Life Before the Wave

Honey and I were married in 2004 after 4 years together.

I knew going in that there would be some things I’d have to sacrifice. A partner who cooks. A person who regularly cleans up after himself. A person who could do banking or budgeting or…any of the things we have to do when we are all growns up. So, you may be asking ‘why did you marry him?’

I’ve thought a lot about that in the last 7 months, and it really boils down to two things. First and foremost, he is hilarious. I think I let this be my main motivation from day one. I thought, if I have to give up all of this to get that, I’ll do it. That’s more important to me than all the rest of that crap combined. I can take those things on myself for the both of us, I reasoned. Sarcastic hilarity is like air and water to me. I can’t not have it. I think this stems from my dad. He was just one of the funniest, most dead-panned people I have ever known. Every one of my most beloved childhood memories start and end with that.

But he kind of got…less and less funny as the years passed. Oh believe me, he still had his moments of being a sarcastic God among men. But it faded as his effort about everything else faded. He became more neurotic about being on his phone all the time. He was more interested in being on the couch watching TV every waking moment that he wasn’t at work. His laziness increased. His malaise got more pronounced. And so the weight of life’s burdens that I’d sacrificially taken on (namely, 95% of nearly everything) started to crush me.

I’d approached him many times about needing him to handle his business. We both worked, yet I’d do all of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry…you name it. He promised that he would, and then a week or so later, he’d be right back on the couch every second of our evenings and weekends together. It was maddening. But what could I do? I loved him, and we were married. Leaving is not an option for me (based on my belief in the permanence of marriage), nor did I want to. I just wanted him to get it together.

I’d waited to marry him until he committed his life to Christ, something I’d prayed for endlessly and had finally seen come to fruition in the summer of that year. I believed that somehow automatically put us on the same page about everything. It didn’t. Honey simply morphed into this role, but I don’t know how much about being a follower of Christ he really ascribed to, or if he just puppeted the whole thing. That’s between he and God, as it is for all of us. But I did wonder why he never wanted to grow in the faith. He never lead. He never wanted to go to church events, get involved in groups…and if I never got up on Sundays and got ready, he could take or leave church and we’d have never gone. But I thought he’d come around. He didn’t. I thought he’d mature in the faith if I just kept getting us both up and getting us there. He didn’t.

Ok, if this were a montage, it’d be much easier, yes? I can’t do a video montage (and I really wish there were a montage font), but I’ll just get you there by saying:

…I supported him when he was getting into his career and he was earning nothing, then we both started to make good money and bought a ridiculously priced townhouse because it was all there was (housing bubble) because we wanted to have a house before we had kids and thought it’d gain value (it didn’t) and we could use that equity to get a bigger place (housing market crashed, so that never happened)…

…had crazy complex reconstructive knee surgery, I got into a huge emotionally charged ugly whistle-blower lawsuit with my boss and I lost my job, friends, income, future potential customers…got a lawyer and fought and was victorious, but not before major financial damage was done, depression, pneumonia, stress…

…then I got pregnant and had a horrifying miscarriage at 4 months along, then almost bled to death in the E.R., had PTSD from watching it all happen in my bathroom…

…had to do a short sale (and a BK because of the tax implications) on said townhouse…

…almost lost my marriage in 2009 when I caught Honey lying and located some HORRIFIC emails he’d sent, battled back from that, counseling, trust regained, got pregnant again, had another miscarriage, got pregnant AGAIN and was 5 months along when I was rushed to E.R. for surgery, a month in the hospital (hello, $20K medical bills!),  and 3 more months at home on bedrest…

…finally Little Man was born…immediately snatched away to NICU for unknown blood disorder, spent a year constantly at Children’s Hospital for blood transfusions and blood draws, massive mortgage payments became due that we could barely afford…

