Good God, people. Divorce is RAMPANT in my world the last few years.
I am one of the happiest divorced people I know and even I’ll tell you this: Divorce sucks more than Jenna Jamison on a comeback tour. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
While there are many reasons for divorce, I keep noticing one all-too-common scenario the past few years. I call it the Giant Man-Baby Phenomenon.
Now I do not think all men are giant man-babies. But I’ve seen enough of them in action to know that they’re not uncommon, either.
So before I describe the man-baby in detail, I’d like to issue a warning. Men: If you see yourself in any of the following descriptors, know that your wife secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hates you at least part of the time. It’s highly likely that she’s joked with her girlfriends that it would be easier if you just died in a freak accident so she could collect the insurance and wouldn’t have to get divorced. Yes, they’ve laughed at your expense.
Sounds harsh, right? I know it does. But I speak the truth. And if this pathetic blog entry can get one man-baby to grow the hell up for the sake of saving his family, then good.
So if you suspect you’re a man-baby, clean up your act, dudes. Because your wife has already had enough of you and in this day and age, very few of you get unlimited chances.
Also, a note to all the men out there who are not man-babies: If you know one of these guys — and you probably do — don’t encourage his pathetic behavior. Warn him that if he continues to treat his marriage like a litter box he’s going to end up 45-years old, sleeping on a friend’s couch with nowhere to go on the holidays. You will be doing him a favor (and also, keeping him from crashing on your couch).
You might be a Giant Man-Baby if:
1. You refuse to acknowledge that you no longer live in your room in your parents’ house. You act as if any of the adult responsibilities that come along with life are your wife’s fault and that she is a total drag for suggesting that any of these items enter your world.
Examples: Cleaning out the rain gutters, caulking the shower, wearing a tie when appropriate, or going to family functions. Every time you act like a poorly trained bear that she has to guide through life, she loves you a little less.
Listen, I love the idea of unconditional love but it’s really hard to love someone who’s a lazy ass and who treats you like his personal assistant/mommy/zookeeper all the time. A woman might still be able to muster up some love for that person, but she sure as hell doesn’t want to live with him.
How to know if you’re this guy: Your partner has removed all responsibility for household chores from you out of frustration that you keep screwing them up. Your one regular task is to take out the trash, which you do not do unless reminded.
*Ladies: A friend once had a man confide to her that he purposely messed up chores so he wouldn’t have to do them anymore. If your partner is clueless, keep in mind that it may be learned helplessness.
2. Your wife has to “request” time off. You act like helping with the kids is a massive chore. If your wife wants to go out for an evening, she has to “put in” for time off first and then get your grudging approval. She never even bothers to ask for a full day.
How to know if you’re this guy: You tell people you have to “babysit” if your wife goes out for a few hours.
3. You’re very busy and important. I’ve seen this one happen so many times that it’s almost funny to me now — except that there’s nothing funny about it.
Here’s how this one starts: You’re working more. Or you’re in school. Or you have some other activity that becomes all consuming. The point is, you have something Very Big and Important to do that requires a crushing amount of your time and your focus. Your wife doesn’t love this, but she wants to be supportive. She wants you to be happy and/or she wants you to get ahead in your career, so she deals with it.
At first she waits up for you and saves dinners for you and worries about you if you get home late. She explains your absence at family events and tells everyone how hard you’re working. You get a taste of freedom and you start to use your Big and Important Activity as your ticket to even more time away from the house: another gig, another meeting, a study group, etc. Something always seems to come up, doesn’t it?
Your absences start to grate on your wife. She has to attend family events without you. She gets tired of “waiting for daddy” to do family things and starts to go without you: road trips, the beach, amusement parks, etc. She stops saving dinner for you. She gets tired of explaining where you are at family events. Eventually people stop asking.
When you actually are home, the tension is thick because your wife is so pissed at you for leaving her holding the bag with the kids, the house, the errands, the social calendar, your parents, etc. You will begin to see your wife as a humorless hag. You wonder why you don’t have sex all that much anymore. You stay away even more.
How to know if you’re this guy: You get treated like a special guest star if you actually show up at a family event.
And #3 leads directly to #4 …
4. You’re cheating. If you’re spending that much time away from your wife and your family, you’re going to forget that you’re supposed to be faithful.
Keep in mind, you’ll eventually get caught. It might take a while, but it will happen. You’ll beg your wife not to “break up the family.”
However, you’ve already trained her how to live without you, so she may do just that. Plus, if you’re doing a bunch of the other things on this list, she’s not going to see losing you as an actual loss. She knows she can cover the day-to-day stuff just fine. No, she doesn’t know how to fix things around the house, but you don’t, either, and that’s what they make maintenance departments for.
How to know if you’re this guy or if you’re in danger of becoming this guy: You create extra events on your work/school/activity calendar to buy yourself additional time out of the house. You’re at bars with women at inappropriate hours (which would really be any hour if you’re a married man …). You don’t wear your wedding ring. You tell people you’re divorced or that you’re just about to get divorced. You delay mentioning that you have children as long as possible.
And there is my list.
I recently read somewhere that marriages that end up in trouble are often skewed heavily to meet one person’s needs over the other person’s. This is one way it can look. I’m sure a man could write a rebuttal to this or even craft a list about what it looks like when the woman calls the shots. If so, please send it to me and I’d be happy to post it here.
And now, with much fear and dread, I press “Publish.” Let the backlash begin.
For more on this topic, see the comments below or check out these posts: