The Ex was much more successful than me towards the end of our time together. She'd always earned more (about 1.5 times my pay for much of our marriage). She was good at her work where I was barely adequate (and after I got into a comparably paid job, my inadequacies became ever more glaring). Looking back, I'm not sure it was much of an issue for me; at the least, I only remember feeling bad about it when my nose was rubbed in it. The article I found last night, however, gave me a perspective I hadn't really had before: hers. To quote New York magazine -
For women, the shift in economic power gives them new choices, not least among them the ability to reappraise their partner. And husbands, for their part, may find to their chagrin that being financially dependent isn’t exactly a turn-on. According to psychologists (and divorce lawyers) who see couples struggling with such changes, many relationships follow the same pattern. First, the wife starts to lose respect for her husband, then he begins to feel emasculated, and then sex dwindles to a full stop.I like to think I've always kept confidences, but I'll breach them here sufficiently to say that this passage could almost have been verbatim. I find it somehow comforting to know that, from its inception, my only serious relationship carried the seeds of its failure. Whether I'd been a good man, husband and father or a bad one, it would always have gone the way it did. Certainly I was the best lawyer I knew how to be: indeed, I always thought that the time and energy I gave to my work was one of the reasons our home life was so awful at the end. And despite being a much more effective lawyer now, I still would be out-earned by her, and professionally outmatched. I would be OK with this, because the work I do matters, and because I'm mostly putting my skills at the service of people who need them, and that is enough for me in a way it could never have been for her.
Anna, a public-relations executive, saw her relationship with her Web-designer husband collapse as she became more and more successful and he floundered. In the last year of their marriage, she earned $270,000 while he brought in $16,000.
“He never spent money that wasn’t his in an extravagant way,” she says while taking therapeutic sips of a Sea Breeze at Tribeca Grill on a recent evening. “But by not helping, he was freeloading.” ...
While they may have been able to avoid the truth while she was off at work during the day, it came back to haunt them at night. “Sexuality is based on respect and admiration and desire,” says Anna. “If you’ve lost respect for somebody, it’s very hard to have it work. And our relationship initially had been very sexual, at the expense of other things.
“Sex was not a problem for him,” she goes on. “It was a problem for me. When someone seems like a child, it’s not that attractive. In the end, it felt like I had three children.”
“The minute it becomes parental, it becomes asexual”
My current circumstances would not be everyone's cup of tea. I can understand that. I live in rentals. I have no deep ties to anywhere much. And yes, there'll be no cards coming my way on this or any other Valentine's Day. And I'm good with that. No: I'm better than good.
I'm where I'm supposed to be.
|Image from here|