March 3, 2012 § 48 Comments

I saw a friend yesterday and he confided in me about his marital difficulties.  I urged him to hang on in there.  He says he is deeply in love with his wife, still, after all these years, but that she is having fantasies of freedom and passion and transporting love and he is not sure how much longer he can stand her distance and independence and the sense of rejection.  I said, that is all very well, coming from someone in a marriage in which her husband loves and adores her and gives her great support, stability, and freedom.  It would be a different story if he were to leave her.  Then she may find those fantasies rather turn to dust in the face of the realities faced by lone women of nearly fifty.  I said, put her together with me for ten minutes and I would set her to rights!

Although I don’t know his wife at all well, I like her.  Damaged in some ways, sure, (aren’t we all?) but warm and friendly.  As he talked about his love for her, how he had never once been unfaithful to her, and so forth, I thought, God this woman is looking a gift horse in the mouth.  He admitted he had his faults – and listed them, very honestly – but he is supportive, loving, generous, and by no means some wimpy doormat.  I told him that if he left her – which he is considering for all sorts of reasons, much though he doesn’t want to – there would be no end of contenders for his attentions.  (I was not using this as an argument for him to do so, I may add!)

“But I don’t want that,” he said simply, his thick, unmissable wedding ring glinting.  “I love her.”

Quite so, but if he did leave her, he would probably be devastated, screw around for a few months and find someone else soon enough to fall in love with, who might but might not ever “replace” her.  And her?  Not so much.  Way of the world.  I told him about me and my struggles and, very sweetly, he couldn’t believe it. Eventually, he agreed this world in this respect is favoured towards men, and his wife’s fantasy notions would turn to dust as he was getting over her, moving on, and re-marrying.  He then told me a story.

“I went to a shop yesterday to try something out which they were sorting for me.  I had to give the woman my number so she could ring to let me know when to come and collect it.  Later that evening I got a call from her.  She said her name.  I said, Sorry, who?  She told me and I said hello, rather surprised, this being 7.15pm.  ‘Just to let you know it’s ready,’ she said.  I thanked her and said I’d be in to collect it in the morning.  ‘Er, what are you doing tonight?’ she asked.  I told her I was in a cab on my way to visit a friend.  ‘Ah,’ she said, ‘I’m really bored.  Not doing anything.  Sigh.’   I’m 55; she was, what, 29?  I don’t remember women ever being so blatant and ballsy. I sympathised that she was bored, and that was the end of it, but I was so taken aback, I told the cab driver what had just happened.  He said, ‘You are bang in there, mate.’  It was unbelievable.”

His story did make me think about my own pathetic attempts at “spinning”.  These women are shameless.  Spinning is gentle and age-old, if a touch manipulative, and I am way behind here.  These young women are in a whole other sphere.  Forget spinning.  They are fucking bulldozing.


§ 48 Responses to Bulldozing

  • Barry says:

    And your friend is “Bob the Builder” ?

    I ‘ve got to admit, when I was v.Young I got Bulldozed…and ran a mile every time! I hope your friends see sense and you can help thwm stay together P ….super blog ! Merci x

  • Elle says:

    Good post Plankton. I remember you said somewhere else that most men who leave their wives only do so when there’s another woman on the scene. It seems like you friend would have no problem finding someone. His wife doesn’t know how lucky she is, he has 29 year olds throwing themselves at him and even though she is thinking of leaving he’s hanging in there because he loves her.

    There’s an evil side of me saying, ok, this woman has had some good years with this man but now she doesn’t appreciate him any more, so she should let him go and find somebody who appreciates him. If she’s lonely and miserable on her own then tough, at least she had some time with a man who cared for her which is more than a lot of us had. If you weren’t so decent, Plankton, you could shower this man with understanding and you might have a chance of getting him for yourself. But could you live with yourself after?

    But that sort of thinking solves nothing. The likelihood is that man would hook up with a woman under 35 anyway, so planktons are unlikely to benefit if he were to come on the market.

    There are two probable outcomes in the situation as it stands and the husband remains faithful:

    1. Some planktons have a wise word in the ear of the wife, she catches on and stays with the husband who loves her. Their marriage gains a new lease of life and two people who were briefly unhappy are happy once more.

    2. The wife leaves the husband and for a brief few months revels in her freedom, has a few unsatisfactory flings and soon finds that she will probably be alone for the rest of her days. The husband has a series of unsatisfactory flings, raising the hopes of several women and dashing them in the process. He eventually settles again with a much younger version of his wife but neither of them are really happy. The new woman holds on to him for dear life regardless. This outcome produces three unhappy people (ex-wife, ex-husband and new partner) and hurts several other people (the hopeful flings of the ex-husband) along the way.

