Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Ms. Cheats-on-my-husband (it's my Native American name!)

okay, I know I admitted to cheating on my ex-husband the other day. it's not something I'm proud of. but you don't know the whole story yet. so don't judge me. not that I think anyone here would do that. but I do. and my lovely teenage daughter does, which she proved by throwing it in my face this morning (see subject). I shouldn't let it bother me, she doesn't know what she's talking about. she was just trying to hurt me and it worked.

anyway, when I met ex-husband #2 (Ian and I call him X) I was living in Colorado without the rest of my family, separated from my first husband and waiting tables to support my two young children. I made enough money to pay our bills but not a whole lot more. I had a roommate, he was a big loser. we had dated for a very short while before I realized what an idiot he was. but we were still sharing an apartment because I needed help with the rent.

X was the friend of the husband of a girl I waited tables with. she had a big crush on him but was trying to fix him up with one of us. I didn't really have much of a social life at the time, so when she invited me over to her house, I agreed to go. the first time I met him, he was sitting on a couch watching television. I noticed that he didn't get up to say hello, he just kinda' sat there. he later told me that the first thing he did when we met was to make sure that I had a decent rack. for real.

we met again at his friend's house to play cards. I am not a card player really. I don't know any real games and I am not competitive at all. I don't care if I win or lose, so it's probably not fun to play cards with me. they were all trying to teach me some complicated game that involved four decks of cards. luckily I'm a quick learner so I did alright. the night went well enough, nothing exciting but better than staying home alone. the next weekend was Valentine's Day so we made plans for the four of us to go out.

on Valentine's Day, one of the dinner waitresses called off, which would have left a friend of mine to work the dinner shift alone. so I volunteered to work a double shift to help her out. plus the tips are usually pretty good on Valentine's Day so I knew I would make some good money. I called X to cancel our plans but instead we decided to go out alone after my shift.

I left as early as possible and went home to change. my roommate was there, acting like an ass so as soon as X showed up, we left. it was pretty late already so there wasn't much we could do. we went to dinner and then to a little bar for a drink. the night wasn't really that memorable, but we got along well enough. we made plans to do something the next day. he took me home, gave me a kiss at the door and left.

he called me the next morning and I really wanted to spend the day with the kids so we decided to see if they wanted to go with us to the Denver Zoo. they had spent the night with their grandma (not my mom) so we drove over there to pick them up. Stephen didn't want to go, he had made other plans, so we just took Hannah (who was four at the time). it was a beautiful day, perfect for going to the zoo. and afterwards we took her to a playground and then we all had dinner at Casa Bonita. we had a nice time and he seemed like a nice guy.

we saw each other a lot over the next month, even though he lived about 45 minutes away. I met some more of his friends and his brothers that lived nearby. he had a good job and made a ton of money, which was the exact opposite of my first husband. we dated for about a month before we decided to move in together. he rented a small apartment for the four of us and we all moved in.

at first things were really good. we got along well and the kids were happy, which was the most important thing to me. I wouldn't say that we ever had a lot in common but my expectations weren't all that high anyway. the only thing I ever asked of him was for him to be nice to me. he pulled that off for a month or two before things started to change.

four months later, two things happened within the same week: my beloved grandfather died and I found out I was pregnant. the first one was completely unexpected and left me devastated. he was the only father I had growing up and was such an important person to me. even now, almost 12 years later, I'm on the verge of tears just writing about him. finding out that I was pregnant was bittersweet, because I knew that my grandfather would never meet my new child. if she would have been a boy, I would have named her after him. well, kind of. his name was Guillermo, we would have Americanized it to William. I don't think he would have minded though.

my mother and stepdad came to Colorado for the funeral and I found out that two of my stepsisters were also pregnant. I missed them so much, especially after my grandpa died. so X and I talked, and decided to move to Ohio. we packed up most of our things and the kids and I drove back with my stepdad. my mother stayed behind to help her mother with those things that always need to be taken care of after a funeral. X stayed behind to finish up some work stuff and collect his final paycheck. the trip back was eventful to say the least but we survived.

it was August in Ohio, which is not always pleasant. it was terribly hot and terribly humid and I was pregnant and had a ton of stuff to do: find an apartment, get utilities (and phone and cable) turned on, register Stephen for kindergarten, unpack, find a doctor for the kids and myself. it was a lot but it kept me busy. meanwhile, X was taking care of things in Colorado and trying to move the rest of our stuff out. he followed us out to Ohio after about three weeks.

things seemed different after the move. he was really short-tempered with me and seemed to have less patience with the kids. it was a subtle change at first but since I was pregnant, any little slight turned into something bigger. we didn't get along as well as we had before, but I convinced myself that it was because of the move.

