Other Perspectives #90

811 OP Relax and Succeed - Mom what is marriageThis is funny. In my experience thus far, the vast majority of men get left for the same reason every time. Same with the ladies. The guys tend to be emotionally inattentive and they keep calling their decisions the couple’s decisions. The ladies get it wrong when they do what this quote suggests: when they assume that their way of doing things is the correct way and that their spouse’s way is stupid, as opposed to just being another way of approaching something. Both the inattentiveness of the men and the certainty of the women lead to them usually being completely blindsided when their spouses leave them. Speak respectfully of those you love. Because you could flip this quote around to read, Dad, what is marriage? It’s a fancy word for having to put up with a bossy arrogant person who will constantly try to treat you like a child. Doesn’t sound nice, does it? Respect. If you’re going to be in a relationship with someone then make sure your commitment to love them is a verb that you practice daily and not just something you claim out of obligation or habit. Because whether they’re talking to other people or talking to their spouse, healthy people in healthy marriages talk about their partner’s qualities a lot more than the challenges they present.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

2014’s Blog of the Year #4

583 Relax and Succeed - In the end

My apologies.

I had wondered why so many people went to the page listing the Blog of the Year but relatively few followed the link through to the actual winning blog. And you guys picked good blogs this year, so they’re worth reading. But I didn’t realize until yesterday’s version that the links to the winning blogs were only working for some of you. That should be fixed now. Again, my sincere apologies for accidentally making them harder to reach than necessary. Today should go better. 🙂

This winner proves a few different things. First it underlines the fact that my readership is far more female than male, it demonstrates that many women are having the same challenges, and that the men aren’t failing to respond personally, it’s that they honestly don’t get it because they’re all behaving that way as an unconcious group. This blog was an attempt to offer some solace to women, and to give men a really big and important heads up. All of this year’s blog winners are great, but along with the Blog of the Year #9, reading this one might just save you a ton of pain, heartache and money:

CLICK BELOW TO READ:

2014’s Blog of the Year #4

peace. s

2014’s Blog of the Year #9

578 Relax and Succeed - The greatest compliment*

The first half of 2014 saw me experimenting with a Dear Abby style of question and response. While many of you found the postings extremely valuable in their focus, overall people found fewer of the postings related to them personally. For that reason half way through the year (on July 1st), I switched back to the original format. I’ll maintain it again next year, although I will likely spend more time addressing healthy spiritual and psychological responses to current events.

While I was answering questions the number one thing I got written and called about was men. Men. Meh. You can’t really live with us the way you’d like to, and in most places it’s illegal to shoot us. Please don’t take too much of what happens personally. If you’re heterosexual part of it is that his brain is different from yours. (Like I’m telling you something you don’t know!) Plus he has had training from a different cultural time. That’s the problem with the pace everything’s moving at now, by the time a son becomes a dad and husband, what it is to be a dad and husband has changed entirely and he has to make it up as he goes. Still, many men can be made aware of the value of better attentiveness and it definitely can lead to significantly improved relationships. For that reason I am happy to bring you:

CLICK BELOW TO READ:

2014’s Blog of the Year #9

peace. s

Understanding Sports Fans

Through the links you’ve shared on your blog I’ve begun to listen to a lot of the same CBC radio programs you sometimes refer to. One of those very programs recently had quite an interesting documentary on the psychology behind being a fan of a sports team. I am not really a big sports guy but the documentary was excellent except that I do not feel that it succeeded at truly explaining the psychology behind what I would call the truly rabid sports fan. Watching people reacting to the Olympics exposes the fact that this behaviour seems almost primitive to me. My hope is that you can provide me with more positive ways to
look at the antics of some of these people who otherwise look slightly insane from my perspective. Thank you very much Scott. I appreciate your assistance on this matter.

signed,
Confused by Sports

Dear Confused,

Thanks for the question. Hey, you’re from Jamaica or Guyana or somewhere in that region, aren’t you? If I guessed right then I’m pretty sure you know what group of accents I’m talking about. They’re all quite unique, but they have certain qualities in common. You guys mix the precision of proper English speech with a reggae meter—I absolutely love your writing. Sorry—I digress. I love accents and words and anything “languagey.”

