Leaving Eeyore…

Erin Schaden
7 min readApr 25, 2023

There are so many women married to Eeyore. I mean you know the guy, he is negative but nice. He isn’t a bad person, but just frustrating in his view that everything in life is going to suck…so it always does. No matter what the circumstance in life, he sees the negative, the sky is always about to fall and he has a never ending plethora of ideas about why and how it is likely his fault.

I have helped a lot of people leave an Eeyore, not just women, but men too. I don’t think the Eeyore analogy works all that well for women though. I will come up with a better parallel and write about that on another day, today it is just the woman leaving Eeyore and all his negativity that has captured my mind.

I had lunch with a colleague yesterday and we were discussing this, and she is the one that encouraged me to write about it, as she knows several women in the throws of divorcing Eeyore right now. And we both were stymied as to how these vivacious, fun loving women, got saddled to Eeyore in the first place.

And for an answer to this, I go back in my own history…

I loved Eeyore when I was a young child. I am not sure if it was all his donkeyness or his need for a good cheering up, but I loved him. Perhaps it was the tail that was loosely pinned on. I think, even way back then, I knew that Eeyore desperately needed a friend. Someone to cheer him up, create a more positive narrative for him. Someone who could bring a little sunshine to his never ending rain storm.

And, fuck, if I wasn’t just the girl to do it!

I will admit right here that I have dated many Eeyores in the past. There is something alluring about them. They need someone like me to bring the energy to their apathy and that makes me feel needed and wanted and in the role I have so often loved to star, fixer.

And I would hazard a guess that that is exactly how these other women have been attracted to all that not so greatness also. They want someone who needs them, who desperately needs a more positive take on life and love and marriage. Someone who can brighten up their world. And we women, are often all too eager to take on the project or fixer upper in the man department.

I myself have taken on some major renovation projects, some of them willing participants, others not so much. What they all have in common is that I say myself as having something they lacked and it was now my job to jolly them up.

And I, like these women who are now leaving Eeyore, found out that it doesn’t work. You cannot fundamentally change another person’s world view, without their cooperation and participation. And another pretty essential factor, is that Eeyore has to want to change. And there is the rub…for all involved.

Most Eeyores I have known in my life, liked their negative inner talk, their world view that everything was going to suck. Mostly, I think because it allowed them to not really have to take a great deal of responsibility in life. Life was just shitty and so when shitty things happened, that was just life doing its thing. Really had little if anything to do with them at all.

So if that is your world view, why would you ever do anything differently? I mean, if life is hard and then you die, why would there ever be any reason to be optimistic?

But what seems to be an acceptable world view to a great deal of these men Eeyores, doesn’t completely work out for the women who love them over time. It is a drain to be the one who is responsible for all the laughter, fun and sunshine. It takes a lot of work to keep the life blood of life going, most especially when you are married up to someone who has a never ending tale of woe.

Sooner or later, one just gets tired of always having to be the up one. The counterbalance to all the Eeyore like male partner brings to the table which is just problem after negative problem. After a few years, it is understandable why these women want out. After a few decades, you want them to leave too. You just don’t want to hear about their husband and all his negative shit anymore. You haven’t even known her long but you want to shake her for staying as long as she did.

Leaving Eeyore isn’t easy though. I mean, he is cute and in need of a hug, like every single day. My own stuffed Eeyore from my childhood is well worn and super loved, you can see it all over him. Even back then, before dating or partnering was even a thought, I had a penchance for the love lorn, the lost, the sad and the lonely.

Perhaps this was because I needed to feel needed. Perhaps this was because I wanted to be the positive counter measure to all that negativity. Perhaps I am just weird or wired in a way that lacks a detailed explanation. I just know that I was attracted to Eeyore from the word go and I have dated, and left many along the way.

I am not sure why these other women are leaving their Eeyores. I can only tell you why I have. It is simple and a bit brutal…here goes:

I have left the Eeyores of my past because I get so tired. It is almost like I have to spend 20 times the amount of energy trying to pull us both out of the negative tail spin. And after a period of time, I just don’t want to do it anymore. I cannot be that responsible for someone else’s happiness. I may have been all in when they made me in charge of it in the beginning, but after (for me a few months, for others it is a few decades) I wear myself out. I just do not have the staying power and someone much less work seems like a better and more suitable option for me. In short, I get bored.

I have had the privilege of working with a great many women married to Eeyores over the years and I can tell you that they often get bored too. But that doesn’t explain the decades they spend in these mostly unsatisfying and one sided relationships. I think that one must go to sleep in the relationship, just disconnect to a level that allows for you to be there but not really be there all that much. That is how you stay with Eeyore for years. You just accept that this is the way it is without ever thinking there might be something else out there for you, or someone else. Add to that the grind of commitments, work, child rearing, finances and faith, it is easy to allow your life to pass you by while being married to someone who just doesn’t get you at all.

In the final analysis, it would appear, at least to me, that in the beginning someone making us the center of their world and in charge of their happiness seems like a good deal…but as with all deals, living with the deal for a protracted period of time often has a way of causing you to think about it differently.

Leaving Eeyore is hard in large part because you fear that he will never be ok again and while you haven’t loved him “like that” for a very long time, you do not want to hurt this person that only seems to need just a little more love to bring them around. And there it is, the real issue…Eeyore doesn’t want to come around. He is actually quite content to sit there stewing in his own negative juices while you run yourself mad trying to cheer him up, make him laugh or take on a more life affirming attitude.

I think the women who leave Eeyore are brave and fundamentally optimistic women who must finally come to terms with their lack of ability to really alter another person’s commitment to seeing everything that happens in life through a dirty, negative lens. In the end, it is their own commitment to optimism that finally kills it for them. They just can’t think of anything positive left to say about their marriage or partner. And when the perennial optimist hits that kind of brick wall, there really is no other path than to change course completely.

Leaving Eeyore isn’t easy, you fear for his safety, his health and his wellbeing. But for many, that controlling factor that has been operative for years, finally takes a back seat to this new idea that even alone these women feel like they are better off than anchored to this man who can only see the glass as half empty or that there is even a glass at all.

Eeyores can change but so long as they are married up to Ms. Mary Sunshine, it is hard. So much easier to maintain a negative view of everything when you have someone there daily trying to convince you otherwise. Usually, once the ray of fucking sunshine has had enough and files for divorce, most Eeyores have to become responsible for their own happiness and joy. And what I have seen, repeatedly, is that can be a catalyst for them to fundamentally reassess their commitment to all things negative. These men who were content with their head down, resigned to the futility of life, re-emerge changed, lighter and more in charge of their lives than ever before.

Sometimes, leaving Eeyore is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and him. And one day, when you pass him on the street, you may not even recognize the man you once called yours. He may have been forced by the absence of all your sunshine to find a little corner of it for himself.

--

--

Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.