Thankfully, My Wife had the Courage to Leave Me

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  1. “Emily and I got along well enough, though her strong will—which was so attractive in college—seemed to become combative. She seemed to be in competition with most people she came into contact with; including her own family as well as my closest friends.”

    Competitiveness not a feminine characteristic. The author’s unwillingness to confront Emily is not masculine characteristic. It was doomed from the start because the masculine attracts the feminine and vice versa.

    As well, such high conflict and combative natures are indicative of some serious personality disorders. Google up some “Cluster B” personalities.

    • Either you have a very dry sense of humour, or you don’t know any normal human beings. Women compete all the time, and men all the time weigh options about whether to speak up. There is no gender line in whether you are competitive or soft-spoken. The divide can come in the expression of those personality traits, but not in having them altogether.

  2. Not sure I’d say real lifelong relationships are “easy.” Certainly we shouldn’t be miserable! But that doesn’t mean we can expect “simple” or “perfect.” Conflicts are inevitable. When they arise, we should be gaining confidence we can engage productively and actually *accomplish* something in dealing with them — that nurturing the relationship is helping us grow as individuals and as a couple. It’s like being in training…

  3. This article really resonates with me. I got into a similar relationship; fell in love; got married while ignoring the doubting voice in my head screaming “this is a bad idea” because I was in love and because of the social pressure – you’ve made all these people come, you can’t let them down! Incredibly stupid, in retrospect.

    It took her cheating on me with my best friend, and my coming home one day to find she’d moved out for me to step back and realise that I wasn’t happy with her (nor she with me). In retrospect, I’m glad it ended when it did – even though I probably never would have ended it myself.

    I think I’ve also learned the skills to identify a relationship like that again, and end it myself if I had to.

  4. Our twenties represent a time of growth, figuring things out – who we are, who we are not, how to navigate relationships (all different types), what we want to do with our life, what’s important. Simply one of the greatest developmental times in our lives in many ways, but especially with relationships. Sometimes it is difficult to be truthful with ourselves or have the ability or confidence to speak out minds. I got married in my mid 20’s, and despite my doubts before the marriage, I got married. I divorced a couple years later. The learning curve. Life is a process. I think that importance should be placed on learning from that experience and choosing to do things differently in the future. It also means being honest with yourself, changing our behaviors if we deem that necessary so we don’t repeat those same behaviors, evolving, growing, being introspective, and remaining curious. 

  5. Andy Faking says:

    How passive aggressive is all I could think while reading this. Had a partner like this once. I friends community to the relationship. They sat pretending partnership with a huge withered space in their heart I didn’t know about. Yet they ate the fruits of what came with me. Yes, confessed to friends who told Anon sfter that they complained offered nothing. Brought nothing . Like this article did a great job explaining how screwed up they were to the friends I brought gaining sympathy that ran along the lines of I’m not perfect but their next wife will only hear how much better she is without asking him how much of a deficit he arrived with when with me. Women like Emily get written off as too overbearing. If you are like Anonymous please have the courage to not take the goods or atleast admit you got a good deal for which you paid bargain basement prices.

  6. Andy Faking says:

    Pardon the typos. I have a jumping cursor. If anyone knows of an article or articles that have some deep ownership/responsibilty without subtly demonizing the ex. I’d appreciate the links. Personal accountability not ‘man up’ hurtful posts.Thanks

  7. Odd Humor Man says:

    Let’s not be too hard on the author here. I can totally understand and empathize with a weakness sticking up for yourself. We are taught that many things are ‘selfish’ and insensitive if they aren’t done for ‘valid’ reasons. Some people aren’t comfortable being the bad guy.

    I can say that the woman I married was good for me at the time, but I don’t want to grow old with her. In fact I felt trapped even before our marriage. She is not abusing me, not cheating on me, but there is a big void in our relationship. We are good for each other as companions but I just don’t feel any passion for her. My family frowns on divorce, and I have a very real fear of being alone the rest of my life. We now have two kids, one a teenager and the other only four. I can say that my children give me such happiness and I have no way to justify divorcing and keeping them safe from the fallout.

    Several years ago I met someone at work I soon fell in love with. We began to cross the line and I felt like a teenager all over again. I wanted nothing more than to be with her, but she had the strength to end it. I was torn between the thought of love and passion, and the safety of a stable thing and avoidance of the label ‘divorced’. Eventually my wife found out about her and I saw a side of my wife I never knew existed – such hate and jealousy. Our life has never been the same. Initially I did tell her I wanted to leave but then very soon gave into fear. Both of us were scared, it turns out. Since then we have fought about many things, and I realize how cynical she has become. I never got to meet her father, but she is showing signs of his same aggression and apathy towards others. Over time I have had to let go of contact with all my friends. She has no friends and we have no life!

    People categorize you when you are divorced. Someone HAS to be the villain. It was always implied to me that unless you have a very good reason you have no right to leave a woman. Too many bad country songs… This tore me apart for a couple of years and has still caused stress over time. People who haven’t had co-dependent relationships don’t understand the irrational fears. Most of the time people associate this dilemma with women, but men have trouble too.

    I think one day my wife will have the strength to leave me too. I won’t like it, and it will hurt, but in the end we will both be better off. I just hope I am setting a good example for our kids.


  1. [...] story came to mind when I read “Thankfully, My Wife Had the Courage to Leave Me” over at the Good Men Project. Unfortunately, the author, Alan Smithee, the most prolific and [...]

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