Being a man in my thirties, I find myself questioning everything. I look back at who I was, and think about all the decisions that led me here to who I am today. Why am I still not the man I want to be? I am married with two amazing children and I do everything I can for them; however, it never seems to be enough. There aren’t enough hours in a day, and frankly, sometimes I feel so lost I don’t know what to do.
When I was younger, I did what I wanted. Many times this actions got me into trouble, but I didn’t seem to care. I don’t remember many details of my childhood, but I know that I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. I never belonged to any individual social group. Instead, I tries speaking to everyone. This was good; however, it meant not ever really having true long term friends. I never spent much time with any one person – so I never had a best friend.
As I got older, I would surround myself with girls. I had my steady girlfriend, and my multitude of female friends “with benefits”. No matter where I went I had a girl there. Looking back, I don’t know if it was an ego thing as much as a loneliness thing. I needed that companionship. I did my best to be honest and open with everyone. The girls knew I was unfaithful, and though in my mind that meant it was ok, the truth is it was selfish, and in the end hurt everyone including myself.
In high school, I took a Psychology class in which we learned about Bi-polar disorder. I could really relate to the symptoms, but my mother always taught me never to show weakness. We were always to keep our personal business in our own house. It was all about appearances. To this day, she believes that seeing a counselor means you are crazy. I never did seek assistance, I simply continued living the roller coaster that was my life.
I was obsessed with pleasure. I failed to see the big picture when there was the opportunity for instant gratification. Food, Sex, Fun, anything really – if i enjoyed it, I wanted it all the time. I didn’t realize what was really going on. My ego saw it as maximizing. i could get anyone to do anything I wanted. I was “the man”. Yet I was lonely. When things went wrong, I sunk into a deep depression. I wouldn’t even want to get out of bed! Everything hurt. Then, when things went well. I was on top of the world.
I met my wife years ago. When I was in high school. She was 13 years old. I thought she was very pretty, but far too young. I was also already involved with a few other girls, and trying to make my rounds with the other girls in the group. She knew all of this about me, and still stood by my side whenever she could. She ended up choosing me above all else. A choice I know she regrets, and I don’t blame her.
Fast forward – we had children in our 20’s, and got married when our kids were about 2 and 3 years old. We have been together for 5 years now, and things just keep getting worse for her, even though they seem to be getting better to me. Its as if our goals are not aligned, and we are just two different people with different wants and needs.
I’ve noticed that we are actually very much alike, but i’m pretty sure she resents me for us moving away from her family. She now sees all the negative things from our past, and I fear there really is nothing I can do to make things better. I’ve done almost everything she’s asked of me, but it seems she intentionally continues to ask of me until I she finds something I can’t or am unwilling to give. Then she grounds her entire argument to that one thing.
I was not a good man to her in the past. I was aggressive, controlling, demanding, disrespectful, and rude. When I realized these things, I knew I was out of control. I was depressed. My life was not where I wanted it. I had children looking to me for guidance, and I didn’t think I was worthy. At the same time, my ego kept telling me I needed to demand respect. It was bad. I was very unhappy with myself, and that trickled down to everyone around me.
I have since then calmed down tremendously. I think before I speak (most of the time), I try to not raise my voice – even when my wife keeps yelling at me. I haven’t been physical, or aggressive in any way and i’ve kept my temper pretty much in check. I think all of this may be too little too late. I know my wife deserves the world, but I feel I may have broken her so badly that she will never see me as anything but the boy that hurt her all those years ago. She loves me, but that love is starting to grow conditions, and I think she’s ready to just cut her losses.