Why Don’t You Just Leave?

Betty DraperMany people ask me when I tell them my troubles, ‘Why not just leave?’ Good question. However, despite all of the practical issues for women; not enough money, no job prospects, etc. there are other issues unique to each relationship.

One of the chief problems in my husband’s and my relationship is the issue of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. If I left, he would comfortably and happily get on doing all that he does without me. I doubt that he would even miss my presence unless someone’s eyes were required to see something for him. And there is another issue.  Seneca put it best in Moral Letters to Lucilius, 10:

No thoughtless person ought to be left alone; in such cases he only plans folly, and heaps up future dangers for himself or for others; he brings into play his base desires; the mind displays what fear or shame used to repress; it whets his boldness, stirs his passions, and goads his anger. And finally, the only benefit that solitude confers, – the habit of trusting no man, and of fearing no witnesses, – is lost to the fool; for he betrays himself.

Now, this sounds on surface quite paternalistic of me. My husband is a thoughtful, caring man when he wants to be. However, as I said before, if I were not here, he would do completely as he liked, free of all censure. He has learned to not goad my anger as he used to in the past, so it’s not that he can’t learn behavior. It’s just that when nothing is around to check his activities, he would easily get himself into danger and perhaps worse.

So, yes, I could leave at great expense; moving 3000 miles away again to no housing, transportation, health care, or job prospects. But why would I do that when I can stay here and keep an eye on things? Besides, I can easily entertain myself and don’t need social interaction like he does. I am pretty much an introvert; quite happily in fact. It makes perfect sense that a social man would say, ‘no man is an island, entire unto itself’. Women, however, might have a different view.

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