My marriage ended because I cheated on my wife. It’s as simple as that. I can tell you all the reasons it happened, how I found myself in that situation when I’d never imagined I’d be that guy, why it didn’t really mean anything.
But none of those things matter. What matters is that I broke my vows and hurt someone I loved very much in the process.
Divorce is never easy. Even when it’s amicable, even when you don’t blame each other for anything – when you both just admit you’ve both changed, or have different goals, or have simply grown apart – it’s hard to deal with.
But what do you do when you know – 100%, without any doubt – that it’s your fault?
I Cheated on My Wife and She Left
After it had all settled down – after she’d packed up her stuff and left and I was alone in my house, just me and the cats – the hardest part to deal with was the guilt I felt for the hurt I’d caused. I missed her, of course; I often think the thing we miss most when the relationship ends is not what we had, but what we would have had, the life we expected to share with someone else. To have that life blown away, for her and for me, was excruciating. But so was the knowledge that it was on me. I had cheated on my wife.
There were other problems, of course – show me a relationship that doesn’t have problems and I’ll show you the last five minutes of a sappy romantic comedy – but this problem was one that I created, through my own selfishness and stupidity. It left me literally tossing and turning every night; in my dreams, I played Monday morning quarterback, endlessly replaying the last angry, tearful conversation, trying to figure out if I could have done something, said something, to mitigate the pain I’d caused, to find a way that we could work through it.
But worse than those dreams, of course, were the ones where it had never happened; where I dreamed of my wife and I going out, or going on vacation, or simply sitting around watching TV, the way we used to. Those were the dreams that hurt to wake up from.
Fooling Yourself Doesn’t Erase the Guilt
The easiest way to deal with the guilt, of cour se, is to fool yourself. Yes, you screwed up, but maybe if she’d been a little more this or done a little more of that, you wouldn’t have been driven to cheat or lie or whatever you did to make the relationship end. Maybe if she’d been a little more understanding.
This is all bullshit and it’s beneath you. You need to accept responsibility for your actions and their consequences. You screwed up. Yes, maybe there were other problems, but if so you should have faced them and worked on them rather than allowing them to drive you to do something you couldn’t take back. Part of being a grown-up is admitting to yourself that you did wrong. That’s the first step.
Unfortunately, that can lead you to a very dark place. I had to accept the fact that, despite a lifetime of believing in true love and finding that special someone and being faithful to them until the end, I was a man who had cheated on my wife. I was, in my own eyes, a faithless son of a bitch. I was not the misunderstood hero of the piece. I was, in fact, the villain. That’s a hard row for anybody to hoe.
Sometimes You Just Need to Grow the Fuck Up
It’s a terrible thing to realize that you’re not perfect, that you are, in fact, human and that you sometimes do stupid or thoughtless or mean things. It’s terrible to realize what you’re capable of. But in that realization is self-awareness. You have discovered something true about yourself – something unpleasant, certainly, but that awareness is important. It helps you understand who you are, how you got there and – most importantly – what you need to change, in yourself and in your life. To err is human…but so is learning from one’s errors. You need to take a long look at yourself in the mirror and really see the face there, looking back at you. And you need to understand what’s required to once again make that face one you can be proud to look at.
It’s different for everybody. Some people need to realize they have a problem with the booze or the pills. Some people need to realize they have an anger management problem. And some people just need to, frankly, grow the fuck up and realize they’re not the only person on the planet, that other people have feelings that are just as important as their own. Sometimes you need to be reminded that you need to tread lightly in this world because if you don’t you can trample people who don’t deserve it, people you don’t ever want to hurt.
You Will Always Carry the Scars
Then you need to take a deep breath and you need to just get moving, keep living your life, one day at a time, as the folks in Alcoholics Anonymous say. You can’t take back what you did, and maybe you can’t rebuild the bridges you burned, but you can do your best not to burn any more of them as you go. You can come out the other side of your pain and self-recrimination and find a more thoughtful, mindful, conscientious person there, waiting for you.
You will always carry the scars, though; don’t fool yourself about that. I sometimes wonder if it’s worse to be the hurter than the hurt; after all, the hurter has to live with what they’ve done. You may learn to forgive yourself, but you will never forget. She’s been gone over a year and I still ache when I think of her, think of the sorrow on her face, that I caused. Those scars will never vanish.
But that’s okay. Scars are snapshots of our lives; they remind us of what made us who we are. We learn from scars. We move on. We survive.
