On the eve of my 20th birthday, I wrote in my journal that it was very exciting/scary to be entering the decade where I would probably be getting married and starting a family, cause, that’s what happens in your 20s, right? …With only 3 months left of my 20s, I either have a lot of work to do these next 90 days, or have to accept that I was incredibly naive and flat out wrong with my teenage prediction/perception.
While there are a variety of reasons why I “missed” this mark (most of which will be covered in a blog post or short film at some point ), a big reason is that I have an equally naive concept of what getting married means and results in. And I would be the first to call bs on myself, I mean what do I know? I’m sure one’s perception of love and life totally changes once the vows are made and children arrive, and this is what this post is about.
I wish I had more communication with married men. Not just the surface “Yeah married life is totally different” “no one’s ever ready for kids” “happy wife happy life” stuff… I mean, real, honest communication. When I do talk to young husbands and fathers it’s taboo to ask some of the harder questions. It’s even more taboo for them to answer them on the real. And even older men, I don’t feel comfortable asking certain things because I fear what deep scars or secrets I could be knocking on.
Have your feelings changed? Do you still think about someone in your past? What do you fantasize about? Who do you fantasize about? How do you not act on them? ..or, have you? Why do you stay? When you do have doubts, how do you fight them? Sure you were madly in love when you first got married, but what’s it like being held to a decision you made 5 yrs ago? 10 yrs, 20 yrs? Have you not changed? …Would you change anything?
Am I over complicating things? Do these issues not occur? Is it actually much simpler than I’m making it to be? “Chill out kid.”
I believe that as male animals we have primal desires that are suppressed because we are civilized and have evolved emotions. I believe that as intellectual humans we develop within our own life span and what we feel and believe rarely stays constant. So how do these men do it? And I don’t ask that question like it’s impossible. I literally want to know what makes them able to do something I don’t fully understand yet. I think when they are trying to be polite or good role models they’ll answer something about “I don’t miss that life”, and “what they’ve built together”. But is that all? How much is attributed to active choice, how much is it true love where they can’t see themselves with anyone else?
I’m not questioning the validity or authenticity of the answers. If it really is some special ingredient or level of “love” I have yet to grasp, that’s awesome. I can’t wait to get there. But perhaps I want to know that there isn’t that special ingredient. That despite being madly in love, thoughts and desires will always arise and are dealt with. I don’t think men want to admit these faults, they don’t want to disclose these secrets.. but I really don’t think they should be secrets, because honestly, there’s no secret. People’s minds and hearts wander constantly. Own up to it and tell those of us who haven’t gotten to where you are how you manage. Share your knowledge, share your struggles. It could possibly help both sides.
I’m a flawed man, I’m a scared man. But I want to be above these fears and doubts. I want to be confident in my future. A vow at it’s core is about confidence, no? Or is not having confidence the reason why one needs a vow? I think the only way I can make these promises and enter that next stage of life is to learn how to love, desire, yearn, miss, and let go of people in the right amounts. Is my first mistake believing that husbands and wives have found that balance?