Monday, April 18, 2011

I have no freedom

When the concept of losing freedom to marriage is brought up, the most popular (and often only) example is losing the freedom to sleep with anybody a person wants to. In truth, though, while sexual freedom is certainly one casualty of marriage, there are a lot more important freedoms that are lost when the wedding band comes on. These freedoms are ones that I myself took for granted before my surprise child came, and ones that I dearly miss for every hour of my married life.

The nature of marriage is two people binding themselves to one another, meaning that in order to get along, sacrifices must be made. No longer is a person just accountable for their own decisions, happiness and well-being, but for the decisions, happiness and well-being of their partner. Some of these freedoms, like the freedom to travel, have sex or use my paycheck as I wish, were the most important and noticeable of the many freedoms that I lost. Other "small" freedoms, like playing a video game, taking a walk or even going to the bathroom, were just as much on the chopping block as the most important ones.

At the risk of sounding like a pity monger, I'd like to share a brief synopsis of my life. The point is to provide context for the way my life turned out, not to score emotional points or attention, so I hope you can bear with me.

I grew up in some pretty nasty households. I had four fathers: the first was an alcholic, abusive, drug-using, neglectful racist. The second was apathetic and neglectful. The third was an alcoholic. And finally, the fourth tried to get involved in my life, but after being burned by three fathers in the past, I never put any effort into our relationship, so he just gave up after a while.

My mother was a hyper-critical, hypocritical, neglectful, selfish, condescending, ever running hot and cold shrew who passively let me know that she hated her life because I was born. She completely changed her ways when I graduated high school, though, and we are closer now.

Up to the end of high school, I always got high marks, but was constantly under the magnifying glass and thumb of advanced placement course teachers. And finally, when I got to college, I had bosses to add to that mix. I wasn't allowed to make my own decisions in life, from what I had for mealtime to when I could get up and go to sleep, for most of my unmarried life.

If that wasn't enough, from high school to near the end of college, my past caught up with me, and I entered a period of crippling depression. I wasted my time playing video games all day, or staring at the ceiling, crying, while blasting music into my ears. I even tried to take my own life on four occasions. Whatever of my time that wasn't being carved up and portioned out to me by the people around me was eaten up and run by my depression.

It wasn't until after I spent four years fighting and conquering my depression, and graduating college in the meantime, that I moved abroad and was finally on my own. After a brief and adventurous stint at my good bud's aunt's place, I moved to the city and stayed in a hostel for three weeks before finally landing myself a job and my own apartment.

This was the absolute dream time of my life. After 25 years of abuse, neglect, orders, schedules, routine and hard work, I was finally on top of the world. Everything I had worked for had paid off.

During my time in the hostel, when I was still unemployed and just enjoying my new life, I was out every single day. I made friends there within minutes of coming in: one became a trusted friend for the next few weeks, and another was on my long list of girls that I wanted to date. I put up a personals profile on a public computer and made dozens more friends in just a few days. Every day when I left the hostel, I was either traveling about the city and taking in the wondrous sights around me, hanging with the many friends I had made, going swimming, taking long walks, hitting up clubs, and just basically having a grand time.

In high school and most of college, I was a depressed, depressing, naive, fat, scrubby, moody selfish loser. But abroad, I was completely different: I was outgoing, charismatic, funny, kind, interesting, slim, handsome, generous, responsible, hard-working, adventurous, calm, cool and just generally amazing. People, men and women alike, were falling for my infectious charm by the hundreds.

This amazing portion of my life didn't last forever. My money began to dwindle after a few weeks, so I finally found a good job and a great apartment a couple of miles outside of the city. But even working five days a week didn't squelch my excellent personality, or my lust for companionship, experience and travel, so I made multiple excursions to the big city (or around my new town) every week.

I was buying my own groceries, doing my own housework, taking pictures, seeing sights, watching local movies, making friends, going out for drinks, just taking care of myself and living life to its very fullest. I went to bed and woke up when I wished (or just didn't sleep at all, if I wanted), called up whatever friend I wanted to talk to at any time, went where I pleased and did whatever I decided to do. Even on the days when I had no energy from work to go out and live life, I still had the opportunity to hole up in my pad and just play video games or watch TV all day.

In just two months, there were eight girls, most good friends of mine, who wanted me. I felt spoiled at the attention, especially considering the loser scrub I used to be back in high school and college, one that couldn't even get a date if his life depended on it. It wasn't long before I was in a relationship with one of them. Everything I did outside of work was as I wished. It was the life.

And then, my girlfriend got pregnant. This best period of my life, between going abroad after 25 years of suffering and hard work, to when I got the news of the baby coming, was just a little over six months.

My life now is nothing like it used to be: every day melts into the next in a never ending sludge of work, sleep and home time. Monday is Tuesday is Friday is June is October is 2010 is never any different from any other period of time, ever; routine and repetition run my life now. As a married man with a child, this is the basic schedule I have run every day since 2009:

Monday - I wake up, play video games or spend time with family, go to work, go home, do chores, play with my son, then sleep.
Tuesday - The same as Monday.
Wednesday - The same as Tuesday.
Thursday - The same as Wednesday.
Friday - The same as Thursday.
Saturday - The same as Friday.
Sunday - From 2008 to 2009, and for today, I get a day off and occasionally take a short trip with my family. From 2009-2014, it was the same as Saturday.

Then, the week repeats. Most of the time, I just sit around the house, play with my son or watch TV in "my" free time. I rarely play video games while my family is awake, because my wife says I ignore her too much. I seldom meet friends or look around, because I can't stay out too long with a family back home. Even if I bring my wife and son, our kid is fine, but it takes an hour for her to get ready. Even when we're finally outside, she takes excessive amounts of time to do anything, complains constantly and keeps getting stuck on shopping and other boring activities.