There’s a line from an old Tom Petty song I often think of when I think of my ex-wife:
I still think of her when the sun goes down
It never goes away, but it all works out
That’s the plain truth, right there. You will get through this. You will feel better. You will be better. That’s part of being human, too. You will survive.
(c) Can Stock Photo / dmitrimaruta
It’s the punchline of a thousand bad movie jokes…but what does it actually mean? What does it entail?
What It Means
The word “alimony” is derived from the Latin alere, meaning “to nourish”, and the concept is simple: it is the legal obligation of one spouse in a marriage to provide financially for the other after separation or divorce. If it helps, think of your marriage as kind of like a cell phone contract; you can break that contract, but you’re gonna pay for doing it.
In the past, the paying spouse was invariably the male spouse…but as social norms have changed, and with the advent of same-sex marriage in many states, that’s no longer always the case.
So what does that mean for you? Will you have to pay support? Can you ask for spousal support? The answer is: it depends. Financial support is not an automatic right, but either party can ask for it during divorce proceedings. In many cases, the terms of financial support can be handled privately between both parties. But if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, the courts can step in, and that’s where it gets complicated.
State Laws Vary on Alimony
How support is assigned, and how much and how long, varies wildly depending upon where you live. Each state is different and your divorce lawyer will be intimately familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction. In many states, spousal support is only awarded if the marriage lasted over ten years or if you have children. (In that case, spousal support is still handled separately from child support, which is a whole other massive deal.) Some states factor marital fault into support proceedings: if you cheated on your wife, you might end up literally paying for it.
Some states have limits on how long spousal support must be paid; in Kansas, for example, payments cannot last more than ten years and one month, while in Utah, it can’t last longer than your marriage did. On the other hand, if you live in Mississippi, Massachusetts or Tennessee, you might be expected to pay until the day you die or your former spouse dies or gets remarried.
Some states have alimony pendente lite, which is basically “separation spousal support” that is paid from one spouse to another during the separation period, until the divorce is finalized. If you’re a house husband or stay-at-home dad and your wife kicks you to the curb, you can ask for “rehabilitative support” from her, which will only cover you until you can get a job and a place and get on your feet.
Where and How Much
But let’s assume you’re the one who gets saddled with making payments. How does the court determine how much you’re going to be shelling out each month? Again, it depends on where you live, but it’s also going to depend on how much you make; the standard of living you provided for your spouse during the marriage; whether your spouse supported you at any point during your marriage…the list goes on and on.
And it’s usually not going to be cheap. Generally, you won’t be asked to pay more than you can afford and still cover your own bills, but it’s important to remember that most courts consider spousal support more important than voluntary debts (like credit card bills or car payments) and won’t take those into account, which might leave you in a tricky position. The one upside is that the federal tax system allows you to deduct spousal support when filing your taxes. (If you’re receiving support, though, it’s considered taxable income.) Negotiating court-ordered support is what your lawyer’s for, but you can also use this handy-dandy calculator to get a ballpark figure.
Try To Reach an Amicable Agreement
For childless couples, negotiating spousal support can be the nastiest part of divorce proceedings. In the long run, it’s going to be a lot cheaper and less painful if you and your spouse can negotiate the terms of alimony between the two of you, and come to an amicable agreement without bringing your lawyers (and their billing departments) and a judge into it. If you can find a way to make sure that everybody gets what they think they’re entitled to, for as long as they need it, it will make the transition out of the marriage that much easier.
On the Origin of Alimony A Modern Opinion on an Antiquated Practice Groucho Marx once said, “Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse.” Ironically, that works when you think of the word alimony. The word itself comes from the Latin words ‘Alere’ and ‘ment’ - ‘Alere’ means…
Before you experienced divorce for yourself, you may have been under some false impressions about divorced men. Maybe good. Maybe not. After all, the guy at work seemed to do just fine following his divorce last year. Truth be told, you were a little envious. He had a dating profile…
Alimony has its place in divorce, but far too often it is like a punishment for men. Alimony has traditionally been used as a way to get them to stay in a marriage they possibly did not want anymore.
The #YesAllWomen hashtag popped up on social networks like Facebook and Twitter in 2014 as part of the social media campaign about women in response to the tragic May 2014 killings in Isla Vista, California by gunman Elliot Rodgers, who posted a lengthy diatribe and a YouTube video detailing his misogynistic reasons for committing the murders. #YesAllWomen was an attempt to show that, while not all men participate in what has come to be called “rape culture” — the culture which objectifies women and regards them as merely subject to the desires and attitudes of men — all women do participate, whether they want to or not.
