- Gender and Relationships
For Unhappily Married Men - Having Children Changes Everything, Kids Change Your Relationship with Your Husband
You're Not Alone
I posted a HUB not long ago called Affairs with Married Men, where I addressed an email I received from a married man's mistress who called herself "Lonely". I was pretty firm, pointing out all the reasons why she and her married liar are in the wrong, and why she should move on.
As a response to that HUB, I received many emails and comments from men. Unhappily married men, that said having kids changed everything.
Many of the emails and comments on Affairs with Married Men all described a similar scenario. A husband and wife get married. They have kids. They have debt. She changes, shifting her prioroty completely into mother-mode. The man gets miserable, and goes elsewhere for happiness.
"Angry Wife" said that they were living paycheck to paycheck, she was a stay-at-home-mom, and they had 4 kids when her husband left her for another woman.
"Fatal Attraction" said she didn't want her children being raised by strangers so she quit her lucrative career to stay at home with their 2 kids. Her husband left her for a woman that did what she used to do at work.
"Bill" related to the comments made by Lonely's lover about his wife: pitiful, clingy, and dependent. His wife wouldn't work but wanted to keep having kids and gave him a hard time for his long hours. He said he dreaded coming home, and finally left.
"Regret" said he had no idea what raising kids would be like. He was shocked by how expensive it was and by how their entire lives changed in every way. He claims he loves his kids but can not live like this. He's planning his escape.
"The Dog" said he and his wife were so happy when they first got married. Then everything changed once she insisted on having kids. She changed, her priorities changed, and their lifestyle changed. He said this isn't who he married and this isn't the life he signed on for. He said he refused to be stuck and left his wife.
"Carol" said she knows her husband has been having affairs since her first pregnancy when he stopped finding her attractive. Instead of confronting him about it, she decided the best thing to do was to keep having more children so he'd be tied to her forever. They now have 4 kids and he avoids coming home as much as he can.
I want to take this opportunity to point out the warning this should flag for all young couples. This advice comes too late for our Unhappily Marrieds above, but it's not too late for others to learn. When you commit your life to someone, that means you've discussed and agreed on what that life will be like. Having kids is a huge lifelong commitment that is not all pink puppies and giggles.
Kids are freaking expensive. They are constantly in need of attention, protection, money, support and guidance. It's 24-7 every single day for the next 18 to 22 years at the very least. By having children you've surrendered most of your personal freedom, your indiscretions and your wild side. You have completely accepted the burden, cost, and commitment to:
Handicaps, learning problems, no more sleep, behavior problems, braces, soccer uniforms, getting your ass to scouts, games, car seats, mini vans, grandparents, getting up, snow days, sick days, school buses, PTA, play dates, concerts, runs to the mall, doctor appts, sickness, messes, big awful plastic toys all over your once-pretty living room and lawn, going to water parks instead of Vegas, getting to know Elmo and Bobpants or whatever the fuck that is, G rated, Disney, other people's children and their birthdays and problems and issues... sex talks, cell phones, internet predators, pot smoking, piercings, being called old and out of it, coming out, growing up, getting off, music you can't understand, goth, goth boyfriends, pregnancy, AIDS, school shootings, driving tests, insurance, cars, boys in cars, girls with tramp stamp tattoos, eating disorders, cutting, bullying, curfews, grades, college...
And there's no guarantees. Your kid could be special needs. Medically challenged. A behavioral nightmare. He could bully, or be bullied. She could get pregnant. He could deal drugs - out of YOUR home. She could drive drunk and kill someone. They could (COULD) could cost you everything. And even the best behaved most wonderful kid costs you oodles of money, time, thought, energy, responsibility and commitment.
Once you have a kid, you are no longer the first person you get to think about. Period. Every decision, every penny, every inch of your life is now theirs.
Really think about this before you have kids. Agree on your ideas and plans. Will you both work, can you afford for one of you not to, consider day care, and school, and what your house is going to be like, and cost. Think about no more motorcycles or vacations, or whatever sacrifices you really are going to have to make, and be on the same page with your partner.
I can almost guarantee you that the people that wrote in did not consider all of the above. Look, there are many lifestyle choices that you are free to make. To have or not to have kids is one of them. Kids change everything.
