Not too long before my favorite ex-wife dumped me, we were in the living room watching Channel 6 Action News and we heard shouting and banging coming from the adjoining apartment. We both got up, pressed our ears to the rough stucco wall. Pudgy George, as we called him, and Eleanor, his pretty, slender wife, were at it again. He moaned that this time she had literally blindsided him so he was confused, hurt, and angry. “Tell me, why are you doing this to me?” he wailed. “Why? In what way have I ever failed you, Eleanor? Haven’t I kept all my promises, fulfilled all my obligations?”
Eleanor mumbled something we couldn’t hear.
“Oh, I can’t fucking believe this,” George said. “Honest to God. You can’t leave me, honey. You can’t. I’ll fucking DIE, don’t you understand that?”
I felt a great surge of contempt. “Christ,” I said. “Why doesn’t he just suck it up and be a MAN? Why is he groveling, begging, like an adolescent? It’s disgusting.”
A few months later Elizabeth calmly announced that she had been acutely unhappy for a very long time, and that she needed me to pack up all my stuff and move out. Like in, say, four weeks. No, she was absolutely not interested in counseling. No, there was nothing further to discuss. Her decision was final, irrevocable.
How did I react?