I loved her; I think. Maybe it was the idea of “her.”
Being with her. She was intelligent, had multiple educational degrees, a strong personality, military experience, was a hard worker, independent, caring, open minded, helpful, and she accepted me for who I was and didn’t ask me to change. I wanted to change and be a better person for her. I valued her respect. I enjoyed her companionship.
I wanted to show her I cared. I asked her out on dates. I was never late. I always paid. I always drove. I wanted her with me everywhere I went. I texted her throughout each day, wanting to know how she was doing, what she was doing.
Honestly, I wondered why she wanted to be with me. I know I have faults. She’d say everyone did, including herself. Such a humble person she was. I didn’t want to lose her, the idea of her, the idea of what life I would make for her so I asked her to marry me.
Wow! She accepted. I continued my efforts to making her life easier. I planned the wedding, set everything in motion. I even scheduled the honeymoon. She didn’t have to do anything. That’s how I wanted it. I wanted to be her prince charming, the man who did everything for her (and us) that needed to be done.
Except I wasn’t. I really just wanted the picture-perfect life. We were married and because we purchased a house together, we needed more income. I didn’t want her working, but in all honesty, I didn’t want to work two jobs. I didn’t tell her that, though. I more or less insisted she not obtain employment. Who was I kidding? We had bills to pay. She didn’t have any trouble finding a job. She had two degrees and was working on her third. She actually earned more money than I did, without including her military check.
I began feeling like she didn’t need me. Although we had a joint bank account, I knew most of it was from her. I didn’t admit my ego was beginning to fracture.
She finished school and soon that loan was due for repayment. She’d periodically ask me how we were going to pay it. With my two paychecks each month and her two paychecks AND her military check, we still wouldn’t have enough. I kept telling her things would be fine, but I never even did the math. I didn’t think of any solutions. I sat around telling her, and lying to myself, that things would work themselves out. She’d ask, “how,” and I never answered. Never.
She started talking about getting a second job. I didn’t want her to. But, I knew I wasn’t going to get a second job. I resented she wanted to resolve the problem of us not having enough money, while I sat around pretending the problem didn’t exist. The payment date was approaching and things became more tense. She’s not the type of person to let bills go unpaid. I lied and convinced myself that I was content to let things go whichever way they went.
She started a second job. Now, she was bringing in four paychecks per month plus her military check. I still brought in my two paychecks. I didn’t feel needed anymore, not that she ever financially needed me. I denied money being a factor in how I felt about myself, about my involvement in the marriage, about my promise to take care of her. I denied it was my laziness at the root of her actions to work more than one job.
I denied it was my ego and my upbringing watching my mother stay at home and raise us children while my dad worked and was the primary bread winner. I denied the importance of her wanting me versus needing me. I denied I was content with her not having time for me due to her working two full time jobs, even though I’d always spent most of my free time playing video games.
What I did acknowledge, to myself, is my desire to feel needed. I wanted someone to look up to me as a man. I wanted someone to sympathize with my feelings even though I’d created the situation I was in. So, I found someone to talk to and I lied about it when my wife found out I’d been spending time, and actually dating with, another woman.
I denied being unfaithful in my marriage even when my wife’s PAP test showed abnormal results. I had the nerve to ask her who she’d been sleeping with. I was taking my secrets, though they weren’t secrets, with me to my grave. I moved into one of our guest bedrooms and used the excuse of having a sexless marriage to justify my continued betrayal of our wedding vows.
All good things come to an end; they say. Eventually, she wanted a divorce and to make things easier for me, she left our home after filing for divorce. Three days after my wife moved out, I moved my girlfriend in. She needed me. She wanted to live in the home my wife and I had purchased. She didn’t mind us having less money and needing my income to help maintain her new lifestyle. I finally had what I really wanted all along.
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