"So, you're forcing her to make a choice between having a committed, monogamous, sexual relationship with a man who will do anything she wants and who would rather be with her than anyone else in the world and a sexless relationship with an unemployed, alcoholic rapist who also happens to be an illegal alien?"
What an awesome comment! Thank you Mr (or Ms) Anonymous for summarizing my situation so succinctly. I'm certainly not going to argue with what you've said. But my wife would.
In her opinion, the above comment is all wrong. For her it's not a question of me vs. the unemployed, alcoholic rapist Charlie. The problem is me. With all my flaws and all my short-comings, she's just not that into me. And she's not sure she could ever be into me again.
Maybe this will explain why she has big doubts...
With only two days left in our vacation, I was pretty pleased with myself. Earlier in the week I had stood my ground and turned a big fight into an apology from my wife. Then, I got her to admit that she wished we weren't separated. Then, and best of all, I convinced her that we should see a marriage counselor. With all that accomplished in the space of a few days, I was giving myself endless pats on the back. Good job Cameron!
But then good fortune turned on me, quite literally.
Gabbie was slow to get ready that day so for the first time all week I spent a few dollars in the casino. Well, ok, I actually lost $300. Gabbie was not at all pleased.
When I told her, her reaction was very subdued. All she did was ask in a very exasperated voice, "How could you?!!!"
Nothing else especially noteworthy happened that day, but believe me, that $300 hung over her like a very dark cloud.
The next day was traveling day; twelve hours from the ship back to home. It ended up being quite a long day, filled with mistakes.
Mistake #1: We did one activity in Miami that ended at noon. Our plane was scheduled to depart from Ft Lauderdale at 6pm. My wife was annoyed that the "whole day" was wasted. Why couldn't we catch an earlier flight?
Mistake #2: Because we had six hours to wait, I didn't see any reason to rush to the airport. Instead of paying $75 for a 35 minute cab ride, I thought it would be more interesting (and yes, cheaper too) to take public transit.
Ok, so what if took us three hours to get there? We got to see a lot of locals on our four different train and bus rides.
Gabbie didn't find the locals nearly as interesting as I did. And although she didn't look very happy throughout our journey, she didn't complain either.
Mistake #3: The plane ride was six hours. An hour before landing Gabbie decided she was very hungry and wanted to spend $7 for cheese and crackers. I told her, "Don't do that! Just wait an hour and we can stop on the way home and you can get something you really want."
Gabbie didn't especially want to wait but she didn't fight me about it either.
Mistake #4: The easiest way for us to travel from home to the airport is to take a bus. It's $20 per person each way, $80 total for the two of us, round trip. For $21 I can drive us there, park in a residential neighborhood, and take public transit a short distance to the airport. The only downside of my "cheat" is that it takes about 40 minutes to travel from the parked car to the airport and vice versa. I do that part alone because Gabbie would rather sit with the luggage in the terminal.
We arrived on-time, at 9pm. I got to where the car was parked at about 9:50. But something was very wrong.
When you know where you've parked your car and you go back to that exact location and the car is not there, there are only two possible explanations: either the car was stolen or it was towed.
I tried calling the non-emergency number for the local police but all I got was a message. What to do?
I decided that even if the car had been towed it was too late to deal with it. Gabbie was too tired and hungry; she just wanted to get home.
I called her to let her know that I'd be back at the terminal in 40 minutes and that we'd have to take the bus home. She was shocked and distressed; mostly she was worried about the car.
We got home at 11:45. Gabbie was too tired to eat so she went to bed hungry.
The next morning I called the police, and yes, the car had been towed. It had been left sitting for too long.
Gabbie was not pleased.
But I had even worse news for her: as the only registered owner of the car, she was the only person who could get the car released.
That was the last straw.
Gabbie had been annoyed with me for two days and had barely complained that whole time. But as soon as she found out that she was going to have to spend four hours claiming my car, on a day when she already had plans with friends and with Charlie, she went ballistic.
"You ruin everything. You ruin every vacation. You're so cheap. You're such an ass. How dare you tell me when I can eat? How dare you tell me that you'll do anything for me when you treat me like dirt? Do you know anyone who travels like we do? Do you know anyone who's had their car towed because they were too cheap to take the bus to the airport? Do you know anyone that drags their luggage on four different trains and buses to get to an airport because they won't pay for a cab ride? How can you tell me that you value me when you so obviously don't care how I feel!"