325 Relax and Succeed - Shout out to the loversYes—I heard part of the documentary you’re referring to. It was on the program Ideas, on CBC One—one of my favourites. It was very interesting and well done, but I didn’t hear all of it so I don’t know what sort of explanations they provided. Regardless, I can definitely find something very positive in the behaviour of sports fans for you.

The basis of the documentary’s premise was: why do people volunteer to be fans of teams even though on average they’ll lose and suffer about 50% or more of the time? (A lot more in some cities… ahemo.0) Because this idea was at the core of the premise of the show I’m going to presume that’s the part you didn’t feel was explained. I’m glad you asked, because after considering it for a while I came to realize that it’s actually as heartwarming as it is interesting.

To start with let’s consider our nature. Before we lived alone or in very small groups in houses, we were collections of people. We were tribes and clans and bands. We were together. 80% of the world still group sleeps. Before that we were somehow contained in the unified, ethereal energy of the universe. We were united in our Oneness. And there are aspects of us that know and remember that. It’s just our conscious minds keep blabbing about our separateness so we can’t hear our own knowing. (If this all seems too abstract, stick with me.)

People pair off. They have friends. The vast majority would rather work in groups, people consider loneliness something unpleasant, and around the world solitary confinement is the worst possible prison to be in. So we naturally fit together. We’re a pack animal. But in a world with no packs—in a world with no tribes or clans, we opt instead for teams. We voluntarily 325 Relax and Succeed - Life is like a roller coastercombine our interests with those of others. And why? In the hopes of winning? Maybe our egos think that. But the centre of us—the part that’s still plugged in—knows that we’re not there to winwe’re there to play.

In the confines of the arena of play we will very informatively allow and surrender to the vagaries of sports. We’ll love it even though the outfield is uneven, or the court is slippery, or there’s the uncertainty of injuries etc. It is so easy for a good guy to lose—but that’s precisely what makes it exciting. Like we do with movies we choose to engage in a roller coaster ride. We ride the downs because we accept that they are a fundamental aspect of the ups. Andy Kaufman knew that the more you hated his character the happier you would be when he got beat up (The Man In the Moon). The fact that we volunteer for those experiences represents an enormous lesson if we choose to meditate on it closely.

Now, can an ego get this all muddled? Absolutely. They won’t be participating in this spiritual way, they will be participating in an egotistical one. They won’t want an exciting interesting game, they’ll want to win. They won’t want to share your pain, they’ll want to unload all of theirs onto you. They will feel separate and in opposition. For them the game is a mask—an excuse to indulge in tantrums. For the average person and the spiritually wise alike, fandom is merely a form of remembrance of who we really are and that’s why it feels so invigorating to us no matter what direction things are going. Whether we are cheering happily together or wailing in agony, the point is that it’s a collective experience. That’s what we like about it.  Not the winning or losing.

This surrender into co-experience allows us to join and meld with others. We melt into stupendous cheers, we get chills up our spines together, we become one with the entire experience. We forget there is an us. We do not use our thoughts to create an ego—instead we are simply Being. This is no small thing. This is why people say things like we won,” or “I can’t believe how terrible we’re playing.” There is no separation between us and the group. And the 325 Relax and Succeed - Be thankful for the things you don't enjoyathletes themselves are more like the elders around which the tribe convenes. But everyone is an equal part. Everyone feels the sting of defeat and—by contrast—the elation of victory.

