Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When Life Hands You Lemons....

I've heard all my life that "when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade."

Not too long ago, I saw a meme on the Facebook page of a friend that read
"When life hands you lemons, throw them at your enemies."

I had chuckled a little, not realizing that I would have to follow that very advice a short time later.

The Friday after Christmas, Darling Hubby walked out. He left for another woman, that I didn't even know existed until that very day. Moved right out of our home into her apartment, and wasn't even going to give me an explanation. After nearly fourteen years of marriage.

And I had no idea he was even unhappy.

These past few weeks have been very eye opening for me.

I am told that he "didn't love me for a very long time now." He complained about me " not fulfilling my wifely duties," if you know what I mean. But for him, sex was all that mattered. He bragged to friends of numerous affairs over the past few years and how easy it had been to have them and still be home by dinner. One that lasted nearly two years was with the girl at our local pay-day loan office. Given his habit of frequenting this place, despite paying it off, several times, that one may still be going on. Others with women he had picked up along the way, here and there, having short dalliances over the years. He would even send me home early from our local hangout in our vehicle. Then he would pick up a girl, do her in the parking lot, and have one of the guys drive him home. Rumors swirled that they included my own friends and acquaintances.

The mistress, he met at a part time  job he had taken for extra money. She apparently had no problem with the fact that he was married, and pursued the relationship quickly. Normally, this person wouldn't have been a blip on his radar. Only pretty girls actually turned his head. Angelina Jolie was his "ultimate woman" and this one was far from that. But he had told his friends that he had needed to "trade me in for an ugly one" who would "depend on him" and "trust what he told her." Someone he would have no problem winning over  and who would not think enough of themselves to ever leave him if something better came along. And that is exactly what he found.

I am sure that she was flattered by the attention he paid her, as she was deeply unattractive. She was nearly as masculine as D/H, with a visible moustache, a tongue ring, and two teeth rotting in the front of her mouth. Short, dumpy, crude tattoos.  Over-processed, stringy hair, that was unkempt in nearly every photo I had seen. She looked far older than her age of 36. The epitome of what one would imagine "poor white trash" to look like, lacking both substance and class. She is also not the sharpest knife in the drawer, as the few texts and posts I've been sent are littered with simple spelling errors. None of his friends could believe what he could possibly see in her. One had said that he was obviously not only thinking with his (insert favorite euphemism for male sex organ) but seeing with it as well. I am sure that my husband saw a woman that he could quickly, and easily manipulate, just by showering her with compliments. As luck would have it, just like me, she too was an Auburn fan. A match made in heaven.

 I am told that neither friend that he usually watched Auburn football with, had seen him all season.  There was only one place he could be.  I shudder to think of the 15 minute conversation I had with him after this year's miraculous Iron Bowl win.

He complained that the house was a wreck and that I "couldn't cook." I worked a full time job.  Actually, I worked more than a full time job. I was the assistant manager of customer service for a national corporation. A ten hour day was pretty much the norm, Of course I never felt like cooking when I got home or had the energy to pick up around the house.  I'd collapse in a heap nearly every night. There were three other people here and yet I was the one expected to clean and cook. Funny, he had no problem sitting on the couch himself doing nothing, or walking around the clutter, nor did he have any problem spending my money each week for fast food. He always picked the restaurant. I had told him many times that if I could quit my job and stay home, the house would be spotless, and he'd come home to a hot, fresh cooked meal every night, but that wasn't our reality.

He said that I "didn't love him" and he doubted that I ever loved anyone but myself. I couldn't believe that he had said that, after all the trials that we had faced together. In sickness and in health. His two total-loss car accidents, his bleeding ulcers, his fall from the roof; I stood by each time, terrified that I would lose him. Of all the times that I had given him pep talks about making things happen if we pulled together, convincing him that there was always a better way, or constantly making sacrifices to pay off some poor decision on his part. But I thought we were making it work. We were building a life together.  I thought of the pizza he had me buy for us the night before all this. And of kissing him good-bye that Friday morning, just as I had EVERY MORNING for the better part of fourteen years.  How easily he threw that all away for a woman he'd only known less than four months.

When exactly did the man I thought I fell in love with and married, turn into this stranger in my home?

