Monday, July 16, 2007

Becoming the Perfect Mate

As I get more experience on this big blue planet, I wonder why more people have not divorced.

I mean, to me, the most important part of marriage is choosing a mate, and women do not help in this aspect of getting married. Let me explain.

I have been told that you should wait at least 6 months before getting married – and the reason seems clear: men cannot deceive for more than 6 months. Okay, men and women cannot keep up an act for more than 6 months.

But you know, as a girl, I was really given the message, "change for your man." While playing house with the boys in the neighborhood, the girls had to shift what they really wanted in order to lure the boys to play house with them. While we wanted our boys to go to the office and come home, completely satisfied with how we made dinner, cleaned the house, and took care of the baby, the boy wanted to go hunting for food, or to defend the house with guns and knives. And as girls, we let them. Not only that, but we praised them for what they brought us (deer, yuck), or had glowing faces when they told us who they shot. In short, we changed ourselves to be the perfect mate.

But nine-year-old boys are different than men. Well, sort of.

In college, I watched shoot-em-up movies during dates, went to football games, and even went to a roller-derby. Really. Traveling roller-derby. I did this to be the perfect date, the perfect mate.

Problem is that the boys turned men I was dating did not get an accurate gauge of me ten years down the line, when I would be less enthusiastic about being the perfect mate. I am far from perfect, but part of the reason I married the man I did was because I did not have to differ too much from who I am in order to be the perfect mate.

I have a friend going through a divorce. We spent much of the weekend crying together, packing her things. For her, the decision was easy. She finally took enough hitting and threatening to decide to leave. She finally pressed charges. She was the perfect mate, too, the perfect punching bag. Until she decided enough is enough. I know my life and hers are far different. I cannot imagine what took her to her current place, and I am awed by her courage to change things.


Prata said...

When I was a child, my mom took a lot of beatings from my dad before she decided enough was enough. Oddly enough, she never hated my father. She said she loved him because he was a good man, but he was abusive. My mother always took some of the blame for that, and in some ways I see her point. That was a different time than now, and although that doesn't make it okay to beat your wife, it was a little more socially acceptable further back than it is now. That's not to say it was considered a good thing, but that it wasn't something people really talked about or anyone gave much thought as long as you weren't beating your spouse in the front yard. Most people wouldn't even call the police if they heard you taking a beating in the house, as long as it stayed in the house. Her reasons for taking some of the blame probably shouldn't be iterated here, that's her business and that's just the way life goes.

My mother never pressed charges, but she did leave eventually. Now, some people would use that as an excuse when they get older as witnesses to this kind of abuse to continue the cycle. Eventually you have to decide enough is enough. I am loathe to beat a significant other; however, I will if break every bone that I come into contact with while defending myself from assault. No, it doesn't matter who you are.

I don't think there is such a thing as the perfect mate. There's only someone you find suits you and grows and changes with you. Not a person that changes for you or you change for them.

Leesa said...

prata: perhaps I should have said, "striving to be a perfect mate." And thanks for your story today.

T said...

Leesa, Interesting post.Society always seems to giving messages out as we grow up. Boys were taught that the girl will change for them and girls also were taught that they could somehow "change" their man once they got them married. I have the feeling that there have been many rude awakenings.
It is sad to hear about physical abuse. I have four sisters and we learned very early that you don't hit girls. One of my sisters had an abusive boyfriend but in our old neighborhood, it was easy to find a way to deal with it.
I am divorced and remarried after 10 years of single life and therapy... sometimes you can be a psychological punching bag for someone too.
My wife and I aren't perfect either, but we went into it with eyes open and we are perfect for each other.
Good luck to your friend.

mal said...

The best piece of advice I ever received was "do not marry some one expecting they can be changed". I avoided a lot of duds that way.

Despite the hurried circumstances of our wedding we had known each other for 3.5 years prior...*L* other wise the NEED for the hurried nuptials would have never happened

mal said...

I digressed, it is good of you to help your friend. Sometimes we find the courage to face our problems in the courage our friends show in facing their own

RWA said...

I have friends who learned mal's lesson the hard way. They thought they could change their respective spouses - and they couldn't.

One played it smart and got out. The other refused to get out and kept trying. It was futile, and when she finally got out, it took a couple of years of therapy to help her recover.

Video X said...

"men cannot deceive for more than 6 months."

That is truer than anything I know. And I know a lot.

Thanks for stating it so matter of factly.

I am truly sorry for your friend. I am truly happy that you (someone) was there for her.

Video X said...

Oh...and Prata...I'd love to think it was a thing where it was more acceptable then than fact, I happen to currently think the opposite is true...but that's a whole other discussion and topic ;)

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me in this day and age that people act the way they do when dating and expect the other to stay the same or to be a different person. Actually, they do become different, they become who they should have been when they were dating.

Good post.


Advizor said...

If men can only deceive for 6 months, we fall far short of the acting talents of our mates. My mate pretended to enjoy my company, my hobbies, and my jokes for years. I never felt the need to "act" around her because she was doing all of the acting for us.

She pretended to be happy, all the while trying to get me to change, to live according to her "rules", to make a huge shift in my personality, and to "grow", which really meant to turn into a woman who never asked for sex.

I fell in love with a beautiful woman who loved being outside, enjoyed making out, and even the occasional pre-marital blowjob (we were pretty innocent). We would make out for hours and bring each other to these great orgasms without ever "doing it." But, within a year of being married, so maybe she couldn't pretend on everything, our sex-life vanished.

Now, as her facade starts to fall away, I'm finding that shes been pretending about a lot of stuff and I feel like I've been lied to for all these years.

I fell in love with my girlfriend, but I'm married to my wife, and I don't think they have ever met....