Re: You can't stop a moving train: Dealing with a Selfish Man by Robyn Raum .....

Date:   11/1/2008 4:26:08 AM ( 14 y ago)
Popularity:   message viewed 3659 times

What a brilliant article, just as relevant now as it was 3 years ago when it was written and just as relevant now as it would have been 15 years ago when the man who was then in my life went through the male menopause thing.

We were driving into town and passed a circus set up at a park. He commented that he'd like to run away and join a circus. At the time, I thought his comment was a joke and that he'd make a good clown but there was no humour in what followed.

As it says in the article, all that mattered to him was his desire to prove he was still young. All of this happened long ago and I've had time since to find out what went on. At the time, I had no idea. All I knew then was that he'd changed, almost overnight, that I hardly knew him and that I'd become the enemy.

He started to flirt with the women at his work. It turns out he had it off with a couple of them. He would invite women into his office to offer them a shoulder to cry on. That allowed him to provide a manly chest (and feel their feminine chests). He left home earlier and earlier. He returned later and later. He said he was having a crisis.

He said he wanted to be himself, by himself. I was fooled by all of this. My aged father wasn't. (Perhaps he went through the same thing himself?). He said the ex wanted to be himself, by himself, with himself, up himself. At least there was a little bit of humour in the situation.

He grew a beard. He would go to bed at the usual time but get up around midnight and disappear in his car. He'd get back at 3 or 4am. It took years for me to figure out that it was 30 minutes drive to her place, 30 minutes back and I leave it to your imagination to figure out what he did with the rest of the time he was gone.

As it happened, he broke the mould at that point. She wasn't a younger woman. She was older. They colluded together. I was the wicked witch. It was all my fault. You do understand, don't you, that it was because of me .....
He justified his behaviour by saying "We should never have got together in the first place" (15 years earlier) and "Poor combination, bad formula".

Yes, he brought the replacement in gradually. 6 months after he'd left, he took her to Xmas dinner at his family's place. His parents were still in touch with me and they were shocked, to say the least, but they got over it. I was gradually given the sideways shove and she was invited in to be the dutiful partner of their beloved son.

As it happened, he stayed with number two for a decade then guess what he did?
Have you guessed?
That's right, he dumped her for number three.
Once a cheater, always a cheater.

My advice to any woman whose husband becomes selfish and goes through the male menopause thing: Do as I say, don't do as I did because I did it all wrong.

The first thing you should do is to back off. Stop being so available. Stop asking so many questions. Stop expecting him to be your partner because at least for now, he isn't.

Become distant. Develop interests of your own. Accept that, for the meanwhile at least, he's gone. Gone in the head or maybe even gone in the flesh. It's important that you survive this period and to do that, you need your girlfriends or family or a counsellor, someone to talk to. Above all else, do not talk to him. Anything you say will be wrong and will drive him further into his behaviour. Anything you say will be seen as criticism or nagging so it's best to keep it polite, friendly and cooperative while you're confiding in your friends and developing yourself and basically, surviving alone.

This may seem like horrible advice, the last thing you want to do, but it's necessary to give him space. He needs space to find himself, be himself, by himself and so on. He needs to follow Crystal and wear flowery shirts that barely meet across his pot gut. He needs to grow a beard or grow a long piece of hair to cover his bald spot or to take up a young man's hobby. My advice to any woman who's husband has become a stranger is to leave him to it. Don't say anything; don't nag; don't try to press his guilt buttons; don't try to "bring him round"; don't be the predictable person he's known for years. Just be polite and cooperative as you would with a flatmate.

My advice is to make sure you know exactly what's going on with the finances. Go to a lawyer if need be to make sure you know exactly where you stand as far as ownership of the chatels goes. Make sure you know exactly what's yours and what isn't in the house and do all this behind his back. YOu don't need to feel guilty about doing this; you're just protecting yourself in case things go seriously wrong.
He's temporarily not the man you used to know. What you need to do for yourself is to make sure that if the worst happens and if he takes off with Dolores the stripper, you (and the kids) will be okay.

Next, my advice to you is to treat yourself. Get your hair done, buy some nice clothes, take up a hobby you've wanted to take up for ages; treat yourself to a trip somewhere (yes, I know, it can be lonely on your own - can you get onto a guided tour or the likes?). Take care of yourself is what I'm really saying. You need to; no-one else is going to.

Finally, my advice is to ride out the storm. It may happen that his male menopause thing passes quickly. Or it may not. He may be temporarily selfish. Or he may be that way for good. Either way,having done your preparation, ride out the storm while waiting to see what will happen. It may happen that he comes right. He won't be the same as he was before but he might be more like his old self. Or it may happen that he doesn't come right, blames you for everything under the sun, takes up with Lola and disappears into the sunset. If you've done your preparation and are financially, mentally and emotionally prepared, you'll have a better time of it than someone who's lived in denial and is left in the lurch.

I hope my experience and advice is of some use to someone out there.


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