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Tue Aug 30 11:19 am  #1


Kel's Story

We married in 1996 when I was 26 and he 23.  We had only been dating for 3 months when we found out I was pregnant.  I loved him, and may have even been in love with him.  But I knew then that he wasn't my Mr. Right.  I thought of him more as my Mr. Right Now.  He was fun and he never blew me off like so many other men that I'd dated right before him.  I had dated someone seriously for 7 years before him, with a hiatus of about 3 years where I only dated topically (pretty much because I wasn't finding anything of value or anyone who was interested in more).  So I had gotten myself all into a lather about how I had my own home (condo), a decent corporate job, a nice car, new furniture, and no man.  No prospects of becoming married and the mother I'd always wanted to be.  I didn't get pregnant on purpose, but once I knew I was going to have a baby, I was as excited as I was scared.  I figured I loved him, and he professed love to me, and he wanted children SO badly (he was adopted and had no blood relatives of his own).  My reasoning was that if it didn't work out, we could divorce.  It seemed that going it as a single mom when the man I loved and loved me wanted nothing more than to make a family was more risky than the alternative of marrying.  So we took the plunge.  The timing was: started dating in May, found out we were pregnant in August.  Married in November (traditional ceremony with 150 guests), followed by the honeymoon and the holidays.  Had our son at the end of April, just shy of a year together.  We both worked, my mom helped with childcare, and a busy life ensued.  We did the traditional things - had family over for holidays, bought a house a few years after the baby, then had another son and then a daughter.  There is 6 years between our first and last.  He wanted another 2 children, but I was at my limit.  It became obvious that his ongoing job problems (quitting, having trouble finding a new job, then getting fired) were ongoing, and I would need to do the bulk of the work supporting the family both financially and as the only responsible adult (school decisions, health, life decisions).  It was a lot, and I was tired.

Now we're a good 6.5 / 7 years into our marriage.  I am not happy - with a lot of things.  I try to give him tasks to do to increase his self-confidence (paying bills, taking the kids to the doctor), and they all wind up horribly.  We had to file for bankruptcy.  At one point our car was repossessed and I had NO idea we were even behind on payments.  Just watching my car get taken off the street and thinking it was being stolen until I was told otherwise.  There was a time when I made a doctor's appointment for my oldest, who was 6 months old at the time.  He had a rash (which wound up just being a reaction to the fabric softener my mother was using to wash his clothes, unbeknownst to me).  Dh begged to take his son - said he was an adult and I didn't need to take over the kids.  Okay.  So I sent him on his way, only to get home that evening to a crying dh and no baby.  He had taken his hand off our son while he was on the examining table, and our son rolled and fell on the floor, fracturing his skull.  I sent my baby boy to the doctor for a topical rash and in return, got a child with a hematoma the size of a softball on the back of his head, and more worry than I can describe to you.  I tried - I really tried - to give him more responsibility so my burden would be lessened and my dh would feel more valuable.  But it resulted in my child being overdosed on medication (NO, 1 tsp. and 1 Tbl. are NOT the same thing!), our finances going into the hole, and needing to sell our home.  And yet,.... I told myself that he was a good, kind man.  One who tried, and worked hard - especially around the house.  He cooked, cleaned, watched the kids as needed.  He was a loving father.  He was just a sucky husband.  But I soldiered on.  I had tenacity.  I could do anything I put my mind to.  And I put my mind to having a successful marriage.  The fact that I felt all alone in my marriage due to an ongoing and pervasive lack of intimacy wasn't dissuading me.  I just complained every 6 months about how I couldn't go on this way.  If I was going to hold the world together, I needed LOVE.  Intimacy.  Desire.  Passion.  And I got promises, but no action.  Only rejection.

