After my wife and I were engaged, her one aunt went to her privately and asked, “Are you sure you want to marry Chad when he doesn’t have his life together?” Why do I know this? Because my wife told me something that should’ve been kept private. Fortunately, she didn’t tell me about this until several years after we were married and my life was together, so it was easier to hear. Being told this, I could’ve been hurt and/or become resentful to the aunt, but the truth is, she had a right to be concerned and it was good she felt safe enough to talk to my wife about it. I should point out this aunt didn’t know me very well and on the outside it could look like I was “not likely to launch,” which means I was someone who would always be a slug and mooching off my wife. When the aunt asked this question, I was 35 and living with my mom because I couldn’t afford to live on my own (also because my mom is amazing), I was no longer working at a church, my supply teaching had ended because of a paperwork problem, and my therapy practice was still very early stages. I was so financially pathetic at that time, when my wife and I bought our house, minus some RRSPs I contributed, it was all under her income approval. From an outside perspective, it could easily look like I was trying to marry a sugarmama. The main reason this aunt had a right to ask this question, however, is she had been her husband’s sugarmama their entire marriage. He never really worked and let her carry him. Fortunately, she loved my wife enough to make sure she wasn’t going down the same painful path.
What’s really funny about this situation is when my wife told her mom we were engaged, her mom looked at me and asked, “Are you sure?” And when my wife told her grandma, her grandma looked at me and asked, “Are you sure?” They didn’t ask my wife that question; they asked me. That felt good… for me… because I’m a jerk. Both her mom and grandma knew me better; they knew how hardworking I was and that I was most likely “slow to launch,” which means I was slower to develop my real career path, but soon I would be set. Fortunately, they were right and God blessed me with a wonderful therapy practice, which has helped me be the provider I always wanted to be and helped prove that I was slow to launch rather than a “failure to launch” (i.e. being a mooch and not going anywhere with my life).
I’ve had a number of female clients see me because they weren’t sure whether to stay or break up with their partners. They loved their guys, but they were carrying the relationship financially. The question that needed to be answered was “Is your man slow to launch (like me) or not likely to launch?”
A friend of mine once dated a guy who spent all day playing video games while she worked two jobs to cover the bills. That’s a guy who’s not likely to launch (and needs a swift kick in the pants) because playing video games all day is a really bad sign. She needed to break up; unfortunately, she suffered from the “But I love him,” problem like many very nice women until he had worn her down and damaged her enough emotionally that she had no choice but to leave him.
Trying to determine whether someone is slow to launch or not likely to launch can be a challenge, especially since sometimes the guy could go either way. If given the choice, most guys will say they are “slow to launch” because who wants to see themselves as a failure, but that doesn’t mean they are. Hopefully the following list can help better determine, which path the guy is on.
- Does he believe a man should be a provider and protector or is he a child who wants a mommy?
- Is he lazy, facing a setback (like I did), or going through emotional turmoil?
- Does he stay up too late, sleep too much, drink a lot, smoke pot, watch too much TV (more than two hours a day) and/or play more than two hours of video games a day? These are very bad signs as they tend to be addictions to avoid life and responsibility.
- Is he useless, hiding from life, or is there evidence he’s working at figuring something out?
- Is he willing to go to therapy to address issues and/or the partner/parents’ fears (good) or is he avoiding dealing with it all together (bad)?
- Does he belong to any groups and/or have any type of job (good) or does he isolate himself (bad)?
- Does he give lame excuses and/or get easily angered when asked about his plans (bad) or does he take responsibility for where his life is insofar that he’s trying to make it better and working on a long term plan (good)?
- Is he appreciative of everything his partner is contributing and doing what he can to repay her?
- Is he doing anything to make tomorrow better (e.g. going to school or working on a project)?
- Does he do things around the house to make life easier for those he lives with?
- Does he have a history of success or has he always found the easy way out? (e.g. was he a slug in school? Was he part of any clubs or have jobs as a teen?)
- If he thinks his partner is too uptight, does he at least try to meet her halfway (e.g. I’ve done lots of things I didn’t want to because it made my wife happy) or does he just dismiss her fears about his future?
How my wife knew I’d be “slow to launch” and not a slug:
- I was constantly working to develop my abilities and was part of groups to expand my network.
- I was willing to take almost any job I could to make money.
- I never played video games, rarely watched TV, never overslept, or had other addictions that held me back.
- I was appreciative of everything my mom did for me and would do any job around the house I could to show how grateful I was.
- I wasn’t flakey and always followed through with plans.
You may have noticed I’ve focused on guys being “slow to launch” or “not likely to launch,” but what about women? I have come across guys who were with women who seemed like mooches and that was because they were. I am yet to find a woman who’s slow to launch because most women I meet have the opposite problem where they do too much and take on too much responsibility. When this isn’t the case, they’re likely entitled and lazy.
This week may you see how you’re lucky for your situation or consider how to fix it.
Rev Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people (like me)