Chapter 96. Having children may destroy your relationship.

Let´s make something clear: kids alter relationships.

Men, most of them, like to enjoy life without the responsibility. Women in return, marry with the idea of starting a family and have kids because for many women, having kids is a dream come true, starting a family is what we have been taught and in other cases shit just happens. For most women kids become their first love and their love life, their relationship, suffers as a result. One because men do not like to share the attention with screaming little beings that they will need to care for and support for at least 18 years, small beings that they don´t know and that enter their house to offer sleep deprivation, diapers, bottles, expenses, more in law time and endless weekends at home. No fun. Two because sex becomes less feasible when the kids are in the house. There are of course other instances in which the father becomes in love/obsessed with their offspring. In these cases the woman will get pissed off, depressed, jealous and resentful, that also kills the relationship.

Who likes to add responsibility and more pressure to adult life in these times where job and financial stability are as flaky as an onion? Who likes to wake up naked after a night of passion and lust and see a small walking baby with a pacifier enter the room and crawl into your bed, the bed where you just had sex? Nobody. Besides, women when they become moms will be so preoccupied about the kids that they will not appear as sexy as before not to mention relaxed or done up. They will be one thing instead: exhausted.

Many men affirm not to feel attracted to their partners after they give birth. How can you be attracted to someone that carried and expelled a baby out their vagina in front of you? Do you love that woman? Yes. Do you find her misterious, sexy, dirty in bed as before? Not really. After your child calls your once sex partner mom repeatidly in the middle of the night sex appeal kind of goes away, not to mention the breatfeeding part.

I have been married twice and twice I had kids wiht my respective husbands. We love our kids to death but the kids in both cases, ruined the marriage and the relationship. After that I had a serious boyfriend whom I thought to marry and one again, the kids, the pressure that kids and their education brought to the table killed the relationship. Because let´s make another thing clear: if it is hard with your kids it is even harder with someone else´s.

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Chapter 95. Love the artist

I always knew that my third husband would be an artist.

I have done the foreigner, the business man, it’s time for an artist.

Artists have always fascinated me. Their ongoing suffering, preoccupation, fear, anxiety and nostalgia are common to me. Artists are like any other men but more honest. They will tell you things like “I am good for nobody” or “I can’t belong to you” or “I want to die” or ” I am not interested in a relationship because I hate human kind” and it´s true, we always hurt each other along the way…

Statements like this will set the bar low and prepare the ground for what is coming: just life, mere existence shaped in moments and shared ephemerally with some artist that feels ten times more, sees ten times more, suffers ten times more. Someone that announces to be selfish and harmful from day one. I´ll buy it, who wouldn’t? Finally the truth.

Artists are special beings indeed, to be preserved, loved and nurtured. To be understood, supported and most importantly: inspired. Only one kind of woman can be with or be loved by an artist: a muse, a woman strong enough to inspire durinf the artist´s creation / destruction process of each day, a woman that is above the mediocrities of human kind. A woman capable of playing the part and put up with the drama for a period of time regardless of its duration, a period during which the artist will feel alive, will breath fresh air, will find hope and energy to do what they do best: art.

Art in whatever form it is it’s an expression of the soul and the soul of an artist should be preserved and fed, perceived as the most expensive jewel in a jewelry store since it communicates the common feelings of a whole society at a given time.

Frida, Gala, Alfonsina, Rosalía, Isabel and thousands of others are nodding at this.

Chapter 69. He won’t leave his wife

d) you realize that you are not getting what you need and that you are never going to get it.

I’ve been looking for camouflage panties all over London. I am meeting with my lover next weekend and I like to keep things spicy. He has been planning this amazing trip to Maldives for us, a way to compensate me I reckon.

We have been in a romantic relationship for about 12 years, and for 6 of those years I did not know about the other person existing. By the time I found out it was too late, I was so in love, I simply could not imagine my life without my love. We are so happy together. Not happy like the other couples, no, we truly are happy, enjoy each other and have the same interests in mind. So instead of breaking up with him immediately I asked if that situation could be fixed. He said yes and I chose to believe it but nothing has changed indeed. We are great friends, we get along, we tell each other everything and have the best sex on Earth so I am sure that he loves me. Yet, he won’t leave his wife, he won’t, he simply keeps putting it off.

“After Christmas”

“After Natalie’s First Communion”

“Once the kids are back to school”

“Once the kids are out of the house”

The thing is, that day never comes.

Years have gone by and I am still “the other one”. I want to start a family, it is about time, but because of the messy love situation that I am in, I don’t even dare to. I cry and cry because I am 36, I so want to have a baby and the man I love will never agree to it.

