Monday, April 2, 2012

»The man-child

The man-child

Ms R has never been one to cling. Ok there might be an exception if she were say scaling a cliff and not clinging would result in certain death. But in matters of relationships, when someone calls it a day they have usually been thinking about it for longer than a day. If he/she says they want to go then the advice from Ms R Towers is that life is too short to mess about: simply point out that once they leave to 'find themselves' they are not coming back. For a start do you want to spend the rest of your life with someone who has suddenly decided they are not who they are supposed to be but have no idea who that is? Ms R had to deal with a similar thing when she split from her husband. He didn't know who he was. He was lost. Ms R had spent enough years watching him looking for himself. Now she had to look out for herself.

Laura Munson didn't quite see it that way. When her husband told her he didn't love her anymore she didn't believe him. According to her, "Those are just words." This was a writer who'd had 14 novels rejected. Clearly she figured, "Ok I'm going to get a book out of this one."

Her solution was to give him 'time out' reasoning that it was what you did with toddlers when they were out of sorts. The idea was that if he went and did what he wanted he would return more fulfilled. So that summer he just came and went as he pleased. She didn't ask. He just came and went for days at a time. Therapy was of course involved.

Now it takes a certain kind of woman to have "I don't love you" thrown in her face and to turn that into a totally different proposition, one that goes, "You are tired poor thing. You need a rest."

Some readers may think this admirable yet you have to question what the marriage was like up until that moment: the woman is clearly a control freak and it doesn't take much to see that she is one of those women who think infantilising a man is the way to keep him. There are women everywhere who are happy to excuse the behaviour of a grown-up adult with "He just doesn't know how to handle it." And so by putting themselves in the role of responsible adult and taking responsibility away from their partner, they hold it all together and play happy families.

On one hand you have to admire their ability to cut emotion out of the deal and take the high ground. But where does that get you? Into the role of mummy or teacher who will tolerate everything. He knows he has permission to do whatever he wishes and the only consequence will be a toddler type telling off. Hell, most blokes can live with that. It's a license to trash the nursery and still get cake.

Anyway Munson got interviews. She got publicity. She finally got the book deal she wanted. She got a picture of her with her husband looking happy and fulfilled. She is being hailed as some sort of guru.

Maybe. But Ms R can't help thinking she's backed herself into a corner where he'll do it all again. Still she'll always have the book deal.