Sometimes, it just fails. And that’s okay.
But fuck, it sucks watching it happen.
Many strong relationships that have stood the test of time in many cases, are starting to fray.
I’ve watched good friends get cheated on by their wives. I’ve watched good friends cheat on their wives. I’ve watched relationships that I was convinced would never fall apart collapse quicker than an old building.
This pandemic didn’t cause the relationships to fail, all it did was hasten the destruction already inflicted. And many people are choosing to destroy their relationships.
Yes, even my parents. 45 years of marriage, starting to buckle because of old age, health problems, and anxiety about the future and what it holds.
It’s taken it’s toll and I’ve had to watch it first hand.
Disheartening? Yes. Disappointing? Of course. But I won’t say it’s unexpected, nor will I say that I don’t know the eventual result.
It hurts more because I know the WHYS and HOWS of these happenings.
When you become red-pilled, you see shit you don’t want to see. You understand the truth of life and you have to grapple with the consequences of the knowledge you have. You have to understand that everyday, a nuke drops somewhere, and you can’t do anything to stop it. You watch it, make a note of how it happened, and try like hell to make sure it doesn’t happen to you or anyone you love.
Knowing versus Not Knowing
When I was married, I was naive to many of the issues I know now. And that’s problematic because the problems I was told were the issue versus the ones that really ARE the issue is a dangerous place to be.
Ignorance is bliss, it seems, until the knowledge hits you like a boxer in the first round.
So, as with my own marriage and the problems I didn’t see until it was too late, I had to learn the hard way. I had to go through intensive therapy in order to understand the issues in my marriage, so understand that most people who are married don’t have the intellectual cajones to even fathom the basics of why they are having issues in their marriages.
Married life, for me and millions of people, is walking with a blindfold on hoping you don’t hit something. People HOPE their love is enough and it will transcend all other problems. But when the problems become too big or if many hit at once, we see a once-proud institution buckle mightily because the marriage is only as strong as the people in it. And many people are showing weaknesses even before the vows are uttered.
So, in my experience, I was ignorant in the ways of what I needed to do and look for in my marriage and in my life in general. I was under the impression, especially with other relationships I observed around me, that being present was the only requirement for marriage. It wasn’t work, it was “OK, I found my significant other, time to put down the hammer and get fat and complacent. She loves me for me, so it’s no problem.”
And I acted like it. I did what I was supposed to do, not what I should have been doing. I did the bare minimum to make the marriage work, and low and behold, it failed in less than a decade.
And all because I didn’t bother to learn how it worked, I was just glad I found someone. And my ex was glad her biological clock was arrested and she had two kids. At that point, I was terrible with women and she was the first to say yes, and she had been in unfulfilling relationships with men who didn’t want to commit. So we weren’t a strong marriage, we were a means to an end.
And, as I got more educated through what I went through with my own divorce, it’s natural for me to see similar issues with other people’s relationships, especially those closest to me.
The wreck of my marriage, for all the bad things it brought, gave me the knowledge and foresight to be able to have a healthier relationship in the future, and that started with myself and becoming better.
That knowledge, whether I wanted it or not, is on full display with all the relationships I see with the people that are closest to me. I try to impart some of what I learned to the people who need it most.
But here’s the major issue with that….they either can’t or refuse to hear it.
And so, I become preachy and obnoxious to them because I try to tell them to avoid the mistakes I made. I become annoyed when I see things they are doing (or more often times NOT doing) and I have to say something, only to be pushed away and shown the door. My warnings don’t mean much when they won’t heed them. They see my life, not as a success story where I am finally happy and a well-rounded individual who’s taking responsibility for his life, but as a stain of single masculinity. “At least I’m not single” becomes the battle cry of people who lack the intestinal fortitude to make their lives better, citing fate and luck as the main catalysts of their marriage.
After trying to help and getting rebuffed, it’s time to watch the nuke.
Powerlessness Coupled with Understanding
Look, my experiences aren’t the way to go, I understand that. My advice is just that, advice. I’m not going to pretend I’m a relationship expert. And, quite frankly, some relationships are destined to fail. Hell, some relationships need to fail.
But it still doesn’t make watching them falter any more pleasant. I’ve had several friends whose marriages have failed this year alone who I’ve had to console or talk to in order to tell them that regardless of what I did say or do in order to warn them, I just couldn’t get through to them until the rubble settled.
Sometimes, the best advice you can give someone is no advice at all. Letting them fail, while difficult, is the best way for them to understand and learn from the mistakes they made.
It still sucks to watch it all go down. It still blows to have to witness the nuke, people you love and respect, watching their world crumble.
But, as I watch, there’s something I understand.
There’s only so much you can do as a person outside of the blast radius.
You can’t put yourself in their situation and steer away from the bridge.
Sometimes, they have to drive off the cliff in order to see what mistakes they made.
It’s why watching friends and family struggle in their hollow marriages is so difficult, but also a necessity. They need to understand that there may be a way to save their marriages, but it would involve behavioral adjustments and epiphanies they just won’t understand, let alone do.
THEY have to make the decision, they have to do the work, they have to see the issues. And more times than not, they don’t.
Look, I don’t want my parents to split up. I don’t want my friends to have this heartache of a cheating spouse. Their worlds are crumbling and the best I can do is to support them going through these difficult life experiences.
Because the bottom line is that is all I can do for them. Be there to listen, support, and try to help where I can.
This is a time they need a strong friend, son, brother, etc to help them make sense of what’s going on in their lives. You may very well know what’s happening with them because of your own experiences and telling them “I told you so” doesn’t do anything but piss them off and shit on their circumstances.
They need someone who can understand what they’re going through and point them in the right direction after the damage has been done.
Sometimes you just can’t save it. It sucks, but that’s how it is.
The nuke’s going to go off. You have to be there to help rebuild.