I remember the first day I met my love. It was at the beach, his swimming suit was camouflage patterned and I just remember lifting up my head and seeing him there, standing right in front of me, smoking a cigar. I fell in love.

He was there alone with two kids and another guy with a little girl so I immediately thought “two divorced dads hanging out on vacation”. Soon thereafter my friend came out of the bar and said hello to one of them. Before I knew it, we were all having drinks together. It was such an amazing evening. One of those evenings that you remember forever. Everything seemed to flow perfectly. The drinks, the sunshine, the conversation.

Little did I know about all the suffering that would follow.

I broke up with my love recently. I call him my love because that is exactly what he is. My love.

I was meeting him to see a condominium that we were going to buy together. He never came to the showing, he stood me up. He called one hour later saying that he had been pulled into a conference call and asking if we could re schedule. I was mad but I say ok and I did. He did not come to the second appointment either. I felt embarrassed, the real estate agent gave me this pity look and I saw it clear. This guy was never going to give me what I needed. It reminded me of another occasion one year ago, when he stood me up in an island because one of his daughters wanted him to go to a play with the entire family. I remember the feeling being left alone and spending the night at the hotel room. Sardinia, a natural paradise, turned hell.

“This is enough, I am done”.

I asked him to meet me at our favorite café. I broke up with him. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I did it. I was surprised at my gut, he was surprised at my gut, he asked me not to, he said that he would finally move out of the house and come live with me, but at that point, for some reason, It was already too late, I no longer wanted it.

Men like to play around when married, and many married women like to pretend they don’t know.

Chapter 59. Last Valentine´s Day

This is a day for lovers they say, for people in love who crave each other or who stick together nevertheless. The rose, the date the chocolate mousse and the usual gift or marriage proposal. Note to all boyfriends: let Valentine´s Day alone, just do the dinner part and leave the marriage proposal for another day, will you?

Proposing on Valentine´s Day is tacky. Let´s name other tacky things that people do when in love: go to Venice, go to Paris, go to Rome, get matching tattoos, eating strawberries and champagne at a hotel room, make love on top of rose petals spread on the bed, get a couple´s massage, feed each other food in front of other people (gross) kiss with tongue at a restaurant after a toast, proposing at a restaurant, pick up your date in a limousine.

There are so many things….I have done them all. Well, except for the tattoos, crocodile and Mrs. Reggaeton did that…what can I do? They are tackier than me.

The thing is. A year ago I was sitting at the kitchen counter with a cigarette and a cup of coffee. I opened my laptop and started to write “He was so damn perfect that I left him for a crocodile” 350 visits later and messages from women all over the world and I had a blog. Who is this crocodile and why have we all had one in our lives?

Crocodile is any men, who has taken a woman for granted.

He is the guy that do not buy you flowers, does not remember your birthday, doesn’t ask  you how your day was, does not show any interest to meet or spend time with your friends, or you, for that matter. He is the guy capable of standing you up at an island. He always picks up the movie, tells you that you are fat after delivering his baby.

A year ago I was alone on Valentine´s Day.

I did not go out to dinner a year ago, I got a lousy T-shirt and one yellow rose one day later. Crocodile style.

This year I will buy myself flowers, lots of them.

Ha!

Chapter 55. Don´t look back.

Now your ex used to call the kids on a Friday night from New Orleans with music in the background and claim that he was there for work. It is simply what men do when they go through a break-up. They put themselves first.

Let’s talk about the wonderful and miraculous process that most men go through when you leave them or when they leave you after many years of marriage.  First, they call their friends, then, they run back to their mothers and last but not least, they go party and spend money with someone new.

A lot.

All the money that they did not spend taking you out to dinner or buying you something nice, they will now spend on buying drinks and presents to complete strangers with the sole purpose of enjoying themselves. All those trips that they did not take with you they will now take with their friends to prove that their brotherhood is more important and that they are better off now that you are gone.

They will loose weight, change their hair, go shopping for new clothes, stop doing all the things that bothered you so much and start doing the ones you always wanted. To top it all, they will look better than ever and start treating you with despise, like you don’t matter, like they don’t care about you, like they don’t know you anymore and like they don’t have to acknowledge all the things the many things that you compromised in your life to bring happiness to theirs and the whole family.

Now they have to pay you. And it does not matter if their disposable income has increased since you and the kids are gone, and it does not matter if you have now found yourself in a much worse situation, doing all of the work, incapable of earning as much because when the clock strikes 7 you are up making breakfast and packing snacks and when the clock strikes 4 pm you are at some playground or grocery shop. Now you have to take the kids to soccer practice, games, birthday parties and music lessons. Now, in their mind, they have to pay you. They are told by the judges that the money is not for you but for the kids, they are told that it is the law, they are told all those things yes. But they still hate the fact that they have to pay you.

