As I delved deeper I knew the pain would surface…thank you for bearing with me. This process is tough but I am determined. My better self will win out.
I can’t believe it! He’s crying! Begging me not to leave him. He never cries. I know he wants out also. I know he does!
To get him off my back I fudge. Tell him I’ll think about it while I’m on my long anticipated trip to New York City. Yeah right…
This is my trip to see Rick. My best friend from high school and his husband, Dave.
But, then I invite my new friend. And he says he can come. In fact, he books the hotel. A nice one. Overlooking Time’s Square. And theater tickets. And a tour. In fact, my trip becomes our trip. I end up seeing my friend for dinner out one PM and then dinner at his place another. That’s it. Oh well…there’s Mama Mia, a walking tour, the MoMa, shopping, Battery Park (where we could see The Statue of Liberty), Strawberry Fields, The High Line. He’s buys me boots and a belt at a store I never would have stepped into before. And then we go to a concert at the Mercury Lounge. All this time I tell my family I’m alone enjoying myself with Rick when he’s off work.
Flying home I have to reroute because of the weather. I call my son to pick me up at an airport a couple of hours from our house.
Hubby picks me up.
Daughter told him she thought I was seeing someone else.
More tears. Begging. Offers of forgiveness.
I tell him I don’t want him. Don’t want to take a chance on going back. It’s too scary. I’m afraid.
This goes on for two hours.
I’m determined. He is too.
That week after NYC I find my apartment. My friend is with me when I pay the deposit.
The end is in sight!
I am poised to leave. I have found the man of my dreams. Hallelujah!
He tells me God brought us together to do great things! I am his savior! We can go to any church I want. Have the wedding of my dreams (and a honeymoon to rival all…over to France and Italy or maybe down to Chile or perhaps even further afield…New Zealand!).
I look with disdain upon my husband. Long I had told him he would die a lonely old man and my prophesy is coming true.
I talk with the children. The oldest daughter (28) hasn’t seen me this happy in years and tells me I don’t have to wait for her wedding in six months before I leave her father. She “knows” how our marriage has been, the fights and lack of affection. The teasing remarks which were actually digs, hurtful digs. She herself had been on the receiving end many a time.
Oldest son (26, married and out of the house) feels I should tell his dad soon but that I should give him a second chance despite the years of discord. In fact, the last time he tried to stand up to his dad for us women still at home his dad put him in his place. I figured he would come around.
Number three, a daughter (24), is ecstatic. She had already fled the home in August and was living with her boyfriend “in sin” 12 hours away.
The youngest, a son (21) tells me he’s coming with me. He can’t stand his dad.
The battle lines are drawn.
Just one hitch…I still don’t have enough money. I would be setting up an entirely new household with a need for all new “things”.
My new man came to the rescue. He paid for my deposit and first six months rent plus a few extra things. He was quite generous.
There was another reason to leave…I never had to feel like I was scared to spend money. Never made to feel bad if I did. What I did mattered. I mattered.
What was that you said, the little voice in my head? Something about maybe I should tell the hubby I’m going to leave and see if he’ll still refuse to go to counseling, to change. Nope. I am not going to listen to you! I don’t care what you say! I am not staying! No matter what! No Matter What! Remember??? He’s mean! Doesn’t listen, doesn’t care, isn’t supportive, isn’t affectionate, only touches you when he wants sex…the list goes on and on. Do Not Forget! Stick to your goal!
I told him I was leaving.
I met my email friend upon my return from France, just a little lunch, to feel each other out, see if we were compatible. I was so nervous. I felt released, justified to proceed but there was still that part of me that had been a “good little girl” for so long that I was very nervous.
We met at a local cafe. He took me in his arms to greet me, I offered him my cheek. He sensed my nervousness, reassuring me at length. One glass of wine and a barely touched bowl of taco soup later we had each shared what had brought us to this point: I was ready to end my marriage and was starting to look around for the affection (and love) I felt was missing. He did not want to end his marriage but was in a sexless marriage. We talked children, grands and work (found out we were in similar fields). I felt ready to move on to the next level with him. In other words, to get intimate. When we parted he gave me the most hungry kiss then called me not five minutes later to see when we could meet again.