This is actually an excellent lesson in what enlightenment truly is. Enlightenment is not being happy all the time. Enlightenment is being okay with anything. Even death. Because the real you knows that this game goes on long after time appears to run out. So actually comprehend the fact that you choose to suffer when you engage as fan. But because you chose it with your free will you have no resistant thoughts and the result is that you enjoy the experience not for its result, but for the experience itself. Because your spirit is not an ego. An ego does things, but a spirit has experiences. And as long as the experiences are intense and amazing and rewarding then you’ve done the only kind of winning that anyone can ever really do. Have fun playing. 😉

peace. Scott “Slap-Shot” McPherson 😉

PS Here’s the link to the documentary if anyone’s interested:

A CBC Ideas Documentary on Sports Fans: Catching the Game

The Listening Man

Winner: 2014’s Blog of the Year #9

How do I get my husband to listen to me? Every time we “talk,” before I’ve even finished my thought he’s interrupting me guessing what I mean (and he’s usually wrong). And then every single time he tells me that the way I feel about something is wrong. I’m tired of being wrong and now I’m finding myself attracted to a guy at work. He’s overweight he’s not very good looking but he listens to me. My co-workers think I’m crazy to be attracted to this other guy because my husband is a very good-looking successful guy but I don’t even feel like my husband even really sees me. Am I crazy? What should I do?

signed,
Unheard

319 Relax and Succeed - A woman can't change a manDear Unheard,

Let’s start off with this: no. You’re not crazy. But you’re also not alone. When it comes to women’s concerns about their marriages this would be one of the top three complaints I hear in my practice. If it makes you feel any better for his prospects for change; I myself was this husband at one time. Here’s hoping yours doesn’t need the divorce I did before he clues in.

I can tell you that he’s not working against you from his perspective. There is an innocence in your husband’s actions, as frustrating as they might be. Men are solvers. We’re task-oriented. We see a challenge, overcome it and move on to the next one. So when a wife brings up a concern, a male ego will interpret this as a request for help—even if you explicitly state it is not.

I’m speaking in generalities here but most men will only listen to the “problem” up until they feel like they understand it and then they do one of two things: in the first they’ll conclude that from their perspective you are wrong and then they’ll think they can debate you out of your feelings. They might actually have some success at that if they were leading you in a good direction, but to be successful at that they would have to listen and since not-listening is why we’re here….

319 Relax and Succeed - Most people do not listenIn the second case the man does agree there’s an issue, but their response will be to immediately begin to apply their own problem-solving techniques to the task. These involve using their skills and working around their dislikes or their fears and the end they seek will be weighed by their values. If you’re married a lot of those things will overlap. But never all of them. And so your feeling of being crushed or having no space is common because you’re not actually in your marriage, your husband is married to himself and you’re a stand-in.

It gets to the point where many women’s views are routinely dismissed to the point where the women are passengers in a relationship bus driven by their partner. His passengers might suggest another route, but he won’t take those suggestions seriously simply because—from his perspective—he’s the driver and he’s on a route. Where to go is obvious and logical from his perspective. That’s why he’s so dismissive of your views. He earnestly doesn’t see them as valid when applied against his logic.

The only part he’s forgetting is that there’s also a logic to your psyche. That his views aren’t right–they’re just his. He’s not aware that we’re all psycho-logical beings with our own set of perspectives, values and insights, so he’s not taking your values into proper account. He’ll believe in an external, objective reality.

319 Relax and Succeed - The art of listeningYour attraction to the man at work is entirely logical. If you’re psychologically crushed by your husbands inability to permit and respect your opinions, then anyone who makes room for them will almost draw you toward them like a vacuum. You have pressure in your relationship and the guy at work is offering space. Space for you to be. Not be a part of what he’s doing. Just room to be yourself. If your opinion is always seen as invalid or wrong you can’t be yourself.

I’m not sure how old you are but there are pretty common patterns of this throughout the western world. Women are taught by advertising and past culture to beg for acceptance and to base that on their appearance and their charm but only recently on their capability. So even strong women will have been raised in an environment which strongly encourages them to be more passive peacemakers. Men on the other hand are taught to take charge, analyze and respond. A good example of this is coaching.

I heard an interview years ago with four Olympic level coaches who also worked in professional sports leagues. All had coached men and women at the highest levels. Two of the coaches were women and two were men. What all four agreed on was that there exists a key difference in male and female dressing rooms.