Around this same time, something was desperately wrong with my husband.  He was distant - depressed, sort-tempered, volatile, increasingly self-isolating, and almost like a ghost.  I handled that for months with no explanation.  Any time I'd ask what was wrong, he'd tell me "nothing".  If I pressed him, he got angry; "If you keep asking me, there's going to BE something wrong!".  I was busy with a preschooler, a toddler, and an infant, so I kept myself busy.  Until one day when my 6 year-old told me that he was scared of Daddy.  I saw that it wasn't only me who was walking on eggshells around him, but ALL of us - my children, my parents, the freaking DOG.  So I told him I'd leave him if he didn't get help.  He made an appointment and got the time wrong, and when he went to counseling, there was no one there.  I remember sitting in the closet and crying so hard I was shaking.  I had no idea if it really was a mistake, or if it was an unwillingness to change things.  But he did get into counseling, and was diagnosed with PTSD.  He'd had lots of abuse in his past, including rape by an adult at the age of 6.  He was given to the orphanage in a 3rd world country after being shot and watching his two brothers suffer the same fate and die in front of him.  Of course he had PTSD.  They put him on meds, and that worked somewhat, but made him sleep a ton and not even be able to become sexually aroused.  This wasn't better, only different.  But he was happy on these meds (or so he said), and refused to consider a change.

Meanwhile, dh was working a ton.  Which was.... unusual.  He'd go into the general store he was working at (we lived in rural WI), and he'd spend time doing things off the clock - like going to Sam's Club 45 minutes away from home, to shop for the store.  I didn't understand - WHY would you do these things for free, and leave me at home alone to deal with my 3 little monkeys.  I was stressed out beyond belief.  The days stretched into the night and I was always "on duty" as a nursing mom.  Meanwhile, he was raving about his friend "Brian".  They talked a ton on the phone.  He would go hang with Brian.  I talked to Brian once or twice on the phone, but it wasn't a normal conversation.  They never seemed to be talking about anything as much as "hanging out" on the phone.  Weird.   But he finally had a friend, so I let him be.  At one point, we were going to a Christmas party for the owner of the store (who also owned other businesses in town), and I was finally going to get to meet Brian.  He never showed.  Dh spent time on the phone with him in private, and it was a mystery why Brian never showed.  I believe he was drunk, if memory serves.  And crying.  A few weeks later, I got a call at around 2:30 in the morning - on our home phone. I was up nursing the baby, so I answered it.  It was a woman, crying, raging, asking who this was - that WHO is the person that's been cheating with her boyfriend???  I had NO idea what this was about.  But it turns out it was Brian's girlfriend.  I told her there must have been some mistake - I was the wife of one of Brian's coworkers, and I had just had a baby 4 weeks earlier.  She seemed pacified by this, and when I mentioned it to dh the next morning, he told me that yeah - Brian's girlfriend (whom I'd never heard mentioned before) was crazy like that.  Did this sort of thing all the time.  Huh.  Took me until very recently to put together that my dh was most likely cheating with Brian, and experiencing depression over not being able to be with him when he was obligated to be with the family.

We found out while in WI that our 6 year-old had been molested by a 9 year-old boy that we knew.  Six months had passed by the time we found out.  We told the cops, got our child tested for STD's, got him into therapy, and waited a few months for DCFS to confront the other family.  I talked about the issue a lot - with my church pastor, with my parents and sister, with my best friend, with anyone I thought could help.  I was as well adjusted about it as one could be, but dh remained bottled up.  He knew the boy's parents, and it killed him to work in the general store every evening and see them come in to buy their own 6-packs of beer, and touch their hands while he transferred their change to them.  We made plans to move back home to Chicagoland.  Soon after moving, I checked my dh's email account (as he often told me to do when I had connectivity) for job leads.  Instead, I found "My Yahoo Matches", and they were all gay.  WTF?  I confronted him the next morning, and he claimed that he'd been having dreams about his past, and instead of being scared, he was excited.  He worried that he was gay, so he thought he'd try to figure it out.  Ummmm, by DATING MEN?  I made it clear that I wanted a divorce, but dh freaked out and said that he wanted to be with his kids, and he didn't realize that MEN would be cheating (only women).  So we went to our pastor, then for counseling.  It helped a bit, and I was back on the path of making this work - for all our sakes.