Most men’s lives will go on easily after the divorce, the increased fun and free time will make them forget all about you, the kids crying at the dinner table and waking up in the middle of the night or early on a Saturday morning is a thing of the past for them now. The return to a bachelor life will make them feel happier and free.

And that is how the story goes for many women and why many prefer to put up with a selfish asshole that they no longer love.

Chapter 25. Impossible love is more fun

Eccentric couples are more interesting. Cross cultural marriages and different age unions no longer surprise us.

They came in vogue when Bowie married Iman, when Nicole Kidman started dating Tom Cruise. Michael Jackson, Priscilla Presley and Woody Allen consolidated this trend, setting the bar quite high for the rest. Katherine Zeta Jones married Michael Douglas, Aston and Demi did the same. The list is long and continues to expand today even amongst royalty.

From this I conclude that people are looking for challenging projects and “rare” animals to domesticate that make their lives more interesting, entertaining, unique and meaningful. We are looking for a meaningful existence.

Movies have always contributed to the trend of impossible love stories. Think of Tarzan and Jane, King Kong and Anne, Pocahontas and John Smith, Aladdin and Jasmine, and of course, Crocodile Dundee (Mike) and Susan, last but not least, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Yes, impossible love stories make better blockbusters. We want to believe in their feasibility.

Most of those couples were unlikely to stick together and if they did, they probably had to work really hard for it. The reason, always the same: cultural differences.

You don’t need to marry into another country to marry into another culture. You don’t even need to marry into another culture to marry into another culture. Simply try marrying someone 25 years younger or older than you or marry into a family with different political views or different level of education or something as simple as a different zip code or region. Any of these factors suffice to have challenging family gatherings.

When choosing a partner some people are looking for compatibility of characters and hobbies and values while others feel more attracted to the opposite pole which explains why nice girls from nice families have always had a tendency to fall for the rebel kid in high school.

But when you are a middle age woman you understand that life is challenging enough, so your partner or the person that you choose to create a family should not add more stress to the party. Rather, the sensible thing would be for your family or couple to provide a sense of comfort and a refuge from the harsh outside world. But after a while, we find that boring and unfulfilling.

Charles Dickens, known as the urban writer, had a feeling for human character. He lived during the Victorian era and Victorians were great cultivators of family life. Dickens described the family as “the subculture where the distressed can ultimately find hope and refuge from the ruthlessness of society at large” so why would we want to take a crocodile home for that matter? or a guy like Tarzan? Why would we want to fall for the rebel of the class and expect him to become the perfect companion or father to our children later on? No, women at a certain age should know better than that. And yet we don’t.

There are way too many successful middle age women dating impossible projects and adding more stress to their naturally stressful lives. There are way too many women complaining about the lack of rush in their marriages, the lack of excitement and claiming more individuality in their relationship. The same can be said for men who have beautiful loving wives and still feel the need to have an affair with pretty much whomever.

Could it be that we want the excitement and the comfort at the same time?

 

Chapter 24. Marriage after love

Watching a 60 year old couple dancing happily or holding hands after many years of marriage is the most conforting thing.

I was watching my great aunts’ favorite tv show and there was this couple who had met 47 years ago at a ball and there they were, on a prime time tv show for retired people, performing together while looking into each others eyes. Normally this could be considered an example for all of us who struggle to just keep the same pace when the song starts.

This couple was nothing like that, they seemed to really enjoy each other and that is more than most couples can say nowadays.

Many couples stick together for the sake of their kids or for their own well being. They base their marriage on patience, mutual respect and understanding that their union, once sealed, must be preserved in spite of their own needs or feelings of boredom and apathy towards one another. They justify their marriage on religious or moral beliefs, whatever works. They enter the universe of marriage after love (by love here I mean infatuation). They find happiness on watching their project (family) grow in a safe environment. Because the truth is that family as a whole does better when the family sticks together pushing and pulling in the same direction.

Perhaps there are couples who are able to put all of this together while keeping the flame alive, those are the really blessed ones. But the large majority settle for the comfort of having someone else calling the same place home. To pick up the mail, to collect the kids, to help pay the bills, to look after the dog, to have lunch on Sundays when the kids are gone, to be better off, to go to dinner parties with other couples who are on the same boat, in short, to grow old more comfortably in a more bourgeois setting. Because there is something worse than being alone and that is to be alone and not have enough to make ends meet, and there is something worse than to grow old and that is to grow old alone.