319 Relax and Succeed - You can lead a manAll of them agreed that for a woman to call another woman out in the dressing room would almost certainly undo the entire team. It would create so many hurt feelings, so much politics, and worse it would create “sides” to the issue which means half the team is actively working against their own team.

In a male dressing room, again all four coaches agreed it was common and expected that players were seen as having direct control over their own play even in a team situation. So if a defenseman feels his winger isn’t checking his man, then he’ll yell at him in the dressing room and tell him to do so. And that generally won’t disrupt the dressing room, it will make it tighter. People will feel that each individual is being held to account and because they see their play as theirs and not the teams, they’re comfortable with that. The problem in your marriage is that your husband is attempting to coach you rather than being on a team with you.

Men are particularly worse for this when they’re young. I remember seeing a younger friend and her boyfriend at a Farmer’s Market. She would gleefully approach a piece of art and want to discuss its qualities and her boyfriend would break her heart by dismissing the entire experience with his opinion as to its dollar value. Obviously curators don’t organize art galleries by price or value-for-dollar but he couldn’t see that. He thought the value is what should be analyzed, not the beauty. And in doing that calculation his girlfriend found him a little less interesting and attractive.

319 Relax and Succeed - I have learned a great dealI wish I had better news for you, but how this usually goes is that you quietly build up resentment-arguments in your head until you start actually imagining yourself being with the guy at work instead. Even if he would end up doing the same male thing, he would at least initially appear better because when he’s courting he needs to listen so he can learn what to do. Once he feels he’s sure of what to do, that’s when things turn bad.

You don’t want to be changing your partner into what you want or you’re just doing the same thing he is. The women that succeed at this are those who are in some way able to communicate the issue to their partner in a profound way. Many times it’s someone like me that gets hired to make this clarification and to communicate the gravitas of it all.

If the man can grasp this subtle difference in perspectives then many are actually quite quick and responsive because they really do love their wives. But he can’t get yelled or cried into that state. Men largely work with logic, so you need a way to communicate the idea so that he can appreciate its value to him personally.

319 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes we need someoneEither you or someone you hire will get this idea across, or you’ll slowly drift toward a listener somewhere in your life, or you will try a separation or go straight to divorce. But until there is some upside or downside that will suitably motivate your husband to look more closely at how his assumptions are crushing his spouse, I’m afraid you shouldn’t expect this situation to change.

I hope he’s not like me and that he doesn’t need to get divorced to learn. But even if you have to do that, it’s not like there’s only one road to happiness in life. My ex wife is now married to the ex of a woman I know and she speaks very highly of him and they apparently have a wonderful family.

For my part, I’m thrilled she found someone who’s behaved more respectfully and that she’s happy. And it’s not like my life’s been bad either—I can’t even find a life I’d trade for I like my own so much. And if it makes you feel any better, I’m truly grateful to my wife for leaving me. I’m so sorry I put her through certain anguish before she had to make that decision, but in the end it lead to better things for both of us and every woman after her benefitted greatly. However it unfolds, I wish you the very same good fortune.

peace and a hug. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Sex and the Single Lady

I’m shocked at how shallow men really are. I don’t mean to be egotistical but I have always been considered far above average in the looks department. But now that I am over 40
I have noticed that men just get what they want and leave. Are there any mature
single men left out there or am I doomed to stay single?

signed,
Doomed

Dear Uncertain,

If it makes you feel any better, I too am single and I certainly don’t feel “doomed” so you have that option open to you as well. I quite like my life. But on behalf of my entire gender you have my apologies for any poor behaviour you’ve endured as a result of a minority of men’s myopic interest in sex. It is fine for sex to be important—even very important—in a relationship, but it can never be the entire basis for one.

298 Relax and Succeed - The beginning of love is to let those we loveWithout knowing more about your situation I can’t say whether or not this may have been a factor but I can speak to a trend I’ve definitely noticed in my work. People may not like these facts, but if you remove the difficulties generated by child-rearing, I overwhelmingly see two basic situations in the struggling relationships I work with: the first is grossly inattentive men, and the second is blindly selfish women.

