Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Thoughts Of Marital Un-Bliss....
As I sat at my computer, staring at the screen, thoughts of how miserable I was in my marriage weighed heavily on my mind. It was around 10pm on the night of February 14th, 2003. Earlier on that Valentine's Day I had hoped to offer somewhat of a peace offering to my wife.
I went and bought her a sweet card and a dozen roses. That afternoon, with the kids looking on, I gave her the gifts and she acted slightly surprised. She gave me a peck on the cheek and pointed to a card she had bought for me, still unsigned and in the bag.
"There is your card," she said, "I'll give it to you this evening at dinner."
We had plans to have a Valentine's dinner with friends from college, Bo and Jo Snagley. The kids were going to a "parent's night out" deal at the YMCA, so we would have a few hours of adult time. With the kids dropped at the Y we headed into the city to meet our friends at P.F. Chang's restaurant. Of course the place was crowed, but Bo and I had a beer and caught up while the women chatted and we waited for our table.
Dinner was a bit strained. My wife never was one who enjoyed social settings and she often said weird shit, just random things out of the blue which had no bearing on the conversations. Either that or she would act overly introverted and cause people to think she was rude. Whenever we were in a public setting like that I would always worry. This night was no different. I was on pins and needles the whole time. I knew things had been bad with us and they had been for two years now. Our move back to Alabama from Oklahoma was to be, I had hoped, a chance for us to reconnect. An attempt to energize our failing marriage in the place we had originally met. So far it had not happened.
Two year prior she had told me that she was not in love with me. She said she felt like we were best friends, but she just didn't love herself or me anymore. She also suggested that I find someone to have safe relations with when or if the need arose. My job brought us back to Bama in November of '02 and I bought the house she had picked out on the Internet in hopes that she would be happy. She planned on returning to the University we were attending when we met and finishing her degree. She began losing weight, going to the gym, the tanning bed, etc and taking more pride in herself. These were good steps, I thought. All these positive things were happening, or in the works, but her views towards "us" hadn't changed.
One evening, right before Christmas of '02 I walked up to her while she was at the sink washing dishes. Standing behind her I asked when we would start working on us? I began to put my arms around her waist when she turned around, removed my hands and said angrily, "I will let you know when that time comes!"
Now, two months later on Valentine's Day, I had hoped that maybe this would be the night we'd take the steps toward change. Steps would be taken, just not in the direction I had hoped.
After dinner the four of us walked across the parking lot to Barnes and Noble for coffee at Starbucks. While we were sitting there at the table, we talked and traded stories from our days in college. She mentioned, out of the blue, about how terrible I had been to her at times during those days. She did have a point, but this was not the time or place, (or day of the year for that matter), to talk about how I used to dump her when she would get a little too psycho for my tastes. Yeah, I could have been more tactful in my approach back then...but I was just a dumb 21 year old wanting to take an occasional tour through the other sororities.
She also talked about how she was going to go back to college and how we were going to buy a new car so she wouldn't look "old fashioned" driving a mini van. She had been car shopping for a week now and thought she had found the one she liked, a Nissan Xterra. We had planned to buy one the next week. There was a little more chit chat among us and we parted ways, with plans to get together again some time soon. That would never happen.
The drive home was quiet. I mentioned at one point if she intended to give me the Valentine card she had bought. Looking out the window at the passing darkness, she said something under her breath. I asked her to repeat herself and she just responded, "yeah".
After we had picked up the kids, returned home and got them to bed, she said good night and headed to our room. I stopped her and asked if she would like some company. It was Valentine's Day after all. She said she was tired and too full. Okay, I suppose I could go do what I usually do when the kids are in bed and I am alone at night....get on-line.
I had become a chatroom addict over the past year. I found happiness in making Internet friends and saying things and being someone I would never be in person. As many of you know, the messenger box usually causes people to let down their walls and lose much of their inhibitions. So I sat there, clicking through the Yahoo chat rooms and thinking about my marriage. Could I actually go through with a divorce? I had thought this many times in the past two years. Each time I would think about it, thoughts of my kids would put a stop to those thoughts. Many of the women I chatted with would tell me that it wasn't fair to my children for them to see Dad and Mom unhappy all the time, and that they would be able to pick up on the unhappiness. I always discarded that advice. Divorce wasn't something that happened too much in my family. I wasn't going to instigate something that would make me look like a bad guy to the world. Besides that, how would I be able to afford maintaining two households? Nope, divorce wasn't an option. I would just live my fantasy world on-line and deal with real life as it happened.
Okay, time to chat a little. Let's see who I could catch up with. Some of the names on my friends list were lit up, showing that they were online ready to chat. I remained invisible though, on the hunt to meet someone new. I put on my trusty ball cap with the orange T on it and turned on the web cam. My hair was a mess and I couldn't let anyone see me without my cap.
The first few chat rooms were pretty boring. Just the same old crap being said in the room. As was my practice I would never "talk" in the room, just scroll down the screen names on the right hand side, looking for someone who seemed interesting. After about the fifth or sixth room I was beginning to get bored and decided I would lay down on my pallet and read for a while. (I had a pallet on the floor in my office since we hadn't slept together in a while.) But before I logged off I thought I would check one more room. It was an Alabama room, nothing dirty or suggestive like "Alabama m4w" or "Screw my wife in Bama", just a regular room. I started at the bottom of the alphabetical list of screen names in residence and stopped on one that interested me. As I moved my cursor over the name "Female, 32, Tennessee" was highlighted underneath. Cool, I thought, she might be a University of Tennessee fan like myself. I right clicked on her screen name, "radio_chick32", and opened her profile to see if there was a picture....