Two days later, we had sex.
It was carnal, short, traumatic, unsatisfying (for me) and completely emotional. I quietly sobbed the entire time. All I could imagine was her, despite his calm reassurance that he was thinking of me. I really felt the loss of connection between us. That is something that you can never, ever, EVER undo. The trust and – dare I say – innocence of our sexual connection had been obliterated. It HURT, deeper than any other pain I had experienced in my life. I was needy, though, so I threw myself at him. I was grateful that he finally took the bait. It was an oddly comforting place to be, considering the fact that my previous attempts to seduce him were met with disgust, or comments such as, “It wouldn’t be fair to you.”
I figured I could keep him interested in me if I offered my body to him. And he finally responded. He wanted me. PTL (Praise the Lord)!
Yet, for the first time, I experienced “meaningless sex”. I felt used. I was so insecure about the way I performed, or what he (now) liked. He had new “tricks”, and he seemed more interested in doing kinkier things with me. For the most part, we had always had good, inventive, crazy, fun (and sometimes dirty) sex. Sex was safe. I never had to worry about STD’s or emotional baggage in my marriage. It was fun to explore. Ironically, I never worried about another woman in my bed: emotionally, physically or even mentally.
This “new” sex disgusted and saddened me, and made me feel like absolute, complete, utter shit. It wasn’t love. It wasn’t safe. It was “just sex”.
As if that weren’t enough, after our physical reconciliation that October afternoon, my husband announced that he was going to Spain.
Pardon the expression, but WHAT THE FUCK??!?!?!?
Throughout the duration of our marriage, my husband traveled extensively — to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia, Australia, Japan, France and Hawaii, to name a few. He pursued danger, and wrote about it. He was also pursuing a career in writing, and had increasing opportunity to publish articles about his adventures.
I edited most of those articles.
It was a slow fade, but his stories started getting darker. Rather than being centered on the particular subject, person or tournament he was covering, his writing became more about himself, fashion and image. Then it shifted to parties, women in his industry, and sex. (I would later find pages upon pages of explicitly written encounters entitled, Leave Them Wanting Less. I burned them.)
It was almost as if my attractive, fun, sweet and loving husband had morphed into your typical 20-something, amoral, douchebag bachelor. At least that’s how he portrayed himself in his writing, and his readers lapped it up. He was able to charmingly convince those of us who were concerned that the questionable content was just “an element of the story”. After all, he was a married man who loved Jesus and his wife. He could just “flirt” with danger but not ultimately be affected by it.
Back to Spain: this particular job opportunity required him to travel on his own dime to cover a sporting event. He would then sell his stories to a couple of different magazines. Unbeknownst to me (except in that post-coital moment), his parents had purchased his plane ticket and encouraged him to go. They hoped that his new efforts in his writing career would bring stability and finances to our broken home.
He was leaving in two days, and would be gone for two weeks.
What choice did I have? We had no money. I was working every possible odd job I could find. I attempted to sell our clothing, furniture and vehicles on Craigslist to get some extra cash. I canceled cable. We even met with two different realtors to discuss the potential of leasing out our house. So, how could I say “no” to a promising job opportunity? I was constantly reminded of how I had just spent six months in New York, pursuing my dream. I had to let him pursue his.
I asked him what he would be doing, where he would be staying, who he would be seeing. He mentioned that he was going to be picked up from the airport by a young woman that drove a BMW. Apparently she was a promoter of the event, and a fan of his writing.
“NOPE,” I felt my fists tighten, and a surge of endorphins pulsed through my veins.
He calmly explained to me that he had a wife and the woman had a boyfriend. He didn’t know how else he’d get from the airport to the hotel, but I really didn’t have anything to worry about. He promised he’d check in with me every day, and blah, blah, blah. He wasn’t going to cheat again.
I held my ground.
“NO. Don’t even go there. Don’t even tempt yourself. There are a million different options for transportation and lodging. I’m sure you can figure something else out.” I couldn’t even believe we were having this conversation.
He finally agreed to avoid the BMW woman, saying he understood how it “might look bad”.
I felt uneasy.
He is packing, I wrote to myself, the night before his plane took off. Freshly shaven. Leaving. I feel sick…who knows if he’ll come back. I hope he gets in touch with his “wrecked” heart while he is in the beauty of Spain. Ugh.
He says he’s sad, doesn’t want to leave, but cannot tear himself away from the computer. I just don’t believe him. I don’t trust him. He is incapable of feeling anything. He leaves tomorrow and will go with his parents’ money and the potential of $1,000.00, but that is to cover his expenses there. The “potential” of making more money, but not immediately.
Running. Running from me, his responsibility, his lover. Or to his lover, who knows. He leaves me no assurance, nothing.
That’s fine. Go. Go, run, hide, find something (or someone) better. I’ll stupidly hold down the fort, and you can come back at me with something to the effect of having had to do it for the last six months. You had to work and pay the bills and support me. But I was gone so you found someone to meet your needs. And you “fell in love”. And don’t love me anymore. You feel “bad” for me. That’s not love. I don’t want pity. I want a husband. What’s more, I want a MAN in my life, not a child.
Early the next morning, he was gone. I found a note on the kitchen table.
It was from my husband. He told me he was sick at leaving, would be praying every day, and thanked me for my love and understanding.
He also said that he didn’t deserve anything.
But the part of the note that gave me hope — that helped me to hang on — was that he said he was sorry for everything that had happened.
He said he loved me. Deeply. And when he returned, he hoped he could love me how I needed to be loved, every minute of the day.