We have a family friend who I’ve dubbed “The Marrying Kind”. He’s that guy that pulls the trigger very quickly on life changing decisions and I always felt he was a bit delusional about how relationships work. When he married his ex-wife it was because she was cool and they didn’t argue. This, of course, was because they were dating, not living together and having great sex…of course they weren’t arguing…they hadn’t gone through any real life situations! He wanted a mother figure and she wanted a child and that is exactly what they both got so in the beginning, everything was perfect.
Despite his friends voicing their concerns about his reasons for asking his wife to marry him, he went ahead and asked her. They had a large wedding and went on to live happily ever…I’m not even going to bother finishing that statement! As happens with many young couples, they quickly got pregnant and as anyone who has been married and had a child knows, things changed.
Her priorities shifted and he lost his position at the top and instead of focusing as a family on the baby, he did what many men do when they lose top billing, he started becoming less involved in the relationship and as a consequence it suffered. Having experienced similar issues in my first marriage, I tried to convince my significant other to talk to him and let him know that the problems they were having were normal for first time parents and that what they were going through was not truly “divorce worthy” and could be worked out.
I wasn’t privy to the exact cause of the demise of his marriage but I do know that the root of the problem really wasn’t a problem. His new wife had just had their first child and she was going through the natural changes a woman goes through after having given birth. In time, things would have settled down and they would have been able to reconnect on a husband and wife level…he just needed to be patient.
He didn’t want to listen and ultimately the marriage ended in divorce and not long after that, he began perimid-life crisis (Yeah…I made that up!) and began exclusively dating women in the 20-25 year old demographic. Now I don’t have an issue with him dating younger women but his rationale behind why he was now only dating them sent up all kind of red flags and suddenly instead of just saying he was dating a younger woman because he liked her, he blamed it on something else…in this case it was age.
He convinced himself that the reason his marriage failed was because his wife was older (same age as him) and therefore needy. She was needy because she wanted him to be around and she expected him to be involved in the home and their newly expanded family and he wanted to continue to be free without any responsibilities which of course wasn’t possible with a new wife, a mortgage and a baby.
He began making comments like–“Young girls have a cool attitude and young girls don’t trip and need you to be there for them all the time.” These were, of course, the thoughts of a simple minded person and honestly, I refuse to try and compare a 22 year old woman to a 35+ year old woman. They are very different and for good reason, one has seen more than the other and already lived what the other is soon to live so there is no sense in even attempting to try.
So now we hear that after having dated less than a year, he has gotten engaged to his new “Perfect woman” and moved in with her. All of the qualities and qualifications that made his first wife marriage material are possessed by this new young lady and though I know it is wrong, I am mentally betting on how long this relationship will last because what he fails to realize is his first marriage and his potential new marriage will both end in the same disastrous way because they both have the same common denominator…him!
He is the baby of his family and his actions are that of the baby so until he acts his mature age of 37 and leaves his 19 year old thought process behind, he will continue to end up with the same result and forever be on the hunt for the “Perfect Wife”. He is a walking PSA for women everywhere to beware of the guy who is the marrying kind because the marrying kind do just that…they marry but they don’t stay married!
I always hated completing the self-assessment for my employer. Not because I didn’t want my work to be reviewed but because I hated having to remember everything I’d done throughout the review cycle that proved why I felt I was worthy of receiving an extra $2.25 in my paycheck! I knew it was important but it was the act of validating myself that bothered me. What is funny about me not wanting to self-assess my work, is that in every other aspect of my life, I am all about self-assessing myself and those around me. I’m convinced that I’d have made a great Psychologist!
I didn’t start self-assessing until after my divorce and the break-up of my family. Both were very traumatic events that led me to do a lot of soul searching. What was my role, if any, and could it have played out differently? How would I handle things differently next time, if there was a next time or how can I make sure that I don’t find myself in this situation ever again? These are just some of the thoughts I struggled with answering.
Self-assessing helped. I learned a lot about my likes and dislikes and I learned what I would and would not accept in both my personal and professional relationships. If I am wrong or act “out of pocket” with my significant other, by self-assessing (unfortunately and usually after the fact), I have been able to decipher what I could and should have done differently so that I can avoid mishandling the issue in the future and find a more appropriate, calm manner (I’m a work in progress on that!) to communicate.
I had an employee who could have benefited from a little “self-assessment”. She went around ruining every positive relationship she had because she couldn’t function unless she was surrounded by dysfunction. I tried everything I could think of to make her realize her potential and teach her that there was another way to interact without creating drama but I never got through and in the end, she tried to take me down as well! She was eventually moved to another office where she promptly began the “same old song and dance” until she was managed out of the company. How sad that because she couldn’t get ahold of and acknowledge her issues, all aspects of her life were effected.
Through my personal therapy sessions it has become more clear to me where I want all of my personal relationships to be and I understand the amount of work it will take to get them there. Most importantly, I am taking the time to focus on making me a better me and though I have and will falter at times, I’ve never stopped working on the end result.
But it doesn’t say anything about stepparents. I bring this up because of a recent conversation my significant other had with his father about his wife. They have been married for 5 years and the jury is still out on her where the family is concerned. She is a woman who means well, but is someone who does not think before she speaks or acts and when you are around people who have only known you for a short period of time, loose lips can sink possible relationships with new family members.
The discussion was about the concerns the adult children had with certain encounters they’ve had with her and what got me thinking was their fathers response. He wondered if everyone felt this way, to which the response was, “yes”, and then he said, “Man, so if I’m not here anymore, there won’t be a relationship.” Wait…what? Were we supposed to add her to our list of parents we may have to take care of in their golden years? Now maybe I interpreted his statement incorrectly. He could have simply meant a relationship as in remaining in contact with each other but it got me to thinking and I immediately began to feel a little guilt. You know, the kind of guilt only a parent can make you feel?
Not having even thought about the stepparent dynamic because I don’t come from a divorced family, I looked around on the internet to see what the etiquette for caring for a stepparent was and I came upon an article called, Uncertain Obligations by Jo Cavallo (http://www.curetoday.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/article.PrintArticle/article_id/1311) where “non-traditional” family relationships were looked at with regards to an ailing parent or stepparent. While there wasn’t any one way discussed, what I took from the article was that there was a direct correlation between how blended the family was in respect to the decision to care for the stepparent. So while the obligation was still uncertain, there may be an obligation.
I was raised to respect my elders and I’ve always known that I would assume responsibility for my parents should they need me and I would expect the same from my significant other, however, we lost his mother 6 years ago so his father is the surviving parent. I think the guilt bothered me because my daughter comes from a divorced family that now includes the stepparent dynamic and while the relationships are more established than the relationship between my significant other and his stepmother, taking care or looking after one of her stepparents may be in her future and I have an obligation to give her the tools to make an informed decision.
The relationship between my significant other and his stepmother is still fairly new and it is still uncertain how their relationship will progress, however, the dialogue has been established and one can only hope that it will lead to a more open and blended stepparent/stepchild dynamic.