If you’re a rational, intelligent, empathetic man, the #YesAllWomen hashtag and the discussions surrounding it make for heartbreaking, eye-opening and — if we’re being honest — depressing reading. It can certainly make you question your own unintentional complicity in the rape culture it describes — are you truly innocent of sexism and misogyny? And frankly, it can make you terrified of even attempting to engage romantically with women…particularly if you’re a recently divorced dude who hasn’t had to really think about it in a long time.
The Language Has Changed
The world changes, and we must change with it. Attitudes and behaviors that were once tolerated or even acceptable — even a few years ago — are unacceptable now. When I was a kid, growing up in the 1980s in suburban Texas, for example, we thought nothing of using terms like “faggot” and “homo” as catch-all playground insults against one another. But dropping those words into conversation at a cocktail party in polite urban society these days is a pretty good way to ensure you don’t get invited to the next one.
It took me years to stop using “gay” as a synonym for “lame”, as in “Dude, your car is so gay.” There was never any real homophobia behind my language — I grew up in a family that went through the AIDS struggle in a very personal way and I never had any hatred or even dislike of LGBT people. It was simply the way I learned to talk from those around me. And many people still use that as an excuse — that it’s simply the way they were raised.
The truth is that how you or I were raised is, frankly, irrelevant. In a civilized society, where we interact with people of all races, cultures, genders and sexual orientations, we refer to people the way they want — or do not want — to be referred. We treat them with the same respect we’d want for ourselves. There’s nothing political or religious about it, by the way: it’s simply good manners, the hallmark of a true gentleman.
And that most certainly extends to the way we talk to and about women.
A Sense of Entitlement About Women
When you’re a boy, girls are weird. They look different. They act differently. They care about different things. As you grow up, so do they…and rather than being weird mutants, they become heart-wrenching, otherworldly creatures, targets of our purest desire. I mean, they have boobs, for God’s sake.
It is a cruel joke of evolutionary biology that boys become desperately interested in girls right at the moment that puberty turns them into awkward, insecure, cracked-voiced, acne-ridden meatballs. But that’s the way it goes. For most men, our first attempts at romance are metaphorically accompanied less by sexy saxophone solos and more by the sound of a drunk hobo playing a sad trombone.
Unfortunately, a lot of us go into adulthood still thinking that women are a mystery, that we have to somehow trick them into liking us…especially if we’re not conventionally attractive or charming. Worse yet, we’re taught by society and media that we deserve their attentions and affections.
This sense of entitlement gives rise to a particularly noxious subculture, typified by the PUA (or “pickup artist”) movement, who treat seduction as a sort of sleight-of-hand trick that anybody can learn if they practice from the manual long enough. For these men, women are marks who must be conned or tricked into having sex. It never seems to occur to these men that women might be actual humans with their own agency or that the reason they perpetually fail to attract the opposite sex is because they’re just really creepy and gross.
Being A Nice Guy Isn’t a Free Pass
Many men go the opposite route: they try to be as adoring and accommodating and caring as possible to the women they want…only to be dismayed to discover that simply being nice to someone doesn’t automatically mean they want to have sex with you. These are the men who complain about being “friendzoned” or — like Elliot Rodgers in his pathetic imbecile’s memoir — that “women don’t like nice guys”. They fail to understand that they are not nice guys. A nice guy is nice because he’s nice, not because he expects a reward for his decency.
Women don’t owe men their love, or their bodies. They don’t even owe you a conversation. If you try to talk to a woman at a bar and she ignores you, she’s not a bitch. She just doesn’t want to talk to you, and it doesn’t matter how convinced you are that she might find you fascinating or intriguing or sexy if she just gave you a chance. She doesn’t owe you a chance. She owes you nothing at all.
Finding Love Is Like Finding a Job
If it’s any consolation, you can think of finding love — or even sex — as being like finding a job. You may think you’re the ideal candidate for the position: after all, you’ve got every possible reference, you’re totally qualified. But that’s not your call to make. It’s the person on the other side of the desk’s call, and all the whining in the world about women isn’t going to change that. (It should go without saying that the opposite is true as well; you may be the dream applicant for the job, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it.)
If a job interview goes badly, you don’t go home and get drunk and whine that all HR people are jerks because none of them want to hire you, do you? So why would you do that when a woman turns you down?