    Outcome No. 1 is to be recommended.

    Is it possible for you to have a word in the ear of the unsatisfied wife, Plankton?

    • Lizzie says:

      It hurts a lot more people than that. Children, parents, siblings, relatives and friends can suffer from the fallout of what they thought was a secure ‘niche’ in their lives.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Elle, Thank you for this spot on comment. The man is the one I mentioned way back in the blog who I have heard on good authority would have liked to have married me (he is not an old boyfriend, just a friend, but we both thought about it in our twenties and said and did nothing because it transpires we each felt out of each other’s leagues). So it was a poignant get-together we had this week, knowing that if he did leave his wife, there was possibility in the air. But he must stay with his wife and I would never cajole him as a means to my own ends. I absolutely could not live with myself if I ever did that to anyone. I know those who have and hope, if not believe, that justice must get them in the end. Pxx

  • june says:

    And here you have it P, can you imagine bloke in his 20s ringing any of us plankton females up that way, no of course you cant, no more than i can, You planktons late 40s 50 cant get men of your own age to fancy you and us over 60s cant get anyone at all. Damm men do they not have a sell by date ever.

    i think i am now coming to conclusion it just isnt going to ever happen,i have a birthday looming in a month or so and it seems i must resign myself to what will be will be, I went to my kind and caring friends the other night, the one i spent xmas day with, she is late 30s, went with the friend so scared of becoming a plankton, in her 40s and kind and caring friend said june youve more go than she has. i said yes for all good it does me, cause to men im over 60 and past it, all they see is that damm age.

    Your friends wife is mad if she thinks grass greener, for a mid 50s women it isnt, if she leaves him she will regret it, i doubt if many men waiting in wings, even if shes youthful and attractive.

  • EmGee says:

    Sounds like your male friend and his wife could use some couples counseling. If nothing else, I would recommend he read the book “Passionate Marriage” by Dr Schnarch. (Don’t let the title mislead; it’s a very realistic approach to solving issues in committed relationships)

    Ad for the bored 29 year old: Young people no longer seem learn boundaries, and in this world where everyone is as connected and available as they want to be, and people you barely know, or have never met, want to be your ‘friend’ online through social networking, and tell you about every detail of their lives, then it isn’t a stretch that anyone, anytime is available to make small talk.

    • plumgrape says:

      I have read a lot of this book and was enamoured. I found the book most erudite and quite an academic tome. I think it may even have an index. I did learn something, but it never brought Joanna back to discuss.I say again, my mother said she never knew how to discuss. I think it was the way she was brought up. Perhaps we assume that the process is more than animal. Show me.

      • EmGee says:

        When the desire to change is only one-sided, or the other person thinks you are the only one who needs to change, and that is the ‘end of discussion’, then that door is shut, more’s the pity. Even so, reading it alone does give insight on the relationship dynamic, and I found that what’s important to me, might not be less so to my mate.

        I’m glad to hear an approving nod about this book from someone else, especially one from the opposite sex. So often, these books can be perceived as skewed toward one or the other.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, EmGee xx

  • Lizzie says:

    Very true Emgee. The actual availability of anything and anyone anywhere has blurred the boundaries.\
    And this is advantageous to ………….. well, definitely not us!

    • plumgrape says:

      No, I think this blog is good to help and talk. What I perceive is a fixation about the way things are based upon how they are perceived.For instance have you heard of JZ Knight? [There’s a Wiki on her!] I do believe that she thinks she is a channel for Ramtha, so in so far as we create our own reality I think this is truely her’s and her with us, ours. She is on her sixth marriage to all accounts. Sounds a bit like a Henry I know!

  • Lucy says:

    It makes me wonder who these women are who leave marriages when they are 50 to 60 for no major reason other than “boredom”. Apart from the havoc they wreak among their family, do they ever improve their lot? It’s claimed that women often instigate divorce these days, and in fact I know at least three cases, who had no major alcoholism/abuse etc problems to contend with in their husbands.

    Funnily enough, my ghastly sister-in-law (I no longer speak to my former in-laws) left her husband, a corporate lawyer, when she was about 50 after she had an affair while doing an Open U residential course (how cliched, no?) Soon after, her new Prince Charming turned out to be still seeing his wife, whom he had allegedly separated from!