So is marriage after love a matter of convenience or an act of love by itself?

In many cases we could say both. All human beings are looking for happiness and in many instances, that means personal satisfaction and convenience as well. Convenience sometimes means staying in an otherwise dead end marriage, they experience (as Charles Dickens calls it) the clash between the individual and society. They go with society, so that a mutual project can unfold, children can have the bigger house or take that family trip, to make sure that they go to a good university when they graduate high school and still have a place to call home.

If you are unable to settle for that conventional lifestyle or you don’t feel like doing the family/couple thing because you are more of an individual, or if circumstances force you to live your life differently, do not panic, you can be just as content, if not more.

Chapter 23. Under the crocodile spell

Being infatuated is a state of grace. You can spend countless hours thinking about the other person. You die in anticipation to see him or her and you feel like you are floating. Nothing bothers you, you are at peace with the world and the only thing that matters is your obsession towards the object of your desire. They call it cloud nine.

We rush to call that feeling love when in fact is sexual attraction, infatuation. The same reason that makes you feel that that person’s body odour is pleasant or inexistent. We pay little attention to how important BO is when in fact, it plays a very important role in this thing that we call “love”. When you are “in love” you find your partners natural odour delightful and when you are “out of love” you find it disgusting. It is as simple as that so take good note of that sign.

They say love makes you not only happier but better looking. Whenever you are in love “you glow”, your teeth are whiter and you look great in all the pictures.

Perhaps you have to go back to those first days or months of infatuation to justify your relationship today. You may find yourself wishing to feel the way that you felt back then or you might have to admit that thrill is gone and you feel bored and anxious because you are lacking some excitement. Or the day might come when you have to admit that your partner has “fallen” for someone else.

Love is in that sense, ruthless. They say it plays by its own rules or lack thereof and that we must simply admit that it is the way that it is.

I recently read the following sentence “The death of love is life and life without love is death” and I am not sure if the author was referring to rational mature love or crazy infatuation. Perhaps humans have always felt confused and writers, when writing about love, have referred to both concepts indistinctively, which has caused great confusion amongst readers and what constitutes love.

Some people are more romantic than others and are able to live and preserve a romantic lifestyle. Others, like crocodile, think that romantic love is silly and unnecessary. They will feel infatuated because after all, they posess the animal instinct that it entails, but they will fail at developing romantic moments that go beyond sexual encounters.

Don’t try watching a romantic love movie with a crocodile. If by the end you are crying and feeling sad or happy for the main characters, crocodile will look at you and start laughing at your face.

“I am sorry for you. You are frozen for love” I said. “Maybe, but I’m a good fuck”.

Fair enough.

Chapter 1. He was so damn perfect that I left him for a crocodile.

I was happily married.

My husband and I had met in the South of France. I had arrived there looking to improve my French in order to get into a high performance European college program in Linguistics, Economics and Law. After spending one night alone at a hotel and the next day looking for a flat I was about to give up and call home saying that I would be flying back the following day, but destiny took me to Madame Renaud’s home, our landlady, whose age and French elegance I can still remember. She was a rich widow renting her properties to international students that came from all over the world to Aix-en-Provence, the home land of Paul Cezanne. Who would not fall in love in such lovely surroundings?

The minute she took her key out of her pocket I knew that this was going to be a fairy tale. It was the type of key that can open the door of a castle, except that in this case, Madame Renaud said, it was no castle but a servants’ old home and perhaps at some point in time, a prison during the French Revolution. In any case, behind the door and up the stairs was my Prince Charming.

Our story was so magical that it even seemed unreal. He was virtually perfect; attentive, handsome, sophisticated, a wine and food lover, he cooked amazing dishes and had great taste for virtually everything, even the florist loved him. He was so perfect that I even though  for a moment that he could be gay, but I knew for a fact that he liked women, he liked me, he had a girlfriend at the time  back in the States so it could not be. I remember one day two years after we had met in Aix, he decided to surprise me and came to France (I was back in Aix after being admitted in the program) to propose with a diamond ring, he had convinced the cleaning lady at the dorms to open the door to him so when I came back from class I had the roses and my boyfriend inside my room. We were so young that he had to ask his father for a loan. I remember the day he built our first bed with his own hands, and the second and a third as we changed apartments and my tasted evolved. I remember the day that he surprised me at work on a Friday night with some Chinese food and inside the white plastic bag I found some diamond earrings. He did my grandmothers front yard, he would take the kids to the river in the summertime while we were spending some days at my dad’s village. He was just nice, nice to everyone.

He was so damn perfect that I left him for a crocodile.