Sunday, October 4, 2009

Divorced men say - "Women, just tell us what you want!"

I've been having lots of cocktails with single men this week. After my raucous evening with"The Posse"- three divorced moms living on the North Shore - I interviewed three divorced dads to get their perspectives on dating and relationships.

I met Armando (remember him from Posse Part 4?) and his friend, Marlon (imagine a not-so-broody Brando), on Wednesday back at Flight. I talked to Vince, (think Richard Gere) earlier in the week at Bluestone in Evanston. My husband is being very patient.

The men are late-40ish and live on the North Shore, but they differ from the women in that they're very recently divorced and they don't have a Posse to hang with, at least not yet. The guys had a lot to say about the break-up of their marriages. Armando and Vince's wives initiated their divorces; Marlon was the one who wanted out of his.

"I've got a lot of guilt," admitted Marlon.

"You've got guilt, but I've got pain and loss," said Armando.

Vince was "surprised and heartbroken" that his wife wanted a divorce. All three men felt that no matter how hard they tried in their marriages, their wives were constantly dissatisfied.

"I had to change everything about myself to meet her needs," said Armando, "No matter what I did, it wasn't good enough. My wife expected most of her needs to be met by me. I gave up my friends, even my family for her. It was suffocating."

"I did everything,"said Vince, "but nothing was ever good enough. These women get mean and impossible to please and it's all our fault."

Marlon puts it more bluntly. "I kissed her ass," he said, even though he was genuinely perplexed about what his ex-wife wanted.

"You just don't get it." She would tell him.

"Then TELL me!" he'd say. "I can't read your mind!"

"That's sad. You should know."

I squirmed. I didn't know what the ex-wives had wanted either, but I do know we women want to be appreciated, to feel noticed and special. Maybe they weren't making their wives feel desirable, I suggested? No way, said the guys.

"I bent over backwards to let my wife know I still wanted her," said Vince. "I'd grab her ass, tell her how great she looked."

I had to laugh. "You know, not all women think having their ass grabbed is the most romantic gesture."

Vince said, "Grabbing your ass means hey, I'm noticing you, I'm hot for you. I may not be the Count of Monte Cristo, but it's what I got."

"My ex-wife is beautiful," said Armando, a bit sadly.

Marlon nodded. "She is. I'd go out with your ex."

Though they're still hurting from their divorces, Armando, Marlon and Vince have begun to see other women. Are they out looking for someone "young and stupid" as the Posse chicks accuse? As I see it, no.

They want someone attractive, of course. But beyond that, the men want a woman who is open and easy to talk to and most importantly, really, really wants to be with them. Someone who is nice, someone they don't disappoint. And that person doesn't have to be young.

"I have a lot to offer, but it takes a woman in her 40s to appreciate it," said Vince.

So, how does it feel for the guys to be dating the second time around? It feels damn good. Check back in a day or so, cos that's what I'm writing about next.


arnold layne said...

"Tell me what you want," the frustrated husband begs.

"Not you," the wife implies.

Meg said...

I think it's largely about trust and communication. If the ass-grab is clearly communicated and understood to mean "Hey, I'm noticing you, I'm hot for you" then fine. If husband thinks it's a compliment and wife thinks it's demeaning, she should say "That makes me feel cheap -- how about some tender kisses on the back of my neck instead?" The work doesn't end after the wedding ceremony! The next interesting conversation might be with the wives of the guys in this article -- get THEIR take on what happened. Armando's wife might say, "Jeez, he stopped spending time with his friends, family, his whole world revolved around ME. He wasn't interesting anymore!" Oh, it's a tangled web. Sorry for the verbose comment! I have an opinion on everything.

Marjie Killeen said...

I value your opinions!

One of the hard things about talking to the men was that as a woman, I was torn. I'm sure their wives had some legitimate complaints, but the guys really didn't know what they were, and therefore, neither did I. I have to say, I could really see the male perspective and I sympathized. It was kinda weird.

I think women are emotionally more sophisticated (or at least more sensitive) than men. We need to explain things to them- very clearly- before getting mad at them for not understanding us. It sucks that we have to do this, but worth a try!