    Mrs Shampoo & Set (my sister-in-law) then determinedly sought another husband for years. She eventually found a retired TV technician whom she married at the age of 71! Yet she admitted to me once that he was really no better than her original husband and I can second that – miserable, bad-tempered, not an ounce of culture in him and she enjoys theatre, books etc.

    Shampoo & Set also regrets that she smashed up her whole family history and that her adult children have to see their parents separately when they visit London. Yet she firmly backed my former husband, when he deserted me suddenly.

    Nonetheless, my fellow plankos, this woman is far from beautiful, no great personality etc etc. Yet she found someone who at least moderately suits her (he has money and can do good DIY, both of which she rates highly). So, a mixed story, but total disaster does not always await. Even for your friend the deluded dreamer, is she does leave what sounds like a nice man.

  • John says:

    Miss P, Please talk sense into the wife – she really does not know how good she has it. He sounds like a fine man.
    I have to admit to presently having a dalliance with a lady 30 years younger than I but I made the moves. It is fun but has no future.

    • The Plankton says:

      I will try, John, but I don’t know her very well. I’m not bad at this stuff, though, and urgently want to warn her. He is no picnic, of course (none of the interesting ones are), but he is great in so many ways, and loves her. Jesus! Talk about gift horse! Px

    • Elle says:

      John, what are you doing on a plankton blog when you are romantically interested in a lady 30 years your junior? Unless you are in your 70s and she is in her 40s. If you are not (I suspect that you are in your 50s or maybe 60s) then there are plenty of lively blogs set up by 20 somethings that might titillate your interest.

      Perhaps you enjoy reading about how hard it is for women age 40 up to meet somebody? Maybe you and your young love have a good laugh reading about it!

      When I was in my 20s and early 30s my peers and I would run shrieking a mile if a man 30 years older chased us. What is the world coming to?

      We planktons should stop complaining and be happy with our lot, because we are possibly frightening younger women into succumbing to the advances of dirty old men!

      • Yoga Gurl says:

        I agree. It’s creepy and I’ll tell you why. For men going so much younger it’s more about titillation more than finding a friend, a peer, respect and all that. The female is more of an object than a person. I agree…run for the hills when you meet this kind of man.

      • fi says:

        Well john must have something to attract a younger woman. If he was a dirty old man he wouldn’t have. And I very much doubt he and his younger lover are reading this site to have a good laugh at us- they’re probably shagging each other senseless and having a bloody good time.

  • MissBates says:

    Well, you can try to talk some sense into her but it likely won’t work. I’m guessing she was last single when she was in her late 20s/early 30s and is deluded to think she’s going to find some “passionate transporting love” on the far side of 50. As for being “bored” in her marriage, well, if THAT’S the worst she can say about it — i.e., he’s not abusive/cheating on her — Christ! Wait til she’s a plankton and THEN she’ll know what “bored” is, as well as lonely, depressed, marginalized, and quite possibly facing in insecure financial future as well. (That would of course be the case if HE were to dump HER, too, but for her to be the one opting out at this stage of her life is madness.)

  • Steve says:

    So, in other words; there is a store where 29 year olds ask out older men?

    I’m going to need the address and opening times – purely for research purposes, you understand….

  • AMJ says:

    That bulldozing thing – astounding!

    I was at the pub on Friday for drinks for a male colleague who was leaving for a new job. One of the women there was one of his friends but she didn’t know any of the rest of us. I was standing at the end of the table chatting with another male friend and colleague (aged about 45), whose wife was further along the table talking to someone else. This woman clearly thought my handsome friend was single, or perhaps with me. A few minutes in, she appeared, inserted herself between us, elbowed me out of the way, touched his back, and started talking to him, all the while gradually isolating them both from the group so that he had to talk exclusively to her. I thought she was an outrageous hag at the time, but afterwards I couldn’t help but admire the skill with which she isolated him, like a lioness picking out the juiciest deer from the herd for her to nosh on.

    I have not, and never have had, such skill; in fact it has never entered my mind to strategise a pull like that. Unfortunately for her she was well off the mark in that instance since my friend is happily married, but I would wager she rarely wants for male company, if that is how she plays it. She looked to be around 40 or so.

    I’m not on the pull these days, but if I were I’d be feeling that I was well behind a game for which the rules have changed in recent times. Shy plankton just get trampled in the stampede of women who have come to believe that single attractive men are such a rarity that getting their end away justifies any means.

    • plumgrape says:

      I must say myself, I feel I have drawn short straws because of the “sharp elbow brigade”, but they are clearly and certainly, from what you say, not exclusively male!

