Sidestepping problems and letting them dwell for way too long instead of confronting them head on is a subpar way to live life.
While sometimes you get lucky and the problem works its way out, this is a bad way to handle things, as some problems linger for years and years. Some things are complicated and will require a lot of work and even some pain to get past, but the alternative (wasting years of your life) is more costly in its own way.
When you ignore such problems, this is how a problem that starts out as a molehill turns into a nightmarish, “hard to manage” mountain, not to mention the side stress of carrying such problems with you at all times.
Let’s take debt for example, oh it start out small, perhaps you are carrying a thousand dollar balance, but soon it’s two thousand dollar, then year-end it’s five thousand dollars, and before you know it, your tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I’ve seen this happen many time with a few of my friends. With one in particular, he and his wife have declared bankruptcy more than once, drawing down the equity that they had built up in their house over the past ten years, finally ending in divorce.
Debt is one problem, but how about a bad marriage? I know another friend that is dragging out his marriage because of the kids involved. With his particular story, the marriage is sexless and he and his wife live more like roommates than husband and wife. While both are decent people, it’s obvious that neither are happy with their situation. If it wasn’t for the fear of screwing up their kids, they would have been divorced a long time ago. But I have to wonder if they are mistaken on the current path. After all, when you setup an artificial environment like this where the marriage is without passion, do the kids learn that acting like a loveless robot is the way marriages should be?
Perhaps my friend and his wife are doing more damage by staying together and teaching the kids that life has no passion and basically sucks, than good by staying together? I can tell that my friend is hurting, but since he came from a broken home he is hesitant to let the kids go through such a painful process.
While normally such problems wouldn’t interest me, once while going out for a drink with my friend, he referred to the fact that he felt like he was in prison, doing his time waiting for death to come. To me, it seems like this isn’t a good way to live, and the best route for him would be to scrap the marriage and look for a better companion. Actually, I think both my friend and his wife would be better off. A little poorer, but better off.
Lately, this has had me rethinking marriage from a fairytale perspective and now I no longer look that those guys that I know who have mistresses as the evil bad guys that society (and the movies) casts them as. After all, both of my top financial heroes (Benjamin Franklin and Warren Buffett) had mistresses, and if they can do it, why not someone in a painful, loveless marriage who believes that the embrace of death is something to look forwards to.
I think my friend should have file for a divorce after the first few years when he realized that his spouse wasn’t a good match for him, instead of dragging it out and having kids enter the picture.
Confront and fix your problems, don’t let them ruin your life!