IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE…
One minute I was happily married, the next I wasn’t.
I’d been slightly suspicious about some after-work events my husband had been going to so I peeked through his email one Friday evening after catching up on some ABC crime-drama on his laptop while tucked up in bed.
My husband was in the kitchen cleaning up after making us a fabulous Friday night dinner, a long-standing ritual we both loved.
We’d pick a recipe in the morning, I’d gather ingredients through the day and he’d come home, open a bottle of wine and cook. It was the best way to start a weekend.
I didn’t expect to find anything on his email, to be honest, because I truly believed we were a committed couple. With a child we both adored.
I looked in the trash folder anyway (he wouldn’t be stupid enough to leave anything in his inbox) and opened up the first email I came across with a woman’s name I didn’t recognise.
I read the personal message and told myself it must be a joke. I scrolled down.
This was no joke. Words of how they couldn’t wait to see and kiss each other hit my heart so hard I could barely breathe.
My husband was in the kitchen and I took the laptop to him. When he saw what I had, his face turned stoney. I was expecting pleas of forgiveness, protestations of love for me, declarations of his stupidity.
What I got was a “Well?”
We talked and I cried through the night. She wasn’t really the problem. I was.
What I hadn’t realised was, for years, I’d been projecting a low-level negativity towards him and I’d worn him down. While he still loved me, he told me there were times when he resented me deeply.
He used to adore me. I still remember when he did. I truly didn’t know that had changed. That’s how complacent I was. His feelings for me had slowly eroded over some years. My love for him burned as brightly as the day we were married. My mistake was not letting him know that.
He’d decided to make a bold career move a while ago and while I was initially supportive, my fears for our financial future started to eat away at me. (Unnecessarily, as it happens.) Instead of backing him up when he started on what should have been a new and exciting venture, I let my worries and fears be known. All too loudly. All too negatively. All too regularly.
I’d become my worst fear. I’d become my mother.
She hadn’t parented me particularly well, something I was keenly aware of so I managed to do almost the exact opposite when raising our child. But the attitude she had towards my father, it turns out, I’d soaked up like litmus paper, however unknowingly.
No-one was more surprised than me how much she hurt when he died. How she wrapped her arms around his clothes in the wardrobe and breathed him in. She hadn’t acted like that when he was alive.
My husband and I are having marriage counselling now and all I can do is hope. And how I hope. There’s the very real chance, though, of it all being too late for him.
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