When our relationship was new, it was grand. I would physically hurt when I was not with him. I could not wait to see him, or even speak to him again. We would stay up for hours talking and then have to struggle through work each day for lack of sleep. Money was always tight, but I didn't mind paying for us to go out, or buying things for him. I made much more money back then, and the sacrifice was worth it. I could not imagine my future without him in it, and I often wondered what we would be like as grandparents, and retirees, exploring the world together.

He had seemed to have been burned badly by his first wife. He told me that she had cheated on him with the 18 year old brother of one of their friends. He had actually caught her in bed with the boy. I too had had my share of tragedy. In my first seven year marriage to a violent, abusive man who had made a game of cheating on me. He had even built a "love nest" to take his conquests back to.

But D/H and I were kindred spirits. I think that was what drew us to each other, and why we fell in love so quickly. He told me only two weeks in, that he was falling hopelessly in love with me, and I felt the same.  I was thrilled when we went to look at rings just a few months later. I guess I should have run when I found out that he couldn't finance one. That should have been my sign. But I reasoned that a ring was just an outward symbol of an inward attitude and I had the right attitude. I eventually got one, but in the end, I was the one who had paid it off.

 We had vowed to one another that we would never be unfaithful, agreeing that if we ever felt that we would cheat, that we would tell the other that we wanted out.  He told me that he had found "the love of his life," He called me his "trophy wife" and I worked hard to maintain that title. I wanted to make him proud. More than one of his friends told me that he was "in it for the long haul" and to not break his heart.  I guess that was why this was so shocking to me.  I had kept my promise. I guess to him, they were just words.

We have had our ups and downs, like any long term relationship, but we always pulled together to make things work. All I ever wanted was to make him happy, which was sometimes tough, given the way he would sometimes behave. A man should want to take care of his family. We struggled financially, due in great part, to all the poor decisions he was making. But I was happy that we were keeping our heads above water, not realizing that all the while he was shooting holes in the boat.

His only responsibility financially was to pay the utilities. We split the big bills like the house. I paid for my car, the auto insurance and the medical insurance came out of my check too. I bought the groceries and if we went out, I usually paid for that too. He would have to ask for gas money just a few days after he got paid.  He would huff and stomp around if I didn't have it to give him. I had my own gas to buy as well . but I often would make sacrifices so I could help him out. Then he would not only buy gas, but finagle soda, snacks, and dippin' tobacco as well.

I never could figure out where his money was going. Our friends wondered too. He would mooch off anyone who would feel sorry enough for him to pay. It was embarassing sometimes. People eventually stopped inviting us out.  He managed to alienate himself from several close friends. He had always pinned the blame on a fault of theirs, rather than any with his own

He made around 40k a year. I would see his W2 every year, and wonder where it all went.  I knew that the pay day loans were just money down a hole. Now I'm sure it was a ploy to continue seeing the pay-day loan mistress. I justified the premium cable package, and his premium cell phone plan as his perks, because "we couldn't afford to go out all the time."  I didn't mind taking us out every once and a while, because I benefitted from that too.

 I began to have problems with my blood sugar and blood pressure. Constant stress of managing people for eight to ten hours a day in a high pressure environment begins to take it's toll, I told him that I wanted to resign to take care of my health issues. That would free me up to be more of a homemaker than bread winner. I was told that we "couldn't afford that." I guess that situation has changed, as I understand that his mistress does not work, outside the seasonal security job where they met. Now he will be the main bread winner there. I gave him gas money at least 3 times a week. Now that he's tripled his drive, where will that money come from?  I guess that will be her problem now.

The more and more he shirked his responsibilities, the more and more I began to resent being intimate. I felt like I was "rewarding" him, all the while reinforcing the idea that it was okay for him to be so irresponsible. In the beginning we were like two teenagers, always looking for spare time alone. We were connected. Gradually, things started to change. He stopped romancing me. It became more like a chore that had to be handled like laundry. He became demanding and made crude comments constantly. Really romantic. He wasn't holding up his end of the bargain as far as Protector/Provider/ Head of Household was concerned. I felt like I was getting the short end of the stick.  "Time alone" became less and less frequent. It was rushed. I didn't enjoy it and neither did he. Wham-Bam-but-no-thank-you-ma'am. Like going through the drive thru of a fast food restaurant.  Order up...DING!

