Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Could There Have Been Another?

Recently, I heard that in marrying the wrong person, there was someone you probably passed  over who was the right person.

So I'm going to put that to the test that by looking at my own life.

Keep in mind, though, that there is no way to know you've chosen "the right person" until you're just about dead, but you can know early on you've married the wrong person.

Based on some calculations I've done before, I figured there were likely just a few people - a dozen, maybe half a dozen - in the world with whom I could ultimately be compatible. If most people were honest, they'd realize it is much the same for them, which is why most marriages fail.

I had three "serious" adult girlfriends before I met my wife. Between one or two of those girlfriends there were a few women with whom I was not serious, and after the third girlfriend, I wised up and refused to get official or exclusive with a woman, at least until I met my wife.

Girlfriend Number 3 (GN3) was my only other serious marriage prospect, as the first one was way too old and the second was insane (little did I know I'd marry an insane woman anyway!). But GN3 stands out because we worked well as friends and boyfriend/girlfriend. We had fun together, liking many of the same things. I liked her personality and style, I liked the way she treated people, she was low-maintenance, and drama and baggage-free. I liked her family and friends, and she got along well with mine, who all liked her. She was pretty and had what I consider the perfect body. There was maybe one minor thing about her body that could have been even better but it is so minor it is a bit silly. As far as I could tell, she was financially solvent and healthy (although, she rarely or never menstruated, and while that was convenient, I had to think that was a problem in the long run even though she said it wasn't). She was passionately attracted to me and flirty with me. We had great and frequent sex (which was wrong... all wrong... it was my wayward youth.)

The problems were:

1) Though I was fornicating, I was convinced of the truth of the Bible inclusive of the New Testament, including Jesus is Lord and so forth, whereas she was Jewish enough to identify herself as Jewish, celebrate Passover and other Jewish holidays, have a mezuzah in her doorway, was active in her JCC, and rejected my suggestion that we could be Messianic Jews. (I had found myself very comfortable with Messianic Jewish events and groups.)

2) A typical extension of the above was that I was a conservative-libertarian Republican and she was a liberal Democrat, at least in her voting (many liberal Democrats live like conservatives, and she had a lot of conservative traits).

3) I wanted to raise kids, and during our time together, she embarked on and established a stable career, and decided that was going to be per priority as opposed to being a mother.

Now, there are people who don't see those as deal-breakers, especially given everything else. After all, there are people who form "interfaith" marriages and marry someone who has different political leanings, and as far as children they would either say "Be a stay-at-home-dad" or "she'll change her mind about being a mother" or "that's what day care is for!"

I was not going to dump my kids in daycare, and I take people at their word in matters like this, so I would not have counted on her changing her mind (in fact, she never had children). I have no idea if she would have supported and respected me as a SAHD. It would have been a struggle to raise children on just her salary. To me, the big thing would be raising kids in an "interfaithless" home. Either Jesus is Lord or He isn't. Having parents who knowingly disagreed on this point who married anyway would be confusing to children.

But as I've found out from experience, I'm not really cut out for being a good dad. I really like my time alone and doing solitary activities. Just the other day my childless sister cussed me out in a text rant because she thinks I don't give my kids enough attention. I told her she's mistaken, but what if she is closer to the truth than I think?

Well it's hindsight anyway. At the time I figured I was going to get married and have kids.

But if I had known what I know now, I could have married GN3 and been happy under the following conditions:

1) I'd get a vasectomy.

2) We'd have a prenup that specified separate financial accounts so that none of my money would support things with which I disagreed and vice-versa; we could have a joint account for certain common purposes.

[Note that those conditions would make our marriage "not a marriage" as far as Dr. Laura is concerned, since it would have been a first marriage.]

3) Either one of us would be welcome, but not obligated, to attend religious services/studies/events and political events with each other.

If I had done that, as opposed to doing what I have done, I wouldn't have my highly intelligent but difficult children, but I'd no doubt be much better off financially, professionally, socially, emotionally, sexually, physically, geographically, perhaps even spiritually. Spiritually is tricky. Most evangelicals would say in marrying her, I'd be "unequally yoked" and it would be a mistake, and many would also say it would be wrong to choose not to have children, since we'd be married. However, I would have more time to devote to study and acts of service.

It is impossible to tell if she would have decided to have children if she'd married me, but like I said, she didn't with the man she married and to whom she is still married, so that's a pretty good indication.

There's still the chance she'll get all hormonal and will make his life a living hell until he flees. Given that reality, I know some of you reading this would say, "Why not just be with her without marriage?" She was more open to that than I was. Although she never said so, in retrospect it appears that we broke up because I made it clear by my actions I wasn't going to shack up with her (I refused to shack up with anyone). The man she married did shack up with her first. I don't know if she insisted on marriage or not, only that they did marry in a very modest ceremony. I wonder if he'd told her he didn't want to marry, if she would still be with him? If I had to bet, I'd wager yes. From what little I know I think the marriage was more to his benefit (especially her health insurance) than hers. She never really did realize what a catch she was. She was atypical when it comes to American women.

The point of this consideration of "could have been" is to show that it's not just that I "married the wrong woman". The point is, there is no right woman for me, nor for most other men.

GN3 would have made the best wife for me, and I still didn't think we could marry, and even if we did, it only would have worked under the conditions I listed. I married my wife because I was mistaken about her.

It's not like I hadn't met a lot of women. I live in one of the greater metropolitan areas in the country. I have sisters who've had many friends in my age range. I've had jobs and hobbies that have put me in touch with a lot of people. I attended a university for over four years where I was surrounded by thousands of other people. I used an online matchmaking service. I've attended churches for most of my adulthood. But there was no woman with whom there was a mutual attraction and compatibility. High school classmates? Nope. The girl I was closest to, I now realize was and is autistic. Which explains a lot. Seeing her over the years since, a marriage to her would  never have worked. In addition to the girlfriends, the women I dated over the years were either too old, crazy, dysfunctional, or otherwise incompatible. Nobody has been anywhere near as compatible with me as GN3 or who I mistakenly thought my wife was.

There was one woman who worked for the same large employer I did. We had a few friendly chats, and one time I was taking a break and she came up behind me and started rubbing my shoulders. I was with GN2 at the time so I was unable to take this clear hint and ask her out. I later found out we perhaps had a significant compatibility, but by then she was married and I with with GN3. But I really knew very little about her so it isn't like I could say she and I could have ended up together.

I'm not missing out because I married the wrong woman. I'm missing out because I married. There is no right woman.

Thinking back, my life was great when I wasn't in an exclusive relationship. I was handling all my responsibilities, I was preparing well for the future, and I have living a good, enjoyable life, doing the things I wanted to do..

We need to tell men, and especially boys, that it is OK to NOT want to raise children, to NOT be married, to NOT even be in a relationship at all.

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