UPDATE: In light of the ongoing popularity of this article and the passionate opinions of my readers, I have dug up this post from the archives and re-published it. Thank you all for your comments.
I found the following article at AskMen and thought that it was time the Man’s voice was heard:
Nothing can dishonor a knight like divorce. Just look at Sir Paul McCartney, a man whose iconic name has been flung in the mud over his recent marital collapse, with accusations of abuse sullying his reputation. He was fooled by the honeymoon phase and now he can really say, “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.” But hey, he’s not the only one. It’s no wonder chivalry is dead. Supposedly seven out of 10 divorces are initiated by women. While there are no hard statistics, wouldn’t you agree that maybe nine out of 10 marriage proposals are also initiated by women? A study done by two men named Kuhn and Guidubaldi found that a “gender bias” in the court system makes divorce an inviting idea to the ladies. Why wouldn’t it? Women tend to keep the kids, the house, the dog, the car, and half the property. They get to keep the rock, too. This suggests that not only are men getting screwed by the marketing of the De Beers diamond corporation during the engagement, but the actual judicial system is also stacked against guys during the divorce. Everyone suffers during a divorce, but men have a few special issues to deal with, including fallout from emotional investment, lame-duck custody battles, clashes over property, tarnished reputations, and the depressing aftermath. Marriage is not a bad thing, but divorce is like a 10-car pileup in the middle of a man’s life. Here are some of the great life experiences newly divorced men have to look forward to.
Obviously, women don’t set out to be gold diggers, but divorce - like death - can turn otherwise good people into bloodthirsty wolves. Perhaps a few sharks go into marriage thinking of money, but for most women, marriage only becomes a business investment once it has failed emotionally. At first, love is honest, and it comes easy when a man only has his dreams. By the time he owns a German automobile, the thrill is gone. Perhaps she’s laying the landscaper like sod when she has her epiphany: “I could make a lot of money from this sucker. And I deserve it.” In hindsight, taking initiative and working hard — let’s say you wrote a ditty called “Hey Jude” that did quite well — was a mistake. Motivation is like an open sore that invites mosquitoes through the window and into the bedroom. From the kids to the house, men leave a marriage with nothing. In some ways, her feeling of entitlement is a result of propaganda, starting with fantasies that promise an emotionally perfect life. Alas, reality cannot live up to cartoons. Women are trained to find a man with motivation from the beginning, starting with Disney classics like Cinderella (poor rag lures wealth under false pretences), Lady and the Tramp (uppity b*tch-hound hopes to make over motivated mutt) and Sleeping Beauty (catatonic do-nothing wakes up to unearned riches). Thank you very much, Walt.
The term for fathers who are shouldered out of their kids’ lives is “throwaway dads.” A century ago, kids were considered the father’s property, but the historical shift in child-custody cases has turned Dad into a villain. According to Divorce-Lawyer-Source.com, 70% of divorces involving children result in the mother getting custody. Read that again: seven out of 10. If the odds in Vegas were as good as a woman’s odds in court, men could quit their jobs and enjoy a never-ending bender at the Mirage casino. This “throwaway” idea impacts the kids and society. It leads to an increasing number of single-parent households, and if you’ve ever watched the TV show Cops, you’ve seen how it also leads to plenty of wasted government resources when Mother calls in the uniformed men to tell “Junior” to stop sassing her. Since when did the police become daddy to the masses? The answer: Since daddy lost his shirt in court.
- The House
Common sense states that the one who made the payments should get the house and car. But this is the 21st century, and common sense has joined the likes of Zeus and Bigfoot as a lovable myth of the past. Sentimental value and emotional attachment have more sway with the judge than a mere 20 years of mortgage payments. Open up Excel, and check to see if Microsoft has programmed a wizard for “sentiment and emotion.” It can’t be calculated. Therefore, overreacting in court and going into histrionics akin to the ending of Hamlet is the best way to plead. Literally, the best supplication wins the heart of the biased black robe. Even if a man isn’t a fan of country music, after he loses his house, he will suddenly understand those depressing ballads dedicated to “Big D” misery. But certain statistics are bigger tearjerkers than music, such as the fact that the average divorcé sees his net worth drop 77%. On a positive note, the wife will probably let the man keep his depreciated pool table, and he’ll certainly have time to brush up on his nineball skills.
A man’s reputation is easily tarnished if the woman even hints of “abuse.” Keep in mind that nothing has to be proven, but the man’s name is immediately soiled like a diaper with pureed carrots. What’s worse is that “abuse” can mean nearly anything. An argument in a relationship could be construed as “verbal abuse,” but the headline will drop the “verbal” and keep the “abuse.” On the flip side, some guys are wifebeaters and deserve to have the book thrown at them, but the allegation of “abuse” has become as loaded as the word “terrorism.” Battery is a crime (as it should be), but a shouting match between two normal angry people cannot be compared to physical abuse. You know what’s next on this slippery slope? A guy will eat some spicy chili, use the john and he’ll be in the slammer for olfactory abuse.
Some states, such as New York, allow the career homemaker to collect alimony for the rest of her natural life. That’s after the kids are grown up and have started their own broken families. The man still has to pay while the ex is couched, Cheeto-stained and catching a rerun of Judge Judy followed by Maury Povich (”You ain’t my baby’s daddy!”). Thankfully, most states aren’t this extreme, and many factors go into determining the proper amount on a case-by-case basis. For example, some men pay month to month, while others pay a lump sum each year. Of course, dads only become “deadbeat dads” when they don’t have the lump on time. They may have forked over a lump of $10,000 for 10 straight years, but that’s all water under the bridge. If life takes a hard turn that men aren’t prepared for, they still have to pay alimony. The horror stories associated with bankrupt men have brought about some change in how alimony works, but each state has different rules, and as such, the divorce industry thrives on the confusion. If the divorced man remarries, alimony owed takes precedence over his new family. His new life will always have a shadow over it, like Frodo and his ring. The good news is that if the ex remarries, the divorced man is freed of his duties. The bad news is that if she just shacks up with the landscaper and “cohabitates,” then the divorced man must continue to pay.
In the post-divorce wasteland, a man will feel like he just crawled out of a bunker after a firebombing. His community is gone and the world is cold. When he walks into his favorite pub, he’s a foreigner. The world hasn’t changed, however — only he has. While he was saying “yes, dear” to dinner parties, he lost track of college football and can’t even remember who played in the Super Bowl last year. The wasteland phase is utterly depressing, and men are prone to making poor decisions in the aftermath. According to WebMD, divorced men are two and a half times as likely as married men to commit suicide. Although women must walk the wasteland, too, they tend to cope with the fallout in a more constructive way. Men go for flings and seek out old flames. A failed marriage is a millstone around a man’s neck, and because men tend to stifle their pain, they suffer alone. Case in point: According to a Yorkshire Building Society study, 56% of divorced men say they rue their failed marriage, while only 45% of divorced women have regret.
- Half the Man He Used to Be
Since McCartney’s separation from Heather Mills in May of this year, it has been a May to September (October, November, December) nightmare. This whole business started with the couple saying “our parting is amicable,” but sometime during the summer, the barristers and attorneys remembered that the Beatle was worth a cool $1.5 billion. Yes, McCartney was worth $1.5 billion, because after this is over, that amount will be much smaller, perhaps half. Lawyers are terrible at math and can only divide by two. Mills and her legal team didn’t write the song “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but they are working on perfecting the familiar modern tune that goes, “What Can Love Buy Me?” The tables have turned since Henry VIII. The ax no longer falls on the ex-wife’s neck, it falls on the assets. There’s no blood, but something even worse: lawyer’s ink.