And meet we did. Usually once a week. I learned things about him that had I known them I would have been leery of him but by the time I learned them I didn’t care…things like he was 15 years older than I, had a heart condition (even though he was quite fit), was active in his church (I was a fairly regular attendee still myself) and had done this before. But he give me his time. We talked. He listened. I listened. He had fought in Viet Nam and had high power jobs (I googled the facts) but had taken early retirement. But…I had no future with him…I was leaving my husband and I sure wanted to know there was someone out there for me waiting. So back to the drawing board.
I still saw my email friend but began actively seeking someone who could be hubby number two. I did not want to be alone. Along the way I met other married men looking for “fun”. They usually had stories about inattentive wives or wives who flat refused to have sex. One really had no complaints…he just liked to play the field. The underbelly of humanity isn’t pretty. I felt like a counselor when I listened to these men. My advice: If you’re so unhappy that you’re out there sneaking around why don’t you get a divorce? The answer was usually: “We’ve been together so long I would lose too much money”. In other words it had become “cheaper to keep her”. But they were so unhappy and I imagine their wives were also…so sad…so gutless…
In the meantime I was saving the money for my move. Looking at apartments on-line.
One day I received an email that sounded intriguing. I responded. He wrote right back. He called. We talked for hours. Every night. This gentleman was another sexless man who had reached the point where he couldn’t stand his wife. He loved his children so he didn’t know if it was better to expose them to a loveless marriage (with fighting and degradation from her to him) or to put them through a divorce. Once again it was the “cheaper to keep her” scenario. I encouraged him to try counseling alone and with his wife. They had. I became his sound board. Finally one night I asked him what his dream was. his reply, “to be your next husband”. I was floored. And ecstatic. Had I found what I was looking for?
Yes, I mean to be up this early. Been up since 0430. Have to leave for work by 0600. The flip side is I don’t leave til between 1915 to 2030 depending on when I finish (I of course shoot for 1915 but that only happens when the stars align correctly). At least I only do this three days a week.
In the mornings there is much grunting going on…hubby and I do manage civil “hellos” and pecks on the lips/cheeks but when son gets up, it’s only grunts. Grunts for “good morning”, “good bye” and “have a good day”. They’re both out the door before me. Of course they’re both home before me.
The rest of my early morning consist of; pet the sable kitty (the only time of day one can be sure of seeing him is early AM) and go “cat fishing” which consist of swinging his kitty reel back and forth over his head as he leaps gracefully into the air attempting to nab it. Once he catches it he drags the whole toy off about five feet, drops it, looks at the one conned into playing with him and meows his challenge. He’s ready to go again.
Then there’s the babies, two rat terriers. I let them out of their crate. They go out. They come in. I give them treats. They go out. They come in. I give them treats. I put them back in crate.
Time to go to work.
I found an outlet, theater. Just doing local theater and basically only one play that ran only at Christmas but I loved it. I was emerging from my shell.
Hubby decided it was “OK” but it did cost us money because I was driving back and forth to rehearsals. Oh and don’t talk to him about it, he wasn’t interested so he wasn’t listening. Just like we didn’t talk about work or friends known only by one of us. At times I did listen to him talk about his work and coworkers but heaven forbid I bring up my life. Basically that left the kids and any sports I absorbed. But I didn’t like to talk to him…such negativity. It got me down. I did try to talk to him…at times. Other times we fought and I would tell him just how he was going to end up, all alone like his dad. But he decided I was either just upset or suffering from PMS when I brought up the negativity and the lack of affection.
I’m still not sure how he knew of my need for affection but a man I was working with on a theater project was standing next to me one night and he lightly touched my lower back…electricity sparked between us with just that touch. “But wait!” I thought. I admire him, like his wife (egads! he was married) and I’m married. But…this means I’m desirable, lovely, lovable. Everything I wasn’t getting from hubby. My imagination kicked in! I started planning, methodically. I wasn’t happy. I knew hubby couldn’t be happy. I know! We have a trip planned…if he loses his temper on this trip, in public, well…that’s it! I’ll be through, out!
