When I was 25, I dated a guy who only gave me crumbs of his time, attention, and energy. After about a year, I decided he wasn’t capable of the relationship I wanted, and I dumped him. He attempted to win me back with his best imitation of Don Juan – wining and dining me at expensive restaurants– romancing me with flowers and gifts, and making time for me when he hadn’t before. I thought perhaps he would change my feelings about wanting to break up, if I was receptive to the romancing. But instead, all of his efforts seemed like overkill. It was a drought turned flood in a matter of weeks. He could tell I wasn’t impressed. He said, “is it too little too late?” I said, “No. It’s too much, too late!!” I went on to explain that one quarter of that effort over the last year would have nurtured the relationship enough for me to respect him and stay happy, but knowing that he is capable of ALL of this, and never did any of it, only made me more mad, because it showed me he knew what to do in a relationship to make a woman feel special; he just chose not to do it. It was a huge eye opener for me about my own heart’s limits. Neglect a flower until it dies, it doesn’t matter how much water gets poured on it, it ain’t comin’ back to life!
Flash forward to the here and now. My friend is divorcing his wife. His wife never accepted his kids from his first marriage, and at every turn thwarted his relationship with them, and put up barriers to the time he got to spend with them. In the ten years they were married, his first set of kids went from toddler to teen – plenty of time for the second wife to adjust and accept that she shares this man with a set of kids that aren’t hers – yet she persisted in being Wicked Witch of the West to him and the kids, over the kids’ mere existence in the world. There were other problems too. She rarely had sex with him, was not attentive or maternal to the child they had together, and she was all work-no play. Her job took precedence over family and friends to the detriment of their social life.
After years of patience, my friend finally broke. He could no longer imagine the rest of his life with this woman. He had lost all respect for her and any love that had been there was now replaced with disdain and distrust. He finally told her that he wanted a divorce.
The woman kicked into full gear to save her marriage. She quit her job, started tending to her preschooler in a way that would make June Cleaver look like a slacker, and overnight, became Mrs. Brady on steroids in regards to her step- children. She ditched office furniture for kids’ bedroom furniture, giving up two bedrooms in the house for her step-kids so they could visit more often. She didn’t stop there. She became social, befriending all his friends and their wives – doing her best to spearhead couples’ outings. She started going to the gym every day to get her fit body back; she ditched the sweatpants for cute clothes; made home-cooked meals every night; and got busy between the sheets as often as he would partake. None of it worked. He still wanted a divorce. She couldn’t understand why.
I knew exactly why. Too much too late.
How do we prevent ourselves from being the too much too late-kind of gal? Everyone needs to ask herself one question. Which things would I start doing, or do more of to keep my man, if he told me today that he wanted a divorce? Come up with your top ten, and just do five of them with a fair amount of regularity and he’ll be a happy camper. Just know that for most men, sex should be one of the five.