As you can see from the recaps above from those comments and emails, in general it's the men that want out, that don't find their wives attractive once they become mothers, that are feeling the financial stress, that are miserable. Is that always the case? I'm sure it isn't. But this is what I have to work with here, these are the people that responded to the HUB.
Angry Wife made several excellent points in her comment. One of which is that maybe she'd feel differently if her ex husband was at least supporting her and their kids, but he hasn't sent a penny since he left. I'm starting off my advice with that point. Running away from the problem doesn't actually resolve it. Guys, the mistress seems stress-free and wonderful, but the reasons you're leaving your wife aren't just going to disappear if you go. Eventually dead-beat dads get caught. Is prison really going to be better than the life you have now? Stop dreaming and own your shit.
Bill, you asked for advice and here it is. FIX IT. It's too late to *think* now about whether or not you want or can afford kids. It's just too late to discuss this. So fix this moving forward.
First thing you have to do is sit down with your wife one on one. Hire a babysitter and take her out. Sit her down and tell her the truth. Tell her you're fucking miserable. You CAN NOT live like this and you feel so strongly about this that you have contemplated leaving. She can't dismiss this. Make her hear you.
Once you have her real and true attention to the seriousness of your state of mind, let her know that you aren't leaving. You made your bed and you're going to BE A MAN and lie in it.
List out all the things you hate about your life. I'm serious. Hey, you're contemplating leaving her. Telling her you don't like her housecoat is mild in comparison. Whatever all your gripes are, list them out. Even the ones that are selfish, unrealistic or mean sounding. Just do it. And encourage her to do it too. This isn't going to be easy. Brutal honesty is your only way to go at this point. And this is going to take time. If she wants to save the marriage she will let you get this off your chest. Then you can begin to compromise and work together as a team. Your problems are her problems. And vice versa.
One of two things needs to happen once you admit these things. One is that you will make the sacrifice and suck it up. Or two is that she will. At the very least you can work together. You will see that there is a side to everything you don't like, that you haven't considered.
For example, when you were dating her she made an effort to look great for you. She did her hair, her nails, her toes, and her make up. She got dressed in cute little outfits and jewelry. Now she doesn't. Your attraction for her is waning. Well, once you admit this to her, she can admit right back to you, that she used to have an hour to herself every morning to primp and fluff and get dressed. Now she doesn't. BINGO. Maybe you can go into the office an hour later every day, and give her that alone bath and beauty time. You take the kids completely for one hour every morning. Make it two hours and let her run to Curves and have a coffee in peace, too. Maybe she is just as upset about her looking frumpy as you are! Maybe verbalizing this and her having this special time every day will really be great for both of you. She will enjoy taking pride in herself and looking good again and this self confidence will spark other changes.
If you have some financial freedom, addressing necessary changes will be easier. Hiring a nanny, a maid, or a one day a week babysitter will bring incredible relief. You may have decided day care was not for you before you had kids. But now you are seriously contemplating LEAVING YOUR WIFE. Hello. That's much worse than daycare. You have to reconsider that decision for your sanity.
I strongly recommend seeking outside help. You may both be too close to the matter for real clarity. I highly recommend couples therapy. If finances aren't flowing, I highly recommend you make an appointment with a credit advisor and you sit down together and figure out what the hell you're going to do. Downsize your house, sell off stocks, make a budget and stick to it. Maybe she can go back to work and you can utilize daycare or a grandma that's willing to help. Maybe if you move your office to the house that will save overhead. Whatever you need to do, DO IT.
If you attempt these things and they don't work, or if your wife refuses to try to work with you, then make an appointment with a lawyer. Bill (et al), you can't just leave your kids. If you really have exhausted all other possibilities and there is no way this can work, then go to a lawyer. You can't just run.
When you put time and energy into a mistress and your own happiness, you are taking time and energy away from your family. It's not fair to anyone. It's a poor response. It makes you an ass. You made the mistakes. You have to fix them.
Marriages are partnerships. Partnerships involve compromise. And sacrifice. You may have made some really bad decisions that you truly regret. And if you are in that situation, I'm sorry for you. If one of you is unhappy, then both of you bear that burden. And you have to work together to find the compromise that will get you through.
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All text is original content by Veronica.
All photos are used with permission.
All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.