Well, it’s been a long while since I’ve revisited this, and rather a lot has happened…
When last we met, dear readers, your hero was making it work, and getting by. So much change …so much upheaval.
When I left off, I mentioned that I was married, but we need to go back to the beginning of that relationship, as the background is important. I hope you’ll all bear with me again; getting these stories out is much like excising vital organs for me. It’s a painful process, and I’m very protective of them, and by extension, of myself.
My divorce from the wife in the first story was final in 2006. Around that time, I became reacquainted with an old friend, Becca. We caught up over the course of a couple of days, and later had dinner. At the end of the evening, she kissed me. This was confusing, as she had always been fairly …”butch,” for lack of a better term. We had a conversation about it, and she told me that her sexuality was uncertain; she was still figuring it out.
We continued to see one another for a few months, and anytime things would become more intense, she’d slow it down. This was fine with me, as I was still pretty vulnerable from my marriage. We had a good time, and I always had a sort of unspoken understanding that we were going to end up together.
Eventually, it came to the point that she was just using me for “stuff,” and I distanced myself from her. All well and good, but it was still hurtful.
In 2007, I met a woman who changed everything. Long distance again. (Yes, I know.) She was intelligent and well-educated and fun. We would visit one another around every other weekend. Lots of activities, and the intimacy was there, too.
Then, she started shopping for a home in my hometown. It meant so much to me that she was willing to uproot herself so that I could be near my family. We found a wonderful fixer-upper for a good price, and started working toward buying it.
Those of you who have bought a home know that it is a very stressful process, and the stress took its toll on her immensely. She wasn’t the fun-loving Jen I had gotten to know, anymore. Still, I stuck it out, but eventually, I wanted the “old Jen” back badly enough that I told her to let the house go. She did, and I hoped for things to go back to normal.
Shortly after that, her father became seriously ill, and she was heavily stressed over that. Still no good old Jen. I was right beside her through his surgery and recovery, still hoping for a return of what we used to have.
She bought a house in her hometown, which stressed her out even more.
I proposed to her in 2009, and she said yes. Surprise, surprise, planning a wedding is very stressful as well. I was at wits end by this point, but I was committed to giving this relationship the best possible chance.
We married in 2010, and my daughter and I moved into the house she had bought. Stress. I was in a new city, in a job I hated, with no friends, and nobody to talk to but the woman who was increasingly frustrated with me. She had never lived with anyone before, and had all her ducks firmly in a row, and suddenly she had a husband and a stepchild, in her space, all the time.
We enrolled my daughter in the private school that Jen had gone to as a child. The people there were horrible and elitist, and my daughter acted out. The intimacy Jen and I had went away. First, Jen started sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the bedroom, because she said it was better for her back. Later, she started sleeping in the guest bedroom, because she couldn’t stand the sight of me. She worked nights, and I worked days, so we managed to barely see one another. I would come home from work and do my best to drink myself into a stupor, and she would constantly berate me about the things she needed help with.
I am not a smart man. If you want me to dust the dining room, just say, “medic77, dust the dining room for me,” and I will do it. If you want me to clean the guest bathroom, just say so, and it will be done. Jen, however, believed that I should be able to see what needed done and take the initiative. It wasn’t an easy concept for me, but I won’t make excuses.
She would catch me in the middle of a project she had given me, and ask me to, for instance, mow the lawn. Ten minutes later, once I had gotten to a stopping place in project one, I would go outside to find her mowing the lawn herself, and mad about it. It made me crazy. She was a therapist, so she KNEW it made me crazy. I turned into a “yeller.” I’m not proud, but we would have epic screaming matches while my daughter cowered in her bedroom and wished for it to be over. Jen threatened to have me committed.
In February of 2011, after living under the same roof for less than nine months, we separated, and I came back to Ohio. Jen later told me she was mad about that, too. She thought I should have gotten an apartment where she was. It just wasn’t possible. I didn’t have any savings, and I had only worked my current job or a few months. It just wasn’t possible.
Back in Ohio, I went back to work, and got a second job with state benefits, which eventually became my only job. Jen and I weren’t interested in communication at that point, so I was very low.
We went through cycles of talking and silence. I had friends, but Jen always suspected me of being in secret relationships with the female ones. It was just another lack of faith. A couple of years ago, after we had been separated almost longer then we were together, I met a girl at work, Lorrie, and we started a relationship. I was happy.
One night, Lorrie and I were laying in bed talking, and I heard a noise. Suddenly, Jen was standing in the bedroom. It was as bad as it sounds, but it could have been worse. At least we were clothed and only talking. Still, not long after that, our divorce moved forward and was final.
I am still with Lorrie, but our intimacy is gone. We haven’t had sex in months. She says she loves me, but she just isn’t interested in sex. I feel as though I did something to cause it. She doesn’t touch me. She doesn’t kiss me unless I initiate it. She SAYS that if I want sex, I should just say so and do it, but it doesn’t feel right to me. I feel like sex should be a union; a collaboration. Not just, “Hey, hold still a minute.”
So, yeah. I’m surviving, but just.