None of this was an issue before I got married.

- Before marriage, my wife listened to everything I had to say and followed everything I wanted to do, and I did the same for her. After marriage, she has become willful and disrespectful, purposefully saying or doing provocative things to bother me and is more interested in being lazy or wasting my money than spending time together.

- Before, I had several hundred friends. After, I have none; I either don't have the opportunity or the time to make more because of the obligations I have to my wife and son. In addition, I can't travel out very far or for very long with my family waiting for me at home, and my life is so boring that I have nothing to talk about besides my unmarried days and video games, so I always make terrible company.

- Before, I used my entire paycheck on the things I wanted and personally used. After, the smallest fraction of the money that I make, by my own work, is given back to me as an allowance like I'm a ten year old kid. I haven't bought anything for myself since late 2009 besides cigarettes, snacks and the two or three video games I buy a year.

- Before, when I was hungry, I went to the supermarket or a restaurant and got something to eat, when I was bored, I bought a new video game or went to a museum, and when I wanted to hang with friends, I treated them to coffee. After, I've not once considered buying something without wondering if I was overspending from my allowance. And in the vast majority of cases, I was, so I just went home.

- Before, I worked where I wanted. After, I have to run every job idea by my wife, and listen to her whine and give up my plans if she doesn't approve.

- Before, I could play video games all day if I wanted. After, I have to wait until everyone goes to sleep, or wake up at 5:00 in the morning, to get a few hours alone.

- Before, I came home to a quiet house of relaxation. After, I come home to chores, routine, staring off into space and sometimes, drama.

- Before, I hardly ever did chores because I ate out to avoid dishes and re-wore clothes for unimportant situations (work, staying home) to avoid laundry. After, I have chores to do every single day. The current records stand at doing the laundry five times in one day, cleaning the floor and table three times on another, and doing the dishes three times on another.

- Before, if I fought with a friend or a girlfriend, I either fixed the problem, or just left them. After, if I fight with my wife (and it's usually because she starts it), I have to act like her father and punish her with less monthly money, silence or cold rebukes. It's like raising another child.

- Before, I had almost a dozen sweet, cute and intelligent girls hanging on my every word. After, my sex life is utterly at the mercy of my wife, who is always tired, busy, uninterested, hot, cold or stressed, or who has early work the next morning, a headache, an emotional problem, or another issue that has led to our "once every month or two" routine. She's also been grossly overweight since 2009.

- Before, I used to have a day or two off a week from work, and five or six days off of chores, to relax. After, I routinely have times where I work for a whole month, even two or three, without a single day off, knowing most of that money will be siphoned away and spent on something I don't want. The chores are even worse; I've recorded lengths between choreless days that lasted lengths like three months, six months, and the very worst, ten whole months before I had a day without cleaning the house.

- Before, on my days off from work, I spent entire days outside having fun, with no accountability to anybody but myself, and no naysayers telling me what I could and could not do with my life. After, I spend most of my paltry time off watching TV, playing video games or taking little trips with my son.

- Before, I would wake up in the morning, not know what the day had in store for me, and nothing excited me more. After, I wake up in the morning, know exactly what will happen from that minute to the minute I go to sleep, and nothing bores me more.

- Before, I went out to find and experience fun and adventure. After, I sit around waiting for sparse scraps of interest to come to me.

- Before, I experienced so much life in a day that twenty four hours felt more like a week. After, I've repeated the same daily routine so many times that twenty four hours feels like four. All of that missing time is spent daydreaming or blanked out from boredom or stress.

- Before, I lived a life of plenty. After, I live a life of rationing.

- Before, I planned to move to a new city every year, and live a new life with a new job and girl (with her consent at a possibly short term relationship, of course) for the rest of my life. After, I have the obligation of staying here with the same people in the same city in the same country working the same job eating the same food and going through the same routine every day until my son goes to college and I'm free again.

- Before, the entire world was open to me. After, the ten mile radius around my house is open to me. But only if my wife's ok with it.

I worked hard to get where I was when I first went abroad, then lost it all when my wife got pregnant and I married her. I worked like a tank and suppressed my dreams for 25 years, and my reward? Another 19 years of work and suppressing my dreams. I advise not making the same mistake. If you have any love for life and have things you want to accomplish and experience, there's no quicker way to wad it all up and throw it in the garbage than to get married.


  1. Check out the books by Earl Nightingale and Napoleon Hill:

    Their books can really change your outlook on life.

  2. Also check out Neville Goddard:

    And also Florence Shovel Shinn:

    Especially: "The Game of Life and How to Play It."

  3. I might be late to this party - but why didn't you at least ask her to have an abortion (and for that matter: Why didn't you have a vasectomy done? - It doesn't sound like you like children that much, so why take the chance of getting someone pregnant - instead of having a vasectomy and using condoms to be on the save side?)

    ps: I myself am currently saving up to have one done (I won't even try to date again before that isn't done, I'd hate to become you (or my father - who'd gotten his wife (they had married before she got pregnant) pregnant despite her having had a copper IUD (so no, I don't trust women with the responsibility of BC, I think they should use some form of BC - but I will still insist on my own!))

    1. I mentioned it in another post, but it's a big blog so it's hard to find all the info sometimes. For the first question, I believe abortions from convenience are murder. For the second, because I was a fool who had a dream from high school to be a husband and father, and I didn't re-evaluate the stupidity of that goal until it was already too late. I lived much of my life on auto-pilot.

      I'm ok with kids; can you show me a place on the blog that says or suggests otherwise? If so, it needs to be changed because it's not my true feeling. Marriage is what I'm against.

      You are way smarter than I ever was regarding birth control, and your vasectomy will easily be the best purchase you ever make. Please keep my mistake in mind and never go down my path if you have things in life you want to do.