…then watched as my best friend’s 42 year old husband was diagnosed with cancer out of the blue in May and died in October, leaving her a widow with their 4 kids (2 year old, 6 year old with autism, 12 year old, 14 year old), she asked me if I’d move out of state, knew Honey had wanted to move there, knew we were losing our house, knew Honey would be able to stop traveling out of state to find overtime jobs to pay off said medical bills, so took his parents up on the offer of moving into their paid off home while they got a small condo for less upkeep (which they didn’t do, they bought another huge house 1/2 mile down the road and we rarely saw them because his mom has agoraphobia and did nothing but 24 hour upkeep and remodeling…surprise ending), so I sacrificed being in my home town with every friend and family member to move there to bless her and get Honey living with his family under the same roof consistently…

…but after moving there and expecting to finally have my husband home to stay (no more traveling for work) I find he has to keep traveling anyway (turned out it was all lies, he didn’t have to go, he wanted to go)…

…and my BF calls me to tell me she’s not coming after all…

…so I’m alone in a house in a foreign place with no spouse, no BF, parents-in-law who I couldn’t get close to and rarely saw, caring for a toddler while 7 months pregnant in agonizing pain from SO many pregnancy related complications, depressed…Honey comes home to see Baby girl born and then is out of state again in a blink, leaving me alone AGAIN but this time with a newborn and a toddler…

…still manage to find a church and take the kids every week and start to regain some hope, get myself through postpartum, take kids everywhere…walks, bounce house place, shopping, chuck e cheese, decorate their rooms, dance and play and teach them every day, get on a diet and fitness routine to lose the baby weight…

…had gotten 40 pounds off when Honey waltzed back in February of this year only to be received coldly and differently than he ever had, so very different from his loving phone calls and texts…

Wow. That’s really freakin’ depressing to read. Let’s fast forward to that 2 week time period before the night of 1,000 horrors.

Like I said, when he came back from being gone for 5 months, Honey was just…off a little. He wasn’t very affectionate. He was kind of aloof, with a weird kind of cockiness that I’d not really seen before. He was normally Mr. Non-confrontational, yet I’d swear that he was provoking me over the littlest things. I told him about this article I’d read online about how a woman had died on a roller coaster at this place we used to go to…and he questioned my facts about it so rudely, I could hardly believe this was the same man. He went on his phone to debunk what I’d said. He smirked when he found I’d been wrong about who had been sitting next to her at the time.

I’m just thinking ‘wow, you’ll spend the effort to do that, but all I’ve wanted in the 2 days since you’ve been home is for you to be playful with me, snuggle on the couch with me, hug me, kiss me, cherish me…and THANK ME FOR THE EXCELLENT 24/7 CARE I’D GIVEN YOUR KIDS IN YOUR ABSENCE, TAKE ME TO A FLIPPIN’ RESTAURANT WHERE SOMEONE ELSE COOKS FOR ME FOR ONCE, THEN LET ME HAVE A DAMN NAP. IN THAT ORDER. Really, Honey?! This is where you place your effort? I said nothing, got up, and acted as though I was going to go change a diaper. I ducked into one of the kid’s rooms to compose myself, choked up from the huge let down that was unfolding in front of me.

So, what did I do? I googled ‘what to do if your spouse isn’t being affectionate’. I tried to make it better. I didn’t nag, or blame, or whine. I just found advice for how to make it better. Initiate, it said, and you’ll find it’s reciprocated…unless there’s something wrong, like a problem in the marriage or an affair. I scoffed. Nope, I know that’s not our story. I know what he’s been doing and how he’s spent his time, because he told me. We talked every day for like half an hour, and he told me all about what he’d been doing. He would never do something like that. He wouldn’t even have had TIME to do something like that, he was at work so much. We talked and texted all day every day, and he loves me just as much as ever. He told me.

Valentine’s Day, 2014. Just as HomeWrecker was receiving a bouquet of long-stem roses (funded, in part, by me), I was on my knees scrubbing the bathroom floor and toilet. I was preparing for Christmas. Honey had been gone so long, he’d missed it. So to honor him, I prepared a very special Christmas in February, replete with all of the splendor. The lights, the tree, the presents, and an extravagant meal for him and his parents. The best china, the cleanest…everything. I shopped for all of the food, I prepared all of the food, I cared for the kids while doing all of that.

