Michaela Merz

When men cry

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A former classmate called me very surprisingly and asked whether I have time for a drink. I did not have time but I was simply curious to know what has happened, if he contacts me after years of mutual silence. We had always gotten along well and had seen several funny things together.

I agreed, even though it did not suit me at all. In the evening we talked about banalities, normal and day-to-day things for about half an hour. Suddenly he began to cry and told me that Claire had left him. Claire is his wife, with whom he has two grown-up children and with whom he is together since school days. I felt sorry for him. I had never seen him crying before. He then composed himself again and told me the story of how Claire had attended a training course and met someone and now, as the children were on holidays in France for one month, did not even bother come home and had told him the entire truth. He wanted to know from me what he should do. After all, I am a woman and know him and Claire.

I was at a loss. Is there any good advice in such situation? It was crystal-clear that he did not want any advice but wanted to have Claire back, even if it would cost him all dignity and principles. He loved Claire but he had simply not seen the signs of her being unsatisfied. And there for sure had been signs. A woman does not simply run away from a good relationship after 20 years just because she likes someone in a course. To tell him this is useless because disaster has already struck.

I am aware that I cannot help him. To give advice as one being not involved does not work. We discussed the situation for a long time until late into the night. Respectively, he talked and thought aloud and I listened with astonishment. He was ready to forgive everything, to do anything to get Claire back.

We parted at 4 o’clock in the morning. That was one year ago. Half a year later I met the two of them, hand in hand like newly in love. Both of them greeted me as if nothing had happened. Apparently he had managed to turn his dreams into action.

Only much later I got to know that my school colleague, who had never been a fighter, had given everything in order to win back Claire. He had mustered all courage, had lowered himself, changed his life and with a bit (or a lot, depending on the perspective) of luck he had won back Claire. Does it always work? Probably not, but who does not try cannot win.

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