As I planned hubby and I’s trip (he rarely helped) I began cruising the “adult only” websites, looking at what all is out there. Oh, and loosing weight. I was starting to feel good about myself, justifying my future plans. I knew what I was planning to do and I had to shut up the little voice inside my head that has tried to keep me on the straight and narrow.
I loved Paris and Nice. I cried when I saw Notre Dame and Monet’s paintings in the D’Orsay. In Nice I loved to just sit on the rocks and watch the Mediterranean lap and crash around me. The volcano in Iceland forced us to stay in Nice five extra days. During one of our trips to the aeroport de Nice I hit the wrong button on the laptop, hubby slammed his fist on the table in anger. That was it, the sign. I was free to go, to leave, to do what I want. My marriage is over.
Hubby didn’t know it but I already was in email contact with another man. He assured me he would have never ignored me in the City of Lights…I would have been his and he mine. I could hardly wait to get back to the states so I could quit feeling so lonely.
Once home I effectively shut up that still small voice in my head and dove head first into my first affair.
Bliss! It flowed through every inch of my body. I was his and he was mine. I knew with all certainty that we would be together for the rest of our lives. I may have been only 17 and he 22, but I knew it.
The first half of my senior year of high school my man worked in the Gulf of Mexico on an oil rig. I only saw him every three to five weeks. It was torture. I sent him perfume doused letters written on yellow striped stationery (said letters were routinely passed around for sniffing). Even packed a stuffed animal in his bag earning him the nickname “Freddie bear”. I fell into the habit of skipping class (a lot) when he was home. Still managed to keep the grades up but a couple of my teachers dropped them because of the absences. Then my daddy stepped in and threatened to not pay for our wedding if I didn’t toe the line. So toe the line I did.
The gulf job didn’t last…too much longing. He came home and settled into a job at home and looked for a place for us to live come June.
Fast forward to June…just two weeks after graduation I married the man who changed all my dreams…no Broadway, no college right after high school, no big time city and stardom but I had l.o.v.e. My parents had divorced as had Fred’s and I was determined that I would never let that happen.
So…on June 6th, 1981 I married at the ripe old age of 18.
Three months later I was pregnant.
Number one was born on June 6th 1982, our first anniversary present to each other.
Number two came in 1984.
Number three appeared in 1986.
And our omega in 1989.
I would say we were quite busy.
To top it off I was in school. Finished my nursing degree in 1991.
We had another love in our lives at this time, our church. We were there any time the doors were open. At one point we were the ones opening those doors (custodians). We were training up our children in the way they should go…children’s quizzing, home schooling, very little TV, no movies. We were the youth pastors and I was the teen quiz coach. Hubby was so knowledgeable about the Bible, so earnest in his teachings. But at home cracks were starting to show…we argued, pulled away from each other, even took to sleeping in separate beds (because I moved so much). I saw the cracks and tried to fix them but it was like trying to use duct tape to hold a cracked priceless vase together…you know the crack is still there, the tape is only an unsightly, temporary fix for something precious, something valuable that needs to be nurtured and lovingly pieced back together before more damage is done, before it is irreparably broke.
Teens were our lives for ten years but then the church we were at showed their human side and crushed the both of us but more so hubby. The pastor left and so did we. I often imagined we had signs around our neck that said “walking wounded”.
Lethargy overtook us. We cared less about our children, our God, ourselves, each other.
I put on weight. Felt unattractive, unlovable. But didn’t really do anything about it. Didn’t care one whit.
Ten more years passed. Apathy deep-rooted. Every once in a while I would plead for affection, touch. Get it for a few days and then we went back to minimal touching unless, well, you know. No problem there (I made sure hubby was taken care of) but I was starving for affection, to feel lovely.