He had stopped actually brushing his teeth. He always felt that a quick rinse would suffice. His breath was unpleasant and he didn't seem to care. I couldn't stomach more than a quick peck here and there. When we were "alone" he wouldn't even try to kiss me, or he would jam his tongue into my mouth so forcefully, I'd choke on it. All I wanted was to be made to feel special, like his queen, not the scullery maid. Though I loved him, I began to resent him.

And then, there were the "allegations."  When my daughter was around 12, she had made a claim that he had "propositioned" her for a favor in return for not telling me something he had read in her diary. He denied this acusation. I remember him running into the bathroom and throwing up.  I did not believe her and neither did the rest of the family. Of course, two other girls at her school had recently done the same to their step-fathers, and this was the perfect middle school dramatic antics. But the experts at Children's Services had believed her and an investigation began, that was eventually dropped.  But true or not,  the thought of my husband, asking my daughter to perform this favor on him would often pop into my head whenever we were "alone."  I loved my husband very much, and even though I didn't believe it, this thought would make it nearly impossible to "be alone" with him.  This affected our "alone time" ever since.

I know this all led to him looking for "it" elsewhere. In a way I am glad, because I heard rumors that he had contracted an STD from the "Pay-Day Loan Girl" (which he vehemently denies).  But in the end it wouldn't have mattered if we had sex every spare moment of the day. He would have wasted the money and left anyway.

I later found out that he was "rolling" pay day loans, three to be exact. That is where you pay $90 for the privelege of holding $500 every two weeks. You do the math. Don't get me wrong. If I had to have money, right this moment, I know I could go and "borrow" it right now. But it creates such a situation that spirals down really fast and you are caught in a seemingly endless loop of paying and borrowing, over and over again. I would dutifully pay at least one off twice every year (for the past five or six years now) with my bonus, but he would just turn around and start it again. I guess it was an excuse to go see "Pay-Day Loan Girl." We could have had a comfortable life, but it was like he was driving down the interstate, tossing money out the windows.

Recently, he chastised me for not helping him pay bills when I got my bonus this year. Instead, I had opted for a long anticipated minor cosmetic procedure that I would save for, but then wind up bailing us out with that money. As usual, I didn't know that he needed any help with bills. I had offered to give him some money to pay on his pay-day loan, He had flatly declined, so I paid for my procedure and nervously awaited the scheduled date.  I later learned that his mistress had met him at our local hang out the very week that I had my procedure. He had introduced her to our friends, who were stunned. Later, he admitted to one that he "knew that she was ugly, but that was okay"  Poor girl. She has no clue. He's just using her too. He had expected me to bail him out, yet again, and still leave me the day after Christmas.  Really glad that I spent that money on myself now.

Bills were always behind. More than once I would come home to find something cut off for non-payment. We would scramble to find the money and get it paid. It would make me very angry that he was letting our family down this way.  I guess it happened enough that he stopped telling me when things were behind.  I guess I was relieved that he did that, not realizing that this lack of communication over something so basic, was chipping away at the foundation of our marriage.

I was left owing nearly $800 in delinquent utilities, on the same weekend that we were to make our $800 house payment.  I discovered that he had not paid anything in a few months.  I guess all his money was supporting another household.

I'm not sure when the lying began, but I recently learned from his first wife, dubbed " The Monster" early on, that this was his pattern and she was surprised that I had not caught on sooner.  The story she told me differed wildly from the one I was led to believe all those years ago.  But in every lie there is a vein of truth. I had witnessed her bad behavior enough to know that she wasn't completely in the right either.  I had seen her behavior that led to our gaining custody of his children. I had always viewed this as "my mission, " to raise those children as my own. I guess the Lord considers that done now. Mission Accomplished.

But I began to question our entire marriage at that point. Had he lied to me all along?

He told me that he "didn't owe me any explainations."

No explaination for blowing up my entire world of nearly fourteen years and moving out while I was gone and slinking away.

He told me that "everyone knew it was over."

Everyone but the most important person: me.

That is all I can write right now. I am aching, much like it did in those early days.
I hope that I survive this.

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