Saturday, September 13, 2014

I'm Back And How Not To Live Your Life

Hi! I'm back. I'll try to post the pictures tomorrow, in the meanwhile, I'd like to draw your attention to this interesting article by Daily Mail:

I left the love of my life because I thought I could do better...

This article supposedly criticises the careerist mentality of modern women and their desire to "trade up" where it concerns men and is meant as a cautionary tale. However, when you read it, you will see that things are not as simple as they appear.

Here are several highlights of the story:

Laughing and dancing with my fiance at our engagement party, I thought I might actually burst with happiness.
Surrounded by our family and friends, I looked at Matthew and felt certain I had met the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
Quite simply, he was my soulmate...

So why, 20 years later, do I find myself  single, childless and tormented by the fact that I have thrown away the only true chance of happiness I ever had?

Eight years after that wonderful engagement party in 1989, I walked away from dear, devoted, loyal Matthew, convinced that somewhere out there, a better, more exciting, more fulfilling life awaited me.
Only there wasn't.

Now I am 42 and have all the trappings of success - a high-flying career, financial security and a home in the heart of London's trendy Notting Hill. But I don't have the one thing I crave more than anything: a loving husband and family.

Sounds like a standard story of a b***-busting career woman who turned her back on having a family in her youth and now regrets it, doesn't it? But there is more to the story than that. Let's look at the details:

In the summer of 1989, while out for a romantic meal, Matthew proposed properly with a diamond solitaire ring. Two months later, we held our engagement party for 40 friends and family at the little house we were renting at the time.
The following year, we bought a tiny starter home in Grays, Essex, which we moved into...
(emphasis mine)

First, notice how there is no mentioning of a wedding taking place? The couple give an engagement party at the house where they cohabitate, which means that they moved together before they even officially announced their engagement. They later buy a house which they can barely afford and several years later 
the housing market crashed and we were plunged into negative equity.

It's getting worse than that as the lady advances in her chosen career while Matthew is perfectly content to sponge off her and to drift "from one dead-end job to another." It's a simple fact of life that hard-working, career-oriented young women often attract the type of men who can't hold down a job and are perfectly content living off their girlfriends' salary.

There is also a social class angle to the story: as Karen (that's the lady's name) moves more into the direction of middle class she starts resenting her fiance's working class background and lifestyle. However, the main thing that irritates her, is Matthew's inability to support a family:

I began to wish he was more sophisticated and earned more. I felt envious of friends with better-off partners, who were able to support them as they started their families. (emphasis mine)
Eight years after the engagement party, the couple are still not married and have no children which is probably for the best as Karen finally decides she's had enough and leaves,which her parents disapprove of. Her father tells her that she has little chance to find a man who would love her as much as Matthew did. It's a pity though that Matthew's love didn't motivate him to provide for the family and to finally marry his live-in girlfriend aka fiancee (in newspeak). 

Matthew then drifts into another relationship and so does Karen:

Shortly afterwards, I met Richard. It was a whirlwind romance, and within a year we were engaged and buying an idyllic farmhouse in the Norfolk countryside...
I see a pattern over here, don't you? Yet again, Karen moves in with a man she isn't married to, convinced that now it's a "real thing". However, she can't forget Matthew and Richard is unfaithful and finally leaves her for another woman. At this moment in her life, Karen tries to hook up with Matthew again who also split up with his girlfriend but allows her to live in his house. He later marries yet another woman and though he is presumably at least as old as Karen who is 42, "they don't have children yet."

Karen by this time wants children desperately and has another relationship which ends because her partner already has a son from previous relationship and doesn't want "to start over again." So now Karen is 42, alone and childless and regrets leaving Matthew as, in her opinion, it was her only chance to become a mother, yet judging by the fact that Matthew, who is presumably in his mid-forties, isn't that interested in havind kids, either, I rather doubt she is right.

The story of both of them is the train wreck from the beginning to end, which can be said about many modern relationships. Here we also see that Karen's parents apparently encouraged her to study and work hard and to make something out of herself, but didn't teach her about one most important thing for any woman: how to evaluate and choose a husband and father of your children

There are a couple of very simple rules a young girl can follow: first, don't live together before getting married, as you will get attached to someone and this attachment will blind you to his drawbacks. If you later split, you will have a diminished ability to bond with your new partner, as illustrated by the story above. Second, the feeling of romantic love you have for your boyfriend is a poor substitute for his inability to make a living. If you ever want to have children and a family, choose a provider type, not someone who drifts from job to job or is a starving artist/musician, unless you are a career woman looking for a stay-at-home husband (though this sort of guy would probably make a lousy SAHD, either).

If you don't want to suffer from heartbreak, it also makes sense to avoid men like Richard. And finally, this is Daily Mail, so we should take anything they write with a grain of salt:) However, the general principles stand.


  1. The concept of ruining your own life is lost on many people today. Often the ruin is covered up with money, therapy, good jobs, a nice house, vacations, clothes, etc. the ruined people never get to understand that failed relationships set you back spiritually and emotionally and financially. People meet so many other people in the same situation that they start to feel it is normal. Then they cry "why is this hapenning to me

  2. People just don't want to take responsibility for their own life and their (wrong) decisions any more, whatever happens, it was always someone else's fault.

  3. Goodness she does seem as though she needs some kind of therapy since she is still unable to get over this relationship. I even viewed the whole article as yet another way to try and get his attention. I think she's crossed over to obsession.

  4. I think you have a point over here, and her living together with him in a common law marriage type of relationship didn't help things, either. She is really not that old, though, and presumably, still could have a family of her own, as 42 is still not too old to have children (my neighbour gave birth to twins at the age of 45), however, the lady seems unable to choose a suitable marriage partner.

    As for Matthew, he wasn't probably really hopeless and could be motivated into earning a living, but having a high-earning girl-friend as his partner, he felt no real need to do it.

  5. When I began reading this story, I was afraid it would be uncomfortably close to my situation. I left a lot sooner while things were still new although I seem to share the same inability to evaluate men as husbands. Would you do a post on that?

  6. Hello Diane,

    I think I have done a post about it some time ago, using advice from the book called "Fascinating Girlhood" by Helen Andelin, but since there is interest in this topic I'll probably write another one in the near future. Stay tuned!