Ask Marwa: July 2009
Date posted: July 30, 2009
I have a tendency to try to "fix" any man I get into a relationship with. I spot the defects and I know how to fix them, so without any hesitation, I bring in my "Miss Fix-Him" kit and I start working. At best we end up being friends, but usually it just ends! How do save my men from my nails and hammers?
I know exactly what you are talking about and I have fallen in this trap so many times. The only way you can avoid a trap is to know where it is. So, if the first thing your new man makes you think of is your Fix-It Kit, then you know what will come next. You have the choice from the early beginning to either accept him for who he is or to leave him as he is. Glue these rules to your mirror and read them a million times a day until the next millennium:
1) No one is perfect; he is not perfect; I am not perfect; Mr. Perfect does not exist
2) No one changes; he will not change; I will not change; Mr. Obedient is a myth
3) If I try to fix him I will break him; If he resists I will insist; If I insist he will resist
I met a man about three years ago and, while I was developing an intense crush on him, he was developing an allergy towards me. He was everything I ever wanted in a man and I knew I had everything he was looking for in a girl; he never saw it no matter how hard I tried. Now we have a semi peace treaty; we are civil but not warm, yet not distant and not close. I think of him every now and then and wonder … will it ever stop? I need to move on and whenever I compare him to any new guy, he wins and the new guy loses.
Why do you want "it" to stop? It is a great thing to have a benchmark in your life – just as great as having a role model to look up to. If you are sore because things did not work out between the two of you, if you feel that you were not given a chance to show him what you have to offer, if you regret doing or saying something that might have pushed him away, just remember that the other side of the fence always looks greener. Most things in our lives look nicer from a distance. He did not get to know what you are made of, and, likewise, you did not see him in his true colors. Make the best use of your benchmark to be more selective in your future relationships. Remember that what you are looking for in a man does exist so be patient and do not make any compromises.
Comparing on the other hand is not fair; every relationship has its own glamour and appeal. Each man has something new and different to bring into your life. It is as though you were punishing yourself. Any new man will lose because you did not turn the page yet. You are still waiting and silently hoping that he would come around and see you for who you are and what you can offer. I will not tell you that this will not happen, on the contrary, it could happen but most of the time the man will notice you for the wrong reasons; despair, loss of options, rebound, ego boost, or any other sad scenario.
I know you do not like men like me but I need an honest opinion; I am no longer in love with my wife. I neither find her entertaining nor attractive. She turns me off on all levels and I want to leave her but I don't know what to tell her. We do not have kids and money is not an issue.
I was tempted to reply to you in private away from the responsibilities and ethics of this column, and then I would be able to give you a sincere piece of my mind. Then my better self took over and I decided to be as objective and as detached as possible. So I will forget that your wife and I are bound by the strong ties of Mother Eve and I will put aside the initial feelings your email provoked. I will give you a few points to consider on your own and afterwards if you still feel like divorcing your wife, let me know and I will send her a wall-size congratulations card.
1) Your message implies that you are the one who changed; you no longer perceive her the way you used to and now you want to punish her for that. If she changed, if she is doing something that is alienating you, then you need to talk to her openly and honestly.
2) If there is someone else in your life and you are looking for an excuse to walk out on your marriage, then do not expect an OK from anyone with a minimum sense of fairness.
3) Kids and money are not the only thing that should lock a decent person in a marriage. For all fairness, try to revive the things that got you to fall in love with her in the first place.
4) Maybe she feels the same way about you and she will be relieved when you open the subject!
I am a 33 year old divorced man with a little girl. My marriage fell apart because my wife and I grew apart, and because I ended up in an affair. I am still seeing that "affair girl" and she is great. We have been together now for many years, she has 70% of what I need in a woman, and I don't care much for the missing 30%. The problem now is that she wants to take this relationship to the next level and I am not ready. I want her yet I do not want to get married. Marriage is such a lousy idea; it is just destined to fail. Being married is like living in a big lie and I know that I am most likely to have affairs once I am married. Some men need to be married to be stable and productive; I am not one of those men! How do I tell my girl this without hurting her feelings?
How do I reply to you without hurting you feelings?
There was a village in a forsaken continent where the inhabitants did not believe in bathrooms; they used to "do it" in any corner in the street, then they complained all the time about the stink in the air. Your argument reminds me of those villagers. You neither respect your vows nor your partner; your sense of commitment is flawed and so is your ability to rationalize things. But this is not why your previous marriage failed. You were in love the first time but, like any other human being, your wife was not perfect. Instead of focusing on her inner and outer beauty, you focused on the empty half of her cup – hence the affair. The same scenario is most likely to happen with the "affair girl" and you will be easily lured into another affair. If your marriage turned into a big lie, then you started it, watered it, and gave it space to grow. So stop being a villager and come back to civilized relationships.