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MJ seeks advice in wake of divorce.

by Dear Jon
January 22, 2002

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Sort 111_Dear Jon-"MJ" seeks advice in wake of divorce. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,
I have had a very successful career, so much so that I was able to retire in my early thirties. It was a perfect situation, or so I thought. I now had the time to watch my kids grow up - go to all their games, get involved at their school and actually not be too tired to play with them AND still have quality time left for my life. After being "retired" for a few years, I was bored. I am a very competitive person and needed something to keep my edge, so I got back involved in my career in a capacity that demanded less time and energy, but it wasn't long before I got sucked back into it all again. Now my wife is filing for divorce. My family lives in another city and I never see them.
What should I do?

Dear MJ,
Here is what you should do, MJ: Write to Ann Landers if you want anything more than a glib answer.

Your letter brings a lot of stuff to mind, and most of those things are not funny, because divorce is one of those things that is almost never funny. Divorce belongs in that whole category of things that are almost never funny: Flunking a driver's license test, being told by a doctor you have six months to live, rain at a picnic, a child's tantrum in the middle of a crowded supermarket, Jay Leno monologues.

One of the things that came to mind is the difference between men and women. Those differences are often very funny, unless they end in divorce. Then they are not so funny.

One difference is in the attitude towards early retirement. If a man has been lucky enough to be in a position to retire early, this does not mean he wants to stop competing. A man wants to find new challenges, new frontiers of conquest, a whole new way to achieve.

This is different from the assumptions of women, who may tend to think that early retirement means endless hours together as husband and wife doing something called "relating." What "relating" normally involves is that the man will accompany the woman on errands to the fabric store in a never-ending project to update the curtains. She will value the curtains according to the man's responses. "This looks nice" by a man means it is tasteless and garish. "Whatever you want" means he hates it and will be mad if it is bought. "Do you really think that works?" means it really does work, and he knows the woman is leaning that way and he is concerned about the price, which the woman knows very well is no object to those who are able to retire early.

This is only funny unless it ends in divorce.

It is time for both sexes to get a clue. Husbands: Women like to have you around sometimes. Yes, you are funny-looking and sometimes you smell and you don't know how to dress yourself, but you are also an anchor of friendship, relationship, and identity. Wives: There is not a man alive who has not aspired or desired, in some way, to be a hero. If you are married to a real-life hero, especially one who has made you rich, he will literally have no idea what you have to complain about. Frankly, I don't either. What's it going to be? Two more years or three at the very most that MJ competes?

A very wise friend of mine pointed out that Paul and Linda McCartney stayed married because Linda toured with Paul. They were filthy rich and busy and they made it work.

Folks, if anyone can work this out, it is the two of you. If nothing else, you've got the money to make the arrangements you need to make.

All right. Dear Jon has just proven that he is an insensitive macho clod. Whatever you want.

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