The “D” Word


Shortly after our 13th anniversary, she came at me with a list of demands. She was mad that I dipped tobacco, something she knew I did when she married me. She was mad that I was a night owl, something she knew about me when she married me. She was mad that we didn’t have sex very often, and I offered to have sex any time she wanted, but that I had some issues with the fact she had compared me to the men who molested her as a child. I told her she needed some counseling to get her to a better place with that. The comparison she had made months earlier, was that that I had “made her want it like they used to.” She seemed to think that I should be able to get past that, because it was just constructive criticism. She said I needed to ask her permission to approach her for sex, and she wasn’t going to initiate sex. I made it clear, that I was not going to beg for sex. She then tried to explain that this was not what she meant. I tested this by asking her for sex a couple of times, and I was flatly turned down without explanation. I was mad and getting madder, but I did not know what to do. I didn’t want a divorce. I didn’t want to lose any time with my kids, and like I said before, I did, and do believe in the vows that I took that said basically even if it sucks, I will stay married to you, and boy did it suck. I found out later that she had this confrontation with me, because she told her sister that she wanted a divorce, and her sister said that she had to give me a chance to make things better. My wife decided that she would pick a fight with me, so she could nearly guarantee that I would not take any action, or at least not quickly.

A couple of weeks after this conversation, a friend of mine came to me. He challenged me to make my marriage better. He told me that his wife, who was in the Bible study that my wife sometimes went to was concerned based on what she had said. My friend didn’t know what was said, but came to me, and to her. I responded by quitting the tobacco, and going to bed at the same time as her. I wrote her letter telling her this, and admitting to the areas of fault that I played a part in our marriage problems. Her response to my heart felt letter, was these words. “I wasn’t sure before, but I am now. I want a divorce. You basically just admitted to ruining our marriage.” I was dumb struck. My heart felt letter, where I exposed my heart to her in a way I never had before, was being thrown down as the reason that she was breaking our vows (again). She also said the popular words of “I still love you, but I am not in love with you.” As if those words mean a damn thing. They demonstrate that she has no understanding of what love is. Love is something you do because you chose to, not because the other person deserved or earned it. Love is not an emotion that determines the course of how your are going to behave. We are not in high school with raging hormones anymore. Love is the point of the vows we took on our wedding day. This day was also another important day for me. It was my middle son’s birthday.

She began sleeping in a bedroom upstairs. That lasted until she couldn’t figure out how to answer our kids when they asked why she was doing it. I was not going to give up the bedroom. If she didn’t want to sleep by me, then she could sleep wherever she wanted. This was the beginning of the roller coaster of me trying to save my marriage. Most of what is coming, should serve as a warning to men facing what I am facing. Most of what I describe will be a guidebook in how to fail at saving a marriage hanging by a thread. I understand that there wasn’t much hope to begin with, she had made up her mind a long time ago that she was going to look for a way out rather than save the marriage.



Small Town Life

Town Square

We decided to move a few years later. She doesn’t seem to be able to settle for more than 4 years at a time. We bounced around churches in the same way. This has had a profoundly isolating effect on me. I have very few friends, and none of them are from after I got married. That is a terribly sad thing for me to have to admit. I have no new friends over the last 15 years. We moved to a small town just outside the city we live in. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of the end. I liked the idea. A close knit community would be a great place to have some connections that seemed to be missing from my life. We moved into a historic house that had plenty of space, and we found a church. Things were going well. She became president of the PTO, I joined the board for the local soccer club, and we helped start a ministry to high school students. This was what I had always wanted. So long as there was a mission to be accomplished she and I seemed pretty good. She still had issues around sex with me, but for a while it was better, but not for very long.

We developed some friendships quickly. As time went on, those friendships began to whither. Until recently I did not understand why. Her temper, and her attitude destroyed those relationships with other couples behind my back. I have also come to find out that many of those people are still watching out for me, and wanting to be my friend. They just don’t know how. As time has gone on, we have become more and more isolated. Our kids are involved in things back in the city, and our house has proven to be much more expensive than we had thought it would be. We are struggling financially because of the driving, eating out, and the house. She had demanded that she run the finances years ago, and I let her. Now she has thrown up her hands and handed the mess she has created to me. I was far too inattentive to this and now I will pay the price.

Our sexual intimacy dwindled to nothing. The only sex I got was obligatory, and it felt like it. After having sex I was sometimes sick to my stomach, because it was so obvious she didn’t want it, that I felt like I was doing something dirty. Understand this is sex she initiated, because I had given up initiating sex with her, because it always ended with being rejected in some harsh way.

She has always had an issue with the amount of things that I know. I am an avid reader, and am informed on a lot of topics. She got in the habit of calling bull shit on me in public. She generally wasn’t correct, but she obstinate, and set on convincing everyone around that I was just making things up, or that I was wrong, because some fine detail was off by some small margin. She seemed determined to make me small before everyone we encountered. My self esteem is a mess over this still. The process of writing this out is so that I can put this all to bed, and return to being the man that I had been before I sold my soul to marry this woman. I was on the fast track at my job, and it has just stalled. It is the cyclical results of she shot my esteem down with lack of respect, I begin to carry that into my work, and then I don’t get the promotions, which she then uses to remind me that I am really not that successful or smart, which then tears me down farther.

Although my reputation is strong in our little town, I have few friends. Small town life would have been great, but it is also where our marriage eroded, and I became more and more isolated.