a divorce and the post divorce dating thing, I found your comments to be very on point. You are an incredible social observer if I don't say so myself and a very honest and for real person.

Tate2 said...

Keith, I'm tellin you ,this makes me want to start blogging again..You are doin the damn thing over here.

Sunflower said...

Very good post Keith, not much here that I didn't already know, but still, I like the way you put it down.

Lisa said...

Heyy Keith, How nice to hear the "other" side of the argument...
All single people, men and women have their challenges and crosses to bare I suppose. Another good post.

Vanessa said...

Hi Keith...I imagine you don't watch much TV...You're up blogging all night-lolololol...I didn't think you'd do a post today and here you did this one and a post for "Escapades"...I'm waiting for you to have writers block-lolololol. Great Post...Like everybody else said..A lot of women don't take the time to look at things from the man's point of view..You opened up a few things that I didn't consider...but if I went into that here..I might as well have a blog post.-lol

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Thanks for giving our point of view
too Keith.

Halo said...

Heyy Keith...It does take a lot to keep a relationship going and sometimes a lot of us ladies in our haste to have something real, forget all about how the guy might be feeling and his challenges..I'm glad you pointed that out to everyone.

Anonymous said...

So folks, what would Barack Obama
do about this? lolololololol.

Scorned Woman said...

I've been contemplating divorce for a little while. This post was very interesting to me. I stop by your blog all the time and I usually don't comment, but:

You've been tagged. Your blog is one of my favorites. Stop by my blog for the details when you have a chance.

Anonymous said...

another interesting read. My mind is a lil 2 sided when it comes to marraige, latley

Moanerplicity said...

Sadly, a lot of people (not necessarily only women), but people in general have a problem w/ being ALONE. When one relationship ends, they are quick, almost to the point of being obsessive to jump into another. I don't know why this is, but it exists. There are those who don't feel complete unless they have a steady partner, even if that partner is not the best choice for them.

Maybe loneliness plays a part in it. I also know a cat who was divorced early last summer, after 14 years of marriage. I was SHOCKED to learn that he's now ENGAGED to someone he just met in Sept! WTF?

Settling? Maybe. But some folks can't seem to settle on being alone.


Strongblkwmn said...

My husband and I have held each other down for 25 years and will be married for 20 next month. I wonder what I would do if, God forbid, something happened and we had to split. It's rough out there. The stories my single friends tell me give me the strength to work harder to keep my marriage together.

My husband often says that women don't think men have feelings and need attention too. I think we women forget that sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.

dessex said...

The man's point of view always gets looked over. Thank you for this!

LadyLee said...

Another great post, and uh, you need to cut this out! (LOL, just kidding).

I think that is something us women forget: men have feelings too. Another blogger and I were just talking about this.

I think the divorce does not happen with a simple piece of paper. No matter how foul things are, there is still that deep and intense emotional, dare I say, spiritual connection, that needs to be broken also. This is akin to an arm being cut off. It's gonna hurt like hell, and take some time to get use to.

I'll never forget an 8 week divorce recovery seminar that I attended about 3 years ago. I think I'd been divorced for 2 years at that time, and wasn't particularly having issues or anything. I'm the type of person that thinks if I can go to something and learn one thing the whole time, that I can use in life, well, it was well worth it. And I was thinking, this is at church, so it can't be that bad. I know they are not going to tell people how sinful they are for divorcing. So I decided to be nosy.

Anyway, I couldn't BELIEVE the amount of hurt feelings up in that place. I mean, hurting people. And like you said, there are kids custody isshas, all kinds of craziness. I mean, people really said a lot of what was in their hearts, there was some cussing, some snot flying... goodness. It was something else. There were women there who had divorced their minister husbands (which means divorcing a whole congregation, too). It was something else.

I myself was dealing with something that no one even talked about: the guilt behind being HAPPY to be free, while having to deal with a husband who (initially) was dealing with a lot of hurt feelings, even though it was best for us not to be together. I think I realized there that men's feelings run just as deep as women's, but we as women are allowed to express them without repercussions.

More interesting was some of the feelings the men had and their own personal stories. It made me understand again, that men have feelings too, and need an outlet to deal with them.

I was happy for that divorce recovery seminar. More churches need to invest in correcting some of the emotional issues of their congregation. It reminded me that we, whether men or women, need to take time to invest in correcting our own emotional issues before moving on to someone new.

Sorry for blogging in your comment section, bruh. (You know that we keep it smurfy over at the House of LadyLee blog). I can come over here to your place and spill it all, lol.

Again great post. Thanks for reminding us that our men have feelings too.

Kofi Bofah said...

Excellent post. Very well written, Mr. Keith.

Somebodies Friend said...

Another great post Keith,

You are running on all cylinders with this one.

My last relationship ended very badly, I was hurt worse then I had ever been before.

In hindsight, I think the gal wasn't looking at both sides of the relationship while we were together. She assumed many things, and most of her assumptions were dead wrong.

So the relationship started falling apart, only I didn't know it was falling apart, she was assuming so many things that weren't really happening, and then there was things that people were telling her about me that were not true, or maybe I was acting that way because her behavior was sending me signals that something was seriously wrong.

What I am getting to here is our relationship broke down from a lack of communication, then the dishonesty and infidelity that occured because of said lack of communication.

When it all come to a head, I was devastated. It took me months to begin to even think straight and start to function normally again.

We have talk since then and discussed what went wrong. We are thinking about rekindling our relationship, only this time making communication number one on the priority list, and setting boundries, because neither one of us wants to see the other one hurt again.

I am recovered, but you are correct when you say that men have feelings also. I think the thing about men and their feelings is they are not suppose to show them, and when you go through life suppressing your feelings, and then something like a difficult breakup happens, all those suppressed feelings come flying to the surface creating hurt that the man isn't used to because he always hides what he truely feels.

CurvyGurl said...

I tend to agree with you on the newly divorced issue. There are too many ties to cut first...some more obvious than others. Settling is a whole 'nother issue. I'm still wrapping my mind around what that really means.

Blu Jewel said...

This is an outstanding and refreshing post. I like the many observations you've made and how you brought up how men are often overlooked in terms of post break up issues.

I know from both personal experience and talking with friends that someone who looks good on paper isn't necessarily a good person or good for you.

I'm degreed, have 20yrs of military experience, all of my life experiences, am a homeowner, and a good and well paying job, but that doesn't mean I'm the best of nicest person out there. People who know me see all of these traits as good qualites to "get and keep a man", but does that mean I have a nice personality? Am kind? Am giving? You get me.

We must look at the content of character, the essence of a person, their true beauty and likeable traits and gel with that. We must stop thinking that because you're a white collar worker, that Mr/Ms. Blue Collar isn't good enough. People are good and bad no matter what their backgrounds are.

For me, I'd prefer a blue collar guy in spite of my white collar credentials because I want someone who can and is willing to do manual things around the house. I dated a white collar guy whom I asked to help me doing something manual and he told me to call a contractor. WHAT? His reason was not because he couldn't, but because he felt it was beneath him and "that's why they have plumbrs etc,". Needless to say, he didn't last long.

Sorry for the long comment, but as you can see, I have issues with how people (mostly woman) handle this topic.


Mizrepresent said...

lol, well you already know how i feel about this...and i like MP's comment, why rush! I know when i choose my NEXT, i'm not settling, and yet i am settling-in to the one who will most likely be my Forever!

Kitty said...

Great post! Sometimes we women can forget that you guys have feelings too.


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