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Male Mind: Christoph, The Discerning Divorcé

Gender is performative. There are many different cultures around the world where men behave very differently…

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2018:11:2:male-mind-christoph-the-enlightened-divorce-dating-advice-from-men-dating-tips-post-divorce-best-dating-advice-from-male-experts-tawkify-matchmakers-best-dating-service

Welcome to Male Mind — The interview series featuring a different man’s take on love-life topics every month. From dropping the right cues to making the first move, Evyenia Trembois gets the inside story straight from the source.


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E: Will you tell me about your marriage?

C: Of course that would most definitely come up! I’m an old fashioned boy. I was that guy who was the straight arrow in college, and I waited for ‘the one’. I was really, really serious about dating, and I got engaged to my best friend, the person I trusted. We got together young, we were 19. We met in class and became best friends, transferred schools together. We were together 9 years. 7 of those years we were married. I had just turned 22 [when I got married]. I was almost done with my bachelors at the time, but hadn’t gone off to do my masters yet. I was very comfortable in the relationship. I very much trusted what we had because I’m very honest, and my policy is always absolute honesty.

“I really didn’t see it coming [the divorce] and my family didn’t either, but on our 7 year anniversary, she told me she had been cheating on me.”

C: It was completely out of nowhere. It was shocking. I tried to give her some space. I didn’t want things to end; I wanted to work through it. So I said, “Okay, we should go to counseling. We should work through this. You’re my best friend.” But the cheating continued. I knew she had, boom, just ‘unloved’ me. She was a different person. It was over.

E: How long has it been that you’ve officially ended things?

C: It’s been a little over a year. 

E: So how are you feeling now? Where are you at in your romantic life?

C: I mean, it’s incredibly difficult, because that was my experience. I waited for the one. It’s hard for me to imagine how dating is going to be because I’m admittedly ignorant. I’ve had a small pool of experience. I’ve been doing a lot more for myself, finally! Doing the things I really should have been doing for myself all along, and that’s boosted my confidence a lot. It’s helped me to see ways in which I wasn’t doing enough for me.” 

E: Do you think that affected your previous relationship at all? That fact that you were ignoring your own needs? 

C: I think it did.

“It’s interesting, you can actually give somebody everything they ask for, and it not really be what they need, or what they want. You can do too much.”

C: I needed to invest more in myself, but I was working really hard to keep the relationship together. I did the best that I could. I was honest, and loving, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I learned some lessons. It would be really interesting for me to meet some new people and develop relationships. I’ve only been in Los Angeles for about as long as I’ve been divorced. I was living abroad before that. So it’s new and exciting.

E: Would you want to get married again? 

C: No, I wouldn’t.

“That isn’t to say that I’m not dead serious about having a committed relationship again, but I was forced to do all of the legal work for a divorce I didn’t want.”

C: I had to adopt all of our pets. Here I was having uprooted myself [for her], and then had to do all this paperwork that I didn’t want to do. Now, I see that it was for the best, but it was difficult. So I don’t really believe in legal marriage anymore. But I want a long-term partnership.

E: Do you want kids?

C: I’m not a kids kinda guy. If they’re furry, yeah! I love fur babies. I’m good with kids, but in an academic sort of way. I have a very Mr. Roger’s personality. But I think at home, I’m too much the brooding artist. I don’t feel confident about my ability with kids.

E: What would you do if you met someone who wanted kids? Are you open to having that conversation, or is it an instant deal breaker?

C: I just don’t think that would be a good fit. And of course people change. I could meet someone, and they could later decide it’s something they want. That’s always a bridge that you cross. But being completely upfront about where I’m at [with that], if someone knows they want kids, they should find someone else who’d be comfortable if that happened.

E: So with your ex, were you both on the same page with kids?

C: Yea, we both didn’t want kids. But you know what, part of something that I saw…my ex-wife’s sister got pregnant, and it suddenly hit [my ex] very hard. I think that played a role in everything that happened, because she wouldn’t have an honest conversation with me about it. I think she was lying to herself about what she wanted.

E: It makes sense that she could change her mind, you two got married so young. 

C: Exactly. People will change as they get older. We think that people stop changing- they don’t. People change all the time.

“It’s like, someone you thought you knew, and you wake up in the bed next to them and you think, “oh my gosh, we’re both completely different people.” 

E: Do you feel like you’re a different person now then when you met your ex wife?

C: Um…yes, and no. I’m pretty stable. So I really have always stood very firm on my principles. But, of course I’ve changed.

“I like me better. I have a lot of experience (not dating experiences, but relationship experience!). I dated someone for 9 years. I know what it is to really have a committed relationship. I learned so much about how to communicate.”

C: I helped mend a lot of our fights. My ex had been very abused by her parents, so I learned how to make her feel heard and validated. Even if I was the one coming to her with a problem, I learned how to put that down, deal with her and how she’s feeling, so that she would be able to come back and see, “Oh, I hurt your feelings.” So I’ve picked up a lot of skills. I like the guy I see in the mirror. And I’ve always been honest and true to myself. I never see that changing.

E: Do you happen to you know your personality type on Meyers Briggs? Just curious…

C: Yeah. I’m an INTJ through and through. Of course, these things can be [silly], but no..if you read the INTJ, that’s me.

Tawkify side-note: INTJ stands for Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging. INTJ’s primary mode of living is focused internally, while their secondary mode is external, where things are dealt with rationally and logically. NTJs focus their energy on observing the world, and generating ideas and possibilities. 