By 40 even the most jaded guy’s-guy will have done at least some introspection on the fundamental questions surrounding our existence. The few that haven’t will seem remarkably immature and undeveloped, but even for those that have—that still doesn’t mean they’ve also built the communication skills necessary to convey those personal discoveries and the resulting values. So it’s not that there isn’t depth there, it’s that there is no language to describe it. This can make many men very challenging to communicate deeply with.

Men are taught to become masters of their own destiny, so because they are busy advancing their own cause, in many cases they have greater challenges in becoming attuned to the needs of others around them. This is why it’s considered ridiculous for a man to have sex and not orgasm, whereas it’s all too common for women (and that’s largely because the guy really doesn’t even have her satisfaction on his radar). Most men never even consider the fact that their wives might be faking their orgasms every single time.

Again, removing powerful forces like addictions or violence, when men get left in midlife it will very often be because they are failing to connect with what’s going on around them. They fail to notice some of the more mundane but troublesome aspects of running a household. It’s common for men to come to me after being left and they are deeply embarrassed about the fact that their wives had quite pointedly described all of the things that they needed to see changed and yet it’s common for the men 298 Relax and Succeed - A sure sign of a man's strengthnot to have addressed any of those things. They will not have helped more with the kids or around the house, they will not have made even the slightest earnest effort to even try to control their tempers or temperaments. In short they weren’t very present within their relationships and that lead to challenges. That said, the ladies have their own version of these challenges and you may be running into that too.

Whereas men tend to be lacking in introspection and general awareness of needs outside their own, the ladies will also often inadvertently be just as selfish. But rather than being unaware of their selfishness, they will justify theirs with volumes of thought. Of course this thought is all self-talk inside her own head so of course it does tend to be overwhelmingly self-supporting and congratulatory. The net result is that a lot of women leave fairly good marriages because they have expectations of a strange kind of perfection.

Through their ruminations about men and love, many women will have imagined their ultimate relationship for some time. They will have imagined it for so long that it will become a hardened plan. They will have essentially pre-built their own version of a “good relationship” in their head. They will know how the couple should act in public, roughly what they should wear, and maybe what level of job the husband should achieve and how the kids should behave etc.. I’ve heard these get remarkably detailed. And they would be great if the man (and the kids) weren’t individuals themselves. Because in the case of the husband, just by being himself he will step outside of her script. Because it does not match her imagination it will be viewed as him being “wrong.” His personal choices will be viewed as being unsupportive of “the relationship” rather than as examples of him merely expressing who he really is. This leaves very little room for the natural growth or the desires of the man. As men age and the allure of sex appeal begins to fade, the desire for peaceful relations begins to increase.

So how this plays out is that middle-aged women are looking for complete, well-rounded, emotionally intelligent men, and the men are looking for women who smile easily and who need very little to be happy. On one side there’s a desire for a man who’s ambitious about nurturing his relationship, and on the other there’s a desire for a woman who’s easygoing about conducting her relationship.

If you’re considerably above average in the looks department then you’ve likely had men extending you kindnesses that a lot of women would never see. But as those men age many will have faced years of complaints about not meeting the expectations of their 298 Relax and Succeed - For beautiful eyes look for the goodpartner’s scripts. So far from seeking beauty or sex appeal, they begin to seek carefree happiness. They want more calmness and less wrongness.

Only you know your own situation. But when you’re on these dates, pay attention to when you find the men disengaging. It may in fact be when they’ve achieved their “goal” and gotten their sex. Or it might be when you start making demands, or if you start describing your definition of a “good” or “proper” relationship. Because at this stage in life, whatever you do will get compared to the rest of his life. And men mostly do one of three things together. They play a game or sport where they’re focused on the moment they’re in and what they’re doing; they discuss subjects that fascinate or entertain them; or they make fun of things or each other and they laugh. These are all very fun activities, so when that’s what’s waiting for them it becomes difficult to hold their attention with expectations and demands.