Twice when we were newlyweds my dh had gone out dancing with my sister and her gay friend (to gay bars), and both times, dh got heavily drunk and started dirty dancing with men and trying to kiss them.  He would claim to have no memory of this the next day.  So this new development seemed to fit with those events a good 8 years earlier.  I knew what to watch for now.  Despite the lack of cheating that seemed to follow, clearly Iiiii didn't have him, either.  His heart was unobtainable.  He wasn't interested in my body, or touching.  I lost weight, got a tummy tuck and breast reduction, and was all perky and gorgeous.  And he.still.didn't.notice.  Everyone ELSE did though, and men began walking up to me in the city when I was waiting on a bus or train, asking for my number.  Here I was, a mom in my late 30's, having men 15 years younger wanting to be with me.  I was sex starved.  I told dh what was going on, and that if things didn't change in our relationship (specifically in the sex department), he stood a chance of losing me.  He used the opportunity to tell me that he was disappointed in me for having cheating as an option.  I told him that it wasn't that I wanted to cheat - that he was starving me, and if it kept up, I was likely to steal a piece of bread for sustinance.  He had fair warning.  NOTHING changed.  About a year later, I told him that if something didn't change big, and soon, he WAS going to lose me - either to cheating or divorce.  He did NOT heed the warning.

I connected with an old would-be flame on FB, and we began texting like crazy. We met in person, and the sparks flew.  It was only kissing, but I felt like my world had tilted on its axis.  I knew I'd been missing so much passion, but it wasn't until then that I realized just how much.  And that I couldn't continue going on without this.  I figured I'd be like every man out there and just have sex on the side and go home to my family.  That didn't work out with this man, but something inside of me had woken up.  One day, I passed dh in the hallway, and after him asking me how I was, I said, "I can't do this anymore".  And that was the beginning of the end.  I wanted a divorce.  I could no longer go on suffering for no return and no end in sight.  Suddenly, dh was interested in changing.  But it was too little, too late.  I was very insulted that all this time he knew I was unhappy, he didn't care.  ONLY when it affected HIM was he willing to make changes.  And that just wasn't good enough.  It meant that when he was out of danger of losing me, he'd go right back to his old behavior.  And I was done with that.  DONE.

It took another year and a half to separate.  Dh's mom was living with us, and was sick with breast cancer and going through chemo and radiation.  Dh was in culinary school and needed to finish that before he could support himself.  That took a while, and then he needed to get a job and accumulate some experience and get some money saved for moving out.  He had NO friends and no relatives other than his mother that he could live with.  I wasn't having him rebound into the house, so I waited it out.  It was so hard.  Once the marriage is over and the towel thrown in, there is no reason to compromise anymore.  Almost every argument ended with "Fuck you!".  He dragged his feet on leaving.  We went to counseling for a bit at his insistence, but it was only really for him to see that this was unsavable.  What it did was give him the space (once he started going on his own, at the counselor's suggestion) to realize that he was gay.

He moved out and left his mother behind with me and the kids.  He and I had been both dating others under the radar for some time by then.  I'd gone through my sex phase, my fun phase, and my "what do I want?" phase, only to realize that what I wanted was a real, committed relationship with a man again.  My ex left in July, and by Dec., I'd met a wonderful man and we quickly fell in love.  The kids loved him.  This man was an adult - something I loved.  He was kind and protective and hard-working (same job for 20+ years), and had a daughter a year older than my oldest.  He.... *got* it.  We had the most passionate sex EVER, and lots and lots of it.  Only 4 months after we started dating, he moved and my MIL moved out with her son.  Six months later, my bf asked me to marry him in front of my entire family.  Magnificent proposal, big ring, the whole 9 yards.  8 months later we married and went on our honeymoon.  It's been smooth sailing ever since.

If I had to go through it alllll over again to get to be who I am, so that I could meet this man and be this happy, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  All worth it.  Finally happy.  Been married for 3 years now and I'm happier every day than the day before.  And this man is constantly drinking me in with his eyes and coming to kiss the back of my neck as I stand at the kitchen sink, doing the dishes.  I'm in Heaven.

Kel
 

Last edited by Kel (Tue Aug 30 11:27 am)


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