I, Gary Anderson, was thinking about my life 30 years ago. I was a young man, looking for truth, beauty and love. It seemed like I had been searching for a very long time.
Then I found Ellen. I first met her after graduation. I was 19 and she was a year younger. The moment we bumped into each other was like a movie scene. Our eyes met. My jaw dropped. Her shoulders relaxed. She smiled – I was mush – and our hearts pounded between us. It was love at first sight. I wanted her and she wanted me. Our moments together naked were like a fantasy.
I wanted to give her the world and make her happy, no matter what. So, we got married, her white dress swirling against the warm canvas of flowers, friends and love. Afterwards, I put my nose to the grindstone, working at a marketing company so she could go to college to train as a dental hygienist.
By the time she graduated two years later, my hard work had paid off, I had saved enough to make a down payment on a house, a place where we could be happy together. Soon, she wanted kids; I wanted to oblige. We had our first little girl, Cynthia less than 12 months later, and the second one, Carol two years after that.
Night after night, there would be a ritual, a byproduct of my childhood, when noises below meant the “furnace monster” was trying to get me. I would look under the girls’ beds and inside their closets and say, “any boogeymen or monsters here who are after my girls better leave now. Get out! Or I’ll take care of you!”
“Get them daddy!”
“Stay away from my Cynthia and Carol!”
“Thank you, Daddy!” they would coo and smile as I tucked them in. I would open up a book with a message about moral value and achieving dreams, and quietly read them the story until they were both asleep.
Onetime, though, the routine was a little different. After a long day at work, I would need a night out with “the guys” – not often, maybe once a month. I wasn’t trying to be difficult. It was hard to imagine that I was out of line.
But Ellen saw things differently. “The children are in bed, waiting for you to scare the boogeymen and tuck them in. Did you go out with your friends again?” She put hands on hips, face stern and sharp.
“Naturally.” My palms were moist. I knew what was coming next, an argument I could never win. I turned towards her, barely hopeful that maybe things would be different this time.
Ellen pressed her face toward mine, mouth curled in disgust, “Are you kidding me?”
“No.” I pulled back.
“You have to be fucking joking!”
“Not really. Quiet” I added softly, “don’t let the kids hear.”
“Gary, I don’t like you spending time with ‘the guys.’ You know I don’t approve.”
The words stung. “I’m not trying to hurt you. I just wanted a little break, a moment of personal space for myself.”
“And leave me alone with the children? Besides, how do I know what you’re really doing?”
My knees were weak, lumbering under the weight of my responsibility for what she was feeling. “But I love you.”
“No, you don’t. How many women were with you tonight?”
“Are you jealous?”
“If you cared, you wouldn’t go out with your damn friends again.”
I stared at the floor. I knew there was nothing I could say. She won the argument.
Ellen screwed her face into angry creases. “I can’t stand looking at you. You better sleep on the couch tonight.”
Something snapped. I felt crushed down like a death camp survivor, covered with crawling parasites, hungry to feed. I stopped going out with co-workers and friends. After that, I only thought about keeping Ellen happy.
Sadly, that was not the end of my troubles. It was the beginning of something worse – far worse.
Some years later, I left work early to buy Cynthia flowers for her birthday. I headed home, knowing she’d be back from school within an hour or so.
When I arrived, I heard rustling upstairs. “Hello?” I called out as I opened the bedroom door. I saw my wife lying there naked, arms and legs wrapped around another woman.
“What?” My heart dropped. I felt dazed, as if I was locked in a suffocating cell with no windows. My mind spun wildly as a violent jolt tore through my gut.
My wife’s not a lesbian, or is she? I thought. Was I unable to meet her sexual needs all this time?
“Gary!” Ellen hushed.
“What’s going on?” My mouth dropped, the muscles in my abdomen tightening with detestation.
“Um… I found a new lover? I should have told you earlier.”
A prickling burning sensation washed over me, head to toe. “What about us?”
“I fell out of love with you a year ago.”
“Is that how long you have been seeing … her?” I pointed a shaking finger.
“Yes, this is Yolanda.”