Here’s how you treat women in the 21st century: with the same respect and courtesy you’d treat a man. Do that and you’ll receive the same respect right back from women. Yes: all women.
(c) Can Stock Photo / rmarmion
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It’s a old joke that most people stop “trying” after they get married: stop trying to stay in shape or keep up with fashion. For example, a recent poll suggests that 25% of men gain significant amounts of weight after getting married. After all, you’ve landed your catch, right? You don’t need to fool around with all that nonsense anymore.
Until you get divorced, that is. Maybe you’re finding yourself newly single, and packing on a few (or more than a few) more pounds than you did on your wedding day… and on top of that, your closet’s looking less Urban Outfitters and more Sears casual section these days. You want to look good, and it’s not just about landing a hot woman; it’s about feeling good about yourself. But fashion is a river that keeps flowing whether you’re swimming in it or not, and if it’s been a few years since you actually had to think about it, it can be intimidating to jump back in.
Fashion Tips for Big Men
I speak from personal experience, by the way. I’m 6’3” and weigh what I’m going to go ahead and claim is around 260 pounds, and I know the terror of navigating the treacherous terrain of style. But luckily, while the hip thing of the moment comes and goes, some fashion secrets are eternal…especially for big men. So I’ve compiled a few to help you get started.
1. Keep it classic.
Maybe you’re browsing around on Vice and looking at the way the cool kids are dressing in Williamsburg and Portland these days. You could rock a plaid shirt with a bow tie and a pair of jean shorts, right?
Wrong. There are two people who can make hipster fashion look good: Ryan Gosling and…well, no, really it’s just Ryan Gosling, and definitely not you. So you’re going to go for timeless, classic looks. A good rule of thumb: if the outfit you’re considering would’ve gotten you carted off to the asylum at any point between 1950 and now, it’s probably a bad idea. You don’t want to be this guy.
2. Keep it casual.
Maybe you belong to a generation that associates looking good with ties and exquisitely folded pocket handkerchiefs. While there’s nothing wrong with that, these days it can be overkill. (Plus you run the risk of being mistaken for the head waiter at the restaurant.) A good dark sportcoat over an untucked dress shirt and raw denim jeans is a perfectly acceptable look for going out these days, for a man of pretty much any age. Make sure your dress shirt has a flat hem, though; if it has “tails” or is of uneven length, it’s meant to be worn tucked in and you’ll just look sloppy with it hanging out.
You can’t ever go wrong with a nice pair of Oxfords or loafers, of course. But definitely stay away from big, flashy sneakers, unless you are actually a member of Run-DMC.
3. Not too casual.
There is nothing sadder in the world, in my opinion, than a fat guy in a polo shirt and Sansabelt khaki slacks pulled up to his belly button. It’s a look that tells the world that you’re not afraid to admit you spend your Saturday nights playing Magic: The Gathering with the other guys from the IT department.
If you’re going to keep it on the casual tip, nobody ever went wrong with jeans and a t-shirt. You’re probably going to want to go with sedate, darker-colored t-shirts; shallow V-necks are great for big men (they accentuate the length of your neck rather than the width), but deep V-necks will make you look like you’re trying too hard. Jeans should be dark, preferably raw denim, devoid of embroidered designs or, God help us, bedazzling. Wear your jeans around your hips — you’re not fooling anybody by yanking them up to your imaginary waist, and you look like somebody’s grandpa. And wear a belt, because the second-saddest thing in the world is a fat guy walking down the street trying to keep his pants from falling off his non-existent butt.
4. Avoid big and tall stores.
There seems to be some cultural consensus that if a man is heavy or large, he must enjoy dressing like he’s mentally challenged, or possibly a private detective from an 80s TV show. If you’ve ever set foot in a big and tall store, you know what I mean: soul-crushing and ludicrously overpriced Hawaiian and Cuban bowling shirts, floral-print muu-muus, tacky golf pants and t-shirts with “wacky” slogans like NOBODY MESSES WITH THE BIG DOG. If you didn’t feel like Chunk from The Goonies before you walked in, well, you do now.
Unless you’re morbidly obese, most major chains will carry a subset of clothing in your size. Old Navy, for example, is very good about carrying XXL shirts and jackets, and larger-sized pants. Burlington Coat Factory has an excellent Big & Tall section, although a lot of the selection skews towards urban-style stuff like Rocawear and FUBU; nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s not really my style, personally. Your mileage may vary. But anything is better than walking out of a big and tall store with a George Foreman-branded shirt that makes you look like a Hialeah bookie.
