Everyone is looking for the ‘Triangle of Happiness’
OK. I made that triangle up; the head of design for triangle-based life accomplishments would frown upon the frivolous nature of my actions, but ultimately most of us want the same thing – we want the job of our dreams that pays well and gives us the freedom to explore, we desire a non-stop healthy lifestyle of great food and mental calmness and of course…many people want a life partner.
A life partner that we can grow old with and be best of friends with.
We spend our lives working on that triangle and trying to get everything in equilibrium to achieve harmony and live a near-stress-free life. Eventually, in many relationships, the time comes when you want to start a family. The look into your partner’s eyes, the realisation that the two of you want to become a three, and what follows is the “sometimesextensive” plan to go alongside the wonders of science to reach life’s completeness.
Now comes the time to change the shape of happiness
It is now a square. You add a family to your needs and wants to your life necessities, but of all the corners of that shape, the new corner can spiral way out of control.
I wrote a semi-autobiographical short story of a man’s account of going through a miscarriage, named 482 Days, where I revealed many emotions that hit me and my partner through our miscarriage but since writing that, one thing that I have found out for sure through speaking with other men that have gone through the same thing is the list of my emotions isn’t even near to touching the surface. While speaking to friends that have gone through similar experiences, there was one situation that came up again and again, which I would like to try my best to confront now.
“Why don’t you just leave me?” “Go find someone that can give you kids.” “I cannot give you what you want/deserve.” “I was carrying our child and lost it; I am so sorry.”
Many men struggle to articulate how they feel when the corner falls off their square. Unfortunately, when confronted with one of the above questions/statements, we don’t always give the best and most thoughtful answer. After all, the question of “Why don’t you just leave me?” does not get brought up all of a sudden at any other time and for any other reason…why in this situation?
Through my feelings and conversations with many other men, I will try to shed some light on the situation…
In 482 Days, one of the first ‘feelings’ I speak about is; “Nobody cares how I feel. I don’t; why should they? I didn’t carry the baby; I had no bond. Then why does it hurt so bad? I am a mess; I don’t deserve to be. I can’t fix this.” This thought was internalised, not vocalised. But unfortunately, men often do an awful job of showing our emotions in everyday situations, so we forget about normalising feelings in a position we have never been in.
Men do not ever think the following thoughts – “She lost our baby.” “She is useless; she couldn’t give me a baby.” “I deserve a baby; I am leaving.” “Let me find someone who can give me babies this year.” If they did, they wouldn’t be part of the triangle of happiness you have already built.
In many cases, this is how we feel. “Show me you are upset, don’t just stare and stay quiet; I need an emotional reaction.” “How do we get through this pain that we have never felt before?” “I really want to help you; I just don’t know how. it’s all I have thought about, and now it’s gone” “We couldn’t control what happened”
I talk in 482 days about the lack of bond that men have once our partners become pregnant
Every family member and friend is understandably clambering around the pregnant partner, giving advice, or just wanting to talk about future ‘baby events.’ We wait patiently, hoping that we can be the best dad and get a chance in 9 months to hold our child and say hello for the first time; after all, we haven’t felt them kicking or watched them on camera during a scan as they move around.
What doesn’t go through our mind is. “If you lose this baby, then I will find someone else.”
What goes through our mind is; “How useless am I?!, She is doing everything. I don’t know how to act during pregnancy; how the hell am I able to know how to act in a miscarriage?!”
The one thing in common that I hear many men say to me who have been in this situation goes along the lines of; ‘Quite frankly, I just wanted to work out the best way to give support to my partner without smothering her, without pretending I understand what she is going through, and without making it about me.’ The ‘Triangle of Happiness,’ however made up as it might be, existed long before you wanted to change the shape to a square.
We never want to leave you; we just want to understand how we can make things better for the love of our life, the person that completed our triangle while feeling a massive flood of confusion with our own emotions and how to address them.
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