E: What do you think about dating amongst introverts and extroverts? Who does best together?

C: I don’t think it matters as long as you respect each other and you have a degree of empathy and understanding. You can click in so many ways when it comes to chemistry…extroverts are great to get you outside.

“Sometimes I’m a mope. It’s great to have someone who has the energy and social prowess that I never had.”

C: I’m very relaxed and comfortable. I’m not going to induce cringes. But, I don’t know what to do in a crowd. I’d rather just sit there with a book. I’m clueless.

E: You know what I find interesting — you’re classified as a thinker (someone who leads more with logic), yet, you seem to be very impacted by emotions and feelings from what happened in your relationship…

C: In life, I am very logical. I’m very much about thinking. This was the one place I was vulnerable. I prioritized this relationship well above everything — even my own career.

“This was the [one] place where I felt. She was the one person I could open up to and be more silly with…I was so unguarded.”

E: Do you feel like you’re ready to date?

C: Sure. It’s not like people bite. If things aren’t clicking, you respectfully move on. Treat people with kindness and decency. You don’t fool around.

“I don’t like wasting people’s time. I wouldn’t want them to spare my feelings and waste my time either.”

E: At this point, what are you looking for?

C: Honesty! I’m an artistic person, but I don’t care if the other person is or not. But I would need to be with someone who understood what it’s like to be in a [fickle] profession like that. It’s very difficult. Ups and downs. You always struggle with money. Then, boom, you [land something big]. It’s not the most stable.

“I’m a very reliable, dependable guy, but my work is not.”

C: I’m very open minded. I like different types of people. I like people who have strong ideas about things. I’m perfectly fine with that, as long as you’re willing to stand by them. I like confident, intelligent women. Fitness has become important to me lately, so that’s something we could do together.

E: Is it important for you to share similar hobbies and interests with a partner?

C: Somewhat. I think it’s great to share interests and hobbies because those are things that can keep you together, knowing there’s things you can do together. But at the same time, when you share too many likes and interests, you tend to be sort of the same person and that’s not always the best.

“It’s interesting to have someone who is different from you and can challenge you and make you stretch. That can help you discover things that you wouldn’t normally do.”

E: What is your ideal first date?

C: Gosh, considering my limited experience, I think the smartest thing to do is something very relaxed. No big commitments, so no one feels trapped.

“Just do something that’s fun and easy.”

E: Have you had experience with app dating yet?

C: You know, I shamefully have to admit that I absolutely tried it. I know so many of us do.

“It’s pretty awful. I tried building a profile. Tinder. Coffee meets bagel.”

C: I like the idea of an app where women have more power and agency. I don’t know, maybe I’m too old fashioned. I don’t think I’m savvy enough with the texting. I never went on any dates. I don’t think people were swiping on my profile. The casual dating didn’t really seem to click. I guess it’s not in my personality.

E: Do you ever see someone out IRL that you’d be interested in approaching?

C: Yea, I do all the time. I mean, I’m a man. We’re all big dumb animals. That’s what men are. We’re really, really dumb. All of my friends are pretty much women, because, ah! — they are so much more mature usually, and I can have conversations with them. Of course I see attractive women; I live in Los Angeles, and I’m an actor so I work with very attractive women all the time. And I’d like to approach them; I just don’t. I’m super shy outside the context of performing [on stage].

“And I just think about how men are gross, and how men approach women, and the cringey things they do, and I never want to be that guy.”

C: If I’m going to get in a relationship with somebody, it will probably start as a friendship. I really don’t want to bother somebody, and put them on the spot.

E: How would you feel about a girl approaching you?

C: I’d love that. LOVE that. That’s great. Women should have more power and agency.

“And I hope I give off the vibe that I am safe to approach. Masculinity is very toxic, especially in America. We’re really struggling with that. I don’t want to be that [aggressive] person, but I don’t want to come off uninterested either. It’s a fine line. I’m working that out, now.”

E: Do you hit up the bar scene?

C: I go to bars. I see people. But, I’ll admit. I’m usually in the corner by the fireplace, [and I keep to myself].

E: So, to all the single women out there — explain the secret of men to us. Are they just these simple beings, with really easy to read black and white signals?

C: No, men are incredibly complex.

“It’s easy to say we are big, dumb animals because we are. But the thing is, I can say that because I’m a man. I’m comfortable reducing us, because I know that men are incredibly complex.”

C: Gender is performative. There are many different cultures around the world where men behave very differently, and in a less toxic way when they are not completely oppressed by the toxic definitions of masculinity. I’ve been a big, loud feminist my whole life for a reason. I grew up being bullied. There’s all these things that people say men are supposed to be like. I didn’t really fit those things. But I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me.

“I thought there was something wrong with everyone thinking I had to be a certain way. Men face the same struggles as women. It’s different, but men face the same pigeonholing into gender roles.”

C: They’re taught that the only acceptable emotion is anger. They’re reared to be aggressive, and rewarded for that. Take what you want. Be the fastest. Be the strongest. It really gets inside of you. And the media, it tells you how to get girls, what you’re supposed to do, that your value is attached to your economic standing. Those things get deep. So men are very sensitive.

“We are born the same, and in the womb we change. I think that’s beautiful and important to remember. We’re people. We have the same brains. Yes, our biology is a little bit different.”

But beyond that, it’s social conditioning. Men, we are victims of ourselves. Women are victims of men.

 

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