Divorce sucks. It sucks any way you go about it. Somebody always gets screwed, and it’s usually the “innocent” party. Although it takes two to tango, and it takes two to fuck up a marriage, whether by enabling bad behavior, tolerating it, or behaving badly yourself.
So, I’ll plead guilty to being an enabler. I was as bad as the wife who brings scotch home for her alcoholic husband, or calls into work for him when he is “sick.” I knew one of those people. If her husband wasn’t home by time for him to go to work, she’d call in for him. He paid her back by telling her his vacation started the day after it did, picking up his paycheck, and going on vacation without leaving her a dime for milk for the baby. It doesn’t pay to enable.
Three things made Barney hard to live with: he was a spendthrift, he had no empathy for me, and he was a porn addict. We never had any money. Every cent we each made went out, and then some. We had a trailer, it was the only house we ever owned. So basically we had no assets. I don’t know where the money went, I still don’t know where my money goes. This is in contrast to my single days, when I saved at least 10% of my salary. It totally corrupted me.
I had massive “female problems” throughout our marriage. They were painful. I didn’t get much sympathy. I had surgery for them, just an outpatient procedure, but he dumped me at the surgery center, and I didn’t see him again until it was time to go home. Lovely man. I remember getting sick once, and asking him to go to the store a couple blocks away to get me some 7-Up and chicken soup, but he couldn’t be bothered. I should have seen it coming when we both got “walking pneumonia” on our honeymoon, and he still expected me to wait on him hand and foot. I got sick and threw up in his car once. He threw some newspapers over it and drove me 60 miles home. And when I got better a couple of days later, I got to clean it up. But that’s pretty much been the story of my life.
I guess he felt the same way about me. He told me I was a terrible nurse. That comes from the time he had a bowel obstruction. His friends took him to the hospital, after they called me and told me what was going on and they’d taken him home. I was at work, told them he had no business at home and I’d meet them at the hospital. I was shocked at how bad he was when I got there. They took x-rays, didn’t see anything, gave him some pain meds, and apparently whatever it was relaxed. When he woke up from the pain meds, he couldn’t remember being in so much pain, and insisted on going home.
Of course, that was a disaster. As soon as he took a drink or ate something his gut twisted up again, and he was in pain. He wanted me to go get him some pain pills. I pointed out to him that since he was vomiting, he would vomit them up. Then he wanted me to go get him a shot. I told him they didn’t have anything like that at the drugstore in town. Then he wanted me to go to the Big Town, to the hospital and get him a shot. Yeah, like they hand out narcotics to whoever shows up asking for them. I kept trying to persuade him to go back to the hospital. Nothing doing. I finally gave up and started watching TV, just so I didn’t have to watch him suffer too closely. I figured he would let me know when he was ready to go back to the hospital. I was right.
I spent the next week spending my off-duty, non-sleeping hours at his bedside. I kept him from being given drugs that would have made things worse. But I’m a bad nurse. Go figure.
But what really tore it was the porn addiction. I’m not talking Playboy, you can see worse things on the Intertubes anytime. I’m talking XXX-rated movies. For a while this was held in check by their relative unavailability. We would have to go to the City to see them. Yes, he dragged me along. That was the enabling part. We were always afraid we would get caught sneaking into the movies. And we did get caught. The first time I went, the cashier, a girl I went to my all-girls Catholic high school with, recognized me. Of course, she had more to be embarrassed about than I did. And the time we ran into the mayor. Actually, we saw him and his wife, I don’t think they saw us.
This got worse when they started to make VCR tapes of the movies. Suddenly, they were available all the time. If I could have saved what he spent on video rentals, I’d probably be rich.
You can’t watch this stuff without it affecting your view of women. Not that he had any decent views on the subject in the first place. And he watched it all. the. time. He would go to be early, and then get up at 3 AM to watch and wank. And he began to treat me more and more like the women in the movies, to the point it started to make me physically ill to think about sex with him.
And then there was the problem of his girlfriend. He met her at work, and then she moved away. Apparently, she wasn’t happy there, so she called him. And we drove half-way across the state to get her. And she moved in with us, in our little tiny rental house. They managed to keep their hands off each other until I was away at my family reunion. Big surprise. I knew it even half-way across the country. And she suddenly moved out. Of course, I enabled this by letting her live there, and letting them do things together I no longer wanted to do, like sit outside in the rain and watch cars go around and around a dirt track. I used the time to finally turn the TV off, and have some peace and quiet, and read. And clear the house out of their smoke. No wonder I have asthma.
I was planning to leave after Christmas, but he jumped the gun on me. The last straw was pets. One was a kitten he bought me that I was massively allergic to. I am allergic to all cats, somewhat, but I couldn’t get near this one. The other was a dog that was a fear biter, who was now massively infested with fleas and infected with god knows what in his ears. I told him the cat had to go, and the dog, who was old and starting to get nasty needed to be put down, because we couldn’t get near him to treat him. This was before the days of Frontline.
Well, I came home from work the next day, and he told me he’d taken both animals and had them put down. I just wanted him to find a new home for the kitten. Then he announced that he was leaving. I was so mad over the kitten I told him not to let the door hit his ass on the way out.
The divorce was weird. I filed on my own without a lawyer, because I didn’t have any money. I’d had to get a separate checking account to have any money, and then he would take money out of my wallet, money I was going to pay bills with. Fucker. I also didn’t want him to get a lawyer, who might tell him that since he was 20 years older than I was and had put me through college twice (although I did most of it myself) that I might owe him spousal support. Nope, didn’t want any of that.
And, he had the gall to come back and expect me to have sex with him, even though he was living with Girlfriend. Honey, I am the #1 wife, I don’t play concubine. I avoided him as much as I could until he moved back to our home state. I have no contact with him, and don’t even know if he is alive. One advantage to not having children with him.
After all that I would probably be pretty down on men if it wasn’t for some amazing men I met between my divorce and The Boyo. Maybe I’ll tell you about them next time.