Note: This really needs to be read after my previous blog entry 1 August 2006 which serves as a prologue to this true story.
It’s the 1st of August 2012, 25 days left until my husband is going to fuck another woman.
He’s asleep next to me but I am awake, confused. I can’t help but stare into the darkness, my eyes welling up again and again. It feels like I’ve been lying here like this for hours, my head is throbbing as I keep trying to swallow the urge to cry. And the stupid thing is I’m not sure why I’m so upset. I’ve always considered myself to be rational and open minded. I’ve never fully understood the limitations our society imposes on relationships, why one should be monogamous. Why not live for the day, enjoy life and follow your desires?
We’ve had this discussion a number of times, even before we became a couple we spoke about how couples with open relationships or open marriages have it all figured out. Only the lucky few manage to find a partner who is totally compatible in every way even sexually. And whether or not the relationship survives this incompatibility depends on your priorities I suppose.
Until very recently I would’ve said we’re happily married. Of course we argue – viciously even. With the kind of rage that can only be ignited in people who have felt real passion for one another. But I wouldn’t have thought this was odd in any way, after all we’ve been married nearly five years. And we’re both extremely stubborn people. Until recently I would’ve said we were content, used to each other’s strange habits, finding common ground often in our varied likes and dislikes. But he’s not content. We’re just not compatible in the bedroom.
The topic has come up so often I’ve lost count. He knew very well what he was getting himself into because I’d told him beforehand about my relationship with my ex. It resembled more of a platonic friendship towards the end. We hardly had sex, we had hardly experimented with anything, I was pretty inexperienced.
Then along comes this passionate man, who knows what he likes and takes it, often. He could probably go for days without food if he was given enough “distraction”. In the beginning of our relationship sparks would fly whenever we spent time together. Our hormones went absolutely wild and we could not keep our hands off each other. Over time this passion ebbed away, but only from my side. I have no doubt that he could still keep up the same level of lust. He wants things in the bedroom that I cannot provide. I can’t be ready and willing all the time. It’s not that I reject him every time he’s in the mood, but I guess he notices that I’m not as much into it as he is.
So when he told me two days ago, that he’s been texting with one of his colleagues – flirting – it wasn’t all that surprising. Apparently she has similar tastes, and she’s in a relationship of her own with a man who’s not all that into sex. Little things like that don’t tend to wind me up. I don’t care if he looks at other women, watches porn or chats to his ex online even. In fact the latter I find highly amusing, how could a former couple be any more different.
I trust him completely; he’s never given me a reason not to. But then he said “You know how you keep telling me I should find someone else to fill the gap in our sex lives… She’s home alone on the 25th…”. I kept quiet but my feelings were written on my face.
Now this early morning on the 1st of August, I feel lost and sad. I don’t quite understand what’s happening.
He’s right; I did tell him! I told him numerous times. Sometimes in anger when he’d get frustrated that I wasn’t receptive to his advances. Sometimes in despair when we’d calmly talk about his needs not being met. I didn’t think you’d actually DO it! I also said I wouldn’t want to know about it!
I should have known. He’s painfully honest; can’t keep a secret. He’s told me over and over that he wouldn’t lie to me or hide anything from me. He’s not like me at all, in comparison I feel like I’m full of secrets. I’m going to need time to digest this information.
It didn’t quite strike me until 3:30 am, when I woke up – eyes wide open . Shit, he’s actually going to go ahead with this! I wipe my tears away with a corner of the duvet for the umpteenth time. Damn, I’m sure my eyelids will have ballooned up after all these tears. I try and soothe my eyes with the back of my hands, listening to his deep and regular breathing next to me. I settle back into my pillow and try to relax to make the thumping pain in my head go away. I’m exhausted and slowly drift away.
*Beep beep beep beep..*
My eyes open again, the alarm! Already! I look over and he’s still asleep, he has no idea I just spent hours crying over something that was basically my idea. I drag myself out of bed to get ready before it’s his turn. Today is going to be long and tiring, my headache is still here, and as I glance in the mirror – yes indeed. My eyelids are huge, reddish and my eyes are watery. I look quite pathetic indeed.
