In last week’s post, Key West Redux, I mentioned that I needed to take a break from The Road Taken series, because I wasn’t sure where I was heading. I asked for your input and two of you offered it. I found this very useful, so thank you, Bella and Debbie. I’ve included your comments and questions below and, after giving it a lot of thought, I’ve added my responses, too.
Debbie: As for your Rick saga, would it work to delve into your mixed feelings at going back home, wondering if you’d done the right thing, waiting for G to say or do something that would make you question your choice even more?? Just trying to help!
MTW: Not really, because, at the time, I didn’t have mixed feelings. I never doubted, for a moment, that I was doing the right thing by parting ways with Rick. Hindsight is 20-20, after all, and I didn’t have the benefit of hindsight then. It was still early in the marriage and much was yet to unfold.
The way I saw it, I hadn’t been married long enough. In my heart, I believed I needed to give my relationship with G a chance. I balanced the knowledge that Rick was a gorgeous, romantic adventurer with a shared love of writing, against the fact that I already had ties with G, who I considered to be a good guy, with a great sense of humor.
My brother used to say that G reminded him of a cross between Alan Alda (think, M*A*S*H) and the comedian, David Brenner. I think he was right. G was affable, intelligent and witty. If you recall, it was his humor that first attracted me to him. What’s more, in my estimation, G had the advantage, because he had already made a commitment to me through our marriage vows.
Bella: Regarding The Road Taken, I’d love to read about your emotional state when Rick exited the picture. Did you feel despair, regret, blame your marriage for standing in the way? What prompted G to go from loving husband to philandering jerk? Did you see the signs? But more importantly, once he exited the picture, how did you pick up the pieces? Would you have taken him back once you knew of his infidelity? I want to know!
MTW: When I said goodbye to Rick, my emotional state was one of quiet sadness, which I revealed to no one, then. I felt an ache in my heart, coupled with the knowledge that I had to go forward. Yes, I felt bad about Rick, but I felt worse, feeling that I had neglected G (although he wasn’t around much at all during this time, because of his studies, so if I did neglect him, he never let on).
What prompted G to go from loving husband to a philanderer? Good question. I cannot pinpoint “the what,” but I think it was a series of things and of moments. Looking back, I have a recollection of a time he actually tried to warn me about a dark cloud hovering over our future.
He had just completed his doctorate and we were about to move across country for his new job. My plan was not to find work right away, but to stay at home for a while with our newborn while enrolling our oldest in kindergarten. G looked me in the eye and said that if I went ahead with this plan, he would surely lose interest in me. That, as a stay-at-home mom, I would become uninteresting to him. Surprised at first, I actually shrugged this off, convincing myself he didn’t mean it. I would show him I could be interesting and yet not work. It was our children that I’d be taking care of, after all. Well, he turned out to be right. Within two years, we’d be seeing the beginning of the end.
There were about 12 years between Rick and the demise of my marriage, and how I picked up the pieces after G exited is a whole other story. A series of You-Will-Not-Believe-It moments. One devastating shock after another. I lost my way for a while. I lost the will to eat. I hit rock bottom. It was one of the darkest, most difficult periods of my life. But I’ll get to it, in good time.
In the meantime, these comments have given me food for thought. Please continue to weigh in, and I will work on the next installment of The Road Taken.