If you’re having to deal with guys who are just plain bad at commitment, or who are only seeing you as a sex object, then at least they’ll make a more dedicated man stand out by comparison. And if you find they’re disengaging when you apply any restrictions on their adult freedom, then it may have less to do with them rejecting you and more about them respecting their own freedom as an individual. Either way, as long as you’re enjoying your life I’m fine with you being attached or single. In fact, when you’re okay with either scenario is likely when the highest quality men would find you most attractive.

In the end a relationship never really is a commitment. It’s always a choice. And it doesn’t get made on a wedding day. It needs to happen every single day. So if we’re looking to have good relationships, we need to encourage good choices. If we’re generally consistent, open, loving people, then healthy people will find it easy to choose to spend time with us.

I’m certain there are many avenues to good fortune in your life, so keep your eyes peeled. I wish you every good fortune in finding a way to share your heart more often. And I hope you always remember to be kind to yourself in the process.

peace. s

An Open Letter to Women

Okay ladies. Yesterday the guys got an awareness-raising. Today it’s your turn. I’ll have to speak in the same broad generalities, but it will still be useful. Ready? 😉

282262_10151034556271518_108075051517_12150199_1714479472_nFirst off, yes we have feelings. It might surprise some of you to know that we have all of the ones you have. On top of many others, we feel sorrow, pain, guilt, regret, heartache, fear, insecurity, joy and love. We understand that you often don’t include our emotions in your deliberations because we don’t display them the same way you do, but they still are very much present.

Many of the men you may call “cold” are in fact badly wounded by their memories of past events. Because our culture does not encourage men to expose these aspects of themselves, when we do it is particular challenging when that trust is betrayed. In essence we are taught not to show that aspect of ourselves anymore. So please don’t talk and act like we’re not emotionally capable creatures just like yourself. That’s a common expression in the media but we’re human too. We just got male conditioning instead of female conditioning.

Speaking of conditioning, in the Western world (and in much of the rest of it too), men still feel the burden of providing for the household. Even if this isn’t literally true, the man will feel it. It’s why rich young inheritors will often want to build businesses. It’s not for the money—they simply don’t need it. Instead it’s for the value to their sense of themselves. So when a man loses his job he not only loses his income and worries for his family, but he loses a large amount of his capacity to successfully apply for a new job. With his confidence undermined he will appear less capable than he is. Remember, identity comes from thought. If the man is thinking insecure thoughts his performance will be insecure.

There are men who are more comfortable being bossed around by an aggressive woman, and there are men who prefer to have total control with a woman doing nothing more than following, and most men are in between. But there are some commonalities.

301824_416990401676818_617255966_nThe first is that many of us do not generally share your ambition many of you have to impress others with our home. Yeah, we can get into cars and toys, but we truly don’t get the concept of guest towels. Most of our competing comes from behaviours or accomplishments. Even a lot of liberated women still feel an impulse to feather a nest.

To man, a home is often a never-ending ever-expanding list of things for a couple to do. There are guys who see themselves as having worked their asses off to pay for and renovate a home, and as soon as it’s done the way his wife wants it, his wife will often shift to asking for the next change. There are men who have literally spent lifetimes in that crazy pursuit. But he will actually volunteer to do many of these things out of love, even though he personally sees zero value in doing them. This is important to remember.

When you say a guy doesn’t love you because he forgets your anniversary, be reminded that from his perspective, he may also have worked for 6 months to earn the money to pay for your engagement ring, or to pay a large portion of a wedding that wasn’t very important to him, or to buy some home renovation he has no interest in doing nor paying for. And yet he’ll surrender half of his year to it. Think about that. Why? Because he loves you and it’s important to you. The same reason you do things for your kids even though they can’t pay you back. That’s what love does. So no, most guys can’t write a very romantic birthday card. But a lot of them work way more hours for things their wife wants than for things they want. For a lot of guys their house is just that other building near their garage or in front of their deck.

