One of my friends found out recently that her boyfriend has been seeing another girl behind her back. He’s effectively been living a double life. My immediate reaction was one of disbelief. He seemed so completely in love. Admittedly their relationship has been slightly rocky, but that is usually as a result of her not knowing what she wants, not him.
He is older than us and is feeling pressure to settle down. She wasn’t certain that he was the person she wanted to do that with, but she like having him around. He looked after her and it was an easy option. I guess he started looking elsewhere.
Once her initial anger wore off, she listened to his story. It gave her a shock. It gave us all a shock. During a period of being separated, he met this other woman. She is a single mother who lives a simple life out west. She worships the ground that he walks on. She is looking for a man that wants to get married and live a quiet life. She has no financial expectations of him. She doesn’t care what he wears or what his manners are like. She just loves him.
Huh? It began to sound as though he wasn’t getting those things from my friend. And it’s true. He wasn’t. She, like me and the rest of our friends, have always considered ourselves low maintenance. And we are. We are right at the bottom end of a very high maintenance circle. We take for granted the things that we have. We just expect things.
We have never stopped to think about the kind of pressure that those expectations must put on a man. As women we feel like we get a raw deal with trying to juggle careers and children and fertility and body image issues and all those sorts of things. We think that men have it easy. But I guess they don’t.
The reason he was seeing this other woman was because she loved him for who he was, not what he could provide. He was feeling pressure to earn a certain income and buy a certain type of birthday gift and drive a certain type of car. As soon as the truth came out, he felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He quit the high paying job that he hated. Now he can find something that he actually likes doing.
Hell, who could blame a man for running for the hills? It’s certainly made me think.