Once upon a time, I worked at a coffee shop. The shop had a bar at the front that customers would sit at and make chit chat with me while I worked. One of the regulars was Lance*. He was a middle-aged, white-collar type that had a tween daughter that he would often bring around and sip at a caramel latte after he ordered his kid a decaf hazelnut latte. I would describe him as a content guy. He loved his wife, he thought his kid was cool, and he liked his job. All in all I'd say Lance was a nice guy, and not too far off from where I wanted to be when I was his age at the time. However, Lance did something that made me question just if he was right or wrong after he decided to confide in me one day. This is that story.
It was the midafternoon shift and the day was dragging. My tip jar was looking depressingly empty when Lance pulled up a barstool and ordered his usual. Out of boredom, I asked what brought him in so early that day. He told me that he was on his way to get a vasectomy. It seemed his wife had been wanting another baby and that she was in the beginnings of fertility counseling. Lance tried to talk her out of it and instead found her to be so set on making another little one to run after that she gave Lance an ultimatum. Lance was to either fall in line and contribute his part to add to the family or he could see himself out the door so another man could take his place. This devastated Lance who loved his family just as it was. He nearly in tears said that he'd not be able to keep his slack work hours or save for retirement.
As much as I wanted to frown on Lance, he had a point. Bringing a baby into a marriage needs both parties to consent. Lance felt he had to pay lip service in order to stay with the family he loved. He wanted to be a dad to the kid he already had and he wanted to be with the wife that he loved, he just didn't want to go back to changing diapers or being frazzled at work again. I understood Lance, but I also felt that his wife deserved the truth. How far would he let her go into fertility treatments before she found out his secret and how could she ever forgive him for the lie?
Lance stopped by the coffee shop a little less frequently after his procedure was finished. He still bought the same drink for himself and the same one his daughter liked too. I guess he withdrew a little knowing that his good-guy image had a tarnish in it. His marriage remained intact for at least a year after that, but then he stopped going to get his coffee altogether soon after. Maybe his wife left him with or without finding out or maybe they moved. All I know is that Lance tried to fend off change and it happened despite his best efforts. What do you think? Is Lance still a good guy?
* Names have been changed to protect privacy.