5. To shave or not to shave?
At this precise moment in our cultural timeline, beards are in, in a big way. But it’s pretty much an all-or-nothing thing for heavy men. A full beard will hide your lack of a jawline and make you look masculine; a clean shave will show that you’re serious about your grooming.
Whatever you do, don’t try some kind of stunt facial hair like a razor-thin chin strap or a gigantic wax mustache. You won’t look daring. You’ll look like you just ran away to join the circus.
Aside from a nice watch or a simple bracelet: don’t. Just don’t.
7. A new do, a new you.
Hair is tricky for big men. Longer hair tends to fit round faces better, and can give you that Game Of Thrones look, but you have to be a certain type of dude to really pull it off. Ditto a shaved head: do it right and you’re Vic Mackey from The Shield, do it wrong and you’re Uncle Fester. Your best bet is probably something longish, tousled rather than tightly-groomed: think current-period Seth Rogen. And, as with your facial hair, stay away from stunt styles.
8. Silk shirts, sharkskin suits, suspenders, leather dusters, fedoras.
See # 6. And seek psychiatric help.
Do you know any guys that need some fashion help?
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Fashion isn't something that a lot of men think about on a daily basis. In fact, I’ve had guy friends that would literally rather sit through a “Sex and the City” marathon than spend the day shopping for themselves. Most guys have two modes: fast and functional. So where does…
Like pasta salad, meatloaf is an unfairly maligned dish. Yeah, it’s pretty boring, if you make it 1950s suburban style. But it’s also really simple to make, and like most simple recipes, you can, uh, kick it up a notch into something awesome with just a little bit of creativity. Cooking for men can be all about creativity!
Remember: the easiest way to make any food a little more awesome is to vary up the spices a bit. In this recipe, we’re adding cumin and chili powder — which, if you have been following our cooking for men suggestions and read our article on stocking your pantry, you’ve already got in your kitchen — as well as a mild poblano pepper and salsa to give meatloaf a new lease on culinary life.
Of course, while it is cooking for men, keep in mind that you’re basically just eating solid meat here; do your colon a favor and pair this with a spinach salad or gazpacho soup. Tasty is important, but so is healthy, right?
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (you want the kind that consists of 20% or less fat)
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion
- 1 fresh poblano pepper
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 jar salsa
- grated cheddar cheese
- sour cream
You’re going to use a loaf pan to bake this; if you don’t have one already, you can buy a perfectly sufficient aluminum foil single-use one at the grocery store when you get the rest of the ingredients.
Start by de-seeding your poblano pepper by cutting off the top (where the stem is) with a kitchen knife and cutting out the seeds from the inside. Then dice the pepper and the onion into 1/4″ chunks.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab a big mixing bowl and throw all the ingredients except for the salsa into it, including the chopped onion and peppers and, yes, the egg. Now: squish it all together with your hands until everything’s totally well-mixed together. Hopefully you aren’t too OCD about slimy stuff, but trust me, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Take your big ball of meat and egg and spices and veggies and shove it into the pan. Flatten it down, making sure it totally fills the bottom of the pan, like you’re about to make a loaf of bread.
There should be room at the top of the pan still, which you are going to use to cover your meatloaf with the salsa. You can use a spoon or a spatula to spread it evenly over the top — think of how normal meatloaf has ketchup on it. At this point, if you want to, you can put a layer of grated cheese, which isn’t necessary but also tastes pretty awesome.
Put it in your oven, on the middle rack, and bake it for an hour. You’ll probably want to use a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked all the way through — nothing sucks worse than meatloaf tartare.
When it’s done, you can garnish it with sour cream, nacho-style, and serve it in slices, or even on a sandwich or in a tortilla with avocado slices if you want to get fancy.
Cooking for Men Means Variations
If you dig Tex-Mex meatloaf, you can also try experimenting with adapting it to fuse with other types of cuisine. For example: instead of using cumin and chili powder and Worcestershire, try using soy sauce and ginger and garlic, and topping it with black bean sauce, and you’ve got Asian meatloaf! You can also make a pretty decent vegan version by using lentils or ground beef substitute and replacing the egg with uncooked oatmeal and the Worcestershire (which contains a bit of anchovy) with soy sauce.
Get creative! See what you can come up with. And if you find something awesome for cooking with men, share it with us in the comments!
Like this recipe? Be sure to share on your social media.
(c) Can Stock Photo / bhofack2
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