“What the fuck! After 23 years, you found a new…” My teeth gritted hard and my jaw clamped down tight, like a vice. I felt ill.
“Fuck sorry. I’m think I should divorce you!” I walked out, slamming doors and pushing over furniture. I slung the kitchen table against the wall, shattering cups and a sugar bowl. My arms suddenly felt limp, and I dropped the flowers. I was arguing and cursing, seemingly to no one. I gasped for air; my chest heaved in and out.
What was I to do?
Later, I filed for divorce. Ellen and Yolanda took the girls to a women’s shelter. I didn’t know it at first, but Yolanda associated with powerful women. She also knew their actions would give Ellen special privileges when it came to the terms of any divorce, including custody of our children.
In the end, I lost out, once again. She took half of everything I had and kept our girls. And while I was responsible for paying child support, the courts ruled that I could only use Skype or Facebook to “visit” them – for one hour a week. I was not allowed to have any physical contact with my own flesh and blood.
Search for help
Eventually, I decided enough was enough. These were my children, too, and I sought information and support that could help me get justice – and spend the precious time with them that any father should.
But no matter what I tried or how much I spent, I failed. I fought in court for years and never had even one judgement in my favor. The odds were always against me. I couldn’t prove it, of course, but it seemed was a feminist lesbian cabal behind the scenes stirring up endless hate toward me – and other men –that repeatedly bolstered my soon-to-be-ex-wife’s claims.
Over time, I experience terrifying thoughts about myself and the future of anyone who might end up this way. I was tortured with sleeplessness and my health deteriorated. Darkness overshadowed anything I said or did. It took me years to understand that I was suffering from depression and suicidal ideation.
I saw myself locked in the Nazi death camp again, full of feces and human body odors and at night parasites feed off my flesh. In my struggle to survive I squashed each vermin, killing them one at a time until the putrid death stench makes me want to retch, or surrender to the inevitable. Then finally, I just ignore the parasites and lets them feed. I was starved for food and dreamed of eating my pet dog.
I contacted men’s rights and divorced dads’ websites. I went to a meeting organized by a group called DADS but discovered it was actually a feminist front, intent on convincing me I was the problem. I connected with Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) and discovered there were thousands in similarly sad circumstances.
Everywhere I looked, in fact, I saw others like me – faces pale and crumpled, looking away, trapped and downtrodden. Unfortunately, while some offered support, I still didn’t have access to my girls. I thought of suicide as hope waned. I began seeing a therapist, who helped ease my pain but offered no advice that would help me be with my kids.
The truth comes out
Still, I carried on. Whether I could see them in person or not, I was determined to have my time with my two girls anyway I could.
One day, while I was speaking to them on a video call, Cynthia asked, “Why do you still have to pay child support while we live with two working women?”
She is so bright, I thought to myself. “The legal system demands it or else I’ll be sent to jail.”
“No!” Carol said with a cry.
“I’m afraid our system of ‘justice’ favors women over men.”
“That is not fair, Daddy.”
A lump formed in my throat. “No, it isn’t. Unfortunately, society doesn’t respect fathers much.”
“But we respect and love you.” My daughters said.
I lowered my head and my face screwed into a dry cry. I choked back hitches and gulps, not wanting to upset them. My lungs collapsed as the words I’d waited a lifetime to hear left me unable to breathe, let alone talk.
“Hello?” Cynthia said.
“I’m h—here.” It felt as if a pile of sealed letters had been ripped open, all at once.
“You OK?” She asked.
I squeezed my eyes tight, tears ebbing from the corners. “I’m perfect.”
“Say, Dad, do you remember how you used to frighten the boogeymen away from under our bed and closet?”
“Sure I do, honey.”
“We loved that.”
“So did I.”
Cynthia added. “I sometimes think the boogeyman must be a woman.”
About the Author
Tim Patten’s latest book Masculinity Is Our Future is also available in audio format. He has published the handy investment guide: MGTOW, Building Wealth and Power. And MGTOW Why I Cheat– 11 campfire stories for men’s ears only. All his books and articles are a celebration of masculinity and pay homage to the modern men’s liberation movement.