Friday, September 11, 2015


I consider myself a partial failure as a man.

I say this for purely clinical, factual reasons, not emotional ones. Based on all the standards I grew up with, and have developed through various means to this point in my life, including positive and negative examples, I do not meet many of the criteria I would hold any other man to as a judgment of manhood.

I live in another man's house. I am dependent on that man for at least half of what comes into the house every month in terms of groceries, utilities, kids' necessities, gasoline, and various odds and ends. I have another house that I don't live in that consumes a good portion of my salary that I can't sell for a high enough price to pay what's owed on it. I have a decent job that pays well for my education level, but even if I wanted to, I now live so far above my means that, if I could choose one of the houses to simply disappear, I wouldn't be able to afford the living my family has become accustomed to on my own.

I can't keep my wife happy enough to feel satisfied enough to satisfy me. Maybe I'm a lousy, selfish lover, and she has no interest in bedding with me. Maybe she's not attracted to me any more. Maybe it's not me directly, but even if it's her there are lots of sources of stress I contribute to that, if I could take them away, she might feel some desire for me again. Maybe she has another lover. She certainly deserves a good lover; she's a good woman. Why it can't be me is something I have struggled with for most of our marriage.

I do take solace in my role as father; that is something I do consider myself pretty good at, even though I don't read, throw a ball, play games with, or see to my kids' spiritual guidance nearly enough. I'm imperfect in that way, and I don't feel I'm alone. But my children are happy, and smart, and well-mannered, and healthy, and while I know I am in most respects not responsible ONE BIT for any of these things, I realize I've been given charge over these gifts, and take this responsibility seriously. Why it is I can't pull myself together enough to actually provide for their material needs is something I beat myself up about literally every day.

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