What was Honey doing? He ran a vacuum upstairs because I asked him to out of desperation as I ran out of time. He watched some TV. He put one of the kids on his lap, who he ignored, to focus on that damned phone. I fumed silently as I pondered how after 5 months away from that little angel you’re holding can’t you just put the thing down and be her daddy??

I later found out that he was texting and emailing Homewrecker love notes while I sweat and toiled in the kitchen to make him a special Christmas dinner. With his baby daughter on his lap. Yep. That’s one cold-hearted bastard.

I went out in the living room at the end of the night to talk it out. I said ‘Hey, Honey. Is everything ok with you and me? Today is Valentine’s day, and yes I know I planned ‘Christmas’, but we didn’t even talk about getting your mom to maybe watch the kids another day so we could have a date. He perks up and with fervency (a bit too much, actually) he says ‘No, baby! Everything’s great with you and me. I totally plan to get my mom to watch the kids so we can go out. I love you.’ I leaned down and hugged and kissed him. So relieved. Choking back tears, I said ‘I know it’s hard when we’re apart to just suddenly regain that connection, so that’s why I want us to go out on a date, babe. That, and I’m…exhausted. I just need to be taken care of a little. All I’ve been doing is taking care of others, round the clock, for what seems like..ever. I need it. We need it.’ He looks at me and says ‘Yah, I’m just having a really hard time getting used to being a husband and father again.’

Um, come again?! So, on the road, you weren’t those things? What, were you a monkey and a loaf of bread? Do I need to reset the normality dial? Hopefully you don’t throw up a large quantity of yarn like Arthur Dent.

To this I calmly replied ‘Well, I don’t know what to tell you, Honey. I guess you’ll just have to put your big boy pants on, because we have 2 babies and you’re not on the road caring only for yourself anymore.’ It was uncharacteristically snarky of me, but I was hurt, and floored, and deeply disillusioned to find out of the childish mindset going on behind his bravado. You know, plus the balls that it takes to say to me, the person that’s just been through so damn much to deliver that family to him.

Honey said ‘Yah, you’re right.’ And that was it. I said ‘Okay, Babe, well I just wanted to check because you haven’t seemed like yourself.’ AND COMPLETELY JOKING, I ADDED: ‘Just wanted to make sure you didn’t have some secret family stashed away somewhere.’ He smiled and said ‘Ha ha, no. No secret family, babe.’ He smiled, I smiled, and we watched some TV.

But he did have a secret family stashed away. It’s like even my sense of humor knew my marriage was doomed before I did. The foreshadowing was, in retrospect, comical. You know. But not.

We even had sex when he came home. The man is simply devoid of conscience. I went and got tested for all manner of things he might have given me and luckily, I didn’t receive any ugly parting gifts from him as a result.

I guess I hadn’t quite realized the sheer magnitude of struggles and battles we’d faced in the past 10 years. So, Honey told me on the night that he left me that we’d had so many things go bad in our life, that he’d just started to go numb to it all and ‘I guess I just went numb to you, too.’ Awww! Thanks, Honey. So, my reward at the end of the crapstorm that life saw fit to throw our way is to be cheated on, lied to, left with no warning, and relegated to being a single mom to 2 babies in diapers? To that, I say…

…Wheeeee!!!

I’m metaphorically frolicking down the road. Wanna know why? Because mathematically, I’m due to win the freakin’ lottery. There’s no way that more of this crap could be waiting for me in the future.

The math is simply at odds with nature.

I’ve so deftly cultivated my ability to ‘battle back from fill-in-the-blank’ that now, I’m a well-prepared, much wiser, anti-victim who is going to spend the rest of her days on earth being the best mom and human being the world has ever seen. I’m gonna explode in a symphony of clichés about strength and power and finding my calling, just like single moms and recently dumped people who say the exact same things…but then I’m gonna actually do it.

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