X wasn't working then, but he had a bit of money saved so he could take his time and find a job that he would enjoy more than the one he had. Stephen started school, Hannah was still at home and the pregnancy was going along fine after our little scare at the beginning. a new niece was born in September, and a month later I had a new nephew too. it was so great to be around the babies, especially since I was going to have one in a few months. stepsister #2 and I were getting closer again. life was pretty good, which was very unusual. I don't always know how to handle normalcy. probably because it never lasted long enough to get used to it.

Casey was born in April, we got married that following June. mostly for the wrong reasons, like insurance and taxes. we definitely weren't getting along any better than we had been a few months ago. I started to realize that we had different ideas about almost everything, most especially money. he hated to let go of one penny, even for something that we needed. he thought we should just work and save our money, no unnecessary spending at all. no trips to McDonalds or to the movies, no new toys for the kids, new clothes from garage sales, etc. he thought we should spend our free time doing things that would earn more money, seriously he was obsessed with it.

I, on the other hand, thought it was fine to save some money but not at the expense of living life and having fun. we probably would have been okay if we could have found some middle ground but we never did. plus, his impatience and short temper were getting worse by the day. he would fly off the handle for no reason sometimes and overreact to the slightest things. I could never tell what would set him off, which was really bad for me because I reverted to my old habit of trying to be invisible when he was around. it was so much easier to stay out of his way than to try to figure out what the problem actually was.

he started a new job and really seemed to like it. he wasn't making a lot of money at first so he compensated by working a lot of hours. after a while he worked his way up and was making damn good money but he still kept his schedule the same. there were times when he would work 80+ hours a week and I'm sure he put in more hours than anyone else that worked with him. working so many hours made him more cranky and impatient with us, to the point where it was better if we weren't home when he was there. I started to get angry at the way he was treating me and the kids and we started arguing about that and money more and more every day.

I think he did realize that he wasn't being a very good father and made an effort to spend more time with the kids. he was more patient and understanding with them, and they started to go out and do things together when he wasn't working. but things never, ever improved between us. I was unhappy with the hours he worked and the way he treated people and the way he treated me. it was terrible, I was depressed most of the time and the slightest thing would almost push me over the edge. I was suicidal and destructive and miserable whenever I was around him. I didn't like who I had become with him, I was angry and bitchy and hateful and sometimes just mean. every time we were together we would argue. and while he really seemed to enjoy it, it made me want to kill myself. even though we were married for more than ten years, I knew after about three that it was never going to work. unfortunately.

our problems just escalated from there. we fought all the time over everything. I can't imagine how awful it must have been to be around us. it got so bad that I tried to avoid talking to him unless it involved the children. there were times when I didn't speak to him for days. when we did talk, it almost always turned into an argument. it wasn't all his fault, I didn't have to participate but I did. he seemed to know exactly what to say to get under my skin and I really do believe he did it on purpose. no one could make me as angry as he did. in fact, he pushed me so far one day that I slapped him across the face, the first and only time I have ever hit another person.

I hated the person I was when he was around. I felt completely out of control. things had gone beyond the point of ever being right. I don't know why it took me so long to get out of that situation. possibly it was because I couldn't see another solution, besides being on my own, which I didn't feel strong enough to handle, financially or emotionally. so I started seeing other men (Brian was not the first) whenever the opportunity came up. not to punish X for anything, but because it made me feel good to be with someone who was nice to me for a change.

it wasn't the same though, as having a healthy relationship. I wasn't any happier than I had been but I didn't really feel any guilt about it either. I don't think that X ever knew about any of those other men. I didn't ever lie or try to hide it but I'm pretty sure he had no idea, mostly because he wasn't paying attention.

during the last two or three years we grew even further apart, to the point of sleeping in separate beds. I had my money and paid my bills, he had his. the only time we did anything together was if it involved the children and he wasn't working. we didn't speak unless it was necessary or unless it was idle conversation. I was living my own life and he was free to do whatever he wanted, which meant that he was at work whenever possible.

I know that he knew something was going on when I started seeing Brian. everyone who knew me could see that I was ridiculously happy, even X. and as soon as Brian and I admitted to each other that we wanted to move forward with our relationship, I told X everything. we calmly discussed what the next steps needed to be, split our shared bills and our belongings and went our separate ways. it was all completely civilized and probably the first time in about 9 years that we had been decent to each other.

it's disgraceful that things were so out of control. I'm embarassed to say that I didn't do anything about it because it was just easier to avoid the situation than it was to fix it or end it. I'm grateful that everything worked out though. and I'm grateful for the wonderful life I have. I probably don't deserve it but I'm not letting that stop me!

1 comment:

Todd S. said...

that was difficult to read because it reminds me of Nancy talking about what it was like to be married to her ex.

thank you for posting that. I know it couldn't have been easy.