“Wake up sleepyhead!” He groans and turns away, eyes closed. “Come on wake up!”
I shake him a bit until he wakes. I quickly get off the bed again and walk off to continue getting ready.
“You’ve made my eyes puffy, I look hideous and it’s all your fault!” I shout while brushing my hair. I can hear him getting up and stretching; he walks over and looks at me.
“What’s wrong? You’ve been crying?” I swallow hard and look at the floor. “You’re jealous!”
I can’t bear to look up, or the waterworks are bound to start again.
“I don’t know” I whisper. He hugs me tightly – unusual considering he can be the grumpiest person on earth in the morning. Not just that, he generally doesn’t tend to be overly affectionate at all.
“You know I only love you! It’s only sex… You were the one who told me!” His voice sounds soft, again unusual.
“I know I did, I’m not quite sure why I’m upset.”
“You are jealous, aren’t you! Look, I love only you. Before you, I didn’t believe in marriage, I never wanted to spend my life with anyone. You’ve changed me and I’m happier for it.”
“I know…” I can feel the tears coming back. He hates it when I cry but I really can’t help it. “I just… I’m confused. There is just this conflict going on inside of me. I’ve been trying to think all morning. And I can’t quite put my finger on it yet.”
It’s true, I really still don’t quite understand. I truly believed I could be more mature about this. I love him and I want him to be happy. He likes sex, a lot. Why can’t I think of it as a hobby? But a lifetime of cultural brainwashing apparently can’t be undone because at the same time another voice in my head says: You deserve better! This is the beginning of the end.
“Nothing will change between us, I need you to know that! I will always want you.” He’s holding me again and I bury my face in his chest. Oh but it has already changed hasn’t it. I didn’t feel this sad before!
My drive to work that morning isn’t any better. In the car I’m more preoccupied with this inner struggle than paying attention to the traffic. Just another day at the office lies ahead. Luckily a lot of people are on holiday so there are not many around to scrutinise why my face is patchy and bloated today. I just get on with it and ignore my colleagues for the most part.
But I just can’t shake the heavy feeling in my chest, the lump in my throat that just tries to travel upwards with every breath; the burning sensation in my eyes which are about to flood again. I realise that I have felt this before. It reminds me of 6 years ago, when I decided to leave my ex. Even though I didn’t have feelings for him anymore, in fact I was extremely unhappy for the last year or so, I did feel an immense sadness, a sense of loss I guess. The crying had gone on for days and I was petrified of being alone. But I couldn’t be with him anymore either. After dragging out my decision for months, our breakup was final. We didn’t stay in touch.
Is this where we’re headed? Do I need to cry my eyes out now for days, weeks? Will this calm down the battle within me until the only voice left inside my head is the one telling me to walk away? It certainly would be easier to try and cut myself off from all emotions and shut the door on this part of my life. Five years is a good run. A lot of people don’t make it this far. But I’m not ready to be a soon-to-be 27 year old divorcee. I’m not ready to give up.
It’s 5 o’clock and I wonder whether I should go shopping in order to avoid home for as long as I can. In the end I decide against it, I’m exhausted and shopping wouldn’t cheer me up anyway. As I reach home I try to avoid eye contact.
“Hi, how was your day?” I ask.
“Oh, same old. Some customer giving me grief.”
“Yeah me too.” I quickly walk to the kitchen to cook. At least I can hide in here for a while. I try to listen to the TV to distract me from my thoughts. I just don’t want to cry anymore.
Thank god for the TV. Until I sort out the mess in my head I have nothing to say anyway. His phone is buzzing on the table; he responds to the text. I try and ignore it as I quietly eat my dinner.
We go to bed at about 11, I’m exhausted from all the emotional turmoil inside me and as I drift away I think, 24 days to go…