“The simplest kind of decision is binary.” E.J.W. Barber
I have seen this behavior thousands of times…
“He’s a good man…”
“He’s a good father…”
“Everyone loves him…”
When we’re struggling inside of our marriage to a “good man,” these thoughts can leave us paralyzed.
Because if you leave the good guy, no one will understand…
You’ll for sure be judged by family and friends…
And some lucky woman will scoop him up and he’ll be happy, and what if you’re not?
It’s Not So Simple
We love binary decisions because it’s easy to wrap our minds around:
Good guy = stay
Bad guy = leave
Love him = stay
Not in love = leave
Oh, if only it were so simple…
There’s no debating this: my ex-husband was (and still is…) a good man.
He didn’t hold grudges or get angry.
He laughed easily and had lots of friends.
He had good relationships with his family.
He was solid and stable, smart and predictable.
He would never hurt me, or anyone, intentionally.
…which was exactly what I was looking for in a husband in my mid 20s.
But by my late 30s, what I wanted began to look and feel very different from who he was or what we had created together. What I craved was everything I didn’t have: affection, connection, passion, spontaneity. Those weren’t things we had cultivated in our marriage, so when we tried to create that, it felt difficult and awkward.
I had always been the Alpha between us, making the decisions and frankly, getting my way, so it worked for me. But after a decade of being in charge, I grew tired. I wanted someone that would dial-up the masculine energy and take charge once in a while. Just because I could do it all didn’t mean I wanted to do it all.
And now because I had changed and what I wanted to feel and experience in my marriage had changed, he was now supposed to magically change who he was? Why? So I could get my way yet again? So I could feel how I wanted to feel?
I knew that wasn’t the answer, or even a real possibility. So I just kept focusing on all the good things that he was. I would wake-up some mornings and think to myself, “I can do this…he’s a good guy.” And other times, I would lie my head down on my pillow at night thinking to myself, “How am I going to keep doing this?”
The desires of our lives don’t stop talking to us just because it’s inconvenient. So ultimately, yes, I ended a marriage to a perfectly “good man.”
- No one really understood because everything looked good from the outside looking in
- I was judged by many people, including some I considered friends
- And some lucky woman scooped him right up and they’re now happily married
It took me a few years to find my path to happiness and to trust myself enough to marry again.
I’m not suggesting that because that was the right answer for me, that it is also the right answer for you. Everyone has to choose for themselves. But I am suggesting that your partner doesn’t have to be a jerk for you to make a decision that honors your life, your needs, and your desires.
If you’re married to a “good man” and have found yourself stuck in indecision for years – trying to figure out if you can open your heart to him again in a new way, or if the only answer is to lovingly release it, maybe it’s time to see if we should work together. Here’s your next step.