During my ex-husband’s first affair – he had five that I’m aware of, if you count the two women he never met face-to-face but had phone sex with on a regular basis – I finally got fed up and decided to kill the phone in our kitchen/dining area so he would not be able to call the object of his rather dubious affections at night after I’d gone to bed (the only other phone in the house was in our bedroom; this was before cordless phones were so ubiquitous and long before cell phones). I grabbed a hammer and went to the phone, prepared to bash the ever-living shit out of it, when he grabbed it from me and slammed it down on the counter.
He caught his thumb underneath the claw-end; blood immediately began to gush everywhere. I stood there, gawking – he looked down, then looked back at me and shouted:
“See what you did!!”
See what you did. That moment pretty much defined our marriage. Oh, there were other, similar, incidents – the time the wind slammed our heavy, wooden front door on the fingers of my right hand and he yelled at me, telling me how stupid I was to allow that to happen, immediately comes to mind. He was afraid I’d broken them, you see – I was between jobs at the time and had an interview in a couple of days that included a typing and 10-key test.
He refused to look for work.
Ridiculed, belittled and emotionally abused frequently and physically abused occasionally for almost our entire marriage, it was particularly bad the last 2 years, after both kids were in school and the infidelities really ramped up – two things that just happened to coincide with his decision to be an Actor (yes, with a fucking capital A). It became clear, to him anyway, that my sole purpose in life was to support him, physically, financially and emotionally.
I got none in return. I suffered from severe, acute anemia, bulimia, bouts of depression and irritable bowel syndrome for much of our marriage – with the exception of the IBS, he was completely unaware of my health issues, and the IBS was just an annoyance as far as he was concerned; he certainly never encouraged me to seek medical attention. I was told on an almost daily basis how stupid I was, how worthless I was, how how unworthy, blah blah blah blah blah.
He also told me he loved me. Every day, often several times a day.
Beloved is always available to listen to me, even when he’s out of town on business. He is strong, steady and calm in moments of crisis. When I finally went to the doctor to be diagnosed and treated for the above-mentioned problems, he was right there with me, often in the office if he was allowed – while he may not have understood my fear and distrust of doctors, he was certainly aware of it and did everything he could to mitigate it.
He is indulgent and generous almost to a fault – there is little that I could wish for that I do not have. He is supportive and encouraging of my endeavors and takes an interest in what I take an interest in. If he doesn’t understand my quirks or oddities, he is certainly forbearing (and often amused) by them.
He is hard-working and never shies away from his responsibilities to his business or his family. While he could be described as stubborn or pig-headed, he can always be depended on to know what needs to be done and then to do it. He could also be described as opinionated, but he is unshakable in his convictions and unafraid to live, or be judged, by those convictions. He meets life head-on and often with a single-mindedness that can be awe-inspiring.
He does not cry easily, but is unafraid to show affection openly. He is sensitive without being weak. He takes a great deal of pleasure in our emotional relationship as well as our physical one. He is a loving and involved father and husband. He is, in fact, the most happily domestic man I’ve ever met.
He doesn’t tell me he loves me very often. He doesn’t have to – he’s too busy showing me.
For more “I Love You” posts, visit Sprite’s Keeper and the Spin Cycle.