    • EmGee says:

      AMJ, I have never been predatory myself, either. I have seen the look of fear in a man’s eyes though, when he thinks I’m chatting him up, but I am only making conversation. If it is someone who I run into a few times more, they realize that I really am only making conversation, then everything’s hunky dory. If I were male, this wouldn’t even happen, we’d be buddies from the start. It is very annoying. I have actually found it beneficial to have a friend along with me, because it then appears that I am ‘taken’. Very strange.

      Plumgrape, you are correct, the Predator isn’t gender specific, but makes it harder for the rest of us in many ways. On the other hand, from the female perspective, you are better off without the attentions of the “sharp elbow brigade”, no good ever comes of knowing them.

    • Twinkletoes says:

      AMJ, I’m curious to know how the situation ended? Did the colleague’s wife come over to stop the outrageous hag?

      • AMJ says:

        Twinkletoes – no, she is very secure in her relationship and continued to gas with her friend, ignoring what was going on behind her. She is awesome. I must say my friend handled it very well indeed, his body language was closed, and he kept conversation on neutral topics. And he collected his wife and left very soon.
        Those of us who witnessed the events had a lot of fun giving him shit about it at work this morning. He said he found it really annoying to be monopolised by her; as a parent of four young children he doesn’t get much opportunity to hang out and drink with his work colleagues, and she ruined it for him. But if he was a single man, I’m sure the night might have ended rather differently…

        Emgee, I know what you mean, I’m often afraid to engage a man in conversation in case he mistakenly assumes I’m having a crack at him.

      • Twinkletoes says:

        AMJ, thanks, that made the story all the more interesting to have the ending.

  • RS says:

    I have a little different take on the friend’s situation. He says his wife is dreaming of passion and transporting love – yet HE is the one thinking of leaving?

    They need counselling. She obviously feels something is missing in their marriage and they need to work on a remedy. If he loves her as he claims, he will try to work with her to try to solve whatever ephemeral issues she has with their partnership. Just because HE doesn’t feel the same unrest doesn’t mean she might not be somewhat justified in hers.

    I think if we’re honest, we kind of get what she might be feeling. You’re with someone for a long time, you start finding some of their habits irritating and even though you know they are decent and good overall you wonder what else is out there, or you long to only have yourself to answer to and want to be alone. You can’t help yourself sometimes. Her desire for some independence isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and maybe she needs some measure of that to keep her sanity at that stage of life/marriage.

    And I still don’t buy the thinking here that men have no trouble at all finding a new woman to take up with after a split, while every single woman over 40 is doomed to be alone. There are plenty of men over 40 who are alone (and aren’t SFAR). My experience with online dating sites certainly bears that out. And Elle – you say that a man of 55 is “likely” to end up with a woman under 35? I can’t think of a single example of that happening amongst my aquaintances. It’s not likely at all, I don’t think. Not impossible to be sure, but certainly not the most likely outcome.

    I’m also not convinced that the 29 year old was proposing that the guy somehow help her out with her boredom issue in the wink-wink way he and some of you might think. 29 year olds aren’t always all that mature these days, they live online and communicate overwhelmingly by text, and they don’t connect in the same way we would. EmGee is right about them not having the same boundaries we do. I would take the cab driver’s comment with a grain of salt.

    The overriding thought that I have after reading this post is how awful women can be to other women. I don’t just mean the predator types.

    • Leftatforty says:

      Well said RS. It is very easy to send a text.

    • maria says:

      Spot on, RS. It blows my mind how (most) women are always ready to criticise and rip other women to shreds , while at the same time protecting and making excuses for men.
      Also, it seems that most women think that if one has a man, she should be grateful forever, kiss his feet, put up with his nasty behaviour/habits; all in all, worship him like a god, or something. F*ck that, if that’s what it takes to have a man, I’ll be alone forever.

      (I apologise for misspelling or grammar mistakes, I’m not a native speaker)

      • Twinkletoes says:

        Perfectly written, Maria, understood, and agreed with by me 🙂

      • DG says:

        So Maria, if I’ve got this straight,you’re criticising other women , for….
        criticising other women!

      • zoe says:

        DG, there is no need to generate false paradoxes to make a cheap hit. The thrust of Maria’s point is quite clear, and one with which I am in complete sympathy. It’s a sorry spectacle to see women competing with each other for a man’s attention – whether it’s elbowing others aside or bitching about those who do. Both behaviours are but two sides of the same coin. Is any man worth elevating to the point of fighting over? Not in my book.

