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Why Women Leave

The Huffinton Post had an article today stating that women ask for divorce more than men.  Two-thirds of divorces happen because women do the leaving.  How after all these years are women getting the guts to walk out?  Does it make women look like commitment phobes? Are we getting bored?  Is fighting for a marriage even worth it anymore?  Here's my story and some conclusions on why women leave.

Now I am a child of divorce, as they say, and I turned out ok.  Growing up, I never lashed out or rebelled.  in 1991, my sister and I just accepted that...daddy doesn't live with us anymore.  Within a year or two dad remarried and five years later we walked our mother down the aisle to give her away and we even got diamond rings that we each still wear every day.  We got used to seeing dad every other weekend and finagling the holidays just so, along with adjusting to different apartments, duplexes and homes every couple of years.  Money was always tight but we never changed schools or friends.  Honestly there was alot I couldn't do as a kid.  Before the 2nd marriages, mom went to school and had a job.  Endless days were at school and day care, or staying up to help my mom study, or barely eating 3 meals a day.  This is what you don't think about when parents split up.  The changes in your life, the way you are not represented in fairy tales anymore.  But my mother was strong and I had immense faith in her and God that everything would always work out.  My sister and I knew we had to be strong and compromise so our family could be happy.  We tried not to expect alot or want alot because as long as we had a place to live and food that had to be good enough for us.  I never had a sleepover or a best friend, or even the idea of a good man in my life.  I wasn't even invited to my dad's second wedding, which dissipated through "her" infidelity in eight years time. 

As an adult, I see how all these things affect me.  Growing up in a broken home, and then with a new family, half brother, step-dad, brought new ups and downs.  But how I look at love and marriage and men has been drastically affected now as I look for what I want in life.  It's interesting how I have changed since love has come and gone and it makes me wonder, why did my mother leave?

Women feel stronger than ever it seems to get what they want.  The feminist movement brought women out of their submissive selves and into active women looking up and out of their cardboard boxed homes.  So much is possible and available now.  Not only can you get married, you can have kids and still have a two income househould, run for President and more women are graduating from college than men without anyone saying no, you can't do that. 

In my Catholic family, divorce was not something you did.  My mom was a stay at home mom, who gave everything to family and home.  She did everything she could to make everything run smoothly and rarely did anything for herself.  Gender roles state that she was doing exactly what she should be doing.  Dad worked full time, was on 3 softball teams and rarely saw us except on weekends.  I don't remember being tucked in or held or read a book by him.  But isn't this the portrait of marriage?  To my mom, after trying so hard for couseling, communicating, anything, nothing brought my dad home to us.  He loved us for sure, but where was he and was this the idea of love and life my mom had planned for herself, for her future, for our future?  I suppose like many women today she felt this wasn't enough for us or for her.  And she left.

I cannot even imagine what she went through as an unemployed young mother, as a Catholic, as someone who always followed the rules and as a woman, a wife.  Going against her mother, her religion, her own ideal.  It was a huge choice to make.  I mean, she got married! She promised herself indefinitnately in the church, she was in for the long haul.  But she was able to say, "my kids deserve more, we deserve more."  Now in the 50s, you'd grin and bear it, you know.  I mean marriage is tough, and it's just what you did to start a life.  Women had to keep things clean and create offspring and stay beautiful.  My mom did all those things, but what was she getting? Not much.  Even when infidelity showed its face, people in my family stayed together for the most part.  Marriage was a life, a home, regardless, and you stayed.  That's just what women did, they stayed, because men of course don't leave.  Women do.

So why did my mother leave like 66% of women today? Because they can and they aren't afraid to say "what about me?" Now I do not condone divorce.  But then again my idea of settling down is corrupted by these events in my life.  I never really knew the adult version of my parent's divorce until recently.  My dad never told his family what really happened.  All his family knew what that, MONICA LEFT NORM.  "Monica is selfish, too religious and who did she think she was? Does she think she's too good for us?  My family was divided for years.  My father really thought he didn't deserve this.  He thought, "how could she do this to me? how could she just leave?"  His mom and dad didnt have a perfect marriage either but they stuck it out until the end.  I'm sure he expected that in my mother, to just be there when he needed her.  She could've played that role, but it just didn't work.  She's a tough cookie, I think he didn't see that in her.  Young virgins they married for love but neither of them had any idea who they were.  They got married and started a life because in 1981 that's what you did.  I, like my mother, am a fan of following the rules.  We're good at it.  But mom couldn't stay in something that couldn't grow and my father will never forgive her for leaving.  He feel victimized and broken.  I'm sure she did hurt him.  She just had strong ideas on what she needed and she couldn't get him to see it.  Of course she loved him dearly, but isn't a man, a husband supposed to be there for his wife, his kids?  Will he ever see that he brought on his own plight?  Did he ever see my mom needed so much more than he could give?