I got what I deserved, I guess.
It took three hours of driving and waiting to get the car released and throughout that time Gabbie raged. After nearly 25 years together I thought I had seen everything. But no, I had never seen her that angry. She literally shook with rage the entire time. You know, hands tightly clenched, teeth grinding, face flushed and with a look her in eyes that said, "I want to smash your smug face and keep beating you until I've hurt you as badly as you've hurt me."
$116 for the parking ticket. $240 for the tow. $120 for the weekend pick-up. $75 for one day's storage (after sitting for seven full days the car was towed only 6 hours before I arrived to drive it away.) All told, I had cost us $851 in two days with nothing to show for it. Well, nothing other than a wife seething with fury.
The grand finale of the day was the ten minutes we spent together waiting for the car to be delivered. We had just learned about the $435 in tow company fees. Gabbie said to me, "Do you have any idea how mad I am at you? I have never been this mad at anyone in my entire life. Do you see the steam coming out of my ears? Well, I'll tell you this: I hope you do this kind of shit to whoever ends up with you next. Or maybe you'll find someone just like you - someone who thinks he knows it all but is really just a fucking, cheap asshole!!"
That ended all conversation between us for more than a day. The car was released and we each drove a car home. Only Gabbie didn't come home. She already had big plans for the day. Plans with her friends, plans with Charlie. Even if she didn't have plans, the very last thing she wanted to do was to spend another minute with me.
I spent the day catching up on things, like blog posts, and I hung out with the kids. The whole time I was wondering what to make of our week together. She said she didn't want to be separated and she agreed to go to counseling. But her last words expressed a whole new attitude, whoever ends up with you next. Did I cross the line with her and now she's done with me?
I don't have any answers. I don't know what she's thinking right now. All I can say is that I will bring up counseling again, but I have to tread lightly for a while.
Late in the afternoon of my first day back at work, as I was thinking about what had happened and what I should do, I realized something important. Yes, my wife was pissed off about all the stupid and inconsiderate things I had done, and she was right to be angry and disappointed, but her anger was so much worse than anything I had ever seen before. Was $850 worth that much anger? Or was she really venting about something else?
Ding, ding, ding. It all clicked.
I realized that as pissed as she was, her extreme anger was coming from somewhere deep within.
What is she so pissed about?
That I'm gay. And actually, she's not merely pissed, she's enraged.
Straight wives become bitter because they feel betrayed and used. This is how my wife feels. She's no saint and she'll readily admit that, but my admission is a monumental betrayal her in mind. I understand why she feels betrayed but I don't understand the intensity of her fury. Even with all my flaws, I've been completely dedicated to her and every effort I've made has been sincere. I just don't get it.
But it is what it is.
This is a long entry already but I'm going to add a little sunshine here at the end.
My wife has been best friends with Linda since high school. Linda is a good-looking, fun, outgoing "girl." But OMFG is she a mess. She's 44, single with a three year old, works for daddy for maybe 25 hours a week, and basically, can't cope with any responsibility or stress. Her mommy has bailed her out of every problem she's ever had.
Well, her mommy has been pushing Linda to marry the father of her child. The two of them have had this on-again-off-again thing for about 5 years now. Finally last September Linda proposed to him, he accepted, and Linda has been planning a ridiculously huge wedding ever since. But the problem is that Linda and her would-be-husband Stan really don't get along. If they hadn't had their "oops-baby" they would have broken up long ago. In recent weeks, Linda has been having seconds thoughts about marrying and last week she actually canceled the wedding.
My wife was giving me the latest Linda-story yesterday and at the end of it she said, "I think Stan really needs to grow some balls. After all these years and all this back and forth he should say to Linda, 'Either be with me, or don't.' I mean it's ridiculous, what's been going on."
I could not stifle my huge smile.
Grinning like the Cheshire Cat I said, "Oh really? Is that what Stan should do? Get some balls and say, 'Either be with me or don't?'"
My wife looked at me funny for a second, then she got it. "You're not funny Cameron. And don't try to start any shit with me today. Just leave me alone for awhile."
"Ok, I will. But I am definitely going to remember your advice for Stan. I like it. 'Either be with me or don't.'"
She gave me a dirty look.
You can be certain that I will be reminding Gabbie about her advice for Stan very soon.