Things guys really don’t like? Being talked to like children. I know you don’t mean to do it, but just listen in a grocery store or at the Farmer’s Market some time soon. Many women are shocked when I take them and have them listen in this way. If you closed your eyes you’d think a large percentage of the wives were talking to small children. The tone, the choice of words. Even slaps to the wrist! Men are not children. They have different priorities than you. It’s not frivolous to value fun or relaxation. It would do a relationship good if both genders spent more time trying to truly understand where the value comes from in each others choices.

283186_10151198281391117_1292430088_nIn conflict we are a different creature than you. While estrogen tips your emotions toward drama and pain, testosterone tips emotions us towards frustration and anger. So when a guy is really angry, it’s important to try to determine what he’s mad at. Because way more guys are mad at the situation than they are at the person. Sure, some will focus on the messenger. But men are fixers, so if they can’t solve a problem with their relationship they will become frustrated. And so their anger will not be about the woman, it will be frustration over not being able to solve the problem. Angry, frustrated yelling is more often the release of pent up chemistry, than it is a precursor to violence.

In divorce most women assume men are protecting money when they’re calculating their 50%. Again, much like when they spend their money on renos they often don’t really care about the amount; it’s not the money itself that’s the issue. It’s what it stands for. A man doesn’t have to be greedy to attach his masculinity to his ability to earn and purchase. This is the modern version of hunting.

If you get divorced and have to bring your dates to a tiny little crappy apartment, that’s like the caveman equivalent of bringing home too little food. You lose the girl that way. So after a guy’s already lost a relationship he’s really not motivated to surrender meat and pelts when he’s looking for another girl. (Not to say that there aren’t some upsides for divorced men. Whereas in most cases, a 40 year old divorced woman gets to date men 40-60, a 40 year old divorced man gets to date women 20-45.)

45300_491415984251928_678838547_nThe reason so many men turtle in later years—choosing to be single instead of dating—is often directly related to how women react when they’re angry. Sorry ladies, but the schoolyard taught you to fight socially. As you often self-report, some of you can be pretty vicious. I’ve seen men’s entire lives destroyed by lies spread with the purpose of making the man pay for something he’s done. And by “done” I mean, he lived his life and the woman didn’t approve of his choices. So for a lot of ladies, if he’s not going to follow her plan he will pay because his freedom of choice will be viewed as him letting his partner down. And his payment will often be to have his personal, social and professional life badly damaged or even completely destroyed.

Despite the common myth, you don’t hear a lot of men complaining about women much. Sure, bitter men in the midst of break-ups and comedians can do it, but most men avoid the subject. I’ve played on teams with men of all types for years, and I can’t say I’ve heard very much in terms of men complaining about wives. Even if they do it amounts to little more than shrugs or brief comments. But at the same time we are aware that women have meetings just to discuss our shortcomings. Do you really think it’s possible for us to succeed with you when you come home after hours of discussing our “failings” with your friends?

Ladies, as I wrote yesterday, men need to buck up in all kinds of ways. We need to hold other men more accountable for their violent or abusive behaviour. We need to honour your interests and pursuits more authentically. And we need to remember that you can have orgasms too. But we also do a lot of things that get taken for granted. Because this I know: of the people I work with that get divorced, 90% of the breakups are initiated by the woman, but way less than half of those women–by their own account–end up better off by ending the marriage. Most see their life get worse.

Most women only imagine what qualities of their husbands they want to get rid of. But very few calculate what qualities they would really hate to lose. So it’s not uncommon for me to have a female client contact me two years after I negotiate their divorce to see if her husband might still be single. So yes: leave violent or grossly unappreciative men and do it quickly. But be careful. Because most of us are trying really hard to be the best people we can and, in my practice, a lot more women regret having left their partner than the other way around. That’s just the facts ma’am. Use them as you will.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor, coach and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

PS: If you’re looking for tools to make things better, try reading An Open Letter to Men.