        For the likes of EmGee, who is one of the most generous spirited of commentators, to be of the same mind is very instructive. I think something fundamental is going on here that is inherent to the premise of this blog. The very notion of PLANKTON is a reference to a competitive hierarchy where men are some kind of prize. I just don’t buy it. Never have.

      • zoe says:

        EmGee. Sorry, having just re-read the comments I was mistaking someone else for you.

      • EmGee says:

        No harm done, Zoe. Although I did have a moment of mixed up confusion before I read your next reply.

        I had the same though regarding DGs comment, but you phrased it much better! Bending logic is like bending light; it may be more colorful, but it is still bent! 😉

  • rosie says:

    Having been on the receiving end of a few of these bulldozers when I was seeing a particularly tasty bloke I had my eyes well and truly opened to just how predatory women can be. Thank god none of them looked like Kate Moss or I might have been up in court pleading diminished responsibility.

    I’m not sure what to think about the boredom factor. Once the seed has been planted it’s hard to ignore it, but I’m looking back to when I was younger and being a plankton was unthinkable. Hah. Knowing what I know now, unless they made my stomach turn, I’d probably cling on for dear life.

    Maybe you could direct your friend’s wife to your blog, P? That should be enough to have her running to the nearest Agent Provocateur!

    As for younger women and older men I just let it wash over me now, too exhausting trying to fight it or deny it, but we’re in a bad place if a 29-year-old woman rings up a bloke (of any age) of a Saturday night to say she’s ‘bored’, without knowing exactly what she’s doing.

    @John, I take it you’ve told your ‘dalliance’ that it’s just a bit of fun?

  • Catherine says:

    When I was in my thirties a wise very angular-looking woman told me that she and her tall astonishingly handsome husband had decided in their thirties that they would NOT drift apart and split up simply because they were slightly bored of each other. It was when I had just torn up my family and was living a tortured and transporting love affair that nearly saw the end of me.

    I don’t think I have ever felt as silly and predictable.

  • rosie says:

    I’m not sure you can ‘decide’ not to split up, at any age, but especially in your thirties, anything can happen. And if the handsome husband got bored with his wife and decided to leave there’s not much she could do about it.

  • Lydia says:

    The husband whose wife is bored could be more interesting. He could talk to her about what would be exciting for her. He may be as dull as ditch water and useless in bed. We don’t know.

  • june says:

    Think we a;ll seem to agree if women think grass is greener when over 50 they are wrong as Miss Bates says life as a plankton would soon cure them of that.

    Also it seems many over 40 let alone 50 have a problem meeting anyone or stay in relationships with totally the wrong people as so scared of not meeting anyone else and cant be alone,. A friend of mine has a relationship, going nowhere, but shes too scared to leave it, and they live in her house so it isnt that, but shed find if financially difficult to manage the mortgage by herself, but could downsize. But no she stays and half the time she miserable, but says would be worse if alone and maybe shes right, Sometimes as i sit alone in my flat i wonder, is anyone as long as they dont abuse you, are reasonably attractive , and help you pay the bills, better than noone at all, But if a relationship makes you miserable so much and you have to constantly control what you do in case he leaves you, another friend , in a very happy relationship with a man who doesent mind her doing her own thing,wants us 3 to go away for one night, she wants to but he wouldnt like it she says, is it better than being alone. I really dont think for me it would be better, hard as being a plankton is, i make my decisions not a man and i really couldnt ever see myself answering to one, it would be like being a 50s housewife, sometimes thats how i see my friend.

  • maria says:

    DG, I’m sorry if you didn’t get my point, maybe I wasn’t able to express it clearly enough, because as you know, I’m not a native speaker; I’m Portuguese and oddly enough, I came across this blog one day and loved it. I’m a plankton too and I can relate to many things being said here, besides loving P’s writing.

    Now, let me make it perfectly clear: you’re damn right I’m criticizing those women who criticize and put down other women in a stupid attempt to look good in the eyes of men, and those who fight with other women over men are even more ridiculous (to me).

    Twinkletoes and Zoe: thank you very much for the support.

  • Yoga Gurl says:

    I have a gf who, when single, she got involved with affairs of married men. Because they didn’t have actual sex and only fooled around she didn’t think much of it morally…being the very liberal person she was. I think she thought it was the wife’s fault for being too boring, or not willing to try new things, etc.

    Fast forward now. She is married, fat, and trapped. She told me she “understands” why people have affairs because marriage can be so boring (and her husband never goes out). I wonder if she has re thought her attitudes and how much she could’ve hurt a fellow female. I wonder if she’ll be in the other shoes!

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