Everyone, at a certain point, recognizes characteristics in themselves that they dislike. For myself, it is the tendency towards emotional dependency and people pleasing that I have had to learn to temper with reason and logic.
When I think now about why I gave up everything I had worked so hard to attain in life in favor of pursuing a relationship with a man, I think there are several more reasons. I didn’t have a great connection with my father or anyone else at that point, and yearned for connection with someone. I had also been heavily bullied in school and thought of myself as ugly and not someone that could be wanted by a man, so I latched onto this one strongly. There is also the fact that I am stubborn and didn’t want to be proven wrong.
Whatever the reason, I replaced my studying and time in the library with a full-time job and another full-time job making my boyfriend happy. He was prone to deep periods of depression, and I tried to keep his life as stress free as possible to keep this at bay. I often felt responsible for his depression, as he tended to passive aggressively blame me for how he felt. He worked for the most part, but changed jobs many times as he would grow restless and need to move on. Unfortunately this restlessness was a sign of things to come in other areas.
When we had been dating for a year (and engaged for almost as long), we decided to get married. My family had not been very supportive of our relationship, and we decided to elope. We got married in a little park with a JP and two witnesses on a cold grey morning in June. My younger self, who had so many dreams of a fairy tale wedding, would not have approved. When my family found out later, they were very upset and this drove another wedge to widen the rift with them.
By this time, we had bought a house on a little acreage in the country. It seemed like a great deal and had a lot of character, but the longer we lived there the more I felt isolated. The house was huge and empty, and my heart was feeling the same. There was also a lot of maintenance to do around the yard, and thankfully my grandfather would drive out to help us learn how to do it.
It was on one of these visits that I suffered the greatest loss of my life up to that point. It was spring, and the snow had melted leaving huge pools of water standing in our field. Our dugout that supplied our water needs was very low, so grandpa had come out to help my husband dig ditches to help the water drain into it. I stayed in the house and spent time with my grandmother while they attended to this, and had heard sirens but didn’t realize what was happening. Then a police cruiser pulled up to the house and he informed us that my grandfather had been taken to the hospital in the ambulance and my husband had gone with him.
The policeman gave us a ride to the hospital and my husband was in the waiting room. He told us that grandpa had suddenly lost consciousness and he had to end up starting CPR after calling 911. Grandpa had not woken up, and he could not get his pulse and breathing back. They were still trying to do the same in the trauma room, we were told.
About 20 minutes later the kind old doctor came out to speak to us, wearing a look that I now know well, and sometimes have to wear myself as a nurse. I was in denial up to that point, thinking that grandpa would come back. He had always been so energetic, so full of life and laughs and tall tales. But they had not been able to get his heart beating, we were told. They were sorry for our loss. Did we want to see him?
I felt like I was in a dream as we walked towards the room, emotionally numb and unbelieving. He lay on the stretcher, skin grey and an empty shell of who he had been. What finally made it real for me was when I saw that He was still wearing his muddy rubber boots. My heart broke in two that day.
My husband had a haunted look in his eyes for weeks after that. He would wake up at night crying and panicking because he was dreaming about what had happened. The guilt that he felt was profound; he kept saying that he should not have let grandpa exert himself, and he should have recognized sooner that there was a problem. We both had never dealt with grief before, and its stages violently rocked us.
At one point we were so tired of hurting that we decided to have a party and have some friends over. It would be nice just to take our minds off of the situation and let loose. The night started out well, and more and more people kept arriving and before we knew it we had a full on house party in swing. This had never happened before, and in a way I enjoyed having so many people around and everyone having a good time.
And this is where the story twists. I mentioned in my last post about how my husband had a huge sexual appetite, and I will mention now that he had expressed struggling with feeling bored with monogamy. At first I would get really angry when I heard this, but over time it didn’t affect me so much; I suppose I was groomed into accepting my husband’s fantasies of being with other women.
At some point the night of that party, my husband pulled me into the bedroom and started kissing me and telling me that he wanted to try something exciting. Apparently he had been sharing drinks with another couple who had talked about being in an open relationship, and they were interested in us. I don’t know if it was the months of unhappiness or the few drinks that talked me into it, but I decided to go along with the idea. So we and the other couple snuck away to the basement.
I would like to say that I didn’t enjoy that experience. But the rush, the naughtiness of the situation was exhilerating, and after feeling like I wasn’t enough for my husband for so long, it felt good to be adored in such a new way. After the party my husband and I spent a long time in the bedroom together on our own as well, and it felt in a way like we had discovered a whole new world. I ignored that little voice deep inside that tried to tell me that it was wrong, that I was rurning my back in my core beliefs, and that it would end in destruction.
That was our first experience with swinging. It did not stop there though. Pretty soon, it had become our lifestyle, and I became hopelessly addicted to the rush of it.
More to come…