A marriage should be a two-person team.  Really a team.  Life is tough and you need a partner who understands you and can communicate with you and support you.  Love is wonderful and is essential but if you're after the "love the way you lie" kind of volatile love thats passionate and but hard, I guarantee that is not a place for marriage.  So many times children are results of those relationships and then there you are, presented with that real life challenge with a strained usually unhealthy relationship.  I could hardly call that love.  I'm not saying its not worth experiencing or that marriage should be boring, I'm saying, if people loved and knew themselves then healthy relationships would develop and you wouldn't be in a situation where you feel like you could take the abuse just because he loves you. 

Marriage doesn't have to be a boring walk to your deaths filled with kids and debt.  It can beautiful with the right person.  It's something I only want to do once.  I want one wedding, one man, two kids and a home, but after I've really experienced life.  Not only because I want to be an adult making this decision but because I have so much to do, without anyone in tow.  I was 22 and lying in bed next to the boy I thought I'd marry.  I'd at least thought about it.  We did everything we could to help the other person become more like the person we each wanted rather than saying you're good enough as you are.  We thought, innocently it would turn into magic because we did love each other, but more so what we COULD be and not for what we were.  Classic rookie mistake, classic naivete left me lying there one morning thinking this isn't enough.  Too many times I laid there and knew he didn't really see me.  He didn't encourage my talents or make me see the good in life, but I loved him and I needed to love him, I thought.  Maybe If I loved a man all my problems would go away and boy was I wrong.  I knew my unconditional was met by his maybe, flighty love.  It was comfortable and the friends were happy but the future we had imagined was daunted by reality and our separating paths.  I felt 45, and in a marriage where I was invisible, un heard and taken for granted but I fought for it because I couldn't leave yet.  I couldnt leave him, because I'd be more alone than I was now and I had spent so much time taking care of him, looking at my life would be an uphill battle.  Leaving him, because he wouldn't leave me was his cowardice staring me in the face, and my strength finally came to and I knew this type of relatonship would never help me live my dreams.  So I left.   I left the man I could've married.  The man, who like my father was unattentive, selfish, insecure and never thought or did enough to show me anything.  I can at least say I already dated my dad (elektra complex) lets move on and never do that again.

Vikki Larson of the online journal,The Huffinton Post recounts her leaving her husband.  She was leaving.  "Yes, I was, and that's because he was doing everything that looked like leaving me except the actual leaving part.  Men, evidently, don't leave."
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/why-women-want-out-more-t_b_792133.html, Jan 25, 2011)


And I spent my days wondering, WHY DIDNT HE BREAK UP WITH ME!!???  Why did I have to walk out when I was still in it?  His answer? He was scared and didn't want to upset me.  And he needed me and got everything out of it without all the work, because I let him get away with doing nothing.  NOTHING.  So like my mother I left.  I left the possibility of a future, I left my first-love, I left everything I'd known.  Starting over seemed impossible.  But I'm still here.  I finally found myself.  I know and constantly am learning about what I want and need and am better understanding how my mom did it, how she left my dad.  Being a woman is a tough business, in a world that tells you that you're less than and that grinning and bearing it is what a lady does.  But women know their strength more and more and the fact that we deserve a wonderful life.  But it also means we need to be more careful when picking our partners.  Many times we see other couples and we judge from the outside and say, why doesn't she see it? or what does she expect, she married him?  There's no use running around being scared of love or marriage or committment, just be realistic, be smart and don't sacrifice what you need and want to save something that will end up being a battle down the road. 

Women tend to marry for what the guy could be and are disappointed when he doesn't get there.  Men tend to marry for who the woman is and hope they never change and their beauty never dies.  Either way years of togetherness will change a person and you have to be on that journey together at the same time, fighting for the best life you can have with your partner.   Wives often feel ignored and their spouses usually feel comfortable with comfortable.  A spouse might then get lazy with trying and relaxing into the love and lifestyle.  So many times people get divorced because they are bored.  Women aren't afraid to leave so just because you are married doesn't mean you can stop romancing the other person.  You don't need to constantly date them or court them because I realize alot of men settle down, they settle down and are happy they don't have to pull out all the stops to impress anyone anymore.  Don't let your marriage get into rut.  You both deserve equal attention and if you both know how sensitive the other person is to it, think outside yourself but make sure the other person knows how you feel. 

There's obviously no rule book.  Every person, love, relationship, reaction, mistake is different.  but knowing that women aren't afraid to fight for what they want means men can't be lazy anymore.  My mother walked out when I was 5 and no other kids had split parents.  She looked awful and no other moms liked her.  She was a terrible person back then to those people for fighting for a better future.  But women know now we don't have to sit back and watch life pass us by or feel stuck in relationships that wear us down.  Men are far from being off the hook.  Despite the stereotypical male cheater, women are cheating just as much these days.  That begs us to question why people aren't happy with who they are with?  So how about we all take a look at who we love, and just love better and figure that all out before you say I do. 

Tips to a better relationship:

Know you deserve the best. 
Pick your life partners wisely.
Work towards a future together
Compromise. Compromise. Compromise
Be a team.
Love attentively and passionately.
Treat them as you want to be treated
Give yourself, time to yourself
If you have kids, it's not about you anymore. duh.
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