Fatal Flaw - The Setup

Last week I heard for the second time words to the effect of:

I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep you, but it was a hell of a ride while it lasted.


I suppose I should be glad that I’m an E-ticket. But it hurt.

Two woman have married me both thinking it was doomed from the start. They both expected I would initiate leaving (they were correct).

It raises the question “How do I inspire this in other people?” Why would anyone marry me expecting to lose me? What would drive someone to do that? A “hell of a ride” just doesn’t seem like enough. I’m not even sure how to interpret that and the women that hold those keys are ex’s.

My dad has told me on more than one occasion that I’m just not the type that “should” ever be married. I found the word choice interesting. I sensed the truth in what he was saying, but only sensed it – like a distant storm.

He had said this two weeks before my first wife and I announced our engagement and 10 years later he got to say it again. I hate it when he’s right about me (a hold-over from a turbulent teenage relationship with him), and I told him I’ll keep collecting ex-wives until I prove him wrong. Mom just shook her head but dad and I thought it was funny :-)

It is now apparent that I needed to inform the powers-that-be that I WAS KIDDING!!

Because now again 9 years later he got to say it again. I refrained from making any smart comments this time.

The obvious answer (and my dad’s answer) is to avoid commitment, but I’ll never play the field. I treasure the intimacy of knowing one person deeply.

So I have a fatal flaw that I need to fix before the next relationship becomes a commitment. Women see it, but are willing to ignore? risk? it. That seems wrong. I should not have to ask/expect a partner to accept that type of risk.

Maybe I should ask my mom what it is. Or maybe not – it’s obvious when she tells people “Doug was never a moment’s trouble,” she is seeing me through a mom’s love’s filter. I was many moments of trouble. Probably more like many squared.

I’ve talked to my oldest friend about this at different times and in different ways. We both know the personality traits that make me a good partner. Most of them are the obvious things from a traditional upbringing. I take care of the people that are important to me. I do what needs to be done. I take responsibility and try to change when I screw up. I can form commitments. I’m intuitive and empathetic. I can clean (but don’t like to). I cook. I do laundry. I like to buy jewelry but don’t wear much – guess who benefits? I have a good mix of both the everyday and the emotional skills/requirements for maintaining a healthy relationship.

The flip side? I’m obsessive about my work. I can be obsessive about my hobbies. I’m moody. I need time to myself to recharge. When the relationship is cruising along without any major events, I tend to let it cruise. I’m crappy at remembering the “Hallmark holidays.” I lose track of when stuff is going to occur. I have an underlying core of rage that drives a bad temper (but a long fuse). I can be a bit quick and dismissive in decision making. I get bored easily so I’m constantly buying new toys or starting things that don’t get finished. I have a lack of patience in the oddest circumstances.

Surely my rage has to be the culprit. It’s the most destructive of the negative traits, right?

I’m not so sure anymore.

Fatal Flaw - The Setup

Doug Greenwald

Gilbert, United States

  • Artist
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