The following article was written by Simon Jones in The Sunday Times. I was going to dissect it, but you should read it in it’s entirety – it is quite extraordinary:-
“My first wife, Frances, was a classy, stunning woman. In the macho world of medicine, she was as capable and ambitious as any man. We met soon after we’d graduated and quickly moved in together. We worked and played hard — sex was important to both of us.
I’d never wanted to get married, and I was surprised when, after five years, Frances said she wanted to. But I agreed, and for the next couple of years nothing changed. Apart from work: Frances was really starting to make a name for herself.
I was delighted when she told me that she had been headhunted for an extremely prestigious post, but stunned when she said she was unsure if she wanted it, because she was nearly 30 and wanted a child. We’d always agreed we didn’t want children, so this came out of the blue. She said it needn’t change anything, but there was no way a child wouldn’t impact negatively on our lifestyle and I said as much.
I’d never seen Frances react as she did then. She completely lost the plot, screaming that I owed her a child. She admitted she’d lied about not wanting children — she said it was because she loved me and didn’t want to lose me. The next two weeks were dreadful, full of late-night talks and tears. Eventually, against my better judgment, I agreed to go for it.
Anna was a delightful baby and I fell in love with her. Frances, however, was totally consumed by motherhood. I longed for my glamorous career girl to reappear. I took takeaways home for dinner, and made sure our cleaner upped her hours. But Frances just sat around in her dressing gown reading baby-care magazines and books, or comparing notes with other new mothers.
I realise that complex factors kick in after a birth, such as tiredness and self-image issues, and that high levels of the hormone prolactin while breastfeeding reduces a mother’s libido. But shouldn’t women want to overcome this?
Six months after having Anna, Frances told me she wanted to take a five-year break from work and have another child. I was adamant that I wanted no more children. I couldn’t help feeling short-changed. By now she was overweight and unfit and didn’t care about the way she looked. Her entire life was centred on organic baby food and playgroups. Our home was always full of strange women talking endlessly about nappies, baby food and the right sort of stimulation.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Anna, but I also get on with the rest of my life — work, relationships and other interests. I’m the same person I’ve always been. But for all the talk of multitasking, it’s the mothers who become completely one-dimensional. It’s ironic, when being sexy and attractive is what got them pregnant in the first place. And it’s not only Frances who’s become a boring frump — it’s depressingly common to see clever, attractive women become parenting bores. You can spot them at parties, in baggy clothes and making no effort to be interesting to men. Surely the ultimate mummy could still be a sex cat, if no longer a sex kitten?
I ended up getting the stimulation I needed from someone else. Maria had joined the hospital where I worked. She was a few years younger than me, beautiful, clever and sexy. It took only one illicit coffee for our affair to start. We took appalling risks, having sex in store cupboards and empty conference rooms.
It wasn’t only about sex, however, mind-blowing and addictive though that was. Maria was challenging, intelligent, great fun and a poignant reminder of the beginning of my relationship with Frances. Because, despite everything, I still loved Frances. I tried to engage her interest in work. I took home champagne and flowers, bought her jewellery and perfume. But she no longer wanted to connect with me on a sexual or romantic level. Then Maria told me that an affair was no longer enough for her — that if I didn’t leave Frances, it was over. I told Frances, who was surprisingly upset and actually punched me, the first physical contact we’d had in months — and we ended up having amazingly passionate sex.
The next morning, I moved in with Maria. But it wasn’t long before she also suggested marriage. I couldn’t believe it. I had a strong sense of déjà vu. She’d often decried the way Frances had become so maternal and domestic, claiming that wasn’t for her — now she was heading the same way. We got married. Then she said she wanted a baby. I repeated all the protests I’d made to Frances. The arguments raged until Maria eventually said she would leave me and have a child with someone else, and I gave in.
Ten years after leaving Frances for Maria, I wonder why I bothered. Frances is still frosty with me and I have a horrible feeling that my daughter Anna doesn’t actually like me very much. And Maria? Nine months ago, after giving birth to my second daughter, Sarah, she has turned into another version of Frances, obsessed with motherhood in just the same way.
Has all the aspiration and ambition they applied to their careers been transferred to parenting — or did they only pretend to be career-orientated? Both of them have made themselves martyrs to motherhood, sacrificing everything from keeping fit — what’s wrong with walking a brisk four miles with a buggy, if you can’t bear to leave the baby in a creche? — to the occasional night out.
Frances lied to me about wanting a child. Maria might have done so as well. I can’t believe how naive I’ve been. I don’t know how long Maria and I will last, but I know one thing: from now on, I’m putting myself first. I’ll never trust a woman again, no matter what they promise”.
“From now on, I’m putting myself first” says it all…..from now on? I would suggest that that is what he had been doing from the beginning. Not accepting that women can change, that children have an effect on a relationship, that he chose to find somebody else to have sex with – his whole attitude shows an appallingly selfish and childish approach to life and I suggest that suspecting that his daughter “doesn’t actually like me very much” is a major understatement. Pity the poor women he feels let down by.